What are your thoughts about this study?

Discussion in 'The Healthy Penis' started by JTalbain, Dec 13, 2010.

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What do you think about the Sorrels circumcision study? (See first post for link)

  1. This study has to be a hoax.

    9.8%
  2. I'm not entirely convinced, but would like to see a followup or refutation.

    9.8%
  3. So what? Sensitivity doesn't have anything to do with satisfaction.

    9.8%
  4. Yeah, this isn't new information to me. I'm glad I'm uncircumcised.

    26.8%
  5. I'm cut and happy, but I think that children should have the chance to decide for themselves.

    22.0%
  6. Wow, I had no idea. This makes me want to restore my foreskin.

    4.9%
  7. Doesn't matter. Parents should be able to cut their kids on the basis of religious freedom alone.

    17.1%
  1. JTalbain

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  2. SirConcis

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    The last paragraph is interesting. They list the anti-circ as organisations that funded the studyt and claim this was not a conflict of interest.


    The wording of the text in the study has many references that seem to come right out of anti circ activists.

    But all in all, I don't think this study is really worth a lot. Do you mastrubate by using those Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments ? I masturbate with my hand, and I can tell you there is plenty of stimulation. I suspect the difference in pressure needed to be felt in the cut and uncut is extremjely small compared to the perssiure exerted when a hand, vagina, or mouth/lips touches your organ, so those differences would be immaterial to pleasure.
     
  3. JTalbain

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    Some anti-circumcision organizations did help fund the study true, but this was still a groundbreaking study in that it was the first to map the sensitivity of the entire penis, and it even did so in both cut and uncut men. It makes a lot of sense, if you are an organization trying to preserve something, to want the information for what that something is to be available.

    They also, in my opinion did a pretty good job of avoiding any sort of subjectivity; they only took measurements and based their conclusion entirely off of them. Is there something that you can point to in the study which may have been done better if different people had been running it?

    Which terminology are you talking about in particular?

    The same test was performed to determine sensitivity loss due to Female Genital Mutilation. It is a valid, medically recognized test to measure physical sensitivity to fine touch. It is can be accurately extrapolated what the sensation in the immediately surrounding location is by the measurements of the test.

    And as to whether the pressure difference would be immaterial for pleasure, a common complaint for those receiving stimulation from a partner, particularly a new one, is that they are too rough or too gentle. It's purely anecdotal, but some have noted that the cut guys like it rougher.

    Out of curiosity SirConcis, why didn't you vote?
     
  4. Hoss

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    1st as already said, anti circs helped fund it. Where are the pro circs and pro choice funders?
     
  5. JTalbain

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    Wow, 150 views and only 6 people took the poll so far. I was trying to avoid tainting the opinions of those taking the poll by not posting the highlights, but was it really to much work to click the link and read?

    Actually, a better question might be, how many of the voters actually read the study? Was the link even necessary? :tongue:
     
  6. JTalbain

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    Funding the studies which state circumcision causes no harm and prevents disease. Where else would they be?

    Seriously though, as I said above, there is a difference between having a possible conflict of interest and having a demonstrable point where such a conflict can come into play. Can you demonstrate how such a conflict of interest could affect this particular study?
     
  7. Hoss

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    If 1 set is fuundng a study, and the other set isn't in any way associated, it makes results at the very least questionable since the anti-circumcision advocacy groups have a vested interest in getting results skewed in their favor and therefore would be likely to direct their friends & supporters towards the actual clincal study and experiment. since they are sending their own in, and these men are already of the belief that the foreskin gives them a better sex life, there is a conflict & the results are invalidated.

    Still unsure? What if a study was made and it said there was proof that the foreskin wasn't the most important item in sex and perhaps even caused sex to be less enjoyable for the woman or man they are having sex with and then the study happened to have been funded by a few pro circuumcision groups, and not 1 anti-circumcising grp., would you be able to see and acknowledge that as a conflict or at the very least something which miight alter the final results?
     
  8. JTalbain

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    You are talking in general, and I am speaking specifically about this study. The fine touch test is a test of physical sensitivity performed as follows:
    1) The patient is not allowed to see where he is being touched.
    2) The doctor applies pressure with the instrument until the patient feels the touch and can tell where he is being touched.
    3) The doctor records the location and the amount of pressure needed to induce the response from the patient.

    What I was asking you is this: At what point over the course of this procedure could someone being biased for or against circumcision influence these results? If there is no such time, then there is no possibility for bias.

    First off, what the most important item is in sex is subjective. Some people have sensitivity issues, but others can't get off at all unless a fetish is present.

    But if you were asking what if a test, much like the one above, was performed and pro-circ organizations happened to be funding it, then the conclusion would be the same. If the results were directly contradictory to Sorrells' results, then it would definitely be a sign that someone is fudging their numbers, and would probably necessitate a third study by a party as disinterested as possible. The study would not be automatically biased, however, just because the people funding it want it to go that way.

    Look at Kimberley Payne's study. Sensation and sexual arousal in circumcised and un... [J Sex Med. 2007] - PubMed result Payne actually went on record as saying she thought the procedure was barbaric and harmful, stating a defined bias, but her own study failed to produce the results she was hoping to see. The study, when analyzed, was flawed in its own way, and this led to some fairly silly conclusions (like the entire penis becoming anesthetized during arousal). If, however, her study had yielded the same results as Sorrells, then she'd be under the same bias as his study because of her stated bias, but because it didn't it was embraced. The fact that some prominent figures in medicine hailed it as a breakthrough study (while continuing to ignore Sorrells) is more indicative of their biases in reasoning than any biases present in the studies themselves.

    Without some sort of demonstrable way in which a study is biased, attacking the study on the basis of who is running/funding it is really no better than an ad hominem attack. It could be an indication that the study would need to be closely examined to see if it is a complete fabrication (that does happen from time to time), but no such conclusion has ever been drawn about Sorrells' study. It has merely been summarily dismissed as "being biased".
     
  9. JTalbain

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    I actually found the poster that the research team made for their demonstration at the World Association of Sexuality Congress in Sydney in April 2007, contrasting their work with Masters and Johnson. It's actually much more concise than looking at the two studies side by side. http://www.circumstitions.com/Images/sorrellsvm&j-poster.pdf
     
  10. Hoss

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    The study itself in the Pdf attachment has a relatively small number of partcipants

    More telling is what the study says itself:,

    "This might introduce and produce a selection bias." (page 868 in the Pdf)
     
  11. JTalbain

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    It has well over a hundred. The number required through statistical mathematics to get an approximation of populational averages is 30.

    Actually the full quote is "The present subjects, while drawn from the general population, were men who showed the initiative to participate. This might introduce a population and selection bias, but the objective nature of the measure should not have been affected."

    Basically, this is stating that the motives of those who volunteered are unknown, so there could be an unknown common factor which prompted those subjects to participate. It would be incredibly unlikely, however that such a bias which would skew the study would be predominant among such particpants and not be noticeable.

    This statement is actually fairly superfluous; pretty much every study which measures the general population is done by volunteers, usually to avoid the influence of a bias.
     
  12. B_mitchymo

    B_mitchymo New Member

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    Personally, i think the study is a pointless one.

    As someone who is uncut, i know that over time, the penis becomes desensitised anyway. Using such a study to argue against circumcision is pretty redundant.
    Its the equivalent of pro-circ using hygiene as a reason for cutting.

    There is only one issue that anti-circ should be arguing against, that is the stance of the medical profession who routinely offer the procedure without any justifiable medical reason to do so.

    I am not anti-circ, i am anti-RIC. The choice should belong to the child as an adult. It is illogical that anyone should support the freedom of choice in the issue whilst at the same time taking away the freedom of choice of the person it most affects.

    RIC should be reserved for those who request it on religious grounds, it should never be an offered procedure.

    (I didn't vote on the poll, none of the choices encapsulated my opinion fully.)
     
    #12 B_mitchymo, Dec 14, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010
  13. Snakebyte

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    I had myself circ. at the age of 18. And for me there was no difference. So I call this study bullshit.

    Yes, with a pretty high chance of an huge error. I'm involved in several empirical studies in human sciences. And my experience is that you need a significantly higher number of testees (than 30) if you want a valid and reliable study.
    Ok, so the number of test subjects was well over hundred. Still this doesn't exclude a biased selection. Studies tend to have the results wanted by the the ones who enforce them. Talking about self-fulfilling prophecy.
     
    #13 Snakebyte, Dec 14, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010
  14. JTalbain

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    True, the penis loses some sensitivity over time, but if the loss of the foreskin and its associated structures are also contributors to loss of sensitivity, then isn't that relevant?

    And actually this study is very relevant for those doctors which you speak of. They have no medical reason to perform the procedure, however they are allowed to continue to do so anyway because of the appearance of infant circumcision being harmless. By downplaying any negative side effects, they allow the procedure to maintain a sort of "neutrality" in effect, which is important, because if negative side effects were accepted and acknowledged as part of the procedure, it would become illegal.
    I think most "anti-circs" are actually anti-RIC.

    I've noticed that a lot of the responders have quoted religious freedom as trumping the sensitivity issue, but you have pointed out it is the religious freedom of the individual that should matter instead of the parents. Admittedly, I added the religious perogative choice as an option for those who might be biased by coming from a religion that offers circumcision, but in retrospect, I think I worded it poorly. (Damn 100 character maximum!) I suspect that some people will probably pick the last choice as a "cop out" option to avoid actually commenting on the study's content.
    Thank you for responding to fully articulate your opinion. I probably should have just posted the study with the question attached and not made it a poll. Oh well.
     
  15. JTalbain

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    So noted. Is this based purely on your own experiences, or on a combination of them and the study?
    Actually, with just 30 people, you can achieve a fairly high confidence interval (over 90% certainty). You can even perform a study with fewer people if you can be relatively assured that the variables are subject to normal distribution. The danger in small numbers is that you are more likely to draw subjects from a pool that has a different distribution than the rest of the population, thus skewing the numbers. Is there a section of the population that you feel would be an abnormality in such a way that they could skew the figures?
    How would this selection be biased? They picked people both people who were circumcised and uncircumcised, and they excluded people that had conditions which could lead to sexual dysfunction. On what basis do you think they might have discriminated?
     
  16. B_mitchymo

    B_mitchymo New Member

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  17. JTalbain

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    Well, I disagree because it is has been shown that premature ejaculation is not directly linked to sexual sensitivity (you can develop control over the ejaculatory reflex) and it has been shown that the nerves responsible for controlling this are located in the foreskin. Besides, one of the purposes of the penis is to give pleasure to the owner. I doubt that a procedure which completely anesthetized the penis but left sexual intercourse and ejaculation possible would be seen as "harmless".

    But no matter how objective the study is, this sort of interpretation is still a matter of opinion.
    I wholeheartedly agree here. The medical community is starting from a standpoint that circumcision is harmless and neutral and then reaching for reasons to continue justifying it. (It has been described as "a cure searching for a disease") I think it would be best if the AAP's Task Force on Circumcision just started over and asked those in favor of RIC to make their case, completely disregarding the status quo. It would make any such studies as these purely academic.
     
  18. B_mitchymo

    B_mitchymo New Member

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  19. JTalbain

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    Pretty much, although I wonder if one of the current theories about the appendix is going to pan out. Apparently, some scientists believe that it serves as a "safe haven" for beneficial bacteria for the digestive system, allowing their populations to be replenished quickly in the event of a violent "purging". (read: diarrhea) It's a worthy comparison all the same; the appendix used to be routinely removed as well, to prevent future infections.

    Yeah, and if you buy into pleasure being a purpose of the penis, you can also point out that all those condoms which are "ribbed for her pleasure" are actually borrowing from natural design. :tongue:

    Some have pointed out that the case could be made legally even with the laws we have now. The laws against FGM specifically forbid any sort of nontherapeutic cutting on the genitals of little girls, and the 14th amendment forbids any sort of discriminatory legal protections or benefits on the basis of sex.

    But yeah, the ethical case for circumcision is made of equal parts antiquated beliefs and fail.
     
  20. B_mitchymo

    B_mitchymo New Member

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    So really, it seems to come down to politics. Nobody high in office ever seems to think of it as an issue. Or more to the point, the monetary flow surrounding it helps the economy :rolleyes:
     
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