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9 Myths About Circumcision That Persist to This Day

Medically reviewed by Elfred Landas, MD · General Practitioner · Maxicare Primary Care Center

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Dec 16, 2020

9 Myths About Circumcision That Persist to This Day

To this day, a lot of people believe certain myths about circumcision, or tuli in the Philippines. This is partly due to the fact that certain websites and social media posts spread misleading or untrue information on this topic. So we’re here to clear the air and to sort fact from fiction.

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Myth 1: Circumcision is a form of amputation

One of the most common myths about circumcision is that it’s a form of amputation. People say that the foreskin is a part of the body, so removing it would mean that you are amputating something.

From the point of view of medical science, this is an exaggeration. During a circumcision, doctors remove only 20 to 50 percent of the foreskin. This means that doctors do not amputate anything, because some of the foreskin still remains intact.

Myth 2: Circumcision is mutilation

Some people believe that circumcision is a form of mutilation. However, this is another exaggeration. During a circumcision, doctors surgically remove only part of the foreskin. Doctors do not harm the penis, nor do they mutilate it in any way. Circumcision is done either for religious/cultural reasons (such as in Judaism and Islam) or for hygienic purposes.

Penile Care: Tips on How to Clean the Penis

Myth 3: Most men are circumcised

In the Philippines, young boys undergo circumcision or tuli once they reach puberty. This is due to the fact that circumcision is considered a “rite of passage’ for Filipino men. The vast majority of circumcision cases in the Philippines are not related to religion.

For the rest of the world, however, circumcision is not necessarily the norm. In fact, only 33 to 38 percent of men worldwide are circumcised. These days, circumcision needs to be the decision of the patient. Nobody should feel pressured to undergo circumcision if he does not want to, nor should he feel embarrassed if he is uncircumcised. Keeping your foreskin is not a problem as long as you clean your penis regularly.

Myth 4: The foreskin is “dirty’

People who support nonreligious circumcision often claim that the foreskin is dirty. They say that it is necessary to remove  it to keep the penis clean and prevent infections. But the reality is that even if your foreskin is intact, you can still very easily keep your penis clean. All you need to do is pull back the skin, and make sure to wash the head of the penis thoroughly, and to dry it afterwards.

While circumcision can make it easier to clean the penis, it does not mean that men who are uncircumcised have dirty penises.

Myth 5: Circumcision helps prevent masturbation

This is a myth that started in the late 19th century, when some religious people started to spread the word that circumcision helped prevent men from masturbating. Dr. John Kellogg was a famous supporter of this idea. However, there is no truth to this claim. There’s also nothing wrong with masturbation, as it is a natural part of human sexuality.

Myth 6: Circumcision causes psychological problems

This is another circumcision myth with no factual basis. While there have been studies on the topic of circumcision and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), researchers are yet to find definitive proof that circumcision can cause psychological damage or problems.

Myth 7: Sex is not as satisfying if you are circumcised

At first glance, this myth can make some sense. After all, skin has nerve endings, and having foreskin supposedly heightens  pleasure and sensitivity during sex.

However, this is not always the case. Sex is different for every person, and there are a lot of factors when it comes to sexual satisfaction. The head and the shaft of the penis also has nerve endings, and these also play a role in sexual pleasure.

myths about circumcision or tuli

Myth 8: Circumcision makes you grow taller

This is a myth that is still very popular in the Philippines. However, being circumcised has nothing to do with height. It just so happens that Filipino boys often go through circumcision at the onset of puberty, when their growth spurts kick in. This means that boys grow taller because of hormones, as well as genetics and nutrition, and not because of the removal of their foreskins.

Myth 9: The procedure is risky

This myth might have been true back in the olden days before modern medicine, but these days circumcision is a safe and routine medical procedure as long as a licensed physician is in charge. The penis should also be cleaned properly to avoid infection.

Key Takeaways

There are many myths regarding circumcision or tuli. It is important to know all the facts before undergoing this or any other medical procedure.

In a proper health facility with a licensed professional, circumcision is a safe and optional. While it is usually performed for religious or cultural reasons, circumcision or tuli should never be forced on an unwilling patient. Keeping the foreskin intact is not a problem as long as the person in question practices proper hygiene.

Learn more about Men’s Health here. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Elfred Landas, MD

General Practitioner · Maxicare Primary Care Center

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Dec 16, 2020

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