Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Circumcision debate continues

A few weeks ago I wrote about the cruelty of male circumcision. I wrote that I am opposed to male circumcision because of the fact that the foreskin has many important functions.

Since my post some interesting posts with interesting subsequent discussions has appeared on other blogs. If you understand swedish, take a look on ergo ateism here and here, or you can also take a look at Tobias Malm's excellent blog here. In the discussions following these posts some objections to the circumcision objections appeared, that is there were some people who defended circumcision. The four main objections that I recall were.

1. People who have their foreskin cut off can have sex for a longer time without ejaculating.
2. Circumcision protects against all sorts of different diseases
3. "I am circumcised and I haven't noticed anything bad about it"
4. Sometimes circumcision need to be done for medical reasons (e.g. foreskin in too tight).

The first objection I think is a really bad one for several reasons. Without getting to concrete, I have heard from experts that sex is not just about how long the guy can do it. Furthermore, according to some studies that I have read (see my previous post for references), people who have been circumcised often suffer from too early ejaculation as well as delayed ejaculation. Doesn't sound so great if you ask me.

Concerning the second objection I actually asked the guy who claimed that circumcision protects you against all sorts of diseases whether he could be a bit more precise. He admitted that he may have overstated it a little. In fact, I am aware of only one disease which circumcision provides some marginal protection against: HIV. If circumcision provided a really good protection against HIV, then I think it might have been worth it, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Also if you are really serious about sacrificing your penis in order to get protection against disease, then why not cut off the whole thing while you are at it? Then you would really get protection!

The third objection is not a valid one either because just like I cannot know what it feels like not to have a foreskin, a person without a foreskin cannot know how life would have been like with a foreskin. It is a fact that the foreskin has many important functions, and based on that I assume that removing it will take away those functions.

To me, only the last one of the four objections above sounds reasonable, and of course I am not opposed to circumcision when it occurs for medical reasons. I mean, sometimes we need to amputate someones’ leg to save the patient, but that doesn't make it alright to saw off everyones' leg at birth (I think these two examples are actually almost perfectly analogous).

To sum up, sure there are cased in which I think circumcision is ok. If there are medical reasons why the foreskin should be removed then go ahead. I also don't mind very much if a grown man decides to remove his foreskin, I think it is stupid, but it is not my decision to make. I do have a problem when parents want to cut off the foreskin of their baby without a good reason, in fact, I think this should be prohibited.


Beanie's Appa said...

Wonderful post. Thank you for your words of wisdom. I'm one of those men who was cut as a baby, but I wish they hadn't done that to me. For me, there's no choice. My parents and the doctor took that from me. But for someone who wasn't cut at birth and wishes he was, he can do that stupid thing any time he feels like it.

rasmussenanders said...

Thank you for your comment, and keep up the good work yourself. It is nice to see that there are some people who have been circumcised who are against circumcision. I could be accused of not knowing what I am talking about. (Of course I know a little bit, but I haven't experienced circumcision and I don't live in that type of culture...)

TLC Tugger said...

^^ a person without a foreskin cannot know how life would have been like with a foreskin ^^

I was cut at birth, and I can indeed testify to how vastly superior sex is now that I have restored my foreskin. Thousands of men can.

^^ I am not opposed to circumcision when it occurs for medical reasons ^^

I saw a Swedish paper that said if the patient is passing urine, legitimate medical grounds exist in only 1 of every 10,000 adult males or females.

Tight foreskin can be ignored, stretched, or relieved by preputial plasty (no tissue amputated). Similarly, most other "medical" reasons for circumcision stem from misdiagnosis (e.g. as if ballooning of the foreskin is a problem when it is normal) or ignorance of available less destructive treatment options.

^^ sometimes we need to amputate someones’ leg to save the patient ^^

I think the best analogy is pre-emptive infant mastectomy, which WOULD save lives, and would not prevent reproduction, but which is pretty much unthinkable because we value the breast, even though 1 in 9 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

rasmussenanders said...

Thanks alot for your informative comment TLC. I have learned something new, and I agree with you, masecotomy is a better analogy than cutting off the leg.

I will make a new post will all the great comments that I have received.

Anonymous said...

I am an OB/Maternity nurse. I agree 100% that newborn circumcision is cruel and medically unnecessary. Parents fail to realize the procedure causes a great deal of pain and circumcision also carries risks of infection, bleeding, disfigurement and even death. Can you imagine the sadness a parent would feel knowing their child has nerve damage or even died because they consented to a cosmetic procedure? It's just a shame parents continue to do this. I hope new parents will educate themselves on this horrible procedure and choose to leave their children the way they were made - perfect and healthy!

rasmussenanders said...

Thank you for the comment, I completely agree with you of course.

It is good to see that there are people within medicine who shares my views (not that I am surprised by it).

Would you say that your view on circumcision is representative of people in your field?

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

1. People who have their foreskin cut off can have sex for a longer time without ejaculating.

ME. I know of no empirical study concluding this. The point is not how long intercourse lasts, but the quality of the experience. It is possible that intercourse with a foreskin is more pleasurable for some women. This could make completely irrelevant any claim that cut men last longer.

2. Circumcision protects against all sorts of different diseases.

ME. The circumcised USA has a full complement of STDs. Moreover, the foreskin is not problematic per se,
but a trashy sex life carried out without condoms.

3. "I am circumcised and I haven't noticed anything bad about it"

ME. This may well be true of many, even most, circumcised men. But that is no reason to circumcise. There has been no careful empirical study of men's sexual experiences, including a thorough inspection of the erect penis of each subject, with special reference to the foreskin and its absence. Many circumcised men are not aware that their penises are not working as they should. Likewise, many intact men are not aware that they suffer from frenulum breve.

4. Sometimes circumcision need to be done for medical reasons (e.g. foreskin in too tight).

ME. Phimosis is no longer a valid indication for circumcision, especially before age 18 or so. The valid indications for circ cannot be invoked to justify routine circumcision in the USA.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your comment. I am happy to be able to provide some feedback to you. Living in Turkey I know that the most common (and it is very common indeed) sexual problem is premature ejaculation. So I feel that somehow there may be a correlation between circumcision and this problem. It is very strange that in the year 2008 parents are still allowed to continue mutilate their children (There are US lawyers who defend male circumcision versus female circumcision on grounds that it is less damaging and painful. The shallowness of this reasoning ridiculous.)

Anonymous said...

for anyone girl who says uncircumcised penises are gross and dirty, i think they should take a minuite to look into their wet sticky vaginas and take a look around and maybe even take a smell and then come to the realization that any vagina is a lot more dirty than any penis.

Anonymous said...

I let my husband decide if my son should be circumcised. A decision I wish I could take back. What mothers should know is that there baby will suffer for day's. I watched in greif as my son suffered, I suffered and my husband suffered. He was perfection at birth and he should have kept his birth form. We had no right altering his penis. Anyone reading this blog should know that everyone in our family sufferd because we circumcised our son. We would not make this choice again. If we have another son he will be unaltered. Follow your heart.

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Pearly penile papules said...

Unlike women, men do not readily discuss personal medical conditions and disorders with their friends. It is for this reason that pearly penile papules are very misunderstood.

It is not surprising that you would be plagued by worry and paranoia at the appearance of a bump on the rim of your penis. Immediately you would suspect venereal disease or even worse, cancer. The likelihood is that you do not have either, but rather a simple case of pearly penile papules. Pearly penile papules are very common among men, especially uncircumcised men. They are not as a result of bad hygiene and are not contagious in any way whatsoever. Many men actually find that they appear and disappear without any treatment at all.

However, if you are feeling uncomfortable with them, they can be effectively removed with a simple treatment of radiofrequency surgery. You should however consult your doctor and have them seen to should they emit a discharge or are physically painful.

julio said...

Well, I do not think this topic. It causes me some pain at the thought of my foreskin