How Will I Feel Post Circumcision?

Tara Barnett

Post circumcision, men feel a variety of different physical sensations and emotions. Men who choose circumcision for religious or personal reasons often have a positive reaction to the experience, while those who are being forced into circumcision due to military involvement or medical reasons often feel emotional turmoil. Physically, circumcision is typically somewhat painful and requires healing and adjustment time. Irritation due to the lack of a foreskin usually wears off eventually, although getting used to this new physical condition often takes time.

Men who are forced into circumcision may feel emotional turmoil following the operation.
Men who are forced into circumcision may feel emotional turmoil following the operation.

Most men who are circumcised were circumcised as infants and therefore do not remember what they felt like post circumcision. There are a variety of reasons an adult or older child might decide to be circumcised, and the reason for the circumcision often has a large impact on the way the man feels afterwards. Adults who have joined a religion that requires circumcision, for example, often have a positive post circumcision experience because the choice was justified in a compelling way and the pain is considered a rite of passage. Men who do it involuntarily often report feeling pain long after the operation.

Painkillers may be required following a circumcision.
Painkillers may be required following a circumcision.

As with many surgeries, painful sensations can often be managed with painkillers of various strengths. It is possible to go without painkillers, but since stitches are sometimes involved and the operation is performed while conscious, it is usually best to at least obtain pain relief medication just in case. During recovery, many men find that the penis is extremely sensitive but not outright painful.

When a body part is removed, the brain often does not know how to deal with the sensation that is missing. Many people find that thinking about how the lack of a foreskin feels after a lifetime of having one is extremely disturbing. This can lead to depression and an increase in post-surgical pain.

Some adults who undergo circumcision feel extreme regret post circumcision. This is particularly true when the person getting the surgery is a young adult who is undergoing the operation at the request of other people. When circumcision is performed on a child, it is assumed that the boy will have no memories of the operation and therefore will not suffer any distress. Even this has been demonstrated to be false, as men go through painful procedures to attempt to restore a body part they do not remember having. The post circumcision experience does not end once the direct pain of circumcision has stopped, and even if one seems to fare well after the operation, there is always the possibility of feeling a wide range of emotions regarding this choice in the distant future.

Men may feel post-surgical pain following a circumcision.
Men may feel post-surgical pain following a circumcision.

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Discussion Comments


I was circumcised as a baby and I obviously have no memory of the procedure. I have never known what having an intact foreskin would be like, so I have no real frame of reference. I think a circumcised penis is easier to keep clean, and I don't feel like sensitivity is that much of an issue. However, I can see where an uncircumcised penis would be more protected from irritants during an average day. The foreskin does cover some pretty sensitive tissue with a lot of nerve endings.


I read somewhere that a researcher placed pain sensors on infants about to undergo a circumcision. Allegedly, the results indicated a pain level of 9 or 10. I think some of this was due to a lack of anesthesia before the procedure, since it was commonly believed that a foreskin had no sensitivity to pain. Personally, I believe a circumcision performed without at least a local anesthetic would be extremely painful.

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