A look at 300 men in an erectile dysfunction study  from Dan Bollinger and Robert S. Van Howe published in the International Journal of Men’s Health, points to the possibility that circumcision significantly increases a male’s chance of having erectile dysfunction later in life.

I’m already fully aware and remorseful that my son’s circumcision led to multiple painful adhesions as his wound healed. Before anyone comes down on me too hard for my choice, I explain why I chose to circumcise my son in this previous post. Now, I have to consider the very real possibility that because of my choice, my son may one day suffer from erectile dysfunction.

I realize his future sex life is none of my business. I realize it may be odd that as a mother, I am worried about it.  But, I am his mother. I loved and worried about him as a baby. I love and worry about him now that he is a child. I will love and worry about him until the day that I die- perhaps even after.

Apparently, to punish myself, I went trolling through ED online forums. Many of these men were young adults. One 26 year old man with no clue what was wrong with him wrote that he often goes limp for no reason and that mostly it feels a little numb.

If I were looking at it from any other perspective but that of  a remorseful mother, I could probably care less about this young man’s issues. Yet, I am a remorseful mother, and when I read that, my heart sunk.

This study warrants a much larger study of course to come to any conclusions, but the explanation of the mechanism of the male sexual organ might some light on what those conclusions may eventually be:

 The most sensitive part of the body on a man, an extremely sensitive organelle called the frenulum (sometimes described as “the clitoris of the penis”), is typically and unwittingly either partially or fully amputated during the circumcision process (even though it in itself is not a target — think of it as “collatoral damage”). There is also the drying/toughening process the glans skin must subsequently undergo to protect itself in the absense of its natural protection. This is called keritanization. All men who have endured modern medicine’s (radical) circumcision, or the procedure it was modeled after, the Jewish bris periah, a radical departure from the original circumcision, experience keritanization. To quickly review from Fleiss’s article, the glans skin has no sebaceous (oil) glands of its own, relying on the foreskin, as well as the foreskin’s mucosal tissue for moisture, and relies on the outer side of this 2-sided skin for protection. Most circumcised men are unaware that the normal skin of the glans should resemble inner vaginal skin, and for good reason. The remaining shaft skin is tightened, especially during erection. Hair and scrotal migration usually results. The severity depends on the tightness of the “circ”. The sulcus (the mucosal valley between glans and shaft) and the glans which remain get completely and permanently dried out, worn down, and keritanized. The effects increase over time, usually leading to impotence by the senior years.

My doctor’s most imperative worries of infection (which were unfounded if the intact infant foreskin is not forcibly retracted as modern medicine previously advised it be which would also be easily treatable with an antibiotic or even natural remedies) can not even begin to compare to the lifelong worries I will carry nor do they seem significant when weighed against a future of possible impaired sexual interaction.


***Disclaimer: Opinions in this post are that of the post’s author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the owner of Everything Birth and in no way act as an official statement on the matter by the company.

Further opinions on the study.

Circumcision and HIV discussion.

Circumcision and UTIs.