Friday, July 27, 2012

Circumcision: my son will thank me - think again!

From Questions posted in Yahoo Answers recently:

  • I am 13 years old and I want to restore my foreskin.can I restore at 13
  •  How would you reverse a circumcision? I need to. For reasons. (age unknown)
  • 16: There is a thin Line that goes around the shaft of my penis about half way down the shaft.... Does this indicate where they circumcised it?
  • So I'm 14. I just found out yesterday that circumcision leaves a darker scar ring around the penis. Which I have. I've always thought I was uncut [...] But I researched this and discovered that you lose sensitivity for sex. I also found out you can't do the restoration thing until your 18.
  • I'm interested in restoring my foreskin since I was circumcised when I was a child.[...] I won't buy any tools because I'm still immature but I'm capable of creating tools by myself 
  • Is it a good idea for someone who is 17 years old like me to start at this age?
  • Ok so im 13 and i was circumcised at birth and i want my foreskin back.
  • Am I at a good start with foreskin restoration? I am a teenager whose inner skin is in between a CI 3 and a CI 4
  • Foreskin restoration, please help? I'm really interested in restoring it to how it was meant to be. [...] Also, I haven't fully developed yet so should I wait a couple years 
  • So I was circumcised as baby..never thought of it much. I am now 21, and for a while now I came in contact with anti-circ activist types. I was shocked to find out how much damage circumcision does. Suddenly I began feeling awful about my body.
  • How can i do a non-surgical foreskin restoration without buying any products? I'm 15 years old and I am Curcumsized. I would like to do this
  • (I also saw one question if one could sue his parents for circumcising him as baby, and another 13 year old interested in restoration who already did his research and is sad to find out what has been robbed from him - but apparently they deleted their questions later)
Also, this status was posted to Facebook:

I was 16 when I first learned about circumcision.

I was in a child development class and as soon as I had a semi-clear understanding of what circumcision was, I immediately became disgusted at the fact that there were people who would do such things to children. Of course, it only took a couple seconds for it to hit me -- the realization that this was done
to me. I didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t imagine that my parents would ever do something so obviously cruel to me, and right after I entered this world, but there was no denying it.

After that painfully obvious realization my disgust was dwarfed by the most intense anger I have ever felt. I felt violated. As though I had just learned that I was sexually assaulted as a baby. Which literally is what it is, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve never seen circumcision as anything different. I still don’t understand how anyone can.

As I felt all these feelings, I looked around the classroom. Too my horror no one else seemed to be bothered by this new information and the teacher was casually explaining the topic as though it were any other lesson. It was like something I would see in
The Twilight Zone. I have never been so disappointed in people. How could everyone be so blind, I thought? [Read more] James Stewart - Realization of Circumcision

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Circumcision and AIDS

The matter of fact way that people state that circumcision decreases the risk of HIV on a 60% (without the small letter) shows how all it matters is to have a certain number to be able to impress people and they won't question the meaning of it. There are documented flaws to the studies, one of them being that the number of men who dropped out from the study was larger than the difference between the infected men in both group, which means that those dropped outs would be enough to completely change the results of the study.

The other problem is that this is a study in correlationship, but it's not a controlled experiment. There is no way to run a controlled experiment. Each individual in the group goes his own way, having sex his own way with whoever, doing whatever during this time, and at certain intervals he's checked whether he's infected or not. There are just too many variables.

A real experiment would require having a number of females, having a number of males, the males would have to have sex with the same females, and they would have to be kept isolated during the study to rule out any external variables. That would be a controlled experiment. Of course that's not feasible nor ethical. But anything else is only an statistical lost in a number of variables too large.

There are other issues with circumcision as prevention: circumcised men are not estimated to be 95 or 97% protected. They are estimated to have 60% less chances than intact men, which means this is a relative percentage. What it really means is that they calculated that the chances were reduced from 2 point something to one point something. The fact that it is not such an incredible reduction means that unless you can trust these men to reduce promiscuity and practice safe sex, you are not really protecting anything and you are placing females at disadvantage. The same females that are now asking "are you circumcised?" are going to be later pressured into having unprotected sex because "baby, I'm circumcised, I can't get the virus" (which is false), and there is not going to be anything to protect them. An infected circumcised man is just as likely as an infected intact man to pass the virus to a female partner.

While everybody is quoting those 3 studies that show the 60% reduced rate, few are quoting the studies that show no change or the studies that show males being equally likely to pass the virus to female. Another fact that is omitted is quite simple: "The CDC also cautions that the results of the studies in Africa can not necessarily be applied to United States."

Another commonly ignored fact is that the reduced chance of infection applies only to heterosexual relationships, and only to the man. Circumcision would not prevent infection in women, men in homosexual relationships or through non-sexual ways.

One fear is that too many resources are spent on something that is ineffective (even if it halves the chance of infection to the male). Another fear is that instead of the quoted "voluntary" circumcision, we are going to see forced circumcision of minors (similar to the one practiced among Jews, Muslims and Americans), and even forced circumcision of adults -either by the means of actual physical force -mobs have already been reported chasing men to check their circumcision status and force circumcise them) or by peer pressure -as an intact man would be seen as irresponsible and undesirable.

Some people are already speaking against this:

Michael Weinstein, President of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, states that concentrating on circumcision is a diversion, and Timothy Stamps, health advisor for Zimbabwe's president, said that "circumcision had led to men being more reckless in sleeping around". "Young men are happier to take risks and chances without the use of condoms or any other preventive measures because they are told circumcision will protect them," he said.

Personally, I believe that placing your trust in a 60% reductions is like playing Russian roulette. I believe that condoms, safe sex and committed relationships are the real way to curb down AIDS. I, however, am not a medical doctor, not a health professional, not a scientist, so I don't have the authority to judge the studies. What I know is that there is no solid explanation of why circumcision would prevent infection. There are hypothesis, but that's just it, hypothesis, which is like saying, speculations.

However, if an adult wants to get circumcised because he believes that it will give him an extra protection, that's fine, it's his body, it's his choice. Just be informed that this is not a surgical condom, it's not an immunization, and don't get it into the culture that this is the way to be.

But what I DO have an issue with, and the reason why the intactivists have a problem with circumcision being promoted as THE tool to fight AIDS, is that once this 60% number is embedded in the mass conscience, we can ignore the context, we can ignore the fine print, the details, and promote mutilation as the magical medicine. People will quote it without thinking about what it means, and they will use it to justify the continuous cycle of routine circumcision of infants. After all, there are people out there like Brian Morris and Bertran Auvert who continue promoting myths and more myths about circumcision, sometimes reaching out to people like Bill Gates. I personally think that they are giving the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation a run for their money, which would explain why MSNBCNews continues promoting circumcision through propaganda disguised as journalism.

I particularly love when medical communities present studies and surveys to "prove" that "women may prefer circumcised partners, according to a new survey". That's when I nod my head. So if a survey would prove that men prefer "partners with big breasts", would we use it to market breast enhancement operations? Or if a survey would prove that men prefer partners with little or non minor labia, would we use it to promote labiaplasty of adults? Would parents then proceed to perform labiaplasty on their baby daughters because it would hurt less than doing it in adulthood and their husbands and lovers would thank them? Yes, this is a reference to Female Genital Mutilation.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What doctors normally won't tell you

The document "Neonatal Male circumcision global review" of UNAIDS states that "some of the serious complications that can occur during the procedure include death from excess bleeding and amputation of the glans penis. Postoperative complications include the formation of skin bridges between the shaft and the glans, infection, urinary retention (this has caused deaths), meatal ulcer, impetigo, fistulas, loss of penile sensitivity, sexual dysfunction and oedema of the glans." They also acknowledge that the frequency of complications is "underestimated because events occuring after the discharge are not captured [in the discharge sheet]" and sometimes are treated at a different hospital.

The Policy Statement about Ritual Genital Cutting of FEMALE Minors from the AAP even mentions that "Some forms of FGC are less extensive than the newborn male circumcision commonly performed in the West. In addition, “mutilation” is an inflammatory term that tends to foreclose communication and that fails to respect the experience of the many women who have had their genitals altered and who do not perceive themselves as “mutilated.”"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Can you give me some reasons why infant male circumcision is wrong?

Circumcision of a male infant is not therapeutic. It's not meant to treat a disease or a condition that is endangering the infant's well-being, so at most it could be considered prophylactic or esthetic. As such, it is an ELECTIVE surgery (meaning, it's not needed) and it can wait.

The first problem is that being an ELECTIVE surgery, the patient did not ELECT it. It was elected by the parents, and the child may grow to resent it. (I know that I wish I had not been cut).

The second problem is that considering that it is elective, it exposes the child to some risks that are not trivial:

Some babies die from bleeding (if a baby looses 2.5 ounces of blood, he dies).

Some babies contract infections through the wound and some of those infections can be life threatening: septicemia can kill a baby or an adult.

There are surgical "mishaps"  that can DAMAGE or DESTROY the penis, i.e., hurting the urethra, cutting part of the glans, cutting the whole glans, cutting half the penis...

There are consequences that might not be noticed until adulthood. Since circumcision cuts away approximately 50% of the skin of the penis, there might not be enough skin for the penis to have a normal erection. Some teenagers have their skin split open during an erection. Some adults experience pain or their penis twists in an unnatural way all their lives during erection.

While there is no completed study about this, it has been suggested that circumcision affects the sexual sensitivity because it removes the nerves inside the foreskin and because the glans will become hard and callous with time just for being in constant friction with the underwear. Kinda like if you were missing an eyelid, your eye will be red and dry all the time.

While there might be some preventive benefits to circumcision, almost all those benefits can wait (and are still open to debate).

Urinary infections occur more in women than in men, and if they occur, they can be treated with antibiotics just like it's done for women.

HIV prevention... this supposed benefit is not really that much. It might reduce the chance of getting HIV from an infected woman, but it's not a surgical vaccine, it's not a 90 or 95% effective. It has to be complemented with condoms and safe sex, so pretty much you could get the same benefit just from using condoms and safe sex all the time. And it doesn't prevent infection in same-sex relationships or by non-sexual ways of infection.

As for preventing penile cancer... that's a very uncommon cancer and it happens in old age. The cancer society doesn't recommend circumcision just for that reason.

Phimosis -if it happens- can usually be treated in more conservative ways (stretching the skin rather than cutting it). And most of the times it doesn't happen.

So again, if an adult thinks that those benefits justify getting circumcised, he can ELECT to get circumcised. It will take a couple of weeks of healing and then he can go on with his life. But those benefits are not enough to justify forcing circumcision on a child.

Also, many medical circumcisions of babies are done without anesthesia or with improper anesthesia because the "baby won't remember it". It hurts. Just look up a video on youtube.

The thing is, once it's cut, it's cut. And your child will grow to be an adult one day, and one day he will learn that his parents let him get cut, And he might not be so convinced of the health reasons. He might want to know what that body part was like, how if felt, what it did. I know many men who think like this.

The culture is changing. 60 years ago, female circumcision was common (not as common as male, but common anyway) among white Americans. Then it stopped quietly. By the 80's, people started hearing about female cutting in reference to African immigrants, and it was denounced as cruel.

Hardly anyone before 1979 thought that female cutting was cruel, after all cut women could still get pregnant, which "proved" that their sexual function had not been affected.

It took until 1996 for the U.S. to ban female cutting. Today pretty much everybody on the western civilization agrees that female cutting is mutilation. But male circumcision is still very prevalent.

But what you are seeing is the beginning of the same change. People are denouncing male cutting as cruel. People are denouncing male cutting as something that has some collateral damage, that some babies die or suffer a lifetime of consequences. Some males are starting to complain about the effects that circumcision had in their lives and how they wish they had been left intact.

Some countries are debating banning male circumcision for non-therapeutic reasons. Perhaps in 20 or 30 years we will all agree that male circumcision of infants is cruel and damaging and hurts children. And by then, a baby who was circumcised today, will be an adult, and he will know that he was subjected to that practice because his parents thought it was the right thing to do because their culture had been doing it for 150 years (assuming he's American).

Monday, July 23, 2012

The ethical issues of non-therapeutic circumcision of infants.

Please note, this discussion of circumcision is not meant to make circumcised men feel bad about themselves. It's meant to create awareness about the issues of circumcision, not for self-pity, but to promote a better future for the upcoming generations. What's done to us is done. Our parents thought they were doing what was right, even if they were lied to. We need to be aware of the potential issues to make better decisions for our children. Denial of these issues only perpetuates the cycle.

Circumcision of infants presents ethical issues. It is a non-therapeutic procedure, it's not meant to treat a disease; at best, if we believe in the (dubious I say) health benefits, then it's prophyilactic or preventive of things that may or may not happen many years from now; otherwise, it's just a cosmetic surgery. In both cases, it's an ELECTIVE surgery (which the baby did not elect) and it can wait until the baby becomes an adult.

However, even for a prophylactic procedure, it exposes the baby to non-trivial risks such as death from bleeding, death from infections, damage or loss of the penis and damage to the sexual function such as pain during sex for life. More often than acknowledged, additional surgeries are required to correct damages from the initial procedure. Most people do not know this. -Of course this does not mean that the intent of circumcision is to cause harm, but harm do happens.

Most people don't know that most of the circumcisions in the U.S. are performed without any form of anesthesia, exposing the baby to horrible pain while the doctor (or an untrained intern) cuts in cold blood the most sensitive area of the penis, normally about 50% of the skin of the penis.

In fact, every surgery has risks. However, with a therapeutic surgery, you would be choosing between imminent suffering and the possibility of treating such damage. For example, a person might die during heart surgery, but it may also save that person from an imminent death. However, you might want to think it over before sending your son into a "preventive surgery" when the surgery might kill your son or affect him for life.

An adult undergoing an elective surgery can make an informed choice and face the consequences if something goes wrong. When circumcision goes wrong, it's your child who suffers a lifetime of consequences.

Circumcision also changes the form and function of the penis, decreasing the array of experiences that the adult will enjoy. The foreskin is a sensory organ on its own, and it also protects the glans. Its removal damages the glans in the long term. There are plenty of reports of loss of sensibility as the adult grows older. Lubricants and viagra are big selling products in the U.S. thanks to circumcision.

Many adult men have hair on the shaft of the penis. This is not natural. This is a result of skin from the scrotum being pulled onto the penis to compensate for the skin cut during circumcision.

Some men can't have a normal erection without pain due to a too tight circumcision. Sometimes there is so little skin that it splits open bleeding during erection. This is a potential consequence of circumcision that is not apparent until the teenage years.

The foreskin is not a useless flap of skin. It's a highly specialized tissue with immunological and sexual functions. 150 years of cultural conditioning made people forget what a foreskin is, how it looks and what it does. The foreskin is not a gross flap of skin covered in bacteria and germs, as people would like to think.

Circumcision removes the child's possibility to decide over his body. Parents do not own their children, or their children's body; they should not be allowed to choose which parts of the body the babies get to keep or have to discard. Every baby has the right to have a whole body.

Did you know that circumcision started in the U.S. in the late XIX century and early XX century because some doctors believed that masturbation caused epylepsy, tuberculosis, blindness, paralysis and several other conditions? They knew that circumcising would make masturbation more difficult (which is why lubricants are so popular) and with the pain from the procedure the kids would associate sex with pain. Lovely, isn't it? Thank you Dr. J. H. Kellogg.

The idea of circumcision being cleaner really has its roots there too: a circumcised boy wouldn't have to touch his penis to wash it, and if he didn't touch his penis he wouldn't be tempted to masturbate. A circumcised boy could just stand in the shower and get clean without touching "himself". That's hygiene for you.

In the 30s, some doctors starting spreading some wrong advice that unfortunately has perdured to our time. They said that if you didn't circumcise your child, you should retract his foreskin to clean the glans. This is wrong. In most babies, the glans and the foreskin are sealed. Retracting it is like trying to clean under your nails with a q-tip. It hurts. It creates wounds, which with time become scars and adhesions, which in time become "acquired phimosis" - effectively preventing the foreskin from retracting and now making circumcision necessary. Great advice doctors, you suck!

Caring for an intact penis is extremely easy. Wash it like it's a finger: just the outside, rinse it with water. That's all. NEVER retract it. The only person who should retract the foreskin is the kid himself, when he starts to do it spontaneously. This can take several years. This might not even happen until he is a teenager.

Finally, circumcision is big business. Not only the hospitals get to charge for the procedure itself, but they sell the foreskins. With close to 2 million circumcisions per year, this is not trivial. Foreskins are used to manufacture cosmetics, to grow cells for skin transplants and for research. 50 micro-grams of human foreskin sell over the internet for over 300 dollars. A single foreskin can be cultured over and over to create new cells for any purpose.

When we know better, we do better. Let's save the upcoming generations from non-therapeutic infant circumcision.

For a future when circumcision of infants will be acknowledge to be as damaging as female circumcision

Remember: In the 70's nobody was aware of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), even though it had been practiced by Caucasian Christians in the U.S. through the 50s and it was a milennary practice in Africa. In the 80's they started talking about it, and now pretty much everyone in the Western society repudiates the practice (which still exists in some parts of Africa and Asia). It was only banned in the U.S. in 1996. (One would wonder why did it take so long... and what do I mean, wasn't it always forbidden?)

Cultural changes DO happen, and they happen fast.

Routine Circumcision of Male Infants or Male Genital Mutilation (MGM) will go the same way. This year there has already been a citizen initiative in San Francisco -even if it was scrapped by a court-, a ruling in Germany that could set a precedent by stating that circumcision can cause bodily harm and it is in the best interest of the children to wait until they have the age to consent to the procedure, followed by a halt in the procedure in hospitals in Switzerland and debates about a proposed ban in Norway.

Male circumcision is supported in the U.S. by 150 years of cultural conditioning (originating on a sex-negative Victorian morality), and in the Jew and Muslim communities for a longer while; talking about it was a taboo, but now people are talking, the times are changing.

A friend told me: "I realize that some people get all up in arms about circumcision, but I guess with all the other issues in the world, I don't really think it's that big of a deal"

My answer was: "If it is not that big of a deal, why are the Jews and Muslims communities making such a big deal of it as well, and why California rushed to write a law to protect the practice, the federal government has been working on a project of law to protect it in the country, and the American Medical Association has also promised to fight any attempt to ban it? They could just let it go and it would be one less thing to think about."

Every cause has its activists. Some of us believe that it is unfair to keep subjecting defenseless children to a painful, dangerous and unnecessary medical procedure that might kill them or might affect them for life.

Every discussion helps educate someone who is quietly reading at home, to the reality that circumcision of infants IS mutilation.

Circumcision - adult content

I marked this blog as having adult content. Which is ironic given that it's babies and children who are subjected to routine circumcision.

If they can't see it, they shouldn't have to endure it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Circumcision is an affront to decent human behaviour - Catherine Bennett

Parental rights have not, opponents of male circumcision often point out, been allowed to trump those of young girls in the case of its related barbarity – female genital mutilation – which is officially banned and denounced, even in its least-devastating manifestations, as an inexcusable assault on a child's physical integrity. Neither the prevalence of FGM nor the argument that prohibition will only force it underground has dissuaded the World Health Organisation from unequivocal condemnation. "FGM," it says, "is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women."

The extent of this cutting, which "has no health benefits", involves removal of "healthy and normal female genital tissue" and is associated with ideas about "unclean" sexual parts, is immaterial. "It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death."

And the genital mutilation of a boy? The WHO has a separate, notably upbeat fact sheet about that. "Male circumcision is one of the oldest and most common surgical procedures worldwide," it notes, respectfully, "and is undertaken for many reasons: religious, cultural, social and medical." Here, it finds, the removal of healthy, normal genital tissue and violation of a child's rights and physical integrity for reasons often associated with sexual cleanliness can be a positive boon, now that circumcision may – or may not, given risk compensation – help contain HIV. For neonates, the WHO commends the Mogen clamp method and a local anaesthetic, adding that "a pacifier soaked in sucrose solution has been found to be effective in reducing fussiness in infants".

Catherine Bennett

Winds of change

Until the 60's nobody had spoken against Female Genital Mutilation. It took until 1979 for the World Health Organization to hear about it. Today, most people in the Western culture agree that it is a barbaric practice and that it needs to be banned, even though it is still commonly practiced in parts of Asia and Africa.

In the U.S. it was legal until 1996 and it was somewhat commonly practiced among white Christian population - a result no doubt of the Victorian morality of the early XX century.

2012 is perhaps the first year that male circumcision (Male Genital Mutilation) has been questioned by governments. A citizen initiative in San Francisco (even if it was taken down by a court and any further discussion preemptively discouraged by an "urgent" state law), a ruling in Cologne Germany on a specific case -bringing outrage to Jewish and Muslim communities -and American conservatives who think it's an assault on religious freedom, proposed bans in Denmark and hospitals halting the practice in Switzerland.

Prior to this year, most people thought it was just something that Jews and Muslims and Americans did. Not many people spoke against it. It was a quiet taboo.

How long it will take for more people to see it for what is is? The times are changing.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How did the Antidote became Anecdote

The unspoken aspects of having a foreskin

Great article from a man who escaped routine infant circumcision because he was born two months too soon, and in spite of two attempts from his parents to get him circumcised even against his wishes, he still remained intact. He shares with light heart what it really meant to be teased, how he dealt with it, what he learned about circumcision and how he became an intactivist.

Circumcision: denial of the damage

DENIAL is at the base of the perpetuating cycle of circumcision.

What we don't know, we are either curious about or afraid of. The United States people are mostly afraid of foreskins.

Let's put things in perspective:

We were cut.
With a scalpel.
When we were babies.
With the consent of our parents most of the time.
It hurt.
We lost a body part.
We have a scar where that body part would be.
We have no idea what it would be like to have that body part - not anymore than a person with just one eye can know what a 3D movie looks like.
Our parents let that happen to us.

They didn't do it because they were mean.
They did it because they thought it was the right thing to do.
They were misled by doctors, and society in general.

American Society has been conditioned to believe that circumcision is what you do when you have a baby boy.
It wasn't always like this.
It isn't like this everywhere.
Most men in the world have foreskins.
Most men in the world would never give up their foreskins.
Most men in the world believe that a foreskin is a great thing to have.

When we know better, we do better.
If we cut our babies we are perpetuating the cycle.
Our babies will be cut, with our consent.
It will hurt. They will lose a body part and they will carry a scar.
They will not know what that body part feels like.
But they will know that we let this happen to them.

Break the cycle.

Give your child a chance that you didn't have.
Do not circumcise your baby.

A circumcised penis is not more healthy or sanitary.
A circumcised penis lost part of its function every time.
No professional medical association recommends circumcision of neonates.

Circumcision has risks such as death, damage or loss of the penis, or pain during sex for the whole life.
You don't need to risk your child's life and well being.

You don't need to take special care of an intact penis.
Wash it as if it was a finger. Wash what you can see, nothing more.
That's all  the special care.

Don't deny your child what you didn't have.
Don't deny your child a whole body.
Your son will thank you.

Denial perpetuates the cycle.
Awareness breaks the cycle.
You can break the cycle.
Break the cycle.

Why a law permitting religious circumcision of male infants in Germany would be against the basic law

Article 1
[Human dignity – Human rights – Legally binding force of basic rights]
(1) Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.
(2) The German people therefore acknowledge inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world.
(3) The following basic rights shall bind the legislature, the executive and the judiciary as directly applicable law.
Article 2
[Personal freedoms]
(1) Every person shall have the right to free development of his personality insofar as he does not violate the rights of others or offend against the constitutional order or the moral law.
(2) Every person shall have the right to life and physical integrity. Freedom of the person shall be inviolable. These rights may be interfered with only pursuant to a law.
Article 3
[Equality before the law]
(1) All persons shall be equal before the law.
(2) Men and women shall have equal rights. The state shall promote the actual implementation of equal rights for women and men and take steps to eliminate disadvantages that now exist.
(3) No person shall be favoured or disfavoured because of sex, parentage, race, language, homeland and origin, faith, or religious or political opinions. No person shall be disfavoured because of disability.
Article 4
[Freedom of faith and conscience]
(1) Freedom of faith and of conscience, and freedom to profess a religious or philosophical creed, shall be inviolable.
(2) The undisturbed practice of religion shall be guaranteed.

My opinion:
Physical integrity IS violated by circumcision of minors (article 2 #2) - which also puts male minors in disadvantage compared to females (article 3 numeral 2), and specifically male babies of Jew or Muslim ascendance at disadvantage compared to everybody else (article 3 numeral 3). Being a baby becomes a disability as the baby is not capable of defending himself against the act inflicted upon his humanity.

The baby's freedom of faith is violated by "branding" him with a scar and a mark and a damage to his body that will persist even if the baby as an adult decides to leave the religion that he grew up on.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Circumcision: Ouch! You motherf$*#er!

(fragments of a very human article by


We were talking about circumcision. I'm sure I was irritated that she had brought it up. She mentioned my scar. "I don't have a scar!" I said with cultivated indignance
"That's what that ring is right here, honey," she said as gently as possible.

In that moment it dawned on me how little I knew about my own body. My next question was how the hell I could not know that and that was when I finally started to realize I was using this minimalization of what had happened to me to avoid dealing with how I really felt about it. She then proceeds to tell me how this idea of restoration works. She rolls some of the skin on my dick past the scar and it really freaks me out. I stop her twice before she is finally able to do it. Again, I'm left wondering what the hell my problem is when this woman has touched my dick a substantial number of times without ever inspiring this feeling of abject terror and discomfort I'm currently experiencing. Then I realize it doesn't even hurt when she does it, it feels kind of natural and I realize all of it, the discomfort that is, is in my head.

It wasn't like all the lights turned on at once that night but it was the beginning of a kind of awakening that culminated in my realization that I was not happy my parents had signed up for part of my dick to be removed and i was really pissed that the American medical community had encouraged them to do just this and had made a practice of doing it to people for all kinds of bizarre invented reasons since the 19th century. Now I was REALLY uncomfortable. I realized that what had been done to me was really, royally screwed up but I had no idea what the hell to do about it. Boy was I a miserable jerk for a few weeks there.

By then my son had been born and I saw what a real, normal penis is supposed to look like. Um, yeah, it's like the difference between going out to play in the snow with your coat on and walking outside naked. It's like looking at one normal finger and than looking at a finger than has the fingernail ripped off and here's this naked nail bed all dried out and fucking weird. That denial really started to fall apart after the first twenty or so diaper changes. But I'm glad of course. That's a hell of a thing to live your life without realizing that a huge part of you has been missing since you were about 4 days old. 

It's a hard thing to face this stuff when you can't even remember it being done and your whole life everytime you hold your dick in your hands to take a piss you think it's perfectly normal that it looks that way. You're talking about rising up against decades of cognitive dissonance. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to come to such a realization after you've already circed your child. Anyone who has the gumption to face a mistake like that and speak out about it deserves a frikkin' medal in my book.


Circumcision and cognitive dissonance

(And other great articles from

I love my penis because it feels good.
Some men have even more parts to their penises.
I don’t have that part.
I can never know what that part is like.
That sucks and makes me feel bad because anything to do with my penis is awesome.
I hate feeling bad about my penis.
I’m just going to decide that that part isn’t really that good so I can stop feeling bad.

Who would want to be in such pain?  The thing is, it doesn’t stop just there.  When circumcised men have sons of their own, they tend to want to circumcise them.  If they are aware of circumcision at all, they have subconsciously convinced themselves that having less penis is, in fact, better, despite the logical truth they’ve worked hard to bury along with their pain. 


I know circumcision is wrong.
I have to protect my baby.
My husband wants to do it.
I love my husband and don’t want him to be mad at me or think that I don’t like his penis.
I’m going to let him circumcise my baby to avoid this fight.
I’m going to convince myself that circumcision is actually good.


I love my baby.
I allowed him to be circumcised because I thought it was good.
But what if it’s not good? Then I hurt my baby.
I would never hurt my baby.
It must actually be good.

A brief history of the foreskin and circumcision

Other great articles:

One of the reasons we are both so passionate about this is because of how it affected our sex life. Sex is supposed to be one of the most powerful ways we express ourselves and that was taken from Jeff when he was circumcised. It was taken without his consent and it created a lot of damage, damage that has been repaired over time, but he will never experience sex the way nature intended. I can remember crying after sex many times and for many years. We literally could not have sex without oral sex first or without using lubrication. Sometimes I would lay in bed with an ice pack between my legs. It never occurred to me that this was from his circumcision; I thought it was my problem. I thought it was a bad combination of a large penis and a smaller vagina. I thought maybe I was too sensitive. Once he started restoring, even after just a couple weeks sex was 1,000 times better. He no longer had to thrust so hard to get feeling. Now after he’s been restoring for almost five years sex is amazing.

Couple repairs circumcision damage through foreskin restoration 

This is why the pro-circumcision camp thinks intactivists are mean: the pro-circumcision claims are so easily dismissed, and so patently stupid or immoral and based on ignorance, that it is nearly impossible to “debate” them or discuss the topic without quickly refuting every statement they make.  This is too much for the average person, who takes the anti-circumcision facts as a personal attack, and they often need to blame the intactivist in order to rationalize some way to not feel bad.  Such conversations often go like this:

Debate motives and rationalization

In the 1800s, Christian moralists and doctors began to promote the idea that ejaculation weakened men and that masturbation caused all sorts of diseases and health problems. They did not understand most of human physiology and they thought that humans had a limited amount of “vital nerve force” and that if you spent it on masturbation, you would become weak.  They tried to stop boys from masturbating by writing moralizing pamphlets, but this had limited success as masturbation is a normal and healthy activity very common in adolescence.

To understand why they targeted the foreskin to curb masturbation, you need to learn how the intact penis functions in sex and masturbation.  Intact men can masturbate without lubrication by moving their foreskins up and down over the glans (head of the penis.)  This gives immense pleasure in several ways ...
The reason why the foreskin had to go was because the foreskin was the best part of the penis that provided most of the pleasure.
The purpose of circumcision was to destroy the man’s sexual pleasure.  So why, 150 years later, do so many people think that circumcision does not change a man’s sexuality at all?  Circumcision became a “tradition” separate from the anti-masturbation motivation, one passed down from father to son in a sort of sad and ignorant repetition compulsion 
The vast majority of Americans are ignorant of the purpose of circumcision, and when confronted with it for the first time, often feel angry.  That is understandable, but the only rational thing to do is to realize that you should be angry at the doctors for not telling you or your husband’s parents the truth. 

The purpose of circumcision is to ruin male sexuality 

Relativism and Universalism - Human rights

This is an interesting reading, in light of the recent ruling in Cologne, Germany preventing male infant circumcision, and the ensuing debate about religious freedom, parental rights and the perceived "threat" against Jews and Muslims.


Relativism and universalism

Relativists argue that human rights must avoid pushing the values of a single culture at the expense of others. "The White Man's Burden" is seen as an example of the West using the spread of Western culture as a justification for colonization.

Universalists argue that some practices violate the norms of all human cultures. They point out that although Female Genital Cutting is prevalent in Africa, no religion supports the practice, and the tradition is in violation of women's rights.
The UDHR enshrines universal rights that apply to all humans equally, whichever geographical location, state, race or culture they belong to. However, in academia there is a dispute between scholars that advocate moral relativism and scholars that advocate moral universalism. Relativists do not argue against human rights, but concede that human rights are social constructed and are shaped by cultural and environmental contexts. Universalists argue that human rights have always existed, and apply to all people regardless of culture, race, sex, or religion.
More specifically, proponents of cultural relativism argue for acceptance of different cultures, which may have practices conflicting with human rights. Relativists caution that universalism could be used as a form of cultural, economic or political imperialism. The White Man's Burden is used as an example of imperialism and the destruction of local cultures justified by the desire to spread Eurocentric values.[123] In particular, the concept of human rights is often claimed to be fundamentally rooted in a politically liberal outlook which, although generally accepted in Europe, Japan or North America, is not necessarily taken as standard elsewhere.[citation needed]
Opponents of relativism argue that some practices exist that violate the norms of all human cultures. A common example is female genital mutilation, which occurs in different cultures in Africa, Asia and South America[citation needed]. It is not mandated by any religion, but has become a tradition in many cultures. It is considered a violation of women's and girl's rights by much of the international community, and is outlawed in some countries.
The former Prime Ministers of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, and of Malaysia, Mahathir bin Mohamad both claimed in the 1990s that Asian values were significantly different from Western values and included a sense of loyalty and foregoing personal freedoms for the sake of social stability and prosperity, and therefore authoritarian government is more appropriate in Asia than democracy. Lee Kuan Yew argued that:
What Asians value may not necessarily be what Americans or Europeans value. Westerners value the freedoms and liberties of the individual. As an Asian of Chinese cultural background, my values are for a government which is honest, effective, and efficient.
Lee Kuan Yew, 'Democracy, Human Rights and the Realities', Tokyo, Nov 10, 1992[124]
In response, critics have pointed out that cultural relativism could be used as a justification for authoritarianism. An example is in 1981, when the Iranian representative to the United Nations, Said Rajaie-Khorassani, articulated the position of his country regarding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by saying that the UDHR was "a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition", which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing the Islamic law.[125] The Asian Values argument was criticized by Mahathir's former deputy:
To say that freedom is Western or unAsian is to offend our traditions as well as our forefathers, who gave their lives in the struggle against tyranny and injustices.
A. Ibrahim in his keynote speech to the Asian Press Forum title Media and Society in Asia, December 2, 1994
and by Singapore's opposition leader Chee Soon Juan, who states that it is racist to assert that Asians do not want human rights.[126]
Defenders of moral universalism argue that relativistic arguments neglect the fact that modern human rights are new to all cultures, dating back no further than the UDHR in 1948. They argue that the UDHR was drafted by people from many different cultures and traditions, including a US Roman Catholic, a Chinese Confucian philosopher, a French zionist and a representative from the Arab League, amongst others, and drew upon advice from thinkers such as Mahatma Gandhi.[29] Michael Ignatieff has argued that cultural relativism is almost exclusively an argument used by those who wield power in cultures which commit human rights abuses, and that those whose human rights are compromised are the powerless.[127] This reflects the fact that the difficulty in judging universalism versus relativism lies in who is claiming to represent a particular culture.
Although the argument between universalism and relativism is far from complete, it is an academic discussion in that all international human rights instruments adhere to the principle that human rights are universally applicable. The 2005 World Summit reaffirmed the international community's adherence to this principle:
The universal nature of human rights and freedoms is beyond question.
—2005 World Summit, paragraph 121


Does the free exercise of religion confers the religious institution the right to irrevocably modify the body of its followers without their consent?

The freedom to leave or discontinue membership in a religion or religious group—in religious terms called "apostasy"—is also a fundamental part of religious freedom, covered by Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Circumcision: The Unkindest Cut of All

(I'm surprised by the fact that this article is almost 50 years old, and everything that it says is true, and yet these are pretty much the same words we use today on every circumcision debate... It's like... couldn't people have learned this by now? Does it take so long to change a cultural addiction? He even understood the motivations behind people defending circumcision of infants.)


John M. Foley, M.D.
FACT Magazine, July-August 1966  
 One answer, of course, is that if circumcision were made compulsory, the circumciser would be protected whenever he happens to cripple or kill the little boy he operates on -- "complication" that is not so very uncommon. Another answer, I think, must be sought in the darker regions of the human mind, because circumcision is simply an unmitigated fraud. It is nothing but wanton and unnecessary mutilation. The annual 2 million assembly-line circumcisions in this country are a monument to the gullibility and stupidity of the American public.

For 60 years, a powerful and articulate minority in our profession has tried to enforce a tabu against any objective discussion of the merits or demerits of circumcision. Over in Great Britain the climate of opinion is decidedly against routine circumcision, but here the operation has become a sacrament: To question its value has become all but unthinkable. The medical literature is virtually closed except to those who drool over the operation's alleged advantages.
Efforts to justify circumcision have been made since the very beginnings of history. The desire to mutilate came first; the "reasons" came later, and run the gamut from spiritual through cultural, esthetic, and finally medical. 
Since circumcision has practically nothing to recommend it, an important question is: Why has it become a routine operation? A few physicians go so far as to suggest that money may have something to do it. Dr. Van Zante asks rhetorically: "Don't you think that the doctor delivering the baby thinks more about the $10 or $15 surgical fee he'll get than the possible after-effects?"

My own view is: Circumcision provides a convenient and socially acceptable outlet for the perverted component of the circumciser's libido. I have had person experience with the psychopathology that underlies the wish to circumcise. The pitiful wails of the suffering infant are all too often the background for lewd and obscene commentary by the obstetrician to his audience of nurses. Several years ago I saw an infant born with multiple deformities. He could not live more than a few months at most, but to add to his miseries, this unfortunate bit of humanity had to undergo a thorough circumcision.

I have seen two medical students fight over the privilege of doing circumcision on the newborn, although these same students showed neither interest nor aptitude for opening boils or doing other surgical tasks.

In 1951, I witnessed an autopsy on an infant who had died from an infected circumcision -- a death rendered even more tragic because the mother had tried to persuade the obstetrician to spare her infant this ordeal.
 Because the motivations of the foreskin-phobes are so irrational, these people are hard to combat. The introduction of routine circumcision as a "medical" measure at the turn of the century aroused vigorous opposition within the profession. Dr. Warren Stone Bickham, an eminent surgeon, declared that circumcision was a disgrace and a discredit to the surgeon responsible. Nonetheless by 1930 the opposition had dwindled, and the fanatical circumcisers were in possession of the field. The opponents of circumcision failed because they did not understand the motives of the circumcisers and therefore could not grapple with them.

The circumcision of a newborn boy is a spectacle so appalling and revolting in its cruelty that, on their first encounter with the ordeal, many robust medical students faint. The infant is tied down securely to a circumcision board, with his genitals exposed. Next, the entire foreskin and much of the penile skin is pulled through a clamp, and as the clamp's screw is tightened, the skin is crushed off. As much as 80% of the total penile skin is removed. In this country anesthetics are rarely used. The infant struggles and screams, and often vomits and defecates, before lapsing into unconsciousness.

As a result of circumcision, some infants die. Countless others are doomed to become sexual cripples. In 1958 a 4-year- old boy underwent surgery for an undescended testicle. The surgeon, noticing that the child still had his foreskin, just couldn't pass up this tidbit. The circumcision failed to heal, and 5 days later the penis sloughed off. The parents sued for $150,000 and settled for $80,000. In a similar case last year, the parents asked for $4,500,000. These are two cases that have come to public attention because of lawsuits. In England and Wales, however, it is known that an average of 16 children died annually from 1942 to 1947 as a direct result of circumcision.
Dr. Van Zante has this to say: "Proponents of circumcision do not mention any of the ill-effects of circumcision. Duf and Ware state, 'Major losses of penile skin are fairly common as a complication of circumcision.' The child may get a meatal ulcer. The sensitive, exposed glans [the head of the penis] sometimes becomes infected with diaper rash.... Occasionally a babe, especially of hemophiliac parents, bleeds to death."

Dr. Weiss mentions these other possible complications: sepsis, eczema of the glans and meatus, meatal stenosis, surgical adhesions, interference with nutrition, edema of local tissue, seepage of blood with resulting anemia, and injuries of the glans or scrotal skin.

Dr. John Van Duyn of Georgia, a plastic surgeon, has complained that often circumcisions are performed by young interns, and after they perform a few circumcisions, they are left unsupervised. "Unless the operator is competent and care is exercised," he writes, "there is always the possibility of damage from poor technique."
Dr. Can Duyn goes on: "A short time ago, I was called upon to split-graft the penis of a newborn where too much skin had been inadvertently removed, and in reporting this case found that this error had occurred in a number of other instances.

"In another case, involving incorrect use of a circumcision clamp in an infant, the glans was found gangrenous on removal of the clamp and was subsequently lost."

"There is also the danger from hemorrhage, especially if the baby is placed in a prone position and supervision is minimal, In a near fatality from this cause, of which I have firsthand knowledge ... a growing puddle of blood beneath the baby was not discovered for a considerable time.

* * *
Another hazard of circumcision is the possible diminution of sexual pleasure. Only the circumcised refer to the foreskin as a "useless appendage." The intact penis is an instrument admirably suited for its natural purpose -- which is not simply to serve as a waterspout.
For the mature man, the foreskin provides a covering during erection, and the organ increases in bulk from six to eight times. In coitus, it rolls back to expose the sensitive glans. And especially when the vagina is snug, this elastic covering promotes sexual satisfaction: It enables the penis to penetrate smoothly and without friction.

A number of students have confirmed that the uncircumcised man has a sexual advantage over the circumcised. For instance, Martin L. Edwards Sr., M.D., a Texas physician, writes: "I have counseled with many married men who are circumcised, and this alone has been a great drawback between man and wife."
Circumcision, in the unconscious, is confused with castration. Thus, in Man Against Himself, Dr. Menninger writes: "I could cite many illustrations from psychiatric practice to show how, in the unconscious, circumcision and castration are equated. Because the fear of cutting in connection with the genitals is so widespread, and apparently so basic in the formation of character, any surgery in connection with the genitals is apt to be associated with strong emotional feeling which psychoanalysts, on the basis of their daily experiences with the language of the unconscious, ascribe to the 'castration threat,' i.e., the fear that the genitals are to be irremediably injured." 
Still, at the present time I think that it is parents who are our best hope. It is they who can campaign for a more open discussion of the problem. It is they who can prevent their sons from being circumcised. And it is, therefore, to parents that I appeal:

Let us be honest and fair enough to let our sons grow up to decide for themselves if they want to exchange their foreskins for the very dubious advantages of circumcision.

And I would like to remind parents of that perceptive remark of the great historian Henry Thomas Buckle: "Every great reform which has been effected has consisted, not in doing something new, but in undoing something old."

Friday, July 13, 2012

Should my son be circumcised

In response to

Circumcision is an unneeded medical procedure that exposes the child to non-trivial risks, such as death from bleeding, death from infection, sepsis, damage or loss of the penis, pain during erections as an adult or abnormal erections.

Circumcision also removes the most sensitive area of the penis and promotes keratinization of the glans by exposing it to permanent contact with clothes and air and removing the natural protection and emollients. There is anecdotal evidence that this reduces sensitivity of the glans in the long term - this fact was acknowledge both by Jews philosophers (Philo) in the 1st Century as by the doctors who promoted circumcision in the Early XX Century (such as J.Harvey Kellogg), but since the 60’s is routinely denied by doctors.

Circumcision also removes your baby’s chance of self-determination. Many adult men feel that they were robbed of an integral part of their body and hold resentment against parents and doctors for what they perceive as a violation of their rights.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Apology from a physician for circumcisions

Circumcision: Boys Should Be Protected, as Girls Are 
John V. Geisheker is the executive director of Doctors Opposing Circumcision.

In 1878, in Reynolds v. U.S., the Supreme Court held that “laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices.”

Likewise, in 1944 in Prince v Massachusetts, the justices ruled: “The right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the … child to ill health or death. … Parents may be free to become martyrs themselves. But they may not make martyrs of their children before they have reached the age of full and legal discretion when they can make that choice for themselves.”


A long-standing principle of the common law is that parental powers are based on the child’s need. In the absence of a clear and present need for circumcision, parents lack power to grant surrogate consent. In Canada and the U.S., some parents who injured children in the name of religion have already been charged and convicted.
Irrevocable genital amputations must, legally, be postponed until the child is able to consent freely at age 18. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Jews choosing not to circumcise

In light of the recent ruling in Cologne, Germany, banning the circumcision of infants, the outcry calling the decision anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and basically against religious freedom has been a response that declines to see the alternative: let the owner of the penis decide when he is not a minor and makes an informed consent.

It is interesting to know that there are Jews deciding not to circumcise. The Bris Shalom is a peaceful naming ceremony that takes the place of the Bris Milah, without the circumcision.

I want to link several articles related to the decision of not circumcising as a Jew:

The kindest un-cut

Beyond the Bris

George Wald - Essay about circumcision

Jews Against Circumcision

Cut - the film

There are 2 opposing views confronted in this issue: those who place the individual rights over religious practices, and those who see the individual as belonging to the community that precedes individual decisions.

An interesting article that explores both points of view, in spite of the definitive pro-circumcision stance:

George Wald and circumcision

I just had the opportunity to read George Wald's essay on circumcision.

George Wald (November 18, 1906 – April 12, 1997) was an American scientist who is best known for his work with pigments in the retina. He won a share of the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Haldan Keffer Hartline and Ragnar Granit. (Wikipedia - )

His essay is amazing. Anything that one could say about circumcision, he said it already with the authority of a man of science and a member of the Jew faith.

A highly recommended reading, especially in the light of the German ruling against circumcision of infants and the general outcry about how this is a decision against the freedom of religion, or even more, a manifestation of antisemitism.

From this essay:

It is with the greatest hesitation, since I have no right and know so little, that I should like to suggest to my fellow Jews that perhaps the time has come to redeem the foreskin itself, rather than sacrifice it. Surely some substitute might be found for this rite, perhaps even involving a token drawing of blood from an older child, that would be preferable to this assault upon and mutilation of a newborn infant.


For it is a barbarous thing to meet a newly born infant with the knife, with a deliberate mutilation. And the part that is removed is not negligible; it has clear and valuable functions to perform. Not circumcising a boy will not only spare him a brutal violence as he enters life; it will promise him a richer existence.

To those who disagree with the German ruling that bans circumcision of infants

My answer:

"So, just to be clear, are you defending the practice of restraining and cutting off part of the external genitalia of a non-consenting individual - which incidentally exposes the non-consenting individual to non-trivial risks such as death, infections, loss of the penis and impotence - when there is no medical need for such a procedure?"

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Does circumcision prevent penile cancer?


As representatives of the American Cancer Society, we would like to
discourage the American Academy of Pediatrics from promoting routine
circumcision as preventative measure for penile or cervical cancer.
The American Cancer Society does not consider routine circumcision
to be a valid or effective measure to prevent such cancers.
Portraying routine circumcision as an effective means of prevention
distracts the public from the task of avoiding the behaviors proven to
contribute to penile and cervical cancer: especially cigarette smoking
and unprotected sexual relations with multiple partners.  Perpetuating
the mistaken belief that circumcision prevents cancer is inappropriate.
Okay after posting this I noticed something else. This comes from a letter that is not an official position of the ACS, but the opinion of two former staff members. This was a statement regarding the letter:

A two-year-old letter being circulated on the Net discussing scientific
evidence regarding penile cancer and its relationship to circumcision
is personal correspondence reflecting the observations of two former
ACS physician staff members. The American Cancer Society does not
have a formal guideline statement on circumcision.

Penile cancer is extremely rare in the United States and accounts
for less than one half a percent of cancers diagnosed among men
and less than one tenth of a percent of cancer deaths among men.

Circumcision is the removal of a part or all of the male foreskin
either at birth or later on. This practice has been suggested as
giving some protection against cancer of the penis by contributing
to improved hygiene.

However, the penile cancer risk is low in some uncircumcised
populations, and the practice of circumcision is strongly associated
with socio-ethnic factors, which in turn are associated with lessened
risk. The consensus among studies that have taken these other
factors into account is circumcision is not of value in preventing
cancer of the penis.

Proven penile cancer risk factors include having unprotected sexual
relations with multiple partners (increasing the likelihood of
human papillomavirus infection), and cigarette smoking.


The American Cancer Society actually states this on their website:

In the past, circumcision has been suggested as a way to prevent penile cancer. This was based on studies that reported much lower penile cancer rates among circumcised men than among uncircumcised men. But in many of those studies, the protective effect of circumcision was no longer seen after factors like smegma and phimosis were taken into account.
Most public health researchers believe that the risk of penile cancer is low among uncircumcised men without known risk factors living in the United States. Men who wish to lower their risk of penile cancer can do so by avoiding HPV infection and not smoking. Those who aren't circumcised can also lower their risk of penile cancer by practicing good hygiene. Most experts agree that circumcision should not be recommended solely as a way to prevent penile cancer.

And in another article they state that:
In weighing the risks and benefits of circumcision, doctors consider the fact that penile cancer is very uncommon in the United States, even among uncircumcised men. Neither the American Academy of Pediatrics nor the Canadian Academy of Pediatrics recommends routine circumcision of newborns. In the end, decisions about circumcision are highly personal and depend more on social and religious factors than on medical evidence.

My response to a woman who disagrees with her husband on circumcising their child

" I strongly do NOT want to circumcise our son. My husband strongly DOES want to circumcise our son. His reasons are religions, so it's a little bit more difficult to use research/logic to persuade him otherwise. He is having a hard time persuading me, because frankly I can't be persuaded by religious reasons. We are both of the same religion, I guess I'm just interpreting things differently than he is.
I mean, should we see a therapist, a priest, a pediatrician, or what?? Yikes. "

I am a 40 year old cut man, with an intact teenager son.

Don't let people bully you into thinking that because you don't have a penis you don't have a word on this. You have empathy to the pain. You had the baby in your womb for the pregnancy. If something goes wrong with the procedure, you will kick yourself for the rest of your life.

(in fact, you have a foreskin: the clitoral hood, and I'm sure you wouldn't like to have had it cut as a baby. Female circumcision was legal in the U.S. until 1996)

 Every surgery has risks. Circumcision does too. A baby can die from circumcision. A baby can end up mutilated. A circumcision can be botched with horrible results. A circumcision may leave too little skin, making erections painful for a lifetime. Those risks, even if small, are real.

 I don't know what's your religion. Since you wrote "priest", I tend to assume you are Christians. If that's the case, circumcision has no place in your religion. Jesus is the New Alliance that overrides the covenant of the Jews (circumcision). From early in Christianity, the apostles understood that circumcision was not part of their religion, so Greeks and Romans could join them (who were not willing to get circumcised) and Jews as well (who already were circumcised).

 Quotes from the Old Testament regarding circumcision apply to the Jews only. The New Testament is clear on what happens after Christ:

 Philippians 3: 1-7

3 So then, my brothers and sisters, be glad in the Lord. It’s no trouble for me to repeat the same things to you because they will help keep you on track. 2 Watch out for the “dogs.” Watch out for people who do evil things. Watch out for those who insist on circumcision, which is really mutilation. 3 We are the circumcision. We are the ones who serve by God’s Spirit and who boast in Christ Jesus. We don’t put our confidence in rituals performed on the body, 4 though I have good reason to have this kind of confidence. If anyone else has reason to put their confidence in physical advantages, I have even more:
5 I was circumcised on the eighth day.
I am from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin.
I am a Hebrew of the Hebrews.
With respect to observing the Law, I’m a Pharisee.
6 With respect to devotion to the faith, I harassed the church.
With respect to righteousness under the Law, I’m blameless.
7 These things were my assets, but I wrote them off as a loss for the sake of Christ.

If you are Jews, then I can recommend this page:

According to their homepage: "Rabbi Moses Maimonides himself acknowledged that circumcision is done to desensitize the penis and curb masturbation."

"Jews are some of the smartest people in the world. We are 1/3rd of 1% of the population, yet we hold 33% of Nobel prizes. We are smart enough to understand that mutilating a little boys' penis is not an acceptable practice in modern times."

 I'm a parent of a teenager who was left intact. When I told him what circumcision was, his answer was "do people really do that?". I know he is glad he is intact.

The locker room idea is a less likely scenario every day. My son is in a public high school and he has never been nude with other kids in a locker room. Regardless of that, every day there's more people leaving their kids intact, so your son might not be a minority if left intact. Circumcised boys will be the minority by then.

 I am circumcised. I was circumcised as an infant, not as a baby, and I remember the traumatic event. I knew my body already, so I was aware of the change in shape. I didn't want to be circumcised. I begged the doctor not to cut me. I was cut anyway. I wish I had been left intact. Now, at 40 years of age, I'm in the process of "restoring", and I'm also studying more about circumcision, and I find it to be an abusive, cruel and dangerous practice.

When an operation involves death or loss of the penis as a risk, it better be done for a real reason, i.e., the patient needs it to save his life. A healthy boy is in no danger to lose his life from having a foreskin, so I can't see it being justifiable.

I hope this information will be helpful. Best wishes, sincerely.

A more concise response to Frank Furedi, submitted to spiked

Frank Furedi believes that intactivists are against self determination. Quite the opposite, circumcision of infants takes away the right to self determination of the infant, the adult of the future.

Frank Furedi tries to discredit the comparison to FGM which he describes as 'the removal of some or all of a woman's external genitalia', but in order to do so he never mentions, not once, that the foreskin is effectively a part of the external genitalia of males, and that circumcision removes it permanently.

Frank Furedi keeps steering the essay to prove that intactivists are against the cultural practice of some groups, are against self determination, intend to tell people how to live their lives, etc etc. Everything to steer away from the topic at the core of the discussion: the procedure of cutting part of the external genitalia of helpless babies who do not know what is happening to them, who suffer great pain, and who are exposed to several risks such as: death from bleeding, death from infections, mutilation or loss of the penis, and even pain during sex for their whole life.

Just this year, another baby died in NY after being infected of herpes by a mohel during the oral suction of the wound - incidentally, the only legal way that an adult can put a baby's penis in his mouth in the United States.

This year another baby got his penis cut off during an Islamic circumcision in Israel.

This year, a proponent of non-religious circumcision, Vernon Quaintance, head of the Gilgal society, was convicted of possession of child pornography. It's not that we want circumcisers to look like pedophiles: they do this to themselves.

For one second, put yourself in the skin of a baby: from peacefully sleeping to being restrained, touched in the most private part, subjected to excruciating pain while somebody else keeps putting ice with sugar in your mouth to keep you from crying until your mind goes into neurogenic shock as you believe that your end is imminent. And then waking up to a painful recovery, and that in the best case, when they didn't make a mistake and cut your glans off, or didn't give you an infection, and when you didn't bleed to death.

This act would be horrifying on you, so what makes it acceptable on a baby?

Attacking this act is not about moral relativism. Defending this act is about defending absolute cruelty.

Are we telling parents how to live their lives? Parents are not allowed to kill their babies or to cut their fingers or toes off. What makes the male's genitalia any different?

Intactivists are not against anyone's culture or religion. We are against cutting non-consenting babies.

We are not an abstract group of liberals. We are parents who don't want to hurt our babies. We are children who were hurt by circumcision. We are simply people who saw cruelty for what it is and denounce it in the hope that future generations will have a more fair chance.

Circumcision and bigotry: A response to Frank Furedi

Frank Furedi writes "The bigotry of the anti-circumcision zealots", an essay based on the idea that "today’s campaigning against circumcision is so dogmatic and intolerant it makes the old religions look enlightened in comparison."

In speaking for circumcision, Mr. Furedi systematically fails to mention the risks of circumcision of infants (including the risk of death), fails to mention that the foreskin is part of the male's genitalia and just waves his stick in all possible directions to see if any of his arguments manages to hush the questions of his readers.

Let's see some of his points:

If "it is unacceptable for Putzke or anyone else to use the legal power of the state to dictate to a long-established religion what customs it may and may not observe", then religions should still free to burn witches, perform honor killings and stone women. Oh, yes, they still perform honor killings and stone women, I guess that's no big deal right? No, religion is not an absolute in modern civilization. There are limits. Religious freedom ends where the other person's life starts.

There are many Jews today who are choosing to not circumcise, replacing the Bris Milah with a Bris Shalom, a non-cutting naming ceremony.

On the other side of the spectrum Orthodox Jews in New York have made a bad reputation for circumcision after repeated deaths of babies who contracted herpes through the "oral suction" by part of the mohel. It didn't happen long ago. It happened this year.

"Typically, circumcision is recast as an act of sordid violence against a child" Circumcision IS an act of violence against a child. Why do you think that the child has to be restrained? Why does the child cries (even if they keep "choking" him with ice or sugar)? Why does he go into neurogenic shock (which adults re-cast as "the baby went to sleep")?

"The semantic strategy of recasting male circumcision as ‘mutilation’ is a see-through attempt to lump it together with female circumcision"... Well, sir, mutilation is the permanent removal of a body part. As such, circumcision IS mutilation.

MGM and FGM are really equivalent. If you listen to the rethoric of Africans who defend FGM, you will hear the same arguments of people who defend circumcision. But that would be relativism. Yet discussing Islam and Judaism together is okay for you.

"There are different forms of female circumcision, but as Nancy McDermott has argued on spiked, they all involve the ‘removal of some or all of a woman’s external genitalia’. The operation often has serious side effects, such as infection, pain, haemorrhaging and infertility. As McDermott says, ‘Comparable surgery in a man would involve the removal of most of the penis and the scrotum’" - here sir you are comparing apples to oranges. The foreskin IS part (some) of a man's external genitalia. Removal of the foreskin IS comparable to the removal of the clitoral hood, and accidents in circumcision where the person performing the procedure cuts the glans of the baby are equivalent and worse than the removal of the clitoris. See this case from a Muslim circumcision, again from this year:

"And the fact that millions of boys are circumcised for non-religious reasons, either at birth or later in life after a health complication, shows that it is not a form of mutilation." - Actually, non religious circumcision is our main concern as a social practice that is kept alive due to ignorance of the parents and lack of ethics of the medical institutions. The fact that circumcision is intertwined in Islam and Judaism actually makes it more inconvenient because every time we discuss non-religious circumcision, somehow people will assume we are attacking religious freedom. No, we are attacking a customary removal of part of the genitalia when there is no reason or consent from the owner of the body.

"How can an operation condemned as ‘sexual mutilation’ in one instance be advocated as an unobjectionable and sound medical procedure used to improve someone’s health in another instance?" Circumcision as practiced on baby does not improve health. Circumcision only improves health in cases where there is a medical need for it -i.e., acquired phimosis, severe phimosis. In all other cases the "perceived" benefit is a supposed prevention of something that the baby may not ever have.

"It seems pretty clear that it is not the physical aspects of circumcision that disgusts the moral crusaders, but rather its cultural meaning for some communities." Wrong, dead wrong. Those of us who oppose circumcision of babies see circumcision as a violation of human rights because it takes away the baby's ability to choose, and exposes the baby to risks that regardless of whether they are frequent or not, are severe enough to justify the banning of the procedure. Since you don't mention those risks, I will mention the most severe risks:

  • Bleeding, which can lead to death;
  • Infections, which can also lead to death or to loss of the penis
  • Mutilation by a botched procedure;
  • Too little skin, which can result in painful sex for the person for their whole life.

Your attempt to make "our crusade" against circumcision look like it is against the culture of some communities is a persistent attempt to deviate the conversation into something that it is not to make people lose sight of what's really being discussed: cutting a healthy body organ off from babies' genitalia.

"Intolerant campaigners also hint that it has links with paedophilia". Actually Jew circumcision is the only chance that an adult man has in the U.S. to legally put his mouth on the penis of an infant. Too bad, but it just looks bad. Add to it that a strong proponent of non-religious circumcision and head of the Gilgal society, Vernon Quaintance, has just been convicted for possession of child porn, and it seems that defenders of circumcision of babies are indeed tainted of paedophilia.

"They promiscuously stigmatise circumcision as a form of child abuse". For a moment think how you would characterize today being restrained on a table, stripped naked and cut in your most private part without your consent and without the ability to even understand conceptually what is happening, to satisfy the beliefs of others. If that is not abuse, then I don't know what abuse is.

In fact, many Jew women don't want to circumcise their babies. They do it because they feel that they have to, in order to satisfy their peers. Simply put, they continue the practice of circumcision out of peer pressure and bullying.

There is a differece between forcing a kid to go to church, and cutting a part of the body of the kid to accept him into such church.

"Yet today’s paternalistic bigots only see dogma when it comes stamped with a religious symbol – they never see it in their own intolerant campaigning." This is where you fail to see. We don't attack your religion or anyone's religion. We attack a single practice that violates the rights of the child and exposes the child to risks and pain. If a child grows to wish to be circumcised as an adult, we support 100% his decision. We just don't condone the practice of cutting babies unnecessarily, whether it is for religion or social convention (as in the U.S.).

"They claim to be speaking up for the rights of the child and protecting infants from their parents". Yes, we are speaking for the rights of the child. The rights of the parents can't override the rights of the child. Parents can't decide to kill a child or cut his hand. Equally they should not be able to decide cutting part of his genitalia. You dismiss talking of the foreskin as part of the genitalia; you talk of it as something else, something that is there to cut and discard. The foreskin is a part of the genitalia.

"When parents can no longer make decisions unless a child has first given his consent, then the very existence of private life and family life is called into question." ... Okay sir, so family life is threatened by the almight foreskin? You are laughable. Can parents decide to kill their children? Can they freely decide to cut his fingers or his toes? So who gives them the right to cut his genitalia?

"And who decides what is informed consent?" Informed consent is what the doctor has to tell you before he operates you, about the risks and benefits of an operation, so that you can weight them and decide what is best for you. Babies run risks during circumcision, risks that can end their life or severly incapacitate it for its duration. If they are not afforded the right to decide whether they want or not to run that risks, and things go wrong, then their rights have been severely violated. That is also why this decision should be postponed, as babies and children don't have the mental maturity to understand the risks. Just like you don't let an infant drive a car.

"They are uncomfortable with rituals and practices that are deemed ‘traditional’ and which are based on values antithetical to the secularist worldview" - No, we are just uncomfortable with cutting people against their will. You are again trying to steer the conversation out of the issue of cutting babies, which is the practice that you keep defending.

"Individuals and groups who dislike Jews and Muslims have naturally gravitated towards this campaign, seeking to make it their own.". We don't dislike Jews and Muslims. We care about babies, helpless babies, which is why we see religious circumcision with the same eyes as non-religious circumcision of babies in the U.S. Our motivation is not religious based. We are parents who don't want to hurt our children, we were children who were hurt by circumcision, we are people who have questioned traditions when those traditions are irrational and cruel.

"What makes the anti-circumcision campaign insidious is not simply its intolerance of the religious freedom of others, but also its arrogant assumption that it has the right to tell other people how they should lead their lives". You sir keep trying to change the subject to make it look like we are against culture, as if we are against parents, as if we are against self-determination, as if we are about moral relativism, or as if we dislike Jews and Muslims... By waving your stick here and there you try to keep distance from what we are really discussing: the act of cutting helpless babies genitalia, Male Genital Mutilation.

Let me tell you for the last time that we are not fighting against religions. The fact that circumcision is embedded in Jews and Muslims is actually inconvenient: it would be easier to discuss just the non-religious routine circumcision of infants in the United States if religion wasn't somehow in the mix, but it is, and the problem is that affording protection to one group while denying it to another is discriminatory and unfair.

We have nothing against self-determination. What you fail to see is that circumcision takes away the right to self-determination of the baby, the future adult. We are trying to get you to see the world for one second from inside the skin of the individual at the center of the circumcision of infants (regardless of the reason):

You are peacefully sleeping. Suddenly you are restrained and someone starts touching your most private part. The touching starts hurting, but every time that you want to scream someone puts ice or sugar in  your mouth, and you can't even form words to cry for help, you can only cry without words. You can't move your arms, and you don't know how to walk yet, not that it would help since they are restraining your legs too. And the pain grows; it's actually the worse pain you have felt in your short life, but nobody comes to help you, nobody comes to rescue you. Your mind retreats into shock, convinced as you are that this is the end.

When you come back, you are still in pain - not as intense, but nevertheless severe, lasting a couple of weeks while your penis forms a scar where a healthy tissue used to be.

And this is the best case scenario, where you didn't get infected, where you didn't bleed to death, where you didn't lose your penis.

If that is not abuse, then please tell me what is abuse.

Don't tell me that this is moral relativism, because the act that I just described, unless it had been performed to save the baby's life (which it wasn't), is simply absolute cruelty imposed upon the most helpless and vulnerable of the creatures.