Friday, March 27, 2015

Child Circumcision: Culture-based ignorance, fetish, and pseudoscience

I have recently been motivated to go back and finish a blog post I had started, entitled The Foreskin: Why is it such a secret in North America? [I'm glad I did -- it went viral!]
` In it, I describe my shock at age 20 when I was told of the existence of the foreskin, a piece of anatomy I had never before encountered, neither in the flesh nor depicted in any anatomy book I'd seen.
` (This is bizarre, considering that it's more well-developed in human beings than in other species.) What was it for, I wondered, and why had it been so thoroughly erased from U.S. culture?

That post goes into great detail on all that, including the brutal history of how circumcision became a 'medicalized' ritual in white, Christian, sexually suppressive late-nineteenth century America:
` It had the 'medical' goal of desensitizing the penis in order to discourage masturbation and other ejaculations outside of intercourse (a "disorder" called spermatorrhea).
` Thanks to a few cultural quirks of the early and mid-twentieth century, tearing off the perfectly good foreskins of screaming newborns became 'medicalized' practice a few other countries, although it has since been rejected in most of them as essentially a form of genital mutilation.

Strangest of all, widespread infant circumcision has continued in the U.S. for so long that there are still doctors who are ignorant of the fact that boys' foreskins don't typically separate from the glans for the first several years of life.
` That's right; possessing a perfectly average penis is not necessarily enough to stop a boy from being diagnosed with congenital phimosis, another "disorder" from late-1800s America.
` In order to "correct" it, the doctor may recommend tearing the foreskin back (a.k.a. premature forced retraction) several times a day. After much screaming, bleeding, and other complications such as infections, the ultimate "fix" may be circumcision:
` The problem is then blamed on the foreskin and not the doctor's ignorance, thus continuing the cycle of social surgery. (I'll get back to this.)

Such an outrageous level of incompetence can happen in a medical setting because in American culture -- including medical texts -- you will tend to find misconceptions about this piece of anatomy, if anything at all.
` Like any science/skeptically-oriented blogger, I packed as much information as possible into my intense account of discovery. [I have received much acclaim from not only skeptically oriented people, but some of the hundreds of thousands of others who have seen it!]

Having gotten most of the technical details out of the way, I can start a second post on this subject which includes material that wouldn't fit in the first one:
` It starts out with content from biased U.S. anatomy books and an educational video which essentially shows what was left out of them. Next, I explore some of the real and fictitious pro-circumcision "researchers":
` One of them is into circumfetish, has written an erotic novel dealing with circumcision, and even sold chastity belts for boys on a website promoting parents' control of boys' sexuality by a tight circumcision and devices to keep him from masturbating.

I can't make this stuff up.

Neither can I make up my bizarre encounter with the crazy Born-Again Christian lady, nor all the comments from Facebook which demonstrate the influence of culture on people's opinions of the matter.
` In fact, Facebook was the first place I posted this educational video about the functions of the foreskin, produced by Gavin Sisk, MFA at University of Washington Health Sciences Academic Services and Faculties, along with George C Denniston MD.

This kind of content is found in medical textbooks outside the U.S., and includes the sexual and protective functions of the male prepuce (foreskin), as well as the development of male and female prepuces.
` My aforementioned blog article covers this topic in detail, although this video is a much better visual reference, and even features pictures of dead baby and embryo genitalia. Bonus!
` It's definitely Not Safe For Work, but at the same time, anything but erotic. You may want to check it out now, or later -- it's 20 minutes of skin and info.



Important to my discussion here, the video shows a microscope image of the membrane that fuses a young child's foreskin and glans, much like the membrane that fuses your fingernail to your finger.
` Incredibly, there really are doctors who circumcise infants and claim that the foreskin of children isn't fused and that this membrane doesn't exist!

Yes, really -- and I've got evidence of this, but first, some other points from the video:

The infant foreskin usually protrudes beyond the urethra, only able to retract enough to allow urination. Sometimes, this moveable, protective bit of foreskin is "diagnosed" as redundant prepuce and cut off.
` Gradually, the membrane holding the foreskin in place dissolves, which generally happens by adolescence. When it is able to retract fully, the foreskin is ready to be used as a spring-loaded sexual organ.

As my article explicitly describes in great detail, a man's foreskin allows his penis to roll inside-out against itself, and to do many things a circumcised penis cannot do.
` In the video, there are also microscope images of the clusters of fine-touch nerve endings in the foreskin's ridges. Indeed, the foreskin contains more than a third of the nerve endings in the entire penis, and makes up about half the skin that covers it.

The video also lists many long-term effects of circumcision, such as desensitizing the penis, immobilizing the moving parts, and callusing the glans. If a man wants to do this to himself, informed consent is important!
` As for ripping off a clueless newborn's foreskin, the tearing of his most sensitive erogenous zone causes his heart rate and stress hormones skyrocket: Many boys scream long enough to turn slightly blue, while some go into shock and become quiet.
` This early trauma causes prolonged irritability, diminishes attentiveness, hinders parental bonding, as well as disrupts breastfeeding, REM sleep and sleep/wake cycles.
` It creates permanent neurological changes in pain perception, and can even create emotional problems later on. And that's not even counting the physical effects and other possible complications, which I of course covered in my article.

Helpfully, this video lists some other body parts that were once deemed redundant or defective -- the adenoids, mastoids, tonsils and appendix. In fact, my own mother and her brother were made to have their tonsils removed as kids, for no medical reason at all:
` Before tonsils' function was understood, this was believed to be beneficial, but today a tonsilectomy is only recommended in extreme cases of infection or other problems. Generally speaking, the same can be said of any other part of the body, and it is no different for the part we are focusing on here.
` I've noticed that unlike the other items on the 'once deemed defective' list, the foreskin is external and has obvious functions, which were documented by Renaissance Era anatomists.
` This knowledge was only lost, mainly in U.S. culture, in the past 150 years. With the help of modern science and media, it is returning in greater detail than ever. Unfortunately, it's not happening fast enough:

I've just found a short video where a doctor claims that the foreskins of infants are not fused to the glans. What's more, she's apparently been circumcising infants for 25 years -- and she didn't know that 'probing' the foreskin is like ripping off a fingernail!
` Her name is Claudia Fruin, and the video was taken outside of an American Academy of Pediatrics conference by protesters of child circumcision.
` She makes her unbelievable statement just after the 2:50 mark, then implies that the protesters don't know what they're talking about because they've never circumcised an infant. Really.
` Then, the protesters discuss the doctor's scramble to solve her cognitive dissonance. To avoid embedded video and picture overload in this post, here's the link: Circumciser Tries and Fails To Defend Violating Children.

Just think: Throughout human history, people generally have known not to retract the foreskin before it's ready. That knowledge has only become obscured for so many millions of people in recent times.
` That there are doctors who actually do this in a large, industrialized nation, well into the twenty-first century, is a testament to the vastness of human ignorance. Also, greed, as the amputation and selling of foreskins is a billion and a half dollar per-year industry:
` This can only happen because infant circumcision is about the most common surgery in the U.S., and it's almost always performed without therapeutic indications, or much (if any) anesthesia.
` If the decision had simply been left up to the individual himself to decide whether to be circumcised, as it is with women, it would be a fairly rare occurrence, as it is in most parts of the world.


Anatomy Book Errors and Biases

So, how can people become so ignorant of a piece of external anatomy with a clear purpose? For reasons I explained in my article, it was made rare in the wake of WWII, when almost every infant in the U.S. was circumcised.
` With no frame of reference, even the guys themselves who were circumcised were unlikely to ever learn the truth about what was done to them. This extends to anatomy books, which are still often seen to leave out the foreskin or contain inaccurate information or illustrations.
` For example, although the foreskin typically pulls back from the glans during an erection, there are anatomy text illustrations showing the foreskin covering the glans during an erection as though it is an immobile structure.
` This, as I explained in my article, is a common misconception, leading to myths that the foreskin impedes sexual function and cleanliness. It's only possible for people to believe this when they don't have contradictory evidence from the real thing!

Just to take some random examples, I happen to know someone who has a variety of anatomy books, so I decided to take pictures of their partly-dissected male naughty bits.
` I managed to find most of these books, and have posted photos from them, obviously for education about anatomy books rather than genitalia. (Plus, they enlarge readily when clicked upon!)

The blue one to the left is to be seen in the 1994 edition of the National Geographic Society's The Incredible Machine. It's a thick tome, lavishly packed with photographs and electron scanning microscope images.

The illustration completely leaves out the foreskin, and the text doesn't even mention it at all. I checked.
` This sort of thing is why educational speakers on this topic actually need to describe some of the most basic facts of male anatomy.
` Though The Incredible Machine is more of a popular book than a medical text, it is rather detailed: If you didn't know any better, you would never have the impression that an important external body part has been left out. Why would it be?

However, the manatee prepuce wasn't labeled.
A much smaller volume is TAJ Books's 2002 Atlas of Anatomy. It actually does depict a small cross-section of the penis that includes the foreskin, and labels it. However, there is zero mention of it in the text.
` In the illustration showing the development of the genitalia, the male prepuce is labeled, although strangely, the female prepuce is not.
` Interestingly, it has a section on how bisexuality is normal for some species -- and it depicts a manatee (which it calls a "sea lion") giving another manatee a flipper job. I've included this illustration for their hilarious facial expressions.

"I'm just as surprised!"
The most technical anatomy book I found was Human Anatomy, 4th Ed., 2003, by Martini, Timmons and Tallitsch. It has illustrations and detailed photographs of practically every part of the body -- with one glaring exception.
` Indeed, even in this illustration of the entire naked man, we are led to believe that every part of him represents the natural human form.

The illustration and cadaver cutaway [right] does appear to depict the foreskin, although it is difficult to see, and is not labeled. If you didn't know it was supposed to be there, you may not even notice it -- it even took me a few minutes.

In this book, there are many illustrations of male genitalia. One of them actually does depict and label the foreskin [top left], although not in any detail.
` The illustration below it does not depicts the part I was looking for.

Strangely, in the illustration of testicular descent [right], the fetus' penis looks ambiguous as to whether it has a foreskin or has been mysteriously circumcised before birth.

In the illustration depicting the cross-section of testicles, the little line drawing is clearly depicting abridged anatomy:
However, the rest of the line drawing-guy seems to be missing, so he's got bigger problems.
And yes, there's yet one more illustration of partly-dissected male genitalia, which is somewhat ambiguous, although the glans is clearly rendered as callused.

On the right is a computer visual reconstruction from the included software, along with a scanner section.
` I've never actually seen the software itself, but from here it is difficult to make out anything that looks like a prepuce.

If that was not enough, the text is full of misinformation: This description says nothing about it as any sort of moveable or sexual structure, it merely seems to be an outlet to promote myths about anatomy, smegma, and disease.

Yes, it really does say that.
"A fold of skin, the prepuce... surrounds the tip of the penis."
[No -- it is the tip of the penis!]
` "...There are no hair follicles on the opposing surfaces, but preputial glands... in the skin of the neck and the inner surface of the prepuce secrete a waxy material known as smegma... [The implication here is that this is a problem, although it doesn't mention that the genitalia of women secrete far more smegma than those of men.]
` "Unfortunately, smegma can be an excellent nutrient source for bacteria." [Similar to saliva and earwax, smegma is fairly anti-bacterial, although contains its own protective microflora. The implication is that it causes disease -- however, mammals could not have evolved smegma in the first place if it were such a disadvantage!]
` "Mild inflammation and infections in this region are common, especially if the area is not washed thoroughly and frequently." [As I've explained in my article, rinsing is all that is needed, and soap can actually cause infection. If this statement were true, it would also be true of women, who have many smegma-coated folds.]
` "One way of avoiding trouble is to perform a circumcision... and surgically remove the prepuce." [Okay, so... option A: Rinse in shower. Option B: Cut off sensitive erogenous zone. Which is more sensible?]
Also... Traditional
Chinese Medicine?
` "In Western societies (especially [almost exclusively] in the United States), this procedure is usually performed shortly after birth. Although controversial, continuation of this practice is supported by strong cultural biases and [very poor and conflicting] epidemiological evidence. Uncircumcised males [notice they don't use the word 'intact'] have a higher incidence of urinary tract infections and are at greater risk for penile cancer than circumcised males."

As I've explained thoroughly in my article, neither of those statements are likely to be true, but even if they were, these problems are of such little concern to infants that they would not be worth chopping off a valuable body part that will affect his future sex life.
` Also, if we take this reasoning to girls, who are many times more likely than boys to get UTIs, then why don't doctors do surgery on them as a preventative measure? Similarly, one could argue that their breast buds should be removed because they have a 1 in 12 chance of getting breast cancer when they're older. Of course, baby boys don't get penile cancer, and it's extremely rare to begin with.
` In fact, one of my Facebook friends sent me an article from her colleague about how penile cancer should be taken out of the routine infant circumcision debate. You're more likely to get earlobe cancer than penile cancer, so why not cut off the earlobes instead?
` As for the authors of this anatomy book, who themselves teach anatomy and physiology, you'd think they'd know what a real foreskin would look like, what it does, and how it develops and moves. How could the three of them together be so wrong?

The last two books are American editions from the British company Dorling Kindersley: The Body Atlas (1993) and The Human Body Book (2007).
` They do depict the foreskin, although even these have an inaccurate description of it as "loose skin". The Body Atlas [right] also describes the glans as "sensitive", even though it is considerably less sensitive to fine touch than the foreskin.
` So, the DK books have one accurate illustration, although not quite correct descriptions, and they don't go into any detail beyond that. I am not sure how these compare with the original British editions, however.

Back to the educational video, which I posted on Facebook this past January, I got a lot of positive feedback. Plus, I got to talk about my own sexual and cultural experiences, and the pro-circumcision HIV doctor interviewed in an episode of the Australian podcast The Skeptic Zone.
` With some irony, her claims did not meet any skepticism on the show, although I am fairly sure that I have debunked them in my article. The first of these comments is from a resident of Belgium, who asks:
Luc Vande Casteele what is the ratio of men with or without foreskin that you encounter?

Spoony Quine For men born in the US that I've seen naked, it's been about one with a foreskin per about 50 without. That is, I found one by chance.

For men born in Denmark, Belgium, Germany, etc they all have had foreskins. One born in Sweden did not because of a penile deformity, his parents and doctors gave up trying to save it when he was four. Other than that, all the Europe- born guys have been intact.

I just realized how slutty this all sounds

Luc Vande Casteele it only sounds slutty because of the double standard you have been indoctrinated with.
Then, one of the Australian Skeptics chimed in:

Jo Alabaster I find that age factors into it greatly in Australia. The majority of men I've encountered born before around 1975 tend to have been circumcised.. after that, routine male infant circumcision became far less common.

Spoony Quine Indeed, the circumcision practice spread from the US to Australia around WWII and became common for a while before it started to be questioned.

Jo Alabaster It's a curious thing. I was pleased that nobody even mentioned it when my son was born - I know that a generation ago, it was often just assumed by hospital staff that it would be carried out.


Spoony Quine When my brother was born in about 1970, they did it to him without even asking my mom first. Neither of them knew what a foreskin was until well after he was living on his own.

When I told him what a foreskin was, he said he thought that foreskins are horrible and says he's glad he never had to deal with having one. As for people who like them, such as myself, he thinks there is something wrong with us.

As for me, I find that a foreskin is the only way to completely prevent friction/drying , which I have found causes lasting pain , inflammation and sometimes infection. Either that or luck out with a particular size/shape that doesn't rub raw.

I was actually told that I'm wrong about this by a doctor. Who circumcises babies.
    After this encounter with the doctor, I went to the interwebs to see how big of a deal this is according to other people.
    ` I found that there is some research showing that this happens -- as well as many personal testimonials, especially from women who say they have unusually narrow vaginas. Well, I am a freak in that way as well, so, makes sense.

    Although I was vaguely aware that this problem existed, I didn't know anything was amiss in my own life until after I had finally tested this out for myself. And I thought it might be a huge challenge, shall we say.
    ` Instead I am grateful to finally understand that I'm not frightened of intercourse and that size doesn't hurt. There was no working a long time to get it in -- the movement of the skin prevented any friction from occurring. I experienced no pain whatsoever.

    Although I once felt confused and ashamed of "my problem", I am grateful to have found it is more physical than psychological, and that it's an expected difficulty.
    ` I need not feel that it is my fault or my attitude that is causing it: If a sexual partner tells me it is, that's a sign I need to stop having sex with him, instead of believing that I am doing something wrong and must "fix myself".

    The only downside is, now that I've been 'spoiled', I don't like going back.
    • Denis Solaro I did notice on the Skeptoid mailing list (which I left when it was all about Henk and Carbs) that people who had their foreskin taken out at birth were split between the "I want my foreskin back" camp and the rabid "you will die if you have a foreskin" clan. There is that obligation to remove newborns foreskins because that's how it was to them. 
      It's purely conformism. Guys who had it removed for no valid reason (Torah, quran, silly medical fad) don't want to look stupid now. 

      But if you did look at the european posters, none of those who still have their wanted to remove anything to anyone. To them it made no sense. And we don't impose things either, you are still free to have that done in Europe too.

    • Spoony Quine Yes, if you want to do it to yourself , of course

      God, America is so backwards. ...
      Is it any wonder Viagra is so popular in this country?

      Also, on the skeptic zone, they had this doctor on who claims it's really great for preventing HIV, and since she likes circumcised cock so much, she said something like "come on, guys, don't you think it's worth losing a little bit of feeling just to make it more pleasurable for your girlfriend?"
      That is so sexist I almost vomited. Just think, there are also doctors who say that female circumcision helps prevent HIV infection, so if they said "come on girls, don't you think it's worth sacrificing..." I mean, really? That's just insulting. Even if it were true I wouldn't want to do it.

    • Lee William Stevenson Happy I still have mine, but at the end of the day, its no big thing! 

    • Spoony Quine Big compared to what 

    • You might think it was a big deal if you [knew] people who think you are sick for being happy with your foreskin. There are even girls who refuse to have sex with a guy unless he's circumcised.

      I've found that people who bring up the subje
      ct by telling me that they are weirded out by foreskins or are going to have their baby circumcised, will often explode in a rage if I don't approve.

      ...[anecdotes, which I've either already shared or will share below in more detail]

      Also, the fact that so many people don't know that the foreskin isn't supposed to retract in infants... This is really dangerous ignorance, when you think about it.

    • Kevin Stebleton Religion ... Be wrong first, then deny the truth for centuries, and eventually adopt the current thinking. Fill in the misconception.

    • Denis Solaro It can retract no problems. You have to maintain it clean though and a daily shower does that. 
      One strange thing about foreskins is that you have a greater chance to have this thing too, hirsutoid papillomas. It's nothing bad at all, in circumcised people it usually dried out. But with intact people it can be more sensitive. 


      (NSFW) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirsuties_coronae_glandis
    • Spoony Quine Oh yes, cats have those, but spiky! 

      Indeed, it's strange that so many people in this culture were taught that the foreskin blocks sexual sensation by covering the glans, and that it's too hard to clean under and so gets infected easily.


      Me, I didn't even know that all the penises I'd ever seen in anatomy books/real life were circumcised until I was 20. So, I went to the library and found out the truth from professional sources. Interestingly, the British and American medical encyclopedias had the same information but was presented entirely differently.
      I tried to tell the guy who [informed me of the missing anatomy] and he said that the foreskin has no function other than to cause problems and is thus vestigial and "evolving away" in humans. Really.

      So, no wonder I am surrounded by people who regard foreskins as tumors.

    • Kevin Stebleton I thought we were surrounded by assholes. Guess it's pretty close.
    • Spoony Quine What assholery plagues you the most?

    • Matt Crowley I wonder how many Christians who object to abortion on the grounds that a fetus ~might~ feel pain engage in routine circumcision.

    • Denis Solaro I must say, I was about 8 the day I caught my fore-thingy in the zip of my jeans. To this day I can't tell if saved me from cutting what's underneath or if it got caught in the zipper because it was there.

    • Matt Crowley The "cleanliness" argument is easily rebutted by realizing that we don't extract newborn's fingernails because they will eventually need cleaning.

    • Denis Solaro I'd say it puts girls and boys on equal grounds. You don't excise girls to keep them drier and prevent HIV, you don't think labia is an evolutionary mistake and take it out.

    • Lee William Stevenson I had a long drunken discussion many years ago with a Jewish friend on the pros and cons of circumcision, we talked for hours drinking cold beer under the clear warm Greek night sky on the roof of the house we were living in..

      I don't remember a blo
      ody word! only that it was a great evening! But the impression I came away with was that it was neither here nor there, he seemed happy to be cut, and I was happy not to be. ( Although some of the circumcision rituals REALY need looking into!)
      At the end of the day, I suppose it's a bit stupid, but for me there are bigger stupidities I can spend my time worrying about.

    • ( and I have also caught the bloody thing in my zipper, only once! Don't recommend it!)

    • Spoony Quine It's hard to say, Denis, but then again, whose idea was it to use zippers for pants?!

      Indeed, i think the attitude of 'female circumcision is bad and male circumcision is good', because their anatomy is different, just doesn't hold up to scientific sc
      rutiny.

      I've always wondered about that, Matt, esp because so many fundie Christians claim that circumcision is a Christian tradition. Also, Scientologists, who are adamant about preventing any sort of suffering during birth due to fear of thetans implanting themselves in the baby.

      Yes, but I think the big fear is getting infections, which isn't really founded. Especially since girls are far more prone to them and this culture does not recommend cutting off bits from them. Really, though, it's a message to boys that they aren't capable of cleaning themselves and need surgery to fix that.

      Lee, I agree there's a lot worse things to worry about, but that doesn't stop it from being a serious problem, especially where people are being taught complete lies about their own bodies just to cover up the damage that's been done to them.
    • Lee William Stevenson Ill be honest, my background of growing up in the industrial heartland of the UK in the 70's and 80's didn't expose me to so many circumcised cocks, ( I seem to recall one or 2 in the showers.. but it was never, and has never been a "thing" ), and indeed, without wanting to sound man-slutty, not one of the several partners I have had over the years ( mostly from the UK with a smattering of European and perhaps a couple of USA'ns) have ever commented one word on my foreskin... as I so badley punned earlier in the thread, it really is "no big thing" , in my life anyway. Perhaps its a cultural / age group thing?

    • Spoony Quine Also, Lee, just because some people like being circumcised is not evidence that they understand what's been done to them. Most people I know who prefer being circumcised say that the facts about it are just lies, that the parents know best, that God knows best, etc.

      ..,but didn't God create foreskins, according to them?

      Yes, America started the circumcision practice in the UK in the first half of the 20th century, but the bad effects of it [and WWII] encouraged that practice to stop.

      Also, refer to my post/previous comments/the video for more on the fact that it's a cultural/age group thing. That's all it is.

      Here in the US there are girls who would tell you that they won't give you a blow job unless you have the courtesy of getting circumcised for them.

      There is only one group larger than Muslims that circumcises boys, and that is Americans.

    • Lee William Stevenson Well, I don't mind giving it a wash, but that's a bit extreme, even if they were REALLY REALLY good!! 
      Seriously though, ( not a state that I easily achieve!), I had thought it was mostly Jews that deforeskinned their young lads, so I have learned something today.
      Surprising really, who would have thought that religious dogma or herd medical stupidity would trump over real facts!!!

    • Spoony Quine Exactly, yes, glad I have gotten my point across. Americans in the late 1800s were really into genital mutilation in boys and girls as a cure-all...
      ...Today, sex hookup websites list this as a status, and most say 'circumcised'.
      I've heard other girls say "have you ever had sex with a guy who was... UNcircumcised?!" It really is a big deal here.
       

      You can tell by the way people use language: circumcised penises are commonly considered to just be 'penises', and normal penises are called 'uncircumcised' because they're the outliers. In fact, [looking in many anatomy books, one would never guess of the foreskin's existence]. Like boys are just born that way!

    • Lee William Stevenson I just have to ask... Did you notice any difference with the one you found? I can honestly say I don't recall any time I have asked a girl this question... But I would imagine that the extra wrinkles can only help.. ( perhaps this is why ribbed condoms are popular? Making up for what the doctor removed?)

    • Spoony Quine...
      Circumcision makes a huge difference, and I covered that in comment #6. I abhor most circumcised penises for the painful reasons I mentioned.


      Indeed, ribbed condoms supposedly help make up for circumcision, but in my case they hurt even worse than regular condoms.

    • Frank Bodisch But Rattzz. Then they won't have to worry about getting certain forms of ear cancer.

    This is much better than the reception I got the first time I discussed this when someone brought it up in the Skeptic forum years before. I remember one woman said that neither her husband nor son had complained about being circumcised, so therefore no harm had been done.
    ` I said that if they don't have the information to know there's anything to complain about, then why would they? After all, there are women who don't complain about not having a clitoris because they are unaware of what they are missing. She didn't reply.

    At one point, I stated that men generally enjoy their foreskins and would never want to have theirs cut off, so therefore, they should be given "the right" to decide about keeping their own erogenous zones.
    ` This got a harsh argument from one poster, who said that infants should have "the right" to never have to suffer the horrible, horrible experience having a foreskin, and that he was glad to have had that "right".
    ` Even more, he said that if his foreskin magically reappeared, he wouldn't like it at all, but would not be able to handle the pain of cutting it off, and so would be miserable with it for the rest of his life.
    ` I asked him how he knew he would feel miserable to have a foreskin if he never had the experience of having one, and in fact didn't even know what one was. He didn't answer.

    As for the Skeptoid mailing list, which Denis mentioned above, I remember that one guy compared non-therapeutic circumcision of a healthy infant to a medical emergency of deciding whether or not to amputate a maimed child's burned-up legs.
    ` I pointed out that being born with a normal penis is not a medical emergency, and that circumcision in this case would be plastic surgery, not anything to do with medicine. Even so, he kept framing it as "parents need to make medical decisions for their infants". Amazing!

    Speaking of amazing, at The Amazing Meeting 2013, after Marty Klein's lecture about sexually suppressive cultural practices and propaganda, as well as an ethics talk by Michael Shermer, I overheard one man talking about his own circumcision.
    ` He was saying that Michael Shermer was right in his moral philosophy -- that you should ask the person how they feel about having something done to them before deciding whether it was right or wrong. He concluded that infant circumcision was good because he was happy to be circumcised.
    ` So, I tried to tell him what a foreskin was and he didn't believe me. Then he told me that if a foreskin really is the most sensitive part of the penis, that he was glad he didn't have one:
    ` He said that he didn't like anything to touch his penis, not even a sexual partner, because it was so painfully sensitive. This is a problem which is caused by circumcision, as I covered (har!) in my article.
    ` Exposing the glans, along with nerve damage caused by the operation, can cause lifelong pain. Foreskin restoration can actually fix this problem simply by internalizing the painfully sensitive areas.
    ` (It's odd how many online forums have discussions on this debilitatingly painful sensitivity following circumcision, yet the participants don't usually question the procedure, even though they say it is done for reasons that (as I've described in my article), are usually or always bogus.)
    ` Both this guy and me wanted to ask Marty Klein about this topic, although we couldn't find him. (However, I am planning to email Marty on this topic, so perhaps I will get an interesting response.)

    Although I have gotten flak for trying to correct misconceptions among the skeptic-types, most of them have been curious or supportive towards my efforts. The mixed response is because of cultural ignorance in America.
    ` I should also mention that an even more exaggerated ignorance occurs in South Korea, where the practice is even more popular. A skeptic resident of South Korea sent me this chunk of info on his home culture:

    Virtually no circumcision was performed before the year 1945 as it is against Korea's long and strong tradition of preserving the body as a gift from parents.[45] A 2001 study of 20-year old South Korean men found that 78% were circumcised.[46] At the time, the authors commented that "South Korea has possibly the largest absolute number of teenage or adult circumcisions anywhere in the world. Because circumcision started through contact with the American military during the Korean War, South Korea has an unusual history of circumcision."
    According to a 2002 study, 86.3% of South Korean males aged 14–29 were circumcised.[47] In 2012, it's the case of 75.8% of the same age group. Only after 1999 has some information against circumcision become available (at the time of the 2012 study, only 3% of Korean internet sites, using the most the popular Korean search engine ‘naver’, are against indiscriminate circumcision and 97% are for).[45] The authors of the study speculate "that the very existence of information about the history of Korean circumcision, its contrary nature relative to a longstanding tradition, its introduction by the US military, etc., has been extremely influential on the decision–making process regarding circumcision."[45]
    Curses be to mid-20th-century American values! And thank you Internet for helping to solve the problem, worldwide. One of the next Facebook posts on this topic was posted to my timeline by Denis Solaro, who is from France.
    ` The video is one of those College Humor videos where Adam Ruins Everything. It's called The Real Reason You're Circumcised, and it's pretty funny, and short -- worth a watch. Adam explains how, if you're circumcised but not Jewish, it's because of our dodgy history.
    ` Denis asked if that's the only reason, and I answered, "Yes. If it weren't for the Victorian beliefs that sexual pleasure causes disease, this would not have become an American tradition. Americans would think it was just as nutty as the Europeans do."

    In fact, what really triggered me to go back and finish the big 2013 article was a number of comments, both in the flesh and on Facebook. However, I would like to thank Jack Ward for being the one to break the camel's back.
    ` It was actually on the thread of a budding science professional, who had posted the same College Humor video. Alas, I was at a skeptic's meetup when Jack began to comment, which I saw from the screen of my new smart phone.

    His first comment is a bundle of propaganda about how circumcised penises are culturally perceived as cleaner and healthier. So? Still doesn't make it true, as I explained in my article.
    ` Also as I explained, the research that shows that circumcised guys get more blowjobs also shows that this is because they need more types of stimulation in order to get themselves off.
    ` However, the links that Jack posted are priceless:
    • Jack Ward My cousin didn't get circumsized and he had to have an emergency one done because of the infection. http://www.circumstitions.com/Iowa.htmlAnd yes. Women prefer it. Not only that. Gay men do as well. It's seen as cleaner, neater, and healthier. In fact we have evidence that shows circumsized men get more blowjobs.
    He actually linked to a rebuttal of a small survey in a location of the U.S. where circumcision is more common. This survey does not reflect the cultures in most of the world, and only includes women who had just given birth to a healthy boy.
    ` They were asked some biased questions about their sexual partners and whether or not they chose circumcision for their child. What I found most interesting is the language and cultural bias of the 'Iowa study' authors.
    ` They actually point out that a man's circumcised penis may be looked at as sexually attractive by others, but never once address how the man may feel about it himself:
    One idea that has been overlooked is that the penis is a sexual instrument, not just a passageway for urination. [The authors fail to follow through on this idea, that it is a sexual instrument that belongs to a particular person, or that its foreskin is integral to its sexual function. Their entire focus is on what his mother, who has - we may hope - no sexual interest in it, thinks about its sexual function.] For example, circumcision at puberty in nonliterate cultures is in some ways a sexual recognition of the emerging man (Bettelheim, 1954; Money, Cawte, Bianchi, & Nurcombe, 1970; Kitahara, 1976). The permanent exposure of the glans of the penis renders it a sexual tool.
    [An accurate observation. And is it not extraordinary that in a literate society, people might seriously consider surgically modifying the penis of a baby in order to render it, full-time and life-long, a more visibly "sexual tool"? Many men might not want their penis looking like a "sexual tool" whenever it is exposed - in the shower with other men, for example.]

    ...She concluded that circumcision could be an acceptable practice based on cultural values, and that the health care delivery system could be a more "perceptive cultural broker" with regard to honoring a society's view of beauty. [Yes, this is a most extraordinary conclusion. In what other realm might a health care delivery system even dream of "honoring a society's view of beauty" by performing surgery on a healthy baby, quite regardless of that person's view of beauty?]
    The gross statistical flaws and poor controls of this study are pointed out quite thoroughly -- for example that only 45 of the 127 women surveyed were experienced with both circumcised and intact sexual partners.
    ` On top of that there are inaccurate factual statements, such as that smegma must be cleaned frequently. How did this article even pass peer review?

    Probably the most ludicrous paragraph of the paper starts with: "While the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis can be retracted, the circumcised penis exists in exposed beauty whether flaccid or erect." Clearly, the authors have their own sexual tastes!

    The rebuttal itself concludes with:

    [Excluded from this discussion is any reference to medical ethics, to any erogenous qualities residing in the foreskin itself - and hence to the sexuality of the person most directly concerned - or to the human rights of the person whose penis it is. As mentioned, there is no consideration of risks, complications or any other negative consequences of circumcision.

    It seems clear the authors have their own cultural investment in circumcision, which they are desperately attempting to rationalise here.

    For an adult to even
    touch a child's genitals in order to satisfy the adult's sexual agenda satisfies most definitions of child sexual abuse. Imagine the above study for a moment - but asking the fathers of girl babies.]

    Exactly. If this wasn't creepy enough, Jack's next comment led me to an even creepier revelation:
    Jack Ward: Let's take a look at the Badger study in Australia. Where this preference continues. http://www.circinfo.net/socio_sexual_aspects.html
    Circumcision - A circumcised penis was favoured by women for appearance and hygiene. (Furthermore,...
    CIRCINFO.NET


    Ah yes, the website of Brian Morris, an unqualified pro-circumcision doctor who has created a fake scientist named Pierre LaCock in order to support his claims. After leering at some of the Gish Gallop on CircInfo.net, I soon found out more than I ever thought I would learn about this alleged "James Badger".
    ` I tried looking for him at the University of Sydney directory, but he wasn't on it. Does he exist? According to CircWatch:
    "Circlist (a website and discussion group for men who sexually fantasize about performing and receiving circumcisions) identifies James Badger as one of its members and has 6 surveys by Badger on different aspects of circumcision, such as masturbation, urination, emotions, attitudes, etc."
    If that wasn't enough, James Badger seems to be a pen name of someone closely affiliated with Brian Morris (who himself lacks the medical credentials to be authoritatively speaking on circumcision in the first place):
    "Morris’ book “In Favour of Circumcision” reveals that James Badger is a pen-name for the purposes of the Forum survey and debate in general....
    According to Robert Darby, historian interested on the topic of circumcision, James Badger is really Guy Cox. This seems to be supported by Morris’ diverging attribution of the author of the aboutcirc.org website. It seems ironic then, that Guy Cox, on his paper about the function of the foreskin, would quote James Badger’s survey and thank him for authorizing the use of his data. If they are really the same person, this would be disrespectful of the general public."
    Aboutcirc.com has a section for book reviews, and one of the books is called “airport encounter” by James Badger, described as “a light-hearted story about an Australian choirboy and his friends, this books follows the life and loves of a group of boys and girls as they grow from children into teenagers. Circumcision is a major theme as, naturally, is music. It is quite sexually explicit at times“. 
    Even crazier is this website, which is owned by Guy Cox (as revealed by his P.O. Box number on the administration page):
    The website is called boyguard.com and offers a product for boy chastity. The purpose of the website seems to be to promote this product to control children’s sexuality, aided by “high and tight” circumcisions. 
    The site states: “We are strongly in favour of circumcision for all boys. (…) If you are considering circumcision for your boy, make sure it is done properly, with the foreskin completely removed. The glans (knob) should be completely uncovered and there should be no surplus skin on the shaft of the penis. Otherwise the hygiene benefits may not be fully realized. (…) So the skin will stretch to allow for the firmest erection, and this is the desired outcome – the skin should be stretched tight when the penis is erect.
    It was also “James Badger” who on April of 2013 announced to the inter-circ Yahoo Group to the existence of the Boyguard website, while pretending not to have any relation to it.
    Wow. Besides the fact that the "Badger study" is very poor and full of misinformation, I think this investigation pretty much destroys its credibility.

    Our Facebook commenter Jack Ward then posts some "facts":
    Women with circumcised lovers were more likely to reach a simultaneous climax - 29% vs. 17% of the study population grouped across the orgasmic spectrum of boxes for ticking labeled "together", "man first", "man after" and "never come"; some ticked more than one box. (Could the superior response involve psychological factors? ... Could it be that more circumcised men have a better technique? ... Or could other factors be involved?)
    • Women who failed to reach an orgasm were 3 times more likely to have an uncircumcised lover. (These data could, however, possibly reflect behaviors of uncircumcised males that might belong to lower socio-economic classes and/or ethnic groups whose attitudes concerning sex and women may differ from the better-educated groups in whom circumcision is more common.)
    • A circumcised penis was favoured by women for appearance and hygiene. (Furthermore, some women were nauseated by the smell of the uncircumcised penis, where, as mentioned in another section earlier, bacteria and other micro-organisms proliferate under the foreskin.)
    This is basically just some of the tripe on Morris' website. So, of course, I step in...
    • Spoony R Quine Sorry I'm having trouble with my phone wrote a huge thing. I should just write a blog post and link to it [which is exactly what I did later!]

      I learned that [foreskins existed] when I was 20 . I was horrified that I could not find info about them without medical texts....
      I am at a skeptics meetup can't really write anyway


      The most sensitive part of the penis is the foreskin. It is a terrible thing to waste, I cannot have sex with a man who is circumcised because the friction is so severe. And I can't find men in America with a foreskin. And the misinformation about foreskin in this culture is sickening, it's not even in a lot of anatomy books.

      Circumcision had horrified me. It's banned in Calif and Canada and various European cultures [on the grounds that it is perceived as a form of cruel genital mutilation of helpless infants].

    • Jack Ward I'm from Canada. Trust me its not banned. Nor is it sickening. Nor is it mutilated. Nor is it cruel.

      I feel badly for you Spoony. Never heard of that before. Most women I know prefer circumsized men by far.
       
    Wow, he feels "badly"? (An effect of circumcision for sure!) It seems as though he's saying that he feels bad for the fact that I prefer intact penises. As though such a thing is to be looked down upon!
    • Spoony R Quine Damn this phone sucks . Can't type...
       

      I was trying to write that circumcision was medicalized in Victorian america, it spread to a few cultures, but the top two groups that do it are Muslims and Americans. Europeans are horrified by circumcision, they regard it the same as female circumcision, they don't do it.

      It's so sad that people in America don't know what a foreskin is or its function.


    • Jack Ward It's even more sad that we are working hard to respect women with what they do with their bodies, but we can't respect men for their own choices.

    • Spoony R Quine How is holding down a baby and tearing the foreskin off his glans not cruel? [He didn't choose that...] They develop ptsd, and sometimes infections, even death or loss of penis. How is that not cruel? 

      I don't respect people who chop off the most sensitive part of a baby's penis. It is not the parents penis, it's the baby's.
    • If someone chopped off part if my genitalia I would not respect them, I would sue them

    • Jack Ward Okay... As a man who has everyone he knows (IN CANADA) circumsized, all my children (3 boys) and the like. I find your comments particularly ignorant and offensive because you have no idea. You don't want circumcision. Fine. Don't do it. Please stop making ignorant judgements about other people's junk.

    • Spoony R Quine I've studied it for years, medical journals, medical encyclopedias. I understand it is a cultural practice based on ignorance. They medicalized it to desensitize penises, the foreskin is the most sensitive part of the penis.
      The is practice spread to countries like canada, it is a federal crime to do it in Canada but not many people enforce the law.

    • Please do not make judgments about foreskins; you have never seen one, yet you assume that foreskins are bad? All guys I know here in the USA are circumcised, I practically have to find European guys to have sex with. They are horrified by circumcision

    • I do know guys here who want their foreskin back. I talked to one guy who was circumcised as an adult, he lost so much sexual sensation that he was impotent for six months, made somewhat of a recovery, but sex will never be as good as when he had the most sensitive part of his penis.

    • Jack Ward Well you need to study it some more. You are completely out to lunch on this. I'm sorry. Take it from someone who knows. You're absolutely wrong. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/.../infant-circumcision...
    This article basically says, "But what about all those religious people who don't want to be discriminated against for their beliefs? Besides, male circumcision is only as harmful to infants as ear-piercing!"
    ` Wait -- the most sensitive part of anything is not torn off in ear-piercing -- in fact, no flesh is lost at all -- so the argument does not follow.
    ` Also, the sexual functions of the foreskin are not mentioned, and problems caused by circumcision are said to be nonexistent, although there are many, as I've discussed in my article.

    I commented back to him in response that there are some doctors in Egypt trying to medically legitimize the cutting off the tiny clitoral foreskin of girls.
    ` It's not nearly as serious as male circumcision, but I would never do it myself or impose it upon any girl any more than I would force it on a boy.

    Also, how could anyone "know" about foreskins because they are ignorant of what having one is like? It's like saying that you know what it's like to see because you are blind.

    The crazy, however, is strong with this one, as is the "you've offended me!" card. This is just as outrageous as some things I've heard religious or woo fanatics say when their beliefs are criticized by others:
    • Jack Ward And I've never met quite so obvious a case of sexism where a woman is telling a man what he should be doing with his body before.

    • Spoony R Quine The American Medical association, the Canadian Pediatric Society and their counterparts in other countries don't accept this as a beneficial practice. It is based on cultural beliefs. If you go to most countries , even australia, they won't even bring it up if you're having a baby.
      It's sexist that foreskins are being discriminated against. 

    • If a man wants to do it to himself, that's fine by me. I am against people doing it to tiny children who have no idea why they are experiencing such pain, and have sexual consequences for the rest of their life.


      You really ought to read some medical papers on foreskins.

    • Jack Ward Like I said. You don't want it done. Then don't do it to your own husband or children. Let parents and people do their own thing and stop imposing your confused beliefs upon them.
    First of all, he didn't notice that I said that I have no problem with a man making his own decision: What's important to me is that other people do not impose partial amputation on someone else's penis.
    ` Then he says, "Don't do it to your own husband"?! Now I'm really confused -- does he think it's okay for a woman to force her husband to be circumcised, as well as her son? How can anyone think this is empowering toward males?

    I had gone well beyond the point of wishing that I knew how to cut and paste links from my new phone -- and especially had wished that I had completed the article that I had started.
    ` Nevertheless, I felt somewhat offended that, in my attempts to defend men's choices for themselves, he said I was doing the opposite and was therefore sexist!
    • Spoony R Quine Why do you think I'm sexist? I'm against violence on children. You seem to be ignorant of most men in the world who are against circumcision. They have foreskins, they know foreskins are desirable, they don't believe this propaganda. Are they sexist?

    • Chopping off your own erogenous zones is fine, but I'm against chopping other people's erogenous zones against their will.

    • I have evidence of all this but can't link to it. I'd better go , am missing my skeptic meetup.
    When I finally got home from the meetup, I got online and typed:

    Spoony R Quine Jack Ward, I am amused that you posted an anti-circumcision article from circumstitions. I suggest you read more of their material:

    http://www.circumstitions.com/


    The case against infant circumcision and for genital integrity for all sexes, viewed from many angles....
    CIRCUMSTITIONS.COM

      • How is cutting this off not harm?

        " The glans of the circumcised penis is less sensitive to fine touch than the glans of the uncircumcised penis. The transitional region from the external to the internal prepuce is the most sensitive region of the uncircumcised penis and more sensitive than the most sensitive region of the circumcised penis. Circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of the penis. "

        ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17378847
      • Have you ever seen a diagram like this? It compares the sensitivity of circumcised with intact penises.

        Red and purple are most sensitive. Where are the red and purple? Do you understand what this means? Do you see the problem with cutting off the red and the purple parts?

      As I've said (and you've ignored this) I don't have a problem if a man or woman wants to mutilate him or herself -- in any way. I believe that both men and women should have a right to choose whether or not to chop off their own most sensitive erogenous zones, or any other body part.

      I will stand up for unconsenting children, boys or girls, from having their foreskins (prepuces) or more removed. I don't discriminate against baby boys just for being born with normal, healthy genitalia. [Note: I also don't discriminate against children with abnormal genitalia.]

      Ripping the foreskin off an infant, which is fused to the glans, and crushing it, causes lasting emotional distress, changes in pain perception, PTSD-like symptoms, and permanently reduces penile function. The only cultures in which sexual partners prefer the circumcised penis is in cultures WHICH ALREADY DO THIS. In cultures where people do not do this, they prefer normal intact penises.

      Also, some men/lesbians gag when it comes to giving women oral sex -- indeed, women have far wetter and nastier genitalia then men, and are much more likely to have something pathological growing within.


      In some cultures, the men prefer the women to be circumcised in some fashion, whether it's the foreskin or the whole clitoris. Should that be used as a 'reason' to promote circumcision of female infants?

      You gotta be trollin' me... circumcision is one of the big men's rights issues.

      Someone just sent me this video of this Canadian men's rights activist.
      He brings up a lot of scientific findings, from long-term infant reactions, long-term sexual effects, how many infants needlessly die and have other unintended effects such as loss of penis, etc. And of course he mentions female genital mutilation. 

      He also reviews the history of how the religious rite of circumcision became medicalized as an anti-masturbatory practice in Victorian USA. (That spread to a few other countries later on, such as Canada). I think he's got it right on the money, at least with this topic.

      Watch this video and tell me I'm sexist. Go ahead. Do you think he's got his facts wrong? Do you think he hates men or is trying to protect infants? What do you think his motivations are? 

      The Truth About Circumcision

    And that, my friends, is what spurred me to finish The Foreskin: Why is it such a secret in North America? Immediately, I posted it on Facebook, as well as the comments thread of a video of parents getting their baby tattooed.
    ` The Facebook user whose thread it was said that she had no idea of all this stuff and: "I read most of that article and I'm blown away. Thanks for the share. I also reposted it and said penis several times." And thus, the fun started.

    I have sent the link to my article to Jack Ward, since he was such a huge inspiration to me, although I'm not expecting any response.

    In closing, I'd like to post some more upbeat/crazy anecdote-type Facebook comments, originally from July 11, 2011.
    ` It was when I first posted the video An Elephant in the Hospital, in response to a couple having their adopted son circumcised, allegedly based on Catholic requirements. (Huh?) It only stirred up hatred in them and they never watched it.
    ` A man from Australia, however, did give it a go. He said...
      • Matthew McGuigan I watched about 10 minutes of it and got pretty bored. It was like listening to evolution for beginners. I didn't realise you still did that crap over there. Good thing for me that I live in a country with a capital named Darwin I suppose.
        July 11, 2011 at 3:22am

        I replied:
      • And yes... this crap is still popular over here in bassackwards America, home of many foreskin-phobes. That's why most of the guys didn't raise their hands at the beginning...
        ...A girl I know who was terrified of foreskins said that she had sex with a French guy, and when I told her that he would likely have a foreskin, she looked horrified and told me it was too dark to have seen, and said she was glad she didn't see any foreskin and never wanted to see one.
        ` I told her that foreskins weren't all that bad and she said she didn't want guys to have them because they grossed her out. I told her that wasn't fair because they're a major erogenous zone and she said, "But as long as you cut it off a baby, they don't feel a sense of loss and don't get upset over it, so that makes it okay."

        Yes, really.

        Later on, I [was having a long conversation with] two other girls who hadn't met one another beforehand and one of them said, "Have you ever had sex with an... UNcircumcised guy?" Like it was so bizarre! And I sort of gave them this lecture, and they both came up with the same justification:
        ` "When a baby is born handicapped, it doesn't know any better, they grow up not knowing what it's like not to be that way. It's not really bad being handicapped, it's just different. It's okay to be that way. So, as long as you cut a boy's foreskin off before he knows what it's like to have one, that makes it okay too."

        So yes, we still have this crap over here because of this idiocy going around, and even weirder stuff than that. I highly recommend Penn and Teller's Circimcision episode for the revelation of more pathetic ignorance going on here, and dick jokes:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2ulSYXE-8M

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBXm_N-Fhe8&feature=related

        Yay for Darwin, BTW.

        July 11, 2011 at 9:36pm ·


      • Matthew McGuigan It's rarer over here in guys under 40. Really rare in under 20s now. It used to be, "the family must have a matching set of penises." But that's changed now, and you have to site religious grounds to get it done (in general, but theres always exceptions)
        July 12, 2011 at 4:35am · 

      • Spoony Quine
        Interesting! I'm glad things have changed. Over here, there's still a lot of 'matching penises' stuff going on.
        ` Also, there's so many people who think that normal, intact penises are ugly and just don't want to even look at them, even if it's on their child, so they 'fix' it. There are also literally guys getting rejected by women BECAUSE they have a foreskin! And they [the women] don't think that's shallow at all, they think it's rational!

        Speaking of religious grounds, I used to live behind a urology clinic and one day I was walking my cat in the back alley and this lady with her four year old son come walking up and she says, "Hi, my other son's being circumcised."
        ` I was like WTF? I asked why and she repeated over and over in this dreamy voice, "It's okay, we're all different." And then she started telling me about how open-minded she is and how much she finds that religions are interesting, especially this woman she met who believed in 'the scarab beetle'.
        ` She said that she had gotten the son in hand circumcised when she converted to Born Again Christianity, saying that it's a religious requirement, which she said surprised her, and that now it's the baby's turn. THEY didn't convert,  because they were too young [to understand what religion is], but she imposed that on them! No doubt she brought him outdoors because the baby was screaming his head off.
        ` I explained to her a bunch of things about circumcision and she agreed to look all that stuff up, and as she was walking away, she said, "I understand what you mean about what if he converts and doesn't want to be circumcised anymore, but I believe that God will heal him up."
        ` Really. Like... REALLY. As Evan Bernstein has said to similarly bizarre stories I've told him, "Wow... just wow...."

    15 comments:

    1. "Also, such a concern of HPV should be outmoded, since there is now an effective vaccine against it."
      I think you should investigate before making this statement!

      ReplyDelete
    2. I haven't read every word here so this may already be said. The foreskin ought not be removed until the 8th day (as mentioned in the Holy Bible). Why? because the blood clotting factors in a new born are not developed enough to stop bleeding from this procedure. This may explain the "pain" issue if this procedure done before the 8th day: or if profuse bleeding is also a problem. I have no other comment either for or against, I have enjoyed the information in the article. I understand circumcision today is done before babe goes home which if obviously before the 8th day hence severe bleeding problems in many.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. That same 'holy bible' says that Jesus stated it was the circumcision of the heart (spiritually speaking) obviously not taking any of it LITERALLY... it is a metaphor. Dig deeper and read that book at its depths. You will learn so much more then anything you will get in the literal. God is all about us BEING WHOLE!!

        Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      ReplyDelete
    4. MGM is about social control. Seriously. It's an emotional lobotomy, an injury to family cohesion and community self-organization, the latter of which is anathema to centralized social control. It's not an accident that it was the mark of a slave in biblical times. See:
      http://thoughtcrimeradio.net/2014/02/the-war-on-empathy-love-and-family/

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I think you're right about it being social control. Although I would consider the website that you cited to have a distinct 'paranoid' streak, I do agree that propaganda about the importance of violence, taxation, genital mutilation, religious guilt, celebrity stupidity, consumerism, etc. are key to herding the farm animals -- there is nothing paranoid about that!

        Are you really Rich Winkel? I like this article, and intend to finish it later on today:

        http://members.tranquility.net/~rwinkel/MGM/primer.html

        Delete
    5. Bar none, this is the BEST (exquisitely researched, articulated) background I have ever seen on the topic of male circumcision. While I was at the GreenMedInfo site today...and knew that clicking on "The Foreskin: Why Is It Such a Secret in America?" would likely be an eye-opener, I have to reveal that it literally reduced me to a bawling mess of tears. In other words, I can't thank the author enough for what she has so impressively brought to the forefront of our awareness about this life-promoting and pleasure-inducing bodily appendage.

      As one who lost her mother by age 21 (so, no maternal counsel) and then as a 25 y/o pregnant woman in 1972 with our first born, there was never one prompt during all those nine months with the MD about what we might like to consider, in advance, about the potential of having a son and allowing circumcision or, not. In those days, there were no ultra sounds to find out the baby's gender before birth and so, on that day...soon after our son's arrival, we were asked if we wanted him to be circumcised? To which I asked for detail and for the most part, the attending MD (not my primary) said it was more for hygiene and was quite a common (meaning simple) procedure that would not cause any lasting pain for our child. So, while knowing my husband was circumcised (many years later we learned his mom was Jewish, but even until death, she'd kept hidden) and while in a Catholic (!!) hospital and feeling exhausted and intimidated by the white coat authority or more so, in wanting to 'trust' that expertise, we ended up agreeing to this procedure for our son. And for the next three months I can assure that, due to his fussiness, inability to develop routine sleep patterns, inability to suckle, and drawing up of legs as though he was in great pain...we knew early on that he was a "colicky" baby. In turn, this incited hourly stresses for me to point that I was never getting adequate sleep and then my ability to produce enough milk to nurse was compromised (had him on formula by two mo.) and this was after I'd enjoyed an awesome pregnancy (no issues) and was truly ecstatic to be a Mom. I mean, none of these behaviors made a lick of sense as was based on his first nine months in the womb. As I have since learned, there is one more semester (the 4th) for an infant to navigate which is about the first three months of development 'outside' the womb...and to think of what we inadvertently allowed during this still most vulnerable time, I have felt only greatest remorse and guilt.

      This month our son will reach 43 and so will his own son turn one year, but if there is any saving grace for me to be eternally grateful for...it is akin to the fact that he and his wife did not circumcise our grandson and neither did my younger sister do so with her son who recently turned 21. In stark contrast to what had evolved for our son, we gave birth to a daughter two years later who from the start, slept all the time, never suffered "colic" and was the happiest, most good natured child we'd ever seen. Unlike her brother, she never threw a tantrum, never seemed uncontrollably angry and never retreated to be off by herself.

      In my heart of hearts, I know without a doubt...how that seemingly 'simple' procedure of his earliest and unnecessary mutilation in infancy has served to challenge our son in a myriad of ways (physically/emotionally/viscerally) and if I had somehow been more connected or better counseled...this would have NEVER been considered, let alone imposed.

      Again, I can't thank the author enough for being candidly compassionate and curious enough to delve deep about a topic we all should be aware of...primarily because no matter the superficial justification (religious, hygiene, social mores, etc), there will be both initial and life-long adverse effects for every male child at some level, even if they fail to recognize this earliest connection.

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      1. Thanks for sharing your story. It seems likely that your son's colic probably was caused by the circumcision -- and kudos for you to realize this, as most people in this situation probably don't. Congrats on your kids having kids, and not passing this tradition on to them. I take it that you talked to them about this?

        I am dedicated to educating people about important topics such as this, so thanks, your review means a lot to me. :-)

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    6. I sent it to Seth Rogan. Since he is apparently not afraid to handle sensitive topics, he could have a ball with it and do some good at the same time. Ridicule is extremely effective as an educational tool. HelenBinRI

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    7. Could some of you support Chase at #Saving Chase #Free Heather from Maurene White FarReach FB and. Org, downed by a creep pro-circ server

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    8. I have nephew got circumcision in born age that in child type but full confusion what i will do this problem when critical type and while do this start searching i got one site that also good information....
      http://www.pediatriconcall.com/fordoctor/diseasesandcondition/article.aspx?artid=9

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    9. As a man circumcised at six years and suffering from the consequences (anorgasmy is a word, right?) I cannot express just HOW THANKFUL I am for your article and the position you take.

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    10. I'm clearly against routine male circumcision (and it shows how bad the American health system is) but this article looks a bit sexist (and it contains some lies).

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    11. People who want to know more about the Circumcision surgery and it's risks then you can follow the given link and read out full post. We shared all the major details over this blog post.

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