Surveys about Circumcision

Here we present a collection of surveys relating in one way or another to circumcision. Studying any sexual topic presents problems, since one cannot ethically demand that people answer. Therefore no such surveys, even those published in reputable medical journals, meet the gold standard of medical research. In fact, some of the papers in medical journals are the worst offenders, since they are published by people with an axe to grind, and the ability to distort statistics so that black appears white!

The surveys presented here come from many sources, but those that come from Internet discussion groups should be understood as such and not regarded as definitive. Nevertheless, there is much of interest in them. We have tried to exclude ones which allow multiple voting.

The surveys:

Teenage Boys' Opinions. A 2018 survey conducted by regular correspondent JH, based on comments in the teen forum Teen Hut.

Young adolescents' views.. A 1992 academic paper surveying the knowledge and opinions of American boys aged 11 to 14.

AOL Parenting Survey on Circumcision A simple survey by a parenting discussion forum on AOL, probably in the '90s. No obvious safeguards, but a large number of respondents.

The parents' view A peer-reviewed journal paper in Pediatrics, looking at parents' views of whether they made the right decision about circumcision a couple of years on from their sons' birth.

Women’s Preferences. This is a famous peer-reviewed journal article. The women's viewpoint favouring circumcision for their sons appears to be based on their experience that sex is much better for and with a circumcised man.

James Badger's Forum survey. An Australian journalistic survey conducted in 1988-89 by current editor James Badger for Australian Forum Magazine. The questionnaire was distributed in the magazine, and also in the waiting rooms of the Family Planning Association of NSW. Ethics approval was given by the FPA.

James Badger's Australian Forum survey extended to the wider world via the Internet Responses from many countries but quite similar results.

Waterworks Does circumcision affect urinary problems - prostate trouble, bashful bladder, etc.?

Circumcision and Masturbation. How do the two sorts do it?

Circumcision in Australia: further evidence on its effects on sexual health and wellbeing. UPDATED A peer-reviewed paper, part of the Australian Longitudinal Study of Health and Relationships.

Helmet or Hoodie NEW An Australian internet survey of 500 men from the now defunct Helmet or Hoodie site.

Boys' issues. A translation of the amazing German site Jungsfragen. As of January 2017 the survey had almost 38,000 respondents!

Dicky-leaks: what Aussie men have down under. A survey on the now defunct Helmet or Hoodie site of tens of thousands of Australian men by year of birth, from 1945 to 1998. The source of the information was a dating site which asked the circumcision question. The link to the survey is no longer available but here are the basic figures. Circumcision rate was 71% for men born in 1945, and fell progressively from then. 1981 was the 50/50 year, and for men born in 1998 it was 27%. They point out that the question was optional, and also that not all of the men would have been born in Australia. Presumably under-18s were not allowed on the site, but it is surprising that 72-year-olds use dating sites!

Australian Circumcision - so what is normal?. NEW Hoodie or Helmet seems to be a revival of the defunct Helmet or Hoodie site (above) but does not contain the same material. This is an extensive survey of Australian circumcision rates over the past half century, including regional variations. Link updated 7/10/2021.

Imgur circumcision survey. Results of a circumcision survey on the social media site Imgur. 646 respondents, male and female contributed. There are some pecularities in the results - would you believe that ~7% of female respondents prefer an erect penis size of less that 3 inches? It wasn't supposed to be aimed at primary schools! The raw data are available in spreadsheet form here if anyone wants to re-analyse it. We will publish it if it's interesting. Thanks to regular correspondent Tom for the link.

What is Peer Review?
Academic journals, upon receiving a manuscript for publication, forward the mss to at least two experts in the field for comment and opinion. Based on the reviewers' comments the work will either be accepted 'as is', returned for revision or rejected. This is not foolproof, especially in an emptionally-charged subject such as circumcision, but it's the best we have.

The following resources were used in the preparation of this web page:
Flag Logo Website of the National Research Ethics Service, a division of the NHS National Patient Safety Agency (accessed 13.Feb.2010).

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