Circumcision: Genital Mutilation Under Another Name


Today, I want to outline something of a thought experiment – imagine for a moment a society where a baby is born, discovered to be a girl, and because of its gender and the traditions passed down for centuries, the baby is branded with a hot iron leaving a scar that lasts for life.

Now go a step further, and imagine that instead of branded, the baby has the end of her ear lobe cut off, again something this imaginary society only does to females.

It’d be a pretty horrific idea, and anyone suggesting we take on such practices and follow such rituals would be rightly thought not only to be utterly wrong, but entirely deranged, and no law would ever pass which would allow such a mass mutilation to take place.

But, for a moment, imagine that the affected children were instead male, and the part of the body to take a knife to at birth was not the earlobe but the penis… and you’ll find yourself not in some dystopian fantasy but in modern day America, and in parts of the UK and other countries too.

Each year, around 1.2 million male babies in the US are circumcised in medically-unnecessary procedures – and that’s discounting the cases where there is a genuine medical reason to do so, which I have absolutely no problem with. As an analogy, I can accept people having to have limbs amputated should injury or diabetes or gangrene warrant, but I’d advise against it becoming the first thing we do after cutting the umbilical cord.

Right now in San Francisco the issue of circumcision is very much in the news, after local anti-circumcision activist Lloyd Schofield collected enough signatures – more than 12,000 – to put a measure to the city ballot in November 2011, seeking to ban the practice of circumcision.

Some have dismissed the calls for the ban as being doomed to fail due to the First Amendment – state should pass no law with respect to religion – which guarantees free practice of religion. I however suspect it’s more complicated than that – were a knife to be taken to any other part of a newborn, or to the genitals of a baby girl, it would be considered a crime. That there exists a legal exemption from cutting newborn boys without fear of prosecution could itself be argued to be a law set up to give religious groups a freedom not extended to others, and certainly against the rights of the newborn child to choose whether he deems part of his body to be worthy of being removed.

Although the issue isn’t particularly big in the UK, it’s something that I actually get pretty worked up about despite having no personal stake in it other than being in possession of a penis (one which I like to think I have the right to decide what happens to it). I guess I get particularly pissed off with pro-circumcision arguments primarily for the fact that the same-old logical fallacies are trotted out to support it, yet so few people who are skeptical seem to really care, and many in fact seem to support the practice.

The arguments in favour of the practice tend to fall broadly into a number of generic topics, such as:

Tradition – eg “We’ve been doing it for years”.

To which my first response is always ‘OK. So fuck?’ It doesn’t matter if people have been doing it since the dawn of time, if it’s a long-held bad idea, it’s still a bad idea.

As it happens, it’s not been going on since the dawn of time, but rather the practice stems from the old testament, and was reinforced in America by the father of the Corn Flake, Dr John Kellogg. Kellogg believed it was a great cure for all sorts of things, including overactive libido, and even added that the fact that the practice is far from painless is a good thing, saying:

“The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment”.

Charming. And in no way convincing justification for continual circumcision of one half of the population. A bad idea can be an ancient bad idea, and still be a bad idea.

Religious – eg ‘It’s part of a covenant with God’

And again, I’d argue ‘Erm, so fuck?’ Religious people – particularly Jews and Muslims – believe circumcision is a tribute to God, inspired by a pact between God and Abraham. But just because you believe in any particular religion, you don’t get to engage in blood sacrifices – no goat killing, no slitting the throats of virgins on alters, no throwing children into volcanoes and no knives to be taken to day-old penises. This is the 21st century.

If you don’t believe in God, then this is a total non-issue – religion not being a very convincing argument in support of a practice in honour of a God you don’t believe in. Obviously.

And for those who don’t believe in a god, but do believe that believers in a god should get to make blood sacrifices by taking knives to the genitals of unsuspecting children – please, stop being a patronising arse. Essentially this viewpoint boils down to “well, I know better of course, but those deluded religious types have the right to their own savage rituals, and should be exempt from charges because of their devotion to an imaginary deity I wholeheartedly believe isn’t there”. It’s pretty patronising when you look at it.

Cultural – eg ‘I want my child to look like their father/other kids’

Now, I don’t know about you chaps, but when I was a kid I tended not to spend an awful lot of my time looking at or thinking about the penises of my family members or school mates. It just wasn’t a topic at the front of my mind.

However, I can see how a kid might well see a circumcised penis, different from their own uncircumcised penis, and have a few questions about why they’re different. Valid questions, even. But the best way to answer questions is with answers, not with arbitrary ritualistic removal of a part of the genitals just to avoid the questions coming up in the first place.

If you tell any inquisitive boy that “Some people believe the end of their penis should be removed, for all sorts of reasons, but we felt you were fine just as you were”, I’m pretty sure most kids can grasp it, and it means nobody has to take a knife to anyone’s reproductive organs until such a time as they’re old enough to consent.

Hygiene – eg ‘It’s cleaner to be circumcised’

This has to be one of the uglier arguments in favour of circumcision – it essentially is based on the notion that men are too stupid, too dirty or too lazy to understand how to clean parts of their own body, and therefore those parts ought to be surgically removed before said man can do himself harm from neglect.

This one boils my blood. Can you think of anything more patronising, infantilizing and misandric than labelling half of the population as incapable of even washing effectively?

Here’s a radical idea: educate boys rather than mutilating them.

Health benefits – eg ‘Circumcision helps prevent spread of HIV’

This one I admit is contentious, as there is some evidence to suggest that circumcision helps lower the chance of HIV transmission, based on the study of different groups in Uganda, one of which ritually circumcised infant boys, the other didn’t.

It may well be true that the circumcised population incurred a lower rate of infection in these studies. However, even assuming the data stands up (which I’m happy to do, being no expert in the field), there are still two clear caveats:

  1. Circumcised or not, the transmission of HIV is most effectively reduced by the use of condoms. Wear a condom, and it doesn’t matter if you’re circumcised or not, the protection offered is the same, and is significantly higher than just circumcision. Uncircumcised plus condom use is exactly the same as circumcised plus condom use where HIV protection is concerned. So, if you live somewhere where the HIV infection rates are high and access to contraception is low, it might well be a useful measure. But nowhere in America, the UK or other developed-world nations meet those criteria – here, the benefits don’t outweigh the risks.
  2. Lowered chance of HIV infection rates via circumcision only kicks in when the person becomes sexually active, so if it’s a step worth taking, it’s a step which can be taken once the patient is old enough to understand the procedure. Yes, the chances of complications are higher as an adult, or nearing adulthood, but in countries where the HIV rates are relatively low and the access to condoms high, it’s far better to teach a male safe sex than to take a knife to him for his own good, before he can so much as have a say in it.

Health benefits – eg ‘Circumcision prevents penile cancer’

A 1932 study by Abraham Wolbarst claimed infant circumcision eradicated the risk of penile cancer. If this is true, it sounds like a compelling health benefit of circumcision. However, it’s important to add that penile cancer is hugely rare – something like 1 in 100,000 men get it, and not all fatally so. With that in mind, even if this was true it would mean putting all men through a surgical procedure – not one without risk, albeit quite small risk – for a 10 in a million chance they’ll avoid a form of cancer. On balance, the risks just don’t add up.

What’s more, Wolbarst’s research was undermined somewhat by his beliefs – he openly agreed with Dr Kellogg that circumcision was positive because it not only discouraged masturbation, but also prevented epilepsy and infant death. So that he found a slight benefit in a practice he wholeheartedly endorsed already is perhaps no surprise – and it’s worth noting that even with his prior biases, he didn’t find circumcision clinically beneficial in those other areas.

There were other more telling flaws in his research – later studies have shown that while penile cancer is only slightly more prevalent in the uncircumcised than the circumcised (not enough to justify de facto intervention on all men) the human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most important risk factor for cancer of the penis. HPV is the virus which causes genital warts, and as it turns out HPV is more easily contracted by circumcised men. So you may have a small, disputed level of protection against cancer, but you’re more likely to contract a virus which cause cancer. Great.

Utility – eg ‘The foreskin is useless, it does nothing’:

Even if this was true, so fuck? The appendix is a vestigial organ we can live without, yet we don’t advise that all newborns have it whipped out while before they’ve even had time to cool. We leave it where it is and deal with it if it becomes a danger to the child’s health.

What’s more, there’s a growing body of research looking into the role of the foreskin, and the benefits derived from having it. From the prevention of desensitisation of the head of the penis, to the myriad of nerve endings on the inner of the foreskin, it’s actually increasingly seen as a highly important part of the penis. Also – it’s part of the fucking penis. It’s not just packaging, like the skin of a Babybell, it’s actually meant to be there.

Aesthetics – eg ‘It looks better’

Unbelievably, I’ve actually seen this argument made in the past – that ‘women think it looks better’. I’ve even heard women claim that they’d hate to sleep with man who wasn’t circumcised. Shamefully, I’ve heard it from people who should know better, too – people who would otherwise claim to be pro-gender equality and/or feminism. Again, this common argument is pretty bleak at its heart – what right does anyone have to support cosmetic surgery at birth, focused on one gender, just so their aesthetic ideals are met? It’s the equivalent to someone insisting that because he prefers false breasts and blonde hair, all girls should be surgically and permanently enhanced and dyed from birth, just to fit what he thinks a girl should look like. It’s a genuinely detestable sentiment.

If a man decides he wants to be circumcised, just as if a woman decides she’d prefer a different cup size, then it’s a decision they should be free to make – but only when old enough to make the decision, and as far removed as possible from the pressures and expectations of arrogant and shallow members of the opposite sex who believe they have the right to request the permanent alteration of the appearance other human beings in order to meet their tastes.

It’s at this point that I feel I should mention: while I don’t want to go into the issues surrounding the utterly abhorent practice of female circumcision – something I’m absolutely vocally against, as should be every skeptic – I would like to point out that I fully expect the comments on this show to be hijacked by the notion of having to compare which is worse, male or female genital mutilation, and the conclusion that it’s female. You’re right, the practice of female genital mutilation is utterly wrong. But, I think it should be enough to simply state: all genital mutilation is wrong. I don’t discriminate between which gender should suffer genital mutilation, and which shouldn’t – that very distinction, right there, is the precise definition of sexual discrimination.

Going back to San Francisco for a moment, Liberal critics of the proposed ban have suggested that a ban is unnecessary – instead, if someone disagrees with circumcision, they can simply choose not to have their child circumcised. This, however, misses the central point – it’s not a choice for a parent to make. Currently, men circumcised as babies aren’t given the choice to be circumcised or not, the choice is made for them – without their consultation or consent – and becomes something they have to live with for life, with no meaningful way of reversing the act.

So, I’m fully supportive of calls to end the ritualistic circumcision of newborn boys, and if people want to go ahead and do it as part of their religious beliefs, they can choose to do so themselves, but once they’re old enough to make an informed decision to do so.

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  1. #1 by MikeS on July 1, 2011 - 12:44

    Hi

    as someone who was circumcised at birth, and is now an atheist (the two probably aren’t related), it bugs the hell out of me that this was done to me.

    Yes its caused me problems, which don’t get mentioned in this article, like a lack of feeling, even during sex (if I say I can go for ages, that’s not a boast… I get bored and often don’t climax!), and nasty band of grey skin around the shaft (the remnants of the scar), and lets not forget how tight and uncomfortable the skin feels when I’ve got an erection, or the fact that sometimes the scar skin can split and bleed.

    Apparently not all circumcision are as bad as mine, but I’ll always be annoyed at my parents for having this done to me. My son (now 3) is not circumcised and I honestly believe this practise should be banned when not out of medical necessity.

    Thanks for bringing the topic up, it doesn’t get much coverage (like my poor gland)

    Mike

  2. #2 by Akheloios on July 1, 2011 - 14:59

    Circumcision seems to be turning into a way to backhandedly defend some unpleasant social and religious politics, not just religious privilege.

    The argument for circumcision on the ground that it lowers STI transmission rates, especially in Africa, is set up to be that circumcision is a vital medical procedure, but it begs the question, why is it vital? Predictably, it’s only because religious organisations are already preventing the real solution ever being implemented, decent sex education and the mass distribution of condoms.

    As for hygiene, yeah, possibly, but if someone doesn’t have enough clean safe water to properly wash themselves, that’s not an argument for circumcision, it’s an argument for installing cheap, safe water supplies to even the most remote areas. Something that’s under pressure with falling foreign aid budgets, the change in the CDC (Commonwealth Development Corporation) from a body that supports infrastructure projects in poor areas to a profit and commercial driven body, and the forced privatisation of utilities in the third world by the IMF etc.

    The argument for circumcision isn’t just supporting the mutilation of small children on behalf of religion, the only medical defence that’s been used is racist in scope. Rather than do what is right, the lack of basic amenities and condoms in third world countries is cynically used to defend a cosmetic and unneeded religious practice.

  3. #3 by sjhoward on July 1, 2011 - 16:33

    Just a teeny-weeny, nit-picking, pedantic correction:
    “…you’re more likely to develop the genital warts which cause cancer”

    Genital warts don’t cause cancer.

    HPV causes both genital warts and some genital cancers, but (for the most part) it is different strains that cause each. HPV-6 and HPV-11 are the commonest causes of warts, whereas HPV-16 and HPV-18 cause most penile (and cervical) cancers.

    Sorry to do that, I just couldn’t let it lie.

    I agree with your main point completely.

  4. #4 by Marsh on July 1, 2011 - 16:36

    @sjhoward: No problem at all, happy to be corrected where I’m wrong. I was aware I was shortening the issue for brevity, but hadn’t intended the incorrect implication – thanks for the extra info/clarification. For transparency, I’ve edited the post to take your clarification into account (not hiding my errors with revision, so much as smoothing out the wrinkles and inaccuracies). M

  5. #5 by John on July 1, 2011 - 17:13

    Well done for a great piece on the podcast, and a great blog post. I agree with you completely, and I’m glad to see and hear you taking this issue on. I do hope that a sensible point can be made without people trying to hijack it and say that something else is even worse.
    As you say, there are certain supposedly skeptical sites where daring to suggest that it’s an abhorent practice will get you hounded out with cries ringing around your ears that you should be ashamed for daring to deal with an issue of your choosing, not of theirs.
    I hope that the proposed ban does come into effect, but I think it unlikely.

  6. #6 by alphaxion on July 1, 2011 - 21:17

    It is child abuse, pure and simple. “Not your penis? None of your business” should be the mantra.

    About the hygene excuse – I’m pretty sure as a kid I never took the time to extensively clean the entirety of my cock and I never suffered any ill health, it was only once I started to, erm… “use” my penis for more than just the excretion of waste produce that it occurred to me I should perhaps clean it. In my 30 years on this earth I have never had a single health issue in this part of my body. Anecdotal, but adds to the stats none the less.

    The HIV transmission excuse, I’d say it was due to the reduction of sex drive that happens post genital mutilation than the presence of the forskin, since the likelihood of contracting an STI is diminished if you reduce the rate of intercourse. Using a condom would be a better choice compared to lopping off an important part of your genitals!

  7. #7 by Akheloios on July 1, 2011 - 21:42

    To be fair on the FGM/male circumcision debate. It’s usually male circumcision activists that hijack posts about FGM and attempt to make some moral and physical equivalence between the two, where none can be made due to frankly horrific nature of FGM. It’s an example of nothing but male privilege, but male circumcision is an important topic and should be debated too, especially in a skeptical and scientific light.

  8. #8 by Amber Sherwood K. on July 3, 2011 - 19:04

    @Akheloios – the term “male circumcision activists” creeps me right out. It is a thousand kinds of wrong.

  9. #9 by Restoring Tally on July 4, 2011 - 00:44

    You make some very good points. I was circumcised at birth. I dislike being circumcised so much that I am restoring my foreskin to undo some of the damage and regain some of what I lost. So far, I am very happy with my restored foreskin. So is my wife.

  10. #10 by Zyaama on July 4, 2011 - 15:09

    As Marsh said on Twitter, it’s a topic skeptics don’t seem to care much about. And I suppose he’s right. I found myself listening to him, agreeing on nearly every point, but I still find it hard to get riled up about this. That made me think about why I can’t seem to get emotionally involved, and it looks like the two main reasons are: 1. I don’t think I personally know anybody who has been circumcised, so there’s no personal connection for me (yeah, call me a shallow bastard…), and 2. I have – until a few weeks ago – never heard anybody complain about having been circumcised at birth. So, if the victims don’t seem to mind, why should the rest of us? (<- Rhetorical point, don't bite my head of just yet.)

    So, while I am willing to support people who fight against male circumcision, what I think is really needed is a larger number of people who are actually affected to speak out against the practice.

  11. #11 by Legalize Foreskin on July 7, 2011 - 13:05

    Thanks for the robust write-up. Those of us in the States who have taken the red pill, are forced to contend with a lot of these arguments on a regular basis.

    I also appreciate encountering someone who is male and hasn’t had to deal with circumcision personally, take a strong stand on the issue.

    You may also be interested in reading the Royal Dutch Medical Association’s position on circumcision, which was updated about a year ago to reflect a very a principled stand on the issue: http://knmg.artsennet.nl/Diensten/knmgpublicaties/KNMGpublicatie/Nontherapeutic-circumcision-of-male-minors-2010.htm.

    Alex from Boston, USA

  12. #12 by Paul Baird on July 7, 2011 - 23:12

    I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve posted against male and female circumcision on my own blog and done a segment on our last podcast http://www.skepticule.co.uk/

  13. #13 by alphaxion on July 9, 2011 - 09:09

    Oh, about the protection against AIDS excuse that is trotted out.

    If it as effective as they claim then surely the AIDS/HIV infection rates in the USA before the “safe sex use a condom” campaigns are a massive datapoint showing the effect to be statistically irrelevent.

  14. #14 by Vaughan Jones on July 13, 2011 - 17:57

    All of this in addition to the number of deaths the practice causes: http://www.circumstitions.com/death.html

    And yes, it happens in the US too as recently as May this year: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/brooklyn-toddler-dies-circumcision/story?id=13544632

    People know that it’s more than just removing the foreskin right? The person performing the Talmud procedure must also perform “Mezizah” which is to literally place one’s mouth over the penis to suck the blood and remove the skin. Babies have contracted STD’s because of this practice and either suffered great physical pain, scarring or death.

    It’s a barbaric religious ritual.

  15. #15 by Andy Wilson on July 20, 2011 - 22:21

    I thought this was a great piece (no pun intended, or noticed).

    I was circumcised for reasons that remain mysterious and will continue to do so as long as my mum remains dead.

    But this article brought back some interesting memories. In particular when I was dating a girl and she got her first job when we were still at school. She worked in the medical records dept at the local hospital and after her first day she asked me what operation I had when I was only 1 year old. The embarrassing (but as yet innocently undiscovered) truth was that I had been circumcised. Yes I know that she shouldn’t have looked. But these were different times and I probably would have too.

    I asked my mum and she told me that there was a size problem. It didn’t fit s it had to go.

    Truth revealed, I commend Marsh on his analogy of the ear lobe being cut off. Possibly not in my case where the medical argument may be plausible, but in the case of religious or as yet unrealised (by the victim) vanity reasons, I cannot think of any acceptable purpose for this barbaric practice.

    When I reflect upon it I realise two things.

    First, that I don’t remember and therefore cannot describe, discuss or be indignant about the amount of discomfort or the violation of my free will

    Second that the perpetrator, for example a rabbi, is guilty as hell.

    Therefore on behalf of Jews, fuck you Rabbi

    And on behalf of those who have grown up without even contemplating the gross indecency that has passed, fuck you cultural dictator.

    This is mutilation where it occurs outside of medical grounds.

    Like so many topics that are addressed in the skeptical movement, the level of ambivalence makes me seeth. I’d like to shake people firmly by the shoulder and give them an example such as the ear lobe snip already mentioned so eloquently. And I’d like the people to rise up and jail the bastard perpetrators.

    Oh, and I’d like England to win the world cup.

  16. #16 by Al on June 16, 2012 - 23:39

    Why should that creep you out?

  17. #17 by Steve on April 24, 2013 - 19:38

    I have great respect for Marsh on most things, but not on this one. It bodes ill when he starts off with a logical fallacy – the false analogy. Are we facing an epidemic of deadly “earlobeitis” for which the most effective prophylaxis is “earlobectomy”? There is no benefit, only harm, from cutting off ear lobes. This is not true of circumcision as a look at the medical literature will show. It is obvious that Marsh is unfamiliar with the literature on this topic or he would not had made the massive error of saying that HPV is “more easily contracted by circumcised men”. EPIC FAIL! Several studies, including the Ugandan one he mentions, show the exact opposite. Multiple studies, including 3 large randomised trials have also confirmed that circumcision provides up to 76% reduction in female to male HIV transmission. Just look at the websites of the WHO, CDC and UNAIDS. They are all actively promoting circumcision in Africa as part of the battle against AIDS. Marsh is also wrong to say that it makes no difference if one is circ’d or not when wearing a condom. Condoms can slip or tear. Circ then provides backup. More significantly, it is simply naïve to imagine that all men are going to use condoms at all times. Circ still provides protection when they don’t. Promoting BOTH is the logical way to go. Marsh is also wrong on cancer. The figure he cites is a per annum figure. Multiply by an average lifespan to get the lifetime risk and it is actually close to one in a 1000. In fact about 400 men get penile cancer annually in the UK, and treatment consists of amputation. Practically all these cases could be prevented by infant circ. Circ, especially of infants, also protects against UTIs, renal problems, cervical cancer & vaginal infections (in the partners of circ’d men), phimosis, paraphimosis, posthitis, balanitis, yeast infections, genital ulcers …. Cost-benefit analyses are beginning to appear in the medical literature which show that infant circ wins on both a medical and a financial basis, even in low HIV countries. This is why the AAP recently revised its position to a qualified endorsement, although other bodies remain conservative. Marsh also manages two fails in his “Utility” section. Evidence that it “desensitises” the head of the penis is contradictory, and not borne out by studies following those circ’d in Africa as part of the HIV trials in Uganda & Kenya, who report satisfaction, or even improvement. Nor is it borne out by studies using nerve stimulation, or thermal imaging. Another fail is the tired old “nerve endings” argument. Compared to what Marsh? What is your control? My fingertips are even more packed with nerve endings, particularly Meissner’s corpuscles (look them up – they’re the ones 4skin fans get so worked up about). I can’t get off on rubbing fingertips. Towards the end Marsh tries the appeal to emotion fallacy when he uses the word “mutilation”. That’s a very subjective, and emotionally loaded word, sure to score sympathy points. Never mind the evidence that many prefer the look of a bare end (which Marsh correctly says is no reason to cut). It reminds me of the Catholic canard that abortion is “murder”. Appeal to emotion – it regularly wins where evidence fails. I don’t agree with ritualistic circs, or indeed any circ in anything other than a strict clinical setting. But Marsh is getting terribly dogmatic about circ’ing babies. In an ideal world I’d agree, but this is not an ideal world. What if the cost-benefit analyses turn out to be right? Does a baby’s right to a 4skin, with the supposed benefits and proven risks that come with it trump his right to a simple procedure with proven benefits and lower risks? I’d recommend caution in approaching this topic, and stick to attacking non-clinical circ, or circ without anaesthetic. Skeptics are on firm ground there. I’d rather not take a fundamentalist “ban it all” stance so long as there is a real chance that those cost-benefit analyses turn out to be right. That should be settled by evidence, not ideology. And it has not been settled yet. Finally, as one who was circumcised in adulthood I can reassure those done young that you are not missing much. All this stuff about loss of sensitivity, keratinisation, etc. is bullsh!t.

  18. #18 by John on April 28, 2014 - 06:30

    These arguments against circumcision are nothing new. They’re just the same tired old stuff that’s been endlessly, mindlessly, repeated on the web for years. Sometimes I wonder if the same two dozen people haven’t written all of the anti-circ posts on the web. Anti-circ advocates can’t seem to argue strictly from valid evidence and fact. They usually have to inject a healthy dose of emotion into their arguments, which often degenerates into name calling, worse.

    If you want to know why so many boys are circed in the US, just ask some American girls whether they prefer circed or uncirced. I’ll give you three guesses as to what the overwhelming answer is, and the first two don’t count. Or as a guy I once knew put it, “Chicks don’t like the ‘mud flap.'” And American chicks, at least, really don’t.

    There are practical considerations, too, that don’t usually enter into these discussions. For example, once your “intact” that is uncircumcised, son is old enough to bathe himself, and have bathroom privacy, how do you really know he’s cleaning himself the way he should? Ask? Really? What answer do you think your intact 12 year old going to give? The truth is, you don’t know if he’s practicing proper hygiene, and if you’re like most parents, you just sort of ignore the issue and hope it resolves itself, or hope the doctor will talk to him about it or something. Unless your son turns up with a raging infection or a tight foreskin, or some other problem you didn’t know about. Then it gets more difficult to ignore–and resolve.

    I made this argument to an anti circ web poster once, and their response was yes, but is that really any justification for making a decision for him, and taking away his right to choose for himself, and stripping away perfectly healthy tissue, blah…blah…blah. They had to try and redirect the dialog back to an ethical argument because they had no answer for a practical issue the situation presented. I suspect this is true in a lot of cases.

  19. #19 by Jasonlee on September 12, 2014 - 23:17

    I was intact up until 6 months ago and everything mentioned is true. I no longer feel any sensation whatsoever. What was once a mind blowing experience, an all body and mind experience has gone. These thousands of nerves that have gone affect pleasure and the brain. As a result I have gone into depression. Having this done as an adult I know both sides and it is unreal. This makes men angry, it stops us from loving, it makes relationships meaningless because the love, the feelings, the intimacy have all been taken. Is it a coincidence that the nations that do this usually have a male population who are angry and aggressive, women who are unhappy. This destroys what nature intended. I do not think I will ever get married or be intimate again, because hard, aggressive intercourse is not me and that it was it had made me. I was a passion, warm, tender lover know I am the opposite and would rather not inflict that on a partner or myself because it is not me. I cannot tell you how sad I am, my life is in ruins.

    http://Www.forgen.org

    There is hope, there is an organisation called Forgen who are intending to regenerate the foreskin. The science is there but doctors and the medical community do not want this for obvious reasons. This brings them money and gives the government exactly what they want, unhappy people. Please if you can visit the website http://www.foregen.org Like us on facebook, converse with us on twitter and please donate if you can. We require 5000 members at $10 a month to make this happen in 5 years. The more support we get, the sooner this can happen. There are millions of unhappy men and women out there. Once this comes to fruition and it will, this evil barbaric procedure will end forever. The project is really starting to take off. The results of the first experiment on bovine foreskins will be released on September “15th. The organisation also has permission to experiment on donated human foreskins which will be acquired hopefully by the end of the year. Please support and help if you can and spread awareness. This has to happen in order for it to end once and for all. on twitter and please donate if you can. We require 5000. The more support we get, the sooner this can happen. There are millions of unhappy men and women out there. Once this comes to fruition and it will, this evil barbaric procedure will end forever.

  20. #20 by WTF on June 11, 2016 - 04:02

    You could have had a good point about how unnecessary and stupid routine circumcision is. But instead you preferred to resort to MRA bullshit.

  21. #21 by Marsh on June 12, 2016 - 17:09

    WTF :

    You could have had a good point about how unnecessary and stupid routine circumcision is. But instead you preferred to resort to MRA bullshit.

    I’d be very interested to know what exactly of the above is “MRA bullshit”, and what arguments against circumcision you’d prefer me to have covered.

    I’m also bewildered that you’d think there would be a pro-MRA slant to the above article. To say so suggests you’ve no familiarity with the work contained within the rest of this site, within the body of work produced by the author, or indeed within the contents of this particular article.

  22. #22 by Stephen Moreton on November 21, 2016 - 22:15

    Marsh :

    WTF :
    You could have had a good point about how unnecessary and stupid routine circumcision is. But instead you preferred to resort to MRA bullshit.

    I’d be very interested to know what exactly of the above is “MRA bullshit”, and what arguments against circumcision you’d prefer me to have covered.
    I’m also bewildered that you’d think there would be a pro-MRA slant to the above article. To say so suggests you’ve no familiarity with the work contained within the rest of this site, within the body of work produced by the author, or indeed within the contents of this particular article.

    I think he means “Men’s Rights Activist”. Many of your fallacious arguments and medical ignorance (sorry Marsh, I can’t think of a polite way of saying it) are the sort of nonsense that is peddled by intactivists who also seem to be well embedded in the “men’s rights” movement. I’m neutral on circ outside of high-HIV settings, but am vehemently anti-intactivist, and sadly you have bought into a lot of their crap – as you know as I have told you this to your face. If it is any consolation, you are not alone among skeptics in getting it wrong on this topic. I had it out with Myles Power at QED a few weeks ago over his awful video on the topic. Maybe I could give you a talk at the Vines one day on intactivism. They have driven at least one guy, maybe two, to suicide by filling their heads with nonsense about how harmed they are, they have started harassing doctors and surgeons, issued death threats, bully strangers on Facebook, and peddle vast amounts of pure pseudoscience on foreskins and circumcision. A topic ripe for skepticism!

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