MALE CIRCUMCISION GRIEF: Effective and ineffective therapeutic approaches

Lindsay Watson (
Tom Golden (


Cultural circumcision has been an under recognized cause of male body-loss grief. Male circumcision grief is now being more commonly expressed. We evaluated the experiences of 22 men who sought therapy for circumcision grief. We found that therapists were reluctant to accept that the grief was real, were unaware of foreskin functions, denied circumcision had physical or psychological sequelae and minimized patient grief using humor, cultural aesthetics, controversial health benefits, sexism and an erroneous understanding of penile anatomy and sexual function. Male therapists were more likely to deny that circumcision is harmful and to be less empathetic than female therapists. We discuss methods to help make circumcision grief therapy more effective for men.

Keywords: male circumcision, therapy, body-loss, grief, cultural bias

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