Sexual Health Q&A

How might circumcision affect a partner’s sexual pleasure?

This is a difficult question to answer, as partners’ ideas of pleasure are highly personal. Some enjoy sex with a circumcised man; others like being with an uncircumcised man. Still others may have no preference at all.

Hygiene is one reason partners might prefer a circumcised man. An intact foreskin is more difficult to keep clean. It can also be more prone to infection. Some partners feel more comfortable having sex with a circumcised man because they feel their risk of infection is lower. Being more relaxed on this issue can make sex more enjoyable.

On the other hand, some partners prefer sex with an uncircumcised man because the foreskin feels softer and there is less friction during penetration. Also, some partners find that uncircumcised men penetrate with a gentler motion. The foreskin is a very sexually sensitive area, so the man may not feel the need to thrust as deeply or quickly in order to feel pleasure himself.

Keep in mind that there are many factors involved with sexual pleasure, such as the nature of the relationship between partners, the pacing of sexual activity, and each partner’s likes and dislikes. For example, one partner may find oral sex to be exciting, but another might not.

Partners are encouraged to tell – or show – each other what brings them sexual pleasure. Without this important communication, sex can become a frustrating guessing game instead of relaxed enjoyment.

Couples who have trouble talking about sex often benefit from sex therapy. A trained therapist can help partners feel more comfortable with each other and express their needs more directly. It may take some time and experimentation, but many couples find that their sex lives improve with some guidance.