Circumcision - Perhaps a good thing afterall?

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I was fairly sure that the medical evidence was inconclusive on whether circumcision has a net benefit. Therefore it can't really be justified as a standard medical procedure until the benefits are demonstrated (although I wouldn't go as far as banning it outright, maybe discouraging it).

FreedomofInformation:
4) The female equivalent is illegal in a lot of countries.

The thing often called "female circumcision" is illegal in a lot of countries. That is not to say they are equivalent.

Kopikatsu:

ShiningAmber:
As a woman, I feel like I shouldn't have a say in whether someone is going to be circumcised or not.

I say leave it up to the discretion of the person who is going would be circumcised otherwise. It's part of a man's body. It should be his choice. I am a big proponent of bodily autonomy.

I know most circumcisions happen shortly after birth, which complicates things. But, if there was any way to leave the choice to the male, I say do it.

Unless of course, there's something horribly life threatening wrong with the new born and it just happens that circumcision would save his life, then I say go at it.

But, otherwise, leave it to the man. Let him decide when he's old enough. I highly doubt anything so life threatening would occur so often.

The issue is that waiting until they're older to preform the procedure can cause scarring and other permanent damage. The reason it's preformed on infants is because they can heal fully.

Circumcision can always lead to all sorts of damage, from minor bleeding and infections to edemas, dysfunction and loss of the glans. Babies do heal better, true, and adult circumcision generally requires more stitching while a baby can even go without any, but just because infants have slightly decreased complication risks you shouldn't perform medically unnecessary operations on them without their consent. And if it isn't done as a phimosis-treatment it is by definition medically unnecessary since the claimed health benefits are somewhere between questionable and not aplicable to Western societies in any case.

However, what really worries me is the execution by laymen. People who have no proper medical education about penis anatomy, emergency preparedness should something go wrong and, worst of all, no pain treatment whatsoever or at best a cheap rub-on solution that actually doesn't do anything either since not many infants fall for placebos. Seriously, go to Youtube and you can really tell which are done in a hospital and which are performed at home, in one case the baby is completely still in the other you'd expect them to just amputate everything from the waist down.

Realitycrash:
Above question applies to you too, if you feel comfortable enough answering it.

You mean about loss of sensation? Well, I had the procedure done as an infant, so I don't really have anything to compare it against. Sex is great though, so I don't have any complaints. What my parents did was well intentioned and nothing horrible happened as a result, hell, I was too young to even remember it.

evilthecat:
Get a genital piercing. There's absolutely no point sitting here and debating the relative sexual merits of cut versus uncut penises because the differences, if they exist, are miniscule and can be easily compensated for with a very simple process that takes about a minute and costs about $100 from an experienced piercer.

What's that, you don't want to get a genital piercing because you're too squeamish or you don't like the look? Well that's fine, me too. However, the point is that we don't need to get so hung up on who has the "best" penis, not everyone has to have the "best" penis in order to have an enjoyable and mutually satisfying sex life. As a culture, we really need to lose this notion of an "ideal standard", particularly when it's primarily an invention of straight men who have absolutely no interest in cock anyway.

Speaking as a fellow with a tattoo on the head of his dick, I would still avoid getting a piercing there. Had my nipples pierced when I was in my early twenties, and the annoyance of continual infections led me to removing them. The thought of dealing with that down below is not appealing.

To those that say condom usage is the answer I'd point to a couple quick stats.

The US has .43% of it's population infected with HIV with a condom usage rate of 12.2

Germany has an infection rate of .08% with a condom usage rate of 1.1

UK has an infection rate of .14 with a condom usage rate of 27

Do condoms prevent HIV spreading more than any other method? Yes, however there use will never be 100%, not even in areas where everyone should be using condoms. And in countries that Have very low HIV rates have some of the lowest condom usage rates. It's the individuals in certain countries that are the problem. There is only a small subset of people that inflates these infection rates how do you reach these people even though they are regularly told how in danger they are of infection.

My point people will always not use condoms at some point in their life even if they normally would. A condom slips on and then you take it off and you do that every time where a circumcision is always there. Now I'm not for mandatory circumcision but in regards to the possible health benefits I'd say it's worth it and more directly related to HIV reduction on the macro scale than condoms. Because people the least at risk for HIV infection will probably use condoms more often while those that are heavily at risks will use them least. Ignorance sucks but it's reality and something you have to calculate in when having a discussion like this. Contraceptive education is great and beneficial but doesn't always come through the way you want it to, I mean this isn't the 50's where contraceptive is a bad word that isn't talked about.

Also HIV isn't the only benefit, I have to tell you if I was getting a urinary tract infection like many of the women I know I would be pissed(burning while I pissed more accurately) as of now I've never had one and until i'm old and decrepit probably won't get one thanks at least in part to the fact that I don't have foreskin.

Edit: I'd like to add that the procedure is medically relevant given the current data. Where a non relevant procedure like a boob job for a 10 year old if performed would find the doctor and parents culpable for what is basically abuse.

Doctors shouldn't just fix problems they should stop them from ever occurring as much as possible.

Esotera:
I was fairly sure that the medical evidence was inconclusive on whether circumcision has a net benefit. Therefore it can't really be justified as a standard medical procedure until the benefits are demonstrated (although I wouldn't go as far as banning it outright, maybe discouraging it).

All the medical discussions I've seen admit that it does prevent HIV etc. enough to make a noticeable difference however they then point out any possible downsides. If that is what you mean by inconclusive then I guess it's inconclusive, but if you mean there isn't enough data to support medical benefits then I can't agree with you, there is even a method of action for how circumcision reduces the chance of catching HIV.

I follow the "no maiming" rule when it comes to my body. It's really that simple.

thaluikhain:

FreedomofInformation:
4) The female equivalent is illegal in a lot of countries.

The thing often called "female circumcision" is illegal in a lot of countries. That is not to say they are equivalent.

I said the female equivalent you're thinking of something else which I'm sure probably had a good reason for doing

Copper Zen:
I was circumcised and I'll have any boys I sire circumcised, too. Don't care what others think about it.

Any particular reason for that or are you doing it just because its the norm here in the states?

OT: I'm still undecided on the whole thing. If it comes to it, I'll just ask the mother what she wants to do.

Copper Zen:
OT: I was circumcised and I'll have any boys I sire circumcised, too. Don't care what others think about it.

No meaning to be snarky, but do you care what those hypothetical boys think about it?

And, of course, does the mother get a say?

Shadowstar38:

Any particular reason for that or are you doing it just because its the norm here in the states?

Mostly because it's the norm in our family. It's a plus that circumcised males are less likely to get some kinds of infections. Every little bit helps.

I don't care about the whole .0001% (or whatever) of circumcised people having major problems. Some people are allergic to aspirin.

The voluntary aspect doesn't enter it for me--not when babies are circumcised at 8 days of age as I was. According to my late father the doctor wrapped a rubber band around the tip of my penis, waited a few minutes (for some reason--I don't recall why) then snipped the foreskin. Apparently I barely squalled.

Not exactly a savage rite of passage so I can't claim machismo-cred from it.

Some people do care and I respect their perspectives. I view this as another "Don't tread on me" subject. To each their own.

thaluikhain:

Copper Zen:
OT: I was circumcised and I'll have any boys I sire circumcised, too. Don't care what others think about it.

No meaning to be snarky, but do you care what those hypothetical boys think about it?

Nope. See above.

thaluikhain:

And, of course, does the mother get a say?

Considering that I'd have to be married before siring a child--I'm finicky and careful that way--we'd discuss it to be sure! But I don't think I'd marry someone who wasn't as laid back about such things as I am. Children are the sort of thing couples need to discuss before they marry.

Jux:
Speaking as a fellow with a tattoo on the head of his dick, I would still avoid getting a piercing there. Had my nipples pierced when I was in my early twenties, and the annoyance of continual infections led me to removing them. The thought of dealing with that down below is not appealing.

It wasn't actually a serious point. I figured that would be clear from the fact I earlier discussed the risk of infection from circumcision itself. There can be health complications from any piercing, and genital piercings are one of the more difficult.

People get overly hung up on the adequacy or otherwise of their junk based on the most absurd and silly things, and I suspect that's why any circumcision thread is pretty much guaranteed to turn into a venomous flame war, because people seem irrationally invested in trying to assert that having a particular type of penis is in some way more desirable or superior.

My point was that if any of the people asserting that circumcision causes a loss of sensation actually cared all that much about sensation as opposed to simply affirming that their penis was the most awesome penis on earth, they would all get genital piercings. The reported differences between a pierced and unpierced penis in terms of sensation are hugely greater than the most wild projections of difference between cut and uncut, particularly since there are people who are actually qualified to make a valid comparison.

The same goes from people (well, straight men) who assert that uncircumcised penises are in some way unhygienic or dirty or lead to poor sexual performance. None of these people actually care about any of these things, it's purely about asserting the excellence and quality of your penis over everyone else's. The same goes for people who claim that circumcision prevents infection, then stick their fingers in their ears and shout "lalala I can't hear you" when discussing the very real risk of infection from the circumcision procedure itself. I don't think many people actually care about the relative risk of STI infection, it's purely, again, about asserting the adequacy or even superiority of whatever type of penis they happen to have.

In reality (and speaking as someone who has encountered both) the difference between circumcised and uncircumcised penises, for all practical purposes, are minuscule. They both function sexually, they're both perfectly hygienic (unless you don't wash them, then they both smell). If there are differences, they are so negligible that the question of "which is better" is just childish one-upmanship.

Circumcision is a tiny, tiny, tiny thing about you, and it should be possible to have a discussion about circumcision without needing to constantly bring it back to your penis (not you personally, I guess I'm speaking generally now) and whether your penis is good enough and whether your penis is the bestest and most wonderful penis in the entire world. I will tell you all now, your penis is sexually functional. It doesn't really matter how big it is or whether it's circumcized or not or whether it curves one way or the other, you are still capable of having an enjoyable and fulfilling sex life with it and I wish you both all the happiness in the world.

I hope one day we can get past this and actually talk about circumcision as a medical procedure without this kind of Freudian bullshit.. but I doubt it. ;P

evilthecat:
I hope one day we can get past this and actually talk about circumcision as a medical procedure without this kind of Freudian bullshit.. but I doubt it. ;P

Sounds like a dreadfully boring conversation, I would much rather pointedly assert how awesome my penis is and verbally jab those that would disagree. Can't think of how to work 'thrust' into this joke, so I'll just leave it here.

Jux:
Sounds like a dreadfully boring conversation, I would much rather pointedly assert how awesome my penis is and verbally jab those that would disagree. Can't think of how to work 'thrust' into this joke, so I'll just leave it here.

I don't think you got the thrust of my argument.

I think maybe this thread is coming to a head, and it's time to pull out.

dmase:
Also HIV isn't the only benefit, I have to tell you if I was getting a urinary tract infection like many of the women I know I would be pissed(burning while I pissed more accurately) as of now I've never had one and until i'm old and decrepit probably won't get one thanks at least in part to the fact that I don't have foreskin.

That's not relevant. Men generally have urinary infections much, much more rarely than women because the urethra is longer and there are generally more protections against it. On the other hand, when they occur they are considered complicated and require more extensive treatment. I really wouldn't compare myself to women on that issue if I were you, I'd compare men who have and haven't been circumcised. And I'd take hygiene and level of access to clean water into account.

dmase:
I have to tell you if I was getting a urinary tract infection like many of the women I know I would be pissed(burning while I pissed more accurately) as of now I've never had one and until i'm old and decrepit probably won't get one thanks at least in part to the fact that I don't have foreskin.

Normal urinary tract infection rates occur in approximately 1% of male prepubescent children while infection as the commonest complication of circumcision happens in 2% of cases. So apart from needlessly cutting healthy tissue that might fulfill hitherto unknown roles such as the apendix once was you're effectively doubling infection rates in non-risk children.
Just something to ponder about.

Copper Zen:

Some people do care and I respect their perspectives. I view this as another "Don't tread on me" subject. To each their own.

"Don't tread on me" and "To each their own" doesn't really fly when you're talking about someone else's body.

Copper Zen:

OT: I was circumcised and I'll have any boys I sire circumcised, too. Don't care what others think about it.

What about what they think about it? Shouldn't it be the persons choice whether or not to have their dick go under the knife? I'd be pretty furious if my father decided for me.

Also, would you care to elaborate with more than just "nope"/tradition and maybe give a more indepth reason why you wouldn't give the slightest shit about said child's/children's right to choose whether or not they get circumcised?

I mean the whole "don't tread on me" thing doesn't really fly when you're talking about permanent modifications to someone else's body.

Copper Zen:

I-will-be-watching-this-thread-closely, people. If it degenerates into a flame war like the last one I'll shut it down before it becomes a ban-fest like the other one.

You don't have to constantly remind everyone you're a moderator who will close threads and ban people you know.

We get it.

Realitycrash:

Sitting at a lecture right now, so don't have time to personally go through all the links, but: What do you know of the reported loss of sexual tactile-senses? I.e having your foreskin cut off makes you lose considerable "sensation", making it harder to orgasm?

Good. Men have enough of a reputation of not being able to go the distance that having a little loss of sensation might be doing women a favor. Though that's not the reality anyway since the studies on sensation loss are inconclusive at best. If there is a sensation loss, it's most likely measured in how many seconds more it would take for a cut to get off than a non-cut.

OT: I don't care. Ban it, keep it legal, I don't give a fuck. Though I'm with evilthecat in that the obsession over it is just blustering. Due to the generally non-religious nature of this board, that puts me in opposition to anti-circumcision most of the time. If it were religious, it'd probably be the opposite.

The problem with the OP's analogy is that for infectious diseases, vaccination protects the whole population and there is no alternative. If you want to avoid STD's,

#1 - Studies don't show that circumcision reduces STDs, they are conflicted in ways that vaccine studies are NOT. See for example:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22897699

"These analyses represent the first assessment of the association between circumcision and STI/HIV among men in the Caribbean. While preliminary, the data indicate that in and of itself, circumcision did not confer significant protective benefit against STI/HIV infection. Findings suggest the need to apply caution in the use of circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy, particularly in settings where more effective combinations of interventions have yet to be fully implemented."

#2 - Abstinence or utilizing condoms are a much better protection against HIV and STDs than circumcision; circumcised males can and do transmit HIV and STDs; thinking that circumcision offers "protection" against this is ridiculous.

I recommend reading the following website for much more information:

http://www.intactamerica.org/learnmore

Personal stories:

http://rationalist.org.uk/articles/2856/circumcision-time-to-cut-it-out
http://www.circumcision.org/confessions.htm

A video by Andrew Sullivan:

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2011/12/12/ask-me-anything-why-im-opposed-to-circumcision/

A religious view from a Jewish perspective:

http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org/

What is a foreskin good for, anyway:

http://www.circumcision.org/foreskin.htm

And even Patrick Rothfuss weighing in on it:

http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2010/04/concerning-circumcision/

I personally know a doctor who is an intactivist advocate; he was circumcised and as a urologist he no longer supports the practice, giving speeches on the harm this procedure can do to young boys and the possibility of reduced sensitivity later in life; as he put it to me, "At 25 you might not care that you were circumcised; at 50 you're going to want every bit of penile sensitivity you can get."

In the USA there was an outcry over a "genital nick" to women that does *nothing* to harm the clitoris and is done to satisfy religious requirements without harming the woman's sexual functioning:

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1988434,00.html

There was an *outcry* among feminists and women that we would do this to young girls, which does nothing to "mutilate" the female genitals and basically is just a ritual pinprick; and yet we routinely remove 1/3 of the penile nerve endings via the foreskin without thinking twice about it. (Note: This is NOT Female Genital Mutilation; female circumcision can be anything from a ritual pinprick that the girl never notices to removal of JUST the skin covering the clitoris to removal of the entire clitoris and labia, etc.)

It brings up interesting questions about how much we value our girls vs. our boys.

I hope anyone interested in the subject takes the time to browse the links I have provided. This tends to be one of those topics that generates more bluster and emotion on the internet than actual conversation.

Maiming children, who cannot give consent, is wrong. Is that REALLY so difficult to agree on? The supposed 'benefits' are far from concrete at this point, and until that does become fully confirmed, I think circumcision should be illegal.

evilthecat:
Get a genital piercing There's absolutely no point sitting here and debating the relative sexual merits of cut versus uncut penises because the differences, if they exist, are miniscule and can be easily compensated for with a very simple process that takes about a minute and costs about $100 from an experienced piercer.

Just going to speak up here... I'm a bi guy that ran with a... certain crowd in a big city. A heavily "pierced" and tattooed crowd. This is not necessarily good advice.

LOTS of people who have had genital piercings - men and women - have them taken out because of complaints of infection, scar tissue, and loss of sensation.

Totally off topic but... just wouldn't want somebody taking this advice thinking genital piercing is the end-all, be-all for their sex life without

#1 Reading about it
#2 Talking to some people who have had them and even better
#3 Talk to a urologist or OB/GYN about some of their genital piercing horror stories - EVERY person in those professions have one

...

I know very few women who have had a clitoral piercing for more than 10 years, for example. Talk to women who have had piercings long-term to find out why...

evilthecat:

In reality (and speaking as someone who has encountered both) the difference between circumcised and uncircumcised penises, for all practical purposes, are minuscule. They both function sexually, they're both perfectly hygienic (unless you don't wash them, then they both smell). If there are differences, they are so negligible that the question of "which is better" is just childish one-upmanship.

I sometimes think that we also make the mistake of saying that differences are "negligible" just to make everyone feel good, but this isn't always the case.

I'm a bi guy. My partner and I both prefer uncircumcised guys - we just do. So does my wife. Most women I've been with that have experienced both prefer uncircumcised guys - less chafing for them, sex feels better, etc. I've heard a lot of reasons. I think to say that circumcision isn't a "big deal" is discounting all of the men who are really, really ticked off that it was done to them, all the gay and bi men who prefer uncircumcised penises, and all the women who might have a preference in that realm.

I'd change that to:

"Circumcised or uncircumcised might matter to *some* people a lot - just as having a very large or very small penis might matter to some people a lot."

Will it matter to everyone? Of course not. Will it ruin your sex life? Probably not, not for most circumcised guys I know. But is it a big deal?

Well, it depends on who you ask.

SHOULD it be a big deal? I'm not in the business of deciding for everyone what should matter to them, so I have to err on the side of caution and say that I'd let my sons decide for themselves. ;)

I like how cracked.com put it in this article:

http://www.cracked.com/article_18840_5-common-medical-procedures-that-secretly-arent-worth-it.html

"But overall, despite the popularity of the procedure, there isn't a single medical authority anywhere that will recommend it. Not because of any overwhelming negative side effects, but simply because it's a completely pointless medical procedure that just kind of caught on, like skintight jeans. It's medically comparable to removing a male baby's nipples at birth -- sure, they're useless, but all things considered, why add expense and/or risk if you don't have to?"

WHY are we doing this useless thing?

The Gnome King:
snip

Again, it wasn't a serious point, though I'm beginning to think I didn't communicate that well. I would have thought the fact that I clearly state that I don't have a genital piercing and the fact that I point to the risks of infection from circumcision itself earlier would have made that clear.

Granted, I've never met anyone who had one and wasn't happy with it, so maybe this has colored my opinion in an unduly positive direction. I didn't mean to imply that getting a genital piercing was safe or that it was a good idea.

Again, the point is the annoying tendency of this argument to degenerate into "who has the best willy" when the differences are actually pretty insubstantial.

The Gnome King:
I think to say that circumcision isn't a "big deal" is discounting all of the men who are really, really ticked off that it was done to them, all the gay and bi men who prefer uncircumcised penises, and all the women who might have a preference in that realm.

I wouldn't say so. I would say it's more about keeping your feelings about it in proportion with the actual effects.

I remember listening to my ex raving for ages the first time she fucked a circumcised guy, so there are varying opinions out there. Some people prefer different things, and this is going to lead to some people having bad experiences. For a few people, such as those who are actually intersexed or have an abnormally large penis, it may lead to a lot of bad experiences, but I refuse to translate into the notion that some people have "better" bodies than others. Better for what?

I think if someone is acting like circumcision has ruined their sex life forever, they could probably stand to be discounted or at least to have that opinion challenged. I'm not saying they haven't had bad experiences which have lead them to that conclusion, only that their response to those experiences may not be entirely proportionate.

But the same is true, of course, of people who become highly defensive and declare that circumcision is the most wonderful thing on earth and how dare we question the mighty erect phalli of the circumcised master race. Both are disproportionate reactions to a thing which is actually relatively minor, which was my point. This is an issue in which people are very quick to nail their dicks to the wall, and which thus often spirals into horrific, hyperbolic flamebait for seemingly no reason just because *gasp* the indescribable awesomeness of mens' willies is at stake!

Now, as I think was probably obvious from my initial post, I'm completely with you as regards circumcision as a medical procedure. It's a pointless operation which, at best, has a few minor medical benefits but which certainly does carry measurable risks. There is absolutely no demonstrable reason why it should happen (except in the few cases where it is medically required). The only reason it does happen is that it was somehow popularized by a sexually repressive lie.

But just because circumcision as a practice shouldn't really happen doesn't mean that those who have undergone it are somehow worse off or inadequate. Some people will always need to be circumcised as children, because there are several medical conditions which make it necessary. Those men aren't "damaged" or "inadequate" or in any way inferior, their bodies are slightly different in a way which is actually very subtle.

Basically.. when we see grown men comparing male circumcision to clitoridectomy, it's probably time to step back and rethink.

thaluikhain:

FreedomofInformation:
4) The female equivalent is illegal in a lot of countries.

The thing often called "female circumcision" is illegal in a lot of countries. That is not to say they are equivalent.

There are (iirc) 4 'types' of female circumcision/FGM, from removal of the clitoral hood (the female equivalent of the foreskin) up to effectively sewing a girl shut. While the latter is definitely worse than male circumcision is the former?

Karma168:
There are (iirc) 4 'types' of female circumcision/FGM, from removal of the clitoral hood (the female equivalent of the foreskin) up to effectively sewing a girl shut. While the latter is definitely worse than male circumcision is the former?

Yes.

Due to the smaller size, the risk of permanent damage is considerably higher with the removal of the clitoral hood than the male foreskin, as is the risk of long term complications and infection. The clitoris is also far more sensitive to direct contact than the glans, so not having a clitoral hood can be extremely painful and also degrading to sexual pleasure as any form of external clitoral stimulation becomes difficult.

This is not a line of reasoning you ever want to pursue.

From what I can tell, circumcision is a fantastic choice... if you live in a dirt-poor nation like Zimbabwe. In a developed nation, I think the highest risk of not getting a circumcision is a urinary tract infection, which is actually quite common among babies, which circumcision helps prevent. So basically, I think comes down what you as a parent decide whether or not it is worth the risk to circumcise or not.

Here's an extremely useful video on the matter:

Every time I hear this argument though I'm forced to think about the Reimer case (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Reimer), where one boy basically lost his penis because he was circumsised, albeit in an unusual way which was only done that way because they already had problems appearing, rather than it being a preemptive circumcision like what most infants have.

evilthecat:

Granted, I've never met anyone who had one and wasn't happy with it, so maybe this has colored my opinion in an unduly positive direction. I didn't mean to imply that getting a genital piercing was safe or that it was a good idea.

I've met quite a few people who weren't happy with theirs... though sometimes it takes 5+ years to reach this conclusion. Also, sometimes when people aren't happy with their genitals they don't go advertising it...

But as a joke, fine, fine. ;)

Again, the point is the annoying tendency of this argument to degenerate into "who has the best willy" when the differences are actually pretty insubstantial.

I don't think of it as a "who has the best willy" debate; I think of it as a bodily integrity debate. The foreskin contains nerve endings, period. It can be useful to people later in life - like the transsexual who commented here that the foreskin will be used in their gender reassignment surgery.

No major medical organization recommends it. Why do it? To me, it's simply a human rights issue. Period, end of story.

I wouldn't say so. I would say it's more about keeping your feelings about it in proportion with the actual effects.

I've been with circumcised and uncircumcised males and without going into too much detail about my own sexual life, I can say that there is sometimes a *lot* of difference in 'effect' - much more so than having a genital piercing. We may simply have to agree to disagree here based on our different experiences in this regard.

I remember listening to my ex raving for ages the first time she fucked a circumcised guy, so there are varying opinions out there. Some people prefer different things, and this is going to lead to some people having bad experiences. For a few people, such as those who are actually intersexed or have an abnormally large penis, it may lead to a lot of bad experiences, but I refuse to translate into the notion that some people have "better" bodies than others. Better for what?

Better for sex with specific partners. If a woman says she prefers circumcised penises, I'm not going to tell her that she is wrong - but I *will* tell her that she has no right to decide to alter another man's body. (For the record, I have known women who say that they prefer circumcised penises. And some who prefer uncircumcised.)

If some people say that there *is* a big difference, rather than condescend to tell them that they are wrong and it's just their "feelings" I'd allow them to determine for themselves their preference in that regard.

I think if someone is acting like circumcision has ruined their sex life forever, they could probably stand to be discounted or at least to have that opinion challenged. I'm not saying they haven't had bad experiences which have lead them to that conclusion, only that their response to those experiences may not be entirely proportionate.

But who are we to tell others what the appropriate response is to something that has been done to their body? Here's a list of people who would say that circumcision *has* ruined their sex lives. We can argue with them, sure, but we're not living in their shoes. (Or with their penises, so to speak.)

http://www.circumstitions.com/Resent.html

But the same is true, of course, of people who become highly defensive and declare that circumcision is the most wonderful thing on earth and how dare we question the mighty erect phalli of the circumcised master race. Both are disproportionate reactions to a thing which is actually relatively minor, which was my point.

I don't see it as relatively minor, and that is *my* point. Minor in the grand scheme of life perhaps? Maybe, but so is having a large or small penis; and look at how penis enlargement pills are selling... (pretty well, despite the fact that they're a scam, last I checked.)

I know some women/gay/bi men who love huge penises. Am I going to tell them that their preference is wrong? Nope. It's their preference. Same way I won't tell somebody that they prefer uncut penises that they are wrong.

There is no "wrong" when it comes to sexual preference, really. We like what we like.

This is an issue in which people are very quick to nail their dicks to the wall, and which thus often spirals into horrific, hyperbolic flamebait for seemingly no reason just because *gasp* the indescribable awesomeness of mens' willies is at stake!

Honestly, I think it boils down to a body integrity issue. Honestly. Even men I know who are quite happy with their circumcised penises have told me that they wished they had a choice in the matter when I asked them in... ahem, intimate settings.

Does this mean that cut men are horribly sentenced to a sexless life of misery? Of course not! But if, say, the sex life of a circumcised male is 5% less enjoyable on average due to lack of sensation than an uncut male... wouldn't that be worth finding out? Medically?

If there was a procedure that cut 5% of a woman's sexual sensitivity out but gave her a 1% reduction in the chance of catching HIV; would we do it? Would we fight for it? Would we consider it worth investigating or leaving up to the woman?

Now, as I think was probably obvious from my initial post, I'm completely with you as regards circumcision as a medical procedure. It's a pointless operation which, at best, has a few minor medical benefits but which certainly does carry measurable risks.

We're on the same page with that sentence!

But just because circumcision as a practice shouldn't really happen doesn't mean that those who have undergone it are somehow worse off or inadequate.

Well, no, but deaf and blind children aren't "inadequate" either. Disabled children aren't inadequate. A child born with an underdeveloped sense of smell isn't inadequate. All human life is "adequate" - I think it's still fair to ask why we would want to disadvantage somebody or alter their body when we don't need to though, yes?

Some people will always need to be circumcised as children, because there are several medical conditions which make it necessary. Those men aren't "damaged" or "inadequate" or in any way inferior, their bodies are slightly different in a way which is actually very subtle.

I was born blind in one eye. Nobody can tell, my eyes look normal. However, I needed corrective eye surgery when I was born to achieve this "normal" look. I don't consider myself "damaged" or "inadequate" - my life certainly hasn't been impacted in any huge negative way but...

But...

Given the choice, I'd like to have sight in both eyes.

And that's how I look at circumcision. It's taking away a body part for no reason; a body part we don't even fully understand and by all accounts may be important to future sexual satisfaction. The urologist I talked to said almost all impotent men and men he sees who have problems achieving orgasm in their 50's and above have been circumcised - and that this isn't as common in the UK and countries where men are routinely uncut. He sees a correlation between circumcision and future sexual impotence and loss of sensation.

If this is the case, isn't this kind of important to investigate further - as a medical issue?

Basically.. when we see grown men comparing male circumcision to clitoridectomy, it's probably time to step back and rethink.

I agree. Clitoridectomy is equivalent to cutting the head of the penis off completely. But what about that "ritual clitoral nick" for religious purposes. Or simple removal of the clitoral hood. Those operations remove much less tissue and nerve endings than male circumcision.

Do you support them? Do you think that should be "left up to the parents" ...?

evilthecat:

Due to the smaller size, the risk of permanent damage is considerably higher with the removal of the clitoral hood than the male foreskin, as is the risk of long term complications and infection.

Out of curiosity, do you have statistics about this when the operations are performed in hospital settings? I have not seen this particular bit of data you are mentioning here.

And what about the clitoral nick that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended before the feminist outcry?

http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/05/08/out-female-genital-mutilation-in-female-genital-nicking-says-american-academy-of-pediatrics/

Surely you can't see any damage in a ritual "nicking" that is worse than cutting off a boy's foreskin?

(Edit: From the article -

"Surely pediatricians sworn to do no harm wouldn't advocate a medically unnecessary practice rooted firmly in hatred of women.")

Nobody sees any irony in advocating an medically unnecessary practice rooted firmly in the hatred of male masturbation, though? (See roots of American circumcision and recommendations by Dr. Kellogg.)

I never understood how people can get so up in arms about circumcision. Who cares? Any studies done about the health effects or effects on sensitivity are inconclusive on either side.

Frission:
I never understood how people can get so up in arms about circumcision. Who cares? Any studies done about the health effects or effects on sensitivity are inconclusive on either side.

So you find the genital mutilation of children such a minor issue it's not even worth discussing?

I'm also somewhat baffled when someone, after a heated discussion, types the line "who cares?" with a straight face. Especially considering there's a good few posts above going on in some detail why you should care.

St3rY:

Frission:
I never understood how people can get so up in arms about circumcision. Who cares? Any studies done about the health effects or effects on sensitivity are inconclusive on either side.

So you find the genital mutilation of children such a minor issue it's not even worth discussing?

I'm also somewhat baffled when someone, after a heated discussion, types the line "who cares?" with a straight face. Especially considering there's a good few posts above going on in some detail why you should care.

Can you please stop with the pathos bullshit? The constant bleating about "genital mutilation" does nothing but push people away from an otherwise reasonable position.

LetalisK:
The constant bleating about "genital mutilation" does nothing but push people away from an otherwise reasonable position.

Honestly the women talking in the "clitoral nick" argument - on the con side - referred to this even more minor procedure as "genital mutilation" - you might not like it but:

#1) The foreskin, which is part of the natural penis, is considered part of the genitals.

#2) Some people (many people) consider *any* cutting or nicking of these organs to be "mutilation" ...

You might not like the language but it's technically correct. If as a circumcised male (or clitorically nicked female) I choose to say that I was mutilated, that would be correct. To mutilate means to deface, to make imperfect.

"Definition of MUTILATE

1 : to cut up or alter radically so as to make imperfect <the child mutilated the book with his scissors>
2 : to cut off or permanently destroy a limb or essential part of"

If you consider your foreskin an essential part of your penis, you will consider circumcision genital mutilation. And rightly so.

If you consider your clitoris an organ that shouldn't be "nicked" to satisfy the religious wants of your parents, you would also be right to say that you were "mutilated" since a knife was taken to a part of you without your consent.

I honestly think we could end FGM a lot sooner if we just admitted that circumcision was a problem, that it was designed (at least in current use, in the US) to desensitize the penis so masturbation wasn't as appealing to young boys, and that any *ANY* alteration of any *ANY* child's genitals is unnecessary, unless it *is* necessary for a medical reason.

I know men who were circumcised and consider themselves mutilated. I'm not going to take away their agency and tell them that they are wrong any more than I would tell a woman who was subjected to a clitorical nick that she is wrong for thinking she was mutilated.

LetalisK:

St3rY:

Frission:
I never understood how people can get so up in arms about circumcision. Who cares? Any studies done about the health effects or effects on sensitivity are inconclusive on either side.

So you find the genital mutilation of children such a minor issue it's not even worth discussing?

I'm also somewhat baffled when someone, after a heated discussion, types the line "who cares?" with a straight face. Especially considering there's a good few posts above going on in some detail why you should care.

Can you please stop with the pathos bullshit? The constant bleating about "genital mutilation" does nothing but push people away from an otherwise reasonable position.

I'm calling it what it is. I assume you wouldn't have a problem with the use of the word if it described a less socially acceptable form of it, say the removal of earlobes or nose.

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