Study on sexual dysfunction in circumcised men and their partners

Text from Bonobo3D – maker of the video

“Morten Frisch, an MD, PhD and Doctor of Medicine, a professor of sexual health epidemiology at Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen and at Aalborg University in Denmark discusses his 2011 study on sexual function difficulties in circumcised men and their female partners. He also gives an account of the difficulties that researchers may face when their study results are not in favor of male circumcision.

Frisch et al’s study, which showed an excess of orgasm difficulties in circumcised men, as well as significantly increased frequencies of orgasm difficulties, pain during intercource and a sense of incomplete sexual needs fulfilment in women with circumcised spouses, was preceded by three other publications based on the same dataset, dealing with sexual dysfunctions in Danish men and women in relation to socioeconomic factors, health factors and lifestyle factors, respectively.

All these three studies were published without serious criticisms from peer reviewers in the two most prestigious US journals of sexual health (Journal of Sexual Medicine and Archives of Sexual Behavior). However, adding one more variable to the analysis, namely male circumcision status, changed everything, and made reviewers extremely critical of everything about the whole dataset. Only after dealing with extensive, obstructive peer-review comments from one of the world’s leading pro-circumcision propagandists, a review which included serious insinuations of racism and amateurism, was the study finally published in the International Journal of Epidemiology 2011;40:1367-1381.

Frisch M, Lindholm M, Grønbæk M. Male circumcision and sexual function in men and women: a survey-based, cross-sectional study in Denmark. Int J Epidemiol 2011 Oct;40(5):1367-81… (This is the original paper, in which Professor Frisch et al present their controversial study findings)

Morris BJ, Waskett JH, Gray RH. Does sexual function survey in Denmark offer any support for male circumcision having an adverse effect? Int J Epidemiol 2012 Feb;41(1):310-2… (This is a critical letter-to-the-editor by circumcision advocate Brian J. Morris et al)

Frisch M. Author’s Response to: Does sexual function survey in Denmark offer any support for male circumcision having an adverse effect? Int J Epidemiol 2012 Feb;41(1):312-4… (This is the author’s response to the criticism by Morris, Waskett and Gray.

Additionally, in his response, Professor Frisch gives a thought provoking insight into the role of Brian J. Morris, when he served as a peer-reviewer trying hard to prevent the study from getting published)”

In my article Although disagreeing with Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Male circumcision.. you’ll find a thought provoking visual aid produced by Brian J. Morris.

Male circumcision and sexual function in men and women: a survey-based, cross-sectional study in Denmark

Morten Frisch, Morten Lindholm and Morten Grønbæk

Author Affiliations

  1. 1Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark and 2National Institute of Public Health, DK-1353 Copenhagen K, Denmark

International Journal of Epidemiology (2011) 40 (5): 1367-1381. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyr104 First published online: June 14, 2011

One-third of the world’s men are circumcised, but little is known about possible sexual consequences of male circumcision. In Denmark (~5% circumcised), we examined associations of male circumcision with a range of sexual measures in both sexes.

Methods Participants in a national health survey (n  = 5552) provided information about their own (men) or their spouse’s (women) circumcision status and details about their sex lives. Logistic regression-derived odds ratios (ORs) measured associations of circumcision status with sexual experiences and current difficulties with sexual desire, sexual needs fulfilment and sexual functioning.

Results Age at first intercourse, perceived importance of a good sex life and current sexual activity differed little between circumcised and uncircumcised men or between women with circumcised and uncircumcised spouses. However, circumcised men reported more partners and were more likely to report frequent orgasm difficulties after adjustment for potential confounding factors [11 vs 4%, ORadj = 3.26; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.42–7.47], and women with circumcised spouses more often reported incomplete sexual needs fulfilment (38 vs 28%, ORadj = 2.09; 95% CI 1.05–4.16) and frequent sexual function difficulties overall (31 vs 22%, ORadj = 3.26; 95% CI 1.15–9.27), notably orgasm difficulties (19 vs 14%, ORadj = 2.66; 95% CI 1.07–6.66) and dyspareunia (12 vs 3%, ORadj = 8.45; 95% CI 3.01–23.74). Findings were stable in several robustness analyses, including one restricted to non-Jews and non-Moslems.

Conclusions Circumcision was associated with frequent orgasm difficulties in Danish men and with a range of frequent sexual difficulties in women, notably orgasm difficulties, dyspareunia and a sense of incomplete sexual needs fulfilment. Thorough examination of these matters in areas where male circumcision is more common is warranted.

The full study posted in Oxford Journal of Epidemiology can be read here:


5 thoughts on “Study on sexual dysfunction in circumcised men and their partners

  1. I am beginning to see a comment made by pro-circs that goes, “People of high quality have their sons circumcised”. Such a statement is white supremis and racist, when you consider it is mostly white people who circumcise their sons (in the U.S.). It is not as common for other races to circumcise their sons. Does that make the rest of us low quality people because of it? Germany made that mistake of deciding who they thought were “high quality people” from 1933 to 1945.

    • Hi Harry

      Thank you for your comment. I’ve never seen that type of message anywhere, but I deeply resent the implications. I strongly object to racism and sexism as well as any other derogatory approach to other people and find it appalling that anyone could think of making such a statement. Let’s hope we manage to put an end to routine circumcision of children soon.


  2. It was certainly true that in Great Britain the upper and middle classes were very likely to have their male heirs circumcised, whilst the working classes did not. The better-off could afford to do it, and doctors predominantly came from the same level of society who had the means to go to medical school. Circumcision was used as a badge of wealth and superiority, the military officer had no foreskin, the enlisted, other-ranks still had theirs. Prince Charles, although born after the National Health Service had decided there was no therapeutic reason for cutting, was cut by a mohel brought in in preference to the Royal Doctor. Similarly, his two brothers were cut as well. But when the late Princess Diana gave birth to two sons, she refused point blank to allow them to be cut, and according to fellow servicemen they are both still intact. It is to be hoped that the new Duchess, who had a more conventional upbringing, will insist that her expected child, if it is a boy, be kept as nature intended.

    • Interesting with the class-division in cutting habits. Perhaps one of the few moments in history, where being working class with access to only the most necessary health care is actually and advantage. Keep enlightening us Keith, I love to learn. 🙂

      – Lena

  3. Pingback: Synspunkt: Muslim Abort er meget værre end omskæring | Intact Denmark - Forening mod børneomskæring

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