Friday, May 4, 2012

Circumcision - good or bad?

Oh God.
Can I even talk about this?

For this is not so much entering the locker room as bulldozing my way in and getting a full frontal as a result.

Sorry guys. I don't mean to make you involuntarily cross your legs in anticipation of pain.
And sorry, ladies, for dragging you with me into a place you may not necessarily want to go.

I shall keep it clean if all commenters agree to do the same.

Somehow, I feel the need to address this issue.
I get the feeling I may be woefully undereducated on this topic.
My primary interest in this issue is medical :-)
Uh huh, I hear you say...But this is true!

And the social side is just as important, granted.

By the way, the above title only addresses male circumcision.
Female circumcision is not even a 'circumcision' to me.
It is plain and simple mutilation.
If the goal is to keep young women 'under control' sexually...well, there have to be better ways to achieve that, no?

But of course, there are many men who might declare that circumcision of males is also barbaric, and is also a mutilation of sorts.
Hm. I would certainly say that cutting off a man's private parts ala 'Bobbit' is mutilation.
And as we discussed on an earlier post, that is not funny in the least.
But does circumcision fall into a different category?

I am in the dark on this topic, for obvious reasons.
Perhaps the men would like to educate me on this?

First, a full disclosure of sorts.
Just so you know where I am coming from.

I was brought up to believe that circumcision is the only way.
So I am guessing that all the men in my family went through this procedure.
But as none in my immediate family are younger than me, I never got a chance to verify this :-)
But younger cousins, and of course nephews provide the 'evidence'.

I am not sure where this 'rule' comes from. Is it a judeo-christendom thing (for my family at least)?
For sure, there are lots of verses from the bible regarding circumcision.
This is just one of them:

Genesis 17:9-10 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

So, this practice was supposed to be the outward sign of a covenant between God and Man.
Therefore, if you didn't have this, you weren't in God's 'inner circle' or something to that effect.
This separated Jews from Gentiles.
And during World War II, perhaps it wasn't a good thing to be circumcised. Because it could cost you your life.

I don't know what the Catholic church's stance on circumcision is.
I have never felt the need to investigate this.
Perhaps the Church has no real guidance on this?
I dunno.

But I also know that this practice is very much alive in Islam.
There is a very funny Britsh film called 'East is East' about a Pakistani man married to an English woman, and their life in the '70s in the north of England.
Together they have a lot of kids, at least 6 boys and if I remember right there is at least one girl.

After a visit to the mosque, the Imam takes the father aside to inform him that he has seen that the youngest son Sajid, is uncircumcised.
(Um, anyone know what exactly goes on in a mosque which would have enabled the Imam to determine the state of Sajid's 'equipment'?)

Anyhow, the father, a staunch Muslim, was outraged.
In his family, it was the mother's job to get all the boys circumcised.
Mother's excuse was that she forgot.
The scene is hilarious.
Except of course for little Sajid, who at 12 years old, is about to get intimate with the concept of pain.
All his brothers were 'done' as babies.
I think it would have been well within Sajid's rights to invoke the rule: 'Do me as a baby, or forever hold your piece'.
But alas, he didn't, and the poor lad is marched off to the family doctor...

And when he returns, he no longer has his 'tickle-tackle'.

(This scene is followed by another more poignant scene by the way - but I can't find it on Youtube):
When Sajid returns, in obvious pain, his mother (perhaps for the first time) questions whether she is a good mother. She feels she has let down Sajid, in bending to her husband's will that all their sons be circumcised. She herself is not Muslim, and she doesn't care about circumcision so much...but her husband is clearly fanatical about this and it is a 'non-negotiable' for him. The circumcision thing is just one of many sources of conflict between the father's Pakistani roots and his entire family's British way of life - all the kids were of course born in Britain and saw themselves as British as a result, but father expected them to be 'true Pakistanis'. Hilarity ensues when the father thinks they are devout Muslims when they are in fact eating pork on a daily basis and one of the sons is studying art at college when his father thinks he is going to be an engineer :-)

But shame avoidance of a father aside, what other purpose does circumcision serve?
Here comes the medical part:

I am aware of data which shows in an unequivocal manner that the rates of cervical cancer is lowest amongst Jewish women.
And this has been put down to the fact that Jewish men are circumcised.
I have learned to view social data like this with a pinch of salt in mind.
Is there a confounding variable we are missing?
Could it be that these women are simply less promiscuous?
I dunno.

In the realm of HIV (and other STD) transmission, it has been suggested that male circumcision could cut transmission rates by a significant degree.

Now, I know that The Manosphere is not too fond of this train of thought. Many have seen this as yet another in the long line of misandry wrought by Feminism.
Is this true?
Is circumcision really the answer to infection reduction?
If it is a design fault that a woman's anatomy makes her susceptible to infection, then it is also true that this one part of a man's anatomy is a possible 'reservoir', no?
Not necessarily harmful to himself, but to women he comes into contact with, no?

With all this in mind, it would perhaps surprise no-one that my original title for this post was 'Circumcision - good or bad for women?'

However, given that I still have bruises from the MGTOW post, I reconsidered...
Let's just say I am still a bit dazed from all the 'hazing' I got (thanks, Bellita, for this term!).

I am a huge fan of 'wortspiel'.
Here's one to rival 'pump-and-dump': haze and daze.

I could hear the protests already: 'Here we go again! Why does it always have to be about them?'
I hear ya. Seen from that point of view, yes, it does sound a bit crass.
Even if the idea is to find a healthier solution for society in general.

In the same manner that women who are smokers and heavy drinkers are advised not to indulge in their usual habits during pregnancy for the sake of the unborn child.
It's for the good of society. No woman would argue against the wisdom of this advice.

But...some might question the applicability of this analogy.
Again I hear ya.

But I digress...

Some Manosphere sites provide compelling evidence that the 'data' on which circumcision being seen as the 'cure-all' for HIV transmission is based, is flawed and should therefore be discarded by all concerned.

Again, I dunno.

But I do wonder: Why are men so vocal about circumcision?
Is this because circumcision effectively benefits no-one but a woman - i.e. she benefits from any theoretical reduction in infection rate?
Or is it because circumcision is a painful procedure? In which case, fair enough.
Or, is it because circumcision affects um, the experience?
Does circumcision really affect the sensivity of the skin where it matters?
In an adverse fashion?

Is this how men really feel about circumcision?

Are there men who are pro-circumcision?
Speak up, gentlemen!

In particular, I would love to hear from a man who is his own control subject, so to speak.
That is, a man who had a circumcision as an adult.
What are the differences, if any?
Is all this hoo-ha about circumcision even necessary? Or is circumcision 'water off a duck's back', so to speak, and we are just getting our knickers in a twist about it?
Any regrets either way?

Did someone say 'cake'?

Here is the story of a young man. Let's call him 'Kurt'.
Kurt was Kut and it hurt: (Did I mention I am a fan of 'wortspiel'?)

This is Kurt shortly after birth. Isn't he cute?
In the debriefing just before I got shipped out of heaven in batch no. 532, we were told: You are being sent to two people who will love you the most throughout your stay on Earth.
I look forward to meeting these two.

Three weeks later...

 Um, something's not quite right. These two keep talking in hushed tones around me. My Dad keeps giving me these looks of pity, but the silver lining of sorts is that my Mom is dishing out more 'Bewbie juice' than I need. My friend Danny keeps saying what's not to like? But I dunno...I get the feeling something bad is gonna happen soon...

The next day...
Uh-oh...told ya. Get me out of here. GET ME OUTTA HERE!!!

Three days later...
 OK, so the debriefing was one big lie. I don't trust these two anymore. No sooner had I landed on their doorstep where the stork left me than they were already plotting to chop bits offa me.
This is love?
I am supposed to need this?
Can I pass?

Thirty years later...
 OK, so I met this great girl...on our first date she mentioned she was Jewish.
I thought: way to go Mom and Dad! I LOVE YOU!
But something bad's happened since then...
The girl won't take my calls anymore.

I had mentioned to her that I was Jewish too. She didn't believe me since I didn't have a clue where the nearest synagogue was.
I then said I would show her the evidence that I was Jewish in the only way that counts...

What's with these women?
Why can't just one of them be normal, and drama-free?

I mean...I went through all that pain 30 years ago...
I finally find a girl who might appreciate my 'covenant with God'...
And she won't even take a look?
What's with that?

Is Kurt's babyhood experience typical or not?
Would the men care to refine his story for me?
Whilst keeping it clean?
Granted, you may not remember much...
But do your best to explain the importance (or not), of circumcision to you.

Ladies, chime in if you have something to say.
Don't be shy. You are already in the locker room. (Again I apologise for taking you there).


Bellita said...

I don't know what the Catholic church's stance on circumcision is.

You knew that this would be the first thing I'd address, right? ;)

The only stance the Catholic Church has on circumcision is that it is not a requirement for salvation. If you want to have your sons circumcised, that's fine. If you don't, that's fine, too. But you may not teach that it is necessary for them to be saved.

In non-religious news, the tradition in the Philippines is to circumcise boys not at infancy but right before puberty, although hospitals will do infant circumcision if parents request it. That was actually what my mother wanted for my brothers, but my stepfather vetoed it because he wanted them to experience the "rite of passage" as he did. (It's a "locker room" thing, I guess!) And I had a cousin whose family had emigrated to America when he was two years old come back just for that operation when he was thirteen.

When one of my good friends was pregnant with her first son a couple of years ago, she did a lot of research into circumcision and decided she would not have it done to her son. She says that if he wants to have it done when he's older, then he is free to make that choice for himself; but until then, she will not do anything to him that can't be reversed and that she is unconvinced is actually unnecessary. I could look up her old posts and get you the links, if you like.

And it is my experience of following my friend's research that doesn't make this post by a woman seem strange to me. Perhaps the most heated battle of the "mommy wars" is being waged on this very field, because many mothers who refuse to do it write as if the mothers who keep up the tradition are genital mutilators. Thanks to them, I've learned more about circumcision from women than from men! (It seems wrong, doesn't it? Hahahaha!)

Spacetraveller said...

@ Bellita,

"You knew that this would be the first thing I'd address, right? ;)"

Dear Bell, I wouldn't have it any other way :-)

Thanks for this information! I genuinely didn't know this. And I was way too lazy to look it up.

I must say, I am actually relieved to hear this.
In typical neurotic fashion, I am beginning to worry about my future sons even before I marry their potential father :-)

I too have been thinking about issues like this.
I am not sure I am for circumcision any case I am not sure it is that important for a man...unless there are medical reasons why he should have it.

I think I am in total agreement with your friend.

I find it so interesting - your stepfather's stance on circumcision...

In the case of female 'circumcision' (sorry to bring this up - I had promised afterall to stay away from this topic!) I note that it is the (older) women in the village who are often keener than the men to enforce it.

A case of 'if I went through it, so must you'.
Perhaps this is precisely why this tradition should go?
The spirit behind its administration may not be healthy...

And yes, I agree with you that to learn about circumcision from women is somehow odd.

But there we are...
This present life we live is full of oddities :-)

Bellita said...

It is your blog that always gets me to thinking about the "parallels" between male and female versions of something, and now it is circumcision's turn!

Male circumcision seems to be a neutral thing . . . or when it is a rite of passage, even a positive thing. One of my brothers' friends was circumcised as an infant. He felt very left out when the other boys in his class went through the "rite of passage." But for one of my brothers, it was such a harrowing indignity (not the operation itself, but the recovery afterward) that he swears he will not put his own sons through it. (It's worth considering that his relationship with his father had been deteriorating for years before that. Inasmuch as circumcision makes boys "like their father," it can be a positive experience when they admire their fathers . . . and a very negative one when they don't.)

On the other hand, female circumcision has always been very negative. That the older women in a community would insist on the girls going through it does seem very spiteful and malicious. The dark underbelly of womanhood.

I wonder whether "We went through this, and so should you" is more likely to be said by a woman than a man, even in circumstances as neutral as studying before major exams--and even when the men in our hypothetical sample are very pro-tradition.

just visiting said...

I guess too, the different types of circumcision.

Jewish circumcision leaves part of the fore skin, while hospitals remove all of it. I have no idea if Muslims have a different type of circumcision.

I couldn't bring myself to do it with my youngest son. I dug in and refused. I felt a lot of pressure to get it done with my older two.

A mother's perspective. This is a hellish decision. On one level, you wonder if you're changing how sex will feel for them. Then there's the hygiene perspective. And then you wonder, if you don't have it done, is he going to feel different from the other boys.

Bellita said...

What a coincidence! This is what I read on the Alpha Game blog today . . .

As we see in the Game blogs, men try very hard to prevent young men from making the same mistakes they made in their youth. Women, on the other hand, often urge young women to repeat them as some sort of bizarre rite of passage.

It's from a post about an older woman who regrets her abortion and yet says she would advise younger women to have abortions. (Link)

OffTheCuff said...

I would not circumcise my boys if I had the chance to do it over, but it is too late.

Take your finger tip and draw some circles in your palm. Then flip you palm over and draw circles on the back of your hand. Feel the difference?

From what I've heard, the more intense feelings on the palm what you ladies and intact men feel, and the duller sensations are when your are circumcised,

I think circumcision now is savagery, meant to make men less sexual.

Spacetraveller said...

@ Bellita,

Thanks for that link.

You know, I was on the brink of having some sympathy for the article author, until I got to the bit where she said she would advise another woman to have an abortion.
And this despite the pain she professes to be going through?

How disingenuous is that?!

My feelings on abortion are not very pretty - in many ways they are much much stronger than the whole single mother by choice thing, so I won't go there. In any case, perhaps they are somewhat irrelevant here anyway.

I was thinking earlier about your stepfather's reasons for wanting his sons to have a circumcision. From what you say, it would appear he wanted the 'rite of passage' as a positive thing, despite the pain.
There is however nothing positive about female mutilation, as you say, because although it may prevent a girl from being promiscuous (what a way to achieve this goal, by the way!!!), she is disadvantaged as a wife. And, women who have this procedure often have serious obstetric complications too, because the people who perform the procedure often do it badly, and girls have been known to die from this.
There is a famous model (I forget her name, but I think she was from Somalia or Ethiopia) who describes this very well in her book. She had major problems giving birth to her son. And it is really harrowing to hear her describe how she feels a failure because her husband knows he can never please her (in the bedroom).
So any woman who advocates this (and who has had this procedure herself) is certainly not coming from a place of love, which I suspect your stepfather is...

I do think there are some women who are very prone to this sort of thing. But thankfully, they are in the minority, actually. Most women, I think, have a bit of compassion in them and would not advise wrongly out of spite. Those who do, do it for a reason. Someone on the thread on the Alpha Game blog mentioned that the author was an example of a 'broken' person. I think this could be relevant. But whatever the cause, people like this are the worst kind of friend to have. They are the worst people to have in one's 'herd' and should be ejected as fast as possible.
I think this is less common among men. In general, I think men have their own little collection of 'sins', but this brand of spitefulness is not one of them.

@ JV,

I didn't know that about Jewish circumcisions...
Can I ask - what is the benefit of keeping some of the foreskin?

Thanks for your mother's perspective. But I must say, you present all the counter-arguments so well, now I am back on the fence about this!

Re the hygiene question - is it really that impossible to keep clean? As a mother of boys, you are probably as qualified, if not more quailfied than men to answer this question!

@ OTC,

Thanks for that in-depth description/analogy. It is exactly the kind of detail I was looking for. It helps to clarify things for me. So thank you.
When you put it like that, I don't think I shall be looking at circumcision as a 'gold standard' anymore...

OffTheCuff said...

I did it to my sons because I wanted them to look "normal" and had not really thought it through. I really messed up.

Spacetraveller said...

@ OTC,

I am sure there are some men who like being circumcised...

Who's to say your sons wouldn't turn out to be some of those men?
You never know...

just visiting said...

Lol. It's easy to keep clean.

Spacetraveller said...

@ JV,

Well, that was the last barrier down, then.

Circumcision is now out as far as I am concerned :-)

But, why was it so important in Judaism? Why would God want this? Should this be a rhetorical question?

dannyfrom504 said...

i got snipped. so i had no say in the matter.

however, shortly after joining the navy, i had to set up for and assist in a circumcicion. most barbaric procedure i'd ever seen and i told myself if i ever had a son i'd NEVER put him through it.
when the pulled the cords to remove the foreskin the baby let out this God-awful scream. i felt physically ill.

i think i'll just teach him to wash his dick thorougly instead.

BeijaFlor said...

ST -

Thank you ever-so-much for examining this subject in the way that you did. I was circumcised as an infant - so I can't ever know if sex with a foreskin is better than sex without.

I have a former colleague who had "The Cut" made in adolescence ... probably for phimosis, because there is no other good reason I know for adolescent circumcision. I also had a LJBF "girlfriend" who told me of the difficulties of one of her lovers ... let's just call that "more information than I needed to know!!!"

I hope you don't hate me for linking to this article, especially considering my own article from which I link to it ...

Bellita said...

But, why was it so important in Judaism? Why would God want this? Should this be a rhetorical question?

As much as I would love to be able to answer this, my religious education never went that far. (Besides, after I learned the Catholic Church's teaching on it, I told myself there was nothing more I cared to know. Which was not very intellectually rigorous of me!) You'd have to ask a rabbi, I think.

Or perhaps I could ask my friend who didn't want her sons circumcised. The topic came up just last night and it turns out she was against it before she was even married, and it was one of the bigger compromises her husband had to make. I do recall her mentioning that ancient Jewish circumcision was much less thorough than what we have today. In fact, if they had circumcised their boys in exactly the way we circumcise ours, their boys would have died from blood loss!

There is a famous model (I forget her name, but I think she was from Somalia or Ethiopia) who describes this very well in her book. She had major problems giving birth to her son. And it is really harrowing to hear her describe how she feels a failure because her husband knows he can never please her (in the bedroom).

I can't remember her name, either, but I read excerpted portions from her book in a Reader's Digest. What was done to her was truly horrible. And like rape, it has repercussions that extend throughout a victim's life.

Spacetraveller said...

@ Danny,

"i think i'll just teach him to wash his dick thorougly instead."

Somehow Danny, you always manage to make me laugh when I least expect it.

@ BeijaFlor,

The difficulties you mention - were those in a circumcised man or an uncircumcised man?

I loved how you linked to this post LOL. And I think you picked the right pic too :-)

@ Bell,

Ah, JV also mentioned that Jewish circumcision is less 'complete' than present-day hospital ones.

I have heard of some botched circumcisions, by the way. In one case the surgeon was drunk and cut off more than he should have. (All the nurses and even the anesthetist noticed he was drunk as soon as he staggered into the operating room, and tried to stop him but to no avail).
I hate to think what that entails for the victim...who was an infant...

Is your friend Jewish? If she had gone through with the circumcision would it have been performed by a rabbi or at hospital?

Somehow the whole 'at home' procedure thing done by even an experienced rabbi terrifies the living daylights out of me. Precisely because of the potential for serious blood loss in an environment which is not equipped to deal with a medical emergency.

Somehow that would scare me more, yes. More than the circumcision per se.

Also, if Jewish circumcision leaves behind some or most of the foreskin, then the circumcision itself may not be the reason there is a lower rate of cervical cancer among Jewish women?
There has to be another variable at play, for example, my theory that the sample population perhaps just contained women who were less likely to be promiscuous anyway, a known risk factor for cervical cancer.

Sometimes so-called scientific data is woefully misleading...

If circumcision is to be performed as an 'infection control procedure', then it should be 'complete'.
But that by all accounts is worse for the man concerned. As his 'sensation' may become affected.

By the way, I have heard of baby boys being born without a foreskin.

In the Jewish community, these kids are held in high esteem :-)

dannyfrom504 said...

Welcome to the Danny show.

Spacetraveller said...

@ Danny,


@ Bellita,

I have just remembered that model's name!
It is Waris Dirie and here is the Reader's Digest article you mentioned...

Tally said...

I was circumcised at birth. I also am restoring my foreskin. The difference is amazing. I never knew what I lost. Not that I have a restored foreskin I know the difference. The foreskin protects the sensitive, inner parts of the penis. Circumcision removes that protection and those sensitive bits grow calloused from constant rubbing against clothing. The foreskin provides the gliding action that makes sex enjoyable for everyone. Circumcision oftentimes can be described as sex with a broomstick (that was my case because I had a tight circumcision).

After restoring, my wife no longer got sore from sex. And we do not need to use lube like we had to before I started restoring. If more people knew the harm of circumcision, the practice would stop.

Spacetraveller said...

@ Tally,

Welcome to The Sanctuary!

Wow, I am SO glad you commented.
Because you are that perfect 'control subject' I was looking for.

Thank you for sharing what is undoubtedly such a private matter for you.

I must say, although I posted this in the guise of seeking advice as to what to do with any future sons I might have, I have to admit that I was also 'conditioned' to seek a man who is circumcised.
Because I had this weird idea that an uncircumcised man was somehow 'unclean' in some way. Although I am not Jewish, I have harboured this view in an almost religious light.

And yet Beliita points out that Catholicism does not necessarily advocate this.

What a disaster ignorance can be!

So, I have certainly learnt my lesson.

It seems to me the only possible potential drawback to circmcision is one that can be very easily dealt with, as Danny and JV inform us - in, as it happens, very different styles of expression LOL.

Why does it feel so much like I've got a monkey off my back?

This is great.
Thanks everyone.

Anonymous said...

I'm intact, as are my sons, and I consider the practice to be a mutilation on par with female genital mutilation, regardless of religious significance.

Some females get real upset when you compare the two mutilations, saying that there is no real comparison. I'll not argue that there is a difference in the tissue removed, only that both are mutilations that have no basis in medical science. Even the science behind the claims that circumcision helps prevent the spread of HIV has been shown to be very bad.

I don't really care what religion any person espouses, justification for any kind of mutilation without the permission of the person being mutilated is not possible, in my view. There is a tribe in New Guinea that performs a ritual scarification with razor blades to create on the skin of a young male a pattern, so that the skin resembles the scaly hide of a crocodile, during the rites of passage to becoming a man. From what I have read, this is a voluntary procedure, but that nearly all young males still undergo this rite. It's a tribal thing, and not unlike the original Abrahamic covenant, a sort of self-identification as part of the Hebrew tribes.

To me, this is simply unacceptable. The foreskin is what males are born with, and I cannot countenance mutilation of either gender as children, for any reason.

I wonder sometimes if a religion popped up that demanded that the face of children be ritually bathed in sulfuric acid in order to become adults in this new belief system, how would the rest of the world view such a religion? Would this be allowed as free exercise of religion, or a violation of human rights?

The Navy Corpsman

Spacetraveller said...

@ NC,

Having been properly educated on this matter now, I agree entirely with you.

None of my future sons will be getting 'the snip'.

Anonymous said...

being circed BETTER BE ok - it's too late for me now

Spacetraveller said...

Welcome to The Sanctuary, Eradica!

I don't understand your comment very well.
Do you mean you are circumcised and hope it's OK, or that you are not circumcised but it's too late?

If it's the former and it's a problem, according to Tally, it is reversible...

Anonymous said...

I consider circumcision to be a barbaric practice. This isn't what I mean when I say it but it's also a barbaric practice in the most traditional sense of the word. For the Hellenes and Romans circumcision was something that only barbarians did. It is a superstition of desert dwelling primitives that has survived into modern times and was adopted by the medical community to stop baby boys from touching their penises. Burning the clitorises of baby girls with carbolic acid was proposed but that didn't catch on for some reason.

Anyway, I see it as mostly being a blood rite for initiating boys into pain and violence. Like the Huns cutting the faces of boys so they would look scary with scars and not grow a beard. If that was still happening people might try to justify it by saying that it's more hygienic too.

I am intact. I've never had any problems with my foreskin. As for hygiene, the foreskin is attached to the glans in early childhood I think. You aren't supposed to pull it back then. And later it's still easier to keep clean than a vulva. You just can't be a lazy parent and make sure your boys actually wash themselves instead of going, "oh they are boys, they don't need to wash!" Just wash your dick once a day. That's all it requires.

Even as a child it bothered me that apparently girls are born perfect but boys need to have their genitals cut. Especially since it wasn't done to me and it's never been an actual problem. It's completely unnecessary. No pediatric organisation supports it.

Some men feel better circumcised because they are told that women will not want to have sex with them otherwise. This means that people are performing cosmetic procedures on the genitals of their perfectly normal, healthy baby boys. That is downright perverted. This is a cultural thing. For me at least, I don't care if a woman wants me to cut off my foreskin she can cut off her clitoral prepuce first. Then I'll listen. Because that is the analogue. FGM and circumcision are the same thing. They only differ in severity. In FGM the amputation is much more severe. But nobody would ever support a parent having only their baby daughter's clitoral prepuce cut off for cultural reasons. It's considered just as evil as complete infibulation.

Wash your penis occasionally and wear a God damned condom when you hook up. Get the Gardasil vaccine. There! You've made amputating 25 square inches of healthy, functional tissue from the most sensitive part of your body completely unnecessary. And it is functional tissue. Apart from containing extremely sensitive nerve tissue it prevents keratinization of the glans.

Circumcision is barbaric and a completely unnecessary cosmetic operation that is done to little boys for ignorant cultural reasons, to appease a perverted God and to put money into the pockets of doctors and the cosmetics and pharmaceutical companies that use foreskins as raw material for their products. It is bad thing.

Spacetraveller said...

@ NC,

"Some men feel better circumcised because they are told that women will not want to have sex with them otherwise."

And the same people who are telling men this, are also telling women not to marry (or have sex with) uncircumcised men.

I think we have unearthed a conspiracy!

Anonymous said...

Although the comment at 11:47 AM on 7 May was not me, I cannot disagree with the comments made by that person.

I knew a guy who got circumcised when he was 28, in order to marry his fiance. They divorced ten years later, and he swears the worst part about the divorce was the circumcision just to get married.

Love isn't just blind, sometimes it's stupid as can be.

The Navy Corpsman

Spacetraveller said...


Oops sorry!

I can't think why I thought that was you!

Apologies to 'Anonymous' too.


This story you tell makes me cringe. For reasons I cannot share.
How glad am I that I penned this post...

Thanks as always for your titbits :-)

Charming Disarray said...

I think this is an important topic for any woman considering having children to think about. (Men, too, obviously, but they'd be more likely to already have an opinion on it one way or the other.) It was a huge shock to me when I found out, as an adult, that this practice is so common. I honestly thought it was only done by Jewish people.

I think I'm against it. The arguments for why it is wrong and barbaric are much more compelling than the weak claims that getting it done "looks better" and "is cleaner." Should people get their toenails removed so they never get ingrown toenails? Obviously not.

On the other hand, people get painful and expensive dental work done in order to have pretty teeth. I had four perfectly healthy teeth pulled for that reason, and had been really unhappy with how my teeth looked before that. Sometimes looking different from others can be an unnecessary burden to place on a child.

It must be a difficult decision to make.

Anonymous, some women get labioplasty because they think they're not pretty enough down there, so there is an equivalent even in Western cultures. It's certainly horrific.

Spacetraveller said...

@ CD,

I couldn't agree with you more.
Interestingly, you and I arrive at this conclusion from diametrically oppposite (initial) view-points:

"It was a huge shock to me when I found out, as an adult, that this practice is so common. I honestly thought it was only done by Jewish people."

In contrast to you, I was shocked to realise that there are lots of intact men out there. Because virtually every man in my own entourage is circumcised.
And not to be circumcised was to belong to the great unwashed, so to speak. I grew up with this notion.
So to find that not being circumcised was 'normal' was an actual shock to me.
And looking back, some of the boys at school who were bullied were picked on (by circumcised boys) for this reason. Because they 'looked different'.
And I ain't even Jewish :-)

But after all the comments I have received on this post I honestly for the life of me can't think why this is practised anymore.

You are certainly right - it is a very important thing to think about before having children.

"Anonymous, some women get labioplasty because they think they're not pretty enough down there, so there is an equivalent even in Western cultures. It's certainly horrific."

The difference here being that labioplasty is not 'institutionalised', at least I never heard of masses of women having this under some sort of government directive.
Nor is it done at birth or in infancy when the woman has no choice in the matter.

But I agree with you that in many worse it is worse than the institutionalised male circumcision. For a voluntary labioplasty is a voluntary self-mutilation.
Even if the woman is 'forced' into it by a man or men, it is still voluntary, as in the case of the 28 year old man NC describes above.

Sad in many ways, as some poor women actually go through this involuntarily like the model I mentioned...
Sure, a labioplasty is not as 'complete' as what is practised in Somalia, (thank God) but the idea is the same in that it removes essential parts of the female sexual apparatus.

Hugh Intactive said...

Catholic Catechism (Item 2297: Respect for bodily integrity)
“… Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law.”

Pope Benedict XIV (1740-58) decreed that
“…the amputation of any part of the human body is never legal, except when the entire body cannot be saved from destruction by any other method.”

Pope Pius XII said
“From a moral point of view, circumcision is permissible if, in accordance with therapeutic principles, it prevents a disease that cannot be countered in any other way ”

Pope Benedict XVI said
"it is not circumcision that saves"
"the Apostles with the Elders decided to discontinue the practice of circumcision so that it was no longer a feature of the Christian identity ... It was only in this way that, in the end, they officially made possible the Church of the Gentiles, a Church without circumcision"

You are right to be skeptical about the claim about Jewish women and cervical cancer. That link proved to be genetic. Other links are more likely to be geographic: one much-cited metastudy pooled people in five different countries when there was no correlation in any country on its own. The only country in which many of the men were circumcised was the Philippines, so any of the many demographic differences between the Philippines and the other countries (such as fewer women smoking) could be the real reason.

Spacetraveller said...

@ Hugh Intactive,

Welcome to The Sanctuary!

Wow, what a wealth of information on your website.
Thank you very much for that and also for your useful information-filled comment.
Despite being Catholic, I had never come across all those documents you cited.
Shame on me :-)

Now I saw other forms of mutilation on your site I haven't even heard of that have me retching with disgust.
Breast ironing?
Please tell me that's not what I think it is...

Now I truly get it when people say they are scared of life.
Some things are just way too scary for comfort.