Are you circumcised or uncircumcised? And does it really matter? Never in the history of skin has such a tiny piece generated so much discussion. So let’s get the facts straight about your circumcised or uncircumcised penis, okay?

“To be honest, circumcised or not, I’m really not bothered. It’s not really something that ever comes up in sex (not in my experience).” Parker, 27

The ins and outs of circumcision

Guys are born with a foreskin that protects the head of their penis, but sometimes the foreskin is removed. Circumcision is usually performed on babies, and it can be done for a bunch of different reasons. Most often it can be a religious or cultural choice, because of health concerns, or just because some people prefer the look of a circumcised penis.

It used to be routine practice in Australia back in the 1950s to circumcise baby boys, but since then the trend has been reversing. These days, only 10-20% of boys born in Australia are circumcised.

Sometimes doctors will circumcise older boys or men but it’s usually to help treat a medical issue, like ongoing infections or if the foreskin is too tight.

“I’m circumcised, it didn’t really occur to me until around high school when I was in the change rooms and I saw I was different. I wasn’t the only one and girls don’t mind, some have said they prefer it.” Ryan, 26

Which is healthier?

Being circumcised can mean you have less chance of getting some infections and cancer of the penis, but the risks of those conditions are so tiny that circumcision doesn’t actually prevent many cases. So basically, it would be a whole lot of operations for very little benefit. That’s why doctors don’t recommend it as a way of preventing these conditions.

But you know what reduces the risk of STIs and HIV by way more than that anyway? Condoms. When used correctly, they’re the best form of protection there is (apart from abstinence, and we’re not asking you to do that).

“No, I’m not circumcised. The only time that having a foreskin has affected me is after long rigorous sessions of sex my foreskin can get a little sore and in some extreme cases even tear a little bit and that can be painful. I’m happy that I’m not circumcised.” Joe, 26

How does a foreskin affect sex?

Some people think that still having a foreskin can make your penis more sensitive to the touch. Dozens of studies have been done on the subject with varying conclusions but the most credible ones found that there was no real difference in sexual function, pleasure and satisfaction between circumcised and uncircumcised men.

Even if an uncircumcised penis was slightly more sensitive, the fact is there is a whole lot of friction going on during sex anyway, so you’re going to feel it either way.

Experts say there is no difference in the way circumcised and uncircumcised men should use a condom. It’s equally important for all to learn to use them properly so they’re as effective as possible.

“I’m uncircumcised and I’ve always been pretty happy about it. I know some people say stuff like ‘it feels better if you’re uncircumcised’ but I’ve also heard the same arguments from circumcised guys as well so I don’t know who to believe. I have a great time with my uncircumcised penis so I wouldn’t trade it in. I’ve also never had any of my partners have a problem with it either so that’s a bonus.” Billy, 26

Circumcision, in a nutshell

Whether you’re circumcised or not, sex can still be a lot of fun. But play it safe and whack a condom on that penis.