Contrary to religious beliefs and pseudo-science, circumcision — or better put, genital cutting — is harmful. Genital cutting is the needless and traumatic removal of an anatomically important structure from the penis of an infant. We rightfully are outraged when it’s done to infant girls. The same should hold true for infant boys.
Male Genital Cutting
Not too long ago, I came upon this truck at New York City’s Union Square:
I found a lot people laughing at the truck and its ads. The truck is part of a campaign to bring awareness to and stopping the practice of circumcision. Circumcision is a euphemism for genital cutting. The word “circumcision” ignores the fact that a person’s genitals are actually being cut. Generally, Circumcision refers to the cutting and removal of healthy erogenous tissue from either males or females. In boys, circumcision refers to cutting away of the foreskin (prepuce) from the penis, an act typically done to infants. In girls, circumcision refers to the cutting away of the labia or clitoris. Circumcision can also be rightfully referred to as genital mutilation.
Contrary to religious beliefs and pseudo-science, genital cutting is harmful. Genital cutting is the needless removal of an anatomically important structure from the penis of an infant. Cutting is extremely painful and traumatic to a newborn. In fact, studies show that genital cutting is so traumatic that the majority of boys circumcised as children and adolescents meet diagnostic criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It also removes highly sensitive and functional tissue which is eventually replaced with scar tissue. Evolutionary adaptation designed the penis to function with a foreskin and genital cutting disrupts that natural design.
People who dismiss genital cutting as simply a “snip” are either ignorant or in denial. The procedure actually involves strapping an infant to a restraint, scraping, cutting, crushing, and then cutting again in order to remove the entire foreskin. While all of this is happening, the child is completely aware of what is happening.
The practice of circumcision got started in the United Stated in the late 1800s by advocates whose radical ideas about sexuality included the prevention of masturbation. It also gained popularity as status of a hospital birth. And, of course, Abrahamic religions mandate that all young boys be cut.
Far from being disposable, the foreskin is an important area of erogenous tissue containing tens of thousands of specialized sensory nerve endings, the sensitive ridged band, and 15 square inches of gliding skin. Why would you want to cut that away? Contrary to myths, the procedure is not medically necessary. The American Academy of Pediatrics says there are no benefits that justify the procedure. Canada’s Pediatric Society doesn’t recommend it and all European medical groups denounce it.
Genital cutting is now advocated and perpetuated by over-stating benefits and the use of fear tactics. Promoters use false claims of increased risks of cancer, STDs, and infections. Doctors and advocates for cutting appeal to social conformity, or prey on new parents’ ignorance of the facts. Simply put. The vast majority of genital cutting is done is hospitals by doctors at parental request for social (i.e., religious) reasons or just plain ignorance.
Recently, promoters of genital cutting have latched on a few highly controversial studies conducted in some rural African areas. These studies claimed to find a slight reduction in HIV transmission in cut males. However, even these studies concede condoms must still be used. At this time, no studies in the US or Europe have found cutting to provide any risk reductions for HIV/ STD infections. Additionally, there is zero risk reduction for women and gay men. Globally, the vast majority of men are not cut — according to studies 80% are intact. The primary geopolitical areas that still cut their infants are in the Middle East and parts of Africa. Fortunately, rates of genital cutting in the US have been dropping. In 2013, the CDC reported that there is a genital cutting rate of 57% and is decreasing every year.
Finally, genital cutting is not safe. Aside from the issues discussed above, it is reported that about 100 infants die every year from cutting (Google “circumcision death”). Many more suffer permanent damage and disfigurement such as the loss of the glans or, in some cases, the entire penis. Even greater numbers of men experience life-long complications that interfere with sexual performance.
Here’s an animation of the function of the foreskin. According to surveys, women find sex with an intact man more pleasurable. And yes, I am intact (there’s no such thing as “uncircumcised). I also fought for my son to be intact as well.
Now, knowing all of this, why would you subject your infant son to such an unnecessary and barbaric practice?
My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…