Thursday, April 06, 2006

Foreskin

Just a head's up (no pun intended), I intend to talk about penises. This is not porn. there will be one mention of my own penis, but only in passing. If penises make you uncomfortable, you should take a look at my archives or the blogs in my sidebar.

A while back, I got into this TV show called Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, one of the reasons I've maintained my subscription to showtime. It's a terrific show, tackling interesting issues from a common sense point-of-view (also a libertarian atheist point-of-view). But one issue in particular stuck with me and is causing dischord in the PCIF household.

See, Red and I are having a baby boy. Sometime before Red became with child, I saw the epsiode "Circumcision" during season 3 last year, which presented some good arguments against the practice. I wanted to know more, so I looked it up in MSN Encarta and read sociologist Edward O. Laumann's "The Circumcision Dilemma", orginally published in Scientific American. If you can get a hold of it, I highly recommend it, though I can't find any good linkage; it will open your eyes.

Generally speaking the list of resons not to is longer than the list of reasons to go ahead with it. Every pro has an equal or bigger con. I think (I hope) everyone can agree for starters that a procedure involving sharp instruments of any kind near a baby boy's penis holds considerably more risk than leaving that penis alone. It's a medically unnecessary procedure; no anesthetic is used. There is no statistically significant relationship between circumcision and cancer or urinary tract infections (depending on who you ask, of course, but I can't find anything reputable that makes that assertion). The American Association of Pediatrics has recommended against circumcising newborn boys since 1999.

The best argument against it, and what conviced me that I shouldn't do it to my son, was when they showed the "procedure". It was horrifying. I can't believe people do this to babies. There is a picture here, if you have the stomach for it: http://www.moonland.com/Rights/Pain.jpg. From the National Organization of Circumcision Resource Centers:
Most parents don’t know what is actually done to a baby when he is circumcised. The baby is placed spread-eagle on his back on a board and his arms and legs are strapped down so that he can’t move. His genitals are scrubbed and covered with antiseptic. His foreskin is torn from his glans and slit lengthwise so that the circumcision instrument can be inserted. Then his foreskin is cut off.
Some do it for religious purposes, but that doesn't make it any less barbaric. This is one of many reason I have qualms about religiosty; any person that says God needs you to cut bits off your baby is to me someone who can't be trusted.

Some advocates, like Red, also are concerned about cleanliness and aesthetics. As far as cleanliness, Red said she doesn't want to have to pull it back and wash. After all, I'm going on deployment and she shouldn't be left with that extra bit of work to do while I'm gone.

First off, that's not how you clean it (forcible retraction (.pdf file) is a bad thing, and also how circumcision begins). Second, the foreskin is a self-cleaning system. From Birthing the Future's FAQ about circumcision:
An infant's foreskin is non-retractable and should not be forcibly retracted for cleaning. It does not require any particular care. By the age of 18, most men's foreskins will have become retractable, and can be cleaned by sliding the foreskin back, rinsing with warm water, and letting the foreskin slide forward again. It is not necessary to use soap or any harsh cleansers. The intact penis is a self-cleaning organ that produces smegma (a creamy substance also produced by females, containing dead cells and immunological substances) to combat infection. See the Science Library, under "Proper penile hygiene for intact men."

Following circumcision, the penis requires careful attention and monitoring. In the absence of complications, the wound takes as long as ten days to heal. During this time, the child may have difficulty sleeping and breastfeeding. In addition, there is a risk of infection, adherence of the bandages to the wound, and abnormal healing.
Furthermore, I'm only going to be gone for five months, but circumcision is forever! She's telling me she'd inflict the unanethetised slicing off of sexually sensitive skin from my son out of convenience. Must be nice to be able to sacrifice others body parts because you don't like them very much. WebMD has a good article about caring for your young son's uncircumcised penis. It's not such a chore that it requires mutilating your baby.

And aesthetics?! You want to cut off bits of the baby because it looks better? Because you're afraid of other kids teasing him in gym class? They're the ones who are abnormal, aren't they?

Hell, when I was born, doctors just did it automatically. Parents never gave it a second thought. No, I don't remember it happening to me (thankfully), but I think we'd think twice about circumcising babies if they did remember!

Think about it, it's considered inhumane and abusive to circumcise girls. I'll grant you that female circumcision quite terrible, but it doesn't make male circumcision any less so. There is also evidence to indicate that the reason that a high percentage of women in the world have trouble reaching orgasm by vaginal stimulation alone is because the vagina is built to admit an uncircumcized penis.

Red has countered my arguements in the past with the hygiene issue. I suspect the risk is no greater than the risks of not keep the rest of the baby clean. She said that I can deal with pulling it back and cleaning and such. I said, "That's fine, if it comes to that, but if you can't think of a better reason to circumsize than your own personal convenience, then we're not cutting bits off the baby."

I also informed Red that circumcisions are sometimes botched and result in even worse mutilation, which seemed to grab her attention even if the fact that they are excruciatingly painful when done "properly" didn't. I don't know of the incidence of accidental mutilation, nor do I know of the incidence of reliablility of studies of urinary tract infections in uncircumcized boys. What I DO know is that the risks of circumsicion far outweigh any real or imagined benefits.

I'm worried about this, because I think I'm going to loose the argument for no other reason than Red is too stubborn to change her mind. She claims she read the Laumann article I printed for her. She told me to ask the doctor about it, but that's no help; they'll won't tell you anything about it other than it's your decision. I think I made our doctor uncomfortable when I asked! I lost the battle with my ex to keep her from piercing my daughter's ears when she was a baby. What is it with moms and performing body modification on their babies? Aren't they perfect just the way they are? Is it so damn hard to leave them intact?

There's plenty of other good info at NOCIRC and CIRP.

Obligatory pro-circumcison link. Ugh.

43 Comments:

Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden bloody well said...

04 06 06

Hey RB: I just had surgery to get the wisdom teeth out, so forgive me if I am incoherent! This is a near and dear subject to my heart. I used to be part of this group at SFSU called STUDENTS FOR GENITAL INTEGRITY. I left the group because the guy who started the group was too much of a leftist for me. He was more interested in protesting the war in Afghanistan than keeping deadlines for talks and I don't tolerate that in any capacity so we had to part company. However, his intentions ARE good and I invite you to look up some of the stuff he has to say. His name is Gregory Dervin and I think he has a Jewish background. He is very passionate about this issue and cries about it. Literally. The reason is the social injustice of taking away body parts unnecessarily AND without consent of the child. It is viewed as a human rights violation in many ways.

Interestingly enough, I did come across an article not too long ago that said that South African men who were circumcized had LESS OF A CHANCE OF CONTRACTING HIV!!! And cleanliness as well as the structure of the foreskin and its sensitivity all come into play. I think hundreds of thousands of nerve endings are lost when a boy is circumcized though! And although I actually feel that the statistical sample size was significant, I am still haven't throughly investigated the methodology.

I did give a talk on FGM in Africa and a strategy to address it,a long with this minor interview. Ultimately I realized the conclusion that many of these problems have to be solved from the inside out, and not the other way around. There are more stumbling blocks to reaching an FGM practising culture than a male circumsizing culture-in general. And a vocal opponent of non medicalized FGM in Africa once told me: "You send these peace workers and tell them to teach us how to stop female circumcisions...You think we want to listen to Westerners?" Since the practices of male and female circumsision are so pervasive and linked to ritual, many of these people seem to think that it is one of the last bastions of their rituals, so this is complex my dear RB. I am simply happy you have tackled it. You know I haven't see a Right Blog yet that did, that I can recall at the moment.

As a woman who likes men I have to admit that uncircumsized penises look like aardvarks to me. However that is because I have been socialized to find them less than attractive, as an American woman. I think that I have also been brainwashed to think of them as less clean. And this is even after I took the time to research the topic eh?

If I have a baby boy, I will be reluctant to cut off body parts if not necessary. And you know, Arthur C. Clarke in 3001 has a similar idea of the future. Warmest Regards.

06 April, 2006 19:02  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden bloody well said...

04 06 06

One more thing I wanted to mention was that in Africa where FGM is practised, it is GENERALLY women who perpetuate the process. I think RED IS wrong with this one, and you should point her to some of the resources you have found and on the Students for genital integrity page. We can no longer afford to blindly follow tradition and orthodoxies without question. Especially given that you are not religious, worldwide the practice is linked to religion and ritual in other capacities. It almost seems inconsistent with your beliefs?

06 April, 2006 19:07  
Anonymous Tony bloody well said...

Very well said.

The argument that circumcision makes the penis cleaner is nonsense. I'm glad you're pointing it out. If Red is so concerned, it might be useful to know that the vagina produces more smegma than an intact penis. Yet, we accept that it's self-cleaning and don't circumcise girls.

As for cleaning the foreskin, you're absolutely right; no extra care is needed other than preventing doctors and babysitters from retracting the foreskin. It's meant to retract on its own, over time... not at birth. This doesn't usually happen for a few years. Sometimes it can take until puberty and beyond. Considering that a circumcision wound would need to be cared for until it heals, the circumcised penis actually involves more effort until the boy is old enough to care for himself. Throw in the risk of infection, bleeding, and pain for the baby, it seems like a no-brainer.

As for UTIs, it's statistically true that circumcised boys get fewer than intact boys. However, both circumcised and intact boys get fewer UTIs than girls in the first year of life. With girls we treat them with antibiotics. With boys, we cut off their foreskins. That doesn't make sense.

Ultimately, convenience is not a valid excuse for cosmetic surgery. Children are going to cause grief and frustration and inconvenience. Better to let them do it with the body they're born with than to physically alter them to fit a parent's desired level of effort.

In case you haven't come across this already, studies show that circumcised boys have a lower pain tolerance at 6 mos. and beyond than intact boys and girls. Also, studies show that circumcised boys have trouble bonding with the mother and exhibit difficulty with breast-feeding. I've personally witnessed bonding and breast-feeding difficulty.

As an aisde, I found the episode of Penn & Teller on eBay as an Emmy consideration DVD.

06 April, 2006 20:09  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden bloody well said...

04 06 06

WEll Tony that may be but what about the study I cited regarding lessened HIV risks and circumcisions? Do you not think that might be a compelling reason to keep it around? I think it is a violation, but am accustomed to it and that study shows a positive thing...

06 April, 2006 22:45  
Blogger The Best [ Chance ] bloody well said...

Hey RoBo,


The Bible and Circumcision

In the bible Hebrew babies (Jewish) were circumcised at 8 days old. And, God told Abraham to have a circumcision and he was an old man. In Arab Muslim countries they circumcised boys at age 13 years old, because Ishmael was a son of Abraham and Abraham circumcised Ishmael at age 13 and Ishmael is the father of the Arab race.

This is why the west has circumcision RoBo it is based upon the bible. Circumcision was ordered by GOD, and circumcision is a sign of the covenant with GOD.

So GOD, told Abraham to circumcise himself and Abraham was an old man.

Then Abraham circumcised Ishmael at age 13 years old.

Then Abraham to circumcise Isaac at 8 days old.

Moses sons were circumcised also by their mother Zipporah.


Also RoBo most baby boys from all racial groups in America are circumcised before the age of three the Jews practice circumcision. The ancient Egyptians practiced circumcision also.

But in many eastern countries they are not circumcision in the western world in the result of Judaism meaning Abraham. Dirt and other infections can get in behind the skin if it is not circumcised. RoBo just go outside to the lobby while the circumcision is being done. Or go to the break room or go outside it is better that the baby have it now than later he will not remember it.


Circumcision is healthy ROBO.



BY Chance

07 April, 2006 02:09  
Anonymous Anonymous bloody well said...

Mahndisa,

The studies surrounding HIV and circumcision are fascinating but worthless when the discussion is routine infant circumcision. Babies aren't having sex on a regular basis, so their threat of exposure is rather limited. I suspect I'm right on that point.

As for adult circumcision, which is what the studies researched, I have no concern about it. If an adult male thinks his risk is great enough, and he believes he can't trust himself to wear a condom, circumcision may be useful to him. That's the only conclusion applicable to the United States. Of course, having the highest HIV infection rate in the industrial world, along with an overwhelmingly circumcised male populateion, I'm not sure how useful that conclusion really is.

I would never have chosen to be circumcised had I been given the choice. Had I been left intact, I would've been able to judge my risk, which is virtually non-existent. I'm in a monogamous relationship now, and have never engaged in risky behavior, i.e. one-night stands, unprotected sex, etc. So, again, my risk is essentially zero. How much is circumcision protecting me and any other responsible male in America from HIV? I'm fairly certain no medical experts are suggesting that men can now have unprotected sex, although many who see the study will fail to think, drawing the conclusion that they're protected. That's the ultimate outcome of treating infants as if they'll never learn about choice and responsibility.

As for being accustomed to it, that's not a sufficient reason. We were accustomed to slavery for several hundred years in the United States. That didn't make it right. We do what we know until we know better. Then we do better. We're at that point now. (Have been for some time now, but people are finally speaking out.) Routine infant circumcision is wrong. No amount of potential benefit can make it acceptable. Personal responsibility matters. In our society, so should bodily integrity.

07 April, 2006 07:43  
Anonymous Tony bloody well said...

That last comment was me.

07 April, 2006 07:44  
Anonymous Tony bloody well said...

Chance,

The Constitution is the law of the United States. The Bible is a fascinating document, but it is not legally binding. Nor is it a sufficient medical text by which to impose cosmetic surgery on unconsenting individuals.

07 April, 2006 08:19  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon bloody well said...

Biblical reasons for circumcision no longer apply. They were written when there was no running water and keeping clean was hard. I'm with you on this one, Matt. If you lose your battle with Red, it's not the end of the world but it would be sad.

07 April, 2006 12:45  
Blogger Gyrobo bloody well said...

Ancient religions are a funny thing. This is why we need some all-new modern religions, perhaps involving robots.

There's no problem that can't be solved using robots.

07 April, 2006 14:23  
Blogger The Best [ Chance ] bloody well said...

To Tony,

All I did was give the history of circumcision, nothing more and the history of it is the reason why the west and our laws. Use is and also many of our laws are based upon th bible.

07 April, 2006 15:57  
Blogger Robosquirrel bloody well said...

The thought of being forced to do this by my hard-headed wife is absolutely breaking my heart. I've tried reasoning with her, but I think most of us know that attempting to reason with one who refuses to listen to reason is futile.

Chance, you've provided nothing to the discussion except for the age-old bromide that everybody else is doing it, and it's been done for thousands of years. I want no part of a culture or society that directs parents to wound their newborn boys.

You've given no history; you've provided anecdotal relations of fictional tales. I'm unconcerned with the religious aspect of the practice, as they enter into neither my, nor my wife's, reasoning.

Tony, I appreciate your input. I made the same arguement to Red this afternoon and she just brushed it off. Contracting STDs has infinitely more to do with taking part in risky behaviors that it does with the presence or absence of foreskin.

What I continue to fail to understand about people in general is how they can be so closed-minded to new information; so unwilling to reconsider their closely-held views. There's no reason for Red to want to have my boy cut on except for that's just what you do to boys. I doubt she's ever seen an uncircumsized penis. She compares the gore to what she sees at the animal hospital and the procedure to correcting her own birth defects (cleft lip and palette). I just can't get through - and I'm afraid the only thing I'll be able to do about it is refuse to sign the consent form. I don't want to destroy my marriage over this.

Mahndisa, you're right, it's not going to be the end of the world, but I feel it's my responsibility to protect my son. How can I consider myself anything other than a failure at that, if I fail this first test of my resolve?

07 April, 2006 17:27  
Blogger Crazy Politico bloody well said...

Tough thing to deal with when the partners are on opposite sides of the issue.

Have you had a doctor talk to her about it yet? That might be one solution, or at least help with your dilema.

Good luck keeping him intact.

08 April, 2006 20:16  
Blogger Robosquirrel bloody well said...

The more we talk, the less either of us really has to say about it. Neither one of us seems likely to budge, and it's not like we can just give him half a circumcision and call that a compromise.

I suppose this is a revealing look at my marrigae; she's is consistently concerned with the short term (she has to deal with the cleaning; oh my God, how do we afford that house you just bought; etc.) and I look at the long term (if he really wants to modify himself, he's perfectly welcome to make taht decision later; prices continue to go up and we'll make money when we sell; etc.)

It's a conundrum. I have spoken to one doctor, who blushed and told me nothing useful. Doctors don't actually learn anything abotu the foreskin in medical school, judging by what I've read. Monday, she has a doctor appointment at which we'll try again (different doctor - love that Tricare!). We also have birthing class and I want to talk to the nurses at the birthing center, maybe show her the board they strap the baby down to (she doesn't believe that's done) talk about anesthetic or lack thereof and that kind of thing. We'll see how it goes.

09 April, 2006 05:56  
Blogger The Best [ Chance ] bloody well said...

To RoBo,


RoBo said: Chance, you've provided nothing to the discussion except for the age-old bromide that everybody else is doing it, and it's been done for thousands of years. I want no part of a culture or society that directs parents to wound their newborn boys.


Chance: I just gave the history DUDE! That was all nothing more I could do what a lot of these commenters did and that is go and look up under google and yahoo search engines and then come leave my expertise to you. I do not feel it is my place to help you make an important decision like this. Probably no other commenters either unless they are a medical doctor.


Chance: RoBo, I will say this look at all the men born in the west from all racial groups, especially America many of them have the foreskin cut. Now do they look like they are having after effects of pain from having the foreskin cut when they were little babies? No, well what makes you think yours is?


Robo may you should not be asking people on the internet such a private question about your son. Seriously, we are strangers; unless you know all of us personally we are strangers to you and you a stranger to us. You do not know what type of vices, character flaws, evil, secretively shame, regrets, sexual misconduct, lies we told, people we have hurt verbally, emotionally, or physically, short tempers, etc. We all have and yes all of your commenters here have some of these things. And many and all people of the internet have some of these things as well as yourself ROBO.


But yet you ask strangers, to help you make a very painful decision BRUH! And I said to myself I will not help in this area because if something comes out wrong me and those commenters who encourage this share some blame. So I gave stayed neutral and gave the history of circumcision and yes the reason we have circumcision in hospitals is because of religion this is where doctors got circumcision from.


Sorry man if I offended you that was the very thing I was trying to avoid.


Take care, RoBo




Chance

09 April, 2006 06:49  
Blogger The Best [ Chance ] bloody well said...

To RoBo,


You are right Doctors really don't learn anything about the forskin. Because Like Isadi, forskin cutting comes from religion and it was added to medical science that why a lot of Doctors are clurless when one ask them about cutting it.

They are just cutting out of a religious tradition that has been passed on for hundreds of years by Doctors who were religous. That' all nothing really more, it has just become a tradition to cut the forskin and many doctors don't even know that the origins of the tradition is based up religion and not medical science.




Take care, Robo



Chance

09 April, 2006 06:56  
Blogger The Best [ Chance ] bloody well said...

To Robo,


MANHOOD and Masculinity,


Chance: Let put it to you man if this is causing you so much inner pain then you to become more masculine and let her know how it is going to be. And yes, you let her know that there will be no more debating and arguing about this. I am serious DUDE! You will be shock at how she reacts and submit to your final answer on the matter.

RoBo the fact, that she is acting this way means to me that, you as a man have let her have her way too often.
You often take a second seat to her when she wants to argue about import or minor decision. You let he talk to you almost any kinda way. She debates heavily when you really want to have a different opinion.
Women are not turned on by men who always let them win most of the time. They want a man who is masculine and let them now this is how it is going to be and that is final. When love masculine men who take charge in important decision making situations. Yes you might have to put some base in your voice trust me she will follow you. Don’t let any other commenter male or female tell you other wise.

Don’t hit her but be firm and say to her you know this is it he is not going to be circumcised hands down. Or you might want him to be circumcised. But RoBo I definitely sense a masculinity problem in your situation. You might dislike me for this and may even call me names but I am telling you the truth.

From man to man.




Chance

09 April, 2006 07:13  
Anonymous Tony bloody well said...

Chance,

I wasn't trying to specifically attack you. I only wanted to show that the religious arguments, although persistent, aren't valid in a modern society. The Constitution protects adulterous women from being stoned, for example.

What irked me about your comment was this alone:

Circumcision is healthy ROBO.

Men can function without a foreskin, but it's not natural. Religion and every other excuse for it just perpetuates the idea that it's okay. It's not, for the ethical reasons listed above.

Then you offer this:

I will say this look at all the men born in the west from all racial groups, especially America many of them have the foreskin cut. Now do they look like they are having after effects of pain from having the foreskin cut when they were little babies? No, well what makes you think yours is?

I'm not 100% sure what you're driving at, but I still experience the negative effects more than 30 years later. I wouldn't have experienced them if my parents hadn't had me circumcised. That's why I comment when strangers ask such questions.

As for Robo asking, why not? What else is the internet for, if not to help spread accurate information? As Robo points out, most doctors learn little about the foreskin. If they don't know much, are they likely to offer well-rounded advice or to perpetuate the myth that the foreskin is just a flap of skin? Especially when you consider that most of them are circumcised themselves. Those doctors have the same human flaws you point out that internet commenters have, except they have the added prestige of an M.D.

So, with that basis, do you think parents are getting proper information for a non-medically necessary surgery, which is incorrectly labeled as parental choice? So many people want to go no further than expecting balanced information. Taking that to all things medical, how should a doctor give balanced, unbiased information on smoking? Should the doctor stay neutral? I don't think so.

Ultimately, this is a matter of liberty and individual rights for the boy. Parental choice should have no say in it unless circumcision is genuinely medically necessary.

09 April, 2006 07:31  
Blogger The Best [ Chance ] bloody well said...

To RoBo,


Shot Caller (decision maker)



Chance: Remember RoBo women will test the limits when in a relationship whether it be a girlfriend or just married wife. They will test the man to see how much he will let her get away with. Dude I am not joking with man. This is one of those test she is putting you through to see how far she can go meaning how much RoBo. Will let her get away with and how much will RoBo let her have her decision way.

Example if you let her keep getting her way when you RoBo disagree with her. Every time she wants to do something her way, she will say to herself. All I have to do is keep arguing with him and like an UN masculine man he will give in to may demands about certain things or he will compromise. And a compromise is a half defeat; the point is I still get my way over him.


Chance: RoBo put you foot down and let her know, that you are not going to budge on certain situations and issues that you totally disagree with. The more you put your foot down and say look this is my final decision on the issue and we are not going to do it OK! She is testing you RoBo seriously and you must win who ever gets the other one to constantly give in will be the stronger personality in the relationship. If you become more masculine in other firm in your decisions she will submit watch! Also she will be more sexually turned on this is a fact watch!


But Like I say you might choose the circumcision the point if you do. Do it because RoBo made the decision and not because he got punked into being feminine and said to keep the peace I will do as she wants. A lot of politicians etc out in society are being made feminine and weak by laws and women. Don’t count yourself among them RoBo. Also don’t let any other commenter male or female especially female come over to this blog and tell you I old you wrong. They will be liars because I told you right just ask other masculine men in society.


RoBo you are the Shot Caller (decision maker) in this relationship, you are the head and she is the neck (supporter). Don't ever let the roles get reversed you will regret it. So Rmemeber you are the Shot Caller (decision maker).





Chance

09 April, 2006 07:33  
Blogger The Best [ Chance ] bloody well said...

To Tony,


I understand you better now tony and yes I feel it should be the right of the parents.


Thanks, Tony



Chance

09 April, 2006 08:54  
Anonymous Tony bloody well said...

Chance,

I'm going to assume your two most recent comments to Robo are meant as humor, so I'll continue.

If you still think circumcision should be the right of the parents, you don't understand me at all. Do parents have the right to have their children tattooed? Both are permanent body modifications. Is there a difference, when both are permanent and medically unnecessary?

We don't accept that parents have the right to have any other medically unnecessary procedures performed on their children, and no ethical doctor will perform medically unnecessary procedures on children. Yet, we make this one exception, for little boys only, because it's been done for more than 100 years in America. That's wrong.

Children have a fundamental human right to bodily integrity. Amputating healthy body parts for any reason violates that natural right. The Constitution is supposed to protect that right for every American. As of now, it exempts boys from equal protection until they're 18 years old. That's wrong and must change.

09 April, 2006 09:18  
Blogger The Best [ Chance ] bloody well said...

To Tony,


I see what you are saying now.

09 April, 2006 13:35  
Anonymous Anonymous bloody well said...

What are you going to tell your circumcised son when he asks you why you didn't do more to protect his manhood as an infant?

09 April, 2006 19:29  
Blogger Nicki bloody well said...

Robo, I've seen the episode. I was mucho disturbed by the close-up of old man schlong with a weight on it!!!! YUCK!!!

But that aside...

What did strike me about the episode is even though Penn & Teller are very much against circumcision and state so unequivocally, the scientific evidence they bring forth (and I'm not talking about the freaky old man who bared his wrinkled winky for all to see) is very much inconclusive as to the advantages and disadvantages. The medical community seems quite a bit divided on the issue.

My uncle was not circumcised his entire life. Then he got ill, and went into the hospital and his penis got very inflamed and infected under his foreskin. They had to actually circumcize him at the hospital in order to save his penis. (OMG!!! I'm talking about my uncle's schlong!)

Seriously, it will bring no harm to your son. It's not a heartbreaking thing at all. It's all a matter of preference, really. We had my son circumcised because his mother (me) was born Jewish. He's no worse for the wear, believe me. LOL

But nonetheless, I can't see you being bullied into this decision. This should be a mutual agreement between the two of you. If you really feel strongly about it, I would urge you not to give up.

10 April, 2006 14:26  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden bloody well said...

04 11 06

WEll Robo:
You have to find a doctor who is sympathetic to your cause. There are some who still believe that it is necessary and will not hesitate to take Red's side in the debate. Ultimately, it is his body and he should be able to modify it if he wishes or not. You are right about that. Tony, I brought up the HIV study because it gives some indication as to the protection function that the foreskin has. I still haven't found anything else to justify its use though. And if I have a son, I will not hack anything off of him and my husband agrees. In time, I am sure we will look back and think of it as a barbaric practice.

If you and your wife cannot sort this out, you may wish to seek counseling. My husband and I went to a marriage counselor before the ceremony and it was about his attitudes on money. I believed the therapist was very helpful in showing different sides and helping us come to a happy medium.

My mother didn't pierce my ears when we were young for the same reason you are citing for anti circumcisions. I wasn't able to get them pierced until I could make the decision, this was followed up by a womenhood ceremony at thirteen going on fourteen. I look back and appreciate my parent's idealism.

Regarding the idiot's comments above, it is best to ignore him because there is no sense casting pearls to swine.

11 April, 2006 02:57  
Anonymous Danielle bloody well said...

Seriously, it will bring no harm to your son. It's not a heartbreaking thing at all. It's all a matter of preference, really. We had my son circumcised because his mother (me) was born Jewish. He's no worse for the wear, believe me. LOL

I'm going to respectfully disagree with this comment. I'd never questioned the practice of circumcision before I attended the bris of a friend's son. It was exceptionally disconcerting and I did find it heartbreaking.

Also, permanently altering a person's genitalia in infancy should not be based on preference. Unless there is a clear medical indication for removing a healthy, functioning, necessary body part of a child, personal preference shouldn't even factor into the equation. If he wants to go ahead and be circumcised when he reaches the age of maturity and consent, he can go ahead and do that. (But ask most any intact man if he would, and you'll hear a resounding, "ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?")

As for being "no worse for the wear," that's impossible to know until the child reaches sexual maturity. It's also impossible to predict what his future partner will or will not prefer. I know first-hand the effects that circumcision can have on a man. We cannot assume in childhood that the decision to circumcise at infancy will have no ill effects in adulthood. So who are we to make that decision?

The after-effects of circumcision in adulthood can be devastating. I can only imagine what it must feel like to have an important part of my body taken from me without my consent. The physical effects are obvious, but the emotional scars can be destructive. This is the crux of the issue, and the stem from which a passion on the subject grows. As parents (current and future), do we not want to protect our children from physical and emotional harm?

Robo, I'm curious. Has Red read (heh) any of these comments? Where is she on the issue right now?

11 April, 2006 08:40  
Anonymous Tony bloody well said...

Mahndisa,

I think we're in agreement, mostly, which is good. I apologize if my response came off as harsh It wasn't meant to be.

The HIV point is a valid topic within the circumcision debate. I know some circumcision opponents deny the findings, but I don't. The facts are the facts. The underlying principle is strong enough to defend against the subjective application of those facts. As I've said, I just think they're irrelevant when dealing with routine infant circumcision. If the boy decides that he's at risk when he becomes sexually active, it's something he can consider. That's what those studies reveal, and I'm fine with that.

11 April, 2006 09:22  
Anonymous Tony bloody well said...

Nicki,

I'd like to reference the same paragraph you wrote that Danielle responded to.

Seriously, it will bring no harm to your son. It's not a heartbreaking thing at all. It's all a matter of preference, really. We had my son circumcised because his mother (me) was born Jewish. He's no worse for the wear, believe me. LOL

If I asked my mother today about having me circumcised, she'd say the same thing you said, that almost 33 years later, I'm no worse for the wear. But I'd strongly disagree, based on my personal, negative experiences with my circumcision. Which of us is correct, me or my mother?

11 April, 2006 09:33  
Blogger Nicki bloody well said...

Let's put it this way. My son has never complained about not having a foreskin, nor does it stop him from constantly playing with his crotch. (What the heck IS it about 8 year olds and their constant desire to touch themselves???)

My dad got circumcised when he came to this country in his 40's. He wanted to do it because he was born in the USSR and was never able to exercise his religion. He has no problem with his circumcision. Same with my friend Alex, who made the decision to get circumcized at the age of 10. He's had it both ways, and sees no problem.

Yes, an argument can be made that it's not cool to do something like that to a baby, since they can't give consent. I can see it, and I respectfully disagree with it. But I personally know three grown men who have had it done -- at a time when they can feel and remember pain a lot more than a 6 day old infant can -- and are perfectly happy with it.

I can understand both points of view on this. And medical experts cannot and have not come to an agreement on the issue.

My point was more that they really need to talk about it some more, and it's not good for one partner in a marriage to bully the other if the other vehemently disagrees with the decision. My other point was that if she does convince him to do it, that it really causes no permanent damage or harm to the child.

11 April, 2006 13:17  
Anonymous Danielle bloody well said...

Nicki, I must respectfully disagree with you on this point:

My other point was that if she does convince him to do it, that it really causes no permanent damage or harm to the child.

As Tony has mentioned, his mother would have said the same thing at the time of his circumcision. Today, he must deal with the permanent damage done to his body. And it is damage. Like many other men who feel the same way, he cannot get his foreskin back. It is gone. Permanently.

You raise an excellent point with regard to your father. He was able to consent to their circumcision. Whether or not this experience was positive or negative for is not an issue, because he was able to give consent as an adult. I'd argue that 10 is too young, as in the case of your friend Alex, though, to give consent, since he had not yet reached the age of physical or sexual maturity, nor the age of legal consent.

I think that any person who values the rights to genital integrity (and isn't a complete nutter!) would agree that the right to circumcision is not the issue. It is the right of the individual to make the decision for himself at an appropriate age whether or not to have his genitals altered.

The female equivalent to male circumcision would be the removal the clitoral hood. Can you imagine how different your experience as a woman would be if, in this country, our parents had the ability to decide for us whether or not our clitoral hood would be removed after birth? Would you feel angry or permanently damaged? I definitely would, because I have mine, and I know its function. I know that without it, I would be permanently damaged and harmed. Thankfully, female genital mutilation is illegal in this country.

I believe that we owe our sons the same rights that we already afford our daughters under the law.

11 April, 2006 17:33  
Blogger Robosquirrel bloody well said...

Chance: I found your equation of the bible to history unhelpful. History would be something like, "Published debate on the merits of circumcision raged as early as the fifth century B.C., when Greek historian Herodotus described the millennial-old custom among Egyptians: "They practice circumcision for the sake of cleanliness, considering it to be better to be clean than comely." The Jews adopted the practice from the Egyptians—but later were forced to hew to the Hellenistic ideal of an intact penis during the reign of Antiochus IV in the second century B.C. The Greeks outlawed circumcision and punished the ritual by death; to conform, some Jews stretched what remained of their foreskins with a weight called the Pondus Judaeus." (Laumann)

I am not asking anyone's advice, please point out to me where I asked for help and I will swiftly delete it. I appreciate hearing people's opinion's, but I don't need anyone's help to make up my mind. And casting aspersions upon my manhood because I have a healthy, loving relationship with my wife and prefer to show her that we really think the same way (she just doesn't know it yet) instead of dominating her is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated any further.

Do we have an understanding?

Mahndisa: So far, I have yet to find a doctor who will give me an opinion, much less any information on the topic. We're going to ask one of Red's doctors on Monday. Additionally, at birthing class last night, we spoke to the teacher, who has an intact son. She voiced the facts on the matter much more eloquently than I have been able to do for Red. We're getting a tour of the birthing center on next Monday and she said she would show us the board to which they strap the baby.

I agree with you, Mahndisa, on the ear piercing. I lost that battlewith my daughter, being the non-custodial absentee father and therefore a deadbeat dad with no rights at all. I also found out last night at birthing class that only the mother's consent is required for circumcision, which really gave Red pause - she realizes how little choice I've had in my daughter's life and I think she's hesitant to deprive me of yet more choice.

Danielle: No, she doesn't really frequent the blog, though she knows about it. She doesn't care for the discussion thing as I do. However, while I have been studying my engineering, Red has been on the Internet and found a video of a circumcision.

She's having second thoughts.

Tony and Nicki, re: no worse for the wear. Interesting that you bring it up, as I am fully aware it is not the end of the world. Here I am, a cut man, with 1.9 kids doing just fine. I have no idea what I'm missing, aside from the obvious. Red even told me a while ago, "it doesn't even leave a scar"... I don't think she realized what it was, but it most certainly IS a scar. The fact is that is it is quite permanent, certainly is mutilation, and whether we know it or not, does impact us throughout our lives.

11 April, 2006 18:37  
Anonymous Anonymous bloody well said...

Here's a web page that casts doubt on the South African study that supposedly proves that male circumcision prevents the spread of AIDS:
http://www.circumstitions.com/HIV-SA.html
Interestingly, another study presented at the same AIDS conference as the one above suggested that female circumcision also prevents the spread of AIDS (predictably, this fact was ignored by the Western media).

11 April, 2006 19:05  
Anonymous Tony bloody well said...

Nicki,

I understand that I'm not going to convince you, so my response is not intended to accomplish that.

Being as delicate as possible, your son is 8. He wouldn't know the negative effects yet. Constant playing and touching means nothing, as it's instinctual more than anything. That, or stuff needs to be adjusted. Sometimes, men aren't being pigs, we're just uncomfortable.

The difference in our arguments, which you acknowledge, is one of choice. Your father struggled, having to immigrate to exercise his religion. I suspect that's a profound process for him, to finally be able to make that choice. But that choice for the male himself is all I'm interested in. I'm not concerned if an adult male wishes to have himself circumcised. Even in the case of your friend, although he wasn't an adult, he had a say in the matter. For whatever reason he used, choosing and having something chosen for you are unique in this matter.

As for people who experience intact and circumcised, that information is interesting, but I'm not sure how useful it is. There is a difference in circumcision at 10 or 40 years old and circumcision at birth. With someone who's 10 or older, his foreskin has most likely separated naturally from his glans. That eliminates scarring on the glans and allows a doctor/mohel to have a much better idea how much to cut and how much to leave. With a newborn's penis, circumcision requires forcefully retracting the foreskin from the glans, which can cause bleeding, scarring, and skin bridges. Forceful retraction happens no matter how good the doctor/mohel is at performing the surgery and at estimating the amount of skin to take.

Since doctors/mohels can't know how much skin to take , they could underestimate, leaving too much skin. Without diligence, that skin could adhere back to the surface of the glans, leading to complications and a need for further circumcision. If the doctor/mohel overestimates and takes too much, the boy will have a tight circumcision. This can cause pain and tearing during erection. I hope we'd both agree that each of these scenarios qualifies as worse for the wear.

As for remembering pain, studies show that circumcised boys have the lowest pain tolerance at 6 mos. when receiving vaccinations. That's not direct proof that the pain is remembered forever, but it certainly implies it. This is subjective, I know, but would you rather have remembered pain (that you chose to endure) or pain memories buried in your subconscious? I have no idea of the impact, but I don't buy the argument that it doesn't exist at all.

I will ask, if you care to continue, exactly why you disagree with the argument that the child can't consent? I don't need to debate it, since I've made my argument clear (I hope) in my earlier comments, but I'm not clear why you believe it.

I agree that it's not good for either partner to bully the other, and as Robo's said, I didn't get the impression that he and his wife were bullying each other. That's good, but it still leaves the question open for them. I hope I've shown that it clearly causes permanent damage ad harm to the child, regardless of how/why it's done. We could argue the magnitude of that damage; I agree that it's not the same in every case. But it exists in every case, even if the guy is happy about his circumcision. That's the bottom line, though. We can't know at birth if he'll be happy about it.

12 April, 2006 07:25  
Anonymous Tony bloody well said...

Robo,

Thanks for mentioning that only the mother's consent is needed. I didn't know that, so I'll need to investigate it in Virginia. If it's the same here, I'll be angry.

As for videos of circumcision, there's a documentary you may or may not have seen which might give Red some more information. It's by a Danish filmmaker, discussing his circumcision as an infant. He approaches the consent and medical necessity issues, among other things. It's well done. Here is the primary link.

If you have trouble navigating through that, as I did, here is a secondary link, where the movie is also stored (just look for Circumcision documentary in the top right corner of the main page).

It can also be found in iTunes by searching for "circumcision" under podcasts. Again, I recommend it.

12 April, 2006 07:34  
Blogger Nicki bloody well said...

"I will ask, if you care to continue, exactly why you disagree with the argument that the child can't consent?" -- I'm not sure what you're asking here, Tony. A baby can't give its consent. That's just logical. I don't think I've ever stated otherwise.

I'm not sure you have to convince me of anything, either. I've spoken to both cut men and uncut men on the issue. My ex husband was uncut, and he experienced a lot of discomfort during prolonged sessions of sex (TMI, I know... Sorry.) He said being uncircumcized (he was born in Europe, where the practice is not automatic) sometimes caused the area where his foreskin rolled back and forth during foreplay to get REALLY irritated. I had a boyfriend who confirmed this as well. On the other hand, my husband is circumcized and he has never complained about it one way or another.

As I said, I can see both sides of the issue, and so far (And telling the story of my son constantly touching himself was merely a funny aside) I haven't seen anything that indicates the end of the world for my son, nor any other man I've met who has been circumcized.

It's a very personal issue for every person, and I'm sure every person has their own experience with it. I realize my friend, who had it done at 10 had not reached his sexual maturity yet, but he was old enough to know the difference, as I'm sure he's had erections prior to that time. He wanted to do it because, as most Russian Jews at the time, he never practiced his faith. And his parents consented. He has never been sorry having it done.

IOW, I'm not arguing one way or another on this. It's a private, personal choice that should be made in an informed manner. And yes, it's a surgery. And yes, things can go wrong. But it's not the end of the world for any man with whom I've spoken, so... take that for what it is.

12 April, 2006 09:13  
Anonymous Tony bloody well said...

Nicki,

My question arose from this:

"Yes, an argument can be made that it's not cool to do something like that to a baby, since they can't give consent. I can see it, and I respectfully disagree with it."

We both agree that a baby can't give consent. What I wanted to know is how we differ on the conclusion drawn from that. For me, the baby can't give consent and infant circumcision isn't medically necessary, i.e. it's cosmetic surgery. No one else has the right to consent to imposing that on the baby. That's my viewpoint. I was just wondering about the logical steps you used to come to your conclusion. Just to help me understand.

As for the TMI alert, no problem. I think being afraid of giving too much information leads too many people to not discuss it at all. That's how we get to nonsensical circumcision rationalizations like the locker room argument or the look like daddy argument.

With circumcision as common as it is and people as different as they are, I don't expect everyone to have the same negative results from circumcision. Some people love it, so yay for them. My point is that we can't know in advance. If we stop circumcising until a problem arises, we solve that issue. Once a man gets old enough to decide, whether it's to improve sexual functioning or to allow him to practice his religion or whatever, the choice is his. That's all I expect. I think the permanence of circumcision demands it. So, again, I'm just curious how you get to your conclusion.

As an aside, and something I suspect you're aware of, traditional Jewish circumcision and American medical circumcision differ in how much foreskin they remove. Traditional Jewish circumcision is only a cut or removes only the tip of the foreskin. American medical circumcision, which American Jews seem to be getting more, goes for a "clean, tight" circumcision. It's not really a factor in this discussion of reasons, but it could make a difference in the noticeable effects, I would think.

12 April, 2006 11:03  
Blogger Nicki bloody well said...

Oh damn! I was having trouble with blogger yesterday, but I was so sure the lengthy reply I wrote out to you last night went through! DAMN! Now I have to remember what I said all over again. I'm going to shorten some, I'm sure. Bear with me.

"Yes, an argument can be made that it's not cool to do something like that to a baby, since they can't give consent. I can see it, and I respectfully disagree with it." -- That was my fault. I was being unclear, trying to type out a reply rather quickly. Sorry about that. It's not that I disagree the baby can't consent. I disagree that this is a valid reason for not performing what (1) is to many people a sacred religious rite that hasn't been proven to do real damage to the child, and (2) something which a number of people believe to be a beneficial thing, albeit not necessary to the survival of the child. I didn't mean to imply that I disagreed that the baby can't give consent. *Smacks self over forehead* Clarity is not one of my strong points when I rush.

"I was just wondering about the logical steps you used to come to your conclusion. Just to help me understand." No, it's not medically necessary, but from what I have read, it can also help the boy's health in the long run. According to what I have read, it can help prevent UTIs in the first year of life. It eliminates the risk of penis cancer, although according to some doctors, the condition is rare to begin with. A lower risk of STDs. It eliminates the risk of foreskin infections which happen a lot to kids between the ages 3-5, and general hygienic purposes. No, the baby cannot give consent, but at some points in a person's life, others have to make a decision for them regarding their general health and safety. There is a LOT of research out there on circumcision -- a lot of data showing the pros and cons. It's up to the parents to do what they feel is best for their child, since the child is quite obviously incapable of making decisions for himself.

"As for the TMI alert, no problem. I think being afraid of giving too much information leads too many people to not discuss it at all." -- I agree, but some people tend to get uncomfortable at such discussions. Since I don't know you, I figured better safe than sorry. :-)

"As an aside, and something I suspect you're aware of, traditional Jewish circumcision and American medical circumcision differ in how much foreskin they remove. Traditional Jewish circumcision is only a cut or removes only the tip of the foreskin. American medical circumcision, which American Jews seem to be getting more, goes for a "clean, tight" circumcision." -- This is something I'm not really qualified to speak on, actually. We had my son circumcised in Germany, while we were both on active duty, by a military physician. They did it very loosely, and I was very much impressed at how quickly it was performed and how quickly it healed. One of those times when I was more than impressed with the Army docs! My son's circumcision is not tight at all whatsoever.

13 April, 2006 11:02  
Anonymous Tony bloody well said...

Nicki,

Thanks for the reply. I understand now, although I obviously still disagree. I really don't mean to be rambling facts any further, so just tell me to stop if you don't want to continue. I mostly want to spread information at this point because the law is what it is. Parents get to make the decision today no matter how much I disagree in principle. You've researched, which is impressive. Most parents don't bother because superficial reasons are enough for them. The medical support is the secondary information they use when challenged on their superficial reasons.

The medical reason is not your only, or primary reason, so I mostly want to point to a few things that you said. There are potential medical benefits shown, which I accept. I just don't believe they're sufficient to justify circumcision. Also, there's likely to be a research bias in what we look for, what we're trying to prove. Verifying 140 years of medical circumcision in America can be a powerful motivator, so I'm not surprised that there aren't many studies showing the purpose of the foreskin. Also, most of the studies about sex with and without a foreskin view it from the woman's point of view, which is an absurd way to study something done to men. But I digress.

The medical info you mentioned:

UTIs - infant girls get more UTIs than infant boys, both circumcised and intact, in the first year of life. We treat girls with antibiotics.

Penile cancer - Some European countries (like Denmark) have similar rates as the United States, although most of their men are intact. No cancer society that I'm aware of lists the foreskin as a risk factor. Instead, those are promiscuous unprotected sex, smoking, poor hygiene.

General hygiene - this isn't really an issue, since the foreskin/penis is self-cleaning until the foreskin retracts. Simple soap and water after that is sufficient.

STDs - unprotected sex is still a terrible idea after circumcision. A condom is a simpler solution, and the male can always choose circumcision later if he decides he needs that protection. Behavioral causes don't justify preventive surgery until the tendency to irresponsible behavior appears.

I accept that it's up to the parents to decide what's best for the child. I just believe that preventive surgery on an infant is not in that realm of choice. Unless surgery corrects a problem, it shouldn't be done. Medical ethics also demands that, but we bypass that in America for some reason.

I could go on and on (as I'm clearly doing). Regardless of whether you continue discussing it with me or not, it's been a good discussion. I'm pleased when I can disuss it with someone who's bothered to learn a little bit and can discuss it intelligently. I hope I show that not all infant circumcision opponents are rude extremists who are more interested in casting blame than sharing information.

13 April, 2006 13:30  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden bloody well said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

14 April, 2006 05:16  
Blogger Brant bloody well said...

The blog was interesting and well-written. The comments have been all over the place.

What's to discuss? Routine circumcision is nuts. Worldwide, only 3 baby boys out of every 100 are circumcised. Two of the three are in the USA, which cuts out of blind habit more than anything else. It sure as hell hasn't helped the nation's health or sex life. The other 1% is for a mishmush of religious and copycat (look like daddy) reasons.

Then there is a big bump-up in worldwide rates around the age of 8 years, when nearly all Moslems do it to their sons.

It sounds like Red's position comes down to convenience. That is odd, because it's generally acknowledged worldwide that the easiest thing to do with a child's penis is nothing. It's only Americans who have this crazy idea that everything must be explored, prodded and cleaned out. The majority of parents of intact sons around the globe never see their son's glans. They don't need to.

HIV? It's a non-starter. Unsafe sex is unsafe whether you have all your bits or not. Europe has, on average, 1/4th the HIV transmission rate of the USA, and a newborn circumcision rate of under 1% in almost all countries, including Great Britain. Those who advocate circumcision to prevent HIV cannot explain the role of the foreskin beyond mere conjecture. Women have analogous tissue, of course; should it be cut off? These studies have been done in the underdeveloped world for a reason: so other factors, like religion, education, and hygiene can confound the results. Example: comparing Moslems, who circumcise but who also wash before and after sex and are taught to be monogamous, with non-Moslems. Or in the case of the S. African study, not adjusting for the health lessons given to the newly circumcised group while they were healing, or adjusting for the weeks and months that they abstained from sex after the surgery. It's in the study's report; read it.

One of the body's best defenses against viral and bacterial invasion is moist mucous membrane tissue, which is why our genitals are lined with it. But the same tissue loses these remarkable qualities when it dries out, such as after circumcision.

UTIs in baby boys? That flawed, retrospective study looked at medical charts from military and other hospital data. Yes, American intact boys appeared to have a slightly higher UTI rate (but not as high as intact girls). Why? Their parents foolishly retracted their foreskins to "clean", often introducing pathogens into a previously protected area. Data from Europe, S. America and Asia show intact boys have lower infection rates than circumcised boys. And parents there don't normally forcibly retract their sons' foreskins.

Several other countries have lower penile and cervical cancer rates than the USA, showing circumcision has not necessarily helped us. When all statistical noise is taken out, circumcised men get penile cancer at exactly the same (extremely rare) rate as intact men. Biggest risk factors are smoking and HPV.

Caring for an intact boy is extremely easy, as there is no wound to heal or surgical complications to look for. (By the way, the famous Williams & Kapila study found serious complications from infant circumcision - meaning those requiring follow-up medical attention or reparative surgery -- to be between 5% and 8%. The AAP misquoted it as .5% to .8%). All you do is gently rinse the outside of the penis.

The foreskin is not a separate entity. It is an integral part of the penis, as necessary as the head. The foreskin contains not only blood vessels, glabrous skin and mucous membrane tissue, but also highly specialized nerve endings (fine-touch receptors) and muscle tissue that keeps the tip closed in infants and boys except during micturition. It is a facinating, complex part of the body that helps maintain optimal health and sexuality.

Robo's instincts are absolutely right on this one.

14 April, 2006 10:56  
Blogger Nicki bloody well said...

Tony, I agree this has been a good discussion as well. I'm an extremist on a lot of things, but common sense dictates that it be tempered with facts, not emotionalism.

Unfortunately, I'm in Illinois right now. We had to drive out Thursday, after my husband's parents called and told us his grandmother is being taken off life support and has 72 hours to live. We'll be here for a few days, so my internet habits will obviously be curtailed in a lot of ways.

I'll be back Monday, likely, so I'll look at what you've written more closely. One thing that does strike me is that the disagreement here is that the benefits do not outweigh the cons - not that there are no benefits to it at all. That's possible. Obviously we're going to disagree on that point.

Anyway... be back in a bit.

14 April, 2006 21:56  
Blogger Robosquirrel bloody well said...

Nicki, I think the "benefits" are largely misconceptions about whether the benefits are actually a result of the circumcision. The only thing I can see as a benefit, or at least a neutral effect, is that a boy can still grow up into a man and live a relatively normal life.

I'm sorry to hear about your husband's grandmother, good luck in Illinois.

Brant, thanks for dropping by, good post.

15 April, 2006 06:27  
Anonymous Hugh bloody well said...

As a human rights issue, there's no question. Baby boys, like baby girls (and, incidentally, intersexed babies), have a prima facie right to keep all of genitals they were born with.

We wouldn't hesitate to prosecute anyone who cut off any other part of a little boy, the corresponding part of a little girl, or anything at all off a non-consenting adult. Why is the infant boy's foreskin alone fair game?

The latest HIV study, like the others, is flawed. In this case, the circumcised men were told to abstain from unprotected sex for six weeks after the operation. The intact control group was not told anything (nor were they given a placebo operation). When they tell you that in another study, none of the circumcised men contracted HIV, they don't tell you that a third of the circumcised men were left out of the study because they already had HIV.

HIV is only the latest fearsome disease du jour that circumcision is supposed to be good for. When each one fails, they trot another out.

See The Intactivism Pages for more.

16 April, 2006 03:03  

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