San Francisco to ban circumcision?

Becky - posted on 11/12/2010 ( 189 moms have responded )

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Wow, San Fran is on a roll with the banning!

http://www.care2.com/causes/health-polic...

A few weeks ago San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted to ban toy giveaways in meals that don't meet certain nutritional standards, like McDonald's Happy Meals. Now that same city may be getting ready to vote on another contentious issue relating to children's health: Circumcision.

If Lloyd Schofield is successful, a circumcision ban could end up on the ballot next November. Schofield, who argues that it is genital mutilation, would like to make it illegal to "circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate" the genitals of anyone under the age of 18. While some parents are outraged at the proposition, claiming that it is a personal choice, Schofield contends that it is a personal choice -- the personal choice of the person whose body it is. Schofield needs 7,100 signatures in order to get his proposal on the ballot next November.

Some people choose to circumcise their boys for societal reasons (e.g. "everyone does it" or "I don't want him to look different from his dad") and others do it for traditional or religious reasons. However, in a lot of areas the tide seems to be turning on circumcision with more parents considering the potential negative effects of circumcision on newborn boys and some medical authorities stating that there are no health benefits to circumcision. While there has been some discussion about the potential for circumcision to lower the incidence of female to male HIV transmission, experts are divided on this, some maintaining that condoms offer the only real protection.

The question is, if San Francisco is successful in putting this ban in place, will other locations follow suit or will parents in San Francisco simply take their newborn boys elsewhere to be circumcised?
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What do you think?
We chose not to circumcise, so a ban like this wouldn't affect us personally, but I still think it maybe goes too far. For one, an accross the board ban would interfere with freedom of religion for those who do it for religious reasons. I'd rather see more education and maybe make circumcision harder to access. In Calgary, there are only a few drs who circumcise, and that was a big part of the reason we ended up not getting it done with our first. Because I wasn't as informed as I should have been, had it been offered in the hospital, we probably would have gotten it done.

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Kati, I'm curious -- would you still be inclined to circ your boys if the WHO and UNAIDS didn't support your position? It's only a matter of time before they come to their senses and outright advise against it....

Isobel - posted on 11/13/2010

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Kati, you know I love you BUT

It is a FACT that the only reason that circumcision was introduced to the non-jewish population WAS in an attempt to curb masterbation.

The foreskin is basically the same thing as a woman's clitoris (the MAJOR sexual nerve ending center) except that it HAS a purpose...to protect the penis from wear and tear AND from infection during infant years.

Since circ rates are dropping, and circs are no longer going to be covered by anybody...soon circumcised boys will soon be the minority... in fact...they already are where I am

Kate CP - posted on 11/13/2010

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What these studies have failed to produce is evidence of whether or not proper sexual education and the use of condoms can be linked to a group of men who are circumcised or not.

I would also like to point out that any kind of intercourse without a condom is incredibly high-risk regardless of whether or not the man is circumcised.

Rosie - posted on 11/13/2010

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yes, i read it. and it said they now recommend it.
and while it is recommended for areas where there is a HIGH rate of HIV/AIDS there have also been studies here in the usa that seem to prove the same thing. definitely not conclusive yet, but it's enough to get the AAP to at least rethink it's stance on circumcision. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factshe...
HIV Infection and Male Circumcision in the United States

In 2005, men who have sex with men (MSM) (48%), MSM who also inject drugs (4%), and men (11%) and women (21%) exposed through high-risk heterosexual contact accounted for an estimated 84% of all HIV/AIDS cases diagnosed in U.S. areas with confidential name-based HIV infection reporting. Blacks accounted for 49% of cases and Hispanics for 18%. Infection rates for both groups were several-fold higher than the rate for whites. An overall prevalence of 0.5% was estimated for the general population [23]. Although data on HIV infection rates since the beginning of the epidemic are available, data on circumcision and risk for HIV infection in the United States are limited. In one crosssectional survey of MSM, lack of circumcision was associated with a 2-fold increase in the odds of prevalent HIV infection [24]. In another, prospective study of MSM, lack of circumcision was also associated with a 2-fold increase in risk for HIV seroconversion [25]. In both studies, the results were statistically significant, and the data had been controlled statistically for other possible risk factors. However, in another prospective cohort study of MSM, there was no association between circumcision status and incident HIV infection, even among men who reported no unprotected anal receptive intercourse [26]. And in a recent cross-sectional study of African American and Latino MSM, male circumcision was not associated with previously known or newly diagnosed HIV infection [27]. In one prospective study of heterosexual men attending an urban STD clinic, when other risk factors were controlled, uncircumcised men had a 3.5-fold higher risk for HIV infection than men who were circumcised. However, this association was not statistically significant [28]. And in an analysis of clinic records for African American men attending an STD clinic, circumcision was not associated with HIV status overall, but among men with known HIV exposure, circumcision was associated with a statistically significant 58% reduction in risk for HIV infection [29].

Kate CP - posted on 11/13/2010

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Did you read the article on the WHO that you posted? Because all it said was that they were doing research to determine if they could recommend it and that more research was needed. It also stated that it would only benefit countries with low circumcision rates and high rates of heterosexual HIV/AIDS infections. So basically, routine infant circumcision won't do much for industrialized countries.

Kate CP - posted on 11/13/2010

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No, the WHO and AAP do not recommend routine infant circumcision. They still consider it a cosmetic procedure.

Rosie - posted on 11/13/2010

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actually krista, you argue your point very well. some others i've encountered in my foreskin escapades on COM, not so much.

Krista - posted on 11/13/2010

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Anyway, I didn't want to come across like I'm attacking moms who circumcised. I guess I just don't GET it, so I'm probably coming across a little strongly. My apologies.

Rosie - posted on 11/13/2010

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it's not flawed enough for the WHOand UNAIDS to recommend circumcumsion. something must be right with it.
and the USA has the highest rates of AIDS in gay men, and IV drug users. circumcision only helps the penetrater (heterosexual sex) , and obviously IV drug users aren't getting it from sex. thats why the us has such a high number of AIDS. that along with the medical technology that we have now, keeps patients living with HIV/AIDS around longer, therefore adding to the number of people with the disease.

Kate CP - posted on 11/13/2010

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Because that study was flawed. Of the men who participated in that study those who were circumcised were more likely to receive sexual education and use condoms. In that study they didn't take into consideration that the US has one of the highest AIDS/HIV infection rates AND circumcision rates.

Krista - posted on 11/13/2010

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Kate's exactly right. Vaccines have a proven and considerable medical benefit. Circumcision's medical benefits could just as easily be chalked up to correlation, not causation. It's not the same thing at all, Kati.

Rosie - posted on 11/13/2010

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circumcision has been proven to reduce the epidemic of AIDS by up to 70%. how is that not a good example?

Rosie - posted on 11/13/2010

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and i get that not all FGM is the same kate. :) it's just that any type of female nipping or whatever doesn't help in anyway. circumcision does.

Kate CP - posted on 11/13/2010

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Kati: Okay, that is TOTALLY a different can of worms. Vaccines have been PROVEN to prevent epidemics. Circumcision does not. BIG BIG BIG difference.

Rosie - posted on 11/13/2010

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how many people have died from vaccinations though krista? nobody has to vaccinate, we could all stop "poisoning" our kids with all the monkey embryos (LMAO) that are in vaccinations. we should ban those too. they're unnecesary, we could all just wash our hands.

Krista - posted on 11/13/2010

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I'm really of two minds on this. I like the idea of a ban, because to me, unless there is a genuine medical need, there is NO legitimate reason to circumcise a healthy penis. And I count religious reasons in there. I will respect your religion, until your religion tells you to start cutting off bits of other peoples' bodies without their consent. At that point, your religion can go take a flying fuck at a rolling donut.

But, I worry that a ban could create a backlash. Being a formula-feeding mom, I know what it's like to be bullied into "what's best" for my baby.

So I think that the key is to just keep educating people, and to make sure that people are aware that any medical benefit created by circumcision is minuscule, and that there are very real risks associated with it, death being one of them. Personally, I cannot fathom how any parent would quite literally risk their kid's life in order to put them through a painful procedure that MIGHT reduce their chances of some faraway future infection. But I know that not everybody sees it that way.

I think the tide is turning, though. Circ rates are dropping, and fast. I just really hope that no other babies are deformed or killed in the meantime...

Kate CP - posted on 11/13/2010

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Kati: Like I just said, not all female circumcision is as drastic as what you're talking about. Some of it is very serious genital mutilation and some is not-depends on the societal customs. I don't like to use the term genital mutilation when it comes to circumcision because it DOES put a lot of people off and makes it sound like those who opted to have the procedure for their sons were just cruel parents. I don't believe that's the case for ANY ONE who chose to circumcise their son(s). I think that too many people go by word of mouth and automatically believe that a circumcised penis is cleaner and easier to care for and that's just not necessarily the case. For some families I'm sure it's better for them but that doesn't mean that it's nasty or gross for those of us who chose to keep our sons intact.

Nikkole - posted on 11/13/2010

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I agree with you Kati whats next people telling you that you cant celebrate holidays or you cant vaccinate your kids like you said!! If we let the government do one thing it will lead to more and more! And if guys had to do it when they were older of course there gonna opt not to guys are big babies lol my husbands nervous about getting a vasectomy but in all seriousness i think its a parents choice and its not for everyone but for some it is!

Rosie - posted on 11/13/2010

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i still can't believe people are comparing FGM to circumcision. the two are COMPLETELY different things.



i don't know the history of circumcision and what it was started for, but i can guarantee that's NOT the reasoning now (to decrease sexual pleasure, or masturbation). ask my husband, definitely no decrease in masturbation, lol! just as planned parenthoods main goal was to wipe out the black race in the beginning, that's not it's intention now.



i still don't think it should EVER be banned for infants. it's a minor procedure compared to major surgery with anesthesia when they are older. more healing time, more costly, less cosmetic result, all when they are older. it makes sense to do it when they are younger.



all the dramatic talk about turning vaginas inside out, and FGM, and using the word mutilation is cute and scare tactic effective, but it's simply mindboggling to me. how is making a woman infertile and completely unable to have sex comparable to a circ?



every bit of info i have ever seen on circumcision is crystal clear that it is better for a child to get circumcised. how much better? enough for me to have it done, might not be enough for others. i don't see why the government thinks i don't get to make a decision to help protect my child. that'd be like them telling me whether i could or couldn't vaccinate. it's a choice i make for MY child. no one should be able to take that away from me.

Kate CP - posted on 11/13/2010

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Well, if you've read up on it you'd know that there are some experienced physicians who actually perform female circumcisions. It's not all done out in the bush (pardon the pun).

Mrs. - posted on 11/13/2010

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Kate-I know there are different types, I've actually read up on female circumcision. I know for some, they just prick the clitoris to draw a drop of blood, it's just ceremonial instead of the full removal/actual sewing up of the vaginal opening.

Course, with boys there is only one type. One that is done by someone very experienced/a physician, when they are a baby and does not cause life long issues with people who aren't on chat group mourning the loss of something they don't even remember.

I'm tired, I'm gonna go to bed and have a nice long fantasy of a penis that doesn't look like a baby elephant trunk. I'm such a product of my society and I love it ;).

Kate CP - posted on 11/13/2010

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Rebecca: There are several different types of female circumcision. Not all of them are as drastic as you've heard/read.

Mrs. - posted on 11/13/2010

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Oh man, I've had a history of terrible UTI's. I gotta tell you, if there was a procedure they could do, that had the history of success for over a thousand billion years and not affect my sex life, I would have been mad at my mom for not getting me that snip when I was a baby and wouldn't remember it. God, I'd sign up for it now just on the off chance I would never get a UTI again.

Fry out the internal sex organs...no going over board there?

LaCi - posted on 11/13/2010

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If we could bring the vagina to the outside, completely dry out the internal sex organs, there wouldn't be an issue of yeast infections. Oh, and if you remove the labia they probably won't get labia cancer.





Why is the vagina sacred but the penis must be sculpted?



Genital mutilation is mutilation, gender is irrelevant.

Mrs. - posted on 11/13/2010

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It isn't equal. Newsflash, vaginal mutilation is different than male circ. If you are saying it is the same thing and affect people the same way then we just disagree. There is nothing you can say that will convince me of that because, I know it not to be true.

Now I gotta go comfort my fiance, he doesn't know it yet but he has some mourning to do...I'm about to tell him how the amazing sex we've been having is all in vain because he lost his foreskin in the 70's.

On a side note, thanks be he didn't keep his foreskin, if as you say he'd be even more sensitive, I guess sex would only last like 3 seconds ;).

Bonnie - posted on 11/13/2010

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Loureen, I honestly don't have an exact answer for you, except it would save them from possibly having to go through it later on in life.

Another thing, to answer your other question, I don't know of any women who have gone through female circumcision.

Dana - posted on 11/13/2010

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I do prefer mutilation over amputation, since amputation is not correct but, used often.

Charlie - posted on 11/13/2010

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Actually there is scientific proof that babies feel pain much more acutely than adult males also Bonnie said : I doubt a grown man is going to say, "you know what, I am going to go get circumcised." Unless it is for medical reasons, Then WHY on earth would you do it to a baby if you think men wouldnt go through with it as an adult consenting male ?



Rebbecca it DOES affect their lives and although i rarely use the word in debate because it seems to offend some IT IS mutilation , its textbook by the very definition .

Definition:



1. destroy body part: to inflict serious injury on the body or a part of the body of a person or animal by removing or destroying parts of it



2. ruin something by removing parts: to damage or spoil something .

3. damage something seriously: to inflict serious damage on something





It is interesting that you feel so strongly about the violation of a womans body and not a mans , where is the equality in that ?

Kate CP - posted on 11/13/2010

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Typically, children heal a LOT faster than adults. That's not to say it's any more or less painful for them, however.

Dana - posted on 11/13/2010

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I don't know that it is the same pain, Emma.

I'd also like to add, my son had surgery on his penis and he wasn't in major pain for days on end. He was upset right after the surgery (groggy from anesthesia and a tube down his throat) but, was back to his normal baby self after that. He was on tylenol 3 but, the surgeon said he probably wouldn't even need that so after the second day, I didn't give it to him and he was fine.

Kate CP - posted on 11/13/2010

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Bonnie: That's my point, though. Why create a wound that you have to then care for when you could just leave it alone? I'm not saying that you or any other mom made the wrong choice in circumcising your son...I'm just saying that these are the reasons why I chose not to do it and I think that if more parents take the time to really look into it BEFORE they have the procedure done then it wouldn't be so prevalent. It's not a thing one should feel remorse over or be made to feel like a bad parent because they chose to have it done. I think that it's something that people should just really think about before just shrugging it off and going "Eh, why not?"

Bonnie - posted on 11/13/2010

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It's a known fact the healing process is worse for a grown man. Maybe not every single man that chooses to get it done, but most.

Jenn - posted on 11/13/2010

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OMG - I'm laughing my ass off about the Julia Roberts comment - because it's true!! HORSE FACE!!!

Bonnie - posted on 11/13/2010

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Kate, yes it sounds disgusting or the penis possibly getting infected during the healing process and yes it sounds even more disgusting to have urine and feces touch an open wound, but really, this is why it is recommended to put as much vaseline and polysporin as you can at each diaper change to help those things off as much as possible. And no, you are right, the anesthetic does not last the entire length of the healing process. That is impossible. It wears off shortly after the procedure.

Stifler's - posted on 11/13/2010

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i know a kid who got circumcised at 18 for his own reasons. and it's the same painful healing process for babies

Kate CP - posted on 11/13/2010

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Bonnie: Men have done this for purely cosmetic reasons and some continue to do so. However, most men are content with their circumcised or uncircumcised state and choose not to mess with what they have. For the few that do it's their choice. It's also a gruesome healing process for a child. Genital surgery is gruesome for ANY one.

Stifler's - posted on 11/13/2010

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the same thing happened to us when i was pregnant with logan. we're like yeah we'll get him circumcised it's cleaner etc. but then we read all the info and we're both like okay NO.

Dana - posted on 11/13/2010

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That's untrue, Bonnie, I know a few men who have done it later in life and it wasn't for medical reasons.

Bonnie - posted on 11/13/2010

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I doubt a grown man is going to say, "you know what, I am going to go get circumcised." Unless it is for medical reasons, it's not happening. So I don't think people should keep bringing up the fact that circumcision should be left up to a man to decide if they want to go through with it. Besides that fact, it can be a gruesome healing process for a grown man to go through.

Kate CP - posted on 11/13/2010

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I used to ride the fence on circumcision until I found out I'm pregnant with a boy. I always thought "We'll just get him circumcised like his daddy and he'll be fine." Then I started thinking about it...
You're causing an open wound in a diaper filled with urine and feces. You're taking away the body's natural protection AGAINST infection (the foreskin covers the urethra EXCEPT when it is opened during urination). You're adding to the work load of changing diapers by having to make sure that the wound is clean and not bleeding or inflamed. And it DOES hurt. There's no way that the anesthetic lasts the entire length of time it takes for the wound to heal. So that entire time that thing is open and healing it's rubbing against the diaper or gauze pad you've wrapped it in and is getting soaked in urine and feces. THAT hurts! These are the reasons why I decided not to have my son circumcised when he's born...much to the dismay of my husband. It actually REALLY made him angry; angry enough that he wouldn't talk to me for a day. But I knew that for MY son and MY family it wasn't the right choice. I don't have a problem with circumcision but I don't really understand it for a newborn baby. Obviously as the child grows if something happens or he decides he wants the procedure done he can have it done. But restoring foreskin is a tricky process and doesn't always work. I think a lot of parents make the initial decision to have it done because they're first thought is "It's cleaner, it's healthier." But if you actually look into it...it's not. So then after they've had it done and it's too late to go back they get VERY defensive about it because it's the choice they made for their son and no body wants to think they made the wrong parenting choices. If it's already been done to your son there's obviously no going back and honestly, I don't think you should feel "guilty" about it. But, if you've never had a son or, like me, are about to have your first boy it's worth stopping and thinking about.

Mrs. - posted on 11/13/2010

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Oh Lord. I can go on the net and find a bunch of articles pro and con too. The issue is mixed and people are divided about it, including the medical community.



Listen, I've lost a lot more on the surgical table to my chronic health problems over the years than a bit of skin and I remember the actual physical pain of it. I managed to get over that...so yeah, I'm daring to say that it's a bit silly to mourn over something to the point that it disrupts your life like getting the snip when you were a baby. So yeah, I stand by that.



Frankly, I'm wowed that it would'nt creep everyone out a bit that a grown man would waste a perfectly good penis mourning over something he doesn't know would have made a difference in his life or not. Sorry, but I think this is a perfect example of how everything these days is turned into an issue or a syndrome. It devalues and is an insult to women who have suffered the real horrors of being mutilated in a way that ACTUALLY affects their lives.



If someone doesn't see the difference, it's strange to me. Still, I'm not surprised, lots of people think Julia Roberts doesn't look like a horse and I don't get that.

Charlie - posted on 11/13/2010

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And again WOW .

Many people morn the loss of body parts whether its the arms , legs , foreskin , fingers whatever how DARE you downplay their emotion as insignificant to just "get over it" as for the the legalities yes majority are for botched jobs ( another reason NOT to perform RC ) and these are the very foundations why any man has the right to justice although many men wont they continue the practice as most abuse victims do .
Reasons for concern about infant male circumcision under human rights principles include:

the loss of highly erogenous sexual tissue which also serves important protective functions;
the loss of bodily integrity;
traumatic and often highly painful disfigurement;
complications including death and the loss of the entire penis and the impermissibility of any mutilation of children's genitals performed with neither their consent nor medical justification.
No national or international medical association in the modern industrialised world, or indeed anywhere in the world, endorses routine circumcision of healthy boys.
Several human rights documents tacitly forbid enforced infant circumcision. Non-therapeutic circumcision of unconsenting minors amounts to culturally sanctioned physical and sexual abuse. No basis in international human rights law or domestic law justifies the discriminatory prohibition of only female genital mutilation.

"Ritual male circumcision is non-therapeutic and is not warranted or justified by medical evidence. This form of mutilation should not be legally distinguished from female circumcision ... presently being prohibited throughout Australia and the Western world. As ritual male circumcision is non-therapeutic, may be against public policy, and clearly is not in the best interests of the child, a parent's consent may be vitiated, leaving persons involved in the procedure liable in negligence, notwithstanding parental religious beliefs."65
Non-therapeutic, invasive and irreversible major surgery, especially sexual reduction surgery on unconsenting minors, is unethical. The standard of care for infrequent events such as infections is antibiotics, not amputation. Circumcision of healthy male minors is useless and traumatic, causing severe and lasting harm physically, sexually and often psychologically. As medical ethicist Margaret Somerville pointed out:

"Moreover, neonatal circumcision is done without consent of the subject, removes healthy tissue with unique anatomical structure and function, and leads to differences in adult sexual behaviour... We need, therefore, to address the issue directly and end the persistent efforts to find a medical rationale for circumcision by removing the cloak of medicine from this procedure.66"
Enforced non-therapeutic genital cutting of unconsenting minors is overdue for recognition by the legal community as sexual mutilation. As we enter the 21st century, appropriate legal action must be taken to safeguard the physical genital integrity of male children.

Yes it was a Jewish man who started the hysteria in 1971 by publishing a very influential and widely-cited article, “The value of circumcision as a hygienic and therapeutic measure”, in the New York Medical Journal. In a key passage he cited his experience “as an Israelite” as giving him the authority to speak on the value of circumcision as a health, and specifically as an anti-masturbation, measure:


As an Israelite I desire to ventilate the subject, and as a physician have chosen the medium of a medical journal, that I may not be trammelled in my expressions … I refer to masturbation as one of the effects of a long prepuce; not that this vice is entirely absent in those who have undergone circumcision, though I never saw an instance in a Jewish child of very tender years, except as the result of association with children whose covered glans have naturally impelled them to the habit.

It is quite clear from the context that the title word “hygienic” has a different meaning from today. At that time circumcision advocates used words such as hygiene to denote moral hygiene, not personal cleanliness. Moses’ paper had a big impact on American physicians, who now argued that castration should be abandoned in favour of circumcision, since circumcision cured all the same diseases, but did so without affecting the power to procreate.

Thank god they gave up castration for this practice *eyeroll*


An article in the Medical Record in 1895 explained the power of circumcision to stop masturbation thus:


In all cases [of masturbation] … circumcision is undoubtedly the physician’s closest friend and ally. … To obtain the best results one must cut away enough skin and mucous membrane to rather put it on a stretch when erections come later. There must be no play in the skin after the wound has thoroughly healed, but it must fit tightly over the penis, for should there be any play the patient will be found readily to resume his practice, not begrudging the time and extra energy needed to produce the orgasm. It is true, however, that the longer it takes to have an orgasm, the less frequently it will be attempted, and consequently the greater the benefit gained.

Hence why men who are circed have far less sensation than men who are not circed .

Stifler's - posted on 11/13/2010

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You pull the foreskin back, wipe the penis over and let it go back. Not hard. I don't agree with ear piercing either. What if they don't want their ears pierced. If a man desperately wants to be circumcised they can get it done as an adult, there's no law against that.

Mrs. - posted on 11/13/2010

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I can hear the millions of circumcised men crying out as we write....in pleasure. Come on, seriously, I don't want to go anywhere a near a man who is so upset about a routine procedure done on his penis when he was a few days old, who actually has "grief" over it's loss. Hello? Issues anyone?

I actually think it's a red flag to turn away fast, if a guy was actually on a group or forum mourning the loss of his foreskin. Dude, its done, its not like you can't enjoy sex, reproduce or have a healthy life with whatever partner you choose. Unless, of course, you spend WAY too much time mourning the loss of a piece of skin...then you're a little creepy.

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