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Circumcision and Sexual Function Difficulties

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Published on Dec 6, 2012

Morten Frisch, 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.

References:
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
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21... (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
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22... (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
http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content... (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)

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