Circumcision in the United States:  Prevalence, Prophylactic Effects, and Sexual Practice

Edward O. Laumann, PhD; Christopher M. Masi, MD; Ezra W. Zuckerman, MA
JAMA. 1997;277(13):1052-1057. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540370042034.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Objective.  —To assess the prevalence of circumcision across various social groups and examine the health and sexual outcomes of circumcision.

Design.  —An analysis of data from the National Health and Social Life Survey.

Participants.  —A national probability sample of 1410 American men aged 18 to 59 years at the time of the survey. In addition, an oversample of black and Hispanic minority groups is included in comparative analyses.

Main Outcome Measures.  —The contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, the experience of sexual dysfunction, and experience with a series of sexual practices.

Results.  —We find no significant differences between circumcised and uncircumcised men in their likelihood of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. However, uncircumcised men appear slightly more likely to experience sexual dysfunctions, especially later in life. Finally, we find that circumcised men engage in a more elaborated set of sexual practices. This pattern differs across ethnic groups, suggesting the influence of social factors.

Conclusions.  —The National Health and Social Life Survey evidence indicates a slight benefit of circumcision but a negligible association with most outcomes. These findings inform existing debates on the utility of circumcision. The considerable impact of circumcision status on sexual practice represents a new finding that should further enrich such discussion. Our results support the view that physicians and parents be informed of the potential benefits and risks before circumcising newborns.


Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours




Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.