Obamacare

This Point Cuts Both Ways

Forget death panels, let's talk circumcision panels

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Forget death panels. If you're really interested in putting a stop to the public option (and some truly entertaining town hall meetings), let's talk circumcision panels.

Growing up in the Jewish faith, I witnessed my fair share of 7-day-olds taken from their parents to face scalpel, prayer, and barbaric snip. Why seven days? Undoubtedly, the number of Jewish boys converting to Methodism grows exponentially each day the foreskin remains attached.

According to Genesis, God commanded 99-year-old Abraham to circumcise himself, everyone in his household, and even his slaves—as they, apparently, didn't have enough on their plates—to close the covenant. Those who were not circumcised were removed, as it were, from this holy deal with God.

Now people at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (those folks who often carry themselves as if they, too, had the ear of the Lord) are mulling a national campaign to promote "universal circumcision" for all boys in the United States in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV. Additionally, as The New York Times reported this week, the CDC is thinking about expanding the campaign to target promiscuous adult heterosexual men. (Abstinence or circumcision? How quickly do you think sex becomes overrated?)

Newborn circumcision rates are at 65 percent but have dropped for decades since just after World War II, when they were at more than 80 percent. This might be partially attributable to immigration of non-circumcising populations. There are also various movements afoot that question both the health benefits and the morality of slicing a newborn.

I do not possess any ironclad opinion on the topic of circumcision—and perhaps not so coincidentally, I also do not have a son. Many of you, I assume, are foreskin-neutral.

Studies suggest that circumcision can help prevent HIV, though it has not shown to help those with the greatest risk, men having sex with men. One also suspects—or perhaps hopes—that ancient cultures simultaneously concocted the circumcision ritual because, through some instinctual trigger, they sensed it was hygienically beneficial.

Here's the problem: Why is the CDC launching campaigns to "universally" promote a medical procedure? If you're an adult (and nuts) or a parent, no one stands in your way of having a bris. Today 79 percent of men are circumcised already, and even if 100 percent were, the effect on the collective health of the nation would be negligible. If this is the standard, where does it stop?

And what would a proactive CDC mean if government operated health insurance? No, I don't believe Washington would deploy a phalanx of grinning, twisted doctors to perform coerced circumcisions. But when the CDC dispenses medical advice of the "universal" brand, it's difficult to accept that a government-run public insurance outfit wouldn't heed advice and act accordingly.

What if the CDC, through meticulous study, were to realize that circumcision is an entirely worthless procedure? Why would "we" waste $400 a pop? Would the CDC campaign to "universally remove" the operation from hospitals? Today, incidentally, government-run Medicaid doesn't pay for the procedure in 16 states. Most private insurers, on the other hand, do.

Though dismissed by public-option proponents, this is an example of how government persuasion can influence our decisions—first by nudging and then, inevitably, by rationing.

The larger, more pertinent point for today is that government has zero business running campaigns—and these things inevitably turn into scaremongering efforts—that try to influence our choices regarding our children and our bodies. Especially when the procedure has so little to do with society's collective health. Circumcision is a personal choice.

Well, a personal choice for everyone except that poor little sucker lying on the chopping block.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his Web site at www.DavidHarsanyi.com.

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  1. Ho, ho, ho! It’s hilarious because the organ being mutilated is a penis! Ho, ho, ho!

  2. I can’t help but remember Rabbi Tuckman’s sign in Robin Hood: Men In Tights.

    Circumcision: Half off!

  3. Genital mutilation is barbaric and cruel. And the worst part is, women are trained to find a natural penis disgusting.

  4. My snake in a turtle neck has versatility, sensitivity and has bonus penis puppetry moves. Many a load has been stretch stored for easy clean up.

    If some diseased numbskulls don’t wash out the Captain I thinks they might have some other disease capable faults too….

  5. Correction: Jewish infants are not “taken” for the circumcision ceremony. Fathers have traditionally been tasked with doing it themselves, and opting out of that, parents make the arrangements.

  6. Male circumcision is unnecessary and should never be performed routinely. Health insurance should only pay for it if there is a justifiable medical reason, i.e. almost never.

  7. What Jay said. My wife and I are currently having a conflict over this. I am totally against it at this point; she wants to do it. Once we find out the sex of the baby, it’ll be time to get serious about the discussion. I’m trying to point out how cruel female circumcision is, and how there’s no difference between boys and girls. I mean, it’s literally the most sensitive part of your body that is getting mutilated.

  8. But your sons will get made fun of in the locker room! Women will find their wieners less appealing!!! CUT IT OFF NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW

  9. Joe – divorce your wife.

  10. joe m., make a deal with your wife. If it’s a boy, he gets his foreskin removed. If it’s a girl, it’s the clit that gets removed. She should catch on at that point.

    disclaimer for morans: don’t actually follow through. it is barbaric and unnecessary.

  11. Joe,

    Why not let your son make his own decision when he turns 18?

  12. Joe, remind your wife that if you have a son and don’t mutilate him as a child he can always have it done (under anesthesia too!) as an adult. Tell her to let is be HIS choice, since he is the one who has to live with it.

  13. The kid in the photo is clearly yawning. He ain’t worried.

  14. The boxers versus tighty whiteys debate comes down to circumcision. It’s uncomfortable having unhooded junior rub against rough fabric all day long. Briefs keep him warm and snuggly.

  15. I don’t see the big deal. I’m circumsized, don’t remember a thing about it. FGM is typically done at age 12-13, not 7 days old. Big difference.

  16. I already tried the let him make his own choice as an adult angle. She said that supposedly it’s more traumatic for adult males, citing a friend’s husband that had it done and had some issues, apparently. Also went with the girls vs boys angle on it. No luck yet.

  17. There is a very similar female equivalent- the small hood that covers the clitoris. Most women I know would not approve of its removal.

    My favorite argument is this: Don’t circumcise a baby- wait until he’s at least 10, and then let him decide. Something tells me there would be far fewer snips.

  18. 26 year old female here, and i have only ever encountered one uncut cock, but let me tell you, i loved it. It looked so robust, and watching it magically appear as it grew from its foreskin-Mesmerizing!

    but besides my personal inclination to whole men, i think its very unfair that we take the choice away from a person. If a boy really wanted to do it, they could have it done as an adult.

    If i ever have a son, he will be sure to have all of his options open.

  19. Pantera,

    Did your parents have anything else removed at the same time: ear lobes, appendix, part of your liver, etc? Just checking.

  20. I’m circumsized

    No, you’re not. You are circumcised.

    FGM is typically done at age 12-13, not 7 days old. Big difference.

    Not in the shitholes where they cut off girls’ labia. Read Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, for instance.

    Joe – drug her and cut off her clit hood. See how she likes it.

  21. I saw a documentary about certain places in Africa where they circumcise boys at age 7. Ouch!

  22. I have the same opinion of school – one shouldn’t be forced to go until one is old enough to make his/her own decision.

  23. I’m circumsized

    No, you’re not. You are circumcised.

    I think that’s the new PC way to say you’re fat.

  24. Holy shit, Russ, you changed my mind completely. Cosmetic surgery and going to school are exactly the same thing! Golly.

  25. Isn’t the point of female circumcision the removal of sexual pleasure? If so, how is that remotely similar (in theory) to male circumcision?

  26. 26 year old female here

    How you doin?

  27. Seitz, studies have shown that sensitivity is decreased for circumcised men.

  28. “If so, how is that remotely similar (in theory) to male circumcision?”

    At least part of the initial reason for the procedure’s prevelance in the United States was a Victorian desire to prevent masturbation. So while not the same as FGM, there are parallels to be drawn.

  29. I don’t have a covered wagon and I’m happy with it. All helmet, all the time.

  30. Isn’t the point of female circumcision the removal of sexual pleasure? If so, how is that remotely similar (in theory) to male circumcision?

    The removal of the male foreskin significantly reduces sexual pleasure.

  31. JoeM, offer to let her hold little jr. during the circumcision so that he gets to imprint her face in connection with the pain?

    I have a nephew that was circumcised before comeing home after being born. He developed an infection on his penis that took about 3 months to heal. There was cracking and tearing of the skin and fever and pus and excruciating pain. it was brutal. His mother had 2 more boys after him and they were not circumcised. She just about lost her mind knowing that her decision had been so painful for him. I don’t know what, if any, long term problems he may have from his circumcision experience. I do know that he was left with a somewhat deformed penis from the infection and resulting scar tissue.

  32. Male circumcision is a tribal marker and a sacrifice of sexual pleasure, just the same as female circumcision.

    Seriously, it must take some pretty hard work to convince yourself that they’re very different.

  33. Completely offtopic, but interesting for me: in Jewish faith? This is an interesting point, because Harsanyi is a Hungarian name; moreover, a name that indicates the nobility status of the family (the -i suffix of the surname was, I believe, reserved for nobles in pre-1945 Hungary).

    I thought that the Kingdom of Hungary did not allow Jewish peers until at least 1867 (the date when Hungary devolved from Austria into confederation), if ever. The sovereigns in the last 300 years were usually staunchly Catholic and borderline antisemitic (Marie Therese even infamously expelled Jews from some cities).

    I am interested in history of Central Europe, so if the author felt like providing me the insight into this matter, I would enjoy it.

  34. I don’t have a covered wagon and I’m happy with it. All helmet, all the time.

    What choice do you have, now?

  35. You know, the first( or one of the first) sex change ops in the US occured due to a circumcision gone horribly wrong. I believe they used a cauterizing tool to remove the foreskin and ended up burning off the poor newborns whole penis. The baby was later given a Male-to Female sex reassignment and grew up feeling completely WRONG, not knowing the ordeal he endured as a baby. Later in life he he had a second surgery to reidentify as a physical male. Who wants to take the chance that a doctor fucks up? Not really too much room for error on a baby hoo ha is there?

    Sup Whole PantsFan 🙂

    1. Actually, the boy was Canadian, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and he had a twin brother who didn’t suffer the loss of his penis. The story was told in the book: As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised As A Girl, by John Colapinto.

      The story turned into a tragedy for all concerned, however. Both men subsequently committed suicide.

  36. What choice do you have, now?

    None, but even if I did I woudn’t go back. Like I need “greater sexual sensitivity.” I’d be lucky to last two seconds.

  37. Like I need “greater sexual sensitivity.”

    You have never experienced it, so how do you know you don’t need (want) it?

  38. BTW The rate of male circumcision here in Czechia converged to almost 0 long ago, and I am quite happy that no one has done that on me at some tender age.

  39. I look forward to the postings about the medical benefits of male circumcision.

  40. wayne, I hope some of them come in the form of “For a magazine called reason…” posts.

  41. You have never experienced it, so how do you know you don’t need (want) it?

    I don’t. Just like you don’t know that I do. And I have plenty to begrudge my parents for without adding that to the list becuase of some subjective benefit that I’m missing out on.

  42. sage, you can never resent your parents for too much. You want it to be easy when the time comes to yank out that feeding tube.

  43. Oddly enough, no one ever took circumcision to the Supreme Court to determine whether it is constitutional.

    I would say that it interferes with the inaliable right for pursuit of happiness…

  44. Sage,

    I apologize if I seem to be picking on you. The fact is, I sympathesize with you. You are left with a diminished penis through no fault of your own; you have to make the best of it.

    Male circumcision is barbaric and should be outlawed absent a legitimate medical reason.

  45. It’s not subjective. You literally have less nerve tissue.

  46. “Male circumcision is unnecessary and should never be performed routinely. Health insurance should only pay for it if there is a justifiable medical reason, i.e. almost never.”

    It reduces the risk of contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted deseases.

    (Goes of to find link…)

  47. You are left with a diminished penis through no fault of your own; you have to make the best of it.

    Trust me, there’s plenty left.

    And no need to apologize, even if you are picking on me. I have thick skin. 🙂

  48. Speaking of Old People:

    So does sexual abstinence, but it is more reversible :-)))

  49. “Not in the shitholes where they cut off girls’ labia. Read Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, for instance.”

    THEY CUT OFF HIS LABIA??? Was that while he was in prison?

  50. Trust me, there’s plenty left.

    bragger :-).

    It reduces the risk of contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted deseases.

    Undoubtedly, this is why the practice was initiated thousands of years ago.

  51. “Undoubtedly, this is why the practice was initiated thousands of years ago.”

    Maybe G-d was onto something…

  52. I wonder how many Cs are botched vs the putative statistical benefits, i.e. what is the cost/benefit ratio when compared to the supposed “health beneifts”?

  53. What does modern medical circumcision have to do with the Bible?

    Nothing. The medical practice of infant circumcision came about in the late 1800’s, for a number of spurious, superstitious reasons. Some people believed that it would prevent masturbation, or a number of other possible diseases. All of these suppositions have long been proven invalid.

    http://www.noharmm.org/christianparent.htm

  54. Other than the fact that neonatal circumcision reduces the rate of urinary tract infections, reduces the risk of certain STDs (HIV, HPC, HSV2), almost eliminates the risk of penile cancer (which accounts for 10-20% of malignancies in men in parts of the world where circumcision is not routine), and reduces the risk of cervical cancers in partners of circumcised males – no, there’s really no reason to do it. Oh, and it’s performed under local anesthetic.

  55. Maybe G-d was onto something…

    Couldn’t God have already created us circumcised then?

    Or the all powerful one could have not have created AIDS? (I mean, I know God had to come up with something to get rid of the gays and all, but if he hates them so much why did he make them?)

  56. Ooh, Gilbertarian, you’re about to get a [citation needed] slapped on you. And that will end your argument right then and there.

  57. It specifically reduces the rate of infection for men having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive partner, because the foreskin can tear slightly.

    This is not sufficient reason to mutilate babies, given that the behavior circumcision is intended to help with is completely avoidable (having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive partner). It’s sort of like saying ‘it’s possible you’ll get lung cancer, so we’re going to remove one of your lungs.’

    I didn’t have my baby circumcised. I refuse to inflict optional cosmetic surgical procedures on someone not old enough to give consent. Moreover, I refuse to allow the weird penis-fetishes of superstitious goat herders from four thousand years ago to influence that decision.

  58. Glib,

    What is the failure rate of the operation? How many boys are left with deformed genitals vs the “benefits”?

    Do men in the US and Europe suffer penile cancer at the rates you cite?

  59. wayne | August 28, 2009, 4:42pm | #

    What does modern medical circumcision have to do with the Bible?

    Nothing.

    What about the Jews then? Why do they do it? I mean I didn’t even know it was a christian thing. I thought it was an American and a Jewish thing.

    I mean one of the prerequisites for any of the Israeli woman to have sex were that you had to be circumcised. I found that odd, (and entertaining) until that point, I thought everyone was.

  60. Glibertarian, I think your data is wrong.

    Penile cancer (not prostate cancer) is extremely rare in Europe, where circumcision is also rare. I haven’t heard of a single case anywhere in my circle of friends, acquaintances, neighbors and relatives. 10-20% of cancers – no way.

    I took a brief search with google and it seems that it may present around 10-20% of cancers in Africa. However, no causal linkage to circumcision is known. Africa is a continent full of devastating pathogens; it could well be caused by some endemic virus.

  61. Moreover, I refuse to allow the weird penis-fetishes of superstitious goat herders from four thousand years ago to influence that decision.

    Very well said!

  62. Hey, so I wonder if the reason that Europeans don’t do it is because of their socialized medicine.

    I mean if your pecker is on the line, who is going to trust socialized medicine?

  63. In true worker’s paradise, no one is allowed to have bigger foreskin than the current General Secretary of the Party.

    Too bad if a woman ever gets the job.

  64. Russ 2000 | August 28, 2009, 3:42pm | #
    I have the same opinion of school – one shouldn’t be forced to go until one is old enough to make his/her own decision.

    I agree. My circumcision was relatively benign. Spending 12 years in public school was much worse.

  65. Wow. This really crosses some kind of line. Once these stupid fucks really think that your cock is their business, words like totalitarian come to mind.

  66. Once these stupid fucks really think that your cock is their business, words like totalitarian come to mind.

    It’s almost like they can’t see the foreskin for the wood…

  67. Joe M | August 28, 2009, 3:49pm | #
    Seitz, studies have shown that sensitivity is decreased for circumcised men.

    Yes, I remember when Reason linked to that article. The same report also said that circumcision increases hang time. For that matter, tongue piercings reduces the sensitivity of the tongue. I think circumcision falls in that grey area where it’s not beneficial enough to demand parents do it or harmful enough to forbid parents from doing it.

  68. Getting back to the post, it would be hella fun to stand up at a town hall and ask the Congressman what the rules will be for elective/cosmetic surgery, and when he says it shouldn’t be covered, ask him if that means people will have to pay out of pocket for circumcisions.

  69. As perpetuator of third-hand information, when Penn Jillette had his radio show one of them was on circumcision. He asked people who had been circumsized later in life and talk about what they thought about it. The few who fit this profile and called in said it didn’t make any difference other than that they required less hygiene.

    Of course, my penis is only good for urination and the occasional sword fight so I don’t really care that I was circumsized (though I think it’d better if people make the decision for themselves).

  70. The Penn and Teller B.S. episode about circumcision was one of the best and most educational of all. It totally changed my mind completely. Apparently, people mistake the baby being quiet during the circumcision as “it’s not really hurting so bad” when actually the baby is in so much pain, it has gone into a state of shock. It’s like one of the most sensitive parts of the body. Those of us who are circumcised don’t remember it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not cruel and excruciatingly painful. I say let the kids make the decision.

  71. It reduces the risk of contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted deseases.

    You know what else reduces the risk of contracting STDs? Wearing a fucking condom. I sure as hell am not going to go dipping my trimmed wick in HIV+ people without protection, feeling lucky for the miniscule reduction in infection probability due to my cut-off dong.

    While I’m very happy the way I am I certainly would have liked the opportunity to choose my own adventure in this case.

  72. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khitan_(circumcision)

    Islamic sources don’t fix a particular time for circumcision. It depends on family, region and country. A majority of Ulema however take the view that parents should get their child circumcised before the age of ten. The preferred age is usually seven although some Muslims are circumcised as early as on the seventh day after birth and as late as at the commencement of puberty.

  73. Good topic, but this writer’s gotta retract that 79% of men being circumcised stat. I heard considerably lower stats than that from the Playboy advisor. Plus, world wide, it’s something like 20% of men.

    Just sit back and reflect on what you’re doing to the baby. It’s pretty f@cked up.

  74. I was circumcised in my mid-20’s so I know what it’s like both with and without.

    Truth be told, I don’t enjoy sex any more or less without the extra flesh tag than I did with it, and not having to deal with smegma is a great bonus.

    As far as I’m concerned, if the son isn’t Jewish, there’s no real reason to cut it off (barring immediate medical concerns like the foreskin causing painful erections) and if the boy is Jewish and you wish for him to be recognized as such, there’s no real reason to keep it on (in traditional Jewish communities, boys who are uncircumcised are effectively excluded from the Jewish community until they become circumcised).

    Just in case any of you haven’t noticed, traditional, Orthodox Judaism (as well as almost every organized religion) isn’t big on individualism and freedom. Actually, they advocate pretty much the opposite.

  75. As someone who has a deformed penis as a result of circumcision, and has actually read multiple papers debating the subject I think I need to chime in.

    Circumcision effects different men differntly. This is of course because differnt types of penis exist.

    Some penises are very elongated, have a large amount of sensitivity on the glans (head), and corpus shaft and theire fore don’t lose a large portion of raw sensitivity, or the ability of the penis to properly slide in to the vagina or whatever deep enough to get a feeling of envelopment down the base durring sex. If a man with a penis like this is having medical problems from their foreskin then circumcision is understandable. But this is not the penis everyone has.

    Many men have penises that grow significantly when errect and are fairly small looking when flaced, even when their girth and leangth when errect makes them above average. The problem is that for men with this kind of penis forskin is needed to expand and retract to allow the penis to fully emerge and be completly covered to the base by genital tissue more so than in elongated “show” penises. More over, the growth the penis experiences during erection spaces out the nerves on the non stretching parts of the organ much farther than in other men. As a result the glans and corpus shaft are less sensitive and the forskin represents the great majority of the sensitive skin on the penis. Men with penies like this come from ethnis backgrounds where the forskin is shaped ina way that makes it more able to alow for better extension as well as spreading out the forskin to compensate for the lack of glans/corpus sensitivity. Some guys lie this can get away with it’s removal and still have at least a normaly shaped penis durring erection, but will still have lost far more sensitivity then some other penile types as well as the mechanical ability to slide back and foreth to a much greater extent. It’s hard to explain to a man who has this kind of penis who is circumcised just how supperior the textual and mechanical felling of stimulation is for uncircumcised or long penised men. But from accounts of men who undergo circumcision and afterwords experience insenisitivity and reduced penis length it is very profound. Men like me are often shocked as adolescents when told how much other guys fell when doing things with their partner that we would not be able to derive sexual pleasure from, let alone how much more they feel when doing things we can experience pleasure from! Statistics and would seem to show that this loss of sensitivity reslults in less sex of inferior quality and a lowered sex drive. Not to mention a feeling of depression and inferiority when you relize just how alien the sexual experiences of “normal” guys are from your reference.

    But for some men (a surprisingly large amount) the penis ends up being practically destroyed.

    I am refering to the severe cases of traped penis, burried penis, and webed penis. All of these “and I have all three” are the result of circumcision on a penis that just couldn’t take it. If the penis had been left alone it would be of normal leanth and above averge girth, have plenty of sensitivity, and would not have the large peice of scrotum pulled up nearly half way up the erect member. Traped penis causes the penis to end up pulling a large amount of groin skin and scrotum up the shaft during erection because the the corpus shaft is virtualy gone (only the head and the red skin imedietly after it remains, then groin skin or scrotum). The result is a penis that is not only extreamly insensitve but also unable to penitrate during sex enough to give satisfaction. The groin and scrotum constantly get in the way during sex. Just as bad. The skin on the penis, which now has no sensitive extra skin to stretch ends up being streached so tight that it lessens the sensitivity on an already severely insensitive penis. Men like this (me) will constantly lose their erection due the sudden lack of sensitvity that occurs wen a full erection is acheived, instead trying to feel sensation but alowing the penis to remain semi soft and only have it get “hard” infrequently.

    Beyond all this, their is also the fact that many men with this probelm (and sensitvity in general) don’t to use a condom. Not becasue they don’t to practice safe sex, but because they can’t. A condom will likely not even fit correctly because the scrotum and groin skin will not allow the condom to unroll all the way down. Because the skin tightness significantly shortens the penis (down to around three to three to five inches) the man with a condom the can only go half way down will only be able to penitrate an inch and a half to two and a half inches before the condom actually would get caught and slide off. Try having sex with a severly desensitized penis with over strethced stiff skin and you can only go in about two and a half inches. Sound like fun?

    Then of course the condom itself reduces sensitivity even more. At this point sex with a condom is impossible. They (I) will feel nearly nothing. Even without a condom on it is hard to tell when some one is touching a part of the penis with a pen with my eyes closed. The condom removes the last bit of raw sensation, and the lack of an abitity to penitrate destroys the mechanical pleasure and sense of intimacy.

    Either you never have sex or you try to have really bad sex where you struggle to feel at all stimulated buy your partner and your unprotected.

    The only place a penis like this will still feel any real please is on the scar tissue of the left over forskin (most circumcised men have the most sensitive part here as well, unaware it is the reminants of a far larger structure). But it’s just not enough.

    Burried penis and scrotal webing that doesnt involve traped penis is less severe but they both have elements of the aformentioned problem ascosiated with them.

    Most of these penises would be of perfectly normal size and sensitive enough for pleasurable sex had they not been circumcised, and while it is possible to reverse some of the damage (although only the structural damage penile skin cannot be replaced) it will never function nearly as well as it should. Not only that but the surgery to repair the damage leaves expreamly visable and ugly scars of the penis that no man would want. But it may be the only way to untrap the penis and allow for real sex and proper use of a condom.

    Eventually I will need to have this procedure done if I am to ever have an even remotly rewarding sex life. But the expense, things I will never regain, and scars (emotional as well as physical) will always be with me. I mostly avoided sexuality all my life even though is was very painful, I have not touched anyone in years and have never had a real partner. It’s just to hard reveal the problem and try to have them get used to it. This must end.

    I am only twenty four and with sugery and exercise I may regain some abiltity to have a meaningful intimate life, but iwill always be sub par and require much more work and comprimise than other people than I want to give.

    My case is relitivly severe. But not as far from degree of problems that other men like me have.

    Circumcision can work on some penises if their is a medical problem. But around 50% to 40% of men will experience sensitivity related erectile, stimulation, orgasim, and satifaction problems as a result of circumcision. Around 10% of men will suffer more serious issues due to their penis types reaction to forskin loss. About half of these will b fairly serious.

    If you are considering circumcision it must be kept in mind that in most places where men and women experience uncirmcised sex the great concensous is that uncircumcised sex is better for most men and their and vastly better some.

    If you have a short penis or your partners family has short penises then your child will likely as well. Check the corpus shaft leangh to see if circumcision will over reduce it and think about your own. Also remember that you cannot determine exactly what kind of penis you son will have when he grows up since some larged penised babies end up having smaller penises upon maturity, and some small penised babies have larger penises upon maturity. You especially won’t know if he has a penis that expands greatly when erect or not, though if is penis is small at birth he likely will.

  76. Recent field studies have not confirmed the earlier positive effects suggested for circumcision as a preventative measure.
    Lancet. 2009 Jul 18;374(9685):229-37.
    Circumcision in HIV-infected men and its effect on HIV transmission to female partners in Rakai, Uganda: a randomised controlled trial.
    Their conclusion was fairly blunt:
    “INTERPRETATION: Circumcision of HIV-infected men did not reduce HIV transmission to female partners over 24 months; longer-term effects could not be assessed. Condom use after male circumcision is essential for HIV prevention.”
    And furthermore if you really want a strong correlation between circumcision rates and low HIV rates I’m afraid the answer is somewhat unsettling – in East Africa the countries where Type 3 Female Genital Mutilation (yes, the most brutal and disgusting type) is prevalent have the lowest rates.

    Let’s see you “medical benefits” types advocate for routine female circumcisions, AKA Female Genital Mutilation…

  77. After studying this issue for quite a few years and closely analyzing all the major studies and published reports pertaining to the issue of circumcision and morbidity, I would like to propose an entirely different view. The foreskin actually protects against disease in several ways.
    First, while some have hypothesized that “microabrasions” of the inner foreskin may be to blame for the results in the 3 African RCTs, this contradicts the medical evidence. The only published information on microtearing of the genitals found it to be true of circumcised males and their partners — which makes sense, as the skin of the circumcised penis is generally less elastic and less mobile. Circumcised men are known to have rougher and more varied sex, which directly increases abrasion and the likelihood of disease transmission.

    You turtle-heads are not gentle lovers… 🙂

  78. Even better: check out the arguments and studies that were historically used to justify circumcision, and then see how well time has treated them.
    They were eventually realized to be either incorrect, procedurally botched, or both. And whenever one reason had been discredited widely enough to no longer serve, other, new claims were brought up and supported with new studies. Those would eventually be debunked… but the cycle continued.
    If there is a long history of conclusion-seeking on a matter, any new claims made to support that conclusion ought to be treated even more skeptically than normal. When it’s known that people are irrational about a subject, their arguments need to be scrutinized and doubted rigorously.

    Pretty much sums up my trust in the “circumcision prevents STDs, etc” arguments.

  79. genital mutilation of children should be illegal.

  80. Complications
    Complication rates ranging from 0.06% to 55% have been cited,[128] though a 1993 survey of circumcision complications by Williams and Kapilla put the rate at 2-10%.[51]

    2-10% complication rate… Not for my sons!

  81. Daihawk, thanks for sharing your experiences. That’s a pretty powerful piece of persuasion. I think I’ll let my wife read it.

  82. Poor lil’ fellers won’t get any Reading Rainbow either. Say it ain’t so Jordy

  83. If you want to convince people that circumcision should not be routine, then you might want to stop telling us that our bodies are mutilated, our sex lives are inadequate, our parents abused us, and our wives or girlfriends are amputation fetishists.

    It seems like the main people who get worked up over this are Jews, anti-Semites (not accusing anyone here, but I’ve seen it), and guys who weren’t cut. I’ve heard many stories from uncircumcised men and women suggesting that the majority of women with a preference prefer circumcised. I’ve seen several guys admit this was a motivation (not that motivation affects the truth of an argument).

    Also, it’s unfair to connect FGM to circumcision. FGM involves a far higher rate of infection and often far more tissue removed, is often accompanied by stitching that will be later reversed (as proof of virginity), and generally involves total removal of the clitoris and dramatic reduction in pleasure from sex. I do not suffer from lack of sexual pleasure, and I do not need a further procedure to prove I’m an intact virgin.

    Arguments should stand on their own rather than relying on guilt by association.

  84. At least part of the initial reason for the procedure’s prevelance in the United States was a Victorian desire to prevent masturbation.

    EPIC FAIL!!!

  85. Foreskin: The original stem cells.

  86. I wouldn’t have a problem with the CDC having a campaign if there was actually something worthwhile. “You’ll have a slightly lower chance of getting AIDS while having unprotected sex with an infected person,” is not quite what I’m looking for.

  87. I’ve heard many stories from uncircumcised men and women suggesting that the majority of women with a preference prefer circumcised.

    This might be true in the US where women and men have been conditioned to see circumcision as the norm, but I doubt that Europeans see circumcised as preferable, in fact I would expect the opposite.

    I would like to hear from men who chose to be circumcised as adults and what their motivation and outcome was.

  88. At least part of the initial reason for the procedure’s prevelance in the United States was a Victorian desire to prevent masturbation.

    It doesnt work.

    Ummm….so Ive heard.

  89. Joe,

    I have to side with your wife on this. The whole male circumcision debate is kind of like Genetically Modified Foods. At the end of the day, there really isn’t a substantive difference. But in sex, the superficial does matter. The reality is that most white males in the US get circumcised. Even as Mexican and third world immigration increases and the circumcision rate falls, it’s still going to be a mark associated with the predominate race and class structure in the USA. Don’t circumcise your kid and you are setting him up for ridicule by his peers and more importantly, teenage girls whom he has his first sexual experiences.

    It all boils down to “when in Rome”. If you were a European, then by all means, don’t circumcise. Same thing if you plan on moving your family overseas. But if your kid is going to grow up in the US, you should snip.

  90. What if the cultural norm was removing a baby’s left pinkie, and people with ten fingers were somehow viewed as weird or unacceptable in some way. How would that differ, and would digitectomy be acceptable? I don’t think it would be.

  91. wayne | August 28, 2009, 7:02pm | #
    genital mutilation of children should be illegal.

    Should we also arrest parents for getting their child’s ears pierced, or are you only interested in kids’ genitals?

  92. good job of spreading stupid Obamacare rumors among the “Reason” able.

  93. I see body piercings and tattoos as mutilation, so I don’t get either. However, I respect the right of others to get them. No one forms organizations to protest tattoo parlors, but “inactivists” make a big case over circumcision. If we got circumcisions at body piercing shops no one would blink an eye at them.

  94. My only issue is whether it’s right for parents to decide the issue for their newborn son. I have serious misgivings about it.

  95. wayne | August 28, 2009, 9:02pm | #
    I’ve heard many stories from uncircumcised men and women suggesting that the majority of women with a preference prefer circumcised.

    This might be true in the US where women and men have been conditioned to see circumcision as the norm, but I doubt that Europeans see circumcised as preferable, in fact I would expect the opposite.

    I would like to hear from men who chose to be circumcised as adults and what their motivation and outcome was.

    Would you also say the members of some tribes are conditioned to view neck elongation, ear lobe stretching, and lip stretching as normal? Many cultures have traditions of body alterations. Why do you single out Americans? Warty, you’re wandering into, “We have to save those poor ignorant fools from themselves.” territory.

  96. Joe M, if you want to wait and let your son decide for himself, that is fine. I just don’t want the fed sweeping in and taking kids away from their parents in the name of protecting them.

  97. 1) That wasn’t Warty you quoted.
    2) He never makes any assertions, merely observations and then a request for more information.

  98. Whoa, you kinda lost me on that last one. I guess you’re referring to the call for making circumcision illegal a while ago? I don’t think the tattoo analogy works because that’s all consenting adults.

  99. “Forget death panels, let’s talk circumcision panels”.

    Forget death panels? Aside from the fact that they are a figment of some paraniod guys imagination, why would you want to do that?

  100. heinrick:

    you’re confusing hyperbole w/ outright falsehood…

  101. Should we also arrest parents for getting their child’s ears pierced, or are you only interested in kids’ genitals?

    You make a good point, but the potential for harm when you excise 70% of your son’s penile skin is considerably greater than piercing his ear with a needle.

    I allowed my daughter to have her ears pierced when she was 15, but I was not entirely happy with her choice. Fortunately, there were no bad consequences except for the two extra holes in her head.

    I know a guy whose brother died of hepatitis after getting a tattoo. A friend of mine has a grandson who had his tongue pierced and subsequently developed a systemic infection that nearly killed him; his left leg bone had to have six inches removed. He spent two months in intensive care.

    At least in those incidents the wounds were self inflicted/induced. A seven day old infant has no such say in the matter.

    Why is it “mutilation” when it happens to a girl and a “snip” when it happens to a boy?

    Circumcision is a superstition carried over from prehistory that has no medical rationale. Even the cosmetic argument is idiotic, but I have no problem with adults doing it to themselves. I think they are foolish, but adults have a right to make stupid choices for themselves.

    I think it should be illegal to do to a child, boy or girl.

  102. By the way, the circumcision rate in the US is about 40% today; that is down from about 80% forty years ago. I suspect C will approach zero % in another 50 years. It is dumb. Stupidity has little staying power.

  103. This is an example of how government persuasion can influence our decisions-first by nudging and then, inevitably, by rationing.

    Wtf? How does rationing have anything to do with this? It would’ve been a good article except for this article where he’s extrapolating way too much from this issue.

  104. Male circumcision is a tribal marker and a sacrifice of sexual pleasure, just the same as female circumcision.

    Seriously, it must take some pretty hard work to convince yourself that they’re very different.

    WTF?! First of all, there are several variants of so-called female “circumcision” (the WHO recommends the more descriptive term “female genital mutilation”). Most of them produce far more adverse effects than male circumcision.

    Type I

    The WHO defines Type I FGM as the partial or total removal of the clitoris (clitoridectomy) and/or the prepuce (clitoral hood); see Diagram 1B. When it is important to distinguish between the variations of Type I mutilation, the following subdivisions are proposed: Type Ia, removal of the clitoral hood or prepuce only; Type Ib, removal of the clitoris with the prepuce.[23] In the context of women who seek out labiaplasty, Stern opposes removal of the clitoral hood and points to potential scarring and nerve damage.[25]

    [edit] Type II

    The WHO’s definition of Type II FGM is “partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (excision). When it is important to distinguish between the major variations……. that have been documented, the following subdivisions are proposed: Type IIa, removal of the labia minora only; Type IIb, partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora; Type IIc, partial or total removal of the clitoris, the labia minora and the labia majora. [23]

    [edit] Type III: Infibulation with excision

    The WHO defines Type III FGM as narrowing of the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and repositioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora, with or without excision of the clitoris (infibulation).”[1] It is the most extensive form of FGM, and accounts for about 10% of all FGM procedures described from Africa.[26] Infibulation is also known as “pharaonic circumcision.”[27]

    In a study of infibulation in the Horn of Africa, Pieters observed that the procedure involves extensive tissue removal of the external genitalia, including all of the labia minora and the inside of the labia majora. The labia majora are then held together using thorns or stitching. In some cases the girl’s legs have been tied together for two to six weeks, to prevent her from moving and to allow the healing of the two sides of the vulva. Nothing remains but the walls of flesh from the pubis down to the anus, with the exception of an opening at the inferior portion of the vulva to allow urine and menstrual blood to pass through; see Diagram 1D. Generally, a practitioner recognized as having the necessary skill carries out this procedure, and a local anesthetic is used. However, when carried out “in the bush,” infibulation is often performed by an elderly matron or midwife of the village, with no anesthesia used.[28]

    A reverse infibulation can be performed to allow for sexual intercourse or when undergoing labor, or by female relatives, whose responsibility it is to inspect the wound every few weeks and open it some more if necessary. During childbirth, the enlargement is too small to allow vaginal delivery, and so the infibulation is opened completely and may be restored after delivery. Again, the legs are sometimes tied together to allow the wound to heal. When childbirth takes place in a hospital, the surgeons may preserve the infibulation by enlarging the vagina with deep episiotomies. Afterwards, the patient may insist that her vulva be closed again.[28]

    Women who have been infibulated face a lot of difficulty in delivering children, especially if the infibulation is not undone beforehand, which often results in severe tearing of the infibulated area, or fetal death if the birth canal is not cleared (Toubia, 1995). The risk of severe physical, and psychological complications is more highly associated with women who have undergone infibulations as opposed to one of the lesser forms of FGM. Although there is little research on the psychological side effects of FGM, many women feel great pressure to conform to the norms set out by their community, and suffer from anxiety and depression as a result (Toubia, 1995). “There is also a higher rate of post-traumatic stress disorder in circumcised females” (Nicoletti, 2007, p. 2). [29] [30]

    A five-year study of 300 women and 100 men in Sudan found that “sexual desire, pleasure, and orgasm are experienced by the majority of women who have been subjected to this extreme sexual mutilation, in spite of their being culturally bound to hide these experiences.”[31]

    [edit] Type IV: Other types

    There are other forms of FGM, collectively referred to as Type IV, that may not involve tissue removal. The WHO defines Type IV FGM as “all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization.”[23] This includes a diverse range of practices, such as pricking the clitoris with needles, burning or scarring the genitals as well as ripping or tearing of the vagina.[23] Type IV is found primarily among isolated ethnic groups as well as in combination with other types.

    Other serious long term health effects are also common. These include urinary and reproductive tract infections, caused by obstructed flow of urine and menstrual blood, various forms of scarring and infertility. Epidermal inclusion cysts may form and expand, particularly in procedure affecting the clitoris. These cysts can grow over time and can become infected, requiring medical attention such as drainage.[73] The first time having sexual intercourse will often be extremely painful for infibulated women, who will need the labia majora to be opened, to allow their partner access to the vagina. This second cut, sometimes performed by the partner with a knife, can cause other complications to arise.

    A June 2006 study by the WHO has cast doubt on the safety of genital cutting of any kind.[1] This study was conducted on a cohort of 28,393 women attending delivery wards at 28 obstetric centers in areas of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal and The Sudan. A high proportion of these mothers had undergone FGC. According to the WHO criteria, all types of FGC were found to pose an increased risk of death to the baby (15% for Type I, 32% for Type II, and 55% for Type III). Mothers with FGC Type III were also found to be 30% more at risk for cesarean sections and had a 70% increase in postpartum haemorrhage compared to women without FGC. Estimating from these results, and doing a rough population estimate of mothers in Africa with FGC, an additional 10 to 20 per thousand babies in Africa die during delivery as a result of the mothers having undergone genital cutting.

  105. They’re not as different as you think. Type I is the exact same thing (the foreskin and the clitoral hood are both the prepuce). Justifications for it are also scarily similar. http://www.fgmnetwork.org/intro/mgmfgm.php

  106. Type Ia, you mean — and they are not “the exact same thing”. A clitoris is not the exact same thing as a penis, so how would the removal of their respective coverings be “the exact same thing”? And the majority of FGMs are not even of that type, anyway.

    Color me unimpressed by a table of justifications for the two, compiled by someone with an axe to grind, with no references, no data as to how commonly these justifications are given and the extent to which they are valid.

    I really don’t care about circumcision one way or the other — in the end I don’t think the govt should be deciding whether it’s covered by insurance and certainly not deciding whether it can be performed at all. But comparing FGM to male circumcision does more to de-emphasize the damage done by the former than to emphasize that done by the latter, and I cannot sit idly by in the face of such dangerous nonsense.

  107. L, look at the statistics page on the site you reference. The vast majority of nations where this is practiced have Type II and Type III as the most common type of FGM. (ie, at a minimum, removal of the clitoris itself as well as the labia)

  108. Tulpa, I actually read that entire article about FGM last night on my own. It’s horrific. But what’s astonishing is that it’s usually women that do it to their daughters/nieces/granddaughters etc, much like foot binding in China. And it rate of FGM in some African nations approaches 100%!

    I would agree that FGM is much, much worse than male circumcision in almost all cases. The type III variety is particular is nightmarish in the extreme. But another odd point is that it’s illegal in pretty much every nation where it is practiced, so it has gone underground, with less sanitary and more dangerous conditions. It’s a bizarre parallel to abortions, I think, which in no way justifies the practice.

    Having said that, I would still say that if an adult wanted to have it done, it would be there choice. We certainly have a lot of body modification activities in the U.S. that many people would consider mutilation, like complex piercings and those giant rings people use to increase the size of their ears.

  109. What Jay said. My wife and I are currently having a conflict over this. I am totally against it at this point; she wants to do it.What Jay said. My wife and I are currently having a conflict over this. I am totally against it at this point; she wants to do it.

    This is a men’s issue. Why does she have any say in this matter at all?

    (If feminists can get away with a similar argument about men and abortion, I figure this one’s worth a try.)

  110. But comparing FGM to male circumcision does more to de-emphasize the damage done by the former than to emphasize that done by the latter

    That’s only because you already think of MGM as no big deal.

    FGM is typically more damaging than MGM in that it removes and alters more tissue, yes. So what? Amputating genital parts is still amputating genital parts, and there’s no excuse for doing it to a child.

    As for the poster who says I never make assertions: you fuck goats.

  111. FGM is typically more damaging than MGM in that it removes and alters more tissue, yes. So what?

    So what? So what? You have to be joking. I suppose you consider ear piercing and dental braces to be equivalent to FGM as well, as respectively mutilate and deform the naturally occurring state of a child’s body.

  112. In case you really need this explained, Warty, FGM doesn’t just remove more tissue, it actually carries with it a high probability of future reproductive problems (as well as medical problems unrelated to reproduction). This is not true of male circumcision. Assuming that claims of health benefits from circumcision are false, that’s still a HUGE difference when considering whether a procedure can legally be done on a child.

  113. Ear piercing is somewhere on the low end of the mutilation continuum. Cutting off bits of genitals is up there on the high end. You can’t possibly be stupid enough to misunderstand this.

    Dental braces fix a structural problem with the child’s teeth. The fact that you bring that up in the context of genital cutting speaks volumes.

    And if you knew any parents who had their newborn’s ears pierced, you would rightly consider them monsters.

  114. This is not true of male circumcision.

    BULL. FUCKING. SHIT. Read the poster above talking about his fucked-up junk, and pay attention to the post that mentions the 2-10% complication statistic.

    And you might misunderstand me – I’m not saying circumcision should be illegal, just that it’s monstrous.

  115. Ear piercing is somewhere on the low end of the mutilation continuum. Cutting off bits of genitals is up there on the high end. You can’t possibly be stupid enough to misunderstand this.

    That’s just because you’ve been culturally conditioned to think of ear piercing as no big deal. (How bout them apples?) In a medically objective sense — leaving aside our intense feelings about our genitals — what’s so special about the foreskin as opposed to ear lobes?

    Dental braces fix a structural problem with the child’s teeth. The fact that you bring that up in the context of genital cutting speaks volumes.

    It’s usually only a “problem” because our society values perfectly aligned teeth. Only in very rare cases will the natural development of teeth result in non-cosmetic problems.

    One could just as easily claim that circumcision solves the structural problem of having an ugly piece of skin around your penis.

  116. Read the poster above talking about his fucked-up junk, and pay attention to the post that mentions the 2-10% complication statistic.

    The first is an anecdote and the second is extremely dubious to my mind. If 1 out of every 10 boys born in the US had their penises deformed by circumcision you’d see a quick end to the practice.

  117. what’s so special about the foreskin as opposed to ear lobes?

    I’m done.

  118. And if you knew any parents who had their newborn’s ears pierced, you would rightly consider them monsters.

    So you’re OK with parents having their 9-year-old son circumcised?

    And you might misunderstand me – I’m not saying circumcision should be illegal, just that it’s monstrous.

    If it’s as bad as you say it is, it should definitely be illegal to do to a minor. I certainly support laws prohibiting minors from getting FGM.

  119. Warty, did you just concede my points and show the childish, anti-intellectual nature of foreskin advocates?

  120. Warty, re: the fuck goats remark. Calm down and re-read what I was responding to. I wasn’t talking about you, and it wasn’t even a pejorative comment I made.

    I am kind of shocked that Tulpa would try to pretend that there’s no difference between an earlobe and a foreskin, while simultaneously saying there’s a huge difference between a foreskin and a clitoral hood or clitoris. Obviously, there are degrees of invasiveness, with earlobes on the low end and clitorii on the high end.

  121. Joe M,

    The FGM Ia procedure is inherently more dangerous because of the differences in size and location of the penis and clitoris. Note that the penis (and in particular the foreskin) is an external body part, so to call a procedure on it “invasive” in the medical sense is ridiculous. Yes, it’s invasive in an emotional sense for most of us, but that’s due more to our cultural attitudes which infants obviously don’t share.

    (oh, and for the next time you’re trying to be all sophisticated and stuff, the plural of the Latin form of “clitoris” is “clitores”)

    Still waiting for a medical explanation of why a foreskin is more important than an ear lobe. Beyond “well, duh”.

  122. Whatever. I’m not trying to be insulting, and I don’t care to continue to discuss this if you’re going to be.

  123. I am kind of shocked that Tulpa would try to pretend that there’s no difference between an earlobe and a foreskin

    I suppose accusing me of lying wasn’t supposed to be insulting?

    You do seem to be pissing a lot of people off without trying to insult them. Maybe you need to recalibrate your words, as a great man once said.

  124. Still waiting for a medical explanation of why a foreskin is more important than an ear lobe. Beyond “well, duh”.

    In the same way that removing a labia minora is more important than piercing a .1mm hole in an earlobe.

    FGM is typically more damaging than MGM in that it removes and alters more tissue, yes. So what?

    In a typical male circumcision, hereafter known a male genital mutilation (MGM), up to 70% of the penile skin removed. That is probably more tissue than is removed in a typical type 1 FGM. They are quite comparable.

    Unlike Warty (not criticizing), I do think it should be illegal to perform genital mutilation on children. Furthermore, I think it is unethical for a doctor to do it.

  125. By the way, female circumcision is performed by mainstream doctors (plastic surgeons) on mainstream American women (adults). Some women with “large” labia have them trimmed (type 1 FGM) for cosmetic reasons. I have no problem with this, though from a personal preference perspective I consider it the “wrong” decision.

    http://www.cosmeticsurgery.com/view_photos/cosmetic-surgery/Labiaplasty-(Labia-Rejuvenation)/

  126. wayne’s link at 11:35 is NSFW

  127. wayne, I blame the vegans for that. I happen to like Arbys. dirty bastages.

  128. I never thought I would agree with a feministing editorial, but I was wrong:

    http://www.feministing.com/archives/006659.html

  129. “NSFW”… ???

  130. In a typical male circumcision, hereafter known a male genital mutilation (MGM), up to 70% of the penile skin removed. That is probably more tissue than is removed in a typical type 1 FGM. They are quite comparable.

    The clitoris is significantly smaller than the penis, so a full-blown Type I FGM is definitely removing less tissue than circumcision (MGM if you don’t worry about confusion with studios). The quantity of tissue removed is irrelevant to the point; a lobotomy removes less tissue than either of these procedures, and I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t support allowing that on the whim of a parent.

    The difference between the two is that circumcision does not produce the ill effects immediately and later in life that even Type I FGM does. Just as drug war propaganda that equates the dangers of marijuana and cocaine use sometimes causes kids who know MJ is pretty safe to then try cocaine, the only effect of your hyping up of the dangers of male circumcision to equal those of FGM is going to be to rehabilitate the reputation of FGM.

  131. Some women with “large” labia have them trimmed (type 1 FGM) for cosmetic reasons.

    That’s actually Type IIa, and not even remotely comparable to Type II FGM as practiced in most of the world (which also involves removal of the clitoris). Obviously I support allowing mentally competent people to freely choose to alter their bodies however they wish.

    When you guys say “female circumcision”, people immediately think of Type III, the most severe. Which is probably why circumcision opponents like to use this vague terminology.

  132. Not Safe For Work. it was naked pics of female genitals.

  133. The difference between the two is that circumcision does not produce the ill effects immediately and later in life that even Type I FGM does.

    You are wrong. Both procedures have similar complication rates.

    There is no medical benefit to either procedure. The forces of natural selection created human genitals for a purpose, why fuck with nature?

  134. Naked pics of male genitals are safe for work?

  135. “Not Safe For Work. it was naked pics of female genitals.”

    Oh… But this is science, so your boss ought to understand :-).

  136. Tulpa,

    So, you support routine female circumcision on children? I am confused.

  137. You are wrong. Both procedures have similar complication rates.

    If this were true, male circumcision would have ended as a practice 3000 years ago. Parents aren’t (and haven’t historically been) happy about having sons — who traditionally pass on the family line — with fucked-up wackers.

    There is no medical benefit to either procedure. The forces of natural selection created human genitals for a purpose, why fuck with nature?

    Which applies equally to ear piercing and dental braces.

  138. So, you support routine female circumcision on children? I am confused.

    No and yes, you are confused.

  139. Tulpa,

    I would not have my child’s ears pierced either. That decision should be made by the child when he/she is older and competent.

    dental braces do have some medical benefits, though not nearly as much as your neighborhood orthodontist probably claims.

  140. T,

    But you do support routine MGM?

  141. At first blush, it looks like I don’t have a dog in this fight, because from the very beginning, the Church has held that circumcision is not obligatory. So strictly speaking, it’s no skin off my . . . nose, if circumcision is banned by the government.

    However, such a ban would *seriously* interfere with the religious freedom of Jews – at least those Jews who continue to respect the ‘superstitious goat herders’ who founded their faith.

    Jews seem to have done all right in spite of the ‘oppressive’ practice of circumcising their male children. Indeed, many Jews still feel free to comment on their lack of sexual hangups as compared to Christians.

    Look up the last guy who prohibited Jews from circumcising their sons .

  142. However, such a ban would *seriously* interfere with the religious freedom of Jews – at least those Jews who continue to respect the ‘superstitious goat herders’ who founded their faith.

    A thorny issue, I admit.

  143. I don’t actively support it, indeed don’t feel strongly about it either way, but I don’t see either a legal or moral problem with “MGM” either. The reason I’m intense in this thread is because you guys are effectively minimizing the horrors of FGM in the process of making your case. ie, conjuring up the images of Type III FGM with full removal of the clitoris, labial scraping, and sealing up of the vaginal opening; equating circumcision with that, and then falling back to the much less severe, but still dangerous, Type Ia when pressed on the subject.

    Circumcision has been around for millennia, it ain’t going away.

    1. This demonstrates your vast ignorance on the subject. The trendlines for circumcision rates show a clear decrease in frequency of the procedure in the last thirty years.

  144. I suspect that if MGM in children were prohibited, and allowed for informed adults, we would see VERY FEW circumcised men.

  145. T,

    If you fail to see the parallels between MGM and FGM then I can’t help you.

  146. Mad Max, if there were a religion that required little girls to undergo FGM I would have no “religious freedom” qualms about banning the practice. I’m fully in line with the British official who told an Indian wannabe wife-burner that he was totally free to practice his ethnic tradition, followed by the British practicing their ethnic tradition of hanging a man who does that.

    In short, the basic human rights to life and bodily integrity trump religious freedom every time.

  147. I suspect that if MGM in children were prohibited, and allowed for informed adults, we would see VERY FEW circumcised men.

    Because in adults the procedure is painful at the time and for days afterward. Not because of the supposed dangers you allege.

  148. because from the very beginning, the Church has held that circumcision is not obligatory.

    Didn’t Paul demand that you circumcise your hearts? Sounds kind of messy to me.

  149. Because in adults the procedure is painful at the time and for days afterward. Not because of the supposed dangers you allege.

    It is painful, traumatic and dangerous for infants as well. It seems people are much less reluctant to inflict pain and suffering on others than themselves, though.

    Do you support routine type 1A FGM?

  150. Frankly, even with a ban on circumcising minors, given modern female attitudes on penal aesthetics, I’m pretty sure there would be plenty of adult guys willing to endure the pain and the extremely minimal risks of circumcision if it means getting a leg up (or another body part, perhaps).

  151. Plus, without circumcision, we couldn’t make jokes like

    8====D

    on message boards. I don’t think

    ._____
    0)))))>
    0^^^^^

    carries the same heft.

  152. T,

    I am uncircumcised, as you have probably deduced. I have had no problems getting laid. If a woman demanded that I cut off a substantial part of my dick before she would screw me… well, there are billions of women on the planet, so move on to the next.

    But, if an adult man thinks cutting off part of his own dick will give him a tactical advantage over me then that’s OK with me, although I consider it pretty pathetic.

    extremely minimal risks of circumcision… This is total bullshit. Hospitals are dangerous places, filled with antibiotic resistant pathogens; not the sort of place where my Johnson is going to be reduced.

  153. Mad Max,

    Douay-Rheims? Seriously? That has Lefebvrite written all over it.

    Also note that 1 Maccabees isn’t in the Jewish Canon, so my inner rabbi just condemned you for posing apocryphal works as Scripture.

  154. Which is why Walmart needs to set up a circumcision clinic in some of its bigger stores. And if they ship the foreskins to China to be molded into women’s purses, everybody wins.

  155. You can take my foreskin from my cold, dead hands.

  156. This, “it’s not pleasing to women” thing intrigues me. I have never had that reaction from a woman, though I do believe the attitude exists. I wonder what the prevalence of this attitude among women exists?

    Any ladies on this thread (unlikely on H&R) care to comment? The only comment I have seen from a woman (Admirer of Uncut Men) was from a lady who apparently particularly enjoys unmutilated men.

  157. And if they ship the foreskins to China to be molded into women’s purses, everybody wins.

    God help us if women take a fancy to foreskin purses, or even worse shoes… Every man in America will be skinned in short order.

  158. Don’t uncircumcised penes require special order condoms? I’d imagine it’s like pulling a rubber glove off of another rubber glove.

  159. wayne, your dishonestly here is astonishing. Recognize that when you equate Female Genital Mutilation with circumcision, you’re attempting to emotionally shortcircuit arguments opposite your position. Right now, you are no better than a jingoist: “Who could possible be FOR mutiliation!???”, you hysterically cry. Well, most of us don’t view it that way, primarily because it isn’t mutilation, so fucking knock it off.

  160. The only comment I have seen from a woman (Admirer of Uncut Men) was from a lady who apparently particularly enjoys unmutilated men.

    It isn’t mutilation, fuckstick. Stop.

  161. Don’t uncircumcised penes require special order condoms?

    Well, in general, no. Ordinary condoms work just fine. In my case though, I get special order condoms because the off-the-shelf models aren’t quite big enough ;-).

  162. But doesn’t the foreskin like stretch when you try to pull it off, and when the condom finally comes off with a snap it flies across the room, dripping semen everywhere?

  163. TAO,

    Well, most of us don’t view it that way, primarily because it isn’t mutilation, so fucking knock it off.

    In Africa it is not called FGM, either. It is simply “their culture”. I imagine those who practice FGM much prefer the term “female circumcision” as well.

    Oh, and inconsiderate ass-wipe.

  164. as has been demonstrated to you time and again, the procedures are different in kind, not degree. you’re acting like a Marxist now, ascribing “false consciousness” not only to circumcised men, but to women who like circumcised men. You’ve basically just told a majority of the American population that they’re stupid zombies who are living in the Matrix and only you have taken the Red pill.

    Do you see how exceptionally annoying that is? Anybody with a good-faith argument as to why circumcision is not the same as FGM must be suffering from delusion. I mean, fuck you, jack.

  165. equating FGM with circumcision is exactly like comparing real slavery with “wage slavery”.

    leftist kook.

  166. TSO,

    MGM is stupid. FGM is stupid. There is no medical benefit to either procedure.

  167. stunning rejoinder, wayne. I suppose that’s all you have left when you’ve effectively declared the opposite side Deluded Sheeple who Suffer from False Consciousness.

  168. TAO,

    Removing 70% (that seven parts in ten, i.e. a large fucking amount) of skin from an infant’s penis is horrifying. Medical complications are fairly common. There are life-long consequences for 100% of those mutilated. Some of those consequences are devastating, see the earlier post from the guy whose dick basically doesn’t work because of his MGM experience.

    MGM and FGM are quite comparable.

    Don’t do it to your helpless children, regardless of their gender.

  169. TAO,

    Why are you so angry about this?

  170. Leftist??? Me???

  171. It isn’t 70%. That is a wholesale lie you just invented or got from disreputable sources.

    If you’re going to persist in begging the question and stealing the concept by calling it “mutilation”, there’s no point in continuing. If someone says to you “I’m not mutilated”, your comeback is “you are, you just don’t know it…let me tell you how you feel/actually are.”

    Fuck that.

  172. Leftist??? Me???

    Yes, you. You have invoked “false consciousness” to the letter – directly from the Marx and Engels playbook.

  173. A part of the penile sheath that covers the shaft up to the foreskin or circumcision scar. Up to 80% may be removed during infant circumcision.
    http://www.infocirc.org/townsend/anatomy2.htm

    This paper illustrates many of the unintended injuries caused by circumcision in both in infancy and later. The existence and incidence of these injuries are not widely known, either by the general public or, surprisingly, by physicians themselves.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/u27668h078272332/

    Your scrotum becomes your dick
    http://www.covenantcircumcision.info/pages/tightcircumcision.html

    I could go on, but there is not much point.

  174. If you’re going to persist in begging the question and stealing the concept by calling it “mutilation”, there’s no point in continuing. If someone says to you “I’m not mutilated”, your comeback is “you are, you just don’t know it…let me tell you how you feel/actually are.”

    I will admit that most male circumcisions have outcomes that are not as horrific as a few, but none are good.

    Should we insist that FGM be referred to female circumcision just because a few barbarians want to pretty up the propaganda a bit?

  175. wayne, those numbers are the percentage of foreskin removal, not penile skin removal. Anyone telling you that foreskin composes 50% of penile skin is lying to you.

    Like I said, you can argue in the manner of a typical Religious Leftist, where you beg the question by immediately vilifying voices opposite of yours, but you should do some serious self-reflection as to why it is you aren’t gaining any traction with your arguments. When you instantaneously declare that all circumcised men are “mutilated” and anyone arguing in the opposite is a “monster”, you’ve effectively written yourself out of polite debate.

  176. Should we insist that FGM be referred to female circumcision just because a few barbarians want to pretty up the propaganda a bit?

    See? You have now analogously called me a barbarian. And you wonder why I am angry? What a mystery.

  177. And if you knew any parents who had their newborn’s ears pierced, you would rightly consider them monsters.

    False. I know several parents who had their newbors’ ears pierced, and I don’t consider *any* of them monsters. It’s not something I did with my own daughters, just as I didn’t have my sons clipped, but those who do those things aren’t monsters.

  178. Oops. Italics off.

  179. There are life-long consequences for 100% of those mutilated.

    Well, sure, if you define “consequences” as including looking down and knowing that you have a clipped dick.

    I was circumcised, and frankly I have a hard time thinking of any life-long consequences I had other than that.

  180. TAO, I am neither religious nor a leftist. I have never read Marx or Ingell.

    I think my arguments have gained considerable traction. You seem quite agitated, for example.

    I am not vilifying anybody. I think American parents who routinely have their infant sons circumcised are simply ignorant of the consequences.

    Genital mutilation of children is stupid; don’t do it.

  181. I am neither religious nor a leftist.

    Then why are you arguing like both?

    I think my arguments have gained considerable traction. You seem quite agitated, for example.

    Maybe because, as of right now, you have implicitly called your opponents “mutilators”, “barbarians”, “ignorant” and compared circumcision on a 1-1 correlative level with removal of a lobe of liver and removal of the clitoris.

    It’s absolutely disgusting fucking pool you’re playing. That’s why I am agitated. And guess what, wayne? You and I share the relevant physical characteristic, and you’re still managing to piss me off.

  182. Also note that 1 Maccabees isn’t in the Jewish Canon, so my inner rabbi just condemned you for posing apocryphal works as Scripture.

    He didn’t post it as scripture; he posted it as a historical document telling what happened to “the last guy who prohibited guys from circumcising their sons.”

  183. Well, sure, if you define “consequences” as including looking down and knowing that you have a clipped dick.

    I admit that this is probably the experience of most men who are C’ed. However, when 70% of the most nerve-engorged skin of your penis has been amputated, I will go out on a limb and assume that you are missing more than you know.

  184. TAO,

    Is FGM barbaric? If so, then why is MGM not?

  185. However, when 70% of the most nerve-engorged skin of your penis has been amputated

    More lies. There isn’t any evidence that the foreskin has any more nerve endings than any other piece of skin. It isn’t even remotely close to “nerve engorged”. Do the lies never end with you?

    And, yet again, wayne has just told someone that they must be deluded because they disagree with him.

  186. I look forward to the postings about the medical benefits of male circumcision.

    I guess you didn’t RTFA. According to the Harsanyi, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are all about the medical benefits of same.

  187. Is FGM barbaric? If so, then why is MGM not?

    It. Isn’t. Mutilation.

    You have people here telling you that they don’t feel “mutilated”. You even had one guy (Dave at 6:30 PM) tell you, flat-out, that “Truth be told, I don’t enjoy sex any more or less without the extra flesh tag than I did with it, and not having to deal with smegma is a great bonus.”

    And you still wonder aloud why I’m agitated.

  188. Maybe because, as of right now, you have implicitly called your opponents “mutilators”, “barbarians”, “ignorant” and compared circumcision on a 1-1 correlative level with removal of a lobe of liver and removal of the clitoris.

    I agree. It sucks to be on the wrong side of an argument.

  189. TAO, check the wikipedia entry:
    Warning, contains photos of male genitals.

    I would say, based on those photos, that the foreskin appears to be approximately one third of the total amount of skin.

    Just to be clear, I don’t think circumcision should be illegal, but I don’t think it’s a decision parents should make about their infants. I think an informed consenting adult should make their own decision. People might say it’s no big deal, but who is to judge? I would say the individual, not society.

  190. He didn’t post it as scripture; he posted it as a historical document telling what happened to “the last guy who prohibited guys from circumcising their sons.”

    It was definitely well into the gray area. All right, he’s spared total condemnation, but not The Wagging Finger Of Shame. Besides, I’m pretty sure Hitler was against circumcision.

  191. Joe M – sure, but 33% is far afield from 80%. The argument that wayne has set up here is to make it sound as if circumcision removes “80%” of the most “nerve engorged skin”, and that isn’t even remotely close to true.

    wayne – on no planet resembling the World of Reason is removal of a lobe of liver and circumcision the same thing. Ditto removal of the clitoris. The fact that you continue to argue this way tells me what a fuckhead you really are.

  192. According to the Harsanyi, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are all about the medical benefits of same.

    That’s because they’ve been bought off by the influential foreskin purse manufacturers lobby.

  193. actually, Tulpa, the bourgeois have manufactured the dominant ideology and turn the American populace into circumcision-loving zombies. Only by smashing the doctors can we usher in the Worldwide Uncut State!

  194. TAO,

    It. Isn’t. Mutilation.

    Let me make sure I understand you: female circumision… is. not. mutilation…

    ou have people here telling you that they don’t feel “mutilated”.

    Did you read Daihawk’s post?

    You even had one guy (Dave at 6:30 PM) tell you, flat-out, that “Truth be told, I don’t enjoy sex any more or less without the extra flesh tag than I did with it, and not having to deal with smegma is a great bonus.”

    As I have said all along, I have no problem with an adult deciding for himself to be circumcised. If Dave likes the outcome, then I am happy for him. But circumcision should not be done to children, particularly not to infants.

  195. I’m not wasting any more time with you, wayne. Honestly, I pity you, because you are way out of your intellectual league on this board. At this point, you aren’t even wrong.

  196. TAO, do you think the decision to be circumcised should be left to the male whose penis is to be altered?

  197. Joe M – no, because I have not seen any clear and convincing evidence that foreskin removal is tantamount to child abuse, and parents should have the right to alter their children as they see fit, so long as they do not abuse them.

  198. Sorry about the tags in the previous post.

    Ditto removal of the clitoris.

    TAO, you seem to think that female circumcision always involves removal of the clitoris. This is not so.

  199. Foreskin Function

    When infant is incontinent, prepuce fulfills an essential function, to protect the glans.(13)
    The foreskin is more than just penile skin necessary for a natural erection; it is specialized tissue, richly supplied with blood vessels, highly innervated, and uniquely endowed with stretch receptors. (T)he foreskin contribute(s) significantly to the sexual response of the intact male.(14)
    This mucous-membrane contact [male foreskin and female labia] provides natural lubrication…and prevents dryness responsible for painful intercourse and chafing and abrasions that allow for entry of STDs, viral/bacterial.(15)

    http://www.eskimo.com/~gburlin/mgm/facts.html

  200. I second P&T’s Bullshit! episode on circumcision, the video is online. Should be required viewing for parents to be.

  201. Let me be clear. I am not arguing to abolish circumcision. I am arguing to abolish circumcision for children.

    My personal opinion is that circumcision is foolish for any person, even adults, but I accept that adults own their own bodies, hence they have a right to have pieces amputated for whatever reason is acceptable to them.

  202. wow, wayne, eskimo.com – way to overwhelm me with good sources. Are you still sticking with removal of foreskin = removal of lobe of liver?

  203. I’m against government enforcement of circumsicion as much as anyone, but wtf is up with all the ignorant comparisons of male circumcision with female circumcision? The first one undoubtedly hurts during the procedure, maybe as much as the second, but the guy still has his genitals pretty much intact. Slightly decreased sensation does not = horrible pain during sex/peeing/the rest of your life.

  204. TAO, Why the hating on Eskimos?

    The lobe of liver comment was a snark, I think you are smart enough to recognize that

  205. This article, from the National Organization for Circumcision Information, says “the foreskin contains 20,000-70,000 erogenous nerve endings”, approx 75% of the total in the penis.

    This article, Specialized Nerve Receptors in the Foreskin written by Paul M. Fleiss, M.D. and Frederick M. Hodges, remarks similarly that the foreskin is extremely sensitive, while the glans is not very sensitive at all.

    This article, also written by a medical doctor, states that “[the foreskin] comprises up to 50% (sometimes more) of the mobile skin system of the penis.”

    If this is all true, it would suggest that removal of the foreskin is depriving men of a significant amount of sexual pleasure. I think that could conceivably be interpreted as abuse, if the facts are known but a parent makes the decision to circumcise anyway.

    My whole point here is, while this is a fun theoretical exercise for everyone else, I’m actually concerned about it because I may have a newborn son on my hands in a few months.

  206. While the clitoris is the analogue of the glans penis, it should not be assumed that it is innervated in the same way. The evidence is that the glans clitoris is far more sensitive than the glans penis, and that the nearest analogue to the clitoris in sensitivity is the male foreskin.

    http://www.circumstitions.com/FGM-defined.html

    Naw, there are no nerves in the foreskin, TAO told me so.

  207. The lobe of liver comment was a snark, I think you are smart enough to recognize that

    Bullshit it was.

    If this is all true, it would suggest that removal of the foreskin is depriving men of a significant amount of sexual pleasure.

    Why not ask guys who have had it done in adulthood? I have yet to meet one guy who said it made any difference at all.

  208. Naw, there are no nerves in the foreskin, TAO told me so.

    Where did I say that?

    you are one sorry piece of shit, wayne.

  209. But that’s their personal value judgment on the matter. I think it’s great for them. But anecdotal evidence doesn’t mean it’s okay for everyone. And again, I would say that the individual in is the best position to make that decision for himself.

  210. Joe M,

    I feel your pain. Have your wife watch a few of the videos of actual circumcisions.

  211. Joe M. – look, man, if you are going to find articles that merely support your preconceived notions of what is and is not child abuse, is there really any point in having this discussion?

    you have adults who are ready, willing and able to articulate and testify to the fact that the foreskin makes little to no difference. Why is that not adequate information to at least counter the very silly notion that circumcision is child abuse?

  212. Lisa,
    Type Ia, removal of the clitoral hood or prepuce only, is quite similar to a male circumcision.

    Also, take a look at Joe M’s 2:24 post. Those articles ought to convince you that a foreskin is a bit more than just a skin tag.

  213. Bullshit it was.

    I guess I was wrong, you apparently are not smart enough to recognize sarcasm.

  214. wayne, you have been a nonstop bullshit factory on this whole thread. It’s your own fault that your sarcasm goes unrecognized, because you’ve spewed enough earnest bullshit that your own parodies cannot be recognized.

  215. in other words, the “lobe of liver” thing sounds like every other piece of nonsense you’ve spouted here. How do you expect people to be able to tell the difference?

  216. Globally, most “female circumcision” is Type II (removal of clitoris and scraping of labia) or Type III (that plus infibulation, sealing of the vaginal opening). These are not remotely comparable to male circumcision.

    Type Ia is less common and can still lead to problems in childbirth, not to mention complications immediately arising from the procedure.

  217. FORESKINS
    FORESKINS
    FORESKINS
    FORESKINS

    FORESKINS!

  218. TAO, I could easily turn that back on you. You said you haven’t seen any evidence. I provided you with a number of links to doctors and organizations explaining that the foreskin contains a large number of nerve endings, and that circumcision removes sensitivity, along with other functional aspects of a whole penis.

    In other words, I provided you with some evidence.

    Now you’re calling me out because I provided links to support myself? Is there anything I could do to convince you that I may have a point?

    Setting that aside, and positing, for the moment, that there are no adverse effects from foreskin removal, there are plenty of body parts we could remove from babies that might not adversely effect their everyday lives, such as earlobes or the tip of the nose, but that doesn’t mean it’s automatically okay.

    I think anyone that would take issue with removing an earlobe might consider at least the possibility that removing a piece of someone’s genitals could be an inappropriate decision for anyone other than the person whose genitals are involved.

  219. I find that raising a child as a Christian causes them to have significant sexual-hang-ups, especially if you teach the “abstinence before marriage” version.

    Ergo, a Christian-raised child is deprived of a significant amount of pre-marital sexual pleasure, which is tantamount to child abuse.

    Therefore, Christian abstinence as a teaching should be banned. QED, bitches.

  220. I provided you with a number of links to doctors and organizations explaining that the foreskin contains a large number of nerve endings, and that circumcision removes sensitivity, along with other functional aspects of a whole penis.

    Sorry, Joe M., but what you provided were preordained hitjobs by anti-circumcision nutjobs. All of the people behind those “studies” and “stories” have well-known reputations for having a conclusion and then going forth to find evidence for it.

    Get me a consensus article, something from the AMA or the WHO or the CDC, or someone reputable, that says that the foreskin is somehow a “highly sensitive crucial organ”, like most of the articles you provided preposterously claimed, and maybe we’ll have something to discuss.

  221. I agree that removal of the clitoris is not comparable to a foreskinectomy. I have never said it was. Type 1A FGM is quite similar to a standard MGM, though.

    Why do either? There is no legitimate reason to do these things to a child.

  222. Except I’ve never claimed I want circumcisions banned.

  223. TAO,

    You are starting to rave. It is not manly.

  224. Joe M – you want neonatal circumcision banned, yes? And to justify that position, you provided specious evidence to come to a very shaky position of “child abuse”.

  225. wayne – take your Marxist form of “argumentation” and move along. The adults are talking now.

  226. Joe M,

    I do. Sign me up. Ban circumcisions, except for adults on their own penis.

  227. TAO,

    If you can’t get the better of a Marxist in an argument, then perhaps it is you who ought to listen and let the adults talk.

  228. From the American Medical Association:”Virtually all current policy statements from specialty societies and medical organizations do not recommend routine neonatal circumcision, and support the provision of accurate and unbiased information to parents to inform their choice.”

    Don’t get me wrong, the paper is full of caveats out the ass, but there it is. I have serious misgivings about circumcisions. Also, what about my comment about removing earlobes or other “superfluous” body parts? How do you feel about that?

  229. well, no, wayne – you’ve basically stated that all people who have no problems with circumcised penises are brainwashed, ignorant morons. That’s a really, really low and non-falsifiable (ergo, irrational) method of “arguing”.

  230. You want citations about the function of the foreskin (prepuce)? This one has lots.

    http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org/DOC/statement02.html

  231. TAO,

    well, no, wayne – you’ve basically stated that all people who have no problems with circumcised penises are brainwashed, ignorant morons. That’s a really, really low and non-falsifiable (ergo, irrational) method of “arguing”.

    I will try again. I have no problem with an individual having himself (or herself) circumcised. Personally, I think it is a foolish decision, but it is the right of an adult to amputate parts of their body if they see fit.

    I do have a problem with MGM (and FGM) on children.

  232. Joe M. – “not recommending” is far afield from your wholesale acceptance that the foreskin is somehow a “special, highly innervated organ” (which it, of course, is not).

    As for the earlobes thing, how is that relevant? You’re (again) begging the question by assuming the removal of foreskin is either neutral or harmful, and there are plenty of doctors and patients out there willing to tell you that they have had positive outcomes. If there were a lot of evidence that there were positive outcomes and long history behind the practice of removing a small part of the earlobe, well, on what basis would you ban neonatal earlobe removal? Because it offends your sensibilities?

    A lot of this is (uncircumcised males) having identity-politics issues and ratcheting it up to an 11 because it involves the genitals. wayne is exhibit “A”.

  233. as you can see, wayne continues to hurt your “side” here, Joe, by calling everyone on the other side “mutilators” and providing blatantly biased “evidence” to support a predetermined outcome.

    This, in case you were wondering, is why this debate gets so heated: because anti-circumcision advocates are willing to go as low as it gets to “win” the argument.

  234. If the AMA doesn’t recommend it, I think it’s safe to say it’s neutral at best. However, I can’t say that I want to ban neo-natal circumcisions. I hesitate to make any blanket proclamations about ever banning anything.

    I do think, however, that this has a lot of parallels to abortion. Making it illegal would just lead to less sanitary and more dangerous underground circumcisions as people who, for whatever reasons, insisted on doing it. We know this is precisely what is occurring in Africa, where Female Genital Cutting is widely banned in most nations, yet continues almost entirely unabated.

  235. I support laws against minors being subjected to haircuts, henceforth known as Child Hair Mutilation (CHM). Do you know how many things can go wrong when a high school dropout is pointing scissors at a kid’s head during the CHM procedure?

    And don’t even get me started on so-called “shaving”, which has the more descriptive name Male Facial Amputation (MFA). Razor cuts can cause scars which last a lifetime, plus shaving areas without hair growth can cause thick hair to grow in places nature didn’t intend. Doctors estimate that facial hair follicles are three times as sensitive as those in the scalp.

  236. Do not even get me started on Christian-Abstinence Sexual Handicapping (CASH).

  237. damn you, Tulpa – you’re better at this than I am.

  238. Does any medical association (American, Canadian, British, etc) recommend routine circumcision of children?

  239. With all of the available evidence, not to mention the intuitive notion that when an organ exists there is almost certainly a good reason for it, how can one conclude routine amputation of a child’s said organ is not the result of ignorance?

  240. Every year, millions of American men and women suffer from

    Circumcision-Induced False Consciousness Syndrome, or CIFCS, for short.

    Symptoms include:

    – Preferring circumcised penises
    – Disagreeing with anti-circumcision advocates
    – Failing to agree that circumcision is mutilation
    – ‘Claiming’ the sexual pleasure is the same
    – Failing to support the specious claim that the foreskin is some kind of superorgan!

    Do you suffer from CIFCS? Please see your local psychiatrist today!

  241. Also, what about my comment about removing earlobes or other “superfluous” body parts? How do you feel about that?

    You mean body parts like appendices and tonsils? Once upon a time, it was pretty common for those to be removed prophylactically. (My own parents were about to have my tonsils out, but then they became Christian Scientists and decided that any disease that would be prevented by having them out was an illusion anyway. As was the body itself, and those tonsils with it.) Had they gone through with it, the procedure would have been a real pain in the neck (and something that doctors now say isn’t really necessary), but hardly what I’d call mutilation. Compared to that, circumcision is pretty tame.

  242. …and providing blatantly biased “evidence” to support a predetermined outcome.

    The predetermined outcome argument weighs much more heavily on your side of the argument.

  243. Seamus,

    The appendix is not as useless as is commonly believed. See the recent article on Yahoo if you are interested.

    I reiterate: …not to mention the intuitive notion that when an organ exists there is almost certainly a good reason for it…

  244. TAO,

    I suggest you take your own advice regarding CIFCS.

  245. I, for one, am totally opposed to Human Appendix Mutilation! Let the children decide for themselves if they choose to die of appendicitis later in life. Stop HAM now!

  246. In koalas, the foreskin contains naturally-occurring bacteria that play an important role in fertilization.[44] Almost all mammals have foreskins, although in these non-human cases the foreskin is usually a sheath into which the whole penis is retracted. Only monotremes (the platypus and the echidna) lack foreskins.[45]

    Which would you rather be, a human or a platypus?

  247. Just to be fair and balanced (us leftist Marxists love to borrow slogans from our favorite news outlet):

    http://ezinearticles.com/?Circumcision—The-Case-for-Having-It-Done&id=339209

  248. A pediatrician makes the case for circumcision:

    “It’s the American way,” he says. “Eighty percent of men in America are circumcised, and parents want their sons to look like their fathers.” He says that most of the men and boys who aren’t circumcised are immigrants, children of immigrants, or from poor families who are not insured for the procedure.

    Let me make the snarky comment that always seems to play well at H&R: filthy immigrants.

  249. “It’s the American way,”

    Wait…Superman wasn’t circumcised!

  250. TAO, In an earlier post you implied that you are uncircumcised. I suggest you put your dick where your head is and have it done. Report back to us in a few weeks about how your sex life has improved, and how you now feel so much more normal when comparing dicks with the other guys in the shower.

    Sorry to all, but it was irresistible.

  251. Wait…Superman wasn’t circumcised!

    Of course not. Where do you think I get my power.

  252. I don’t like guys looking at my member in shared showers, so I always wear a blue condom in the shower when other guys are around. So a foreskin wouldn’t make a difference.

  253. i just paint my foreskin blue, don’t have to fumble with a condom that way.

  254. uh, wayne, just because I was tired of your rank dishonesty does not mean I have any desire to undergo what is widely considered a painful procedure (for adults!) that requires a month of post-operative abstinence.

  255. “Joe M. – look, man, if you are going to find articles that merely support your preconceived notions of what is and is not child abuse, is there really any point in having this discussion?

    you have adults who are ready, willing and able to articulate and testify to the fact that the foreskin makes little to no difference. Why is that not adequate information to at least counter the very silly notion that circumcision is child abuse?”

    That’s funny, because you haven’t fucking cited any sources either. Plus the CDC and AMA are so politically biased that they aren’t any more trustworthy. Did you not read the huge fucking post about the guy with the mangled dick that will require surgery because of circumcision? Let’s cut the drama and comparisons and stick to the facts, it is a medically unnecessary procedure.

  256. does not mean I have any desire to undergo what is widely considered a painful procedure (for adults!)

    But children are magically immune to pain.

  257. wow, Joe M., it’s good you’re keeping an open mind about these things.

    Tostitos – and…? what’s your point?

  258. …I have any desire to undergo what is widely considered a painful procedure (for adults!) that requires a month of post-operative abstinence.

    Babies, of course, feel no pain.

    Were I you, I wouldn’t let the post-op abstinence deter me, after all how would it differ from the pro-op abstinence?

  259. uh what? that didn’t make any sense, wayne.

    get in a tizzy all you like, but it is not an argument to say “Why don’t you get it done?”

  260. Just admit it, you’ve got nothing except your opinions. I’m at least doing research in good faith and keeping an open mind, but my position at this time is that it’s not right to make the choice for my infant son and cut off a section of his penis. The only real arguments I see in favor of it are that it’s just what most people do, and some women think uncircumcised penises look weird. The trade off between medical benefits and risks looks like a wash. The fact that you are losing anywhere from a 1/4 to a 1/3 of your penile skin is evidence that you are absolutely losing at least some nervous tissue.

  261. TAO, I don’t really think you should get it done. You have been such a dick-head (apropos, no) during this discussion that I just like messing with you.

  262. The only real arguments I see in favor of it are that it’s just what most people do, and some women think uncircumcised penises look weird.

    The way I see it is this: if some women think a natural dick “looks weird”, then fuck ’em, there are plenty of women who hold no such prejudice.

  263. if some women think a natural dick “looks weird”, then fuck ’em

    They won’t allow you to. I thought that was the whole point.

  264. i just paint my foreskin blue, don’t have to fumble with a condom that way.

    Painting your kid’s penis is child abuse. Unless you do the colors of the rainbow so he can brag in the shower about being the beneficiary of a rainbow party.

  265. dude, I’m the dickhead? You called circumcised people “diminished”. Fuck that.

  266. From Merriam Webster:
    diminish
    1 : to make less or cause to appear less

  267. For the record.

    Jews do not circumsize on the 7th day after the baby boy’s birth. They circumsize on the 8th day. It is the Muslims that circumsize on the 7th day.

    Given Obama’s pro-Muslim leanings my guess is that the CDC is doing this to help nudge American’s toward being comformtable with conforming to Sharia law and has nothing to do with Judaism.

    Sounds like the author has a big hang up about being Jewish.

  268. The very first thing I thought when reading of this was, “I wonder if they controlled for other factors.” I mean, maybe the circumcised folks are part of a community that is, on the whole, less sexually promiscuous. Wouldn’t that also cause a lower incidence?

    I thought the same thing of the universal pre-school movement. “We must have it because the children who go to pre-school do so much better.” Maybe it’s an indicator the other way, parents who are involved and committed enough to send their children to pre-school continue to encourage them through higher education.

  269. So, Joe M, if I said someone’s penis is “diminished”, you’re going to make a pedantic argument in my defense, rather than understand why that’s such a dickish thing to say?

    OK. If you don’t realize the connotative use of “diminished” when it comes to the penis, I cannot help your socially stunted upbringing.

  270. wayne | August 29, 2009, 11:53am | #

    There is no medical benefit to either procedure. The forces of natural selection created human genitals for a purpose, why fuck with nature?

    Again body alteration is common in many cultures. Look at neck elongation, ear lobe stretching, lip stretching, and tattooing. If you really believe that we shouldn’t alter our body’s why aren’t you protesting those habits? Why not also take on alterations that the mainstream sees as cool?

  271. Joe – winning that argument is simple enough. Before you find out the sex of the child, ask her how much of the vagina she would be willing to have removed. Remind her that removing the labia is far cleaner and is considered to be more hygienic in many parts of the world.

    Point should be made.

    As for the whole locker room thing, I graduated high school in 2004 and can honestly say that I was never, nor did I ever see anyone, naked in a high school locker room.

  272. wayne | August 29, 2009, 1:48pm | #
    Well, sure, if you define “consequences” as including looking down and knowing that you have a clipped dick.

    I admit that this is probably the experience of most men who are C’ed. However, when 70% of the most nerve-engorged skin of your penis has been amputated, I will go out on a limb and assume that you are missing more than you know.

    I suspect that timing matters. The brain is very undeveloped in the first 6 months of life, so I suspect that the brain region responsible for processing feeling from the foreskin can reassign itself to other regions. It’s possible that the sensitivity I lost by losing my foreskin got compensated for by greater sensitivity elsewhere. Granted, Reason linked to an article a while back that showed less resolution in feeling among circumcised penises. Researches test this by pricking the skin with two pins at varying distances and seeing how close the pins are when the subject feels them as just one pin. I don’t see this as a big loss. In my 9 months of marriage, my ex wife never once asked me, “Honey, do I have two pins in there or one?”

  273. Sweet, I was waiting for the insults. Proof that you’ve got no rebuttals.

  274. Joe M | August 29, 2009, 2:24pm | #

    If this is all true, it would suggest that removal of the foreskin is depriving men of a significant amount of sexual pleasure. I think that could conceivably be interpreted as abuse, if the facts are known but a parent makes the decision to circumcise anyway.

    My whole point here is, while this is a fun theoretical exercise for everyone else, I’m actually concerned about it because I may have a newborn son on my hands in a few months.

    Joe M, I am sure you’ll do what’s best for your son and that he will turn out OK either way. I was circumcised as an infant and I spent 12 years in government run schools as a child. If I could go back today and have one of those decisions undone, it would be the enrollment in government schools. Compared to all the damage teachers do to students these days, a bit of skin is trivial.

  275. Tulpa | August 29, 2009, 3:13pm | #
    I support laws against minors being subjected to haircuts, henceforth known as Child Hair Mutilation (CHM). Do you know how many things can go wrong when a high school dropout is pointing scissors at a kid’s head during the CHM procedure?

    And don’t even get me started on so-called “shaving”, which has the more descriptive name Male Facial Amputation (MFA). Razor cuts can cause scars which last a lifetime, plus shaving areas without hair growth can cause thick hair to grow in places nature didn’t intend. Doctors estimate that facial hair follicles are three times as sensitive as those in the scalp.

    Good point. Actually I grow a beard for several reasons. One of them is the feeling that cutting of one of my secondary sex characteristics is just plan gross. However, I respect the rights of others to shave their faces and to pass on this cultural trait to their children.

  276. Rebuttals to what, Joe? I am saying you don’t say “diminished” with respect to genitals and not expect to sound like jackassery. Sorry to have to tell you that.

  277. Just as an amusing aside: I am circumcised and am arguing against it, while TAO isn’t and is arguing in favor of it.

  278. I was circumcised as an infant and I spent 12 years in government run schools as a child. If I could go back today and have one of those decisions undone, it would be the enrollment in government schools.

    Touch

  279. Jtuf,

    As far as neck elongation, etc, I am not much interested nor do those things affect Americans much. Tattoos have some redeeming value, they can be interesting and decorative, and they are done by adults on themselves. I see no redeeming value in amputation of part of a little boys penis, at least not for the little boy.

    As far as your “rewiring” theory regarding amputees (I threw “amputees” in for you, TAO)… All I can say is, that is a stretch and I seriously doubt it.

    Jtuf, if your wife asks you during sex, “honey, do you have the pin in yet” then I suspect I know why she is your ex. TAO, I know you have trouble with these little subtleties; that was a joke.

  280. wayne | August 29, 2009, 3:31pm | #
    With all of the available evidence, not to mention the intuitive notion that when an organ exists there is almost certainly a good reason for it, how can one conclude routine amputation of a child’s said organ is not the result of ignorance?

    I had my wisdom teeth removed as a teenager. The recovery included days of swollen cheeks and pain around the stitches. During the recovery, I pulled at a stitch which I mistook for a bit of food caught in my teeth. On the way out, that thread sliced into a nerve. Fifteen years later, my right lower lip is still less sensitive than the rest of my mouth. Sometimes, I get the feeling of pins and needles in it. Was the orthodontist who insisted on the procedure just ignorant? After all, straight teeth are mostly a matter of esthetics. Like tonsils, wisdom teeth get removed from children frequently. Wayne, could you please post some articles about the harm done by the removal of tonsils and wisdom teeth? If not, please explain why your article collection is so single mindedly focused on infant penises?

  281. Sweet, I was waiting for the insults. Proof that you’ve got no rebuttals.

    I believe the correct saying is “any replies are likely to be ad homs, conceding my points and demonstrating the cowardly, childish, anti-intellectual nature of libertarians.”

  282. Quick summary:

    Me: I don’t think it’s right for a parent to decide if their child is circumcised.

    TAO: It’s not that much.

    Me: According to this website and these photos, it’s approximately 1/3 of the length.

    TAO: There’s no evidence it’s sensitive.

    Me: What about what all these organizations and doctors say?

    TAO: They’re biased, and so are you. You want to ban circumcisions.

    Me: No, I think circumcisions are fine for consenting adults.

    TAO: You want to ban neo-natal circumcisions.

    Me: No, I just don’t feel right about removing part of my son’s genitals.

    TAO: Now if the AMA had something to say…

    Me: The AMA recommends against it.

    TAO: Hardly an ringing endorsement.

    Me: At least I’m doing research instead of merely giving opinions.
    *tangent*
    *tangent*
    *tangent*

    TAO: You’re emotionally stunted.

    And there you have it, folks. Every single substantive argument or proposition I’ve made, TAO has ignored or brushed aside without a shred of counter-evidence.

  283. Lets not consider teeth next to penises, please.

    I had a bad experience.

  284. Tostitos, I agree that the AMA is no longer a good source for objective policy advice. The August 2009 issue had a commentary that called for the US handing over tobacco policy to the UN, banning tobacco in restaurants in all states, and eliminating it form TV and movies.

  285. It is obscene to perform a medically unnecessary procedure — a mutilation — on a boy too young to consent to it. While this country prohibits adults from smoking pot or renting their bodies to other consenting adults, if anything should be illegal, it’s this primitive practice.

    That said, should you happen to be one of those lettuce-headed people who believes, sans evidence, in The Imaginary Friend, and you believe he commanded you to let some religious official hack a piece off your weenie, have at it — when you’re 18 or older.

  286. Amy, I suppose you oppose allowing medically unnecessary abortions on girls under 18 too.

    Which is of course a much more invasive procedure.

  287. I recently had a son and everytime a doctor asked if we were going to circumcize, I asked “is there any medical basis for the procedure”. Not a single doctor gave me a reason – and in fact, they all seemed pleased that we didn’t want to do it without reason.

    Here’s my philosophical take on it: he’s my son but it’s his body. Women have rightfully declared “keep your laws off my body” and I think it’s only fitting that our sons are given the same respect.

    Even if the studies the CDC are referencing were iron-clad, I don’t understand the justification for doing the procedure during infancy. Newborns feel pain intensely. It’s cruel, it’s unneccesary and it gets messed up all the time. I know two newborns who were rushed to the ER due to extreme blood lose (different docs, different hospitals), one whose circumcision was incomplete, and one who will have life-long problems due to the dr. taking off part of the glans.

  288. Joe M, again, he’s your son and whatever decision you make is fine by me. My Bahai cousin is uncut, the rest of the men in my family are cut. None of us have reported problems from the presence or lack of a foreskin. My ex brother in law decided to have himself circumcised at age 13. He didn’t have any negative consequences from the procedure or the delay. Many Soviet Jews shared his experience, because of the religious revival after Communism fell. Perhaps you and your wife can ask folks at your local Russian community for advice.

  289. Amy Alkon | August 29, 2009, 6:51pm | #
    It is obscene to perform a medically unnecessary procedure — a mutilation — on a boy too young to consent to it. While this country prohibits adults from smoking pot or renting their bodies to other consenting adults, if anything should be illegal, it’s this primitive practice.

    So you think my parents should be arrested for having my wisdom teeth removed?

  290. Wayne, could you please post some articles about the harm done by the removal of tonsils and wisdom teeth? If not, please explain why your article collection is so single mindedly focused on infant penises?

    First the “single minded” question: The topic of this discussion is circumcision. It seems reasonable to me to refrain from posting about botany, for example.

    Jtuf, you are beginning to sounds as dumb as TAO. Maybe you just like to argue, though.

    On to wisdom teeth. I had mine removed as well when I was 20 and in the army. The army dentist said they were “impacted” and would cause me trouble down the road, and army dentistry is free whereas civilian dentistry is not. His argument seemed persuasive, and he showed me the XRays which clearly showed the impaction, so I did it.

    Tonsils: Routine removal of tonsils seems to me to be a bad idea. I would not have it done on my kids.

    Posting lots of articles about miscellaneous stuff: no thanks, but feel free to do so if you like.

  291. Amy, are you also this concerned about the integrity of a child’s brain. Two people very close to me were severely damaged by pediatric Ritalin.

  292. Amy was a Hit and Run, folks.

  293. Jtuf,

    Amy said her piece, which I think pretty well summed up her feelings and mine. Despite your fishing for a wedge issue where you can raise your hand excitedly and say, “see you care about little boy’s dicks, but not their teeth…”

    The topic is circumcision. If you have something substantive to say on that topic, then say it. Otherwise, grow the fuck up.

  294. Wayne, the original article was a case study about how impossible it is to make a government policy on a health issue. Libertarianism is more about “who decides” than about “what gets decided”. This isn’t about one medical procedure it is about whether a medical decision gets made by a child, that child’s parent, or busy body neighbors. You’re inability to generalize the fundamental legal question at hand shows that you are just obsessed with foreskins.

  295. This isn’t about one medical procedure it is about whether a medical decision gets made by a child, that child’s parent, or busy body neighbors.

    Who am I supposed to believe, you, or my own lying eyes?

    David Harsanyi Says Forget Death Panels, Let’s Talk Circumcision Panels

  296. All of Warty’s comments FTW.
    Threadwinners all!

  297. Otherwise, grow the fuck up.

    Hmm, I’m seen my share of fuck ups over the years, but I’m not sure how to grow one. 😉

  298. wayne, If you keep reading you’ll get to the next sentence:

    Forget death panels, writes David Harsanyi. If you’re really interested in putting a stop to the public option-and inspiring some some truly entertaining town hall meetings-let’s talk circumcision panels.

    Read the article and then get back to me.

  299. OK, Jtuf Let’s talk about wisdom teeth removal panels since it is obvious that Harsenyi meant that but accidentally typed circumcicion panels.

    Are you against them, or for them?

  300. wayne, did you read the article yet?

  301. The article contains twelve paragraphs if you don’t count the closing sentence. Every paragraph mentions circumcision. Even the closing sentence is an oblique reference to circumcision.

    You obviously win this one, Jtuf.

  302. hey! you with the knife…step away from the penis and no one gets hurt

  303. New subject: How to find a ripe peach. GO!

  304. How to find a ripe peach. GO!

    First, cut off part of your dick…

  305. The starting and concluding paragraphs of any article highlight the main point of that article. I’ve already posted a copy of the opening paragraph. That paragraph says that discussing circumcision is a vehicle for arguing against the government control of healthcare. Now let’s look at the last two paragraphs.

    The larger, more pertinent point for today is that government has zero business running campaigns-and these things inevitably turn into scaremongering efforts-that try to influence our choices regarding our children and our bodies. Especially when the procedure has so little to do with society’s collective health. Circumcision is a personal choice.

    Well, a personal choice for everyone except that poor little sucker lying on the chopping block.

    When you read the article, you can see that it uses circumcision as a case study for proving that the law should stay out of medical decisions.


  306. You obviously win this one, Jtuf.

    Thank you, wayne.

  307. I’ve had enough fun for one day.

    Jtuf, I agree the government should stay out of medical decisions; circumcision of children doesn’t happen to be a medical decision, though.

  308. I find the death panel analogy a bit of a red herring. As Harsanyi reluctantly admits (at the very end), circumcision is not a personal choice any more than being a castrato was in Victorian Italy. (And fuck anyone who thinks differently.)

    The death panel scare phenomenon is about whether the gov’t will make medical or other decisions for dying people. This will involve inserting the gov’t into personal, victimless and consensual decisions.

    Circumcision should be illegal on human rights grounds. Period. Whether or not it’s funded or directed by the gov’t is beside the point.

  309. Jtuf, I agree the government should stay out of medical decisions; circumcision of children doesn’t happen to be a medical decision, though.

    Wayne, define medical decision.

  310. Circumcision should be illegal on human rights grounds. Period. Whether or not it’s funded or directed by the gov’t is beside the point.

    d, which fundamental human right are you refering to?

  311. A medical decision is a decision made to alleviate suffering, disease, or infirmity. Owning a prepuce is none of those things. It seems to me that genital mutilation of an infant is the absolute antithesis of a medical decision.

    D can speak for himself, but one fundamental human right is the right to be safe from arbitrary disfigurement, mutilation, or harm at the hands of others. It is a fundamental human right to not be subjected to partial or complete genital amputation perpetrated only to satisfy the superstitions of others, particularly when the amputee is a child. The fact that you apparently don’t believe that children should be protected from this practice is troubling and, when extended to the population at large, explains why this barbarism continues.

  312. And again, ear piercing and dental braces are not medical decisions either by that definition.

    The fact that you apparently don’t believe that children should be protected from this practice is troubling and, when extended to the population at large, explains why this barbarism continues.

    Wait a minute. A few hours ago you said that you didn’t think circumcision should be illegal, just that it was a bad thing.

  313. I see that circumcision is a “sensitive” subject.

    DISCLAIMER: I was snipped right around birth. By time I put on a condom, I can hardly feel a thing.

  314. This, in case you were wondering, is why this debate gets so heated: because anti-circumcision advocates are willing to go as low as it gets to “win” the argument.

    Right, but Tulpa’s jokes about message-board text art and circumcised men wearing special-order condoms show just how above the fray the pro-circumcision crowd always keeps itself.

  315. er, “uncircumcised” men, rather

  316. I don’t even miss my foreskin until someone brings up the subject, then I get a little misty-eyed.

  317. I wonder what hospitals do with all that “medical waste”? Anyway, I don’t think I’ll circumcise my (possible future) son(s).

  318. What’s the deal with the “class II device” in Obamacare? Right-wing nuttery? I only ask because I’d hate to have to kill my doctor to find out what he knows.

  319. The science is pretty solid that ther are medical reasons to favor circumcision.

    Sure, there are reasons to oppose it, but don’t pretend there is no medical benefit/reason to advocate for it.

    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/circumcision.htm

    Some abstracts,

    Methods

    4996 uncircumcised, HIV-negative men aged 15-49 years who agreed to HIV testing and counselling were enrolled in this randomised trial in rural Rakai district, Uganda. Men were randomly assigned to receive immediate circumcision (n=2474) or circumcision delayed for 24 months (2522). HIV testing, physical examination, and interviews were repeated at 6, 12, and 24 month follow-up visits. The primary outcome was HIV incidence. Analyses were done on a modified intention-to-treat basis. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, with the number NCT00425984.
    Findings

    Baseline characteristics of the men in the intervention and control groups were much the same at enrolment. Retention rates were much the same in the two groups, with 90-92% of participants retained at all time points. In the modified intention-to-treat analysis, HIV incidence over 24 months was 0?66 cases per 100 person-years in the intervention group and 1?33 cases per 100 person-years in the control group (estimated efficacy of intervention 51%, 95% CI 16-72; p=0?006). The as-treated efficacy was 55% (95% CI 22-75; p=0?002); efficacy from the Kaplan-Meier time-to-HIV-detection as-treated analysis was 60% (30-77; p=0?003). HIV incidence was lower in the intervention group than it was in the control group in all sociodemographic, behavioural, and sexually transmitted disease symptom subgroups. Moderate or severe adverse events occurred in 84 (3?6%) circumcisions; all resolved with treatment. Behaviours were much the same in both groups during follow-up.
    Interpretation

    Male circumcision reduced HIV incidence in men without behavioural disinhibition. Circumcision can be recommended for HIV prevention in men.

    Methods: Electronic databases (1950-2004) were searched using keywords and text terms for herpes simplex, syphilis, chancroid, ulcerative sexually transmitted diseases, or their causative agents, in conjunction with terms to identify epidemiological studies. References of key articles were hand searched, and data were extracted using standardised forms. Random effects models were used to summarise relative risk (RR) where appropriate.

    Results: 26 articles met the inclusion criteria. Most syphilis studies reported a substantially reduced risk among circumcised men (summary RR = 0.67, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.54 to 0.83), although there was significant between study heterogeneity (p = 0.01). The reduced risk of HSV-2 infection was of borderline statistical significance (summary RR = 0.88, 95% CI 0.77 to 1.01). Circumcised men were at lower risk of chancroid in six of seven studies (individual study RRs: 0.12 to 1.11).

    Conclusions: This first systematic review of male circumcision and ulcerative STI strongly indicates that circumcised men are at lower risk of chancroid and syphilis. There is less association with HSV-2. Potential male circumcision interventions to reduce HIV in high risk populations may provide additional benefit by protecting against other STI.

    “3 factors that did not increase the risk for in situ cancer proved significant risk factors for invasive penile cancer: lack of circumcision during childhood, phimosis and cigarette smoking. The high percentage of HPV DNA-positive tumors in our study is consistent with a strong association between HPV infection and the development of penile cancer regardless of circumcision status. Circumcision in early childhood may help prevent penile cancer by eliminating phimosis, a significant risk factor for the disease.”

    There are more. Urinary tract infection risk is reduced, but only justifies circumcision if the child is already at high risk, for instance.

    Many well designed studies and systematic reviews on the topic.

  320. Important to add, perhaps, STD rates among women are lower for those who have circumcised partners.

    HPV rates for circumcised men are also lower.

    Complication rates in the US are below 2% (CI ranging from 0.2% to 2.0%).

    Again, many legitimate reasons to not circumcise, but they need to be weighed against the proven medical benefits.

  321. I’ll just reiterate the point, made earlier, that “it slightly reduces your chances of contracting a disease from having unprotected sex with an infected partner” is a really stupid reason to favor circumcision. If preventing the spread of disease is the goal then the CDC’s time & money would be better spent promoting condom use.

  322. I’m totally sold. I’m gonna get my ears and nose cut off so I’ll never get cancer there!

    On a personal note my glans has always been exposed and sensitive leading me to “pull” at myself since a child(everyone has seen this) its horribly uncomfortable, I want my foreskin back and I want some smegma so I can penetrate my wife easier.

  323. The science is pretty solid that ther are medical reasons to favor circumcision.

    Great, another shill for Big Circ.

  324. I want my foreskin back and I want some smegma so I can penetrate my wife easier.

  325. wayne | August 29, 2009, 11:38pm | #
    A medical decision is a decision made to alleviate suffering, disease, or infirmity. Owning a prepuce is none of those things. It seems to me that genital mutilation of an infant is the absolute antithesis of a medical decision.

    Wayne, we have a difference of opinion about the definition of a medical decision. For the purposes of legal debate I would widen the definition of medical decision to include:

    1) decisions that affect the relief of disease or injury (ie taking antibiotics or getting a bone set)
    2) decisions that affect the likelihood of acquiring disease (ie smoking tobacco) and
    3) decisions about the alteration of the body (ie getting breast implants or cochlear implants).

    I think that this definition better reflects how the term is used in debates about laws. Do you agree?

  326. d | August 29, 2009, 9:12pm | #

    Circumcision should be illegal on human rights grounds. Period. Whether or not it’s funded or directed by the gov’t is beside the point.

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 11:38pm | #

    D can speak for himself, but one fundamental human right is the right to be safe from arbitrary disfigurement, mutilation, or harm at the hands of others.

    Wayne, we also have a difference of opinion here. I would argue that self ownership of one’s body is the relevant fundamental right. This means that a person has both the right to be free from involuntary “disfigurement, mutilation, or harm at the hands of others” and the right to voluntarily undergo “disfigurement, mutilation, or harm at the hands of others”. Again Libertarianism isn’t about “what decision gets made” it is about “who makes the decision”.

    If, as you put it, “one fundamental human right is the right to be safe from arbitrary disfigurement, mutilation, or harm at the hands of others,” then we should cite the local ear piercing shop for human rights violations. Your concept of the fundamental right would lead to the feds locking up people with body art in the name of protecting them from themselves.

  327. Art-P.O.G. | August 30, 2009, 2:05am | #
    I wonder what hospitals do with all that “medical waste”? Anyway, I don’t think I’ll circumcise my (possible future) son(s).

    These days, hospitals farm foreskins for stem cells. I respect your right to keep your kids uncircumcised.

  328. Wayne, this video I made about the arguements for legalizing marijuana should help you understand the difference between saying “It’s my choice,” and saying “It’s a good choice.”

    Legalize Marijuana JD 090426

  329. jtuf,

    Oh, I ddn’t realize that. That’s pretty cool, but I wonder what they did with f-skins before they started harvesting them for stem cells.

  330. wayne | August 29, 2009, 11:38pm | #

    why this barbarism continues.

    You picked an interesting choice of words. Via the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

    Barbaric – 1 a : of, relating to, or characteristic of barbarians b : possessing or characteristic of a cultural level more complex than primitive savagery but less sophisticated than advanced civilization

    Nineteenth Century anthropologists divided humanity into three main categories, the “civilized”, the “barbarian”, and the “savage”. Most of those researchers placed Western and Northern Europe in the “civilized” group, Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Middle East in the “barbarian” group, and Sub-Sahara Africa, Oceana, and the indigenous tribes of the Western Hemisphere in the “savage” group. Male circumcision is mostly a Middle Eastern cultural practice, so yes, you could call it barbaric if you subscribe to 19th Century views on race. However, I don’t think we should make laws based on prejudices that are better left to the dustbins of history.

  331. ‘Douay-Rheims? Seriously? That has Lefebvrite written all over it.’

    It’s a public domain document which the Church has never banned. If the Lefebvrites didn’t jump off a bridge, would you jump just to spite them?

    ‘Also note that 1 Maccabees isn’t in the Jewish Canon, so my inner rabbi just condemned you for posing apocryphal works as Scripture.’

    Your inner rabbi must be very selective in his outrage, if he is OK with banning circumcision but not with Maccabees. Bear in mind that Chanukkah is a Jewish holiday, and in the U.S. the Jewish community is especially fervent in its observance. And what they celebrate on Chanukkah is the defeat of the pagan oppressors who, among other things, banned circumcision. So when you wish a Jewish person a happy Chanukkah, you are indirectly expressing your support of circumcision.

    ‘Mad Max, if there were a religion that required little girls to undergo FGM I would have no “religious freedom” qualms about banning the practice. I’m fully in line with the British official who told an Indian wannabe wife-burner that he was totally free to practice his ethnic tradition, followed by the British practicing their ethnic tradition of hanging a man who does that.

    ‘In short, the basic human rights to life and bodily integrity trump religious freedom every time.’

    You realize, of course, that America has a thriving Jewish community, many of whose members practice circumcision . . . well, *religiously.* If the government authorities followed your suggestion and announced that male circumcision was morally equivalent to FGM and wife-burning, and that violators would suffer criminal penalties, then you might expect . . . a little bit of resistance. And rightly so! You would have to declare a crusade against most American Jews in order to have your law enforced, and to suppress the organized resistance which would almost certainly ensue.

    Do you have the stomach to try and get away with this? Antiochus thought he could to so, as well.

  332. Art P.O G.,

    There was a story going around a while back about a baby boy born without eyelids. (I don’t remember where, it’s been years ago)
    Anyway, the doctors ended up circumcising him and they used the foreskin to make him some eyelids. It turned out great with no major complications.

    Only problem is that when a pretty girl walks by he gets a little cockeyed.

  333. I’ll just reiterate the point, made earlier, that “it slightly reduces your chances of contracting a disease from having unprotected sex with an infected partner” is a really stupid reason to favor circumcision. If preventing the spread of disease is the goal then the CDC’s time & money would be better spent promoting condom use.

    I don’t think “slightly” is the right description for the effect sizes found in these studies. Depending upon what STD you are talking about (HIV, for instance) “substantially” would be a better term.

    As for public health motivations for promoting strategies to reduce disease, the CDC’s money is best spent informing about multiple proven strategies. It isn’t a one-or-the-other kind of choice. There’s a pretty big bang for the buck with circumcision, and it operates in the group for whom behavioral factors put them at highest risk.

    Another point about the “complications” rate. The vast majority of “complications” reported are minor post-surgical bleeding that resolves. In the Uganda study, for instance, where the reported higher complications rates, even the “moderate” complications were resolved with treatment. No serious complications were report. They are exceedingly rare. As with any medical procedure, people need to be aware of the worst-case scenario, but they need to know how common/likely it is as well. In this case, the answer is (particularly in the US): exceedingly rare.

    Of course jtuf’s point is the one that is more central, but if people are going to make their own medical decisions, it is important to have the best available information. Anyone reading this thread and coming away with the idea the 10% of boys have major complications from a procedure that only slightly decreases their risk of STD’s would be making their decision based on incorrect information.

  334. Another point, the AMA article pointed to by Joe M. above is a decade old. As such, I find it odd that he pointed to it.

    Here is a more recent systematic review’

    There is strong evidence that medical male circumcision reduces the acquisition of HIV by heterosexual men by between 38% and 66% over 24 months. Incidence of adverse events is very low, indicating that male circumcision, when conducted under these conditions, is a safe procedure. Inclusion of male circumcision into current HIV prevention measures guidelines is warranted, with further research required to assess the feasibility, desirability, and cost-effectiveness of implementing the procedure within local contexts.

    http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab003362.html

  335. Jtuf,

    Wayne, we have a difference of opinion about the definition of a medical decision. For the purposes of legal debate I would widen the definition of medical decision to include:

    1) decisions that affect the relief of disease or injury (ie taking antibiotics or getting a bone set)
    2) decisions that affect the likelihood of acquiring disease (ie smoking tobacco) and
    3) decisions about the alteration of the body (ie getting breast implants or cochlear implants).

    I think that this definition better reflects how the term is used in debates about laws. Do you agree?

    I like your definition just fine, for adults, which, of course, is what I have said all along and which you have apparently ignored.

    For NM, the purported resistance to STDs incurred by amputation of prepuce is minimal, the research is discredited and probably wrong, and the benefit, if there were one, does not justify the procedure.

  336. Joe M,

    Couldn’t be bothered to read ALL the ravings in the thread, but here’s my 2c as an intact-European.

    1. Unless someone wants to cite at what point newborns become aware of pain, circumsision causes pain to newborns.

    2. This is your child, not Reason’s. Millions of adults around the world exercise the right to act in their children’s best interest.

    3. Feigning neutrality on the matter, circumcision may or may not be like FGM, but it’s an elective process that a consenting adult should be able to make a decision about, on their own, when their culture deems them to be a legal adult.

    4. Not feigning neutrality (and I ain’t gonna start getting into a link war) all the ‘cons’ regarding non-circumcision in children seem to be primarily due to basic hygiene. A foreskin complicates those hygiene issues slightly, but then, washing behind your ears and in those little crevices is a nusiance too, but I don’t see much support for neo-natal removal of ears.

    Frankly, I’m surprised to see a food-fight at H&R over an issue where one side wants to undertake body-mods on minors, and the other side has to argue, forcibly, for the right of that child to grow to adulthood before having his cock sliced.

    There may or may not be a health benefit in circumsision for adult males. Let the adult male in question make the call on a procedure that has the potential to disfigure.

  337. Thanks, Bod, for a great no-nonsense summary of the issue. Also, thanks to Jtuf for the well-mannered semi-opposing view.

  338. Jtuf,

    In your world, apparently it is quite acceptable to circumcise infants (girls, [type 1A] and boys), implant cochlear devices in infants, augment their breasts, tattoo them, pierce their ears, and install little bumps under the skin of their heads to make them appear to have horns. In my world, I will delay these decisions until adulthood for the people affected.

  339. wayne,

    For NM, the purported resistance to STDs incurred by amputation of prepuce is minimal, the research is discredited and probably wrong, and the benefit, if there were one, does not justify the procedure.

    Discredited. Nah. In a fight between sources, I’ll put a Cochrane review up against pretty much anything.

    I will reiterate, I am not here to say “DO IT!” But there’s a lot of bullshit being claimed on this thread. The evidence for benefit is sound, the risk is low. In the US the diseases that circumcision protects against are very rare, but, of course, this may be due in large part to the fact that circumcision is so common in this country.

    The information being cited on this thread reminds of nothing more than the information propagated by anti-vaccine crusaders.

  340. There is strong evidence that medical male circumcision reduces the acquisition of HIV by heterosexual men by between 38% and 66% over 24 months. Incidence of adverse events is very low, indicating that male circumcision, when conducted under these conditions, is a safe procedure.

    NM, read your own citation. Circumcision reduces acquisition of HIV in heterosexual men… when conducted under these conditions (i.e when MEN get circumsized), is a safe procedure.

    I don’t buy the connection between circumcision and STDs (the whole correlation/causation thing, and confirmation bias), but if an adult wants to have it done to reduce his risk of STD infection, or for any other hair-brained reason, I am fine with it.

  341. wayne,

    I don’t see the point of your last post. Could you clarify?

    As for the STD reduction, there are many, many, well designed studies. Sure, be skeptical, read critically, but I think you need to be more aware of your own confirmation bias on this issue. You seem to be reading to find evidence that supports your bias against the procedure, rather than looking at what the bulk of the evidence indicates.

  342. Bod M,

    As an intact American male, I think your summary is dead-on in all respects.

    I am frankly baffled that anybody argues for routine circumcision of children.

  343. wayne,

    Was your point that the study was done on adults? Not sure how that matters here.

  344. will reiterate, I am not here to say “DO IT!”

    Of course not, NM, I have never seen you actually take a concrete position on anything.

    I don’t see the point of your last post. Could you clarify?

    No, I can’t make it any clearer for you. See Bod M’s post.

  345. Was your point that the study was done on adults? Not sure how that matters here.

    No, NM, obviously the study was done on infants, heterosexual ones at that who were protected during their sexual escapades in the crib.

  346. wayne,

    Of course not, NM, I have never seen you actually take a concrete position on anything.

    Well, I have taken a concrete position that you are spreading misinformation.

    I admit that I don’t find it very useful to tell people what THE RIGHT ANSWER is on may topics discussed on H&R. Mostly because there is always room for debate. I frequently take a stand against the prorogation of uninformed or arrogantly certain positions by others.

  347. wayne,

    So explain to me again why it matters that the evidence comes from a study conducted on MEN. You felt the need to BOLD “MEN” and “ADULT” when making some vague point about the citation I provided. Were you somehow trying to imply that the evidence for benefit found in adults does not mean that the same benefit can be expected when the procedure is done in infancy? If so, I can’t see why you would assume the benefit is dependent upon when the procedure took place.

  348. shut the fuck up, NM.

  349. wayne,

    You’re funny.

  350. I think the point wayne is trying to make is that the study was done on adult males, who consented to being circumcised. Which kind of brings it back to the primary issue, which is whether a parent has the right to make a decision about removing a piece of their newborn son’s body.

  351. I think a big problem here is that we get into that messy area of saying we’re doing things for people’s “own good,” which is annoyingly paternalistic. Now, I don’t want to slide too far in that direction, because then you get into situations like the parents who refuse to get treatment for their diabetic children, and just want to pray over them until God saves the day. Things are never simple.

  352. If the benefits conferred by circumcision are delivered only by the time the child becomes sexually precocious, then where’s the harm in delaying the procedure until that time?

    I’m OK with asking MY uncircumcised son whether he wants to be circumcised when I become aware that he’s likely to be sexually active. I’d rather avoid the issue completely, and let the whole matter slide until he is legally and culturally responsible for that choice himself.

    However, changing-rooms and skinny-dipping being what they are, I also anticipate some questions before that time about why he (and over half of his classmates) are ‘different’ from the other, less-than-40%.

    As a parent, I try and keep all my kids options open as long as possible. The risks my son faces as a result of his not being circumcised are largely the risks that an adult will be exposed to.

    Consequently, he will be in a position to make his own, hopefully informed choice, when he becomes an adult.

  353. Joe M,

    I agree to a degree. The issue really is whether a parent has more right to direct the health, welfare and upbringing of a child than does the state – or for that matter, other ‘well-meaning’ private citizens.

    I think it’s pretty clear what my opinion is.

  354. Now, I don’t want to slide too far in that direction, because then you get into situations like the parents who refuse to get treatment for their diabetic children, and just want to pray over them until God saves the day. Things are never simple.

    Joe M, the circumcision situation is very similar to the one you describe. Courts regularly step in and force medical treatment to save the lives of children in such situations, despite the objection of “parents”. The law everywhere (as far I know) prohibits FGM (even the “innocuous” type 1A), despite the objection of “parents”. Why should infant boys receive less protection?

  355. Joe M,

    I think you may be correct. I think it is pretty clear that parents generally have a right to make medical decisions for their children. That can certainly be debated, but, as I said above, I think it needs to be debated in the light of valid information about costs/benefits.

    wayne has spent a lot of this thread trying to show the horrors of a specific choice. The rights question, of course, does not depend upon showing that the procedure is beneficial or not. The rights question is not about outcomes. Parents either do or do not have the right to make the medical decision for their son.

    The only reason that I can see for wayne to be pushing so hard is because his position depends upon a conception that it is abusive to circumcise the child. To prove “abuse” he wants to emphasize the risks, but his arguments are pure hyperbole. The risks are very low. The evidence for benefit solidly demonstrated. Certainly there is no reason to recommend that circumcision be required, but to suggest that it is an abusive procedure on par with female genital mutilation is disingenuous at best (FMG has not claimed benefit, much higher risk of complications, etc…).

  356. I think that unless you can find some clear evidence that newborn children have no apparatus for sensing pain, circumcision would constitute ‘abuse’.

    Because unless you can the only question is whether there’s any medical justification in doing so.

  357. wayne has spent a lot of this thread trying to show the horrors of a specific choice.

    Actually, NM, Daihawk illustrated the horror of a specific choice.

    Now, shut the fuck up.

  358. (FMG has not claimed benefit,

    INTERPRETATION: Circumcision of HIV-infected men did not reduce HIV transmission to female partners over 24 months; longer-term effects could not be assessed. Condom use after male circumcision is essential for HIV prevention.”
    And furthermore if you really want a strong correlation between circumcision rates and low HIV rates I’m afraid the answer is somewhat unsettling – in East Africa the countries where Type 3 Female Genital Mutilation (yes, the most brutal and disgusting type) is prevalent have the lowest rates.

    Now, shut the fuck up.

  359. I think that unless you can find some clear evidence that newborn children have no apparatus for sensing pain, circumcision would constitute ‘abuse’.

    I don’t see your point here. It hurts to get a small pox vaccination too. Many medical procedures hurt. Circumcision is performed with anesthesia and is less painful than, say, a tonsillectomy.

    wayne,

    Yes, as I mentioned above. It is important for people to know what the worst-case scenario looks like. But they also need to know what the level of likelihood there is for that outcome. You have been making a case that seems to be aimed at showing the choice is abusive even when the worst-case doesn’t not obtain. AND you have been over-emphasizing and exaggerating the risk of serious complications. Much different.

  360. wayne,

    How many posts has it been since you made a correlation is not causation argument? This is what it means to be disingenuous. Evidence against your position is dismissed when it is based on correlation, but touted as legitimate when it can be used to further you position.

    And, I might add, you are even going as far as distorting the point being made in your citation.

  361. Cutting off the most sensitive part of the penis is barbaric. I would rather lose my left hand ~ seriously.

  362. Well, I’m done.

    wayne, seek help, seriously.

  363. Well, I’m done.

    Good. Go and inflict your trolling on your loved one, if you have any.

  364. NM

    Childern and adults are exposed to the risks of smallpox. Hence, there’s a benefits innoculating children.

    Children and adults are also exposed to the risks of rabies. However, for numerous reasons, rabies innoculations are only administered to children and adults in identified risk-groups, and on an as-needed basis when an event occurs that puts them at risk of rabies.

    Newborns are not exposed to the risk of sexually-transmitted HIV. Consequently, there is little rationale for undertaking a procedure that they will not benefit from until they become adults. The appropriate time would be when they become members of that risk group. Which may be a very large proportion of society (or not – by the time they’re sexually precocious, HIV may be somewhat less of a risk).

    Why the hell-for-leather obsession with promoting a procedure that delivers no benefit (and depending on whose research you want to believe, carries some degree of risk) to the recipient?

    It’s nonsensical to me, especially here at H&R.

  365. oops – should have added …

    A procedure that the individual can elect to undertake when they become a member of that at-risk group.

    Because they would, of course, because under local anaesthetic, it’s painless, isn’t it?

  366. Neu Mejican:

    Regardless of whether circumcision reduces the rate of transmission of STDs when no protection is used, I don’t think it is an adequate condition to recommend circumcision. One would have to assume never using protection to enjoy the benefit that circumcision provides in this case, which we should all agree (?) is a stupid thing.

    In that case circumcision provides only a small measure of protection to the population as a whole from STDs, and does very little for the stupid segment of the population who don’t protect themselves.

  367. Just to clarify an apparent misconception:

    Children are not currently inoculated against small-pox, nor are adults except for soldiers and those who are expected to be exposed to weaponized SP. Small pox was eradicated from the wild about thirty years ago. Small pox inoculation is painful and uncomfortable, but it does have a substantial and proven benefit, not that those considerations seem to matter to the, “must mutilate children” crowd.

  368. The evidence for benefit is sound, the risk is low. In the US the diseases that circumcision protects against are very rare, but, of course, this may be due in large part to the fact that circumcision is so common in this country.

    This shows just how overblown the supposed medical benefits of circumcision have become. The idea that “a large part” of the difference in incidence of HIV between the U.S. and Africa can be explained by widespread circumcision–having reduced the risk of HIV contraction from an HIV+ positive partner from 10% to 5% (or whatever)–is just silly. But even simple math seems to get thrown out the window so people can make the argument.

    Hey, there’s only one bullet in this gun instead of two, guess it’s fine for me to play Russian Roulette now!

  369. Cutting off the most sensitive part of the penis is barbaric. I would rather lose my left hand ~ seriously.

    As a circumsised man and Sinistral-American I find this vaguely offensive but I can’t exactly say why.

  370. A fair point wayne.

    Of course, the comparison of communicable diseases such as smallpox (or varicella, measles etc) with HIV in this context is flawed.

    The former will spread as the result of general human behavior across all age-groups. The latter requires specific behaviors which are socially restricted and are primarily indulged in by consenting adults.

    Now, if circumcision was seen as some kind of protection against polio or influenza, my objections to subjecting my son to it would be considerably weaker, but as I see it at the moment.

    If as an adult, my son wants to be totally protected from the risk of HIV, he has a number of strategies open to him, including celibacy. And that’d be his choice too.

  371. Now, if circumcision was seen as some kind of protection against polio or influenza, my objections to subjecting my son to it would be considerably weaker, but as I see it at the moment.

    If as an adult, my son wants to be totally protected from the risk of HIV, he has a number of strategies open to him, including celibacy. And that’d be his choice too.

    I am in complete agreement.

  372. I said I was done, but Graphite makes a good point that requires me to clarify.

    I overstated with the “in large part” (should have been “in part”, my bad), but that being said, I was not actually intending to refer to HIV with that comment, but the other conditions for which circumcision has been shown to reduce risk. And I will again emphasize that there is a difference between saying “it should not be required” and “it should be banned.” Likewise, there is a difference between “there are valid reasons to choose circumcision” and “it should be required.” If the two bullets argument is about the importance of condoms for preventing HIV, I concur.

    bod,

    Very good points. And wayne should note that your arguments don’t require a distortion of the facts.

    does very little for the stupid segment of the population who don’t protect themselves.

    I still contend that cutting the risk in half is more than “very little.” To use Graphites Russian Roulette example, if I am playing Russian Roulette, I would choose the gun with one bullet over the one with two…Now, I wouldn’t choose to play, but IF I were playing I think cutting my risk in half is probably worth it.

  373. Whew, 382 posts on this thread and nobody’s thinking on this subject has budged.

  374. I think Bod makes some excellent points about STDs. If those are the primary concerns, or a majority of them, why not allow an informed, consenting adult to make the determination about risk/reward?

    I’ve read a lot of things about circumcision at this point, and it seems like the risks for infants from either side, while horrific in many cases, are also extremely rare. This includes both infections for uncircumcised babies and damage to the glans from sitting in urine for extended periods of time, as well as problems with the foreskin not properly retracting over time.

  375. Also, not to link it up too much again, but this article is pretty interesting and comprehensive. Anyone who feels like it’s tl;dr can just skip to the very bottom section, the Summary, to get the gist of the piece, which is that circumcision is not necessary, barring special circumstances.

  376. Male circumcision is mostly a Middle Eastern cultural practice, so yes, you could call it barbaric if you subscribe to 19th Century views on race.

    You know your argument is getting very weak when you are forced to resort to the race card.

    I don’t give a flying fuck about practices in the middle east. I am talking about practices in America.

  377. Joe M.,

    That article is a worthwhile read, but CIRP articles about this issue are, somewhat, analogous to M.A.D.D. articles about drinking and driving. They should be taken with a grain of salt.

  378. Removing a woman’s breasts early on very drastically reduces her chance of getting breast cancer.

  379. Also, Joe M.,

    When reading an article from the 1940’s, it is important to highlight the fact that “the evidence” being used is, to say the least, out of date. So, again, read the whole article, then look into more recent studies. But it is probably best to ignore the conclusions it draws.

  380. Interesting article, Joe M.

  381. Ah, true, I missed that 1949 date at the top. Still, it’s difficult to find a lot of pro-circumcision information online. I found another interesting piece, though, with this extremely interesting remark:

    Frederick Hodges… medical historian, has collected approximately 6,000 articles on circumcision which detail its history in the U.S. “In this country,” he explains, “there is a common thread running throughout circumcision advocacy. It turns out that whatever disease is the focus of national attention, in whatever given time period, the circumcision advocates will use that disease as an excuse for circumcision. In the 1940’s, when venereal disease was the focus of national attention, circumcision advocates said that circumcision would prevent and cure venereal disease. In the 1950’s and ’60’s, when cancer was the great fear of the American public, naturally circumcision was used as a cure and a preventative of cancer. In the late 1980’s and the 1990’s, when AIDS and HIV has become a tremendous problem, the circumcision advocates have advocated circumcision as a way to reduce the risks.”

  382. Oops, lost my last remark:

    I think that’s analogous, in a way, to a lot of drug war hype. There’s always a new boogeyman to battle.

  383. I was chopped but we did not slice our two sons. It was so difficult and expensive to make them to begin with (IVF) that it seemed silly to start chopping off parts 🙂 OTOH my wife’s stepdad just got chopped at age 70+ because his foreskin got so tough that it was difficult to pee. I had never heard of this but his urologist said that it is rather common as you get older.

  384. Joe M.,

    Hodges comments are pretty irrelevant. Even if he is correct (and his claim looks dubious, but I haven’t read all 6000 of the articles he has collected), there is no reason to assume that the coincidence of attention to a particular problem and the emergence of evidence somehow invalidates the evidence. It is reasonable to assume that studies are done on problems that are the current focus of attention.

    The evidence for or against an effect of circumcision is either valid or not. Whatever the motivation for asking the question.

  385. So, just to clarify, you think a parent should or should not make a decision about this based on risks for sexually active adults? As opposed to an adult male making the choice for himself?

  386. I would say that, overall, the foreskin clearly serves a lot of important purposes, and most other issues can be addressed with proper hygiene and safe sexual practices. Also, I’ve actually watched a video of an infant being circumcised, and it was absolutely horrifying. I don’t think I can, in good conscience, force that upon my newborn son.

  387. Joe M,

    If that is aimed at me, I think parents can legitimately claim a right to make medical decisions for their infants. And that they should do so based on the best information available. They should, of course, consider all the relevant factors, including the risks/benefits of waiting in order to allow the son to decide for himself. There is no evidence indicating that a decision to circumcise is abusive, so there is not any reason to restrict the parent’s options surrounding this issue.

  388. So, just to clarify, you think a parent should or should not make a decision about this based on risks for sexually active adults? As opposed to an adult male making the choice for himself?

    Joe M, I assume you are new to H&R. You won’t get a “position” from NM on anything. :-).

  389. wayne,

    Oh irony.

  390. There is no evidence indicating that a decision to circumcise is abusive, so there is not any reason to restrict the parent’s options surrounding this issue.

    Well, other than the complication rate of somewhere between 2 and 10%, and the pain, and the reduced sexual function later in life…

  391. It’s extremely NSFW, by the way.

  392. Joe M,

    No thanks on the video, but those on-the-fence on this issue might give it a go.

  393. wayne,

    You have failed miserably to present a case for this common procedure being abusive. Repeating the arguments doesn’t make them stronger.

  394. shut the fuck up, NM.

  395. wayne,

    You’re funny, what with your scary big boy words and all.

  396. NM, watch that video. Looks like abuse to me.

  397. “Frederick Hodges… medical historian, has collected approximately 6,000 articles on circumcision which detail its history in the U.S. “In this country,” he explains, “there is a common thread running throughout circumcision advocacy. It turns out that whatever disease is the focus of national attention, in whatever given time period, the circumcision advocates will use that disease as an excuse for circumcision. In the 1940’s, when venereal disease was the focus of national attention, circumcision advocates said that circumcision would prevent and cure venereal disease. In the 1950’s and ’60’s, when cancer was the great fear of the American public, naturally circumcision was used as a cure and a preventative of cancer. In the late 1980’s and the 1990’s, when AIDS and HIV has become a tremendous problem, the circumcision advocates have advocated circumcision as a way to reduce the risks.”

    Confirmation bias… I expect circumcision will soon be correlated to a reduction in global warming.

  398. Joe M.,

    I have been in the room for several circumcisions. I disagree. As medical procedures go, it is not a big deal. I believe cochlear implants were mentioned above. Also optional, also controversial, also the parent’s decision. Watch the surgery for that sometime, it will put that video into context.

  399. wayne,

    Do you ever wonder whether your own confirmation bias is getting in the way on this issue? Do you think, perhaps, Hodges statement may be a perfect example of confirmation bias? Well controlled, well conducted studies control for confirmation bias. The Cochrane review specifically assesses sources of bias in their assessment of evidence. When they come out with a “strong evidence” position on a topic, you can feel fairly confident that confirmation bias has been controlled for. They are not shy in their reviews.

    So, again, repeating your arguments does not make them stronger. But, I guess, repeatedly pointing that out to you won’t change your behavior, so…

  400. I would suggest that there is a substantive difference between addition of functionality and subtraction of functionality.

  401. cochlear implants to cure/minimize deafness in your child versus circumcision to… do what, exactly for your child?

    The comparison is fucking absurd.

  402. Joe M,

    Implantation of a cochlear implant destroys the natural functioning of the ear with no guarantee that the implant with improve function. You are guaranteed loss of function.

  403. wayne,

    Indeed, I take a much stronger position with regards to cochlear implants. In the appropriate circumstances I would strongly advocate that parents get it done early as the timing of implantation is an important factor. There are others who would disagree. I would not go as far as saying parent should be required to implant however.

    But if you want to use “the procedure is painful, therefore it is abuse” argument, then you need to put the “painful” claim in the context of other medical procedures. On that scale, circumcision is pretty minimal.

  404. You know, now that I think about it, the reduction in the rate of circumcisions in the US does correlate nicely with the emergence of global warming.

    Circumcisions prevent global warming!

  405. I did chuckle when the man claiming an equivalency between female genital mutilation and circumcision yelled “comparison is fucking absurd.”

    The lack of self-awareness is impressive.

  406. In the appropriate circumstances I would strongly advocate that parents get it done early as the timing of implantation is an important factor.

    Let me be sure I understand (an impossible feat when dealing with NM): You advocate that children (all children) have cochlear implants early on.

  407. Cochlear implants are dealing with a much more serious situation. There is an actual medical issue. In the vast majority of circumcisions, there is no immediate issue being addressed. It’s mainly for possibly changing the risks of certain problems from a tiny fractional change to a slightly tinier fractional chance, and again, most of the problems can be addressed by proper hygiene. And again, I think a lot of people just do it unthinkingly, without actual consideration of the issue. I can’t do it to my child.

  408. Joe M.,

    I have advocated throughout this thread that that is a perfectly valid position for you to hold. What I disagree with is wayne’s position that parents who make a different choice are child abusers.

    wayne,
    That is the funniest response I have read in a long time.

    Let me be sure I understand (an impossible feat when dealing with NM): You advocate that children (all children) have cochlear implants early on.

    I strongly advocate that IN THE APPROPRIATE CIRCUMSTANCES, e.g., for a child with profound hearing loss that would be appropriate to be considered for a cochlear implant, that parents choose early implantation over waiting. The evidence is quite clear that earlier implantation has a much better chance of success, and leads to greater functionality, particularly in terms of language development.

  409. It depends on how you define abuse. If it is only, specifically, intentionally doing something for the sole purpose of causing pain or distress, then, no, this isn’t abuse.

    But, I think it is definitely injurious to the child. How could it not be? You’re cutting and removing a piece of the genitals. It’s clearly painful, and clearly causes distress.

  410. Can we just drop all the comparisons? They don’t really seem to add anything to the discussion, especially since some of them have legitimate medical function. As for piercing your baby’s ear, I think that is completely unnecessary but it shouldn’t be illegal. The reason of course is that while your child is an infant you are the sole decider of what happens to it assuming you aren’t trying to seriously and permanently harm it. That said I personally find that there are ethical problems with performing this unnecessary procedure.

  411. Joe M,

    The reason it is a parental choice in consultation with their doctor is at least in part because of the subjectivity of the “abuse” claim. Some actions (FMG, for instance) fall clearly in the abuse realm, but to put a label of abuser on a parent who is making what they think is the right medical choice for their child based on the best medical evidence, however, seems unfair. As you have already mentioned, the risk of complications is extremely low. And there is no evidence available that would say that the procedure is traumatic for the child in the medium or long term, despite the short-term discomfort. I just can’t make the leap to “it is so abusive that it should be banned” that wayne is making.

  412. A more valid comparison regarding circumcision would be between circumcision and tongue-piercing, or between circumcision and tattooing, or some other cosmetic surgery, maybe Jtuf’s breast augmentation.

  413. Type 1A female circumcisions meet all of your criteria, NM. Those are OK then, by your reasoning.

    NM, you are an intelligent troll, the very worst kind.

  414. Every medical society in the world, so far as I know, recommends against performing circumcision on children.

  415. I just can’t make the leap to “it is so abusive that it should be banned” that wayne is making.

    Just abusive enough to squeak in under the wire, though.

  416. You know, I kind of thought I would never have to tell any of those pederasts in government to “keep your hands off my kid’s dong!” ever again after Gerry Studds kicked off. Guess I should’ve known better.

    It’s not for nothing that it was the Democrats rather than the Republicans who came up with the idea for calling TEA party people “teabaggers” you know. With all their attempts at turkey-slapping and windmilling the public so far, it kind of figures Democrats would project perverted practices like that onto the rest of us.

    In any case, I don’t think it’s any of those government faggots’ bloody business whether anybody slices a very tiny bit of skin off the end of his baby boy’s dick or not. Let the decision rest with the parents as it always has.

  417. In any case, I don’t think it’s any of those government faggots’ bloody business whether anybody slices a very tiny bit of skin off the end of his baby boy’s dick or not. Let the decision rest with the parents as it always has.

    Would it not be better to let the baby boy grow up and decide for himself, though?

  418. NM, what is your position on whether the CDC should be promoting circumcision (at public expense) as a method of prophylaxis? And, if you believe it should undertake such a campaign, should this not also include discussion of the risk (though small) of serious complications, as well as the reduction in sensitive nerve tissue that accompanies the procedure?

  419. it’s all true. circumcised men cause most of the wars in the world, but they’re doing violence without really understanding why. each volley, each blast, each bombing is really a general crying out “have you seen my penis?”

  420. It’s very simple.

    The modern standard of care and law says that healthy, functional, non-pathogenic body parts should not be amputated. That’s the default standard. Nobody argues with this.

    Therefore, anybody arguing in favor of allowing male circumcision is obligated to explain exactly why and how the male prepuce uniquely and exclusively alone should not be subject to that standard.

    The functional answer, of course, is that such people believe the male prepuce is singularly valueless.

    However, they cannot actually defend that position, because the standard remains that all healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body parts possess a basic and fundamental value which justifies their default retention.

    One doesn’t have to compare male and female genital amputation. One simply has to contrast the existing standard of medical and legal necessity for justifying the amputation of any other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part against the baseless and unjustified unique exclusion of the male prepuce from that same standard.

    It is one of the most glaring examples of irrational exceptionism in modern life.

    So to ask the question directly:

    Why are you treating the male prepuce as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part?

  421. Nicely put, Acksiom.

  422. Therefore, anybody arguing in favor of allowing male circumcision is obligated to explain exactly why and how the male prepuce uniquely and exclusively alone should not be subject to that standard.

    I assume you, and the standard, would allow an adult to decide for himself whether to have his own prepuce circumcised?

  423. Thank you, Joe.

    Wayne, you assume correctly, and thank you for pointing that out. In the future I will refer to the circumcision of male minors.

  424. A different (from NM’s) perspective on the efficacy of circumcision in preventing HIV infection.

    http://www.norm-uk.org/circumcision_hiv.html

  425. Acksiom,

    In that case, I am in total agreement with your post.

  426. Graphite,

    NM, what is your position on whether the CDC should be promoting circumcision (at public expense) as a method of prophylaxis? And, if you believe it should undertake such a campaign, should this not also include discussion of the risk (though small) of serious complications, as well as the reduction in sensitive nerve tissue that accompanies the procedure?

    The CDC’s current approach seems about right.
    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/research/male-circumcision.htm

    They make recommendations, not mandates. I am okay with them basing their recommendations on the best evidence and “recommending that health-care providers educate parents about the potential benefits and risks to ensure that parents have the information they need to make an informed decision.”

  427. This is really sad, because we wouldn’t even be having this conversation if it weren’t for some prehistoric tribes making superstitious sexual sacrifices to their spirit forces.

  428. wayne,

    Do you really not see a difference between the information presented by an issue oriented advocacy group and one the looks broadly at claims of medical evidence?

    Really?

    Type 1A female circumcisions meet all of your criteria, NM. Those are OK then, by your reasoning.

    I don’t think it does wayne, it is an invalid equivalency that you are proposing.

    The WHO can provide you with some good data about how much more dangerous FMG is than circumcision.

    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2006/pr30/en/index.html

  429. NM, would you therefore dismiss the claims of all advocacy groups out of hand, because anyone agitating for something is biased and therefore invalid as a source? You would have to have ignored information presented by literally thousands of groups.

  430. Joe M,

    I did not say ignore it. I said take it with a grain of salt. I also said it might be wise to consider the source when evaluating the veracity of the claims.

    wayne’s entire argument is based on information presented by groups with an agenda. I am put him to task because he ignores the information from more objective sources and favors the advocacy-based sources of information. He takes a claim by an advocacy-based group that the evidence has been “discredited” at face value, despite a much different assessment by an objective group that has no iron in the fight.

    Sometimes advocacy groups bring important issues to light. There is no doubt about that. But you should be skeptical of their claims until they have been verified by someone more objective.

  431. That’s all for me.

  432. NM,

    How does the circumcision prevents HIV infection study explain why the US has both the highest circumcision rate and the highest HIV rate in the industrialized world?

    How does the circumcision prevents HIV infection study explain why Sweden has an HIV rate of 0.1% despite having a very low circumcision rate?

    Why was the study terminated early? How does circumcision of men affect transmission rate from men to women?

    The researchers who conducted the study had previously advocated for circumcision as an HIV preventive. STRONG confirmation bias is evident.

    Prior debunked claims for circumcision: it prevents and even cures Syphilis, etc.

    Final point: I have no problem with adult men choosing to have themselves circumcised as an HIV prophylactic, or for any other reason. Infants are not at risk for contracting HIV through unprotected sex.

  433. That’s the part that kills me. This is for men having unprotected sex with HIV+ positive partners. There are so many other ways to limit the risk of contracting HIV, it’s ridiculous.

  434. [Neu Mejican]: That’s all for me.

    Thank you; I will therefore declare victory, since you appear to have no explanation whatsoever as to why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    Confirmed: the routine and ritual prepucectomy of male minors is wrong, and the protection of the right to genital integrity for female minors by federal law should be expanded to cover male minors as well.

  435. The western european national populations are almost universally intact, but otherwise overwhelming far more similar to the usa population than are those of africa.

    Nevertheless, they have HIV+/AIDS incidence rates which are only fractions of that of the usa.

    Therefore, there must exist one or more factors common to the western european national populations which would be far more protective against HIV+/AIDS in the usa population than male circumcision.

    So why are these people doing african population studies to document a relatively miniscule protective effect when they could be doing western european population studes to find the much larger and better protective effect/s that have already been established by the incidence rates?

    And while I’m not going to argue that correlation is causation, I certainly think the strong positive correlation between HIV+/AIDS incidence rates and male circumcision rates argues that they should instead be investigating the likelihood that male circumcision actually increases HIV+/AIDS incidence rates. That is what the raw data indicates, after all.

  436. If sky-fairies talked to me (no matter about the subject) I wouldn’t be believed and I’d be put in the funny farm. Same goes for everyone else.

    BUT just because it’s written down that a few thousand years ago that the sky-fairies talked to someone with the schooling of a 1 year old then it must be true ???

    Irrespective of the subject matter is that the guist of the belief here ?

  437. Irrespective of the subject matter is that the guist of the belief here ?

    Some here; yes.

  438. I can’t imagine what I’d do to anyone presuming they had the right to take a knife to my son or daughter’s gentals.
    If the foreskin had been a danger then a few thousand generations of evolution would have taken care of it.
    Take your stupid jumped-up health stats and fuck right off.
    Condoms and education reduce the incidence of aids, not witch-doctor bullshit.

  439. wayne | August 30, 2009, 11:32am |

    I like your definition just fine, for adults, which, of course, is what I have said all along and which you have apparently ignored.

    OK. So we’re in agreement that circumsion is a medical decision when adults do it. I think it is also a medical decision when done on a child. Do you agree?

  440. wayne | August 30, 2009, 12:06pm | #
    Jtuf,

    In your world, apparently it is quite acceptable to circumcise infants (girls, [type 1A] and boys), implant cochlear devices in infants, augment their breasts, tattoo them, pierce their ears, and install little bumps under the skin of their heads to make them appear to have horns. In my world, I will delay these decisions until adulthood for the people affected.

    So you think it should be illegal for a parent to put a cochlear implant his child?

  441. But it has been shown that there is rarely a true medical necessity for circumcision. I really think Aksiom nailed it with this:

    no explanation whatsoever as to why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    Without an immediate risk to the baby, removing it is as sensible as removing an earlobe due to cosmetic preferences. It can’t be justified without treating the prepuce as somehow different from every other part of human anatomy.

  442. wayne | August 30, 2009, 12:19pm | #
    Bod M,

    As an intact American male, I think your summary is dead-on in all respects.

    I am frankly baffled that anybody argues for routine circumcision of children.

    No one here is arguing for circumcism. They are arguing for parental choice on circumcism. Again, the question isn’t “What gets decided?” it is “Who decides?”.

  443. Bod | August 30, 2009, 12:51pm | #
    I think that unless you can find some clear evidence that newborn children have no apparatus for sensing pain, circumcision would constitute ‘abuse’.

    Because unless you can the only question is whether there’s any medical justification in doing so.

    Anesthesia has been a standard part of circumcision for years.

  444. Sorry, that “#” comment was me.

    I think the question IS who should decide, and I would say that it is the individual whose body is at stake.

  445. Since fate has chosen to serve me an opinion worth stomping and since this (as a man who suffers from the “trivial” effect of not being able to barly have sex, that clearly is just a problem with me having been programed with cultural views that make such a trife thing as having this done to me when I had not power to decide for myself what I want worse than getting a tiny hole in my ear as an informed adult) I must give my opnion agan more explanation.

    This is of course addressed to Tupla.

    Well start with the absurd statement that losing forskin is as trivial as a little ear peircing.

    How can anyone possibly justify the idea that the loss of 70% of your genitals sensitivity, structual capacity to fell physical stimulation, and cover for your sexual organs is the same as two little holes in your ears?

    I just keep drawing blanks about what point of view shes looking at this from. I guess what many of her arguments boil down to involve saying that there are no “real” side effects, because they are based on the views and desires of the people who suffer from them.

    Lets look at a list of the effects that this produces and ask ourselves if these things are so trivial that it is safe to make them for someone who can never reverse them once done, as well as the risks that she so casually throws out.

    Around 40% to 60% percent of circumcised men lose the ability to experience stimulation, as it was ment to be. When I say ment to be I am refering to the pleasure and physical capacities of the penis during sex. Essentially many men end up having ruff sex where rather than sliding the penis gentally around their partner they push hard on the inside of the vagina very fast because they don’t feel as much if they don’t.

    Three things indicate that this is not normal. One is that there is very strong evidence from statistics about circumcised vs uncircumcised sex that indicates that when we examine societies with different rates of circumcision we find that the numbers strongly support the view that people who have been exposed to circumcised and uncircumcised penises prefer uncircumcised by a little over 70%. Another issue is that there seems to be a tendency for people move to places where there is little circumcision to make the switch to liking uncut sex far more often then people who leave places with little circumcision and end up in a place where it is routine. If people have a choice in the matter, having experienced both things and clearly prefer one over the other, then how can we justify the idea that it’s wrong to say that it makes no difference to decide for the child what they get to have? Any medical proplem that degrades a bodily function to the point that there is a clear preference for not having the issue seems like a rather vacuous thing to claim is trivial. But beyond the the issue of whether or not severe loss of sexual pleasure and structual mechanincs is “trivial” is the question of whether or not something that makes such clear difference should be made in advance for a baby before they get to decide for themselves. If they choose to be circumcised latter on then they certainly can, and some penises do fine without forskin because of their structure and nerve distribution. But how can we force that choice on a person before they decide whether or not they need or want such and obviously negetive thing done to them.

    Another issue is that there is relitivly clear case from self polling and social investigation that men with forskin enjoy sex more than cut men, and have sex more often. It would certaintly seem that the default anatomy type’s sexual experience results in more gratifying and less ruff struggling sex. Men who are uncut learn to have gentiler more sensitive and (from more recent data) more emotinaly satisfying sex. Again there is a clear and significant difference here. One that results in more, better, and more emotionaly gratifying sex and one that degrades it. How is this trivial enough to be considered something that should be made before the person has a say in the matter, for no serious benefit? Explain to me how you think that having two tiny holes in your ears as an adult is the equivalent of losing 70% of your ability to experience sexual pleasure as well as causing the mechanical and emotional aspects of sex to be moderatly to seriously degraded before you gave consent?

    Maybe circumcision isn’t as severe as some forms of FGM. But it is certaintly not trivial for many, if not most men. Sex is clearly greatly lessend by being cut. If a woman with FGM can still have orgasims if she forces her self to harshly rub part of her body on a mans member in a way that makes sex more difficult and akward than being able to enjoy normal copulation, and in addition makes her feel significantly less than half the nerve related pleasure and much of the structual experience of penitration would you consider it completely trivial? Would that be an “okay” form of FGM to you? Would you feel comfortable with making that decision for another woman as a baby without their consent?

    The last thig that should be mentioned of course is the very real risk of serious complications. As far as I know the only thing that you have said to defend your position that circumcision does not result in many serious side effect is that if it did men wouldn’t do to their sons. Since when has any practice, ancient or otherwise been garanteed to be benificial or even sane and safe just because people keep doing it?

    You are wrong about 5% to 10% being unrealistic. Not wrong in some philosophical, quasi viewpoint sense, wrong in a simple, measurable, numbers basis. Serious investigation of medical issues relating to more serious (as if the aformentioned wasn’t serious enough) revels that trapped, burried, webbed, and just generaly to insensitive to really even experience sex penises are quite realistic. I have a penis so destroyed that I will probably need sergery just get to the point that I can (with serious effort and difficulty) be able to penitrate and have an orgasim as a result of copulation. I have to seriously wonder if even you have the gall to respond to this post telling me that it’s really not a big deal for me to have pretty much lost the ability to seriously enjoy sex as long as I can struggle to technically have an orgasm, because the need to experience good, intimate sex is just a cultural programing issue I should get over (although even if it was what gives you the right to decide if someone should have the risk of not being able to experience those things for themselves without informed permission?). Sex is supposed to be enjoyable and intimate, not being able to to enjoy and feel secure with it is almost as bad a not being able to do it at all!

    Ultra sever loss of sensitivity and structure is common enough that untill recently many men with these problems simply write themselves off as asexuals because they didn’t enjoy or seek out sex nearly as much as their peers, even though most of time they felt like something was wrong but they couldn’t understand why other guys were enjoying intamacy so much and clearly psychologically benifiting from it. Most of these men (including myself) suffered psychological damage from deprivation of a very fundamental human need for sex and intimacy. I thought there was something wrong with my head. Then I tried things to help my insensitvity and suddently it all became clear what was actually happening. Other guys just got vastly more out of sex than I did, so they never abandoned it. I stoped trying to get partners when I wa about 16 since up till then I always failed to experience pleasure with partners and they disliked my lack of abilty to share the feeling and the small disfigured nature of the organ. I felt not only sexualy incompetant, but rejected by people were clearly very frightened by my problem.

    I knew insensitivity was an issue for me, but I had not idea other guys were feeling fifteen times the sensation and how structualy supperior they were. I thought that I must just not like sex as much as they must and might as well ignore it. Big Big Big mistake. But what else could I have done? I was a frightened and confused adolescent who had been told (upon inquiring) that my penis (other than being basically a button when flacid and four and a half inches under average) was normal. I was to scared by the extrodinary response my medical problem garnered in people who tried to be my partner to try again.
    Then of course came the silly coments about how once I was just a little older I would get used to lack of sexuality, and relationships without sex are just fine, and you can forget about that kind of loss if you become more “mature”. But it was a lie. My friends never “matured” out of sex, and neither did I, they evolved it into romantic love as they pursued more adult interests and I was devistated by loss of the ability to experience those feelings that I saw other peers who I cared about and admired expressing those feeling through something very powerful and tender that I couldn’t even understand, yet knew I needed just as much as they did.

    Of couse all the risk of having this done to you is just as trivial as two tiny holes in your ears.

    Today there are millions of men with simular issues to mine to varying degrees. Some men are between the point of general (70% sensitivity loss, some structual issues) and the more sever cases. Inclueding them you would get a larger number than the “pure” sevear cases. It’s just too many. And the men that a better off than me are but are still suffering suffering a significant disturbance to the sex life are to many as well.

    More men are becomig aware of the effects of this on their sex lives because more information about the reality of their condidtion is becoming more talked about, and because they are more aware of the sexual tendencies and abilities of other men. That’s why there was never an apropriate social challenge to circumcision regardless of the type of penis. People were not aware how bad the problem was or how it despread it was because no one talked about it, and even worse, men who did complain somehting was wrong were assured by medical practicioners that nothing was wrong. In my case the assurence came after the doctor could clearly see the sever webbing, inablity escape the groin and red inflamed tissue (from being rubbed against the inside of the shorts with no protection and unatural masturbation). Then I found doctors were specifically aware of the issue and knew what the treatments were. I also found patients who had had the treatment (surgery) and could explain the difference.

    As a side note I now also have discovered that the inflamed, dried, and damaged penile tissue has put me at a much much higher risk of penile cancer. Aperantly this is something that is more common in circumcised males than uncut men for the same reasons as mine.

    Another comparison you made effectivly stated that circumcision is somehow not as bad as FGM since it isn’t invasive. Maybe not, but it is still effecting a sensitve organ and still has a noticable effect. Following that logic we could also say that limb removal isnt serious because it isn’t invasive in the technical sense. If the Vagina was external would you feel FGM was somehow made better buy that fact?

    Ultimately, the biggest issue with your view is that you somehow have come to believe that such clear losses are “trivial”, not because the losses aren’t real but because they’re too relative to even consider. I honestally just don’t what to say to this. A forced procedure that likely to cause considerable loss of sexual pleasure and function and also carries a sizable risk of much more sever medical issues is completely trivial? The issue here isn’t whether me or you think of having these problems compared to not (although I make my feelings on having them freely known) it’s whether these differences and risks are unimportant enough to ignore the fact that the person having the procedure done to them has no say in the matter, and cannot reverse the effect.

    I think it’s pretty clear that there is a great benefit in having forskin for most men, and that for a surprisingly large number of men it it makes all the difference. Moreover, there is no cultural trait or inherited attitude common enough to seriously consider that would justify the statement that having worse sex with less emotional satisfaction is anything other than really bad, and results in less happieness and contentment. Many sociaties (inclueding our own) carry cultural baggage that often causes us to engae is destructve behavior without even thinking about. This damage isn’t relitive either, because even though the people in the society are responsible for doing it doesn’t mean that they don’t suffer from the results. In circumcisions case the facts about its impact and effects are only now becoming better known. Our culture allowed this to happen out of ignorence, it wasn’t a culural dedication to the degredation of my sex life and the inflicment of serious risks that my parents were hoping for me when they they decided to have the procedure done.

    How does this lack of knowledge (or in your case willfull dismisal and denial) justify the ultimate issue at stake, men have the change done to them with no consent or informationon about what the difference and risks are. A difference that is most certaintly not trivial.

    If it weren’t for people like you my parents would have probably been told of the risks and why it is only allowed if nescicary and by concent, and not on a minor.

    Obviously that would have saved me an increadable amout of pain and frustration, along with many other men.

  446. wayne | August 30, 2009, 2:15pm | #
    Male circumcision is mostly a Middle Eastern cultural practice, so yes, you could call it barbaric if you subscribe to 19th Century views on race.

    You know your argument is getting very weak when you are forced to resort to the race card.

    I don’t give a flying fuck about practices in the middle east. I am talking about practices in America.

    Wayne, you’re to one who called circumcision “barbaric”. “Barbaric” has been an ethnic slur since the Ancient Greeks coined the term to refer to the surrounding tribes. All I did was call you on it.

  447. Wait, Tulpa’s female? Disqualified from the conversation. Jesus.

  448. Acksiom | August 30, 2009, 6:04pm | #
    [Neu Mejican]: That’s all for me.

    Thank you; I will therefore declare victory, since you appear to have no explanation whatsoever as to why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    There’s no noticeable loss of functionality from circumcision. I was circumcised. I have no problem ejaculating, urinating, enjoying sex and masturbation, or pleasing my past partners. Is there something else you do with your penis that I’m missing out on?

  449. #
    But it has been shown that there is rarely a true medical necessity for circumcision. I really think Aksiom nailed it with this:

    no explanation whatsoever as to why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    Without an immediate risk to the baby, removing it is as sensible as removing an earlobe due to cosmetic preferences. It can’t be justified without treating the prepuce as somehow different from every other part of human anatomy.

    I would assume that the parent has the best interest of the child at heart and is best equipped to make the best decision for that child. Plenty of research on kinship selection supports that assumption. I would not make banning a procedure the default and demand that parents prove the procedure’s benefits outweigh the risks. Instead, I would make parental choice the default and demand that the state proves the risks significantly outweigh the benefits before banning anything.

  450. Jtuf,

    If an adult chooses circumcision for himself for cosmetic reasons, then it is not a medical decision, it is a cosmetic decision; that a doctor performs the circumcision doesn’t change that. There are cases where circumcision is justified for medical reasons in both children and adults. I have no problem whatever with a circumcision that is necessary for medical reasons. I have no problem whatever with circumcisions performed on adults at their own request, for whatever hair-brained reason they supply.

    I do have a problem with excising normal healthy tissue from a child’s penis for any non-medical reason. Let the child grow up and make his own decision; why is that such an abhorrent concept for you?

    Your position seems to be that the parents have the right to make such decisions for their son for any arbitrary reason whatever, and in fact, that is the case in America today, but is should not be the case. Circumcision should be illegal, just as it should be illegal to augment the breasts of an infant girl or tattoo a tramp-stamp on her back.

    Cochlear implants are a different matter, presuming of course it is done to alleviate deafness, that is obviously a medically justified reason. Cochlear implants done on healthy ears of children to satisfy their parents superstitions would be very similar routine circumcisions on healthy children, and of course, should not be done.

    Summary:

    Circumcisions for adults are OK by me, presuming they do it of their own free will.

    Circumcisions on children are idiotic, cruel and risky for no legitimate payback. They should be outlawed. “Daddy wants it done” (absent a legitimate medical reason) is not good enough.

    Just because you have been circumcised does not justify the continuation of the practice on children.

  451. Well, I have good news. My wife and I discussed this when she got home from work tonight. She expressed her (valid) concerns, and I expressed mine. We won’t be circumcising our son(s).

  452. Good for you, Joe, and more importantly good for your son.

  453. *sniff*

    I love a happy ending!

  454. There’s no noticeable loss of functionality from circumcision. I was circumcised. I have no problem ejaculating, urinating, enjoying sex and masturbation, or pleasing my past partners. Is there something else you do with your penis that I’m missing out on?

    You forgot deciding which side of the pro/anti-circumcision debate you fall on.

  455. [jtuf]: There’s no noticeable loss of functionality from circumcision.

    Actually, yes, there is. See http://www.cirp.org/library/anatomy/cold-taylor/

    I was circumcised. I have no problem ejaculating, urinating, enjoying sex and masturbation, or pleasing my past partners.

    And a lack of awareness of problems in those areas does not prove you have the full functionality that you would possess with an intact prepuce.

    Unless you were cut after sufficient adult sexual experience with an intact penis to make an informed comparison, or at birth but have had a lot of sex with intact men since then, you’re not qualified to assert that there has been no loss of functionality, noticeable or otherwise. You would have no intact experience to use for comparison, so you literally could not know what you are claiming.

    Is there something else you do with your penis that I’m missing out on?

    Am I waiting for you to answer my question first?

    Again:

    Why are you treating the male prepuce as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part?

  456. Congratulations, Joe, and well done! I’m glad your wife saw reason.

  457. d | August 29, 2009, 9:12pm | #


    Circumcision should be illegal on human rights grounds. Period. Whether or not it’s funded or directed by the gov’t is beside the point.

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 11:38pm | #
    D can speak for himself, but one fundamental human right is the right to be safe from arbitrary disfigurement, mutilation, or harm at the hands of others.

    Wayne, we also have a difference of opinion here. I would argue that self ownership of one’s body is the relevant fundamental right. This means that a person has both the right to be free from involuntary “disfigurement, mutilation, or harm at the hands of others” and the right to voluntarily undergo “disfigurement, mutilation, or harm at the hands of others”. Again Libertarianism isn’t about “what decision gets made” it is about “who makes the decision”.

    If, as you put it, “one fundamental human right is the right to be safe from arbitrary disfigurement, mutilation, or harm at the hands of others,” then we should cite the local ear piercing shop for human rights violations. Your concept of the fundamental right would lead to the feds locking up people with body art in the name of protecting them from themselves.

    jtuf, your logic is a bit weird, if not just off. If you (i.e., *you*, not your parents who are either superstitious, lazy, masterbation-hating, or so self-centered that they want you to “look like Daddy”, or all of the above) make the decision (as a legal adult) to mutilate your body, then the “protection from self” argument is anti-libertarian. That kind of decision is just nanny do-gooder-ism at its worst.

    But if you can’t interpret “at the hands of others” to mean that something was forced on you (as opposed to literally being done by others’ hands at *your request*), then I don’t think this message will get through to you.

    Now, as for the flimsy scientific “evidence” of the “benefits” of circumcision, let me say this: the studies claimed to find that the circumcised and uncircumcised men had 0.66/100 py (person-year) vs. a 1.33/100 py cases of HIV (p.006). This was a “significant” finding (i.e., statistically significant), but it isn’t really significant in lay terminology — it’s less than 1 percent increase in the per-year chances of getting HIV in an area where the virus is supposedly rampant (and remember that these were men who did not care to wear condoms).

    I’m also suspicious of the equality of behavior of these men. I just can’t see the cut men (what with the post-operative “down time”, complications — 84 needed surgical correction or other medical treatment for their botched snips — not to mention the reduced sensitivity) having as much or as prolonged vaginal sex as the uncut men. [C’mon think about it: why do Americans prefer blow jobs on average while Euro’s don’t really get into that?]

    Oh, and I’m still waiting for the study done in Norway showing that circumcision is beneficial. Recall that Norway is 90% uncircumcised, has *lower* penile cancer rates than the US (where we’re more than 50/50, since the *rate* of circumcisions has just reached that level). I just don’t see the ravages of “HIV/AIDS” hitting that country as it should if uncircumcised men are at any real greater risk of infection. (And also the study — which will never be done — of lost lives, extended stays in the NICU, etc., etc., that were *caused* by unnecessary circumcisions.)

    Finally, to those of you who suggest that circumcision is good for women’s health: well, now, that just takes the cake! On that note, maybe we should mandate that women have their vaginas sewn shut to prevent the spread of disease, only unzipping them when we get tired of all those CDC/WHO-encouraged, disease-blocking blowjobs…or when we feel like makin’ bay-bees.

    [Yes, I’m aware that this has — sadly — been done to many women in Africa. I don’t mock them; I mock the shitheads who did it to them.]

    And for the record, I am circumcised, and did not inflict such bullshit on my son. (Just in case you thought I had some foreskin superiority complex.)

  458. Whaddya mean, ‘while Euro’s don’t really get into that?’

    Low (and inaccurate) blow there, if you will excuse the pun.

  459. I have to admit that when I started reading this article, I thought it was absurd to assert that there would be such vigorous debate about circumcision, that it would even compare to the debate about rationing of healthcare.

    Then I started reading the comments.
    Really guys?
    I’ve heard of navel gazing, but never seen such sausage gazing in my life. I guess everybody’s got their passions…..

    The comparison of male circumcision to female genital mutilation is pure sophistry. There’s no need to go into the rest of the hysteria beyond that.

  460. Intact foreign gentleman here.

    Two comments from my perspective regarding sensitivity.

    I know that I would miss it terribly if removed because there are sensations peculiar to the motion of the skin that would be almost completely lost upon circumcision. I’m afraid that I can’t see how the removal of specific, very pleasurable sensations is a trivial matter.

    As far as sensitivity goes, if I am somehow “unsheathed” during day-to-day business (it happens) the sensitivity of the head against fabric is nearly unbearable, if somewhat inconveniently titillating. I cannot conceive of how circumcised men deal go about their business in comfort if substantial sensitivity or awareness thereof is not lost over time. And no, I do not suffer from any form of premature climax.

    If these sensations I’m describing are common to most owners of intact equipment, then I cannot call the loss of a foreskin an inconsiderable one.

  461. skimmed through more of the comments….

    This has got to be the alternate universe to feministing…..

    Carry on…you guys are nutty!

  462. Now, as for the flimsy scientific “evidence” of the “benefits” of circumcision, let me say this: the studies claimed to find that the circumcised and uncircumcised men had 0.66/100 py (person-year) vs. a 1.33/100 py cases of HIV (p.006). This was a “significant” finding (i.e., statistically significant), but it isn’t really significant in lay terminology — it’s less than 1 percent increase in the per-year chances of getting HIV in an area where the virus is supposedly rampant (and remember that these were men who did not care to wear condoms).

    In lay terminology the difference was a reduction in risk of 50%. Slightly more than twice as many men in the uncircumcised group ended up HIV positive over two years. It is not a confusing result. Your attempt to clear it up, may confuse some, however.

  463. wayne | August 30, 2009, 9:35pm | #

    I do have a problem with excising normal healthy tissue from a child’s penis for any non-medical reason. Let the child grow up and make his own decision; why is that such an abhorrent concept for you?

    I’ve never said that you shouldn’t let the child grow up and make his own decision. I’ve said that you shouldn’t arrest parents for circumcising their children. Wayne you propose using state force to impose your personal opinion of what is best for other people’s children. I find that abhorrent. Like I’ve said before, two of my contemporaries were given Ritalin as teenagers. Their parents were following the advice of government run schools. The Ritalin ended up doing so much damage to them that a circumcision pales in comparison. I also know how often security officers get called in to restrain and force medicate children at the pediatric psych ward one town over. State run psychiatric institutes have public meetings so citizens can see how they are managed. I suggest you start attending them so you can see for yourself how callously state employees trample on the rights of children in the name of helping them. Once you give the state the power to decide what is best for a child, state agents will end up ruining children’s lives with that power.

  464. d, I’m still waiting for you to specify which fundamental human right backs up your position. Before we even start a reasoned debate, I need to know what axiom you are building your argument on.

    Please also clarify your position on the legality of circumcision. At first you said that “circumcision should be illegal”. Are you now changing that position to “circumcising minors should be illegal”?

  465. Lotta fucking weirdos in this thread who spend far too much time worrying about other peoples’s dicks.

  466. There’s also an undiscussed as of yet (as far as I can tell, there are a lot of comments) concern of mine that the CDC promoting circumcision as a preventative measure for HIV will have the effect of giving circumcised men license to not use a condom. The CDC, in as much as it is its job to prevent disease, should be telling people to wear a condom, and to otherwise practice safe sex if you should so choose to have it. Pushing circumcision seems irresponsible at best, akin to telling the public that driving the speed limit while drunk driving is much safer. While it all may be very well and true, it seems to make the government’s stance “you should wear a condom, we know that sometimes wearing a condom is a bitch, so go ahead and get circumcised.”

  467. Circumcision is a nice name for a disgusting and criminal activity: male genital mutilation. It is only due to the inherent hypocrisy of our culture’s gender “equality” movement that we are unable to call it what it really is. If the situation were reversed, if women had their genitalia mutilated at birth, even in a superficial and largely harmless way (though many studies have pointed to a loss of length and sensitivity in circumcised men), the Women’s Lib movement would have ended the practice thirty years ago.

    Furthermore, there’s something horrible about the CDC suggesting circumcision as a solution to AIDS. People with AIDS or at risk of having AIDS shouldn’t be having unprotected sex under any circumstances, circumcised or not. Isn’t this sending a horrible message–“get your penis snipped, and then sleep with whomever, however you want!”

    It’s unfathomable that this decree by the CDC hasn’t been met with universal disgust and outrage.

  468. I’m circumcised, and if that took away from my sensitivity, then it’s a really good thing. Right now I’m kind of a “minute-man” (even with a rubber), any more sensitivity and I’d be a “2-pump-chump”.

    That said, I’m not going to push for any son that I may have to be cut.

  469. Has no one realized that a bris takes place on the eighth day?

    What kind of a Jew doesn’t know that?

  470. There’s also an undiscussed as of yet (as far as I can tell, there are a lot of comments) concern of mine that the CDC promoting circumcision as a preventative measure for HIV will have the effect of giving circumcised men license to not use a condom. The CDC, in as much as it is its job to prevent disease, should be telling people to wear a condom, and to otherwise practice safe sex if you should so choose to have it. Pushing circumcision seems irresponsible at best, akin to telling the public that driving the speed limit while drunk driving is much safer. While it all may be very well and true, it seems to make the government’s stance “you should wear a condom, we know that sometimes wearing a condom is a bitch, so go ahead and get circumcised.”

    The CDC has not come out with a position yet. The WHO, however, has begun programs to promote male circumcision. They are very clear in their message that condoms are the main defense. So, to go to you driving example, they are doing something more akin to “You reduce your risk of an accident if you follow the rules of the road(circumcision), but you are only really safe if you wear your seat belt (condom).

  471. Wayne you propose using state force to impose your personal opinion of what is best for other people’s children.

    How is that different from using state force to prohibit Type 1A female circumcisions, AKA FGM? The decision to legislate against that practice was made on the cumulative “personal opinions” of the public, and legislators. The conclusion reached was that it was mutilation of defenseless children, no matter the opinion of the parents. I am certain considerably more people than me (read the comments on this thread for verification) consider male circumcision to completely analogous to a type 1A female circumcision, hence little boys ought to have the same legal protection.

    Your friend’s experience with Ritalin is tragic, but it really does not compare in the sense that those parents were made aware of a perceived problem and presumably talked about the treatment with their doctor. They made a mistake following that advice, and I am pretty sure they regret it every day. Just as an aside, I went through the same experience with my youngest son; I refused the Ritalin solution. Circumcision has no such “informed consent” in the majority of cases. When my sons were born, the doctor read from a menu and asked, “circumcision?”,… that was it. Circumcision is such a cultural norm in the US that most parents answer, “sure, why not”. That converstaion is probably identical in Africa where female circumcision is the norm, and the answer is “sure, why not” there as well. The solution to the FGM “problem” was legislation and I think the solution to the little-boy circumcision problem has to be legislation as well. A parent does not have the right to do as he pleases with his child; there are lots of legitimate proscriptions.

    I know you are trying to win this debate with the comparisons to other practices: ear-piercing, cochlear implants, Ritalin, etc. Consistency is important, and so is relative harm. Ear-piercing does not fit very well in the discussion; I question the intelligence of parents who pierce the ears of their infants, but I would not prohibit the practice as I don’t see the probability of much harm coming from it. However, I am willing to change my mind on that matter.

    My position is clear: Circumcision of children should be illegal.

    Your position is clear: Circumcision of children should be legal and the decision under the purview of parents.

    My position is consistent with the current law with respect to the completely analogous type 1A female circumcision. Yours is not. It seems to me the burden is on you, and the other supporters of the cultural norm to explain why it is OK to remove normal healthy tissue from a little boy’s penis, despite all of the known complications, most relatively minor, some completely devastating.

  472. NM,

    The study that produced the HIV prevention results was done on grown men. Those grown men volunteered to be circumcised. I don’t think anybody here objects to grown men voluntarily undergoing circumcision.

    Infants are at no risk of contracting HIV from unprotected sex. Is the WHO urging circumcision of children, or adult men who are at risk of contracting HIV?

  473. wayne,

    I believe the WHO program concentrates on adult males, for the most part.

    You can read about it here.

    http://www.malecircumcision.org/

  474. wayne,

    My position is consistent with the current law with respect to the completely analogous type 1A female circumcision.

    What you perceive as “completely” analogous. Many here are questioning your position precisely because the equivalency you propose is not valid. It fails on a very basic level. You are comparing figs and bananas.

    However, let’s take it as equivalent. Let’s assume that Type Ia has similarly low risk, and just as much evidence of medical advantage (easier hygiene, lower infection rates, reduced HPV, reduces STD’s, etc…). IF THAT WERE THE CASE, then you would probably find that the people who oppose your view would advocate for parents being allowed to make that choice as well.

    However, the reason that hasn’t happened is because Type Ia, even among those who feel it is a perfectly appropriate procedure, has never been considered a medical procedure and is not justified by those that promote it as having any medical advantages. Type Ia is more akin to your tattoo example than male circumcision (painful, risk of infection, no medical purpose). EXCEPT, that Type Ia has MUCH higher medical risk than a tattoo (or male circumcision).

    The fact that there are similar names to the excised body parts ignores important differences between male and female anatomy. The things that nature demands of female genitalia are, to say the least, much more traumatic and the scarring that type Ia causes creates complications that are NOT analogous to the type of complications you list for male circumcision.

  475. My position is consistent with the current law with respect to the completely analogous type 1A female circumcision. Yours is not. It seems to me the burden is on you

    I would argue that the default always places the burden on the one proposing expansion of limits on people’s freedom. You are free to do what you want until someone can show a compelling reason to limit your freedom.

  476. My position is consistent with the current law with respect to the completely analogous type 1A female circumcision. Yours is not. It seems to me the burden is on you, and the other supporters of the cultural norm to explain why it is OK to remove normal healthy tissue from a little boy’s penis, despite all of the known complications, most relatively minor, some completely devastating.

    I haven’t taken any position here yet on type 1A female circumcision, because I have not read enough on it yet. Please link to some reliable sources and I’ll tell you my opinion on it after I read them.

  477. Wayne, I do agree that parents should be well informed before deciding about circumcision. In my experience with doctors in general, they don’t provide much information on any medical topic. I’m launching a website soon. I’ll make sure to review journal papers regarding circumcision there.

  478. NM
    While I am a staunch opponent of circumcision, and I wasn’t going to butt back in, I would propose that one of the reasons that Type 1A is substantially riskier than circumcision is that with respect to sampling, circumcision outcomes will include (or consist entirely of) data points collected from cultures and nations that have excellent health facilities, with correspondingly high expectation of a successful outcome.

    Type 1A’s typically will not. If however, a medical research facility, in association with a group of hospitals, were to undertake a program of Type 1A FMG on neonatal American females, in state of the art facilites, I’m sure that they’d manage to do a bang-up job with a high degree of success. I’d predict that they’re likely to be able to demonstrate better than 98% ‘success’ rates.

    The US has arguably the best medical facilities in the world, and I am sure that with the right kind of training, and oversight, we can deliver medical results as good as those we experience with circumcision. Who knows? The CDC has such an excellent record in alerting us to medical crises that we might find that this ‘safe, non-risky process that only removes a very tiny amount of skin’ delivers statistically significant benefits, such as a reduction in the incidence of HPV, which is seemingly the next crisis on the slate after we stop obsessing over H1N5.

    But it won’t change the fact that to circumcise or to FGM your child for a (possibly insignificant) medical benefit that they won’t gain until they are old enough to take responsibility for their OWN bodies, is barbaric. In that respect, Wayne is right. Not because FGM is painful, risky and barbaric per se, but because you are doing violence to an individual other than yourself, for no discernable benefit.

    To some, the fact that it’s a member of your own family may make it even more so.

  479. Wayne, what do you think of genetically engineering gametes before they are used for in vitro fertilization in order to choose the eye color of the resulting child? Is it morally OK? Should it be legal?

  480. I am European and therefore confused. Is the 79% number at all possible? I thought only Jews and Muslims engaged in this barbarism…

  481. RMT,

    No, it’s a widespread procedure here in the US among gentiles, though, as you’ll gather from the thread, the popularity was waning, but ‘Big Foreskin’ started lobbying Washington, and now we have the CDC on the case

    🙂

  482. Jtuf, I am not going to provide links, life is short. Obviously though, you won’t find type 1A services because it is illegal. I already provided a link for labiaplasty, a plastic surgery procedure that is more or less quite similar to type 1A female circumcision except for an extraordinarily important difference, it is performed on consenting adult women. The definition of type 1A female circumcision, look it up, is analogous to a “standard” male circumcision.

    NM, if the WHO advocates for voluntary male circumcision of adult men, then it OK by me. My personal opinion is that the study is flawed and actions based on it are equally flawed, but life is risky, and one of the risks is that you might be conned.

    You are welcome to your opinion on MGM and I am welcome to my own. You think yours has merit. I think the preponderance of evidence supports my position, not the least of which is that the human anatomy has been determined by the selective pressures of man’s entire existence on the planet.

  483. Just a short note to you ladies pooh-pooh this whole debate: shame on you.

  484. Neu Mejican | August 31, 2009, 2:51am |

    #
    Now, as for the flimsy scientific “evidence” of the “benefits” of circumcision, let me say this: the studies claimed to find that the circumcised and uncircumcised men had 0.66/100 py (person-year) vs. a 1.33/100 py cases of HIV (p.006). This was a “significant” finding (i.e., statistically significant), but it isn’t really significant in lay terminology — it’s less than 1 percent increase in the per-year chances of getting HIV in an area where the virus is supposedly rampant (and remember that these were men who did not care to wear condoms).

    In lay terminology the difference was a reduction in risk of 50%. Slightly more than twice as many men in the uncircumcised group ended up HIV positive over two years. It is not a confusing result. Your attempt to clear it up, may confuse some, however.

    No neu…whatever, the effect is a 1% absolute increase in your per-year chances of getting HIV. Yes, that’s a 50% relative increase in the person-year rate, but, in absolute terms, it’s 1.33-0.66 = less than one.

  485. You still appear to have no explanation whatsoever as to why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    So it therefore remains confirmed that the routine and ritual prepucectomy of male minors is wrong, and the protection of the right to genital integrity for female minors by federal law should be expanded to cover male minors as well.

    Yet again:

    Why are you treating the male prepuce as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part?

    Unless and until you answer that, you simply cannot defend your position. The State already intercedes to regulate the inherent harm of amputating healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body parts. There is already an existing standard which controls the circumstances under which that may be done. You are the ones arguing for the continuation of a wholly baseless and unjustified special privileged exception from that standard of care and law.

    Every time you post without meaningfully addressing that point, it just makes it more and more evident that you are so very blatantly ignoring it because you know, at least on some level, that you cannot refute it.

  486. reason lovin’ female | August 31, 2009, 2:25am | #
    I have to admit that when I started reading this article, I thought it was absurd to assert that there would be such vigorous debate about circumcision, that it would even compare to the debate about rationing of healthcare.

    Then I started reading the comments.
    Really guys?
    I’ve heard of navel gazing, but never seen such sausage gazing in my life. I guess everybody’s got their passions…..

    The comparison of male circumcision to female genital mutilation is pure sophistry. There’s no need to go into the rest of the hysteria beyond that.

    Fuck you, reason lovin’ female. I suppose you’d be OK with someone cutting off your clitoris and then saying “Enough with the whiny ‘sophistry’! [air quotes not audible] I just cut a tiny little piece of your vagina off. Get over it! It doesn’t even compare with the more aggressive forms of female genital mutilation. And besides, it’s good for public health; you won’t get clitoral cancer now and (thanks to your reduced pleasure in sex) your chances of contracting an STD are down 50%!”

  487. Wayne, what do you think of genetically engineering gametes before they are used for in vitro fertilization in order to choose the eye color of the resulting child? Is it morally OK? Should it be legal?

    In general, I favor genetic engineering of life forms. In the specific case of eye color selection, I think such an exercise is a profound waste of time and money, but I would not ban it as I see no particularly great negative consequences.

    Is it morally OK?
    Yes, in my opinion. I know you are going to drop the hammer on me with, “it is a cosmetic preference, and how is that different from ear-piercing, etc…”. My in-advance response is that I see no great negative consequences… Now, as somebody suggested earlier, let’s dispense with “the extraneous comparisons” as I don’t see any benefit to them except to farret out small, you-are-a-hypocrit tactical advantages.

  488. Bod,

    OMG, now this really freaks me out. I’m for the first time in the US, like the 4th week now, and this is like when Mulder drives to a small peaceful town, only to uncover some sinister secret…

  489. NM
    While I am a staunch opponent of circumcision, and I wasn’t going to butt back in, I would propose that one of the reasons that Type 1A is substantially riskier than circumcision is that with respect to sampling, circumcision outcomes will include (or consist entirely of) data points collected from cultures and nations that have excellent health facilities, with correspondingly high expectation of a successful outcome.

    I agree entirely with your post. Please feel free to butt-in, I need all of the help I can get.

  490. OMG, now this really freaks me out. I’m for the first time in the US, like the 4th week now, and this is like when Mulder drives to a small peaceful town, only to uncover some sinister secret…

    Don’t worry RMT, nobody is going to forcibly amputate part of your penis. We only do that to children here.

  491. Wayne,

    Not sure you need ‘help’ on this. How anyone can justify perpetrating a body-mod on a minor for no relevant medical benefit (well, no medical benefit to a minor, arguable medical benefit to an adult) is beyond me.

    Years ago, it was claimed that circumcision reduced masturbation. At least, as a rationale, it attempted to ‘save’ a kid from a ‘risk’ that they were subject to.

  492. You are welcome to your opinion on MGM and I am welcome to my own. You think yours has merit. I think the preponderance of evidence supports my position, not the least of which is that the human anatomy has been determined by the selective pressures of man’s entire existence on the planet.

    You realize, of course, that your opinion that “this should be illegal” is inconsistent with a statement that I am “welcome to” my opinion, right?

    As I have said from the beginning, my opinion is that parents should be allowed to make up their own mind based on the best evidence. So, of course, you are welcome to your opinion about the merits or lack thereof of circumcision. The reason I jumped into this thread, however, was the fact that you were SO willing to use dubious claims in an attempt to convince others that someone who sees merits in the procedure should be legally prevented from acting on their views. Your early posts on this thread exaggerated the risks and falsely claimed that the evidence for benefit had been “discredited.” It’s easy to get hoodwinked by arguments that resonate with your own gut on an issue, but at the moment the best evidence is lined up with some fairly solid claims about benefits for male circumcision. Whether those claims justify infant circumcision, however, is clearly not straight forward. And because it is not straight forward, parents should be allowed to make up their own minds on the issue. Spreading disinformation to advocate against the procedure, however, is irresponsible in my view.

    I am glad we were able to turn this into a more polite discussion. Maybe next time we can both start there.

  493. but ‘Big Foreskin’ started lobbying Washington

    I prefer to call them ‘Big Circ.’

  494. No neu…whatever, the effect is a 1% absolute increase in your per-year chances of getting HIV. Yes, that’s a 50% relative increase in the person-year rate, but, in absolute terms, it’s 1.33-0.66 = less than one.

    I was not refuting your numbers, I was saying that the relative risk is easier for people to understand.

  495. [Neu Mejican]: Whether those claims justify infant circumcision, however, is clearly not straight forward.

    Except, of course, for how you still appear to have no explanation whatsoever as to why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    So it therefore remains confirmed that the routine and ritual prepucectomy of male minors is wrong, and the protection of the right to genital integrity for female minors by federal law should be expanded to cover male minors as well.

    Yet again:

    Why are you treating the male prepuce as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part?

    Unless and until you answer that, you simply cannot defend your position. The State already intercedes to regulate the inherent harm of amputating healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body parts. There is already an existing standard which controls the circumstances under which that may be done. You are the ones arguing for the continuation of a wholly baseless and unjustified special privileged exception from that standard of care and law.

    Every time you post without meaningfully addressing that point, it just makes it more and more evident that you are so very blatantly ignoring it because you know, at least on some level, that you cannot refute it.

  496. Whoops, Joe, now I do a page search, I find that all I did was steal your ‘knob-lobby’ meme.

    Sorry ’bout that.

    Oh, and congratulations on coming to what I believe is the right decision with Mrs. Joe. If Joe Jr. wants to body-mod his wotsit on his 18th birthday (0r 21 in less-free states), you have to promise to let him do it, OK?

  497. Bod,

    There are plenty of studies on risks of both male and female circumcision conducted in countries where both are performed. The risks for the female are higher. This is most likely due to the difference in function of male and female genitalia. The risks from Type Ia are mainly during the birthing process and probably result from the lack of elasticity in the scar tissue caused by the procedure. The risk is both to the mother and the child, so it also multiplies the number of people put at risk. If the procedure were to be accepted in the US and Europe, I am sure you are correct that risks could be minimized, but I doubt that they would ever be as low as those for male circumcision.

  498. [Neu Mejican]: The risks for the female are higher.

    However, the inherent and inevitable harm caused by amputating any healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part is not a mere potential risk but an inescapable fact.

    So you still appear to have no explanation whatsoever as to why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    And it therefore remains confirmed that the routine and ritual prepucectomy of male minors is wrong, and the protection of the right to genital integrity for female minors by federal law should be expanded to cover male minors as well.

    Yet again:

    Why are you treating the male prepuce as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part?

    Unless and until you answer that, you simply cannot defend your position. The State already intercedes to regulate the inherent harm of amputating healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body parts. There is already an existing standard which controls the circumstances under which that may be done. You are the ones arguing for the continuation of a wholly baseless and unjustified special privileged exception from that standard of care and law.

    Every time you post without meaningfully addressing that point, it just makes it more and more evident that you are so very blatantly ignoring it because you know, at least on some level, that you cannot refute it.

  499. Acksiom,

    Except, of course, for how you still appear to have no explanation whatsoever as to why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    There have been many links provided above pointing to the medical justifications for the procedure. Feel free to read them and form your own opinion. That is what I am advocating parents to do. I am not trying to convince anyone that they should or shouldn’t have their sons cut. But if they are going to make the decision, they should make it based on the best information available.

  500. Neu Mejican,

    I was not refuting your numbers, I was saying that the relative risk is easier for people to understand.

    And I contend that relative risk is easier to be mislead by — just as living with a smoker increases your risk of heart disease by some 25%, it only amounts to 12.5K/1M vs. 10K/1M (which, in that one study that all the anti-smoking nannies quote isn’t even statistically significant).

    Absolute risk is just as easy to understand, but less panic-inducing. 1.33/100 men vs. 0.6/100 men is really not a big deal, when you factor in all the other conditions — viz., that they are men who don’t [and won’t] wear condoms, that the post-operative effects of the circumcision may lead to less sexual behavior [even if they report the “same” behavior], etc., etc.

  501. And Acksiom,

    I already directly addressed your point. If you are advocating an expansion of the law, the burden falls on you to provide justification. I am not advocating for expanded restrictions on parent’s rights to make medical decisions for their sons. Your argument has some merits. It is one that medical ethics boards consider all of the time. Most have come down on the side of allowing circumcision based on the current medical evidence for benefit. They typically do this by weighing risk against benefit. The reason few recommend (as opposed to allow) circumcision is that the benefits are relatively moderate for the infant (even if larger once they reach adulthood). Risks, however, are quite low, so most facilities have found no medical reason to ban the procedure.

  502. Can not read all post but I will answer the question. 7 days is to let the baby’s nervous system come online so to speak. when they do it in a hospital the baby basically goes into shock over stimulated by the pain.
    2nd I shut my mother up about getting my boys snipped. She could not tell me the purpose of the foreskin was to protect the head and help in the lubrication of the sex act. If you don’t understand it does not mean you should cut it off.

  503. that the post-operative effects of the circumcision may lead to less sexual behavior [even if they report the “same” behavior], etc., etc.

    iirc, Cochrane looked at this and found that there was a statistically significant difference in the amount of sex between the two groups with the circumcised group having significantly more sex.

    Follow up studies and post-hoc analysis have shown that the fear that the early stoppage of the study (due to a large positive effect size) exaggerated the risk reduction have not been born out. The 42 month data results in a 65% reduction in relative risk, and when they exclude men from the “circumcise” group that didn’t follow through with the procedure, and include men from the “no circumcision” group that got the procedure done somewhere else, the 24 month data also looks to be closer to 65%.

  504. There have been many links provided above pointing to the medical justifications for the procedure. Feel free to read them and form your own opinion. That is what I am advocating parents to do. I am not trying to convince anyone that they should or shouldn’t have their sons cut. But if they are going to make the decision, they should make it based on the best information available.

    I think you’re missing the angle here, which is, yes, you may be able to prevent things at some hazy date in the future, but the same holds true for the appendix, tonsils, or even earlobes. And yet we don’t routinely perform removal of any of those body parts.

    Face it, this is a procedure that has its roots in ancient superstition and victorian anti-masturbation mania. Doctors concocted justifications over the decades and we’re only just now beginning to break out of the pattern of unquestioningly accepting it as a matter of course.

    The prepuce is healthy, functional, and non-pathogenic. It not diseased, vestigal, or infected. Therefore, routine removal doesn’t make any sense.

  505. NM
    I take your point entirely, but as you’ll probably appreciate, my objection to the procedure is primarily that

    * It’s a procedure that addresses a risk that won’t be realized by the individual until a time at which he can make the choice and not their parent(s).

    And secondly

    * The additional protection afforded is in a practical sense, minimal, especially if the adult is adopting additional existing strategies to avoid HIV and other STDs, let alone any that may be discovered over the next 16 years.

  506. Joe M.,

    I see the angle. Not confused at all. Plenty of merit to your position.

    Let’s turn this around. Let’s say the law were written the other way. Let’s say I was advocating a law that said you had to have your son circumcised. Would you feel this was the appropriate mechanism for having the decision made for your family? Or would you advocate that you, as a family, had the right to make this medical decision based on your assessment of the risks and benefits?

  507. I think your question can be applied to FGM Type Ia. And I would say, again, that the individual whose body is at stake should have the final say on that, unless there is an immediate medical danger.

  508. It is one that medical ethics boards consider all of the time. Most have come down on the side of allowing circumcision based on the current medical evidence for benefit. They typically do this by weighing risk against benefit. The reason few recommend (as opposed to allow) circumcision is that the benefits are relatively moderate for the infant (even if larger once they reach adulthood). Risks, however, are quite low, so most facilities have found no medical reason to ban the procedure.

    Frankly, I don’t buy this. It seems to me much more likely that medical ethics boards and the AMA are simply caving to the cultural pressure to go along with the cultural norm in the US.

  509. Well, that and it’s all these doctors carrying out unnecessary medical procedures for profit, isn’t it?

  510. Face it, this is a procedure that has its roots in ancient superstition and victorian anti-masturbation mania.

    In the US, this is not true. The practice began being recommended by doctors who saw higher rates of infections in soldiers who were non-circumcised during, iirc, World War I. The trenches made hygiene difficult and doctors saw a stark difference in infection rates and started recommending circumcision as a way to reduce those medical problems.

    The practice itself is much, much older. Some have brought up the concept of biological evolution arguing against the procedure. It one takes the idea of cultural evolution seriously, it could be argued that the practice emerged as a cultural response to problems being experienced by the men in the cultures that adopted the practice (susceptible to painful injury, infection, whatever). If it were highly risky, the practice would not have lasted. If it were entirely ineffective in addressing the problems it was designed to solve, it may or may not have lasted.

    Of course, it is possible that the adoption by the culture was for entirely spurious reasons. The medical benefits of the procedure, however, do not stand or fall based on why the practice was originally adopted.

  511. The medical benefits of the procedure, however, do not stand or fall based on why the practice was originally adopted.

    The medical benefits have shifted at every juncture, each time crumbling under scrutiny.

    The hygiene argument is, frankly, stupid. As somebody early posted, soap and water man, soap and water. Now, if you are arguing that soldiers in the trenches during WWI could not practice good hygiene, THEREFORE we think you should amputate part of your infant son’s penis in 2009 in the US… Well, I can’t help you much.

  512. wayne,

    I was not making that argument. I was explaining my understanding of how the procedure became common in the US.

    As for the “medical benefits crumbling under scrutiny.” That is a point upon which we disagree.

  513. [Neu Mejican]: There have been many links provided above pointing to the medical justifications for the procedure.

    No, there have not, because not one of them provides any explanation whatsoever as to why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    Without that, it simply does not matter what supposed merely potential benefits might result from the amputation of healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body parts. As I posted previously, the inherent and inevitable harm caused by amputating any healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part is not a mere potential risk but an inescapable fact.

    The standard of care and law is very clear, and you have not presented any kind of case whatsoever to justify the continuation of a wholly baseless and unjustified special privileged exception from that standard.

    I already directly addressed your point. If you are advocating an expansion of the law, the burden falls on you to provide justification.

    And since I am not doing that, but demanding the equal application of already existing law, the burden is instead yours to explain why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part, and you did not meaningfully address my point.

    I am not advocating for expanded restrictions on parent’s rights to make medical decisions for their sons.

    Nor is anyone else here.

    However, and again, what you are in fact arguing for is the continuation of a wholly baseless and unjustified special privileged exception from the existing standard of care and law.

    Your argument has some merits. It is one that medical ethics boards consider all of the time.

    Not in print, they don’t. Not one of them has ever explained why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    Most have come down on the side of allowing circumcision based on the current medical evidence for benefit.

    No, they haven’t, because, again, not one of them has explained why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    Thus, because of how the inherent and inevitable harm caused by amputating any healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part is not a mere potential risk but an inescapable fact, the supposed “evidence” for merely potential benefits fails to justify the continuation of a wholly baseless and unjustified special privileged exception from the existing standard of care and law.

    They typically do this by weighing risk against benefit.

    And also deliberately, intentionally, and knowingly refusing to weigh the inherent and inevitable harm caused by amputating any healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part, which is not a mere potential risk but an inescapable fact.

    Thus, the supposed “evidence” for merely potential benefits fails to justify the continuation of a wholly baseless and unjustified special privileged exception from the existing standard of care and law.

    The reason few recommend (as opposed to allow) circumcision is that the benefits are relatively moderate for the infant (even if larger once they reach adulthood).

    Except that the supposed “benefits” are at best potential, not actual. There is at best only an infinitesimal chance that a healthy, normal boy will “benefit” in any way from prepucectomy. There is, however, an inherent and inevitable harm done against him by amputating any healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part, which is not a mere potential risk but an inescapable fact.

    Risks, however, are quite low, so most facilities have found no medical reason to ban the procedure.

    And as I have pointed out above, the inherent and inevitable harm caused by amputating any healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part is not a mere potential risk but an inescapable fact, so there is in fact both a medical and legal responsibility for facilities to ban the routine or ritual performance of the practice. The mere existence of their failure to do so does not serve to justify that failure.

    Therefore it still remains confirmed that the routine and ritual prepucectomy of male minors is wrong, and the protection of the right to genital integrity for female minors by federal law should be expanded to cover male minors as well.

    Yet again:

    Why are you treating the male prepuce as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part?

    Unless and until you answer that, you simply cannot defend your position. The State already intercedes to regulate the inherent harm of amputating healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body parts. There is already an existing standard which controls the circumstances under which that may be done.

    Again, you are one of those arguing for the continuation of a wholly baseless and unjustified special privileged exception from that standard of care and law.

    And every time you post without meaningfully addressing that point, it just makes it more and more evident that you are so very blatantly ignoring it because you know, at least on some level, that you cannot refute it.

  514. As for the “medical benefits crumbling under scrutiny.” That is a point upon which we disagree.

    Fair enough about the most recent round regarding HIV transmission, but prior medical arguments certainly have crumbled. See the earlier post about the library of 6000 circumcision articles. This history of confirmation seeking behavior certainly makes me suspect the latest claims to be just more of the same, not to mention the apparent flaws in the study itself.

  515. I was explaining my understanding of how the procedure became common in the US.

    Actually, I believe the procedure became common because it was posited to prevent masturbation.

  516. I was not making that argument. I was explaining my understanding of how the procedure became common in the US

    If you are correct, then frankly I think the conclusion is stupid. Because soldiers get infected because of poor hygiene, we should pull them out of the trenches and snip them seems considerably more expensive and difficult than providing better hygiene.

  517. I notice that there has been little discussion on the psychological impact of routine circ (on both the individual and the greater society). my curiousity is peaked, i’m off to google…

  518. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg recommended circumcision of boys, writing: “A remedy for masturbation which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision…. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering anaesthetic, as the pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment.”[32] As late as 1936, L. E. Holt, an author of pediatric textbooks, advocated male and female circumcision as a treatment for masturbation.[33]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumcision_controversies

  519. Make you wonder if the ‘salutary effect’ couldn’t have been enhanced by removal of the entire glans.

  520. Wayne, I’m truly touched by your concern for the safety of penises everywhere.

    But it’s a bad touch.

  521. Thanks for ruining my afternoon with that quote, wayne. Jesus.

  522. Well, I’ll take the bait …

    “Someone has to take up the slack for Michael Jackson”

  523. Acksiom,

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree then.

    I am glad you are so convinced of the devastating potential of your argument against all opposing positions.

    But to say that medical ethics boards don’t make a call on this is disingenuous. Many, facilities have written policies on the issue.

    Here http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-circumcision-27-aug27,0,3982803.story

    Note “Since medical evidence doesn’t push us one way or another, we should leave it up to the parents,” said Dr. Douglas Diekema, a University of Washington pediatrician and member of the pediatric academy’s committee on bioethics.”

  524. From “Holv Virility” by Emmanuel Reynaud
    Ignorance and mutilation

    For a long time woman’s sex organ was considered by scientists to be ‘nothing’ in itself; the vulva being only the entrance to the vagina, which in turn was a mere recipent [receptacle] for the penis. It was only in the twentieth century that in the West it was recognised in scientific circles that not only did woman have a sex organ but also that it functioned, anatomically, more or less like a man’s. Kinsey remarks, in Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female:

    In brief, we conclude that the anatomic structures which are most essential to sexual response and orgasm, are nearly identical in the human female and male. The differences are relatively few. They are associated with the different functions of the sexes in reproductive processes, but they are of no great significance in the origins and development of sexual response and orgasm.1

    More recently, the sexologists Masters and Johnson have also emphasised the similarity between the physiological reactions the male and the female genital organs.

    The parallels in reaction to effective sexual stimulation emphasise the physiologic similarities in male and female responses rather than the differences. Aside from obvious anatomic variants, men and women are homogenous in their physiologic responses to sexual stimuli.2

    Taking clinical observations and recent research as a basis, it is possible to compare the reactions of the two sexual organs during sexual stimulation. It is obviously not a matter of going into a detailed description of all the anatomical reactions of the various elements which compose the genital organs – labia, clitoris, scrotum, testicles, etc. – we shall concentrate only on the movements of the vagina and the penis, as they are the two organs which the male imagination focuses on. As far as the vagina is concerned, any sexual stimulation causes a rush of blood and induces a discharge; the vagina secretes and grows noticeably in size. As the excitement becomes more intense, a fresh rush of blood causes the external third to dilate, this is what Masters and Johnson call the ‘orgasmic plateau’; in other words, it becomes firmer and takes on a more definite shape. Finally, during orgasm, it contracts frequently and regularly around the orgasmic plateau, and then little by little it goes back to its usual shape. As for the penis, it follows more or less the same pattern; except that behavioural manifestations are external and there is no mucoid secretion. In response to stimulation the blood vessels dilate and the penis becomes enlarged; then a second rush of blood slightly increases the circumference. mainly around the coronal ridge and during orgasm, like the vagina, it contracts at regular intervals – incidentally, the rhythm of the contractions is the same – then it gradually goes back to its regular shape. And so, anatomically and physiologically, the two organs are very similar; and yet this has not stopped man from ignoring the vagina and regarding it as a mere inert hole, or from being almost entirely ignorant concerning his own penis, which he sees as a power symbol and an instrument of sexual appropriation. Quite obviously man does not know his own genitals, and now science has recognised this. Masters and Johnson, no doubt wishing to make up for lost time, comment:

    The functioning role of the penis is as well established as that of any other organ in the body. Ironically, there is no organ about which more misinformation has been perpetrated. The penis constantly has been viewed but rarely seen. The organ has been venerated. reviled and misrepresented with intent in art, literature and legend through the centuries . . . These ‘phallic fallacies’ have colored our arts, and possibly, of even more import to our culture, influenced our behavioural and biologic sciences … Why. . . should the functional role of the penis have been shrouded so successfully by the ‘phallic fallacy’ concepts? This, indeed, is one of the great mysteries of biologic science.3

    [Reynaud seems unware that Masters and Johnson, coiners of the phrase “phallic fallacy”, themselves perpetrated one of the biggest of them, that circumcision makes no difference to sexuality.]

    Is it really so mysterious? How indeed can these ‘phallic fallacies’ be avoided, when the penis is precisely the organ that determines membership of the man class. Man turns a little bit of soft, delicate and highly sensitive flesh into the factor which bestows power on him; he is blind to the warmth, the fragility and the hypersensitivity of his penis, he represents it as cold, hard and sharp as a blade. It becomes a symbol and instrument of power. He forces himself to control it and tries to separate it from the rest of his body; often even mutilating himself in practising a symbolic separation through circumcision. Circumcision is a mutilation practised widely through the world, and doubtless has different purposes in the different societies where it is a ritual. Bruno Bettelheim, based on his studies of schizophrenic children and pre-literate peoples,4 believes it could be, for example, ‘a male substitute for girls’ first menstrual cycle’. This hypothesis may be true in some cases but it does not shed any light on the real purpose of mutilation in the history of Judeo-Christian patriarchy.

    Yet the institution of circumcision plays an important part in the Old Testament. A few chapters after the description of the mythical separation of man from his phallus-snake, it seems in fact, like the symbolic separation that man engraves in his own flesh, his ‘covenant’ with God:

    God said to Abraham, ‘For your part you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you; circumcise yourselves, every male among you. You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between us.’ (Genesis XVII: 9-11)

    The other condition of the ‘covenant’, the advantages gained – i.e. the point of the mutilation – is presented quite straightforwardly:

    As an everlasting possession I will give you and your descendants after you the land in which you now are aliens, all the land of Canaan, and I will be God to your descendants. (Genesis XVII: 8)

    Thus circumcision is established as the price man must pay not only in order to assert his power as father, leader and proprietor, but also to perpetuate and extend it, from one generation to the next, by handing it down from father to son, in fact the rite through which man generates supremacy: and he forces it on his son almost immediately after his birth: ‘Every male among you in every generation shall be circumcised on the eighth day.’ (Genesis XVIII: 12) The Old Testament has revived a marriage initiation rite, practised among the ancient Hebrews at the time of betrothal, and by applying it to new-born males, made it the sign of the covenant with God. The mutilation of the penis was no longer the last stage of initiation into ‘manhood’ before taking a wife, it became the very symbol of man’s power, inscribed on his penis from the earliest age. Thus, in the history of Judeo-Christian ideology, circumcision is the baton through which the father passes his power to his son. I can’t agree with Bettelheim’s theory that one of purposes of the rite is to pretend that men too can hear children’,5 as it is not the ability to reproduce life that man is concerned with when mutilating his son’s penis. but rather reproduction of power. Nor is circumcision, as Freud supposed ‘the symbolical substitute of castration, a punishment which the primeval father dealt his sons long ago with the fullness of power. ‘6 On the contrary, it is the transmission of the father’s power to the son.

    The separation from his penis, which man achieves mythically in the description of original sin, and symbolically through circumcision, has nothing to do with castration. Its purpose is diametrically opposed. Castration is the removal of the symbol of power and the instrument of sexual appropriation – it was, for example, in certain cultures, inflicted on the defeated enemies by the victors who secured a trophy celebrating their triumph and, at the same time, removed the criterion of the power from men who, now they were slaves, were no longer entitled to it. [Circumcision was also used for this purpose – HY] Circumcision, on the other hand, is an attempt to make the symbol more convincing and the instrument more effective. By mutilating his son’s penis, the father engraves the symbolic image of the sacrifice of sexuality in the struggle for power, in his son’s flesh.

    Christianity later abolished this rite to replace it with the image, considered more eloquent, of the sacrifice of the body. Since the Son became the Father under the strokes of the hammer nailing his limbs to the cross, man no longer had to pay for his future right to his father’s power with the strokes flint cutting through his foreskin. The symbolic mutilation as a preparation to the assumption of power was replaced by the mythical sacrifice, which justifies all the real sacrifices in the power race. Yet, using medical pretexts, Christians today are tending to return to the practice of circumcision. The removal of the foreskin obviously loses its symbolic significance: but, under the surgeon’s scalpel whose object is to make the penis ‘cleaner’ and ‘more suitable’ for its purpose. it is still an attempt to improve the instrument through mutilation.

  525. Nooge, just defenseless children, actually. Pity you weren’t protected.

  526. interesting theory, which seems to have been explored at great length. seems more of a cultural issue than a legal one in 2009, but i wouldn’t be surprised to see it go into history’s trash bin within the next 100 years. FYI, I’m cut, my 2 boys are not, i like to think they are more because of it, but who knows

  527. interesting theory which seems to have been explored at length. wouldn’t be surprised if the practise continues to fade. fyi, i’m cut my 2 boys are not, i like to think they have retained more than the skin, but who knows

  528. sorry for the double post

  529. The point being, Acksiom,

    Ethics boards have looked at the issue an issued written positions based on considering the exact issue you bring up. You may find their arguments unconvincing, but they have been made a published.

    The issue has been vigorously debated.

    wayne,

    Yes, some have advocated it to reduce masturbation, but I do not see evidence that was the primary justification, nor the reason it was supported in the medical community. Many of the claims made early, lower syphilis risk, for instance, have been born out by modern examination of the claims (see the 2006 systematic review of the question).

    But more importantly, the reason for the procedure being adopted does not have any bearing of the validity of evidence for its medical benefit. That evidence is what it is.

  530. Anyway,

    Talk amongst yourselves.
    I am done.

  531. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries there were two views on the relationship between syphilis and male circumcision: one was that circumcision provided protection against syphilis, another that circumcision was itself a significant source of syphilitic infection. This article reviews this debate, relates the first view to an influential article by Jonathan Hutchinson in 1855 and considers the subsequent use made of his statistics. It is suggested that the original statistics were of dubious value and that the promise of protection against syphilis was an additional argument for doctors who were keen to introduce universal circumcision of male infants for other reasons, the most significant of which was related to the conviction that it would discourage masturbation.

    http://shm.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/16/1/57

  532. Well, circumcision definitely don’t reduce the inceidence of masutrubation, least not for me, lol.

    Also, I really don’t know if I would need any enhanced senstivity, not unless it confired some other benefit so you didn’t cum quicker (like say E or coke can do).

    Finally, I’m happy it was done when I was a baby. I prefer tramatic expereinces to be done before I can remember them.

    Oh, and condoms suck.

  533. Circumcision did not, however, affect the incidence of syphilis. At 24 months, syphilis was detected in 50 men in the intervention group and 45 members of the control group.

    From the studies you have been citing, NM.

  534. Also, in regards to the orignal point of the article, I don’t have a problem with the government advocating health related topics.

    IE, it’s ok to advocate that smoking or drugs are bad

    it’s ok to advocate that people should eat right, and exercise,

    and based on the evidence it looks like it’s ok to advocate for this.

    Note advocating, and mandating two different things.

  535. Nooge, just defenseless children, actually. Pity you weren’t protected.

    Spare me, wayne. You’re a fucking freak about this.

    You are in no way, shape, or form qualified to make a determination on the sensory capacity of any other man’s penis, unless that man reports to you that there is a problem. OPP: other people’s penises. None of your business, wayne.

    You’re no more qualified to tell me or any other circumcised man that we have dysfunctional cocks than I am to tell you about yours.

    You have no business telling parents that they can’t have their children circumcised. None whatsoever. Back the fuck off.

    Male circumcision is not, anatomically, anywhere close to FGM. Not even in the same anatomical ball park. FGM is more like cutting off the whole fucking schlong.

    Male circumcision is a minor procedure that removes a flap of skin. Leave it on or cut it off; if it’s done properly, the only thing that’s left is for fucking obsessive weirdo perverts like you to argue about who’s got the better dick.

    I, poor, defenseless circumcision victim that I am, am completely happy with my hog and have been for over 30 years. Believe it or not, my own personal satisfaction with my junk is vastly more important than your determination of its status.

    In conclusion, I bet your refrigerator is stuffed full of cucumbers…with the skin on, of course.

  536. This one from a JAMA, 1921 article is too good not to post:

    -In THE JOURNAL, Aug. 27, 1921, appears an abstract of an article in the Virginia Medical Monthly by Irvine, who asserts that nation wide circumcision would practically stamp out syphilis in a few years.

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/summary/78/5/371

  537. In conclusion, I bet your refrigerator is stuffed full of cucumbers…with the skin on, of course.

    Good one, Nooge. Now toddle on back to your foreskin collection, with the stalks off, of course. 🙂

  538. Sorry you don’t have to reduce the risk for all STD’s, some is good enough for me.

  539. someone points to a systematic review from 2006, wayne responds by randomly pulling an unreferenced quote from a random study on the topic and then pretends that it is from the 2006 systematic review to hoodwink those that are not paying attention and further his cause through deception and deceit because he is a dishonest zealot

  540. Google makes it so easy to find this sort of information for yourself that you should not take my word for, honest. Now, back to the cucumber garden.

  541. wayne defends his dishonest tactics by pointing to a need for the buyer to beware of his claims while ignoring the fact that he attributed the counter evidence he was citing to the studies referenced by the other side in an attempt to cast doubt on the honesty or competence of the person citing the 2006 review

  542. Multiple studies (don’t take my word for it, do your own googling) determined that circumcision increases a man’s risk of contracting syphilis and gonorrhoea.

    The conclusion of one of the studies (I found many):
    Conclusion: Uncircumcised men in the United States may be at increased risk for gonorrhoea and syphilis, but chlamydia risk appears similar in circumcised and uncircumcised men. Our results suggest that risk estimates from cross sectional studies would be similar to cohort findings.

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1744239

  543. I retract my previous post. Getting tired, sorry.

  544. wayne even fools himself with his underhanded tactics and posts a study showing evidence of increased risk for the uncircumcised as evidence that circumcision increases risk

  545. wayne may not be able to see past his confirmation bias to dispassionately evaluate the information he reads meaning he may be the biggest victim of his own dishonesty

  546. Just tired, and honest enough to recognize my mistake and retract it.

  547. there may be hope for wayne yet

  548. Well, after 100 posts or so, most people would be tired. Least you manned up, lol

  549. once rested will wayne retract other poorly considered posts

  550. will wayne’s slumber be troubled by images of mad doctors chasing his prepuce knives drawn

  551. Actually, the studies regarding syphilis are contradictory. The one referenced by NM determined no effect on syphilis rates. Others show some effect.

  552. Many people say it should be their son’s choice. How many people who did not circumcise at birth would allow their 12-year old son to get cut if he asked for it? If their 18-year old son wanted to be circumcised, would they pay for it or tell him to save up the money himself, perhaps after he finishes college. Parents who answer no to these questions are making a decision for their son’s sexual experiences during some of the most promiscuous years of his life. This is not necessarily wrong because parents make decisions for their children all the time, but it buries the idea of neutral parenting on the anti-circ wing.

  553. [Neu Mejican}: I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree then.

    Then you guess incorrectly. As it stands, I’m right and you’re wrong, and that’s a matter of objective fact, not subjective agreement. So not only am I not obliged to agree to your nonsensical equivocation, I’m actually obliged not to, because of how it would be a bald-faced lie.

    Now, if your motive in posting that is to try to get along with me better, then I suggest that you just stop dancing and admit that you cannot defend your position. That would be the courteous, to say nothing of intellectually responsible, choice to make.

    Regardless, however, unless and until you explain why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part, then I’m right and you’re wrong and you cannot defend your position.

    I am glad you are so convinced of the devastating potential of your argument against all opposing positions.

    It’s not potentially conclusive; it’s factually conclusive. You have presented no grounds for claiming otherwise.

    I’m right and you’re wrong and it’s going to stay that way unless and until you explain why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part,

    But to say that medical ethics boards don’t make a call on this is disingenuous.

    Except, of course, for how it isn’t, because of how they never actually address my actual point. If you believe otherwise, then show us the evidence.

    Many, facilities have written policies on the issue.

    Fine. Show me one, just one such policy, that actually explains why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    Just because they agree with you doesn’t mean that they’ve actually done that. I’ve read as many as I can get, and they haven’t done it. If you believe differently, then prove me wrong. Bring the citation. Show us where in one, just one policy, they have actually explained why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    Here http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-circumcision-27-aug27,0,3982803.story

    Note “Since medical evidence doesn’t push us one way or another, we should leave it up to the parents,” said Dr. Douglas Diekema, a University of Washington pediatrician and member of the pediatric academy’s committee on bioethics.”

    OK, I just read it. Nowhere in that article does anyone provide any explanation whatsoever as to why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    As I said previously, repeatedly: not one medical board has ever explained in citable print why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    You keep behaving as though pointing at other people who agree with you means that they somehow have managed to answer my question. The problem is, they haven’t. Now, if you disagree with that, then by all means, bring us some evidence to the contrary.

    But unless and until you actually do so, it remains the objective fact that I’m right and you’re wrong.

    Ethics boards have looked at the issue an issued written positions based on considering the exact issue you bring up.

    Very well; what were their explanations as to why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part?

    You may find their arguments unconvincing, but they have been made a published.

    Again, then, what were they? What were their explanations as to why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part?

    You continue to keep behaving as though pointing at other people who agree with you means that they somehow have managed to answer my question. The problem is, they haven’t. Now, if you disagree with that, then by all means, bring us some evidence to the contrary.

    But unless and until you actually do so, it remains the objective fact that I’m right and you’re wrong.

    So yet again:

    Why are you treating the male prepuce as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part?

    Unless and until you answer that, you simply cannot defend your position. The State already intercedes to regulate the inherent harm of amputating healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body parts. There is already an existing standard which controls the circumstances under which that may be done.

    Again, you are one of those arguing for the continuation of a wholly baseless and unjustified special privileged exception from that standard of care and law.

    And every time you post without meaningfully addressing that point, it just makes it more and more evident that you are so very blatantly ignoring it because you know, at least on some level, that you cannot refute it.

  554. How many people who did not circumcise at birth would allow their 12-year old son to get cut if he asked for it? If their 18-year old son wanted to be circumcised, would they pay for it or tell him to save up the money himself, perhaps after he finishes college.

    Interesting questions. I might be persuaded to allow my 12 year old son to do it, if he had a good rationale. I would be utterly shocked to get such a request, though. Of course, my youngest son is 15 and has never asked about it at this point, so it is a moot point for me.

    I would be much more likely to pay for a C for my 18 year old son (he is actually 22 now, and has never asked) than my 12 year old. Again, though, I would want to know why.

  555. Aksiom, are you high or something (not that I have a problem with that).

    Medical boards are NOT treating the foreskin any differently than any other part of the body. Studies report that circumcision substainally reduces the chances of getting a number of STDs, and does so with very little risk.

    So how is a procedure that confers a number of benefits with low risks not being treated reasonably?

    If I have a toenail that always get ingrown, is it unreasaonble to cauterize to prevent that and infenction? This really isn’t any different. And it doesn’t matter how much you repeat yourself that won’t change.

    Moreover, that’s aside from the fact that unless it’s abuse (like FGM) it should be permitted because it’s none of your business.

  556. Here is a cut and paste from a mother who had her son C’ed. While I don’t agree with her decision, I do think that she at least thought it through before hand, i.e. this seems like truly informed consent instead of just mindless adherence to dogma.

    Where I live, it is very common to be circumcised. All the men in my family are, and so is my son. The circumcision was performed by a doctor, in a hospital. I know the pros and cons, and I’ve seen the procedure being done Penn and Teller’s Bullshit). I told my husband I wouldn’t do it unless he felt strongly about having it done – and he thought our son would be better off having it done, so that’s what we did.
    He slept through it. It was no big deal. He slept afterward. That is pretty much all they do for awhile, aside from eating and pooping. As far as his consent – pretty much everything going on with him is done without his consent. Sometimes he is against it in a big way – he hates riding in a carseat, for example. And he hated his vaccines in a big way. But that’s life. He won’t remember it, and it’s done with the best intentions.
    At about a month old was the first time I saw him in pain, because he had an ear infection – and when he cried, I cried – I felt so terrible that he was hurt. I cried when he had to have his shots, and I still feel guilty about it – even though I know it was for his health and we’ll have to go through it again several more times over the years. The circumcision didn’t hurt him. How can you call it child abuse? I could never abuse my son.
    When I write an argumentative essay, I will more often than not write it for “the other side” because I feel I learn more that way. I have written papers arguing for don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy, against a woman’s right to have an abortion, and for having religion in schools. None of them have made me change my mind, but they have helped me understand the other point of view is valid and not something horribly evil. The world isn’t black and white. Perhaps if you choose to write a third paper on the subject, you could try this so you understand the viewpoint a little better. Maybe you could interview some parents and doctors. My husband is glad he was circumcised, and so are the other men in our family. I wouldn’t want my son to have to go through the procedure as an adult, because it would be traumatic.
    That’s my two cents.

    http://contexts.org/socimages/2009/03/11/worldwide-prevalence-of-male-circumcision/

  557. If I have a toenail that always get ingrown, is it unreasaonble to cauterize to prevent that and infenction? This really isn’t any different. And it doesn’t matter how much you repeat yourself that won’t change.

    On the contrary, this is substantially different. A more appropriate example would be cauterizing a toenail because it MIGHT BECOME ingrown at some future date, without ever having actually been ingrown in the past or present.

  558. acksiom ignores the fact that many commonly performed procedures excise healthy tissue as many children are born with skin tags bumps and lumps that pose no medical risk little aesthetic risk and are yet are routinely excised despite the risk that such minor surgery bring with it and also ignore the fact that for children born of indeterminate gender genital surgery is done despite the fact that no medical risk is involved in the condition he also wrongly proclaims that those who have published positions on the topic do not consider his exact argument as even the wikipedia article on the topic addresses his argument and cites scholars who hold or oppose the exact position he is maintaining

  559. children both with a functional extra finger often get those fingers removed despite the fact that they are healthy and functional with the decision left to the parents

  560. also ignore the fact that for children born of indeterminate gender genital surgery is done despite the fact that no medical risk is involved

    A very controversial point you are using here. Many in the intersex community would disagree with you.

  561. … dishonesty, could you sprinkle in a few commas, please. It would make your post a bit more readable.

  562. children both with a functional extra finger often get those fingers removed despite the fact that they are healthy and functional with the decision left to the parents

    For infant boys born with two foreskins, or three, etc, I am all for taking it down to just one.

  563. acksiom fails to admit that any citation of a potential benefit for the procedure directly addresses his central question as to why the healthy tissue should be removed

  564. All those “tags bumps and lumps” are not part of the standard human anatomy. Also, I might go so far as to say perhaps gender assignment surgery isn’t appropriate either.

  565. william gaddis showed me the way death to all punctuation

  566. acksiom fails to admit that any citation of a potential benefit for the procedure directly addresses his central question as to why the healthy tissue should be removed

    All of the purported benefits are far in the future for the amputee, and all of the benefits are marginal and better accomplished by other methods, e.g. condom use.

  567. Acksiom, if you want to see if my circumcised penis functions properly, you could put it in your mouth for a while. Not really my thing if you’re a dude, but I’d sacrifice in the name of scientific research.

  568. wayne treats a claim that a particular kind of argument addresses a particular point as if it is a statement made in defense of the validity of a particular claim and therefore goes of on yet another tangent to further his agenda

  569. Nooge, I admire your bravery! To admit that, in the right circumstances, you are homosexual is very stand-up.

  570. … dishonesty, commas, periods and semi-colons, man.

  571. not really my thing is you’re a dude

    Learn to read, wayne. Maybe you have smegma in your eye.

  572. Nooge, it’s OK. H&R is very accepting. If you are prone to tuning the occasional meat-whistle, we won’t judge you.

  573. I’m disturbed by how excited you seem to be getting, wayne. How many penises do you think of in a day?

  574. Oh, and wayne, I offered to be the pitcher. For research. Totally different, man. Shit, straight guys do gay for pay to get through college!

  575. gotta go. Nooge, you can carry on in this circle-jerk in my absence.

  576. But wayne, how will my poor defenseless numb circumcised penis allow me to ejaculate? Wayne? Wayne?! We need you here, man!

  577. Shit, straight guys do gay for pay to get through college!

    I paid my way with a part time job and student loans, but I am not judging you, Nooge. Playing the skin-flute made you a better educated man, and it shows.

  578. Your reading disability is profound, wayne. So much of your processing power must go to fretting about penises worldwide.

  579. wayne | August 31, 2009, 2:08pm | #
    Wayne, what do you think of genetically engineering gametes before they are used for in vitro fertilization in order to choose the eye color of the resulting child? Is it morally OK? Should it be legal?

    In general, I favor genetic engineering of life forms. In the specific case of eye color selection, I think such an exercise is a profound waste of time and money, but I would not ban it as I see no particularly great negative consequences.

    So we’ve established that it should be legal for a parent to modify his child’s body for purely esthetic reasons as long as the modification does not have negative consequences. I think male circumcision fits this criteria.

  580. Acksiom | August 31, 2009, 3:23pm | #
    [Neu Mejican]: There have been many links provided above pointing to the medical justifications for the procedure.

    No, there have not, because not one of them provides any explanation whatsoever as to why and how the male prepuce should be treated as though it were not subject to the same standards applied to every other healthy, functional, non-pathogenic human body part.

    We are treating the foreskin like every other part of the body. We are saying that, like with every other part of the body, the parent should decide what happens to it unless that decision was likely to result in significant harm to the child.

  581. wayne | August 31, 2009, 4:14pm | #
    Nooge, just defenseless children, actually. Pity you weren’t protected.

    So wayne, have you looked up the location of the closest state run pediatric psych ward so you can attend its public meetings like I suggested and make sure that they aren’t abusing the children there? If you are serious about defending children there are much bigger fish to fry.

  582. jack | August 31, 2009, 5:49pm | #
    Many people say it should be their son’s choice. How many people who did not circumcise at birth would allow their 12-year old son to get cut if he asked for it? If their 18-year old son wanted to be circumcised, would they pay for it or tell him to save up the money himself, perhaps after he finishes college. Parents who answer no to these questions are making a decision for their son’s sexual experiences during some of the most promiscuous years of his life. This is not necessarily wrong because parents make decisions for their children all the time, but it buries the idea of neutral parenting on the anti-circ wing.

    A case like that made it to the Oregon Supreme Court a few years ago. A 13 year old boy wanted to get circumcised and his parents did not want him to undergo the procedure. I do not know how the court ruled.

  583. acksiom’s has cited failure to address his points as evidence that he has won the argument so his failure to address the removal of skin tags and the like shows that he has lost and is sulking in shame

  584. Joe M | August 31, 2009, 6:45pm | #
    All those “tags bumps and lumps” are not part of the standard human anatomy. Also, I might go so far as to say perhaps gender assignment surgery isn’t appropriate either.

    I would let parents decide on gender assignment surgery. While I see how the quest for normality might steer parents toward the surgery, I don’t think it should be a factor in the legality of the surgery.

  585. Sorry, I forgot the blackslash for the blockquote end tag.

  586. wayne | August 31, 2009, 7:01pm | #
    Shit, straight guys do gay for pay to get through college!

    I paid my way with a part time job and student loans, but I am not judging you, Nooge. Playing the skin-flute made you a better educated man, and it shows.

    Actually, I have much more respect for someone who pays for college by acting in porn than for someone who pays for college with loans from the government.

  587. jtuf,

    Not to totally take this in another direction, but haven’t there been many cases in which children who had their genders assigned at birth end up suffering a lot of distress due to feeling like they are the opposite sex? In a way, I would say this could fall into the same area of people being conditioned by their culture to think certain ways of being were weird or inappropriate, rather than just letting all of the variations of life exist as they come about. I’m really just ruminating at this point.

    I would parallel this to the abortion issue. The pro-choice perspective is that it’s a woman’s body and a woman’s choice to terminate a pregnancy. I would argue that things like cosmetic genetic modifications would fall into the same area, since the baby doesn’t even exist at that point and can therefore have no rights. People can make valid arguments for the rights of the unborn, but I don’t think anyone could reasonably make an argument for the rights of the unconceived.

    Thus, you can’t kill a baby after it’s born, you can argue about abortion, but you can’t deny someone the right to practice birth control. I would think the same thing applies for body modifications. After the baby is born, is it a sovereign being.

  588. So we’ve established that it should be legal for a parent to modify his child’s body for purely esthetic reasons as long as the modification does not have negative consequences. I think male circumcision fits this criteria.

    No, I have agreed that I believe it ought to be legal for adults/parents to genetically modify a zygote if there are no negative consequences. I don’t think male circumcision of an infant fits that criteria because an infant is not a zygote, and because there are a myriad of long term negative consequences associated with MGM ranging from pain and loss of erogenous tissue for every child who undergoes the procedure, to death of the infant.

    My loans were from a commercial bank, and I repaid them early, and “doing gay for pay” is not “acting in porn”, it is homosexual prostitution.

    Finally, I have not visited any pediatric psych wards, but I am willing to take your word for it, and even willing to get emotionally engaged in it, as you seem to be. The topic at hand, though, is circumcision of children. Your apparent indifference to the plight of helpless infants undergoing unnecessary surgery suggests to me though that your judgment might not be the best on such issues though.

  589. We are treating the foreskin like every other part of the body. We are saying that, like with every other part of the body, the parent should decide what happens to it unless that decision was likely to result in significant harm to the child.

    Daihawk seems to have suffered significant harm. A complication rate of 2 to 10% seems significant to me. Death of infants as a result of circumcision seems to me to be significant harm.

    http://www.noharmm.org/incidenceUS.htm

  590. f’in tags.

  591. by pairing the spurious 2-10% claim with the available worst case scenario wayne attempts to imply that the worst case scenarios happen in between 2% and 10% of cases ignoring the fact that the vast majority of complications that make up that 2-10% are minor bleeding and other similarly non-serious complications that are easily resolved and result in no medium or long term damage

  592. wayne pretends that jtuf did not include the condition that the significant harm is also significantly likely

  593. Oh, and wayne, I offered to be the pitcher. For research. Totally different, man.

    Whether you are pitching or catching, the game is still gay. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Be a proud gay man, Nooge.

  594. In America the estimated death rate for infants as a result of circumcision is between 1 in 24,000 to 1 in 500,000.

    http://www.noharmm.org/incidenceUS.htm

  595. I have had enough for today.

    If any of you decide to have your baby boy (or girl) circumcised, I wish you both the best.

  596. PEDIATRICS Vol. 83 No. 6 June 1989, pp. 1011-1015

    The records of 136,086 boys born in US Army hospitals from 1980 to 1985 were reviewed for indexed complications related to circumcision status during the first month of life. For 100,157 circumcised boys, there were 193 complications (0.19%). These included 62 local infections, eight cases of bacteremia, 83 incidences of hemorrhage (31 requiring ligature and three requiring transfusion), 25 instances of surgical trauma, and 20 urinary tract infections. There were no deaths or reported losses of the glans or entire penis. By contrast, the complications in the 35,929 uncircumcised infants were all related to urinary tract infections. Of the 88 boys with such infections (0.24%), 32 had concomitant bacteremia, three had meningitis, two had renal failure, and two died. The frequencies of urinary tract infection (P < .0001) and bacteremia (P < .0002) were significantly higher in the uncircumcised boys. Serious complications from routine prepuce removal are rare and relatively minor. Circumcision may be beneficial in reducing the occurrence of urinary tract infections and their associated sequelae.

    You realize that 1 in 500000 death rate is significantly lower than the chances of being killed by lightning, right? (7 per million).

  597. Okay, NM, let’s compare the key numbers:

    circumcised complications: (0.19%)
    uncircumcised complications: (0.24%)

    There have been deaths reported from circumcision complications, as well as botched cuts that removed too much, or other permanent damage.

    The point is, the chance of problems on either side is tiny, tiny enough that it doesn’t seem justified to routinely slice off foreskins.

  598. Your apparent indifference to the plight of helpless infants undergoing unnecessary surgery suggests to me though that your judgment might not be the best on such issues though.

    I am certain that each parent cares for his child more than anyone else in the World does. That is why I think parental choice is in the best interest of the child. Wayne, you and I have different priorities. I don’t like the prospect of my neighbors getting hauled off to jail for an action that is harmless. I would much rather you use persuasion instead of brute police force to get parents to follow your viewpoint. You think that preventing parents from body modifying their children is worth arresting people over. However, you don’t think stopping circumcision is important enough to adjust your tone in an effort to make your case more convincing. So, by the transitive property of inequalities, you think that imprisoning your neighbors is not as bad and as taking a break from the cursing and insults.

    To support my conclusion, here is a selection of your posts on this topic:

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 1:36am | #
    By the way, the circumcision rate in the US is about 40% today; that is down from about 80% forty years ago. I suspect C will approach zero % in another 50 years. It is dumb. Stupidity has little staying power.

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 11:53am | #
    The difference between the two is that circumcision does not produce the ill effects immediately and later in life that even Type I FGM does.

    You are wrong. Both procedures have similar complication rates.

    There is no medical benefit to either procedure. The forces of natural selection created human genitals for a purpose, why fuck with nature?

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 12:31pm | #
    T,

    I am uncircumcised, as you have probably deduced. I have had no problems getting laid. If a woman demanded that I cut off a substantial part of my dick before she would screw me… well, there are billions of women on the planet, so move on to the next.

    But, if an adult man thinks cutting off part of his own dick will give him a tactical advantage over me then that’s OK with me, although I consider it pretty pathetic.

    extremely minimal risks of circumcision… This is total bullshit. Hospitals are dangerous places, filled with antibiotic resistant pathogens; not the sort of place where my Johnson is going to be reduced.

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 12:58pm | #
    TAO,

    Well, most of us don’t view it that way, primarily because it isn’t mutilation, so fucking knock it off.

    In Africa it is not called FGM, either. It is simply “their culture”. I imagine those who practice FGM much prefer the term “female circumcision” as well.

    Oh, and inconsiderate ass-wipe.

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 1:32pm | #
    If you’re going to persist in begging the question and stealing the concept by calling it “mutilation”, there’s no point in continuing. If someone says to you “I’m not mutilated”, your comeback is “you are, you just don’t know it…let me tell you how you feel/actually are.”

    I will admit that most male circumcisions have outcomes that are not as horrific as a few, but none are good.

    Should we insist that FGM be referred to female circumcision just because a few barbarians want to pretty up the propaganda a bit?

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 11:38pm | #
    A medical decision is a decision made to alleviate suffering, disease, or infirmity. Owning a prepuce is none of those things. It seems to me that genital mutilation of an infant is the absolute antithesis of a medical decision.

    D can speak for himself, but one fundamental human right is the right to be safe from arbitrary disfigurement, mutilation, or harm at the hands of others. It is a fundamental human right to not be subjected to partial or complete genital amputation perpetrated only to satisfy the superstitions of others, particularly when the amputee is a child. The fact that you apparently don’t believe that children should be protected from this practice is troubling and, when extended to the population at large, explains why this barbarism continues.

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 1:54pm | #
    Maybe because, as of right now, you have implicitly called your opponents “mutilators”, “barbarians”, “ignorant” and compared circumcision on a 1-1 correlative level with removal of a lobe of liver and removal of the clitoris.

    I agree. It sucks to be on the wrong side of an argument.

    wayne | August 30, 2009, 2:15pm | #
    Male circumcision is mostly a Middle Eastern cultural practice, so yes, you could call it barbaric if you subscribe to 19th Century views on race.

    You know your argument is getting very weak when you are forced to resort to the race card.

    I don’t give a flying fuck about practices in the middle east. I am talking about practices in America.

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 3:57pm | #
    A pediatrician makes the case for circumcision:

    “It’s the American way,” he says. “Eighty percent of men in America are circumcised, and parents want their sons to look like their fathers.” He says that most of the men and boys who aren’t circumcised are immigrants, children of immigrants, or from poor families who are not insured for the procedure.

    Let me make the snarky comment that always seems to play well at H&R: filthy immigrants.

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 2:51pm | #
    TAO,

    If you can’t get the better of a Marxist in an argument, then perhaps it is you who ought to listen and let the adults talk.

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 3:31pm | #
    With all of the available evidence, not to mention the intuitive notion that when an organ exists there is almost certainly a good reason for it, how can one conclude routine amputation of a child’s said organ is not the result of ignorance?

    quotes will continue in my next post.

  599. The rest of the quotes:

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 4:13pm | #
    TAO, In an earlier post you implied that you are uncircumcised. I suggest you put your dick where your head is and have it done. Report back to us in a few weeks about how your sex life has improved, and how you now feel so much more normal when comparing dicks with the other guys in the shower.

    Sorry to all, but it was irresistible.

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 4:41pm | #
    TAO, I don’t really think you should get it done. You have been such a dick-head (apropos, no) during this discussion that I just like messing with you.

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 4:44pm | #
    The only real arguments I see in favor of it are that it’s just what most people do, and some women think uncircumcised penises look weird.

    The way I see it is this: if some women think a natural dick “looks weird”, then fuck ’em, there are plenty of women who hold no such prejudice.

    wayne | August 29, 2009, 7:20pm | #
    Jtuf,

    Amy said her piece, which I think pretty well summed up her feelings and mine. Despite your fishing for a wedge issue where you can raise your hand excitedly and say, “see you care about little boy’s dicks, but not their teeth…”

    The topic is circumcision. If you have something substantive to say on that topic, then say it. Otherwise, grow the fuck up.

    wayne | August 30, 2009, 12:30pm | #
    shut the fuck up, NM.

    wayne | August 30, 2009, 12:52pm | #
    wayne has spent a lot of this thread trying to show the horrors of a specific choice.

    Actually, NM, Daihawk illustrated the horror of a specific choice.

    Now, shut the fuck up.

    wayne | August 30, 2009, 12:57pm | #
    (FMG has not claimed benefit,

    INTERPRETATION: Circumcision of HIV-infected men did not reduce HIV transmission to female partners over 24 months; longer-term effects could not be assessed. Condom use after male circumcision is essential for HIV prevention.”
    And furthermore if you really want a strong correlation between circumcision rates and low HIV rates I’m afraid the answer is somewhat unsettling – in East Africa the countries where Type 3 Female Genital Mutilation (yes, the most brutal and disgusting type) is prevalent have the lowest rates.

    Now, shut the fuck up.

    wayne | August 30, 2009, 1:09pm | #
    Well, I’m done.

    Good. Go and inflict your trolling on your loved one, if you have any.

    wayne | August 30, 2009, 2:54pm | #
    shut the fuck up, NM.

    wayne | August 30, 2009, 3:09pm | #
    cochlear implants to cure/minimize deafness in your child versus circumcision to… do what, exactly for your child?

    The comparison is fucking absurd.

  600. Joe M,

    No one is recommending that people routinely circumcise their sons. We’re arguing that it should be legal for parents to make their own decision on their children’s circumcision.

  601. Really, what it all comes down to is giving people as much information as possible. We’d be a lot better off if that was the default practice for all decision making processes.

  602. jtuf,

    taking a break from the cursing and insults

    More important, in my estimation, is his willingness to lie and spread dubious and inaccurate information in order to persuade people. He even manages to take the accurate information and misrepresent it by, for instance, saying that the complications from circumcision are “death, mutilation” and then citing the highest complication rate estimation available to imply that death and mutilation are relatively common.

    Death and mutilation from circumcision occur at a rate similar to death and mutilation from lightning strikes. Circumcision is, then, similarly dangerous to … walking around the planet.

    Now, as Joe M. points out, the rates of urinary tract infections occurring in uncircumcised children is very low (2 per 1000 or so) and the death rate from that is even rarer (1 per 18,000 or so, with serious complications at 1 in 9,000 or so). This is why routine circumcision is not recommended by most professionals. Not much bang for your buck.

    But, if wayne wants to use the “it’s killing children” argument honestly, he needs to recognize that the people using the “it’s saving children’s lives” argument have the numbers on their side, perhaps by an order of magnitude: death rate from circumcision is less than 1 per 100,000; death rate from urinary tract infections 1 per 18,000.

    So, cursing, no such a big problem. Making shit up to fool people…much more serious.

  603. “not such a problem”

  604. Circumcision panels is a great idea, but we shouldn’t stop there. We should also implement methods successfully used in other tribes all over the globe. In order to avoid brain cancers we should in the future study decapitation methods or limb severance to kill infections. As a proud descendant of Attila the Hun on my mother side I say we should adopt other cultures as a sign of goodwill and understanding to promote multicultural methods of progressive health innovations. The procedures employed above would eliminate Medicare expenses.

  605. So, you guys don’t like because I sometimes use the F word? I am not fit for polite society because I respond to charges of racism with exasperation? You are annoyed with me because I think NM is a troll, and adopt the standard H&R response to trolls? Because I believe that infant boys ought to receive the same legal protections as infant girls, I am a bad person?

    I am hurt.

  606. However, you don’t think stopping circumcision is important enough to adjust your tone in an effort to make your case more convincing.

    I freely admit that I am passionate about things I believe in, and I often regret things I say (or at least the way I say them). Read over your own posts, Jtuf, regarding “tone” and distortion of positions and do a bit of reflection. I will say this for NM, he is maddeningly devoid of passion.

  607. But, if wayne wants to use the “it’s killing children” argument honestly, he needs to recognize that the people using the “it’s saving children’s lives” argument have the numbers on their side, perhaps by an order of magnitude: death rate from circumcision is less than 1 per 100,000; death rate from urinary tract infections 1 per 18,000.

    NM, has your argument now morphed from “circumcision lessens the transmission of HIV” to “circumcision reduces the incidence of UTIs”?

  608. wayne,

    NM, has your argument now morphed from “circumcision lessens the transmission of HIV” to “circumcision reduces the incidence of UTIs”?

    My argument has been consistent: there are numerous valid medical reasons to consider favoring the procedure, particularly given the extremely low risk of complications. As such there is no reason to ban the procedure. It should be left up to the family to decide based on the best available information.

    My second argument: people, like you, who spread disinformation due to their passionate yet uninformed views on a topic should have their tactics exposed so that people faced with the decision have a reasonable chance of making an informed decision.

  609. wayne,

    I do want to say that I feel sympathy for those like yourself that are taken in by organizations like noharmm.org. It is not like you have come up with the factual distortions yourself. You are primarily just passing along the distortions that these groups present. Look at your last link from noharmm.org. On that page they move from “hemorrhage is a potential and common complication of circumcision” to “hemorrhage can lead to brain damage.” They do this without even attempting to discuss the likelihood of this brain damage. It is done to paint a picture implying that the “hemorrhage” and the “brain damage” being similarly likely. That rhetorical trick, however, is very seductive to someone like yourself who is looking for evidence to support your position.

    You need to read more critically.

  610. Summary of pro-circ comments: there’s a tiny benefit and a tiny risk. So let parents cut off a part of their son’s penis if they think about it real hard.

    Summary of anti-circ comments: it’s the child’s body, and not only is circumcision unnecessary, the only benefits (which do not clearly outweigh the risks) come later in life and can be accomplished by other, non-surgical means (e.g., condom use, monogamout intercourse, good hygiene, etc.). Plus, the laws governing genital mutilation are sexist — they only preclude female circumcision.

    Hmmm…maybe we shouldn’t allow circumcision — an irreversible and medically suspect procedure on a sensitive part of the body crucial to the very propagation of the species — to be forced on young boys and girls (latter part taken care of). Who are the true libertarians here?

    And, seriously, cut out the stupid rhetorical crap questions like “What about ear piercings? Should those be outlawed for little girls and boys?” The answer is obviously: “No, not unless they are irreversible and mutilate a sensitive part of the body for the explicit, stated historical goal of crippling a person’s sex life or other intimate adult activity instead of letting that person act freely in these areas.”

  611. d,

    I believe the libertarians on the issue are the ones arguing to allow the family to choose based on the best available information. Are you claiming that the libertarian position on this issue is the one that says the state should decide for the family?

  612. NM, your last point can still be applied to famle circumcision.

  613. wayne,

    Actually, the studies regarding syphilis are contradictory. The one referenced by NM determined no effect on syphilis rates. Others show some effect.

    Another one to clear up that I missed. The 2006 systematic review I referenced

    26 articles met the inclusion criteria. Most syphilis studies reported a substantially reduced risk among circumcised men (summary RR = 0.67, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.54 to 0.83), although there was significant between study heterogeneity (p = 0.01). The reduced risk of HSV-2 infection was of borderline statistical significance (summary RR = 0.88, 95% CI 0.77 to 1.01). Circumcised men were at lower risk of chancroid in six of seven studies (individual study RRs: 0.12 to 1.11).

    I think you are confusing the lack of protection for Herpes for a lack of effect for syphilis. That confirmation bias of yours is getting in the way of your reading again.

  614. Joe M.

    It not only can, but has been used to justify female circumcision. There is, however, a substantial difference in the “best information” on the two procedures. The risk is substantially higher for girls, and no medical benefit is even claimed. As I said above, the female circumcision argument is much closer to the argument for allowing tattooing than the argument related to male circumcision. Tattooing is much safer, however, and probably doesn’t reach a level of risk that justifies banning it.

    I think the risk from female circumcision does reach that level, even when we are talking about the least damaging Type Ia.

    Others will disagree. But the arguments for each procedure need to made about that procedure. One being okay does not automatically make the other okay. One being worthy of a ban does not make the other worthy of a ban. They are different procedures. It is a false equivalency, imho.

  615. The risk is substantially higher for girls, and no medical benefit is even claimed.

    Not true, NM. There is apparently a correlation between FGM and reduction in HIV transmission. I, of course, do not advocate FGM for that or any other reason.

  616. Okay, let me posit this scenario:

    Your family has a history of skin cancer. Your father developed malignant melanoma on his nose, as did you. Do you think you would be justified in pre-emptively having the tip of your newborn child’s nose removed, as a prophylactic measure? The risks of complications are small, the benefit is clear. The tip of the nose serves no useful purpose, other than cosmetic. Wouldn’t it be better to leave that decision up to the child once he or she grew to adulthood?

  617. Neu Mejican | September 1, 2009, 2:23pm | #
    d,

    I believe the libertarians on the issue are the ones arguing to allow the family to choose based on the best available information. Are you claiming that the libertarian position on this issue is the one that says the state should decide for the family?

    While I don’t have the time to fully articulate the Platonic form of libertarianism as it applies to circumcision (and the family-vs.-state issue) here, I think the following is a good first pass:

    All decisions leading to irreversible changes in bodily status that have no overwhelming medical benefit, almost no negative consequences if not done and whose commission changes the normal, natural state of said body should be left to the individual himself [grammatical neuter], after having reached legal adulthood (autonomous personhood) status — i.e., when he is at a point where he is choosing to do it to himself.

    Or are you OK with parents removing their daughters’ ovaries, if they think it’s what’s best for them? How about full hair removal from the scalp using lasers? I could go on, but I think the point here is that this is not just another parent’s choice. The weight of the evidence demonstrates that the potential for psychological, physical and other types of harm is too great for this decision to be made for someone.

    I just don’t see why it’s so easy for you types to get this point for female circumcision and GM, but not for little boys. I guess the “make him look like Daddy” impulse is strong enough to cloud your (collective) judgment.

  618. Okay, let me posit this scenario:
    …[read the Joe M’s post above]

    Ooooh! Snap! Team AntiCirc scores some mad Gedankenexperiment points!

    Nice example, Joe M.

  619. Also, NM, don’t you think it’s possible you’ve been culturally conditioned to think that circumcision is no big deal, without truly examining the practice critically? Much like a lot of Africans think FGM is no big deal, and think there are a number of valid reasons to continue the practice, despite the feelings of the vast majority of, say, Americans.

    I hadn’t really thought much about the practice until I started thinking about having children of my own, and I became more disturbed by it the more I learned. Thousands of years of doing something doesn’t mean it’s right.

  620. My own summary.

    Pro circumcision:
    1. it reduces incidence of UTIs in infant boys.
    2. it reduces transmission rate of HIV in adult men.
    3. it eliminates penile cancer in (predominantly) old men.
    4. it is a safe, relatively painless procedure, with the main risks being post-op bleeding. Botched procedures, such as removal of too much tissue, are not addressed in the literature (at least as far as I can tell).
    5. it is not at all comparable to any form of female circumcision.
    6. long term effects on sexuality are not addressed.
    7. do the procedure on infants because there is less pain and recovery for them.

    anti-circ:
    1. the procedure is painful, and there are some post-op complications, most of which are relatively benign, some of which are catastrophic. For every amputee there is loss of a foreskin.
    2. all of the medical benefits associated with the procedure accrue to adults, except perhaps for UTIs in infants.
    3. long-term issues such as reduced sexual response and botched procedures whose effects only manifest themselves later in life are significant.
    4. the male prepuce is normal, healthy, functioning tissue, hence medical ethics require that it not be amputated.
    5. male circumcision is comparable to type 1A female circumcision.
    6. the law protects little girls against “FGM”, but when performed on little boys it is circumcision.
    7. wait until adulthood for men and women to decide for themselves whether to be circumcised.

    Did I miss or misstate anything?

  621. I think you are confusing the lack of protection for Herpes for a lack of effect for syphilis. That confirmation bias of yours is getting in the way of your reading again.

    a quote from a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine:

    Circumcision did not, however, affect the incidence of syphilis. At 24 months, syphilis was detected in 50 men in the intervention group and 45 members of the control group.
    http://www.emaxhealth.com/2/48/30114/male-circumcision-does-not-reduce-risk-syphilis.html

    As I said before, some studies claim to find a correlation between syphilis transmission reduction while others (the one quoted above, for example) find no effect.

  622. wayne,

    You claimed “The one referenced by NM determined no effect on syphilis rates.”

    I was clearing that misinformation up.

    Not true, NM. There is apparently a correlation between FGM and reduction in HIV transmission. I, of course, do not advocate FGM for that or any other reason.

    wayne, this is an example of your dishonest tactics. Find me an advocate for allowing choice on the issue of FGM that points to substantiated medical benefits as the purpose of the procedure.

    Joe M.,
    I have no problem allowing the family to make that decision provided that “the benefit is clear” and they are doing so based on the best medical evidence. Of course, the best medical evidence would not lead to that decision. If they were operating under advice from a medical doctor that said it was a reasonable procedure to reduce risk, it would hardly be abuse to take good-faith steps to reduce your child’s risk of cancer.

  623. Well, if that’s how you feel, we’re at an impasse.

  624. wayne, this is an example of your dishonest tactics. Find me an advocate for allowing choice on the issue of FGM that points to substantiated medical benefits as the purpose of the procedure.

    You said “no medical benefit is even claimed”. At least one study I looked at yesterday cited a correlation between FGM and HIV reduction. I was merely responding to your “no medical benefits are even claimed” statement. Is that dishonest?

    I doubt there are any (very few anyway) advocates for allowing choice regarding FGM, unlike MGM where choice abounds.

  625. You said “no medical benefit is even claimed”. At least one study I looked at yesterday cited a correlation between FGM and HIV reduction. I was merely responding to your “no medical benefits are even claimed” statement. Is that dishonest?

    Yes. The study as you presented it did not make the claim that the correlation was a result of the procedure. It used the correlation as an example of the need to be cautious when interpreting gross correlations. This is one of the reasons the RCT were conducted for the claim that circumcision reduced HIV. The RCT’s were needed to show that the claims based on correlation studies were valid.

  626. Joe M and d, it’s interesting that you bring up ovary removal and cancer of the nose. I met a woman in college who had her ovaries removed as a teenager, because she had ovarian cancer. Do you think that decision should have been made by her parents or by the state?

  627. jtuf, that’s different, because she actually had cancer, not just the potential to someday develop cancer.

  628. I now leave this thread.

    Based on his behavior so far here, I predict that wayne will make at least one more unsubstantiated claim in an attempt to refute the statements I have made, thinking that I won’t be around to point out how he is distorting the information.

  629. You claimed “The one referenced by NM determined no effect on syphilis rates.”

    I was clearing that misinformation up.

    True, my mistake. This study is a follow-on to your referenced study.

    The findings build upon earlier clinical research funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), part of the NIH, which found that circumcision decreases a man’s risk of acquiring HIV infection through heterosexual intercourse by more than 50 percent.

    http://www.emaxhealth.com/2/48/30114/male-circumcision-does-not-reduce-risk-syphilis.html

  630. http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/topics/sti/research/preventionResearch.htm

    The researchers decided to test their success against other common STIs, and the results were equally promising: Men circumcised at the beginning of the study had a 50 percent reduction in rates of genital ulcer disease due to herpes, syphilis, and chancroid, and a 30 to 35 percent reduction in rates of human papillomavirus (HPV), including the types of HPV that cause cancer. Once again, the benefits also extended to the wives of the circumcised men: a 50 percent reduction in rates of genital ulcer disease, as well as a dramatic reduction in trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis.

  631. Yes. The study as you presented it did not make the claim that the correlation was a result of the procedure.

    This study does blow a gaping hole in the circumcision-reduces-HIV-rates viewpoint because it demonstrates that male circumcision had no affect on the male-to-female transmission rate. Women get HIV too.

    I would like to point out that this study was published last month in Lancet, hardly a shill for big foreskin.

    Recent field studies have not confirmed the earlier positive effects suggested for circumcision as a preventative measure.
    Lancet. 2009 Jul 18;374(9685):229-37.
    Circumcision in HIV-infected men and its effect on HIV transmission to female partners in Rakai, Uganda: a randomised controlled trial.
    Their conclusion was fairly blunt:
    “INTERPRETATION: Circumcision of HIV-infected men did not reduce HIV transmission to female partners over 24 months; longer-term effects could not be assessed. Condom use after male circumcision is essential for HIV prevention.”
    And furthermore if you really want a strong correlation between circumcision rates and low HIV rates I’m afraid the answer is somewhat unsettling – in East Africa the countries where Type 3 Female Genital Mutilation (yes, the most brutal and disgusting type) is prevalent have the lowest rates.

  632. I am done. I doubt anybody’s mind was changed either way by this discussion.

  633. The words “And furthermore if you really want a strong correlation between circumcision rates and low HIV rates I’m afraid the answer is somewhat unsettling – in East Africa the countries where Type 3 Female Genital Mutilation (yes, the most brutal and disgusting type) is prevalent have the lowest rates” do not appear in the article Circumcision in HIV-infected men and its effect on HIV transmission to female partners in Rakai, Uganda: a randomised controlled trial

    wayne has not made clear who is making this claim but has made it seem like it is the researchers even though they actually say nothing about FGM

    they do say

    “It would be difficult to undertake another trial of effects of male circumcision on male-to-female HIV transmission. In view of our results, such a trial would have to be powered to detect a low efficacy, which would require a very large population of male-infected HIV-discordant couples, as well as protracted follow-up. Since higher transmission rates in the post-surgical period are a possibility, additional follow-up visits and interim safety analyses would be needed. Therefore, costs, logistics, and limited expectation of efficacy probably render such a trial unfeasible.

    Thus, circumcision of HIV-infected men did not reduce transmission of HIV to female partners, and the possibility of higher risk of transmission in couples who resumed sexual intercourse before complete wound healing cannot be excluded. Wherever possible, male circumcision should be offered in conjunction with HIV counselling services, condoms, and education on HIV prevention for men and women, to improve the health and safety of circumcised patients and their partners. However, the efficacy of male circumcision for prevention of HIV in uninfected men is clear,[1], [2] and [3] and reductions in male acquisition of HIV attributable to circumcision are likely to reduce women’s exposure to HIV-infected men.”

  634. continues

  635. Most people’s mind’s don’t change.

    I do admit though before reading this thread I didn’t even no there was an anti circ group. Didn’t change my mind about it, but I am better informed.

  636. One last thought: what if circumcision had never been historically praticed? Try to imagine someone coming up with the idea after millenia of leaving men’s genitals intact. I think that may help put the concept into perspective.

  637. Re the following misguided reply:

    Joe M and d, it’s interesting that you bring up ovary removal and cancer of the nose. I met a woman in college who had her ovaries removed as a teenager, because she had ovarian cancer. Do you think that decision should have been made by her parents or by the state?

    jtuf, since you missed it, note the boldfaced portion of my previous post:

    All decisions leading to irreversible changes in bodily status that have no overwhelming medical benefit, almost no negative consequences if not done and whose commission changes the normal, natural state of said body should be left to the individual himself [grammatical neuter], after having reached legal adulthood (autonomous personhood) status — i.e., when he is at a point where he is choosing to do it to himself.

  638. d, by that standard, we should arrest parents who give ritalin to their children.

  639. Drug the Children! Its for the Children!

    The parents shouldnt be arrested, the pushers, sorry i mean doctors, should.

  640. I think pro-circumcision forces are in the pay of lube manufacturers. Cut guys tend to use lube to masturbate; uncut guys don’t have to. (I say this as an uncut guy with a LOT of experience LOL.)

    Also, I wonder what non-circumcising nations think of the USA’s obsession with the practice? And I don’t get why feminists love to cut off foreskins — they’re the first ones to talk in favour of body integrity, acceptance and non-cutting, not to mention healthy sex awareness.

  641. For those that read this much after the fact, my son wasn’t circumcised. 🙂

  642. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane

  643. Circumsexuals in the pay of lube manufacturers, Franky?

    Lube was invented FOR genitally mutilated men, because they had been genitally mutilated.

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