Saturday, March 29, 2014

Things I've learned through foreskin restoration

Through foreskin restoration I have learned many things about the penis that I did not know, and which I presume many uncircumcised males are not even aware of, since they take their experience for granted.

The foreskin does not end at the "tip". The foreskin covers the glans, and then at the apparent tip, it folds inside and covers the glans again, and ends just behind the glans (at the sulcus).

There are particularly sensitive areas on the foreskin: the inside, which is a mucosa, the "apparent" tip, the mucocutaneal transitional area (ridged band, per the research of John Taylor), which are loaded with Meissners corpuscles, and the frenulum, which attaches the bottom of the glans to the ridged band..

The frenulum looks like a seam that fixes the outer skin to the bottom of the glans. Most circumcised males are either missing the frenulum, or the frenulum has been detached from the glans and stitched later, turning it into scar tissue. It takes particular effort on the part of a doctor performing a circumcision to not harm the frenulum, and creates an extra challenge because the frenulum will be too long in comparison to the tissue removed. When I realized how damaged my frenulum was in comparison to a non-altered frenulum, I felt angry and sad at the same time. Before that moment I was under the impression that my frenulum was unharmed, given how pleasurable it is.

Circumcion is often described as removing the skin that covers the tip of the penis, or as removing the tip of the foreskin. Both descriptions are wrong. What is cut is not the tip of the foreskin, since the foreskin doesn't end at its apparent tip. So, what circumcision really removes, is something like an inner section of a tube, and then the two portions at each side of that section are stitched together so that they attach (forming the circumcision scar).

In clamp circumcisions (most of the neonatal procedures), the clamp takes care of sealing those areas of tissue. The tissue on the outside of the clamp loses circulation and is cut off. The two portions of tissue on the inside area of the clamp become sealed to each other, forming the scar. In non-neonatal circumcisions, after cutting the circular portion of tissue, the skin of the shaft becomes loose from the glans, and the glans retains some inner mucosa. Those two sections of tissue are then stitched (with self-dissolving stitches nowadays), forming the scar. These non-neonatal circumcisions tend to leave more ragged and asymmetrical scars.

The tissue removed by circumcision is likely sufficient to cover most or all the flaccid shaft. The typical restoration requires growing 3 to 4 linear inches of skin or more, in order to cover the glans two times (inner and outer layer) and retain a small overhang.

While a restored foreskin is not the same as the original, missing some of its special structures (ridged band, frenulum) and its balance of inner mucosa/outer skin, the experience of this restored foreskin is as close as we can get to the ideal situation in which we were never circumcised.

It is often possible to tell if the glans is covered, partially covered or uncovered, by the sensations coming from the penis - or by consciously putting attention to those sensations. In other words, it is possible to use the sensations from the foreskin or the glans, to know in what position they are.

The length of the flaccid penis is not necessarily constant. Since the penis is not anchored directly on the surface of the skin, nor anchored to the underlying bone, but the corpora (inner bodies of the penis) are held by ligaments, it is possible for the corpora to be pulled inside or pushed outside changing the apparent length of the penis temporarily. This is common when we start restoring pulling skin over the glans without having enough skin - the penis moves inside and it looks almost like it's gone - but there is no way for it to go inside and get lost, since the glans itself is anchored to the end of the skin of the shaft.

The penis is not a "single unit", in other words the skin is not attached to the inner body (the corpora) of the penis. All the skin of the penis is loose to facilitate movement. So you can imagine the penis as an arm inside a sleeve, attached only at the wrist. The arm can move forward or back, or the sleeve can be pulled up or down separately. For circumcised males, this process takes time as the skin, due to the lack of mobility, seems to attach, but within a few weeks from starting restoration this movement starts being possible.

When I was a teen, I thought that the shaft of uncircumcised boys was something like a fixed length tube (think of the barrel of a gun), and the glans was somehow  inside and it would "pop out" during arousal. In reality, this barrel analogy would describe better the inner corpora, but having the glans already attached at the tip. The skin of the penis, including the foreskin, covers the harder inside part (corpora plus glans) and can be pulled back to expose the glans. Nothing "pops out", the skin just rolls back.

While the glans is generally wider than the opening of the foreskin, the opening is elastic enough to allow the glans through. As a teen I couldn't imagine that this tissue is elastic, so I couldn't even start to understand how the glans was capable of "popping out" through this opening.

The restored foreskin is at least as sensible as the rest of the penis - which is to say, it's very sensible. To pleasure. To pain. To pleasure! Every part of the restored foreskin feels pleasure. There is really no difference in the skin area of the foreskin and the skin area of the shaft. Every part of the foreskin is alive, just like our fingers, our nipples, our lips, our ears are alive.

Those who describe the foreskin as just "a fold of skin" fail to understand how the skin even works. Rub the tip of two fingers softly in circular motion and perceive the tingling sensation. This is sensitive skin alive, sending signals to the brain. The same would be true of the foreskin, if it had not been removed by the person performing a circumcision. Imagine now if you were missing the nerves at the tip of those fingers, if this was just a numb area, or if that tip of the finger was no longer in place. Now you have an idea of the loss.

Even then, the foreskin is more than skin. Consider that the inner side is mucosa, consider that there is a layer of muscular tissue inside (dartos fascia). If it was simple delicate skin, it wouldn't resist the tension that we subject it to during restoration, or the use of weights. While I personally have used weight in a very limited way (about 1.5 pounds), some restoring men hang up to 10 pounds or more from their foreskins for a few minutes to give their foreskins a workout.

The muscular tissue inside the foreskin reacts to temperature. In cold mornings, when the penis is somewhat pulled inward, the foreskin contracts its opening and keeps everything inside like a nice jacket. For restoring men this means that in order to achieve what we call "full flaccid coverage", we need to have enough skin to fully cover the glans without reducing the length of the penis and leaving some overhang, so that the skin can contract at the "apparent tip" and keep the glans hugged inside.

The glans and the foreskin are meant to interact. This is the gliding action. Visualize an elastic ring traveling over the glans, adjusting its size to the width of the glans, and you have an idea of the sensation caused by the gliding skin. It is difficult to separate what part of the sensation is perceived by the glans and what part is perceived by the foreskin - which is possibly why some uncircumcised males are not aware of the role of the foreskin in their sensation.

While direct stimulation of the bare glans can be uncomfortable (unless done with hand lotion or lubricant), stimulation of the glans through the foreskin is extremely pleasurable. It's like a tingling pulse traveling through the skin.

Pre-ejaculate fluid has a function! While in us circumcised males it seems to fall hopelessly due to gravity, in uncircumcised males it flows through the subpreputial space and fills it, to lubricate the glans and the mucosa, prior to penetration.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Alfred Schram - The online legacy of an intactivist

September 17th, 1930 - March 11th, 2014 
Worked at (retired from) West Texas A&M University
Attended Brooklyn Polytechnic institute, BS
Lived in Brussels, Belgium.

His daughter's announcement of his passing:

My heart is both heavy and light as I write that my beloved father, Alfred Schram passed away today of an apparent heart attack. We had returned from a recent trip to Belgium where he had an opportunity to see all his living cousins and he died in one of his favorite spots - where he and my mother courted almost 60 years ago. His last 2 weeks were some of the happiest since my mother died but this is a day I never thought would come. Cheers, Alfred, BonPapa, Daddy, Freddy. We love you and the house is emptier without you already. - Gwynne Schram Gillette

May 6, 2013, at the Intact Houston demonstration

On foreskin restoration, a 2012 comment on The Whole Network

I had the same problem, with the shaft completely bend to the left. When we were married (in 1957), our wedding night would have been a disaster, had my wife not been patient and understanding. After discussing the situation with her, I consulted a urologist about surgical foreskin restoration. But at that time, cosmetic surgery was in its infancy, and the results of surgical foreskin restoration were unaesthetic at best and beyond our financial means. I only found out about non-surgical restoration six year ago. Even though by that time my wife's Alzheimer's prevented her from comprehending what I had initiated, her earlier support in seeking surgical restoration kept me committed. She passed away two years ago, and did not have a chance to experience what she had expected. Still, I feel that I owe to her memory the commitment to a full restoration.

I understand your husband frustration: it took me several months of manual tugging on the short side before being able to put t-tapes around the shaft, and several more months to grow enough skin for a TLC.

His wife

Dear friends. I would like to share my memory of this particular photo. It was in November 2007, our 50th anniversary, when my wife was already severely affected by Alzheimer's. Our daughter had baked a cake, and when she brought it to the table, my wife asked if it was her birthday. Our daughter answer that it was our 50th anniversary. My wife replied that she was not married. Then our daughter simply said: You are married to this man. My wife looked puzzled at me, then smiled and put her head on my shoulder, just as our daughter took the picture. I am sure you understand how much I cherish this picture.

On his circumcision, communication between Alfred and me. I share this because he was open about his story and people should know how and why these things happen:

Alfred: I just found out that you were circumcised at 4-6. I was also circumcised at 4-5 (in Belgium,way back in 1935). I was given chloroform for the anesthetic, which made me throw up when I awoke.

Me: Why was your circumcision done?

Alfred: I am not completely sure. My grandmother took me to an old doctor who told me to stop playing by myself, or he would have to cut it off. I did not know what he meant because in French, playing "by" yourself or "with" yourself is expressed in the same way. But I know that at the time, doctors were curing masturbation and the mental illnesses which it is supposed to cause, with circumcision. And I know that my grandmother was terrified of having mental illness in her family, since it would have made it impossible to find a suitable spouse for any of her grandchildren. When I threw up after the surgery, the nun called me a dirty sinner (Catholicism is the state religion in Belgium, and at the time, the hospitals were in the charge of the church).

On US supporting circumcision programs in Africa

Thank you for showing the true results expected after forcing circumcision on millions of African men. It is unbelievable that scientists could so obviously ignore human rights and the damage that forced circumcision causes. What could be their agenda? - comment on

Opposition to the AAP's Policy Statement on Circumcision

Thank you for taking the side of the boys who do not have the choice. It is hard to believe that the AAP, which should be concerned with children's health and rights, completely ignores the wish of the baby to grow up with a whole body. - Comment on

On foreskin restoration

Instead of Viagra, many men resort to non-surgical foreskin restoration. At the present time, these restoring men probably amount to 250,000, only a small percentage of circumcised men, because foreskin restoration is not in the news. Is it not time for the media to publicize this practically costless alternative?  -  Comment on
His family, on his passing:

It is sudden and it is a shock to many. He was on a day trip to Austin and he was in his favorite park when he collapsed of what seems to be natural causes. A couple tried resuscitating him as they waited for paramedics to arrive but in the end he wasn't able to be revived. But he was at one of his favorite parks where he used to take Eleanor in their youth and he just got back from a ten day trip visiting his family in Belgium. So there are many things to be happy for him for.

Alfred, a gentle, compassionate and caring man. Rest in peace.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Response to Mary Elizabeth Williams on "Alan Cumming’s fight against circumcision"

Mary Elizabeth Williams writes an emotion-based critique of Alan Cumming's fight against circumcision, which is deserving of a careful and rational analysis.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth starts by quoting Alan Cummings:

“There’s a double-standard, which is that we condemn the people who cut off girls’ clitorises, but when it happens to boys,” Cumming says. “I mean, it is the most sensitive part of their bodies, it has loads of nerve endings, and it can go horribly wrong. I’m speaking out against it … 

And then she ignores the important parts of the statement, that is to say, that the foreskin is the most sensitive part, and that circumcision can go horribly wrong.

After discussing Alan's past and current statement, she goes to say:

The debate over circumcision is a fairly recent one. Though it was once a standard practice in the U.S., rates have been steadily declining over the past several decades, as arguments over its medical validity have raged. 

This is incorrect. The debate over the American practice of circumcision goes as far as the 19th century (Elizabeth Blackwell, MD, 1894) and early 20th century (AP Morgan Vance in 1900), well before the practice was completely established! Physicians were the first ones to denounce the uselessness of the practice. When the practice was actually becoming common, Joseph Lewis published perhaps the first non-physician book against circumcision ("In the name of humanity", 1949) and physician Douglas Gairdner published "The fate of the foreskin". That same year Britain's NHS stopped covering neonatal circumcisions. Children of perhaps the first generation with a rate of over 50% circumcision, the Lewis brothers, Van and Benjamin, started protesting publicly against circumcision in 1970. To call this debate a fairly recent one means ignoring a huge chunk of history.

Mary Elizabeth Williams argues that:

Cumming’s equation of circumcision with female genital mutilation is an insultingly inaccurate one —  boys are not circumcised as a ritualized means of suppressing their future sexual enjoyment, nor does a clean male circumcision compare with the often crude, blunt and unsanitary practice of female genital mutilation.

Again, Mary Elizabeth is ignoring history. One would have to remember 1st century Philo of Alexandria, a Jewish philosopher:
First of all, it is a symbol of the excision of the pleasures which delude the mind; for since, of all the delights which pleasure can afford, the association of man with woman is the most exquisite, it seemed good to the lawgivers to mutilate the organ which ministers to such connections; by which rite they signified figuratively the excision of all superfluous and excessive pleasure, not, indeed, of one only, but of all others whatever, through that one which is the most imperious of all. - Philo

Or 11th century Moses Maimonides:

The bodily injury caused to that organ is exactly that which is desired; it does not interrupt any vital function, nor does it destroy the power of generation. Circumcision simply counteracts excessive lust; for there is no doubt that circumcision weakens the power of sexual excitement, and sometimes lessens the natural enjoyment: the organ necessarily becomes weak when it loses blood and is deprived of its covering from the beginning. Moses Maimonides

Or the statements by many of the Victorian era American and British physicians who paved the way to acceptability of childhood circumcision, such as J.H. Kellogg:

A remedy [against masturbation] which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed. J. H. Kellogg

And many more. It was only in the 60s that American physicians started arguing that circumcision had no effect on sexual enjoyment. But of course by then, those physicians had been circumcised at birth and had no first person experience of the foreskin.

The second part of the statement is also imprecise:

nor does a clean male circumcision compare with the often crude, blunt and unsanitary practice of female genital mutilation.

Let's compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. Traditional circumcision in Africa occur in unsanitary conditions with a high rate of catastrophic results. Traditional Jewish circumcisions occur in poor sanitary conditions, often in a dining room or kitchen, and often expose babies to other risks, such as the use of the mogen clamp (high risk of glans amputation or injury), and in some groups, metzitzah b'peh (oral suction) by the Mohel which has resulted in infection with herpes, deaths and brain damage.

Clean hospital procedures can also result in deaths and mutilations, such as the Memphis baby who had his penis amputated during a circumcision last year.

Mary Elizabeth argues that FGM is a blunt and unsanitary practice. Would Mary Elizabeth consider FGM acceptable under sanitary conditions? Because that is how it takes place in places such as Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia. The World Health Organization opposes any attempt of medicalization of female circumcision because it will make it more difficult to eradicate it (they should know, given the history of male circumcision!)

Organizations currently lobbying against FGM oppose any form of medicalization, even though some argue that it could lead to harm reduction.

What this tells us is that it is not the procedure itself what these institutions oppose, or the conditions. It is what is behind. The practice of genital surgery without consent from the patient, without regard for the future preference, feelings and well being of the patient. And in that regard, male circumcision of infants is perfectly comparable with female genital mutilation, as none of those procedures take into consideration the future preferences or feelings of the person.

Mary Elizabeth Williams reminds us that:

The World Health Organization calls FGM “a violation of the human rights of girls and women” with consequences that include “severe pain, shock, hemorrhage (bleeding), tetanus or sepsis (bacterial infection), urine retention, open sores in the genital region and injury to nearby genital tissue,”

But she doesn't remind us that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe calls non-therapeutic circumcision of boys a violation of the children's right to physical integrity, and that the typical risks of neonatal circumcision include severe pain (when in absence of anesthesia or improperly used), shock (again, when in absence of anesthesia), hemorrhage (babies have died from loss of blood after medical and religious circumcisions), sepsis (babies have died from septic shock after circumcision), urine retention (babies have died from urine retention with the plastibell circumcision), fistulas and meatal stenosis (damage to the urethra), injury to the penis (partial or total amputation of the glans, loss of the frenulum, scarring, denudation of the penis), etc.

And then she proceeds to reminds us of the "benefits" of circumcision:

while it in contrast notes, “There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%.”
Without telling us that these studies have been challenged, that real life application has not provided the desired results, and that promotion of circumcision for the sake of HIV prevention also results in risk compensation behavior such as lack of use of condoms.

To circumcise for the sake of prevention of HIV also assumes that males are going to be promiscuous no matter what and won't be able to control their sexuality. I wonder how feminists would feel about a similar assumption over females.

Mary Elizabeth Williams says:

One can argue, quite persuasively, about whether the practice of circumcision still has validity here in the West, especially among those who don’t have a religious directive. 

One could also argue whether babies lose the right to self ownership and genital integrity because their families practice some religions (ritualized circumcisions) or just for the reason of being males. One could also argue whether female babies from some Muslim groups should be protected or not from female circumcision, even by medical professionals, but the FGM law of 1997 indicates that:

no account shall be taken of the effect on the person on whom the operation is to be performed of any belief on the part of that person, or any other person, that the operation is required as a matter of custom or ritual.

Why are baby boys not granted the same respect?

Mary Elizabeth Williams continues

What’s needed, however, is education and enlightenment, so families can make the healthiest choices for their children.

But why would families have any choice whatsoever in removing normal genital tissue from a baby? Why would this be a choice, seems too far a question for her. It should be quite simple, you don't remove healthy tissue from babies. Especially not from their genitals. Period. 

It’s not helpful to make far-fetched comparisons, and it certainly isn’t constructive to imply that men and boys who are circumcised are somehow damaged, “mutilated” goods. 

We have argued over the comparison already, but this is an even more far-fetched statement, as Mary Elizabeth seems to be implying that circumcised women are damaged, mutilated goods. Maybe she should listen to circumcised women about how they feel.

Let's also remember that men have complained about their circumcisions. Notable examples would include Ozzy Osbourne, John F. Kennedy, Ben Affleck, Howard Stern.

Most circumcised males are not "damaged goods", but they have had a part of their penis cut off without their consent.

Some were in fact "damaged goods". Such as David Reimer. May he rest in peace.

Mary Elizabeth continues:

That’s a shaming technique that serves no one, one that turns having a foreskin into a bragging point. 

Propaganda posters shaming uncircumcised males in Africa to create a new social norm

This is not the point. Uncircumcised males opposing circumcision don't do it to brag. They do it because they have first person experience of having a foreskin and feel that babies deserve the right to experience it as well.

Mary Elizabeth arguably has a foreskin (unless she was subjected to a female circumcision, given that she was born before 1997, or unless she has subjected herself to clitoral unhooding -a form of female circumcision not considered to be "mutilation" when performed on an adult consenting woman by a licensed surgeon). In her arguments in this article, it would seem that she brags from not being "mutilated", given the implications that circumcised women are "damaged goods" and mutilated. 

See how one needs to be careful with the use of words to avoid alienating those who have had a different experience from ones prejudices?

Mary Elizabeth concludes:

And it’s an unfair judgment coming from a man who admits, “I myself don’t have kids. I just have managers, assistants, agents and publicists.”

And this seems to be an important point about the author. Mary Elizabeth, as a female, has no personal experience of having a penis. She will never experience male circumcision on her body. For her, circumcision seems to be something that one does to one's sons when one has male babies. It's not something that is done to one.

If Alan Cumming had been circumcised as a baby, he would still, today, be a circumcised man. Circumcision does not go away when one becomes an adult. It doesn't go away when one is no longer a dependent.

A circumcised penis, no doubt, can no longer do some things than an uncircumcised penis can do. For example, a circumcised penis can no longer have its skin glide over the glans during sex or masturbation. A circumcised penis no longer has an intact frenulum. A circumcised penis is missing nerve endings. All those things are consequence of a circumcision, often consented to not by the person, but by the parents. It was something done to the baby.

As males, circumcision affects us not only as children, when its done, but as males, when we can't get rid of it. When we have no choice if it was forced upon us. When our physical integrity was violated while we were children.

It doesn't matter if a man has children or not. Men have their penises, so circumcision or not is not just our children's experience, it is also our own experience. We live our sexuality partially through our penises, and if we are circumcised or not, that will have an effect on our experience of sexuality for the rest of our lives, whether we know it or not, whether we are happy about it or not.

Nobody should cut part of a baby's genitals without extreme medical necessity. If you won't listen to it from an uncircumcised male like Alan Cumming, listen to it from a circumcised male like me, who is parent to an uncircumcised son.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Faces of child abuse

Male circumcision: Very widespread practice, until recently largely neglected in mainstream debates on harmful practices.
•Serious invasion of physical integrity
•Can result in psychological and sexual health problems
•Issues of consent
•Right to freedom of religion
•Suggestions that may help to prevent transmission of HIV do not in themselves support the practice.

A two day old baby. It wasn't enough with circumcision. It wasn't enough with photographing him. It wasn't enough with photographing him next to the amputated part of his penis. It had to be shared on social media.

Another baby. It wasn't enough with circumcising him. He had to be photographed, crying, in the hands of his abuser, Dr. Theresa Burdick from Seattle, who performed an unnecessary genital surgery on a non-consenting patient, culturally tolerated in the U.S. but nevertheless against every possible ethical justification.

Under what culture a sane father can write and publish the following text?:

It has been a year and a half now since I cut off the foreskins of my two sons. Noam and Jonah, my identical twin.[....]

Why did I cut them? I knew that the procedure had been declared medically unnecessary. I knew that I was causing them pain. I had heard that the lack of a foreskin might diminish their sense of sexual pleasure. I say all this, and yet when I stood above my boys, scalpel in hand, I experienced an unparalleled sense of connection to and responsibility for life. The birth was pure wonder. The circumcision was primal and mysterious, connecting me to flesh and blood in a violent and careful moment of father-love.
Cutting my firstborn son was harder than I thought it would be -- not the emotional challenge, but the physical part, the actual slicing involved. It took more elbow grease than I had imagined. It was easier five minutes later with my second son. I think that explains why he urinates straighter than his brother.

So, am I a child abuser? Should I be locked up?
Daniel Silberman Brenner's children are teenagers now. Perhaps he should share this and ask them the question. Will he honor their request, would they tell him he should be locked up?

Did one of his sons develop meatal stenosis as a consequence of the circumcision? This is not uncommon. Lack of blood flow to the meatus can cause ischemia and scarring of the meatus, making urination more difficult.

When a child is healthy and stable... why do you perform genital surgery on him?

Surgeries are something to avoid, to do only when there is no other solution. But in the U.S., genital surgery is the hazing ritual, the welcoming party that awaits most of the males.

All children deserve to grow with intact genitals. Circumcision is not just a "little snip".

Friday, March 14, 2014

Brian Morris, circumcision advocate's friends.

"The subject of circumcision is dark and deep. Some aspects are *so* dark and *so* deep -- so remote from the average person's experience and awareness -- that there is almost no way for the average person to become aware of them."
- John A. Erickson

Emeritus professor Brian Morris, molecular biologist, has recently been very active on facebook with his usual fight against intactivist and repetitive promotion of circumcision.

 I was curious to see his  friend list due some recent comments, and it was interesting to see the innuendo on several of his friends. While this doesn't necessarily reflect on Morris, it is important to see the kind of behavior that becomes enabled and encouraged by his pseudoscience.

Let's see some of those friends.

Carlos Andrade: his likes include circumcision fetish and circumcision advocacy. Carlos Andrade is known for an online article, re-published in several sites, "circuncision: la diferencia oculta"  (the hidden difference) which promotes circumcision and echoes many of Morris' claims. He claims: "Lo que hay que aclarar es que no hay una disminución del placer, sino un CAMBIO en cómo se siente, y un cambio que, la gran mayoría de los que se operan de adultos, percibe como positivo" (there is no pleasure reduction, but a CHANGE in the way it feels, a change that most of those who are operated as adults perceive as positive). Could it be that most of those adults were operated because they actually needed it due to some pathology Mr. Carlos?

The mushroom is an allusion to the mushroom head of the circumcised penis.

Cut Eurasian (obviously not a real name, but an allusion to his circumcision status "cut").

Cutnipp Bear - allusion to circumcision status ("cut"), nipples ("nipp") and sexual preference/lifestyle ("bear"). Member of several pro-circumcison groups and pages, including a group "circumcision scars are sexy".

Dave Ploughman. His profile picture represents two acorns, which allude the exposed (circumcised) glans. He responded a question saying that "Cosmetic/because of my own personal sexual preferences" is a good reason to circumcise a baby, anything wrong with that?

Glanz Out - obviously an allusion to the exposed glans. Member of pro circumcision groups and pages.

Pat Nybili, member of pro-circumcision groups and pages.

Robert Fordham. The helmet is also an allusion to circumcision status.

Vargas Lanoga (from his profile):

Do you have an ant eater or a helmet head
u dont need it u dont want it 4 skins make the girls want to vomit · Helmet head
Which of the following are good reasons to circumcise a baby boy?
Cosmetic/because of my own personal sexual preferences

Wants Tobecut (wants to be cut - wants to be circumcised). Again, the list of pages and groups speaks for itself.

So, are these individuals interested in circumcision from a health/public policy point of view? Or is it a psychological mark, a mystique, a fetish? Are they so marked by their circumcision status that they need to express it through their profile picture and their fake names?

And when they come to Morris as online friends, is their behavior encouraged and enabled by the emeritus professor who loves circumcision so much? Is he aware of what he attracts, or does he play into it?

Is it really about "evidence based medicine", or what is this strange mystique into medical ritual?

Body integrity identity disorder (BIID, also referred to as amputee identity disorder) is a psychological disorder wherein sufferers feel they would be happier living as an amputee. Could it be that individuals so strongly marked by the loss of their foreskins have actually developed a form of BIID to believe that everyone would be better without their foreskins?

Can you spot the fallacies and self referencing in the following comment by Brian Morris (from his second profile):

"The subject of circumcision is dark and deep. Some aspects are *so* dark and *so* deep -- so remote from the average person's experience and awareness -- that there is almost no way for the average person to become aware of them."
- John A. Erickson

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Male Genital Mutilation

Can someone explain to me why the World Health Organization and the United Nations are not calling this Male Genital Mutilation?


The site exposes many of the harms -including real mutilations and deaths- happening in South Africa and many other areas every year, and yet what is the reaction of tribal leaders and non-governmental organizations? Call to ban the site? Why not call to ban the practice?

See this page, calling to give up harmful practices. Do they call to give up ritual circumcisions? No.

See the key facts on Female Genital Mutilation. Other than the use of the word "female" and the invocation of some small benefits, everything applies to male circumcision practiced in Africa, including the risk of infection and severe bleeding.

Cultures that practice FGM also practice male circumcision.

In 2012, the International NGO Council on Violence against Children writes (see page 22):

Male circumcision: Very widespread practice, until recently largely neglected in mainstream debates on harmful practices.
•Serious invasion of physical integrity
•Can result in psychological and sexual health problems
•Issues of consent
•Right to freedom of religion
•Suggestions that may help to prevent transmission of HIV do not in themselves support the practice.

See also: Circumcision and Human Rights

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Who will cut your baby's penis?

From the AAP Policy Statement on Circumcision:

"In general, untrained providers who perform circumcisions have
more complications than well-trained providers who perform the procedure"

From Banner Health's policy on "Medical Student, Resident, Physician Assistant Student Privileges"

Third Year Residents:
Direct Supervision of Year One residents performing Gomco circumcisions, pediatric and
adult lumbar punctures, non-stress test interpretation, amniotic fluid index and normal vaginal
deliveries (including completing the documentation of experience for the junior resident)

From Banner Health's page:

Our many services for newborns include:
  • ...
  • Circumcision services offered daily by our experienced pediatricians

Is it really informed consent, when parents are not told that their son's penis is going to be operated on by a First Year Resident?

Thanks to the Intactivist Community for providing us with this information.