Slate's findings on circumcision and sex.
Slate's findings on circumcision and sex.
Health and medicine explained.
Feb. 13 2006 5:33 PM

Or Not To Snip?

Slate's findings on circumcision and sex.

Download an MP3 audio interview with the author here, or sign up for Slate's free daily podcast on iTunes.

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If you were to visualize sex as arousal plotted against time, the simplest kind of x/y graph, you would expect to see a line that is rising towards orgasm, where it drops off. I think an accurate way to picture that rise is as a series of spikes—particular moments that are punctuated with especially pleasurable sensation, taking you higher and higher, until the ultimate spike that brings you over the top. The best way I can describe sex without a foreskin is that the very tips of these spikes are shaved off, but the line steadily progresses upwards nonetheless, with the orgasm completely unaffected. Maybe this sounds substantial but somehow it isn't. … Sex is about so much more than raw sensation from one little strip of skin, no matter how sensitive, that pleasure doesn't feel diminished. Who you're with, their excitement, your chemistry together, the sensation of your entire body against another—there are so many things that play into the equation. The marketing slogan would be something like "Hey, it's sex. It still feels really, really good."

There's no way I can top that. Thanks to all of you wrote to me in the spirit of unscientific but sincere inquiry. And to all penises, everywhere, Happy Valentine's Day.