Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Boyle, G. J., Goldman, R., Svoboda, J. S., & Fernandez, E. (2002). Male circumcision: Pain, trauma and psychosexual sequelae. Journal of Health Psychology, 7, 329-343.
Copyright © 2002 by SAGE Publications
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[Also in G. J. Boyle & D. H. Saklofske (2004) (Eds), Sage benchmarks in psychology: The psychology of individual differences, Vol. 4: Clinical and applied research. London: Sage (Ch. 61, pp. 283-302).]


Infant male circumcision continues despite growing questions about its medical justification. As usually performed without analgesia or anaesthetic, circumcision is observably painful. It is likely that genital cutting has physical, sexual, and psychological consequences too. Some studies link involuntary male circumcision with a range of negative emotions and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some circumcised men have described their current feelings in the language of violation, torture, mutilation, and sexual assault. In view of the acute as well as long-term risks from circumcision and the legal liabilities that might arise, it is timely for health professionals and scientists to re-examine the evidence on this issue and participate in the debate about the advisability of this surgical procedure on unconsenting minors.



This document has been peer reviewed.


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