<CIRCLIST - 2010 Australian survey

Circumcision in Australia:
further evidence on its effects on sexual health and wellbeing

This 2010 paper, by Jason Ferris, Juliet Richters, Marian Pitts, Julia M. Shelley, Judy M. Simpson, Richard Ryall and Anthony Smith, reported on one aspect of the large-scale Australian Longitudinal Study of Health and Relationships. The aspect, in this case, was circumcision and its effects on sexuality and sexually transmitted infections. The paper was published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health - you can access the abstract here - reading the whole paper requires payment. (However, the journal has announced it's going open access in 2017 - whether this will apply to existing papers or only new ones isn't clear.)

Here is a brief summary of the results. 4,290 men were interviewed, most of them (3,308) Australian born. Only 42 were Muslim, the largest categories were 'No religion' 2,158 and 'Christian' 1,934. There was a slight bias against recent immigrants in that those with insufficient English to manage the 25-minute interview were excluded. 58% were circumcised, and the age breakdown is interesting.

AgeTotal number% circumcised
30–39 807 62.0
40–49 1,053 67.2
50–59 987 70.3
60–64 333 66.2

The teenagers were born in the 1990s, when Australian circumcision rates had hit an all-time low, with popularly quoted rates below 10%. Not so - and all the evidence suggests that circumcision rates have risen since then.

So what did the survey show? Really very little difference between circumcised and uncircumcised. Circumcised men were if anything more likely to have suffered from STIs, but not significantly. On the sexual side the only significant conclusions were that circumcised men masturbated (slightly) more often than uncircumcised and that circumcised men felt more confident about their body image when getting together with a new partner than uncircumcised ones.

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