Sex and circumcision

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What are the effects of circumcision on sexual function and experience? And what does sex—in the sense related to gender—have to do with the ethics of circumcision? Jacobs and Arora (2015) give short shrift to the first of these questions; and they do not seem to have considered the second. In this commentary, I explore the relationship between sex (in both senses) and infant male circumcision, and draw some conclusions about the ongoing debate regarding this controversial practice (for overviews, see Earp 2013; Earp and Darby 2014).


Removing healthy, functional, and erotogenic tissue from a child’s genitals (whether the child happens to be female, intersex, or male) is not an unremarkable affair. Given the controversial nature of such an intervention, including the inevitable uncertainty regarding whether it will be experienced, later on, as an enhancement as opposed to a diminishment (see Maslen et al. 2014; Earp, 2014), it seems reasonable to argue that the decision about whether to have it performed in the first place should be left to the individual who must live with the consequences.