Crusaders against male circumcision (intactivists) face the same sorts of challenges as activists on a wide range of other causes. They want parents to choose not to circumcise their sons AND they want the government to prohibit circumcision — and punish adults involved in circumcisions.
[This really is a recurrent movement story: Think about animal rights activists who want to promote vegetarianism as a personal choice — as well as legal restrictions on the use of animals; think about anti-abortion activists who wish to promote adoption — as a personal choice — while simultaneously limiting legal access to abortion.]
It looks like the intactivists are making progress on the first front, individual choice — or at least riding some sort of wave of history: the percentage of newborn boys circumcised in the US has declined substantially in the last few years. All the physicians I’ve seen quoted in the run of news accounts have emphasized parents’ choice. With parents making different choices, boys and men are far less likely to face social stigma or discrimination on the basis of foreskin status.
Promoting non-circumcision means making that choice attractive — and making a very widely accepted choice — problematic. Here, rhetoric matters, and strategic choices about images and language are consequential in mobilizing support — and provoking opponents.
Jena Troutman, the Santa Monica activist who abandoned her referendum campaign, pushes non-circumcision as healthy, natural, and attractive. Her website, WholeBabyRevolution, is chock full of pictures of happy baby boys–diaperclad.
Matthew Hess, the author of the Foreskin Man comic, projects more alarm — and more vitriol. He, literally, demonizes those who perform circumcisions, thus far, a doctor and a mohel. Here you see his hero battling a physician who takes sadistic pleasure in performing a procedure that is, by all other accounts, quick and routine. The rhetoric is provocative and polarizing — hardly peculiar for social movement activists — but maybe not the smartest strategy.
Most of us are not inclined to see physicians treating children as monsters who derive pleasure from a baby’s pain. We might distrust someone who offered a portrayal at odds with our own understanding of the situation. The portrayal of the mohel — understandably — spurred a debate about anti-Semitic imagery. (But Hess is clear that he has nothing against Jews or Muslims — only those who circumcise. Arrgh.) Identifying and demonizing an enemy is likely to inspire — and mobilize — those who already agree with you. It’s likely to be off-putting to others, and may well provoke your opposition.
I’m ill-inclined to offer psychological explanations for why someone believes what he does. That said, Hess’s description of his analysis and his commitments is likely to stir pause among would-be supporters. San Diego’s City Beat reports, quoting Hess:
I was in my late 20s when I just started to notice a slow decline in sensation… Year after year, it started to get a worse and worse after sex. I went to a urologist, and he didn’t have much of an answer. It struck me that my circumcision could have something to do with this. I researched online and quickly found a lot of information about what’s lost. That made me pretty angry.
City Beat reports that Hess has been engaged in therapies to restore sensation — and, for nearly a decade, working on legislation to ban circumcision.
The extraordinarily committed are at the heart of any social movement, and opponents will look to counter a movement by disparaging its champions. Successful movements are always comprised of coalitions, and the recurrent question is how rhetoric, tactics, and personnel aid or hinder in recruiting allies. The controversy over Foreskin Man led Jena Troutman to put her referendum campaign on the back burner, suggesting that Matthew Hess brings energy, commitment, and liabilities to his cause.
David Meyer is a political science professor at the University of California, Irvine. At his blog, Politics Outdoors, he tries to understand when social movements emerge, how they develop and decline, and how they sometimes matter. You can also follow Meyer at OrgTheory.
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larrycwilson — June 14, 2011
At age 68 I still thank god that my mother and father made sure I was circumcised.
Alex — June 14, 2011
I hardly think that forcing someone to carry an unwanted pregnancy for nine months, which may result in irreparable damage to one's body, as well as outlawing a life-saving medical procedure, is AT ALL comparable to wanting to prevent people from cutting off part of an infant's body. In fact I would say those things, if anything, are opposite: one movement is trying to remove control over one's own body (anti-abortion activists) and the other is trying to give control over one's own body (anti-circumcision: allow people with penises decide what they want to do with their own penis).
Aoirthoir — June 14, 2011
Ok for all of you anti-circumcision people out there here's a news flash:
I am NOT UNwhole.
I am NOT mutilated.
I am NOT deformed.
I CONSENT even retroactively to having been circumcised.
I am GLAD AS F'CK that I am circumcised.
I get to be circumcised because of religion, tradition and PERSONAL CHOICE.
YOU don't get to take that away from me.
My circumcision is one of the things my parents did for me that I APPRECIATE.
NO, I do NOT have LESS feeling. I have an INCREDIBLY AMOUNT of feeling in my...'business', which by the way is none of your business.
Doctors are not MONSTERS, even when I DISAGREE with them.
Attacks on circumcision are nothing short of undeserved privileged bigotry.
As to that whole babies website, let's put some pictures up of smiling WHOLE, CIRCUMCISED babies.
Roger Braun — June 14, 2011
This is so strange for non-Americans. It really shows what societal pressure can do. Cutting of part of babies' penises seems to be as sensible as cutting of their earlobes to me, and I suspect most people from Europe (who are not Muslims or Jews) would agree.
:] — June 14, 2011
The whole uncut vs cut always amused me. Like it actually effects anything or anyone.
Well here in America, and other Judeo-Christian [and I'm pretty sure Muslim] societies, it's more socially acceptable to get circumcised.
All circumcision is is trading a cosmetic look that is not widely accepted in our society in exchange for a lot cleaner and healthier penis. No smegma or phimosis.
It is actually a lot more like having baby girls get their ears pierced as infants. Only it costs quite a bit more if you choose to be circumcised later on in life, and I imagine quite a bit more pain.
But than again, what do I know? I'm a cisgendered white heterosexual male. Not even "mutilating" my own penis is going to offend me.
And I use the quotes to indicate sarcasm.
Andrew — June 14, 2011
Dr. Meyer's post is an excellent example of "nutpicking" - misrepresenting a movement or idea by carefully selecting some of the poorest arguments made on its behalf.
I think we can all agree that the images are ridiculous. Of course those babies aren't thinking about how happy they are to have foreskins. And that comic book represents an extreme fringe (like most propaganda comics), while its author's penile sensitivity is hardly likely to be of great concern to anyone here.
But for some reason (it's hard not to suspect bias), Meyer has managed to avoid contrasting these images and quotes with any arguments made in favor of circumcision - which tend to fall apart when held up against science as well as ethics. Case in point - if you want to portray one side of a debate as a bit nutty, it works wonders to ignore the nuttiness in the other corner.
And when it comes to involuntary genital mutilation, I think in a sane world the burden would fall on the proponents to make the case for it. We know it's of no medical necessity, we would tend to oppose the medical establishment removing patients' body parts without their consent in virtually ever other scenario, and we don't tend to grant exceptions to our laws and ethics based on archaic religious beliefs. And the Western world overwhelmingly opposes mutilation of female genitalia. So, if the practice of infant male circumcision weren't already embedded in tradition (like so many of the awful things people have done throughout history), how would a present-day proponent go about persuading legislators, doctors, and/or parents to accept it? What kind of propaganda and misinformation would THEY have to resort to?
JS — June 14, 2011
I can't believe no one has brought up one of the core rationales behind non-religion-motivated circumcision -- uncircumcised penises are unappealing/weird-looking. Yes, this is a subjective opinion, and yes, it is the way nature/evolution made penises, and yes, I might feel differently if I were uncircumcised myself. But still, a lot of people share this view (including many people without penises) and are pro-circumcision as a result.
Will L. — June 14, 2011
Arguments for or against aside (since that is not what the topic is about)...
What I find amazing about the whole debate and media coverage are two things:
1. No one has interviewed any sociologists, psychologists, or anthropologists. I cringe when they ask medical doctors in California about the parallels between Female Genital Cutting (FGM as they often use) and male circumcision.
2. When debating people and discussing this topic, it is amazing how clear attempts at cognitive dissonance resolution are. Mostly in the form of "adding alternate cognition to justify current one".
Yrro — June 14, 2011
I'm always amazed at the amount of reaction to this. Something like 75% of adult males in the US were circumcised for, admittedly, a stupid tradition. And almost none of them feel they had an important horrible choice foisted upon them. For there to be a crime there must first be a victim. There are almost no significant benefits to being cut or uncut as a baby.
Therefore, it may be rational to expose the stupidity of this tradition, and its pointlessness, but outlawing it or crusading against it always just seems to be making mountains out of molehills.
Kelly — June 14, 2011
Personally, I just think societal views should change so it isn't so default. I think uncircumcised penises are great, and get a bad rap, like on Sex and the City where they said it was like the penis was wearing a turtleneck. So mature. Circumcised penises look a bit naked to me, and I think it's sad that those boys didn't get to choose whether to keep it. But I think that fear and law making are never the answers. I just wish people could see both sides of an issue more easily and thoughtfully.
Anonymous — June 14, 2011
It always amazes me that cutting into women (breast implants etc.) are oh soooo hot (it's greatly celebrated among celebrities) and when someone is about to cut off skin from a penis there is an extreme outrage. Sure there is the matter of consent because the boys are just babies, but it is still just as much cutting into a human being (and more often a lot less drastic) as plastic surgery.
C.L. Ward — June 14, 2011
I totally support the right of parents to choose whether or not to circumcise their infant sons. Just as I do not want government in my uterus, I also don't want government regulating penises.
I really suspect that a lot of this whole circumcision debate comes from men circumcised in infancy who imagine that their sex would somehow be bigger/better/stronger if they still had their foreskin. And yes, there are some bad surgical outcomes that can occur, so it should be imperative that the physician / mohel /whoever discusses the risks and benefits of the procedure with the parents.
The argument about parents giving consent for their infants is silly. Would we complain that a parent gave consent for their child to have an appendectomy? Do we complain that parents put their kids through expensive and painful orthodontics? No, we do not. Medical decisions for children legally and socially are left to the parents.
Imagine, if you will, that some pharmaceutical company develops a single vaccine that could be given to infant males that conferred upon them significant lifelong protection against AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as protection against cancer and various other infections. Got that? Would parents be right or wrong to vaccinate their boys with such a vaccine?
Think hard about that, because circumcision DOES significantly protect against AIDS and other infections, and reduces cancer risk.
As for the people who are certain that circumcision has wrecked their penises, all I can say is that my father was circumcised as an adult, and found that "everything was better" afterwards, a result that is supported by a number of studies.
Studies on adult circumcision patients (who therefore can give an assessment of sex before and after the procedure) have found that sex drive and erectile function are unaffected by circumcision, circumcised men take a little longer to ejaculate (which is all to the good from the viewpoint of their partners), penile sensation is unchanged when all other factors are controlled, and, in general, most men and their partners like the appearance and function the same or better after the procedure.
See, for instance:
Bleustein, Clifford B.; Haftan Eckholdt, Joseph C. Arezzo and Arnold Melman (April 26-May 1, 2003). "Effects of Circumcision on Male Penile Sensitivity". American Urological Association 98th Annual Meeting. Chicago, Illinois. http://www.circs.org/library/bleustein/
Bleustein, Clifford B.; Fogarty JD, Eckholdt H, Arezzo JC, Melman A (April 2005). "Effect of neonatal circumcision on penile neurologic sensation". Urology 65 (4): 773–7. http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0090-4295(04)01343-3
Masood, S; Patel HR, Himpson RC, Palmer JH, Mufti GR, Sheriff MK (2005). "Penile sensitivity and sexual satisfaction after circumcision: are we informing men correctly?". Urol Internationalalis 75 (1): 62–6. http://www.cirp.org/library/sex_function/masood1/
Senol MG, Sen B, Karademir K, Sen H, Saraçoğlu M (September 2008). "The effect of male circumcision on pudendal evoked potentials and sexual satisfaction". Acta Neurol Belg 108 (3): 90–3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19115671
Waldinger, M.D.; Quinn P, Dilleen M, Mundayat R, Schweitzer DH, Boolell M (2005). "Circumcision in the United States: prevalence, prophylactic effects, and sexual practice". Journal of Sexual Medicine 2 (4): 492–497. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118719267/abstract
Joe — June 14, 2011
Setting aside religious motivations, and the "sensitivity" issue, I'm opposed to infant circumcision because I believe that consent should be obtained if at all possible before making alterations to someone's body. Of course babies are incapable of consent, so their caretakers have to make decisions that they feel are in their baby's best interest. So, for example, no baby ever consents to being vaccinated, but the risk of treatment is low, and the risk of non-treatment is potentially very high.
When it comes to circumcision, I've heard that the pay-off of treatment is dubious. Infant mortality would not increase if circumcision were halted full stop, and it's not clear what kind of public health risk smegma poses. To my mind, babies have a right to their bodies, and it is worth waiting until they have the capacity to consent before you perform a body modification. In a secular society where we have a healthy respect for people's bodily rights, appeals to questionable health benefits, or aesthetics (especially aesthetics) have no ground to stand on. I also think the fact that you'll remember the pain more clearly as an adult (not that you'll experience more pain, mind you) is also irrelevant.
The hairy question becomes what to do about communities which ritually circumcise boys for heartfelt religious, or traditional reasons. The question is, should religious groups be allowed special privileges to perform activities which are not accepted (or which you think ought not to be) accepted by secular society?
I have to admit that when it comes to the importance of circumcision to Judaism, I'm conflicted. But, I have to recognize my willingness to be more accepting of Jewish circumcision is almost entirely due to my own familiarity with the practice. I am entirely unmoved by appeals to religion or tradition when it comes to female genital mutilation (even just the removal of the prepuce). Generally, I'd prefer not to think about the issue at all given the dissonance it causes me. But when push comes to shove, I have what I think are solid secular principles to stand on, and I have to side with those every time.
JDP — June 14, 2011
Should be pointed out that campaigns against FGM have major within-community support and are about the people who happen to have those genitals, not about the genitals themselves. The campaign against male ritual circumcision almost ubiquitously comes from people outside of the communities that practice it and is focused almost entirely on the penis itself, not on the person attached to it.
It's not like men are oppressed members of society. If men in communities that practice male ritual circumcision felt oppressed by the practice, it would disappear without the need for coercive legislation and hateful propaganda. As another commentator alluded to up-thread, a lot of intactivists try to make people who do not feel marginalized or oppressed by the fact they have been circumcised "realize" that they've been wronged. That's patronizing at best and oppressive at worst.
larrycwilson — June 14, 2011
The subject is not worth the vitriol. It is almost always a sad thing when an individual tries to force his/her individual opinions on others by using state force.
David S. Meyer — June 14, 2011
I initially blogged on the story of the referenda campaigns against circumcision because I write about social movements. I have no agenda for anyone's infant son, nor do I claim expertise on the attendant medical issues. Really. I've since read the responses, here and on orgtheory, had a few conversations, and read a little bit more. I wrote about Jena Troutman and Matthew Hess not because I judged them to be the most egregious or appealing people in the anti-circumcision movement, but because they were at the root of the ballot measures. Hess wrote both of them, and Troutman started, then abandoned the effort in Santa Monica--apparently because she couldn't bear the weight of association with Hess.
There were LOTS of comments, but mostly about circumcision, not the ballot initiative as a political tactic, about soft support, or about the issue of provoking opponents.
I've learned that there is some research which suggests some health benefits for circumcision, and that the WHO is endorsing the practice in Africa to stem the spread of AIDS.
The CDC cites similar evidence. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/PDF/circumcision.pdf]
When I posted this material elsewhere, I heard that I was foolish to trust such organizations because they have been hijacked by circumcision enthusiasts. (I'm dubious about this claim.)
I've read the commentary at the Washington Post blog, which includes the report by Aseem Shukla, who performs circumcisions (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/post/much-ado-about-circumcision-a-pediatric-urologists-view/2011/06/10/AGlF8eOH_blog.html).
[Why (and how) have American urologists been misled?]
It seems pretty clear that this is an issue that is urgent to relatively few people: people who believe in circumcision for religious reasons, and people who oppose it for a variety of reasons.
The politics of a referendum mean that each side will work to capture the attention of a larger share of people who don't think about it much. A lot will hinge on analogy: Is male circumcision more like a head scarf or female genital mutilation? (America allows the former, but not the latter.)
In this regard, the images supporters advance are likely to matter a great deal.
Ricardo — June 14, 2011
If you're going to let the child decide whether or not it wants a circumcision, why not let the child decide whether it wants to be aborted or not. You know, you can always kill yourself post-birth. Why value the freedom of choice for a child 1 second after it exits a woman's body, but not 1 second before.
A woman can choose to murder her unborn male child, but cutting a flap of skin off its penis is beyond the pale. Such a strange society.
m — June 14, 2011
I... do not like this article. While the antisemitism bit is understandable, it rings of "how dare you question our right to cut into children?". Aren't most circumsized americans non- jews today? Of course this deserves a good debate within the jewish community, and any public debate for the practise have to to the line not to cross over into antiseministm, just like any debate surrounding female ciscumsition, gender segregation or violence of honor have to keep out of islamophobic territory.
But "quick and routine procedure?" It looks minimizing to say the least. I guess the bottom line is that I do not understand this. You're cutting into one of the body's most sensitive parts on a goddamn baby - need there really be more to discuss than that?
gre'nichgrendel — June 14, 2011
I'm just fascinated that the longest, most heated threads I've seen so far have been about a) fat, and those who carry more of it than beauty standards, or sometimes health standards, recommend and b) penises, specifically the foreskin or lack thereof.
Village Idiot — June 14, 2011
What's the profit margin for circumcision?
Why no discussion about the fact that this is an unnecessary surgery when in just about all other contexts having surgical procedures done when there is no urgent need for them is generally advised against (conversely, when someone has a medical condition that requires treatment a competent doctor will explore alternatives to surgery if at all possible and only resort to invasive procedures if absolutely necessary)?
I knew a woman who died while getting breast augmentation surgery (bad reaction to the anesthetic) and as far as I can tell it was a completely preventable death since the procedure was medically superfluous. The risk of dying while getting a boob job is extremely low, just like the risk of serious complications from circumcision, but for either procedure some risk does remain and so it's safe to assume that there are women getting boob jobs and infant boys being circumcised who will die, be maimed, or suffer other complications from their respective procedures that otherwise would not have happened at all. That's all fine and dandy apparently (if we want to make an omelete we're gonna have to break a few eggs and all that), but then I also read about expensive initiatives or programs that are sold with trite cliches like "...if it saves the life of even ONE child, it was worth it!" Well, we'd certainly save more than one child's life if we no longer performed unnecessary surgeries on infants, so...?
There may be demonstrable 'benefits' to having the procedures done, but benefits are not medical necessities. Since many men from both the cut and uncut camps report high sensitivity and generally enjoyable sex lives and since places where men are routinely left uncircumcised are not suffering a high male death rate from diseases caused by dirty uncut penises it sure seems to me to be a superfluous procedure at best and may be contrary to the Hippocratic Oath (surgery that gives no statistically significant benefits seems to me to qualify as 'harm'). However, I suspect it is very profitable which is why I asked about the profit margins (I'd really like to know).
David S. Meyer — June 14, 2011
I'm prepared to stand with "quick and routine" as an accurate and unbiased description. Dr. Shukla says he performs circumcisions all the time (routine) and that it takes less than 15 minutes (quick). That's how I understand those adjectives.
Anyone is, of course, free to deplore a routine procedure, although I doubt that many would want it to take longer.
Keydar — June 15, 2011
Regardless of whether or not circumcision should be done, I just want to mention I find the anti-circumcision movement a bit suspect, and this is not because I think they are necessarily wrong. I am actually circumcised, and I am happy with it, but I do admit it is likely an unnecessary practice.
What I find a little unusual is the fervent stance some opponents take. For example, you will have some people totally fine with indoctrinating children into religion, sexist and anti-gay practices, yet so fervently opposed to circumcision.
It's similar to the fervent stance people take against the Burqa, yet have no problem with forcing women to wear skirts in sports, or high heels, or other socially enforced attire. Similarly, I equate it to those white Americans who have no idea about systemic racism in the united states, yet go on and on about apartheid in Israel. I'm not saying these people are anti-Semitic, or anti-Muslim, necessarily; I just find it suspect.
Gilbert Pinfold — June 15, 2011
Agree, Alan, but smart Scandinavians are not really the issue here. Assuming poor hygiene, poor availability of condoms or cultural aversion to condoms (since there is no place on earth where some NGO is not there to ram condoms down your throat), poverty, ignorance, high incidence of rape, etc; THEN which is healthier, cut or uncut?
Grizzly — June 15, 2011
Both I, and my son, were circumcised at birth. I am annoyed by comments that we are not "intact" or on the more extreme end, "mutilated." But I recognize that these are semantic statements, and so are pointless to argue.
The same can be said of the sensitivity issue. It's like comparing male and female orgasms. You can argue all you want about whose is more powerful, but really, there is no way to tell. All I can say is I consider myself MORE than sensitive enough.
I can attest the at least for my son, the procedure was both quick and routine. He healed quickly, and the extent of our care was to apply vaseline to the area when we changed his diaper. It took a few seconds, and didn't seem to bother him at all. Believe me when I say that as far as changing a poop filled diaper is concerned, this was least troublesome part of the procedure.
Obviously the procedure isn't by the strictest definition, "necessary." If they were, everyone would have it done. But it has saved my son and I the trouble of additional hygene concerns. My uncle, who was uncircumcised, got an infection which forced him to have a circumcision in his 50's. It was a painful, extremely uncomfortable process for him. For my son, whether this can happen is a non-issue.
As far as the issue of a child's rights are concerned, parents make what could potentially be life altering decisions for their children all the time. The way I see it, I had a routine procedure performed which he would never remember, and which resulted in no negative consequences; which would protect him from potential hygiene related issues. If having his appendix removed were as simple an non-invasive as a circumcision, I would have had that done as well.
Aoirthoir — June 15, 2011
"I'm really not sure why people tend to do this, but it often comes over as attacking people who have different aesthetic preferences. Not just "your choice is ugly, I don't like it", but also "you choice is unhealthy and you are a bad person for making it"."
Uh huh, that's what we circumcised are saying about the uncircumcised. Oh wait, it's NOT, it's what THEY (and certain women) are saying about US.
"Fair enough. That doesn't mean that you get to call people bigots just because they are opposed to the practise."
I'm not calling people opposed to the practice bigots. I'm calling the ones using the insulting language bigots, cause thats what they are. You cannot say "no no you don't REALLY know what you feel but I KNOW what you feel' and think you're not being bigoted. The same thing with calling us abnormal, mutilated, abused and so on. All of those terms, WHEN THEY ARE NOT TRUE, are othering, bigoted word choices. If they made it JUST about being opposed to the practice, well then I'd not be calling them bigots.
"Arthoir, I don't really care how you feel now. I mean, it's great that you're happy with your own body, nothing better... but to be honest, you'd probably be equally happy if you weren't circumcised."
Yeah? You're RIGHT. I am happy in many circumstances and I have a HUGE ego, LOVING my body, mind, soul and EVERYTHING about me. I love me when I am long haired. I love me when I am bald. I love me when I am long haired/half bald (as in my pic). So YES I would love me uncirced as well. And uncirced men get to love being uncirced as well. And those that are uncirced or circed that are not happy, GET TO BE UNHAPPY.
My objection is not based on their or my happiness. My objection is based on the bigots telling me I'm not ACTUALLY happy.
"Regardless, YOU DID NOT GET TO CHOOSE."
WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO LISTEN? I am not saying "I am happy CAUSE AT ONE DAY OLD I got to choose to be circumcised." I am happy REGARDLESS of my choice in the matter. A LOT of decisions were made for me as an infant, some of those decision I DEFINITELY DISAGREE with (my mother for instance would leave me unchanged in my diaper for two or three days at a time!), and yet, DESPITE THAT I am just happy and fine.
When oh when will you folks realize that I'm neither advocating FOR or AGAINST circumcision for ANY BODY BUT MY OWN. What I am advocating AGAINST is the incredibly insulting language ABOUT CIRCS like me, that some many bigoted uncircs and bigoted women are speaking. This was never about CHOICE. Other than I RETROACTIVELY CONSENTED. Something I as an adult CAN DO IN MY AGENCY.
"What, ye ol’ smegma argument? Women produce that too, but you don’t see anybody in the West using that as an argument to hack off their labia."
I never made this argument. I was responding to the false claim that "if anything uncirceds are cleaner" cause they wipe. Well if WIPING makes one cleaner, than the only way you are actually cleaner than me, IS IF YOU ACTUALLY WIPE. Since men tend not to wipe at a urinal, that argument is false.
"Not to mention, honestly, you don’t know from personal experience (only ever having one type of penis in your recollection) and I really really doubt, given your attitude, that you’ve run around conducting a poll to see if your preconceived notions on the subject were correct."
Why? Because I object to people telling me sh't about ME? See, I know some of you leftists get p'ssed at me on this site (and others) thinking I just am this or that. But if you look at the CORE of MOST of my arguments, I'm objecting MOST of the time, to YOU or ANYONE telling ANOTHER what they FELL, THINK, or WHO THEY ARE. Telling me that I AM mutilated or I AM a victim, STRIPS ME OF MY AGENCY. How about, the one that gets to decide if were don't like something done to our bodies, be the one who is in that actually body.
As far as MY preconceived notions about circumcision, I have only those that are fact based. That is, circumcision CAN be harmful to a male. So can NOT getting circumcised. Another "preconceived" notion I have? A circed man GETS TO NOT LIKE BEING CIRCED. Another? A non-circed man gets to LIKE being non-circed. BUT, of all of those "preconceived" notions, the only one that you seem to ACTUALLY disagree with is, that we CIRCED MEN ALSO get to LIKE being CIRCED. The other "preconceived" notions you've accused me of, YOU made up, cause I didn't ACTUALLY HAVE those notions.
""hmm. So then are you suggesting that unless a baby consents to something we shouldnâ€™t do it to them?"
If it's not necessary and irreversible - yes, actually.
Necessary surgery to save your kid's life? Do it! Picking out their Halloween costume, celebrating Christmas? Go for it!
Cutting off a part of the body? Naaaah, not so much."
OK what about raising them as a vegetarian? Muslim? Carnivore "murderer"? American? Christian? Atheist?
As for "necessary" surgery, does that include surgery to "correct" blindness? deafness? dwarfism (leg lengthing)? Cleft lip? "Deformed" teeth?
"That's great. YOU CAN NOT DO IT. That's not how consent works. "
Untrue. I JUST gave retroactive consent. See, that's why it's called RETROACTIVE. But just ignore THAT IMPORTANT WORD and keep saying I'm talking about CONSENT when I am talking about RETROACTIVE consent.
"As far as feeling goes, it's not entirely specious because we can count how many nerve endings are in the foreskin and infer from there that people with foreskins generally have more feeling than people without, due to a great number of nerve endings."
Yes it is specious. Because each and every man is different. Nerve endings do not correlate specifically to how much feeling I have, how great sex is, or what parts of my body create the most sexual pleasure and sensation. I am EXTREMELY sensitive over my ENTIRE body. My sensation volumn goes up to ELEVEN (points for those that know the reference). So someone merely touching my belly or back or arm or knee can get me writhing. And that's in a NON SEXUAL situation.
So when I say it is specius, it is RIDICULOUS to tell any specific person what his experience is since you know, he knows better than you what he's experienced.
"(Plus, if you're saying that guys with foreskins "feel too much", how can you also say you don't "feel less"? Pick one and stick with it.)"
Actually I am not saying they feel too much. I said the opposite. I didn't say men with foreskins feel too much. It is OTHERS that say that and I am refuting it. The real refutation is that we just don't know if one person feels more than other. HOWEVER that having been said, since guys that are circed tend to self report as feeling SO MUCH that they HAVE to concentrate to prevent ejaculating faster than they want, in larger numbers than uncirced men self-report the same thing, we'd have to conclude regardless of nerves, circed men feel more.
But again, EACH MAN IS DIFFERENT.
"No, it wouldn't. Whole, complete - if you're missing part of your body that your body would, in the normal course of things, still have at your age (you'd lose that hair and nails and baby teeth no matter what sooner or later), that's that."
Oh for crying out loud. MY BODY IS WHOLE. Sorry, but you do not get to decide for me that my body is unwhole. Nice try though there Sherlock Frosting.
"I didn't say you're less of a person. That's a matter of what's inside you. I didn't say you're less of a man. I said your body is incomplete - and it is."
Again YOU don't get to decide if my body is INCOMPLETE. That is an INCREDIBLY BIGOTED statement.
"I'm missing four of my adult teeth (not my wisdom teeth, oddly). My set of teeth is incomplete."
Yes YOUR set of teeth is incomplete. What applies to YOU does NOT apply to me. I had HALF of my teeth taken out by choice. I do NOT have a set of INCOMPLETE teeth, I have NEARLY the right amount of teeth. Once I get some more taken out and I am left with just the canines, THEN I WILL have JUST the right amount of teeth.
MY BODY IS NOT YOUR BODY. Stop assuming that because something happens to YOU it is valid for ME.
"My grandmother doesn't have her appendix (among other things). Her list of internal organs is missing some parts. It is incomplete."
I'll frankly let HER decide that.
"Her body no longer is made to factory specifications."
You'd just LOVE the society in Metropolis.
"It no longer wholly has everything it came with, or was supposed to have at this point. (And yet it's for the best.)"
I leave that for her to decide, not you. If SHE decides it doesn't have everythign it was supposed to at this point, then I will agree. HER body is NOT MY body. My body has EVERYTHING it was supposed to have at this point.
"This isn't a judgment call, or a criticism of her as a person. It's a simple fact."
No it's not. There is NO REASON in a debate about whether I AM PERSONALLY HAPPY with my own body, to tell me but but but but! You're body isn't whole! It doesn't have everything it's supposed to have! Except either as subterfudge and a distraction or to insult me.
"As far as having validity - LOL. The people who need validity are the ones promoting optional surgery on small children."
If that is true, then why the need to insult circed men? WHY NOT just make the argument about not circumcising children in the future? Further, WHY NOT ARGUE WITH THOSE PEOPLE SO PROMOTING? Cause I'm neither advocating or opposing circumcision. So why debate with me as if I am advocating it, WHEN I AM NOT?
"Hon, my bladder is there, my vulva is there. Your foreskin was removed. And I would answer all of these questions gladly."
But you won't recognise when the questions you ask are really just bigoted.
"Questions if sincere and out of curiosity and which try to understand someone of a different viewpoint are not ridiculous. Your behavior is however."
Uh huh. Cause that's all you were doing.
"The assumption that people that have been circumcised and disagree with either circumcision in itself or with unnecessary procedures on human beings who cannot consent "hate their body" is also ridiculous."
Bullsh't. I NEVER made such a statement. I have stated MANY times that circed men GET TO BE UNSATISIFIED with their bodies, and DISLIKE that they were circed IF THEY SO CHOOSE. I did not say they HATE their body. I said IF THATS WHAT THEY DO it is their right. IF a circed man feels that his body is mutilated, HE GETS to feel that way. I nor ANYONE ELSE get to tell him ANYTHING about his body.
And no one gets to tell me about my body.
"At this point you're really just trolling."
Took just around a day before someone to accuse another of trolling. Since this is accusation happens so much, it's really just a way to say "you said something I disagree with but I cannot refute.."
"Both I, and my son, were circumcised at birth. I am annoyed by comments that we are not "intact" or on the more extreme end, "mutilated." But I recognize that these are semantic statements, and so are pointless to argue."
Agreed. It would be one thing for a circed man to say "**I** am mutilated." It is another thing for him to say that other circed men who don't self identify as mutilated are in fact "mutilated". The same goes for people who will never experience circumcision. It's nothing but inflammatory bigoted insulting language.
"The same can be said of the sensitivity issue. It's like comparing male and female orgasms. You can argue all you want about whose is more powerful, but really, there is no way to tell. All I can say is I consider myself MORE than sensitive enough."
Thank you. Me too.
"I can attest the at least for my son, the procedure was both quick and routine. He healed quickly, and the extent of our care was to apply vaseline to the area when we changed his diaper. It took a few seconds, and didn't seem to bother him at all. Believe me when I say that as far as changing a poop filled diaper is concerned, this was least troublesome part of the procedure."
Which is vastly the experience of most people with their circed sons.
"Obviously the procedure isn't by the strictest definition, "necessary." If they were, everyone would have it done. But it has saved my son and I the trouble of additional hygene concerns. My uncle, who was uncircumcised, got an infection which forced him to have a circumcision in his 50's. It was a painful, extremely uncomfortable process for him. For my son, whether this can happen is a non-issue."
What you are about to see is people denying what you just said. I've not even looked yet, but I've enough experience with these sorts of places that I don't even have to guess that it will happen.
"As far as the issue of a child's rights are concerned, parents make what could potentially be life altering decisions for their children all the time."
But the ones arguing against circumcision AGREE with THOSE life altering decisions. So that makes it ok to decide those things.
"The way I see it, I had a routine procedure performed which he would never remember, and which resulted in no negative consequences; which would protect him from potential hygiene related issues. If having his appendix removed were as simple an non-invasive as a circumcision, I would have had that done as well."
Ahh finally a reasoned commentary!
Aoirthoir — June 15, 2011
"Nope. YOU can have as many procedures performed on YOURSELF as you can afford."
Nice to know that you are so kind as to let me do to myself what I can afford.
"Why is this so hard to understand?"
I'm having no trouble understanding anything.
"This proposed law is to allow people to decide for themselves if they would like to be circumcised or not. Why do you continue to argue as though ADULTS are being prohibited from getting medical procedures they want?"
Ok I have to explain this AGAIN. I am neither PROMOTING nor OPPOSING circumcision for children.
Just keep ignoring that I've said that have a dozen f'cking times.
"And cosmetic surgery like breast implants is not “necessary” from a medical perspective."
Let me explain a little something about "necessary" from a medical perspective. I have a small mouth due to not eating growing up. I experienced and incredible amount of malnutrition. Now, having a small mouth did not prevent my teeth from deciding to grow anyhow. So I had packed, twisted, teeth. My jaw hurt MOST of the time. My mouth hurt MOST of the time. It was incredibly uncomfortable ALL of he time. My teeth were so far out of my mouth that I could never fully close my mouth because I had incredibly buck teeth coupled with a recessed jaw. I was sick often.
They WANTED to put me under, take bone fragments from my leg and BREAK MY JAW and INSERT the bone fragments to extend my jaw. They wanted to SURGICALLY REALLIGN my teeth after that. Becuase my teeth were actually too far out of my gums they wanted to SURGICALLY PUSH THEM DOWN. The surgery for all of this if I had it done at a TEACHIGN HOSPITAL was still going to be in excess of 20 to 30 THOUSAND DOLLARS. Even then despite all of these problems I was told it was medically not necessary. I wasn't REALLY suffering. In order for the insurance to even CONSIDER it I had to go through ridiculous medical examinations like a prostrate exam AT 20. They and the doctors did everything they could to find reasons not to do what I wanted.
What I WANTED was to simply have some or all of my teeth removed and to get dentures. It took me years to find a dentist willing to do so, and she made up a GREAT plan for me. I kept certain teeth to keep my jaw from collapsing (over time the jaw weakens without the teeth). She pulled them in two sessions and gave me a third to remove the bone creep. I've been happy ever since. My mouth was comfortable, I hardly get sick, though I've always had a huge ego, my self confidence shot up. (Ego is what I feel about myself, self-confidence in this regard is related to what I feel others feel about me.)
Now, if a woman chooses to have breast reduction or enhancement, that is entirely her business. I neither promote nor oppose it. Why? Because it is none of my d'mned business. She's already got enough people judging her when she starts talking about wanting it, that she doesn't need one more opinion of someoen she doesn't even know. If she decides its going to benefit her emotionally, psychologically, or physically, that's HER decision and YES it becomes medically necessary. I give rip all about what a doctor things we need.
"If you think women with small boobs aren’t “really living”"
Nope you made that up. I never said such a thing.
"or something like that you are certainly entitled to your opinion."
You're not entitled to say something is my opinion that I never said.
"Most doctors (and non-doctors) do agree that breast implants are not a life-saving procedure, though. That’s WHY such procedures are CALLED “cosmetic”. Get it?"
I don't care if you think that a "cosmetic" procedure is not life saving and therefore is not necessary. I've BEEN there, and it most definitely WAS necessary. People are judged enough without others further othering and judging them because they get breast implants and because those people have decided FOR the person, that the breast implants they've decided ARE necessary for themselves, well, really aren't and what does she know, she's just a wittle woman after all....
Aoirthoir — June 15, 2011
"And those boys who DO feel their penis was mutilated, the fact that their parents had a part of their penis removed without their consent doens't bother you?"
HOW MANY TIMES do I have to say I am neither PROMOTING nor OPPOSING circumcision. My points on here are not intended IN ANY WAY to enter the political fray. My only point at this stage is to STOP the OTHERING that is going on with regards to circed men. When people don't like their bodies, since I LOVE MINE DEARLY, it does bother me. The fact that they don't love their bodies to the depths that I do, doesn't mean I have to stop loving mine.
"It's cool that you love your penis. It's great that it serves you well."
Yes. Yes it has.
"I don't see what any of this has to do with the right of a parent to have a completely unnecessary (primarily aesthetic) surgery performed on their infant son."
I NEVER MADE SUCH A CLAIM. I am NOT claiming parents have a right to circumcise their children. I am not saying parents SHOULDN'T have a right. I am MAKING NO STATEMENT ABOUT IT WHATSOEVER.
"Imagine applying this logic to other things,"
No. That conflates two issues that are often generally unrelated.
"and you might see how it's wrong. "Mosst people" may be okay with givign up all kinds of civil liberties for any number of reasons,"
Those of us happy about being circed men didn't give up one twit of our civil liberties.
"but that doens't make it okay for them to make that decision for everyone else."
"(Or at least not always; I do understand that this is how democracy works, however checks and balances need to be in place to protect minority interests in some cases.)"
Democracy is a bad bad idea entirely. It will always devole into mob rule. REPRESENTATIVE Democracy on the other hand is the preferable of the two.
"FGM is also illegal in much of the world, (and considered to be a violation of the Hippocratic Oath) - including the US, where for some reason male infant circumcision continues at staggaring rates."
The "some reason" is that FGM is VASTLY different than male infant circumcision.
"Sorry, how do men have the power the "change" the fact of having been circumsized? I actually think I'm missing something in your point here."
Actually scientific advances are moving to the place where we can grow hearts, lungs and more. The rates of advancement are so fast that scientists have suggested we're going to see more common options with years rather than within decades. The sole factor that will imact the reality of seeing the growth or regrowth of the foreskin will be demand. Which will be quite low for two reasons. Hardly any male infants are circumcised anymore, and of those that are, in overwhelming numbers, they're satisfied.
"Seriously, man. ADULTS are people over 18. THEY can have ANY medical procedures they like, whether necessary or not. BABIES cannot make such decisions for THEMSELVES because their brains aren't mature yet. Get it through your head. Adults can vote. Babies can't. An adult can apply for a license to drive. A baby can't. It's not really that hard to understand."
RIGHT. EXACTLY. So therefore it's up to the parents to decide these things for the infant. ALL SORTS of life altering decisions are made for babies without their consent, because as you pointed out babies cannot consent.
"As far as the implants thing. I didn't make up anything you said, was only trying to understand WHAT could be medically necessary about breast implants."
How about, you leave that up to the woman or man who decides to get implants and stay out of their d'mned business?
"If you know a case where a woman would've died if she didn't get breast implants,"
So the ONLY THING that makes surgery "medically necessary" is if the person would DIE? Then just about the majority of surgeries have to stop right now. Thank Odin's Eye you don't have a say in other people's lives and what surgeries we are permitted or not permitted to have.
"simply share the story and maybe I'll change my mind. I have a feeling you don't know a story about a life-saving boob job, but have at it."
I don't need to have a story about such a thing. Because that's not the only definition of "medically necessary". In fact the evidence of this is that you IMMEDIATELY jumped AGAIN to the topic of BREAST AUGMENTATION, which was the LEAST of my post. Yet you IGNORED EVERYTHING I said about having my teeth pulled, or having dental work done.
See, society thinks dental work IS JUST FINE, it IS life saving, giving people a better quality of life, mor confidence, makes them happier. Kind of the same as many other purportedly non-medically necessary procedures. But things like breast augmentation are routinely dismissed. One form of "cosmetic" surgery is just fine, another is not.
I reiterate...thank Odin's Left Eye, that YOU don't get to decide for us what surgeries we're allowed to have.
"If you have a baby daughter, you should get her breast implants right away before she even leaves the hospital. I'm sure she'll thank you some day!"
Yeaaaaaaaaaaaah..cause that's what I said.
"Spanking may or may not constitute child abuse, but I think the definite, provable permanent change enacted by circumcision puts in a less debatable category."
WOW. Let's see. Striking an ADULT is MOST DEFINITELY abuse, most DEFINITELY a crime, MOST DEFINITELY assault. BUT STRIKING a child, MAY or MAY NOT be abuse. A child who is likely 1/4 the size of the adult striking them. One adult striking another is more likely striking an individual VERY CLOSE to their size. But a "giant" (thats what we are to children) STRIKING a child is in the category of MAY or MAY not regarding abuse...
But a routinely performed quick medical procedure which the VAST MAJORITY of men who have it are ENTIRELY SATISFIED, facing NO ill effects, IS "less debatable..."
And people wonder why I shake my head at the leftists.
"I'm sorry, what was not "reasoned" about my comments? I thought I stated my reasons for circumcision fairly clearly."
Grizzly your statement was entirely reasoned. My statements above, though 100% valid, were emotional. I have a right to object to bigoted people othering and insulting me. I did so with passion and fervor. That means my approach was less reasoned than yours. So I REALLY APPRECIATED your approach.
Those that object to my finding your argument reasoned are doing so solely on the grounds that they THINK I am agreeing that parents should circumcise their sons. An argument I NEVER MADE.
""I suspect the sales of K-Y jelly are much higher in the U.S. than in Europe."
You suspect wrong."
AHahaha. Ah this was great. Tell it on the mountain!
"In fact, in Israel, where pretty much every guy is circumcised, using lube for masturbation is pretty unheard of."
Yeah I used Lube when I was first married. For like one day. But then I was a virgin when I got married and didn't know how all the parts worked or fit together...Which thank Odin's Right Thigh that my misconceptions were wrong, cause Holy Holly if they were right!
""And it’s a LOT more sensitive, not “a bit”. If I’m in retracted mode, the slight brush of the exposed skin against the cotton fibers of my underwear is a YOWWWCCCCHHHH: imagine a cartoon character jumping through the ceiling. "
Yeah... doesn't sound tempting."
I dunno, I'm tempted. I love it when the cotton fibers of my manties hurt my junk. Then I don't have to go to corner of Fifth Avenue and McEntire... :D
"Every guy I know is circumcised, and every one of them is plenty sensitive. None of them desire to be any *more* sensitive."
But but but but but but you just dont kNOW what you're missing. You only THINK you are plenty sensitive...
"So why are unaffected people getting all upset?"
Because then their false claims that circumcision is abusive are exposed as false claims. Remember a great many people HAVE to believe that how THEY think or feel is how OTHERS think or feel. The fact that we don't bothers them greatly.
"You mean *making* ridiculous claims on the internet. You started attacking us all for telling you you hate your penis when nobody had even said that,"
Uh no. I NEVER said people told me that I hate my penis. I am the one that started the dialogue saying I was glad I was circumcised. A number of people told me I wasn't. That's a far cry from claiming they told me I hate my penis.
"nor made any comment even remotely *like* that until a few comments *after* you started replying.:"
I replied um..you know, THIRD on this thread. So no. Nice try there Sherlock.
"Actually, I wish my tonsils had been removed at birth. I missed 20+ days every school year due to tonsillitis, and the year I missed more than 30 days, they finally took them out. But by then I was 10 years old, and recovery took a week of my summer vacation...but at least I didn't have to have them out as an adult; that can be even worse."
Yeah and the ice cream was a big lie. I didn't want ice cream I was so sore in the hospital. It would have been great if it had been done as an infant.
"Now? I am rarely ill."
For me I eliminated or reduced stress in my life. That's gone a LONG way to making me sick less. That and being able to keep my mouth fully closed.
"Not that I think tonsils/foreskin are comparable, or that either should be routinely done, or that government should get involved in a health decision of any sort between a patient (or parent/guardian) and their doctor."
Right. Because here is the thing. Even if I think circumcision is wrong, do I step to it should be illegal? What does that mean it should be illegal? Well TYPICALLY that means government INVOLVEMENT. But not just government CIVIL involvement which is bad enough. But government CRIMINAL involvement. That means now suddenly parents who infants NEED to be there, ARE CRIMINALIZED and LIKELY jailed. The ones that are not jailed, suddenly have CRIMINAL records. The criminal records would be for false claims of "CHILD ABUSE". Which means any sort of teaching job, working with children, and other similar forms of employment are OUT THE DOOR. But it also means that many forms of employment not related to children will be denied these suddenly "CRIMINAL" parents. Why? People don't like to hire child abusers.
It's the same argument when we talk about making abortion illegal. Ultimately what we are talking about is JAILING people. And yeah, I'm sorry, but that's just NOT what an infant needs either. So that's why I'm neither FOR nor OPPOSED to circumcision.
""Make me less whole WHAT? A less whole PERSON?"
Your body now has fewer particles in it that would be if it hadn't."
Hmmm. THAT's your reasoning? My body ahs FEWER particles in it? You've not actually LOOKED at me have you?
"Fewer choices as to what to do with it as well."
No. ONE fewer. The choice to circumcise as an adult.
"A person that wasn't circumcised can choose to be so later in life, and thus can do everything you can do, but they can also choose to have thier penis hat let to be."
I typically choose to let my penis be. It's not complained so far.
But all of these statements are really ways to attempt to make me feel bad for not being circumcised. WHY does it bother you so much that I'm just fine and dandy having been circumcised? If uncirced men are bothered by the idea of THEM GETTING circed, don't. If another circed man is bothered that he was circed, that's his right. His body does not equal my body.
""Sorry. Somebody saying, "Actually, your penis has been mutilated and it's a little pathological for you to be so defensive about how great that is," isn't bigotry."
Yes it is bigotry. It is NOT pathological for me to object to persons removing my agency.
"As a gay guy, I circulate in communities where it's okay to talk about penises."
I'm a polysexual pagan, I circulate in communities where it's ok to talk about penises. When I was under the guise of Christianity heterosexual, I circulated in communities where it was ok to talk about penises. In fact I've never been in a group of people who had any problem talking about penises.
"By and large, cut guys say, "Wow, WTF were my parents thinking?" and"
You mean cut guys YOU know. The circumcised men I know say just the opposite. Thank GOD my parents circumcised me.
"uncut guys say, "Yeah, but it's so much nicer to suck.""
Ive never known a woman to say this. I've heard that it doesn't matter to them. The ones I know anyhow.
"Nobody gets all that frickin' passionate about it."
The only passionate going on here are those that wish to control others and those of us objecting to having our agency removed because people are upset that we're just fine and dandy with our circed penises. WHY are OUR penises THEIR business?
"I am not passionate about your adult penis, it's the cutting of babies that freaks me out."
I'm not upset about you thinking circumcision is wrong. I just won't tolerate people telling ME about MY d'mned body.
"Okay so that means there's data out there that actually shows the circumcision is more effective that the preiously mentioned things? I'm asking because all the data I ever see is simply touting circumcision and all it (supposed) wonders."
The UN would seem to think so. I have made no conclusions one way or the other. As far as the data goes, it APPEARS to me that the same number of men that suffer in later life BECAUSE of having been circumcised are about the same as the number of men that suffer later in life because of NOT being circumcised. So as far as it helping one way or another FOR ALL MALES in ALL circumcstances, I think it's a tough line to tow. I would rather suggest that in SOME circumcstances, one or the other is preferable. Those circumstances vary.
This and other reasons are why I am on neither side of the issue of whether someone should practice infant circumcision. I AM opposed to JAILING or CRIMINALIZING parents who circumcise their children because it is a great injustice to assume it is harmful in ALL cases, when it is harmful in the same number of cases as not circumcising. So using that reasoning we should also criminalize NON-circumcising parents. But hey, that's what the government is after anyhow, converting us all to "criminals" and thus wards of the state.
Aoirthoir — June 15, 2011
Thanks for pronouncing it right :D.
"In one of the first post you clearly stated: "I’m 42 and I’m glad they made sure I was circumcised...""
"I take it you don't like the term intact? I use the terms intact or normal to be descriptive and to try to be more concise with my words, but I'd happily accept other terminology that was more widely accepted or more neutral."
Thank you! Yes intact is offensive. Do we refer to persons with their appendix as intact? Or their tonsils as intact? Do we even create separations like this? Then why are people entilted to do so in terms of foreskin?
"As you likely know, uncircumcised is a term that many men who have not had their foreskin removed dislike, as well as 'uncut'."
Yeah and actually I WASN'T thinking about that in all of this, there's no excuse for my thoughtlessness.
"I tend to use intact and circumcised because they are clear and concise and the most neutral terms I'm aware of. Perhaps if I had said, 'intact penis' that would have been more acceptable?"
No because my penis is intact. Intact foreskin is less offensive because I do not have a foreskin so its just a statement of fact."
"You had my head spinning for a while when you said you are intact- I thought maybe I'd confused you with a different poster."
Ok well first, THANK you for taking the time to UNDERSTAND. I GREATELY appreciate it. I am going to use intact foreskin, and circumcised moving foward. Those men with intact foreskins do not deserve to be belittled, but neither do we circumcised.
"You brought up sensitivity in the post I was replying too- I commented on it. I think discussing biological function and sexuality are quite appropriate when discussing circumcision."
It is appropriate. The problem is, except for men who were circumcised later in life, it is ENTIRELY SPECULATIVE that I feel less than any other man. That's a statement of fact regardless of whether that other man has an intact foreskin or not.
"I got off track at parts of my post and let my frustration out in a little tangent at the end, I'm sorry. What I was trying to relay did come across how I intended."
Ok. I understand this is a heated discussion. So that happens.
"There's seems such a huge disconnect right now with the actual anatomy and biological function of the foreskin."
Many persons are unaware of its value to men with intact foreskins and many are unaware of the healthy lives circs live.
"You have brought up the 'sensitivity' issue a couple times,"
Actually I have RESPONDED to the sensitivity issue. My position is that all arguments about one man being more or less sensitive than another, are entirely speculative and have no place in the discussion about whether circumcision is justified.
"which has been argued extensively on other forums. I was sharing an explanation which makes sense to me. When talking with others that have a foreskin or know men that have not been circumcised the sensitivity issue is experienced in a different way if you have a foreskin or if you don't. It is different- not the same - again, that is meant to be a neutral statement."
Excellent. Thank you for stating this in a REASONED fashion. Yes it IS different. But truth be told that difference doesn't make two hoots to most of us who are circumcised. The vast majority of us enjoy ourselves just fine.
To clarify I also experience touch APPARENTLY completely different from most persons. I'm not even talking sexual touch either, which itself is incredibly heightened APPARENTLY. So someone can just brush against me and my body twists, and I get shout and I have shortness of breath. None of this is even sexual, it just feels amazing in its own context. My hair on my back, scratching an itch, the feel on the chair beneath my seat, the sensation of shoes on my feet, or grass or concrete. ALL of these are AMAZING to me. I explain it to people that EVERY DAY is like Christmas to me. And people that know me would tell you how excited I am alllll of the time. ALL the time.
Now does my excitement and its difference..APPARENTLY to others mean that they enjoy themselves less and wish they were more like me? I highly doubt it. In fact I would suggest it would be incredibly bigoted of me to suggest that other men are lacking something because they don't experience life as I experience it. So why should not the same consideration be granted to circed men by men with intact foreskins? (or hwoever they choose to self define).
"Now this exchange-- confusing (I'm in the quotes, your responses followed:
“An intact guy” I AM intact. ” has what you got AND more ” No he doesn’t. As I am intact.
Ok- your penis is not intact- it doesn't have a foreskin, it may, or may not have a frenulum. There are parts missing. -neutral statement there-"
My PENIS is intact. My FORESKIN isn't. I hope that clarifies.
"I said: “– so he actually CAN look at his penis and quizzically wonder what would be different if his foreskin wasn’t there, right?”
Aoirthoir replies: I don’t presume to know what uncircumcised men look at or think when they are looking at their own penises. For that matter I give little thought to what circumcised men think about the same topic.
Are you being obtuse here?"
No. I'm being factual. Or as you said neutral. I don't think about what other men think about their arms, penises, hair, laptop computers, brushes, doorways or anything else. I really mean it when I say how they feel about any of this is entirely their business.
"I don't mean this as a literal thing that guys are going around looking at their penis and thinking about things. I mean, in the context of parenting and hearing the 'circumcision controversy' I think some men and women try to understand what circumcision changes so they can decide if they think it is significant or not."
Right, that's what I took you to mean. I in no way suggested you meant ME looking LITERALLY at THEIR penises. I presumed you meant THEIR OWN OPINION of THEIR OWN JUNK. The position I hold is they get to hold whatever opinion they want and I am not entitled to have an opinion on their own opinion of their own junk. Nor am I entitled to know their opinion of my opinion of my own junk.
When people wish to insult me I generally tell them "Sorry, but your opinion of me, is none of my business."
"Let me rephrase it and use an example of a woman that has had the experience of being with a man that has a foreskin and one that does not. She can probably note that the man that has a foreskin has sensitivity on his glans and that his foreskin is also sensitive. The man without the foreskin DOES NOT HAVE A FORESKIN AND THEREFORE CANNOT HAVE ANY SENSITIVITY ON THE FORESKIN- the one that is NOT there any more."
Except that she can also note many differences between many men. I am circumcised and the women I have been with (and the women I've not been with) will tell you that my entire body, including my junk (I love that word) is INCREDIBLY sensitive. I've had women tell me "you must be great in bed" JUST BECAUSE I writhed when a group of women were "tickling" me. Not haha tickle but, "lets see where we can touch him and how he moves when we do.."
"I said: “In most cases he’s horrified. His partner is, too.”
Aoirthoir: Maybe. Guess what, he has THAT RIGHT. Whatever HE chooses to feel, is UP TO HIM. NONE of my business.
???? okay- he doesn't really choose to feel shocked-"
Right. Saying CHOOSE to be shocked implies something I did not intend to imply. He has the right to FEEL however he FEELS. I have the right to FEEL however I feel.
"he just might react that way... acknowledge what he thinks would be lost."
Right. I dare never take someone's experience away from them. It is his right to feel how he feels.
"Here's, maybe a better example: I have a friend who is from Ireland and she reacted in horror at the thought of circumcision when it was mentioned during a standard hospital maternity tour. Foreskins are common in her culture and the casual mention of removing one from her child was upsetting to her."
Her right to be upset.
"She recognized its funtion and purpose and that there was no need to alter a boys body for prevention."
Her right to any of this. Should her right extend to jailing parents who circ?
"Continueing.... I said- “I have an intact son- I am sad that people think circ is necessary or helpful. But when i think about altering his body it strikes me to the core as wrong.”
Aoirthoir said: Then don’t circumcise him. Pretty easy decision it seems to me.
Well, I do agree with this- but now that I have a son and he's just fine with his foreskin, it upsets me that it is so commonly done."
Ok good. But what's this got to do with me? As I am making no argument for or against circumcision? My position on whether parents should circumcise their children has only JUST been stated and only to the extent that I say "jailing parents isn't helpful to their infant children." Other than that my position on infants being circumcised is unstated, and even unhinted at.
"Continueing...“At best you end up happy about what you end up with.”
I’m quite happy with what I ended up with.
Me:“The fact is it is unnecessary. It is not medically recommended so there is no basis for parental responsibility to trump bodily integrity.”
Aoirhoir: Actually that’s not entirely true.
What's not true-- that it is not medically recommended?"
Yes. It IS medically recommended in some cases, even for infants.
"Me:“It is a removal of a functional and sensitive body part.”
Aoirhoir: Actually mine wasn’t functional.
Please explain how your foreskin was not functional?"
No. That's personal. I am very very very open and public about most things in my life. Some things, I get to keep to myself.
"Did you have a complication or abnormality?"
Yes. I had the abnormality of being a deity coupled with the complication of living among humans.
"In newborns the function of the fused foreskin is to prevent the urethra from being exposed to urine and feces.
If a foreskin is not functional, then that is an abnormality and a medical doctor should be advised."
Yes they should be advised.
"I said: “It (circumcision) introduces more risk to an infant and”
Aoirhoir: No actually it doesn’t. The rates of ACTUAL problems that arise from circumcision are the same as ACTUAL problems that arise from NOT circumcising. So there is no justification to NOT circumcise.
Ok, so the risks are essentially equal? Is that what we can agree on? I actually agree, given the stats available I'll concede that the risks after newborn circumcision is equal to the lifetime risk of needing a medically necessary circumcision at some point . There's three thing that jump to mind"
The risks TO ADULTS who were or were not circumcised as infants are about equal. Grown adults that were circumcised as infants OCCASIONALLY run into medical issues because of circumcision. ABOUT that same number of grown adults that were not circumcised run into medical issues because of NOT being circumcised.
"1- A foreskin is the default, circumcision is an action. We are wasting resources to choose to perform something over doing nothing"
No we're not. It takes about fifteen minutes to circumcise an infant. It's a common procedure and it's relatively safe. Circumcision is actually safer than getting one's teeth pulled.
"2- There would be many men that would loose their foreskin at birth that would not have developed problems till they were older. Many of them might be happy to have had years with their foreskin and then need the procedure later on."
Not many men, but yes they exist. When I said "the rates of ACTUAL problems are about the same" I was speaking specifically with regard to adults.
"3- The foreskin has a biological (protective) and sexual function. It is highly sensitive tissue- as is the frenulum. It protects the glans and keeps the glans moist. Its removal alters how the penis works in sex and removes the protective covering in infancy"
And that removal doesn't really harm the vast majority who have it removed. The claim that it is protective is actually a misnomer, as it can also cause its own problems.
"While you may agree that the risks are equal or minimal the common notion seems to be that the foreskin is problematic and circumcision an easy solution. I don't lose any sleep worrying about scary foreskin issues."
Nor should you lose any sleep. But yes, circumcision was an easy solution for thousands of years. Times have changed, we have incredible medical advances. I care less one way or another whether someone circumcises their infant sons.
"Continuing I said: “interrupts a special moment in time when a familys focus should be on bonding, caring, resting and celebrating.”
Aoirthoir: Uh huh cause ALL people are like you and the bris isn’t a family focused event, where we’re bonding, resting, caring and celbrating. Nope nope we’re just all lunching at the infant with giant knives all covered in blood…
Well, actually, my Jewish husband brought up how crazy he thought having a "party" around cutting an infants penis is."
CRAZY huh? So it's ok for your husband to practice ableism as a descriptor of what he thinks of a bris? The fact that he is Jewish doesn't let his ableism off the hook.
But frankly it is irrelevant because people are STILL NOT LURCHING at infants all bloodied with knives. I mean honesty are we to think that the bris is like what's depicted in the comic book at the top? Or that's what doctors are doing?
"Party was his word for the bris ceremony. I actually struggled with this aspect of the meaning of bris and the tradition it represents.
But, in the end, I've decided that religions build a lot of ceremony around traditions and create stories and meaning-- and I'm pretty sure that 'circumcision' was added quite a bit later-"
Then you need to examine the history of circumcision because it goes back VERY far.
"and then drastically changed in response to culture and society (aka instituting periah to remove all of the glans instead of a much simpler cut). Political and cultural motivations come into the picture.
The tradition wasn't meaningful to our family. But that's a whole other part of this issue."
Your family is entitled to its own traditions.
"Me“Yes, more risk. If you think you are preventing a possible ‘necessary’ circ (1% lifetime risk) you may end up with a 2nd necessary correction of the circ ( also 1% risk)”
Aoirhoir: Nope not more risk.
Ok, again, back to equal risk?? Risk is one measure- I don't see the benefit proven either- at least not for infants- and it is not ethical to circumcise American boys for theoretical STD/HIV prevention."
Yes back to equal risk. When evaluating risk you don't just say...oh its not harmful..or oh it is harmful and lets illegalize it, thereby making criminals out of all sorts of law abiding citizens. RISK FACTORS VARY from person to person. So yeah, about equal.
"Me:“If there is some other problem you’ve heard about (UTI, infection) consider circumcision adhesions, after care, urethral irritations (because a toddler lacks the protective foreskin while diapered) sometimes leading to Meatal stenosis and possible corrective surgery(ies) as your alternatives.”
Aoirthoir:Very very very rare all of these.
And very very rare is medically necessary circumcision. 20-80% adhesion rate is not too rare. A small percentage of adhesions are quite severe. 1% recircumcision rate. Maybe 1-8% meatal stenosis... From reading AAP and CPS (Canadian Pedi Socty) and other info-- really this info is not readily available to parents."
When we say something like 20 to 80 percent, we're clearly dealing with SPECULATION. Recircumcision rates are based on inexperienced doctors doing it on their own with no supervision. As are most of the other cases. That's EXACTLY the same issue for most medical procedures. Circumcision is not the issue, inexperience is. We don't arrest people who drive because they have sh'tty mechanics. We train people to be good mecanics.
"At least the bris waits 8 days and breastfeeding is more established-- circumcising so early on can (<--- can is not an absolute) make it more difficult (certain positions are more painful to be held in and some boys just have a harsher reaction to circ and it unsettles them). It is noticeable enough that lactation counselors or other birth professionals notice it but it is too political to shout out about. "
The bris is the best way. If I ever have a son, and I were to circumcise him, I would employe the services of a Mohel. I would have a bris. There would be persons around making sure the Mohel knew what he was doing. Jewish circimcision is superior to hospital circumcision. However, hospital circumcision works just fine when the doctors are experienced and skilled.
"Me: “Need links check out AAP stats and their statements or caring for kids a Canadian resource for parents by the Canadian pedi society. At the very least it’s a wash- but don’t we defer to the default, don’t do something, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it?”
Aoirthoir: Who said anything about “FIXING” the penis?
I meant, that if there is a problem, then correct it-- ie if there is a medical cause for circumcision then it should be done- but don't do circumcision under the guise of preventing something from happening"
That's not why I would circumcise if I did circumcise my sons. Again, I've not stated that I am pro or anti circumcision. You and others keep talking to me as if I am pro. However, being pro or opposed doesn't mean we have to claim things that just are not factual. Since health really is a minor issue in regards to circumcision, either way, the health argument has no place in whether we circumcise infants. Unless in the case of a particular infant, it really is needed or needed to be avoided.
"Me: “If it is no longer shown to be preventative or necessary for hygiene then the medical justifications are gone and it is no longer medically ethical.”
Aoirthoir:Who said I justified it on medical grounds? For that matter who said I justified it AT ALL? You’re making a LOT of assumptions about me.
I was not making this assumption about you at all. However, this is a common reason for non-religious circumcision in the US."
You might not have made this assumption but its what you keep coming at me with. I am neither pro nor anti circumcision.
"Aoirthoir:I OBJECT to f’ck faces telling my my c’ck is mutilated because THEY have a different moral code and religious code than my family, me, and my ancestors, and you completely ignore all of that and address the WHYS and WHEREFORES of circumcision. Don’t want to get your little kid circumcised, THEN DON’T.
But I’ll be d’mned to have someone tell me about my own penis.
Me: I'm not exactly sure where I discussed your penis, except below in response to when you specifically mentioned sensitivity and I offered the explanation that men with a foreskin might experience it differently (or have more control)."
You used the othering term "intact". You also did discuss my sensitivity. However, other than that YOU SPECIFICALLY do not nor did not appear to be insulting. I was explaining why I am objecting on this thread. My objections have nothing to do with whether circumcision should continue or not as a practice on infants. It has soley to do with 2 factors. 1. The incredibly bigoted language hurled at circs like me, and the removal of our agency by telling us about ourselves and experiences. 2..misrepresentations of certain facts, namely over dramatizing the dangers of circumcision (which is about as dangerous as not circumcising) and the sensitivity of circed men AS A GROUP.
"Me: “Maybe we don’t need a ban, maybe the information has gotten out to enough people that the procedure will become extinct.”
AOirthoir:That won’t satisfy most liberals.
What about the many pro-lifers, conservatives that represent the movement. What about the moderates, conservatives, republicans, etc? Or people from the rest of the world where intact is the norm? I didn't realize this was a liberal issue- that certainly isn't the case of those that I know. "
What about them? Do you think I hold pro-"lifers" in any less disdain than I hold pro-"abortioners" or conservatives than I do liberals? The problem I have with the vast majority of humans in these groups is that the facts don't ACTUALLY matter to them. They've chosen a side, and they will flagrantly and willfully ignore facts that are contrary to their position. That's regardless of what the position is.
It just so happens that I said liberal IN THIS CASE, because we're on a mostly liberal blog.
Plus people get their feathers all in a ruffle when you say things like that, so that gives them the excuse they're looking for to ignore my arguments. After all I don't want people to suffer from cognitive dissonance or think that perhaps I swayed someone to another opinion as if one opinion were more valuable than another.
"Me:“It still is unethical once one has a basic concept of anatomy and function.”
Aoirthoir: No it’s not.
You're right to correct me. Add, 'in my opinion' to that..."
"Of course, if we compare the legal cases of FGM where girls are protected from any form of cutting, than it might be a fairly easy legal arguement to make."
The FACTS STRONGLY disagree. STRONGLY.
1. FGM is not performed in infancy. (for males, circumcision typically is).
2. Girls often strongly resist the process. (boys are unaware of the process and are healed long before they reach self awareness)
3. The process is often not done under sanitary and sterile conditions. (circumcision is performed in hospitals or in a clean environment by the Mohel).
4. The process is often performed without anesthesia. (circumcision uses local anesthesia, but often not even needed)
5. The process is often done with cutting implements that are not scaple sharp, such as shards of glass. (circumcision is performed with a very SHARP instrument)
6. Depending on the exact procedure done, it CAN involve cutting the clitoris OFF, cutting the labia OFF, and sewing the inner labia shut. (circmcision involves typically just removing the foreskin...to be equal to many forms of FGM it would have to involve CUTTING OFF the penis and sewing shut the resultant "hole" to a tiny measure).
7. FGM OFTEN results in infections, MORE Than NOT resulting in infections.
8. FGM GENERALLY results in harm and difficulting to the woman for the rest of her life.
9. When sewing shut the inner labia, the process is so devastating, that it often allows urination at the rate of a DROP at a time.
10. Sexual intercourse when experience often results in a TEARING of the entirely sewn area.
So no, sorry FGM in MANY instances is nothing akin to circumcision. In those RARE RARE cases where it amounts to nothing more than a nick on their clitoral hood, then in those cases it MIGHT be similar.
"It's also, imo, unethical to be advised on this procedure withouth the biology and function of the foreskin being explained and the complications and aftercare and pain relief options all being discussed."
How is that any different than any other procedure?
"There are plenty of families that have joined this issue because the procedure was completely minimized and now that they had their son or meet other families, they find out more information."
They're right. What's not their right is to jail other parents because they disagree with the procedure. Jailing a newborn infants parents is most definitely not going to be useful to the parent.
"Me“I’m a parent to 2 wonderful children, so I speak up. Jessz MA”
Aoirthoir: Excellent. Don’t circumcise the little buggers.
Me:“Regarding sensitivity, the difference is that an intact man may have more control over -when- he climaxes/receives full sensations. so instead of having to be concerned about too much, too soon, he waits till an appropriate time and then allows the full sensation”
Aoirthoir: Once again all pure speculation. You know all that I just said about not coming too soon, and therefore uncircs are less sensitive than circs, well as in all things IT IS ENTIRELY DEPENDANT ON THE PERSON.
Yes, that should go w/o saying. But why do so many who are circed seem to pull out this 'I'd be tooooo sensitive argument?""
That's NOT the argument we pull out. See, it is not the CIRCS pulling out the argument about sensitivity. It is the anti-circs. They tell us circs that ONE REASON it is bad is because we're not sensitive enough. THATS when we "pull out" the argument, since they've you know, ALREADY pulled out the "sensitivity argument". See, we know just how satisified we are or are not personally. So when someone else tells us we're not sensitive enough, we get to retort.
Aoirthoir: My point was, they keep saying that those of us circed at birth are less sensitive, and frankly they’re full of f’cking sh’t. Those claims are ENTIRELY SPECULATIVE.
Me: No, I claim that you cannot feel sensation on your foreskin because you do not have one. I claim that you experience sex differently w/o a foreskin than with one. Because you do not have one, and it cannot- glide, etc. I just don't think we have any right to alter a child's body- and especially since it alters the way the body functions."
I never said I didn't experience things DIFFERENTLY. I AUTOMATICALLY experience EVERYTHING differently. Guess what, two circed men experience sex differently. That's no reason to tell us we're less enjoying what we're enjoying just fine.
"I also have a hard time understanding why that is not abundantly clear once people have an understanding of anatomy."
Sigh. I have a hard time understanding how you can tell me what I feel?
Here let me tell you what you feel, you feel that you dislike your husband. You are disastisfied with your children. You wish you had a child that had bluer eyes. You hate your mother. And chocolate doesn't taste as good to you as it does to a woman who is red headed. REAL redheaded, not the fake redheaded you are sporting.
Now does that at all get across how insulting it is to tell another that what they're telling you they are feeling, they aren't?
"Continueing me:“So what -sounds- like it would be too much to many circed guys isn’t directly comparable. It works a little differently. I think the human body is amazing and while it can survive much abuse,”
Aoirthoir:The only abuse I’ve received in regards to circumcision, is the abuse of asshats like you who think it’s ok to tell me I was abused when I wasn’t.
Ok, I did word that poorly, I've spent far too long on this and was trying to say something else. That was not well worded at all.
You were not abused, I agree. Our bodies are amazing- end of story."
Thank you and agreed.
"OTOH, minimizing the possibility of problems or dismissing problems also becomes an issue. I guess I'm sensitive to some of the problems and notice that we rarely honestly talk about sexuality- combined with the lack of information on actual anatomy and biology- there seem to be a good number of men that realize much later some of their problems may be related to circumcision."
I just do not get this "we rarely talk about sexuality" bullshit line in America. We Americans talk about sexuality ALL OF THE TIME. In great detail. That having been said I am not minimizing the problems that can come from circumcision. What I am doing is objecting to the claims that they're worse than they are. Stick to the facts. I don't need TWO HUNDRED BILLION PEOPLE IN HISTORY WERE BLEEDING TO DEATH from circumcision to feel that ONE DEATH is a problem. STICK TO THE ACTUAL FACTS.
"But I didn't tie that in enough and got sloppy.
Cont... me:“I prefer to advocate and celebrate (and protect) the normal, healthy, intact, as nature intended, as God created, whole version.”
Sounds funny written down- but really- I'm just asking that we stop cutting a newborn's body.
I'm sorry- it is a big deal- I think it IS a big deal."
Then stick to that.
"Aoirthoir:Jesus F’cking Christ will you listen to yourself. INTACT is NORMAL. Therefore, I’m NOT normal.
You are normal. Your penis has been altered. How else can I phrase that? I'm not trying to be bigoted."
You can phrase it by not using terms like intact foreskin = normal. Long hair = normal. Tall body = normal. Short body = normal. There is no NORMAL. Or worse, ONLY what we are born with counts as normal. Cuase then, I'm not normal cause I have fewer teeth. Others aren't normal cause a car accident stripped them of their legs. See what I mean?
"Aoirthoir: Do you even realize how f’cking bigotted you sound? How about taking TWO SECONDS to think about the language you are using.
You’re not at this point talking about some figurative infant. I am a GROWN ADULT. I get to decide if I am comfortable in my own body. YOU do not get to take your hate of circumcised men out on me because you think I’m “NOT NORMAL”.
Me: I don't think you should be uncomfortable, I don't hate circumcised men -- why would you even think that?? Grown men are either happy with their bodies or they are not- but I want the adults that are responsible for influencing parents (medical staff, parents, family members, peers) and parents to know what this involves when we are talking about a newborn infant."
Perhaps you are talking about newborn infants. A great many were and are telling me about me. I'm not a newborn.
"I also want men who are currently circumcised to have information so they can understand the differences and not try to compare intact to circumcised because often I think the comparisons are misleading unless one understands intact anatomy."
The ones typically doing the comparison are not the circs.
"The only thing I hate is that we are still practicing this procedure and trying to justify or minimize it or ignore it..... often because we are AFRAID TO INSULT GROWN MEN or possibly SUGGEST that their penis is DIFFERENT."
Hmm, that sounds like just about every argument used to promote every ist.
"As for the religious issue-- I'm sorry, this issue got so big so fast and there's a lot of people now that think circ is unethical. As an 'intactavist' I'd be much happier leaving the religious issue out and just dealing with those that really have no- imo, compelling reason to circ."
Why should a person who is in a religion get to circ and I cannot? I'm not Jewish but if I have a child that keeps me from being allowed to do so? Despite it having been a tradition in my family?
"It becomes a simple problem- if it is unethical than it is hard to apply exemptions- especially since the US already has a precedence of protecting girls from ANY kind of genital cutting- yes, even ones that are comparable to male circumcision."
I have a hard time bying it as unethical.
"For goodness sake we are talking about cutting a child's genitals. It is really that simple. Just stop."
And that is your opinion. It is my opinion that it was my foreskin that was cut, not my genitals. I'm just fine with that.
Aoirthoir Von Licthenstein the Thirtheenth and a half.
m Andrea — June 15, 2011
Er, logic time! But first, a disclaimer! I'm opposed to cutting up little babies. They should decide for themselves when they adults if they want pieces of themselves on the floor.
That being said, it doesn't seem likely that circumcision on an infant could cause sensation to *gradually decrease over time* in an adult. Circumcision might have permanently decreased sensation the day his peepee got the whack when the various nerve endings were cut, but there's really nothing besides the aging process or some other unrelated health problem which would explain *a gradual decrease of sensation over time*.
And of course, circumcision does reduce the transmission of STD's, so we can't say it has zero benefit...
m Andrea — June 15, 2011
He's probably confusing "loss of sensation" with what normally happens when a horny young boy ages a few years -- he's not so horny.
And sorry if this is wrong, but I'm under the impression these guys had a tiny sliver of skin removed when they were an enfant, so I don't understand why they get so upset years later? Not that I'm condoning circumcision by any means, just that their reaction to it seems out of purportion, as if their entire dick was cut off.
m Andrea — June 15, 2011
I meant, "sorry if it is incorrect that they have a tiny sliver removed". And no, I still wouldn't think it was okay to cut off only a little piece. Probably traumatic for him, people he hopes he can trust to take care of him end up bringing him to people who cause him pain.
Aoirthoir — June 16, 2011
"There is a distinct difference between (1) your choice to be happy and contented with something that was done to/for you before you were able to actively consent to it and (2) your lack of choice in having that thing done to/for you in the first place."
Of course there is. Who claimed otherwise?
"Nobody is (or should be) saying that you can't be happy with being circumcised. That is absolutely your choice and your experience."
Actually several people said just that.
"What people are saying is that others should be able to make the decision to be circumcised or uncircumcised for themselves."
Then they should stick to that argument and stop talking about the bodies of others like me that are happy.
"This debate is not (and should not be) about saying there is something wrong with you or anyone else for being a circumcised (or uncircumcised) adult. It is about the procedures that deny a person the choice to become a circumcised or uncircumcised adult."
As I've said throughout, then stick to that.
"To argue that people should be able to make their own choices about being circumcised or remaining uncircumcised is not to argue that you personally have been abused, are abnormal, confused or not really happy,"
Actually people in this thread DID argue, JUST THOSE THINGS.
"and it is not to deny your experience and contentedness in being circumcised."
Sorry again but people did deny my experience and contentedness.
"It is to say that people who are born now ought to be given the choice to become circumcised or uncircumcised adults."
Again I say, then they need to STICK TO THAT ARGUMENT. Stop telling me I'm confused, unhappy, mutilated, abused, NOT intact, NOT whole, MISSING something, NOT SENSITIVE enough and saying all sorts of other things about me that 1...aren't factual and 2...they'd have no way of knowing.
"That said, there is some highly emotive language being used here on both 'sides' - you making the claim that people 'hate circumcised men',"
Sure. When someone uses hateful speech about circs and try to disappear my agency and tell me that I'm confused, abused, mutilated, etc, that's hate speech.
"others using phrases like 'hack up your prick'."
An example of hate speech and circs-hate. (Hate against circs).
"Discussions about bodies, body alteration and consent often tend to end up with a lot of shit-slinging (see: discussions about fat acceptance, cosmetic surgeries, trans people), so I can see why you are upset."
"(N.B. In addition, I have mixed feelings about blanket legislation against infant circumcision, and I find Hess' pretty anti-Semitic imagery extremely disturbing.)"
I feel the same way about circumcision criminalization that I feel about abortion legislation. Of course, I'm opposed to the industrial prison complex which is designed to theft our status as law abiding citizens from all, cage us, and CREATE violent offenders, because that's what prisons do.
Chungyen Chang — June 16, 2011
The comment thread is such a big mess, I'm not even going to bother attempting to break into it. But I want to say a few things:
1) The "circumcision is good hygiene" argument has as much data for as it does against. Go look it up, it's not hard to find. There are also some recent studies (after a circumcision movement in Africa) that show circumcision actually increases a person's risk of transmitting HIV/AIDS. So the myth of hygiene is just that-- a myth. Or, perhaps there just isn't enough objective research for us to decide yet.
2) Yes, parents decide all of the time to do things for their kids that they wouldn't otherwise be able to decide. Vaccines, which school, which food, etc., come to mind. But that doesn't mean that we cannot objectively examine this issue and see what is going on. Also, circumcision is a much more permanent act than most things a parent can decide.
3) Yes, there are multiple studies and personal accounts by people that prove circumcision does make sex and masturbation less pleasurable. And no, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting an enjoyable, healthy sex life.
4) On the campaign against circumcision coming from outside of the religious communities that practice it; the fact is that circumcision is very widespread in the western world, especially the United States, regardless of religious affiliation. It is not about anti-semitism or something like that.
5) Yes, there is a connection between FGM and circumcision. Given that the evidence for "hygiene" is shaky at best, I'd say a good analogy would be female genital mutilation in the form of removing or reducing the labia minora. No, it's not the same as clitoridectomy, which can remove all sexual pleasaure/sensation/drive for women.
6) The "FGM is different because it creates infections, etc" argument is a poor argument because FGM is practiced with little or no care for how the woman (or girl) feels. So you have unsterilized instruments, glass, or other things, and then no care after. Circumcision is different because it's been standardized into medical procedures and into religious traditions, so there is technique and care available to prevent infections. I am not discounting FGM as a serious issue-- of course it is-- but to say one is "worse" than the other is ignoring the fact that one is standardized while the other is not. It's simply poor argumentation.
7) Human beings have plenty of "vestigial" things, but does that mean I'd want my parents to remove them before I was born? No. I'd want to be able to decide for myself. Intersex (formerly known as "hermaprhoditic") people have the decision made for them to be biologically "male" or "female", and the fact is that they can often end up extremely damaged or in the wrong biological sex to fit them later on. The fact is, the only real motivation for intersex genital mutilation is to make them conform to certain, socially constructed gender roles. There are many people (myself included) who have grown up just fine without specific gender roles. So who are we to say what is better than another?
IN CONCLUSION: There is reason enough to at least reconsider our society's stance on male circumcision. Circumcision DOES have noticeable effects on men's sex lives and personal enjoyment of life. We need more objective research and we need to get our heads out of the idea that just because it's been done for X so many years it means it's okay.
Aoirthoir — June 16, 2011
In response to the ridiculous claims that Alan makes:
"But Grizzly, it seems obvious to me that the burden of proof should be on those who claim that cutting off part of the penis does not reduce sexual pleasure."
Uh NO. The burden of proof is on nimrods that tell me that I'm not f'cking enjoying myself "WELL ENOUGH" for THEIR standards. The BURDEN OF PROOF rests with the person MAKING THE SUPPOSITION. The SUPPOSITION is "men with their foreskins intact enjoy sex better than men who had their foreskins removed in infancy."
So WE who have had our foreskins removed DONT HAVE TO PROVE a D'MNED thing to YOU about how much we enjoy sex.
""Especially when the “personal accounts” you scoff at include my knowledge that what I find by far most pleasurable in terms of manual stimulation is simply not possible with a circumcised penis (I’ve seen plenty of porn, not to mention reports from women I’ve been with)."
Yes, cause ALLLLLL people are EXACTLY the same. The KEY POINT there is "***MY*** knowledge that what ***I*** find by far most pleasurable". What YOU find most pleasurable does NOT INFORM YOU was to what I or ANOTHER finds most pleasurable. EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING is different.
"I’m not saying it’s a little different, I’m saying that it’s wholly different."
And I am saying you are full of sh't. Not that YOU don't find something awesome. But that you PRESUME what I DO or DO NOT find pleasurable.
""What that “gliding action” means is that the hand doing the stimulation does not actually move over the skin and create friction on it, it stays on the same patch of skin but as it moves the skin “glides” over the prepuce which remains an internal organ beneath it."
Yes. Oh oh, the things I am missing! Please, tell me more (grabbing lotion).
"Here’s a way to demonstrate what I’m talking about, albeit without the sexual pleasure. Close one of your eyes, and gently put pressure against the eyelid (the eyelid is by far the closest analogue to the foreskin on the human body). Then make the eyelid slide back and forth over the eye underneath it. Feel how your finger is staying on the same skin, but it’s sliding over the eye underneath? That’s what “gliding action” is, it feels REALLY good, and it’s a big part of why I can feel so confident that it would be bad to lose my foreskin just as it would be bad to lose my eyelids."
OH BY THE GODS! I NEVER KNEW what I was missing!
Ok. Now can I have your foreskin?
"And btw, you asked upthread how I can say it’s not an “insignificant sliver” without quantification. Well, how’s this: I can take the loose foreskin and literally stretch it a full five inches beyond where it naturally hangs out, without any pain (my sex partners have cringed at this and marvelled that it doesn’t hurt). I don’t have any skin anywhere else on my body that is anywhere near that elastic.""
Sure. That's YOU. How many times are foreskin intacters going to tell us about THEMSELVES as if they are telling us about OURSELVES.
But hey, you don't need a religion because you've already decided like some religious folks that WE ARE ALL THE SAME....
OH HI THERE — June 16, 2011
This has become the biggest dick measuring contest.
MORE TO COME
dt — June 17, 2011
When my son was born the doctor asked if I wanted him circumcised; I said no, but that my religion required I have the last joint of his little fingers cut off. For some reason she refused. I'm thinking of suing.
Aoirthoir — June 17, 2011
""Actually the method he described made me think, THAT gets you off? The more the friction the better."
Which right there (along with Grizzly's similar point) is as good an indication as any that circumcision makes a dramatic change in the function of the penis."
Uh, we're not disputing that there are DIFFERENCES.
We're disputing your ridiculous claim that those differences mean we're not enjoying ourselves as well as you. We === those circumcised in infancy.
Try arguing what we're saying, not making sh't up because what we're actually saying is too difficult to dispute.
"I mentioned upthread that I'd enjoy being a Paul Allen/George Soros type billionaire (but wouldn't take billions in exchange for being circumcised)."
"Right now you're really making me wish I could do a poll in a country that's culturally similar to the U.S. except for the rarity of circumcision--so maybe Germany?"
"Anyway, I'd ask men if they had to choose between losing the last joint on their pinky fingers, or being circumcised, which they'd pick. I really doubt it would be close--but not in the way you seem to imagine."
You're NOT getting it. This isn't a discussion of "how many men WHO ARE NOT CIRCUMCISED WISH THEY ARE." Not a single one of us circed men has stated that. Rather it's a discussion about you uncircumcised TELLING US CIRCS ABOUT OUR OWN EXPERIENCES.
So let's be clear about this. I DOUBT LITTLE that you just LOVE your penis. I DOUBT LITTLE that you WOULD NOT get circumcised. BULLY for you. EXCELLENT. I am GLAD for you for this. I am glad that you ENJOY sex and ENJOY masturbation. I'm in NO WAY claiming YOU DONT enjoy these things.
Now, lets be clear on the reverse. I LOVE MY PENIS. I would NOT get UNCIRCUMCISED if I could. BULLY for me. EXCELLENT. I am GLAD for me for this. I am glad that I ENJOY sex and ENJOY masturbation. I am in NO WAY CLAIMING that I enjoy these things MORE than you. OR LESS than you for that matter.
The mistake that you are making is, you are taking YOUR EXPERIENCE and EXTRAPOLATING it to EVERYONE ELSE, including those of us who have told you SPECIFICALLY that YOUR experience is NOT our experience.
I just quoted you quoting grizzly's point about how we circs tend to like friction. You act AS IF THIS IS A PROBLEM, because it's DIFFERENT from you. Even acting as if we are acting as if THERE ARE NO DIFFERENCES. We have NOT CLAIMED this.
What I HAVE claimed is:
1. YOUR experience is NOT my experience.
2. YOUR experience is VALID FOR YOU.
3. YOUR experience is NOT VALID for me.
4. I ENJOY my experiences.
5. WE ARE different.
6. Different DOES NOT MEAN BETTER.
7. Different DOES NOT MEAN WORSE.
8. I am NOT "mutilated".
9. I am NOT "confused" about my happiness, sexual enjoyment or love for our bodies.
10. The way YOU masturbate has NO BEARING on the way *I* masturbate.
11. The way ANOTHER CIRC masturbates has NO BEARING on the way *I* masturbate.
12. I LOVE friction.
13. I leave it to others to decide what they like.
14. Describing poking your eye as a descriptive substitute for how you masturbate will in NO WAY make me want a foreskin any more than my describing my masturbation technique using the descriptive substitute of "rubbing my beared face along the carpet" would make a woman want a c'ck instead of a clitoris.
15. I hold NO POSITION on whether persons SHOULD or SHOULD NOT be circumcised. Whether in infancy or adulthood.
16. I DO hold that JAILING PARENTS for circumcising their infant sons for a ROUTINE and QUICK procedure does NOTHING to help that infant. It likely places the infant in the care of the state. And frankly the state's not demonstrated a good run of protecting children in their care.
17. If YOU are glad you are foreskin intact, EXCELLENT.
18. Your penis is none of my business. That means its not my business in any way to attempt to make you feel anything about your penis.
19. My penis, my business.
20. It's ridiculous to keep insisting that by gosh golly gee wiz guy! You just don't know what you're missing, my mastubatory sessions are so much better than yours gee wiz! Since this is something YOU HAVE NO WAY WHATSOEVER OF ACTUALLY DEMONSTRATING.
21. What are you going to do if you DO convince some poor gullible sap that the already mind blowing orgasms he's been having for the better part of 40 years are somehow less than what foreskin intacted have? Give him your feckin' foreskin?
22. So then since you're NOT going to give him your foreskin, the entire process of "Nah uh! I am so better at enjoying myself than you! You just ask me and I will tell you so!" is nothing but chest thumping dick measuring.
23. Despite your ridiculous and now childish assertions that we enjoy ourselves less than you, we actually don't.
24. Which all leads me to say regarding your chest thumping dick measuring, "get over it, we're going to enjoy our c'cks whether you think we should or not."
Now maybe other circs disagree with all that I've just said. Or some of it. Maybe they agree with it all. I accept that. You know why? Cause their experience isn't mine. We're all different. It's time you learned that.
Amanda — June 17, 2011
I must say that as a european girl the violent arguments about circumcision is very surprising. In Europe, particularly in my country (Switzerland), very few men had circumcision. The only one with circumcision had it done for religious motivations or physiological problems.
To resume, I can see that circumcision is absolutely not "a necessary intervention to preserve your health", but only a "cultural intervention" that makes you shape to your society.
Aoirthoir — June 17, 2011
Allan ones again ::headshake::
"I thought I was long-winded, but you really take the cake, Aoirthoir."
Thank you. I like cake. Is it a meatpie?
"Bottom line is that you objected to the analogy with removing part of a child’s pinky finger because you apparently think that’s much more extreme than circumcision"
Once again you are making the mistake of telling another what they THINK. The problem with you leftists that keep doing this is, you're so OFTEN SIMPLY WRONG. I made NO statement whatsoever about it being MORE EXTREME. Nor did I have a THOUGHT about that.
The FACT is, my MOTHER cut off the tip of one of her fingers in a machine when she worked in a book binding factory. She got on in life, JUST FINE. She even enjoyed sex after the experience (something you might find hard to believe, since she was you know DIFFERENT from you and was digitally "reduced" thus "less of a woman", by sheer number of "particles"). But let's see what ELSE you were claiming I was THINKING (or IMPLYING....vs what you INFERED from what I said):
"and seemed to be implying that you did not think parents had the right to do that to a child because it’s more extreme."
I made NO SUCH POINT. In fact that's why I keep saying to some of you "now you're just making stuff up." Because you'll claim someone's said or thought or believed or felt something, they've NOT said, and given NO INDICATION they've thought or believed or felt.
As you said "my reply was LONG WINDED". MOST of them are. I make it VERY CLEAR what I am thinking. So here is a good rule of thumb for you going forward: IF AOIRTHOIR HAS NOT SAID SOMETHING SPECIFICALLY, CHANCES ARE HE IS UNLIKELY TO BE THINKING THAT PARTICULAR THING. Best thing for me to do, is CLARIFY. ASK. VERIFY if what I am THINKING Aoirthoir is MEANING, he is INDEED meaning.
Now say that to yourself 300 times and maybe it will sink in deep enough.
Now let's see what I ACTUALLY said vs your MADE UP version of what I said:
"Uh yeah cause the two are the same. But let’s disrespect the doctor for respecting you by ASKING you what you wanted, and not just doing it."
Which is and as MY POINT. PERIOD. I will explain WHY I made this point, mamely:
1. The doctor showed respect to DT by ASKING what ze wanted.
2. The doctor was asking about something that IS ROUTINELY done and so it is REASONABLE to assume that a certain number of persons WILL want it done.
3. The doctor did nothing further. NO THREATS, NO LAWSUIT, NO JAILTIME for DT. We PRESUME that we'd have heard about these if they occured.
4. The procedure the doctor offered is PURPORTED to have benefits, even if a person educates zeself to understand that it likely has no benefit or little benefit, to the population at large, it is still BELIEVED by many, including doctors, and LIKELY his doctor, to have benefits. So offering in spirit, if not in reality, is an offer for a benefit for DT.
5. DT replied with a request for a procedure NOT routinely done. In fact just not done AT ALL, except in cases of EMERGENCY.
6. DT's replied request would be a procedure that a doctor would perceive as having NO benefit, EVEN IF IT DID have a benefit.
7. Though NOT ONE MF'er IN ANY OF THIS has suggested that NON-circing parents or doctors, should be SUED or ATTACKED for NOT circing, DT reply followed up with the suggest that ze should SUE the doctor for NOT removing the digit's extremity, as if somehow THATS what the PRO-CIRCING community is suggesting. THEY ARE NOT...
Now as to whether persons remove the last knuckle of their infant sons pinky fingers, I HOLD NO OPINION WHATSOEVER. Just like I hold none regarding circumcision. IF a parent requested such a thing, I DO NOT BELIEVE JAILING THEM does a d'mned bit of good for the infant child who now becomes a ward of the state.
"And my counterpoint was simply that in the majority of the world where no healthy body parts are routinely removed from infants of either sex, I strongly suspect men would find circumcision to be the more extreme and undesirable surgery, *not* the removal of part of their pinky finger."
And I have countered a good half a dozen times, perhaps more, that I NEITHER SUPPORT NOR OPPOSE circumcision of infants. Yet you keep addressing me as if I am an infant circumcision advocate, I'm NOT. Therefore your reply to me was WHOLLY IRRELEVANT to the points I made.
And my long winded reply combined two statements that you had made into one.
Aoirthoir — June 17, 2011
"For some odd reason, Aoirthoir, there was no "Reply" link on your post, so I am faking it...
I said: "What do you mean by fact?" and you replied "Scroll up to my first post. I cited the studies."
Ah ok. Just so you know, I think we're more likely agreeing than not. The objection I've had all along is those with their foreskins intact, and those without equipment like mine insisting they know better than I know about my own circed body. But either way when someone claims something like "one group or another is better at..." I kind of want to know HOW they conclude it as a fact. I don't particularly need to look up the studies they used to arrive at that.
I said "Quite a few here mean “I know MORE about YOUR body than YOU do.” and for them, THAT’s a proven fact." and you replied:
"Not me. I am not relying on simple anecdotal evidence, I went out and hit PubMed and dug up the research, then wherever possible found copies people could access online since I know not everyone has a PubMed access."
Alright. Yeah and to clarify I wasn't suggesting YOU were saying anything about MY body. Now your studies, may demonstrate that circed men have this or that situation, and uncirced this or that. Hopefully we both agree that people are always on a statistical spread, so their likely to fall outside of the average.
In any case sating things like "circed men on average ejaculate so many minutes into intercourse, are able to re-erect, so many minutes after ejaculation, and foreskin intact men are at this or that average for those same things..." is something that can be scientifically tested.
But there is no scientific question in a sex study "Rate your degree of sexual enjoyment from such and such: .5xAoirthoir, 1xAoirthoir, 2xAoirthoir, 3xAoirthoir...." etc. I can rate my degree of sexual enjoyment on perhaps a scale..of 1 to 10, whatever. Though my interpretation of what 1 means, is something else entirely from what say Alan interprets it as. The degree of pleasure we claim to experience is hardly quantifiable.
Now to clarify again, I realize this claim about the degree of pleasure is not what YOU were talking about. Just in fact making a distinction between what you are arguing, and what others are arguing. It'd be nice if more folks stuck to the actual quantifiable facts in these sorts of discussions.
Not that I actually agree with the results of the studies though.
And whether I agree with your methodolgy or not I reserve the right to call you a leftist :D
You said: "I’ve seen more than one medical report about pissed off women armed with superglue gluing up a foreskin."
I replied: "Really? I mean I’m not surprised, I’ve no blinders on to the abuse inflicted on males by females, but, still WOW. Who did the foreskins formerly belong to? Her child? Beau?"
To which you answered: "Beaux."
And to which I say, figures. Just more cases of women thinking they own the bodies of men with whom they are involved. And why I have to emphasize so often in discussions on these kinds of boards, "sorry, but women have no more right to the bodies of men or a specific man, than men have to the bodies of women or a specific women. Which is absolutely ZERO right..."
And yeah the threading gets weird. So moving things down here. Thanks for the links!
Liza — June 17, 2011
The fact that Aoirthoir is circumcised explains all of his stupid anger on this Website.
Hope you can someday get over having your dick sliced for no reason :)
Blix — August 9, 2011
Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. -Colossians 3:11
juliana faria — January 2, 2015
we want baby boys to be treated like human beings, I dont think this is such terrible idea. No one deserves to have their genitals cut as soon as they are born. Circumcision is genital mutilation and it should be banned.
Luis M Caballero — April 24, 2016
Circumcision = Bloody Child Abuse!
Andrew Friendo — August 24, 2016
"Think about anti-abortion activists who wish to promote adoption — as a personal choice — while simultaneously limiting legal access to abortion."
That's a funny parallel you draw, since I've never seen a baby ask to have its genitals cut.