Male Circumcision: Pain, Trauma and Psychosexual Sequelae

Gregory J. Boyle

Bond University, Australia

Ronald Goldman

Circumcision Resource Center, Boston, USA

J. Steven Svoboda

Attorneys for the Rights of the Child, Berkeley, USA

Ephrem Fernandez

Southern Methodist University, Dallas, USA 


Infant male circumcision continues despite growing questions about its medical justification. As usually performed without analgesia or anaesthetic, circumcision is observably painful. It is likely that genital cutting has physical, sexual and psychological consequences too. Some studies link involuntary male circumcision with a range of negative emotions and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some circumcised men have described their current feelings in the language of violation, torture, mutilation and sexual assault. In view of the acute as well as long-term risks from circumcision and the legal liabilities that might arise, it is timely for health professionals and scientists to re-examine the evidence on this issue and participate in the debate about the advisability of this surgical procedure on unconsenting minors.

Boyle GJ, Goldman R, Svoboda JS, Fernandez E. Male circumcision: pain, trauma
and psychosexual sequelae. J Health Psychol. 2002 May;7(3):329-43. doi:
10.1177/135910530200700310. PubMed PMID: 22114254.


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