Brian Earp’s commentary on Bossio’s penile sensitivity paper

Brian Earp has produced a commentary on the recent penile sensitivity study by Jennifer Bossio, which has been widely reported as showing that circumcision does not affect penile sensitivity.

Earp points out that the study was underpowered to find the result, and reports about something which is necessarily subjective.

Here’s an edited extract from Earp’s commentary:

Another day, another round of uncritical media coverage of an empirical study about circumcision and sexual function. That’s including from the New York Times, whose writer Nicholas Bakalar has more or less recycled the content of a university press release without incorporating any skeptical analysis from other scientists.

The new study is by Jennifer Bossio and her colleagues from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. It looked at penile sensitivity at various locations on the penis, comparing a sample of men who had been circumcised when they were infants (meaning they had their foreskins surgically removed), with a sample of men who remained genitally intact (meaning they kept their foreskins into adulthood).

What did the researchers discover? According to a typical headline from the past few days:

“Circumcision does not reduce penis sensitivity.”

But that’s not what the study showed. Before we get into the details of the science, and looking just at this claim from the “headline” conclusion, it might be helpful to review some basic anatomy.

You can read Brian Earp’s full commentary in his Huffington Post piece here:
Does Circumcision Reduce Penis Sensitivity? The Answer Is Not Clear Cut


  1. Well! how can you compare them! The uncircumcised penis still has a foreskin while the circumcised penis does not. You can’t test the sensitivity of the foreskin on a circumcised penis can you? So how can you say there is no difference? You are not comparing the same things. The foreskin will add sensation over and above that of the rest of the penis that remains after circumcision.

    • The only people who can really tell how much sensitivity is lost by circumcision are those men who loose there foreskins for one reason or another in adulthood.
      I am one of those men.
      The sensitivity difference is profound and highly distressing.

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