Clip the Tip? Point/Counterpoint on Male Circumcision

by Brett on February 22, 2009 · 156 comments

in Fatherhood, Relationships & Family

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Whether or not to circumcise your newborn son is probably the very first big decision you’ll make for him. Several decades ago, the choice would have been easy; in the 1970′s, around 90% of American-born males were circumcised. Today that number has fallen to around 60%, and the practice is markedly less popular in many other countries. The debate over whether or not to circumcise can get quite fiery, and it remains a divisive and controversial issue. Every couple should research the pros and cons of circumcision and come to the decision about what is best for their baby. To aid men in thinking through the issue and in hopes of creating civil discussion on the matter, today we present a point/counter point on circumcision.

We’ve brought together a few of our friends who have taken a side on the issue. First, we have Ryan and Amy Lee who will be arguing against circumcision. In the pro-circumcision corner, we have Jeff Trexler.

And just to give fair warning, this article does discuss sex. So if you’re easily scandalized like a Victorian housewife, please go ahead and skip this article.

Point: Circumcision does more harm than good, carries unnecessary risks, and should not be performed routinely.

Written by Ryan and Amy Lee

Considering routine neonatal circumcision is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States, it is surprisingly often misunderstood. Despite medical doctors’ vow to uphold the Hippocratic oath, primum non nocere (above all, do no harm), circumcision seems to be the exception to their rule. Typically the burden of proof would be upon a medical intervention to prove itself worthy of possible attending risks. However, because circumcision is rooted more in tradition than medicine, many doctors and parents agree to the procedure without fully examining the logic, or lack thereof, substantiating it.

As a Canadian-born intact male, I have the unique perspective of understanding the anatomical function of the foreskin firsthand, as does my wife. Based on personal experience, as well as extensive research, we have concluded that the procedure does more harm than good, carries unnecessary risks, and should not be performed routinely. Though the literature contains far more information than can be encapsulated here, we will attempt to scratch the surface of the case against circumcision and will also encourage your further consideration and research as you make choices on behalf of your children, or discuss the matter with other parents.

Because an intact penis is the default, rather than attempting to extol what is simply natural, we will approach our argument against circumcision by elaborating on the logical fallacies in the pro-circumcision arguments. We recognize the proliferation of web-based arguments on both sides of this issue, so all arguments here come from peer-reviewed articles, professional medical associations, and our own personal experience. That said, one of the most compelling pieces of web-based information on this subject is the video footage available, so if you really want to see why circumcision is a bad idea, search “routine infant circumcision” on Google video and brace yourself.

Fallacy #1: Circumcision is desirable because it promotes cleanliness and prevents disease. As an owner of an intact penis, I can confidently say that my cleaning habits are probably identical to yours and are more than sufficient to get the apparatus clean as a whistle. If our primary goal is removing people’s folds of protective, functional skin to prevent the possible accumulation of secretions, we should be going after baby girls with the scalpel. Thankfully, this idea that would horrify most everyone in the U.S., and I think the idea of approaching baby boys similarly should be equally horrifying. Regarding disease, the notion that circumcision is a legitimate preventative measure is simply unsubstantiated and, in fact, some research indicates that the foreskin may be protective against infection. The rate of circumcision is a mere 6% in the UK, and, in fact, the U.S. may be the only developed nation to practice routine infant circumcision. Check out this global distribution map provided by the World Health Organization.

Fallacy #2: The foreskin is unnecessary and can be removed with no adverse effects. In my experience, the loudest proponents of this argument are circumcised men who, with all due respect, don’t have much basis for comparison. Admittedly, I have never had a circumcised penis myself, but accounts of men circumcised as adults compare the difference in sexual sensitivity after the procedure to seeing in black and white after once seeing in color. This seems understandable given the foreskin is significantly more highly innervated than the rest of the shaft. In my experience, the foreskin itself is the source of by far the most genital sensation and pleasure. In a circumcised adult male, the amount of skin missing is about the size of a 4X6 index card (depending on overall size)-over one third of the penile skin. The foreskin’s anatomical function is myriad. One important function is protecting the glans the way the eyelid protects the eye; in the absence of a foreskin, the glans becomes keratinized from rubbing against clothing and is much less sensitive. Another important function that the foreskin provides an erotogenic (good feeling!) gliding sheath over the shaft, reducing loss of lubrication and decreasing the friction that can decrease pleasure for both partners . In infants the foreskin is adhered to the glans, like a fingernail, and so before it is cut off, it must be separated. One can imagine this is extremely painful and leaves the glans exposed before it is mature enough for the foreskin to separate on its own, usually during early childhood. Additionally, I have both read about and personally known individuals with complications resulting from circumcision and, though very rarely, sometime even death can result from excessive blood loss or infection. It should be noted that these cases, though rare indeed, occur with similar or greater frequency than deaths from penile cancer, which is often cited as a reason to circumcise. Perhaps we should start removing infants toes at birth too, to prevent possible ingrown toenails in old age, or the dreaded toe cancer. Just sayin’.

Fallacy #3: If circumcision is going to be done, it is most ethical to do it during infancy, so the person won’t remember it. I’ve heard many circumcised men remark that they sure are glad the procedure was done when they were babies so that they don’t have to remember it. While I agree that having a piece of my penis cut off without anesthesia is a memory I would prefer to avoid, there is a better way to avoid it-leaving those kids alone! As I become more educated about circumcision and find myself discussing it with others it seems that for every man who, with bravado, claims his circumcised member is exactly to his liking, there is at least one humble fellow who admits, sometimes with great emotion, that he wishes such important decisions about his body had been left to him-he would have chosen to spare himself a traumatic experience during his first moments and live life with a complete, intact penis. I am glad that so many circumcised men are as satisfied with their penises as I am with mine. I am also glad that so many wives and partners are equally pleased. However, I know some men and women who grieve the loss of the foreskin from their relationship and wonder how things would be different. When a baby boy is born he, obviously, can’t consent to the procedure and by the time his opinion can be known, it is often too late. Parents must make many choices about their children without their consent, it’s true, but choosing a cosmetic genital surgery is, in my mind and many others’, taking that liberty way too far. If there is a chance your son wouldn’t want it done to his penis, why would you take the risk? At the end of the day, if you decline to circumcise your son, he always has the option to do so himself later in life. But if you consent to the procedure, everyone’s hands are tied. There is no way to fully restore what has been lost.

Fallacy #4: Intact penises are less cosmetically desirable. Whoa there! Again, I am relieved to know that so many men like the looks of their circumcised penises, and pleased that their partners share their appreciation, but this is a bold claim. Understandably, people with positive experiences with a penis, their own or their partner’s, will develop an affinity for that specific penis and may come to think that theirs is the “best.” Great. We want everyone to love their penis around here; taking good care of penises is really what we’re talking about anyway. But my wife emphatically prefers my penis just as it is: intact. And, I’m not gonna lie, so do I. People like the penises that they personally have good experiences with.

Fallacy #5: It is important for a boy to look like his father. Of all the fallacies, this one is the most confusing to me personally, probably because my dad is circumcised but I am not and neither are my three brothers-and nobody gives a rat’s. I understand that making a different choice for your son than your parents made for you may tacitly imply some level of dissatisfaction with your own experience, and heaven knows the idea that a man’s penis has been compromised is a bitter pill for him to swallow. However, in the spirit of this blog, I submit to you this question: is it manlier to protect your ego or your newborn? I know lots of circumcised guys who are proud as can be of their penises but leave their sons intact. In many other cases, the baby’s mother would prefer the baby be left alone and it is the father who insists on the surgery, without having done any real research on the subject. Be a man, do your homework and be rational. Emotions are important, but when protecting your pride comes before your duty to protect your family, something is out of whack.

For more information, please see:

http://www.cirp.org/

http://www.circumcision.org/

http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org

Counterpoint: Circumcision is a legitimate choice with few disadvantages and several advantages.

Written by: Jeff Trexler

I’d like to start off by saying that I’m not really pro-circumcision per se. I wouldn’t try to convince someone who wasn’t going to circumcise that they were making the wrong choice. It’s no skin off my, um, back. What I would like to argue is that circumcising is in fact a perfectly legitimate choice. This is a stance that many anti-circumcision advocates will simply not allow. Take for example the following reader’s comment made in reference to a recent article in Men’s Health on the subject (an article I highly recommend everyone read):

“Subjecting non-consenting individuals to any amputation of any of their normal, healthy, living body parts grossly violates their unalienable human rights. It constitutes crimes against humanity; torture, mutilation, human vivisection. Nazi doctors were convicted at Nuremberg after World War II of committing these crimes against humanity during the war.”

The idea that circumcision constitutes a human rights violation is positively ridiculous. I take the same stance that the American Academy of Pediatricians does: there are benefits and there are disadvantages to circumcision and everyone should do their research and come to the decision they feel is best for their child. As for me, if I have a son, I plan on circumcising him. And I don’t think I should be put on trial at Nuremberg. Here’s why.

First let me address three of the points opponents make and then I will add my positive reasons:

Traumatic for the baby? Circumcision is undoubtedly no picnic in the sun. But I don’t think it’s abject torture for the kid either. Yes there are videos that string together shots of screaming babies as they undergo the procedure, but those are cherry picked and misleading. Who knows when these pictures were taken? The videos often show the baby with its arms restrained crucifixion style-which is rarely done anymore. And babies today are also routinely anesthetized before the procedure and given a sugar covered pacifier which helps mitigate the pain. This doesn’t mean that the procedure is painless, but it’s not cruel and unusual punishment either. My sister-in-law works as a neonatal nurse and has seen tons of circumcisions done; she says that some babies sleep right through it. Yes, some babies do scream and cry, but babies scream and cry even when they’re not being touched at all.

Furthermore, there’s no evidence to show that it permanently damages kids’ psyches or causes any kind of psychological trauma when they grow up. If that were true, you would think that babies who had true medical emergencies as newborns, the ones that were being stuck with needles, incubated, and cut open, would grow up to be insane. The baby doesn’t know why you’re cutting him after all. But alas, this simply isn’t the case. So a little snip is not going to leave them emotionally scarred; either way they don’t remember it.

The baby doesn’t have a choice! So true! And the baby sadly doesn’t have a choice in who its parents are, where it’s going to live, what it’s going to be fed, what religion it will be raised in, where it will go to school, and on and on and on. Parents make hundreds of choices for their children, many of which will have far greater effects on their life than circumcision will. That’s a parents job-to make decisions for their kids that they feel are in their best interest. I understand that men can choose to be circumcised later in life, but it would be more traumatic then, a fully remembered event. Best to snip it in the bud right away.

The sensitivity issue. Perhaps the most fear-inducing argument the anti-circumcision people employ is the idea that a circumcised penis is not as sexually sensitive as its circumcised counterpart. Yet no study has conclusively proven that to be true. The American Academy of Pediatricians reports that in a self-reporting study, circumcised men enjoyed “more varied sexual practice and less sexual dysfunction” than their uncircumcised brothers. And the APA calls reports of loss of sensitivity in circumcised men merely “anecdotal.”

Meanwhile a real study has shown the idea to be a myth. The LA Times reports:

“A recent controlled study published in the January issue of BJU International, the British Journal of Urology, looked at nearly 4,500 Ugandan men, ages 15 to 49, who were all sexually experienced. Researchers randomly selected half to undergo circumcision, and half to have a circumcision in 24 months. They compared the two groups at six, 12 and 24 months to measure sexual satisfaction and performance.

The circumcised group’s rate of sexual satisfaction remained constant, with 98.5% reporting sexual satisfaction before circumcision, and 98.4% reporting so two years after the procedure.”

Men who are circumcised later in life do sometimes say that it takes more friction to get things going, but find their orgasms equally or sometimes even more intense. And if you can keep the great orgasms while also lasting longer and pleasing your woman, isn’t that a good thing? I doubt a lot of women are wishing their men were more sensitive than they already are.

Anti-circumcision advocates also say that sex is less pleasurable for the women because the foreskin provides natural lubrication. But again, such a theory is based on anecdotal evidence. For every story you can find online of women preferring sex with an uncircumcised penis, you can find ones which favor the alternative. (Warning! This link contains graphic language and pictures). Many women prefer the feeling of an circumcised penis; women have said that having sex with a uncircumcised man feels as though he is having sex inside his own foreskin instead of inside of her.

And now for the pros:

Like Father, Like Son. I’m circumcised, and my son will be circumcised too. My son should look like me in that way. Some people, especially women it seems to me, dismiss this reason as baloney. While it’s true that my son will not see my member very often, if he does, I want them to look alike. I can’t even explain why; I just do.

Hygienic. The inner layer of the foreskin has glands that create a substance called smegma, which the dictionary describes as a “cheese-like substance.” Uncircumcised men must regularly lift and cleanse under their foreskin to prevent this build-up. Sure, doing that is no big deal for adult men (although knowing the cleanliness habits of my male friends, I’m not sure it would always get done). But for little boys and old men who don’t realize the importance of hygiene or can no longer clean themselves respectively, the foreskin can be problematic. It’s not just a myth; my grandfather, who lives in a nursing home, developed an infection in his nether regions because he did not clean under his kangaroo pocket. And his is not an isolated case. In fact, the reason that circumcision became the norm in this country can be traced to the experiences of our GI’s during World War II. 145,000 soldiers who took part in the North African campaign were beset with foreskin related ailments, including “balanoposthitis (inflammation of the foreskin and glans), phimosis (a foreskin that’s too tight to retract over the glans), and paraphimosis (a foreskin stuck in the retracted position).” (MH) Whether or not you’ll ever find yourself in the trenches, circumcision keeps a man’s member nice and clean. Which brings me to my next point:

The Ladies Love It. I’ve known a handful of women who have been with both uncircumcised and circumcised men, and they all preferred the latter, especially when it came the act of oral sex. There’s nothing erotic about anything that can be described as “cheese-like.” Women like how a circumcised penis looks and they perceive it as cleaner. My evidence for this claim is of course anecdotal, but scientific studies back it up as well.

Circumcision helps reduce disease. Anti-circumcision advocates would have you believe that there are no bonafide medical reasons for being circumcised. But such is not the case. Lise Johnson M.D. the director of healthy-newborn nurseries at Boston’s Brigham Women’s Hospital said recently, “The weight of scientific evidence might be shifting in favor or circumcision.” Here are the reasons backing up such a statement:

  • A study carried up by the National Institute of Health reports that circumcision can prevent a man’s acquiring of HIV by up to 64%. (NIH)
  • Circumcised men have a reduced risk of contracting syphilis. (APA)
  • Uncircumcised male infants have as much as a 10 times greater risk of getting a urinary tract infection than their snipped brethren do. (APA)
  • Uncircumcised men have a 3 times greater risk of developing penile cancer. (APA)
  • Circumcised penises reduce the rate of cervical cancer in women. (BMC)

In conclusion, I truly believe that circumcision is a perfectly legitimate choice. But I encourage you to do your own research and make the choice you feel is best. As you do so, be careful when simply googling the subject. Many of the sites that come up such as circumcision.org and cirp.org look to be straightforward information sites but are in fact heavily biased on the anti-side. It’s best to stick with looking at scientific studies and sources which do not have a preset agenda and bias.

Thanks Lee family and Jeff! Alright, now it’s time for you all to weigh in. Vote in our poll. Afterwards, drop a line in the comment box and voice your opinion, but please keep it civil.

I’ve closed the comments on this post. The discussion isn’t going anywhere and people were starting to thread jack.

101 ramirez February 23, 2009 at 8:00 pm

@ van lewis: dude, you have a problem. seriously, and it seems like you have convinced yourself that the root of your life’s problems revolve around your penis.

it is a parents right to do what they feel is best for their child. thats it. end of discussion. no one is going to change their mind. i could really give a flip about the supposed “similies” (comparing male circumcision to cutting off body parts or what not) the bottom line is human beings have been manipulating their bodies for as long as they have exhisted, and nothing is wrong with any of it. to judge what one culture does, or what a group prefers, is close minded and ethnocentric…as well as rude.

i am starting to find this website a bit sad. i love the articles, but the people starting to infiltrate it seem to be super PC, super leftist, whiners that have no desire to follow traditional manly philosophies and outlooks. they are essentially trollers that want to spout their liberal views and convince everyone else that enjoys this site to feel ashamed for being traditional leaning men.
i have always felt i was liberal, but with a strict sense of practicality and a fervor for personal liberty, but some of you whiners make me feel like rush limbaugh!

do you really care about the rights of children? be a man, and do something about it. join big brothers, become a child advocate for those poor children who are genuinely abused, and give back to your community. its more productive than spouting off on a bbs trying to convince the world than you DON’T feel ashamed of your peepee.

102 ramirez February 23, 2009 at 8:02 pm

oh and by the way, i think its pretty obvious that the ones who argue so vehemently anti circumcision are OBVIOUSLY insecure.

get over yourself, you will be happier once you lighten up.

103 JC February 23, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Male circumcision removes ~20,000 nerve endings (the clitoris has ~6,000). Historically, advocates of male circ. have explicitly cited reasons of sexual repression as a justification for the procedure. I was circumcised against my will, and am very unhappy with my condition; my penis is has basically no sensitivity at all and is constantly dry and chafing as a result of exposure.

Inflicting this amputation on the unconsenting is a human-rights violation. No one has the right to alter another’s body against their will.

104 Roomba February 23, 2009 at 9:12 pm

A well written article on a touchy subject. I learned a few things which is the important thing. Right?

105 Hugh7 February 23, 2009 at 9:19 pm

“Ramirez: “it is a parents right to do what they feel is best for their child. thats it. end of discussion.” No, there are all sorts of restrictions, especially on violent acts against children.

“i could really give a flip about the supposed “similies” (comparing male circumcision to cutting off body parts”
Hardly even a simile. Circumcision IS cutting off a body part. We’re just arguing about which body parts.

“human beings have been manipulating their bodies for as long as they have exhisted, and nothing is wrong with any of it.”
So you have no objection to the castration that was prevalent in Italy for 300 years? Or Chinese footbinding? What makes those two different from whatever you’re thinking about is that they did them to helpless children. And that’s what’s wrong with circumcision.

“the ones who argue so vehemently anti circumcision are OBVIOUSLY insecure.” Dunno what’s supposed to make it obvious, but who cares? One could equally argue about the denial of the men who say “I’m circumcised and there’s nothing the matter with my d*ck” but it’s attacking the person either way. Infant circumcision is wrong regardless of the state of mind of its opponents.

106 TheMightyQuinn February 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm

I just wonder why someone would subject their newborn child to an unnecessary surgery (which or course carries with it the risk of death or infection.)

If lopping of part of your child’s sex organ if for his own good, shouldn’t HE be the one to decide when he’s old enough to choose? What’s the rush?

107 Ben February 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm

@ramirez

I couldn’t agree more with regards to your first comment. A real man would redirect such penial passion to more positive and effective role. It is more important to make a differance in the world than to vehemently argue back and forth over which type of member is better. If you are worried about human rights, there are many more areas you can apply yourself outside of circumcision.

It’s good to have a healthy arguement on an important topic, but these overly passionate comments are beginning to border on extreme. Some are well passed being biased and closed-minded.

108 MichaelWarriorOfLove February 23, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Welcome to our world of insanity our beloved new born boy. First we tear you away from your mother’s loving arms and we take you into another room where she can not hear you scream and does not see you suffer through this genital pain. We strap you down into a so called Circumstraint or maybe your Grand Father will just hold you down and we prep you for that sadistic and compassionless pig that will soon enter this room and that can hardly wait to stick his knives into your perfectly healthy penis to make it look his. Remember he does not know what a real penis feels like, it happened to him too and he learned that it is dirty and unhealthy, for him cutting that most pleasurable feeling piece of it off is perfecting nature. So be a trooper and let him do his dirty job to welcome you into our world of sado-masochistic insanity, into our world of sexual fear and fear of the other. Let him have his satisfaction! And stop your ear drum shattering screaming, you little bastard! Nobody can hear you anyway!

Put all those compassionless and barbaric parent deceiving promoters and executers of this disgusting genital torture and genital mutilation crime on our children into high security prisons so our children across this world and all of us are finally protected from their lies and deceptions. The Circumcision Crime would have never existed without that evil Circumcision Cabal and it will seize to exist once these sadistic mother and baby fuckers that cut genitals for profit and control are all behind bars.

109 Michael Glass February 24, 2009 at 1:59 am

To everyone:

When people talk about circumcision they can get pretty heated up about it. That’s the nature of the subject. Please try not to get your back up if someone feels the opposite to the way you feel. Give them some slack, take a deep breath and try not to take it personally. The fact that some people feel differently from you doesn’t mean that they are crazy; it’s just that they have a different point of view.

Try to play the ball and not the person, and have a nice day!

110 Bob February 24, 2009 at 4:25 am

It worries me that Americans can be hoodwinked by the collective collusion of the communities perverts who promote circumcision to get their sexual gratification and quick cash doing an operation that no medical organisation in the world supports .
The only reason ever for circumcision is the one in 500,000 births where the child is born with a malformed penis, in that case a surgeon is required and the foreskin is actually used to repair the damage.
How Americans can be so naive to dance to the the puppet strings of the circumcisers who want to sexually mutilate their children.
You don’t circumcise your daughters so why should you circumcise your sons? they are the same parts you are cutting off.
Circumcision in my eyes is legal paedophilia inasmuch female circumcision is.
Can’t you get it in your heads that your child will have no problem with his foreskin as long as you and your doctor keep your interferring hands off it.
Your ancestors had no problems with theirs.
Any mother wanting to circumcise their son should leap up on the operating table and undergo a circumcision to first show that there is nothing wrong with the proceedure, and any father wanting to do the same thing should undergo psychiatric councelling.

111 Joe February 24, 2009 at 5:10 am

@ramirez — It is not a parents right to put children at risk for no reason. That is what circumcision is, a significant risk for no practical reason, no practicle benefit. It is not uncommon for boys to receive more than the expected amount of damage or sometimes die from this procedure, even in western countries. Just because a society has be doing something for whatever period of time does not make it right. Is female circumcision in Africa, the Middle East, or South Asia right just because they’ve been doing it for a long time? Of course not there are large groups fighting to end it, laws written to protect girls, and boys deserve the same respect. That’s what this is about respect.

Now it is unfortunate that there are many (especially in the US) that don’t believe that boys deserve the same protection and respect for their bodies as girls. Mercifully, that is slowly changing in part because better information is getting out to parents. Some countries (such as Denmark and Australia) are actively seeking to ban the procedure, though I fully expect their efforts to be interfered be religious groups.

Van Lewis seems to care more for children’s rights than most people. He (and others) are standing against for something that is wrong in the face of large numbers of detractors such as yourself. He is giving a voice to those who don’t have one, he is fighting a social problem that most people are too blind to see, and their is nothing more manly than that.

112 Alex S February 24, 2009 at 5:28 am

This was a serious question for me until I saw a video of it being done a few months ago. It’s now clear to me that this is a barbaric procedure which causes considerable trauma to a newborn child.

113 Dave February 24, 2009 at 7:43 am

I’m a 30 year old circumsised male and I have no problem with sensitivity. In fact I have the complete opposite – it takes all my willpower not to become too aroused!

I had no choice in the matter – think I was about 4 years old. the operation was sold to me by my dad based largely on hygiene reasons.

I dont hate my dad for it, and I will seriously discuss the situation when my wife falls pregnant

114 Robert Samson February 24, 2009 at 8:12 am

“it is a parents right to do what they feel is best for their child. thats it. end of discussion.”

This begs a couple of questions;

WHY SHOULD parents have this right?– they don’t have this right when it comes to their daughters. If they FEEL that removing other body parts is best, should this be allowed?

Shouldn’t the parents be required to have something more substantial then “feelings” before making a decision to cause unnecessary pain and harm to their children? Shouldn’t here be a requirement to actually PROVE that it is “best” fot the child?

HOW is it best? Then do you have proof that it is?

115 marks February 24, 2009 at 8:57 am

Children and the adults they will become deserve the right to be free from unnecessary circumcision more than parents deserve the right to impose it. I am missing something important because it was wrongfully taken from me. Immersed in a culture or ignorance, I didn’t even know. Thanks to the information access permitted by the internet, I now understand normal male anatomy. The cultural blindness on this issue saddening. Those activists who have helped educate people and change this are doing a very good thing. Shame on the doctors who do cosmetic surgery on infant penises for medically illegitimate reasons and a wad of cash.

The USA is a great country, and we will get past this terrible phase of baby mutilation. History will not treat the circumcisers kindly.

116 Ron Low February 24, 2009 at 9:19 am

Jeff’s counterpoint is full of – well, lies.

>> I take the same stance that the American Academy of Pediatricians does <> babies today are also routinely anesthetized before the procedure <> there’s no evidence to show that it permanently damages kids’ psyches <> either way they don’t remember it. <> Parents make hundreds of choices for their children, many of which will have far greater effects on their life than circumcision will <> men can choose to be circumcised later in life, but it would be more traumatic <> no study has conclusively proven {loss of sensation} <> The {adult} circumcised group’s rate of sexual satisfaction remained constant, with 98.5% reporting sexual satisfaction before circumcision, and 98.4% reporting so two years after the procedure. <> I doubt a lot of women are wishing their men were more sensitive than they already are. <> My son should look like me in that way <> The inner layer of the foreskin has glands that create a substance called smegma <> Uncircumcised men must regularly lift and cleanse under their foreskin <> for little boys and old men who don’t realize the importance of hygiene or can no longer clean themselves respectively, the foreskin can be problematic. <> the reason that circumcision became the norm in this country can be traced to the experiences of our GI’s during World War II. <> The Ladies Love It {cut} <> circumcision can prevent a man’s acquiring of HIV by up to 64%. <> Uncircumcised male infants have as much as a 10 times greater risk of getting a urinary tract infection <> risk of developing penile cancer <> reduce the rate of cervical cancer in women. <> circumcision is a perfectly legitimate choice <<

Perhpas for an adult to make, about his own body.

The foreskin has more sexual nerve endings than the clitoris. Every child has a basic human right to keep all his/her healthy normal body parts.

Foreskin feels REALLY good. HIS body HIS decision.

117 ramirez February 24, 2009 at 10:01 am

@ all who question the parents decision

are you kidding me? seriously? you create a child, you raise a child, you PAY for that child, and NO ONE has more caring and emotion for that child than a parent. how DARE you assume that you know whats best for somone else’s child.
that is the height of anglo-egocentric meddling.

whatever a particular society has as a norm is up to that society to deem acceptable and un acceptable. westerners meddling in the customs and traditions of a foriegn culture is intolerable and ridiculous. as far as the american tradition of male circumcision, it is accepted in our society that it is a parents decision.
END OF STORY. if you dont like it, dont get your kids circumcised and shut up! you are NOT convincing anyone.

make a difference in you immediate community that does not involve taking away someone else’s rights.

jesus! i am trying to be nice here, but you pc whiners sound like a womens sewing circle. get some balls and quit trying to tell others what is right and wrong.

118 ramirez February 24, 2009 at 10:08 am

@ brett

sir, this site is going to the dogs. i know you feel its a responsibility to discuss these “relevent topics” but they bring out all the soapbox preachers and solve absolutely nothing!

i agree with the fella before, topics like this, and is manliness obsolete, don’t do any good! they are just topics that angry up the blood and create pointless argument. no one changes their mind, and it almost seems like pandering. are you just trying to boost readership? subjects that people take personal are not particularly good for a bbs, for a barroom discussion perhaps, but not for a blog.

just my opinion, but this site is becoming less of a pleasure to read.

119 ramirez February 24, 2009 at 10:12 am

i am starting to find this website a bit sad. i love the articles, but the people starting to infiltrate it seem to be super PC, super leftist, whiners that have no desire to follow traditional manly philosophies and outlooks. they are essentially trollers that want to spout their liberal views and convince everyone else that enjoys this site to feel ashamed for being traditional leaning men.
i have always felt i was liberal, but with a strict sense of practicality and a fervor for personal liberty, but some of you whiners make me feel like rush limbaugh!
do you really care about the rights of children? be a man, and do something about it. join big brothers, become a child advocate for those poor children who are genuinely abused, and give back to your community. its more productive than spouting off on a bbs trying to convince the world than you DON’T feel ashamed of your peepee.

120 Paul2 February 24, 2009 at 10:45 am

Real men will admit that what was done to them (circumcision) was useless and maybe borderline if not completely wrong and not repeat the same mistake with their own sons. That is the art of “manliness”, being strong and helping your son to a better existence if at all possible while admitting where you were deprived. As mentioned before, Australian fathers are majority circumcised yet are manly enough to raise their sons not circumcised. How do they do it? Manliness, acceptance.

121 marks February 24, 2009 at 10:53 am

What could be more manly than protecting the physical integrity of your child?

What could be less manly than cutting off the most sensitive* part of his sex organ?

Perhaps the very least manly excuse for it I’ve ever heard is “to look like me.” That’s code for “I can’t admit my circumcision harmed me. To prove I’m okay, I’ll do it to my child.”

* http://www.nocirc.org/touch-test/touchtest.php

122 Brett McKay February 24, 2009 at 10:55 am

@ ramierez-

I understand your concern. My suggestion is to just stop reading the comments on a post if they’re making you angry.

123 Eric February 24, 2009 at 11:20 am

People have mentioned parental rights in support of infant circumcision, and that by arguing against infant circumcision, we’re infringing on parental rights. Seriously? Really?

Circumcision is a permanent change – It will change your son forever, and thus I think it is the right of the individual rather than the parent to decide; after all, it is his own body. I also believe that since girls are not circumcised, neither should boys be. If you’re so willing to circumcise your newborn sons, would you have it done to your daughters? And how would you feel if it was done to you?

Not every male likes or agrees with having been circumcised against their will. I’ve heard of cases where men have been angry about it and have tried to sue the doctor who did it.

People say that children don’t get to choose their parents, religion, etc.. People can later choose whether or not they want to stay with their religion, but a circumcised penis cannot be restored back to its natural state. So, due to the nature of circumcision, everyone needs to be able to make the choice for themselves.

If it’s acceptable to remove someone’s foreskin at birth, then what else could be deemed acceptable to remove against one’s will? Eyelids? Fingernails?

124 michael February 24, 2009 at 12:21 pm

I am circumcised. My two sons are not. Main reason for not doing so was that I’m not going put them through pain when there’s no medical reason to do so. If they’d like one someday, they can make that decision for themselves.

One interesting note that speaks to the pervasiveness of the practice in the United States. Our insurance charged us for a circumcision that didn’t happen. I called and told the agent I had proof that the procedure hadn’t happen. She didn’t think that was funny.

125 Angus February 24, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Circumcision is clearly unnecessary since the vast majority of the worlds men are intact and have no problems. This alone should make people realize that the act is pointless.
Also, being a parent doesn’t give you the authority to trump your sons human rights. It doesn’t matter if he won’t remember. Human rights come into effect the moment you’re born, not the moment you begin forming memories.

126 Hugh7 February 24, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Dave on February 24th, 2009 7:43 am

“I’m a 30 year old circumsised male and I have no problem with sensitivity. In fact I have the complete opposite – it takes all my willpower not to become too aroused!”

That IS a problem of sensitivity. Not too much, but not enough control. Your foreskin had 20,000 nerves that would have told your brain better what was going on, so that you could ease back before you became “too aroused”. Now it’s as if they cut off your accelerator pedal and left only an on-off switch.

(edited:)
“And the arguments being made against this citing that it is no different than chopping off a toe … or an earlobe are patently ridiculous.”
Why? I chose parts of the body that are of comparable size and have no obvious function. It would be ridiculous to cut them off – that’s my whole point.

To the people who say “get a life” and “there are more important things”. Sure there are, but not everybody has to save the universe. Some of us are content to save little parts of it Babies can die of circumcision, and lose their penises, and suffer severely reduced sex lives when they grow up, and have results that just look bad. That’s reason enough to for it to be of more than negligible concern. It seems that circumcision is ‘an important decision parents must make “for” their children’ but when anyone says it shouldn’t be done, it’s suddenly too trivial to think about.

And yes, this is all about being a real man. Being manly enough to admit that one has less penis than one might have had, and manly enough to grant one’s sons something one was denied.

127 Fred Smilek February 24, 2009 at 2:33 pm

I feel that it is neccessary in the sense that if you have the opportunity in your society to get it done when you born, that you should.

Fred Smilek is the acting president of the Society to Save Endangered Species. It was founded two years ago by Fred Smilek along with his two best friends Charles and Jonathan. http://www.fredjsmilek.com

128 Hugh7 February 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Fred is right. Every newborn baby who asks to be circumcised, loudly and clearly in English, should be circumcised, no questions asked. No others.

129 Joe February 24, 2009 at 5:10 pm

@ramirez — Just because a something or traditional in a society doesn’t make it right. What about all those women being circumcised in Africa, the MidEast, and SE Asia? We (as a society) seem to have no problem poking our nose into their business. We (as a society) have no problem creating laws here in the US which intrudes on their rights to have their girls circumcised as is tradition when they are here in the US. Don’t boys deserve the same respect and dignity?

As far as our efforts, we are being advocates for children. This isn’t about taking away anyones rights so much as it is about ensuring that those rights are given to the one to whom the rightfully belong, the boy.

@Fred Smilek — Why?

130 Joe February 24, 2009 at 5:12 pm

@to the author – I forgot to add your picture is uniquely apropos.

131 Brad February 24, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Circumcision is mutilating babiesPERIOD. Involuntary and unnecessary surgery. It’s nothing less that barbaric. It should be a crime with severe penalties. It is identical in principle to female genital mutilation. What’s so hard to understand about that? Why is there even a debate?

How dare any parent let a doctor mutilate their children. If someone wants a circumcision, let them have it done of their own consent when they are old enough to make that decision. Anything else is madness, plain and simple.

The fact that some religions support it does not give it credit. Though it does speak volumes of those religions.

132 T February 24, 2009 at 8:35 pm

This site has quickly turned into your average internet slagfest. Congrats!
(Also, for the page clicks; google $$$ FTW!)

No doubt you have many regular readers weighing in here in the comments, but with such a topic (that is to say, a topic that is so obviously and willfully different than your previous topics (e.g., manly shaving or some such thing….) that it stands not only in stark contrast to the site itself, but also in any web search for all the joe/kate/adam/whoevers who make it their sad existence to desperately comb the internets for their causes gauche) you therefore have many outside your…errr.. target demographic (whether you’ll admit to wanting one or not).
The real problem, of course, is that, in the past, you’ve made unquestioned(though well intentioned) appeals to “traditional” (read conservative: “honour”, “manliness”, “man toolbox”?) vorstellung that might be proven universal ( I like this, BTW) and for all.

“Safari Stories”, for instance, would not bode well for those who call for unqualified rights of all organic life forms, etc., as many of the commenters above might. Don’t try to play too much of the field.

133 Eric February 24, 2009 at 8:46 pm

I agree with Brad. Female circumcision is considered a crime, so male circumcision should be as well, as it’s the same in principle.

134 Eric February 24, 2009 at 8:47 pm

I don’t think the picture with this article is accurate.. Circumcision is removal of the foreskin, not the whole tip of the penis.

135 Brett February 24, 2009 at 8:52 pm

@Eric- It’s called humor. Learn it. It will get you far in life.

136 Eric Granata February 24, 2009 at 8:57 pm

As a long time reader, I appreciate this topic being approached. It’s relevant to the audience of the site (men) and if it brings in more readers, then I see no harm in it.

I see a couple of people complaining about how this site used to adhere to one leaning of thought or another; traditional manliness, etc. The header of the site reads “Art of Manliness”, not “Art of Conservative/Liberal/Traditional/Neo/Right/Left Manliness. I would imagine that as the site grows and more writers are brought on board, I might disagree with something that is written. In that case, if it is worth my time, I might voice an opposing opinion. In the future I may see a headline on this site that does not appeal to me. I’ll skip it and read something else. No big deal.

137 Van Lewis February 24, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Ramirez said; “It is a parents right to do what they feel is best for their child.”

That is a false statement. Ramirez is wrong. I’ll give an example. Many Muslim parents feel that it is best for their daughter to circumcise her, but they have no right in the USA and many other countries to do so, despite what they feel. In fact, it is a federal felony to circumcise a girl, no matter WHAT the parents feel, think, no matter what their religion says about it or doesn’t. Parents can NOT do just anything they want to to their children just because they happen to “feel” it is best to do so.

R: “are you kidding me?”

No.

R: “seriously?”

Yes.

R: “you create a child,”

No. My wife and I have two children but we didn’t create them. God/MotherNature/Evolution did. Sex did.

R: “you raise a child, you PAY for that child,”

You better!

R: “and NO ONE has more caring and emotion for that child than a parent.”

Some parents couldn’t care less. Some parents KILL their children. That’s their “RIGHT”? If they “feel” it’s best for their child?

R: “how DARE you assume that you know whats best for somone else’s child.”

The child is not the parents’ personal property. The child is his or her OWN personal property, every last cell in that child belongs to that child and to no one else in the world. Circumcising is theft, plain and simple. It is evil. I know it. Many people know it. One day you will, too.

R: “whatever a particular society has as a norm is up to that society to deem acceptable and un acceptable”

Yes, and this society is in the process of deciding that it is unacceptable to injure, traumatize, and recklessly endanger the life of any child by chopping off normal, healthy, living, nonrenewable body parts. Seriously. Get used to it.

R: “as far as the american tradition of male circumcision, it is accepted in our society that it is a parents decision”

I don’t accept it. More and more people all the time don’t accept it. We’re changing it. Soon you will be in the minority.

R: “END OF STORY.”

Wrong again.

R: “shut up”

No.

R: “make a difference in you immediate community that does not involve taking away someone else’s rights.”

We are not advocating taking away anyone’s rights. Adults have no right to injure, traumatize and mutilate children. Period. End of story. The rights that are being taken away are the rights of the children. That is what we are stopping.

R: “quit trying to tell others what is right and wrong.”

You are trying to tell us that we are wrong, why can’t we tell you that you are wrong? One day you will know it. You may be the last person on earth to realize it, but I am confident that you will some day.

R: “no one changes their mind”

On the contrary, many people change their minds about genital mutilation every day.

R: “i have always felt i was liberal, but with a strict sense of practicality and a fervor for personal liberty, …”

I, too, have a fervor for personal liberty. That’s precisely why I oppose those who take away, forever, a person’s personal right to freely make up their OWN mind about their OWN body when they are old enough to know the score. What sex the child happens to have been born is 100% irrelevant.

R: “become a child advocate for those poor children who are genuinely abused”

I have.

Humans have been raping and murdering each other for a lot longer that we have been mutilating our children’s sex organs. The antiquity of a practice tells us nothing about its legitimacy.

138 Van Lewis February 24, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Mass involuntary circumcision has failed to achieve any of the public health benefits its advocates have claimed for it; but even if it had achieved them all, there can be no scientific or ethical justification for depriving anyone of sovereignty over his own sex organs. Neonatal circumcision violates bodily integrity and imposes on an unconsenting individual a diminished penis for life. In the wake of the Nuremberg trials, it is inappropriate for doctors to persist in performing or advocating involuntary penile reduction surgery on healthy, normal individuals. The totalitarian concept of involuntary prophylactic surgery espoused by circumcision advocates has no place in modern medicine or the civilized world. The key to decreasing the transmission of STDs is education, not amputation.

P M Fleiss, MD; F M Hodges, PhD; R S Van Howe, MD, in
Immunological functions of the human prepuce
SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS (London),
Volume 74, Number 5, Pages 364-367,

139 Ace V. February 25, 2009 at 1:13 am

Wow, a lot of touchy touchy people here.

First of all, I thank you Brett for having the audacity to even post an article as controversial as this (abortion may be a bit TOO touchy for people around here though).

Second, there’s mention, in the comments, that the first article is too emotional. . . well, the second article is too anecdotal. But really, that is the key here. While I’d like to be neutral, I’m going to have to pull for anti-infantile-circumcision, simply because the choice will still be there in the future.

I’m fairly convinced that sexual pleasure is primarily attributed to the ‘skill’ of the individuals, rather than the penis being circumcised or not. I do think that technique and skill can be modified (for better or worse) from circumcision though, but that’s the individual’s decision and / or burden.

I’m also pretty sure that every man smells differently, regardless of circumcision (although it CAN be a factor). What we eat, what we do, where we live, a lot of things can factor into how we smell. If you smell cheesy, stop eating cheese.

I’m uncircumcised, and I’ve considered undergoing circumcision (still am, actually), but the point is that I can still make that choice. If you’re really a man, you won’t have to complain about the pain, right? I plan on not circumcising my son to let him choose (since, like a few have already said, there really isn’t a convincing argument to go either way), and I’ll have faith that he’s ‘man’ enough to take the pain if he does decide to be circumcised in the future.

140 Will February 25, 2009 at 2:56 am

I oppose circumcision. Primarily because it makes a permanent unnecessary change to a man’s body without his say.
For the most part, I don’t see why it’s such an issue. There’s nothing defective about the human body.

It’s, quite frankly, BS that people still debate male circumcision like it’s no big thing, while female circumcision is something that should be so obviously opposed.
Typical female circumcision involves removing part of the prepuce – which is the same material that would become the foreskin if the child had been born a male.
It covers the clitoris and is the “clitoral hood”.

Also, the first article didn’t mention that one of the reasons circumcision became very very popular is that it makes masturbation more difficult. Masturbation was long believed to cause retardation and a multitude of diseases.

Parents should have no right to alter a healthy child’s body like this. Ever.

141 Paul February 25, 2009 at 4:48 am

I’d be willing to bet that a lot of the people suggesting that male circumcision is a human rights issue and should be outlawed would be perfectly willing to make a decision to kill that same young male if he were on the other side of his mother’s uterine wall. It’s amazing how a short trip down a 10cm-wide birth canal changes human rights so drastically.

For the record, i’m circumcised, so are my sons, and i’m glad for it – the penile cancer figures alone should make it a no-brainer on the pro-circumcision side.

142 Joe February 25, 2009 at 4:57 am

@Dan – Why is it every time there is a circumcision discussion someone bring up abortion? I am sure there are people against circumcision on both sides of that issue. And one’s position on one has nothing to do with another.

In any case, penile cancer really has nothing to do with circumcision, at least that is the position of the American Cancer Society (and has been for more than 10 years) http://tinyurl.com/ddzuk

” In the past, circumcision has been suggested as a way to prevent penile cancer. This suggestion was based on studies that reported much lower penile cancer rates among circumcised men than among uncircumcised men. However, most researchers now believe those studies were flawed because they failed to consider other risk factors, such as smoking, personal hygiene, and the number of sexual partners.

Most public health researchers believe that the risk of penile cancer is low among uncircumcised men without known risk factors living in the United States. Most experts agree that circumcision should not be recommended as a way to prevent penile cancer.”

143 Bob February 25, 2009 at 6:07 am

it is a parents right to do what they feel is best for their child. thats it. end of discussion
May I say something here to this outlandish statement……(from the Australian viewpoint)

Although a number of Australian jurisdictions have acted to outlaw femal genital cutting, equal protection under law has not been afforded to unconsenting minors who happen to boys. (However There is action being undertaken to bring this disparity to light through the discrimination legislation) In the light of Marions case(Department of Health and Community Services V JWB and SMB (1992) 175 CLR 218), it is now evident that even parents cannot provide legal consent for an irreversable, non therapeutic circumcision, Moreover, there are no medical indications for neonatal circumcision (Australian Association of Paediatric Surgeons, Guidelines for circumcision(1996).

Consequently, enforced or involuntary circumcision must now be considered as an assault causing grevious bodily harm (genital mutilation) Legal action is long overdue in Australia to protect the physical and sexual integrity of minors.

The general rule in English criminal law, and reflecting in other common law jurisdictions, is that any application of force, no matter how slight, is a prima facie an assault. (Consent serves as a defence to assault that do not inflict actual bodily harm.

Even in the absence of legislation specifically banning circumcision, those who assist in circumcision of a child without the patient’s own fully informed consent are liable to prosecution. Accordingly to Price.

“Lawyers in common law Jurisdictions (England, The United States, Canada and Australia) have expressed the view that….non-therapeutic circumcision is, or at the very least is prima facie, a criminal assault…there has been no rebbuttal of that view.

In Queensland, the Queensland law reform Commission concluded that on a strict interpretation of the assault provisions of the Queensland criminal code, routine circumcision could be regarded as a criminal act. I believe that in other States this would be the same.

The Nuffield Committee stated:

Gratuitous injury, that is injury that is not undertaken in order to avoid destruction, damage or degradation, remains unaceptable. This point is sometimes blurred by an assumption that it is the therapeutic context which licences what would otherwise be injury. In fact it is more precisely the therapeutic intent rather than the therapeutic context that justifies the action that otherwise would be seen as injury…Gratuitous and in particular malicious injury of human beings, and specifically human tissue, will always be unnaceptable, especially when inflicted in a therapeutic context…Treatment given by those who are medical practicioners will be acceptable only if guided by a therapeutic intention..

Not withstanding this, some Australian medical doctors continue to benefit financially from Medicare’s continued reimbursement of non-therapeutic genuital cutting. Some are demonstrably vehement about continuing mutilation, raising the questions as to their psychological motives.

The practice of male circumcision creates two kinds of men, those who enjoy genital integrity and those who do not. Some of those men who do not enjoy genital integrity have various emotional issues relating to their deprivation of a whole penis by traumatic operation.

Many circumcised doctors have an emotional need to defend their culture of origin and to rationalise their personal deprivation by the creation of medical literature asserting prophylactic benefits of circumcision. On the other hand , In my view their behaviour is rather suspiciously deviant.

144 Bob February 25, 2009 at 6:27 am

This is a email from a young fellow advising what had happened to him and the following email he sent to his father.
For all you people who circumcised their sons against the advice of every medical organisation in the world, but quite happy to run on the lies of circumcisers, I only hope your sons think so endearing of you when they are old enough to articulate it.
email 1..
as some of you may know, today is my 18th birthday. so a couple of
minutes ago i was unwrapping some presents. the first one was “i am
america and so can you” which i’ve been wanting to get. so i reached
for the second one and when i opened it i got the crap scared out of
me. out of some extremely weird coincidence they got me a book
entitled “foreskin’s lament”… they have no idea about what i’m doing
or how much i resent them for doing what they did, so when i opened it
i started sweating and shaking like crazy. so i was wondering “have
they found out?” but no, they explained to me that it’s a funny book
that they think i would like. i couldn’t believe it but there it was.
i wanted to jump up and scream at them for even mentioning the word,
but instead i just came up to my room, and now here i am, in my room.
i just couldn’t believe it.
i just sent my dad an email, he’ll probably get it tomorrow at work.
here is what i said………………………………

you and mom just went up the hill on a dogwalk, and i’m sitting here
and i decided to write this message. i’m tired of keeping this secret
from you and right now i don’t know weather or not it’s still a
secret. that book that you got me could have been a coincidence or it
could be you trying to tell me that you know what’s wrong with me,
honestly i have no idea what it is. i’ve been trying to tell you since
i found out back in February but i’ve found myself completely unable
to do it. i found that it’s easier to say it through an email and not
strait to your faces. so what is it that i’m talking about? well i’m
sure that you have figured it out already but i’ll go ahead and say it
anyways. i found out that i was circumcised last February and i’ve
resented the two of you a little more every single day.

it completely destroyed me when i found out because i feel as if you
don’t think of me as a person, instead i think you see me (or saw me)
as a pet that doesn’t have any thoughts ideas or opinions of its own.
and that’s why you said “yes” to that doctor 18 years ago, because you
thought that i wouldn’t be able to make the decision myself. it’s as
if you believed that my body belongs to you, and not me. as if you
thought that i don’t have the right to make this life changing
decision myself because i am your property.

that’s why i’ve been treating you the way i have for almost a year.
i’m sure you’ve noticed that i go out of my way to not be in the same
room as either of you, and how i treat you with as much disrespect as
i dare. i feel as if i can’t trust anyone any more because the two
people that i trusted most in life turned out to be the ones that have
hurt me the most. i’m sure you’ve also noticed that i’ve been playing
video games a lot more than i used to, i find that it’s the only way
for me to be able to release my anger and resentment for you. that’s
right, this is the reason why i’ve been playing video games so much
and i think that without them i probably would have turned to drugs to
try to get rid of my problems. i’m not trying to make you feel bad or
anything, it’s just the truth. this is how i’ve felt every day since i
found out. i can’t get it out of my head, i’m thinking about it all
the time and it’s driving me crazy. nobody (especially my age) should
ever have to go through what i’m going through. and i shouldn’t have
to, i shouldn’t be having this problem, i shouldn’t have been
circumcised.

you spent about 2 to 300 dollars to have me circumcised, but i would
give anything to have it undone, anything. but i can’t, it’s a
permanent change that i got no say in even though my body should
belong to me and me alone, and i can’t believe that out of all the
people in the world who had done it, it was the two of you. i
understand that you didn’t think that i would intemperate it this way.
you were probably thinking that i should “look like dad” or something
like that, but i still resent you for it and i don’t think i’ll ever
be able to forgive you.

thank you for giving me that book, if you hadn’t i probably would have
kept this to myself a lot longer and i probably would end up in an
even worse condition than i am in now. i still haven’t told anyone >
i have some websites that i would like you to see. unfortunately gmail
isn’t giving me the option to make links at the moment so you will
have to type them into the URL thing yourself (or copy and paste)

norm.org

http://www.notjustskin.org/en/index.html
http://www.notjustskin.org/en/circumcisionfaq.html
http://www.notjustskin.org/en/Story-Circumcised-as-Adult.html

145 John R February 25, 2009 at 8:39 am

I say this {like the old Purina Dog Chow commercial}

“Wonderbar!”
Being circumcised “makes me very happy” :)

146 cristof February 25, 2009 at 9:01 am

i am a filipino-american in my early 20′s. as a filipino tradition boys are circumcised in their early adolescent years as a rites of passage into manhood. i honestly got caught up into the whole thing and when i was a teenager i had the procedure done.

i wish i didn’t though. i feel a big part of me is missing. and it’s so true about the sensitivity. and the more i think about why i did the process was all really pointless.

when i have sons i’m opting to not have them go through it.

147 miss morgan potts February 25, 2009 at 9:44 am

Though my current boyfriend is circumcised, I consider the procedure to be unnecessary and purely cosmetic. Just as female circumcision is rooted in tradition and outdated notions about sex (myths about masturbation, for example), so is male circumcision.

I’ve been with both circumcised and uncircumcised men, and cosmetically neither is more appealing than the other so long as it’s clean. Performance is far more important than whether or not the foreskin is intact.

148 Ian February 25, 2009 at 10:40 am

Well I have a child on the way and my wife and I both agree if it is a boy he will be circumcised. Our basis for this was disease. The studies showing that it is harder to contract HIV just made up our mind.

149 Eric February 25, 2009 at 10:55 am

Regarding any studies that supposedly show that it’s harder to get a disease when circumcised, I have to question that argument. I don’t really see how removal of the foreskin would make it any harder to get HIV or penile cancer. If you’re really concerned about getting a disease, you can use a condom, or don’t have sex; I think removal of the foreskin is going a little too far.

150 Mork February 25, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Just a point on the argument about ‘looking like your dad.’ I’m circumcised and my dad is too. But if I have a son, I don’t think I will circumcise him. I don’t feel a need to have him look like me in that way. And even if I did, that wouldn’t seem like a good enough reason. It’s part of parenting to respond to your kid’s questions with age-appropriate answers. So when a son asks a father why his dinger looks different, the father should tell him the age-appropriate truth. Like, “I was born in a country where they do that…” Or “Back then it was normal to do that, now it isn’t so much.” The kid will be on to other questions in no time, like why yours is hairy and his isn’t. And then you give another age-appropriate answer to that. Incidently, I grew up in a country where I was the only circumcised boy around. I asked my dad about it and he told me, “They don’t circumcise here as much as in America.” That was good enough for me.

151 Robert Samson February 25, 2009 at 1:27 pm

“Well I have a child on the way and my wife and I both agree if it is a boy he will be circumcised. Our basis for this was disease. The studies showing that it is harder to contract HIV just made up our mind.”

You do know that these studies claiming this were seriously flawed, and that this reduction is not seen in the real world–in fact, the opposite? One needs to critically analyze any claim for a benefit for circumcision. Over the 100+ years of these claims of benefits, and not a single one has stood. This track record speaks volumes.

152 Lee February 25, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Honestly, I really don’t care either way on this topic. I am circumsised and have friends who are and are not. Heck, I remember one night a bunch of us were sitting around a campfire when someone broached the topic as they ran into the protesters of circumsision. None of us had even heard that this was such a big deal. We talked and laughed about it, listedn as we were told the reasons against circumsision and honestly still didn’t care.

The tip of my penis does not define me as a man. I can still get hard, I still have immense pleasure and can pleasure my woman. There is not a single part of me that does not work and that I do not enjoy. I am not less of a man and I think nothing less of my father.

Sorry, but if you are one of those that can only define yourself by whether you have some skin over your penis or not, you really aren’t much of a man to begin with.

I just can’t care about this topic.

153 Bob February 25, 2009 at 3:33 pm

this is what the Butchers actually do…
Circumcision
What Is Lost?
http://mothersagainstcirc.org/lost.html
“To make an informed choice, parents of all male infants
should be given accurate and unbiased information.”
Circumcision Policy Statement
American Academy of Pediatrics
March 1, 1999
When a baby boy’s normal intact penis is circumcised, this is what is lost — forever:
*1. The foreskin, which comprises up to 50% (sometimes more) of the mobile skin system of the penis. If unfolded and spread out flat, the average adult foreskin would measure about 15 square inches (the size of a 3 x 5-inch index card). This highly specialized tissue normally covers the glans and protects it from abrasion, drying, callusing (keratinization), and contaminants of all kinds. The effect of glans keratinization on human sexuality has never been studied.
*2. The frenar band of soft ridges — the primary erogenous zone of the male body. Loss of this delicate belt of densely innervated, sexually responsive tissue reduces the fullness and intensity of sexual response.
*3. The foreskin’s “gliding action”– the hallmark mechanical feature of the normal, natural, intact penis. This non-abrasive gliding of the penis in and out of itself within the vagina facilitates smooth, comfortable, pleasurable intercourse for both partners. Without this gliding action, the corona of the circumcised penis can function as a one-way valve, scraping vaginal lubricants out into the drying air and making artificial lubricants essential for pleasurable intercourse.
*4. Thousands of coiled fine-touch mechanoreceptors called Meissner’s corpuscles, the most important sensory component of the foreskin, encapsulated Vater-Pacinian cells, Merkel’s cells, nociceptors, and branches of the dorsal nerve and perineal nerve. Altogether, between 10,000 and 20,000 specialized erotogenic nerve endings of several types, which can feel slight motion and stretch, subtle changes in temperature, and fine gradations in texture are lost.
*5. The frenulum, the highly erogenous V-shaped web-like tethering structure on the underside of the glans; frequently amputated along with the foreskin, or severed, either of which destroys its function and potential for pleasure.
6. Approximately half of the temperature-sensitive smooth muscle sheath called the dartos fascia.
7. The immunological defense system of the soft mucosa. This produces both plasma cells that secrete immunoglobulin antibodies and antibacterial and antiviral proteins such as the pathogen-killing enzyme lysozyme.
8. Lymphatic vessels, the loss of which reduces the lymph flow within that part of the body’s immune system.
9. Estrogen receptors – the purpose of which is not yet fully understood and needs further study.

*10. The apocrine glands of the inner foreskin, which produce pheromones – nature’s powerful, silent, invisible behavioral signals to potential sexual partners. The effect of their absence on human sexuality has never been studied.
*11. Sebaceous glands, which lubricate and moisturize the foreskin and glans, normally a protected internal organ – like the tongue or vagina.
12. Specialized epithelial Langerhans cells, a first line component of the body’s immune system in a whole penis.
13. The pink to red to dark purple natural coloration of the glans. The connective tissue which protectively fuses the foreskin and glans together while the penis develops is ripped apart during circumcision, wounding the glans and the foreskin remnant, leaving them raw and subject to infection, scarring, pitting, shrinkage, and eventual discoloration.
*14. Some of the penis length and penis circumference because its double-layered wrapping of loose and usually overhanging foreskin is now missing, making the circumcised penis truncated and thinner than a full-sized intact penis.
*15. Several feet of blood vessels, including the frenular artery and branches of the dorsal artery. The loss of this rich vascularity interrupts normal blood flow to the shaft and glans of the penis, damaging the natural function of the penis and altering its development.
16. Every year boys lose their entire penises from circumcision accidents and infections. They are then “sexually reassigned” by castration and “transgender surgery,” and expected to live their lives as “females.”
17. Every year many boys lose their lives from the complications of circumcision, a fact the billion-dollar-a-year circumcision industry in the U.S. obscures and ignores.
18. By encoding violence on the brain the infant’s bonding with its mother is disrupted, with indications that the innate sense of trust in intimate physical contact is inhibited or lost, and in its place a sense of betrayal is instilled in the infant.
(*19. Although never studied scientifically, contemporary evidence suggests that a penis without its foreskin lacks the capacity for the subtle neurological “cross-communication” that occurs only during contact between mucous membranes and which contributes to the experience of sexual pleasure. Amputating an infant boy’s multi-functional foreskin is a “low-grade neurological castration” [Immerman], which diminishes the intensity of the entire sexual experience for both the circumcised male and his partner.)

*Loss of each of these items reduces sexual pleasure, gratification, and fulfillment.
Immerman, R. S. and Mackey, W.C., “A Proposed Relationship Between Circumcision and Neural Reorganization,” J of Genetic Psych, 1998.
Immerman, R. S. and Mackey, W. C., “A biocultural analysis of circumcision,” Social Biology 1998;4:265-275

Compiled by Gary L. Harryman glharryman@aol.com
4/6/99 – Last Revision 5/25/99

See Also: Glossary
Return to Mothers Against Circumcision Homepage

154 Eric February 25, 2009 at 4:09 pm

It seems that the people who are in favor of infant circumcision tend to be women and circumcised men. We rarely ever hear of any uncut men in favor of infant circumcision. I think that says enough about the validity (or lack thereof) of so-called “health benefits” of routine infant circumcision.

Some women may prefer a circumcised penis because it looks cleaner. In my opinion, that’s no different from a man saying a vagina is dirty. We need to have a mature attitude about genitalia and realize that what is natural is normal. If nature/God had intended men not to have foreskin, then men wouldn’t be born with foreskin.

155 Joe February 25, 2009 at 4:29 pm

@Lee – That is just fine. But it doesn’t quite work for those who suffered significant complication from it. It happens more often than you think.

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