Volume 99, Issue 4 p. 864-869

Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis

Morris L. Sorrells

Morris L. Sorrells

Retired, HIV/AIDS researcher, San Francisco, CA,

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James L. Snyder

James L. Snyder

Retired, HIV/AIDS researcher, San Francisco, CA,

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Mark D. Reiss

Mark D. Reiss

Retired, HIV/AIDS researcher, San Francisco, CA,

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Christopher Eden

Christopher Eden

Retired, HIV/AIDS researcher, San Francisco, CA,

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Marilyn F. Milos

Marilyn F. Milos

National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers,

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Norma Wilcox

Norma Wilcox

Retired, HIV/AIDS researcher, San Francisco, CA,

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Robert S. Van Howe

Corresponding Author

Robert S. Van Howe

Department of Paediatrics and Human Development, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, MI, USA

Robert S. Van Howe, 1414 W. Fair Avenue, Suite 226, Marquette, MI 49855, USA.e-mail: [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
First published: 19 March 2007
Citations: 122

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To map the fine-touch pressure thresholds of the adult penis in circumcised and uncircumcised men, and to compare the two populations.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS

Adult male volunteers with no history of penile pathology or diabetes were evaluated with a Semmes-Weinstein monofilament touch-test to map the fine-touch pressure thresholds of the penis. Circumcised and uncircumcised men were compared using mixed models for repeated data, controlling for age, type of underwear worn, time since last ejaculation, ethnicity, country of birth, and level of education.

RESULTS

The glans of the uncircumcised men had significantly lower mean (sem) pressure thresholds than that of the circumcised men, at 0.161 (0.078) g (P = 0.040) when controlled for age, location of measurement, type of underwear worn, and ethnicity. There were significant differences in pressure thresholds by location on the penis (P < 0.001). The most sensitive location on the circumcised penis was the circumcision scar on the ventral surface. Five locations on the uncircumcised penis that are routinely removed at circumcision had lower pressure thresholds than the ventral scar of the circumcised penis.

CONCLUSIONS

The glans of the circumcised penis is less sensitive to fine touch than the glans of the uncircumcised penis. The transitional region from the external to the internal prepuce is the most sensitive region of the uncircumcised penis and more sensitive than the most sensitive region of the circumcised penis. Circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of the penis.