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Old 07-11-2006, 06:19 PM   #31
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Harry, since BluRmGrl had already posted a link to a different article on this same topic in nb's thread, I'm merging them.
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Old 07-11-2006, 07:38 PM   #32
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Is there room left for discussion on circumcision? We really don’t have much room if you have concluded that the practice is “utterly useless” and chosen by non-thinking parents. To the contrary, it has been my experience as a parent that pediatricians carefully present the subject, providing enough information to at least satisfy informed consent requirements.

As for the utility of circumcision, the cleanliness argument deserves a little more weight than to be dismissed with a “do a better job cleaning” response. Conversely, the perceived increase in sexual pleasure from lack of circumcision lacks the evidentiary basis to support the discontinuance of the procedure. The posted article regarding lower incidents of AIDS among circumcised men would seem enough to justify mandating the procedure.

In the last year, the most vocal argument I’ve heard presented against circumcision carried long standing seeds of anti-Semitism. There are parents who are troubled at the thought of their sons having a “Jewish penis”.
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Old 07-11-2006, 07:39 PM   #33
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Re: Circumcision could save millions!!!

Quote:
Originally posted by Harry Vest
There's a new report that just came out today from the World Health Organization (could someone PLEASE post it below - I'm computer illiterate and don't know how) that claims circumcision could save millions from AIDS - particulary in Africa. It sounds like an interesting study. Again, could someone post it here so you can all read it for yourselves. Thanks.
These kinds of studies are specious, if you ask me.

I'm sure you could prevent rape and disease by sewing up vaginas and ironing breasts too.

Like I've said, if adults wish to get circumcised, then so be it. But children should not be subject to forced mutilation. Anyone who has been circumcised as an adult can attest that it makes you less sensitive sexually. For some men, that's precisely why they do it. As I say, whatever floats your boat.

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Old 07-11-2006, 07:43 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Is there room left for discussion on circumcision? We really don’t have much room if you have concluded that the practice is “utterly useless” and chosen by non-thinking parents. To the contrary, it has been my experience as a parent that pediatricians carefully present the subject, providing enough information to at least satisfy informed consent requirements.

As for the utility of circumcision, the cleanliness argument deserves a little more weight than to be dismissed with a “do a better job cleaning” response. Conversely, the perceived increase in sexual pleasure from lack of circumcision lacks the evidentiary basis to support the discontinuance of the procedure. The posted article regarding lower incidents of AIDS among circumcised men would seem enough to justify mandating the procedure.
I do not think it is ethically proper to perform any unnecessary procedure on anyone who is unable to consent. Babies cannot consent. Period. My idea isn't so radical; infant circumcision rates in North America have plummeted in the last 20 years.

If foreskins are unnecessary, then I guess you can blame God. I guess he wasn't so "intelligent" with His "design" after all.

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Old 07-11-2006, 08:25 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Conversely, the perceived increase in sexual pleasure from lack of circumcision lacks the evidentiary basis to support the discontinuance of the procedure.
I think the burden of evidence actually falls on the people who continue male genital mutilation, not the people who want to stop it. As for a lack of evidence about sexual pleasure, if you do a little research, you'll find hoards of anecdotal evidence suggesting that being circumcised significantly reduces sexual gratification; one story which sticks in my mind is that of a man circumcised as an adult. He said his orgasms went from a 10, before the circumcision, to a 2, after the procedure. Talk to people who have slept with both circumcised and uncircumcised men, and they'll tell you that on average, uncircumcised men are more sensitive. As for clinical trials, none exist that I know of, but the fact that such a study has never been conducted doesn't mean that we can keep mutilating boys until the results come in.

The foreskin serves two functions - it evolved for a reason. First, as melon mentioned, it preserves the moisture in the glans of the penis. A clitoris would probably still work if it spent all day rubbing up against underwear, but not as well. But there's a second function as well; the foreskin is supposed to slide up and down the shaft of the penis during penetration, which means there's no sliding of the shaft against the vaginal wall. That is, there should be no friction between the penis and the labia during intercourse. When there is, you get chafing, and a less pleasureable experience for both parties. Not to mention the fact that 90% of all nerve endings in a penis are in the foreskin and frenulum.

Add to this the fact that most circumcisions are performed by new and inexperienced doctors (or residents), who often botch the procedure. This results in circumcisions so tight that a full erection cannot be maintained (circumcised penises are, on average, one inch shorter than uncircumcised penises), removal of tissue from the glans, and - in extreme cases - the entire glans, which results in someone being virtually unable to achieve orgasm at any point in their entire life. Add to this things like pitting in the surface of the glans, skin tags, and scarring, and you have all the problems you need to justify NOT getting a circumcision.

Furthermore, about 5 babies die every year in the United States alone from blood infections due to circumcision. At a week old, an infant has no immune system, and an open wound is an invitation to disaster. Pardon the ad hominem, but how would you feel if your baby died because you had it circumcised?

Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader The posted article regarding lower incidents of AIDS among circumcised men would seem enough to justify mandating the procedure.
To assume that circumcising everything in sight is going to stop the AIDS crisis in Africa is wrong. This might seem like a justification for circumcision, but using protection is the only way to prevent the spread of AIDS. Would you have sex with someone you knew to have full-blown AIDS without a condom, relying on a circumcision to protect you? If not, then why should it be good enough for the entire African continent? Spreading ignorance about genital mutilation isn't going to prevent the spread of AIDS.

This argument is patently ridiculous and needs to be dropped, now.
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Old 07-11-2006, 09:40 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


I do not think it is ethically proper to perform any unnecessary procedure on anyone who is unable to consent. Babies cannot consent. Period. My idea isn't so radical; infant circumcision rates in North America have plummeted in the last 20 years.

If foreskins are unnecessary, then I guess you can blame God. I guess he wasn't so "intelligent" with His "design" after all.

Melon
So you would also oppose piercing the ears of an infant or young child, correct?

All the arguments that a circumcision are unnecessary are compelling. What I don't get is the strong emotions behind it--the idea that it must be stopped, it must be banned. . .I don't get that. It's like there's an unspoken assumption you have about those who have their children uncircumsized. What is that assumption? Because I'm guessing that even if you do oppose other unnecessary procedures (such as ear piercing) I have a feeling it your opposition to that would be less strident.
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Old 07-11-2006, 09:55 PM   #37
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Requiring individual consent is an even weaker argument. First, all medical treatment of a child would stop for 18 years (almost every medical procedure currently requires parental consent). Second, it would effectively eliminate one of the primary roles and responsibilities of parenthood.

I’m not sure if you wanted to open a theological discussion, or if you just wanted to shake a fist at intelligent design.

Welcome to FYM The Tonic. The repeated notion that there is a severe drop in sexual pleasure from circumcision seems to be the driving factor in this discussion. Considering the high value our society places on sex, it doesn’t seem to have hindered men’s ability to enjoy sex or else the outcry against circumcision would be far, far louder. If there is medical evidence to support your position, please share. Anecdotal evidence is considered presumptuous in certain situations.
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Old 07-11-2006, 10:00 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
As for the utility of circumcision, the cleanliness argument deserves a little more weight than to be dismissed with a “do a better job cleaning” response. Conversely, the perceived increase in sexual pleasure from lack of circumcision lacks the evidentiary basis to support the discontinuance of the procedure. The posted article regarding lower incidents of AIDS among circumcised men would seem enough to justify mandating the procedure.


there is plenty of evidence supporting the fact that circumcision does much to prevent the transmission of HIV from female to male in heterosexual sex (HIV enters the male body through the absorption of vaginal secretions via the urethra and/or tiny abraisons on the head of the penis which is far more likely to tear on an uncircumcised male). there is also evidence that the "cleanliness" issue is fairly irrelevant in nations where people bathe regularly. i can't see this as enough evidence to recommend a procedure that slices off an infant's body part in Western nations where condoms and soap are widely available. and i can also speak to the fact that, yes, uncircumcised men have increased sexual pleasure.

i dated a venezuelan for a while.
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Old 07-11-2006, 10:01 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally posted by maycocksean
So you would also oppose piercing the ears of an infant or young child, correct?
Yes, that's correct.

Quote:
All the arguments that a circumcision are unnecessary are compelling. What I don't get is the strong emotions behind it--the idea that it must be stopped, it must be banned. . .I don't get that. It's like there's an unspoken assumption you have about those who have their children uncircumsized. What is that assumption? Because I'm guessing that even if you do oppose other unnecessary procedures (such as ear piercing) I have a feeling it your opposition to that would be less strident.
As much as I would want it to be banned like FGM or breast ironing, I understand it as a point of choice...for adults. I do not support any unnecessary medical procedures for those who cannot consent.

If people cannot understand this, then you understand why it will be impossible to convince Africans to do what Westerners refuse to do themselves.

Melon
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Old 07-11-2006, 10:06 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Anecdotal evidence is considered presumptuous in certain situations.


except when it's corroborated with other anecdotal evidence, never disputed, and supported by scientific evidence such of the fact that 90% of the nerve endings are located in the foreskin.

now if i said that all twentysomethings wanted to do away with circumcision because they want increased sexual pleasure ... THAT would be presumptuous ...
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Old 07-11-2006, 10:17 PM   #41
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Do you realize the number of times you ripped apart a post using similar logic?

Is that what you twentysomethings do?
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Old 07-11-2006, 10:19 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Do you realize the number of times you ripped apart a post using similar logic?

Is that what you twentysomethings do?

can you be more specific?
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Old 07-11-2006, 10:20 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader Considering the high value our society places on sex, it doesn’t seem to have hindered men’s ability to enjoy sex or else the outcry against circumcision would be far, far louder. If there is medical evidence to support your position, please share. Anecdotal evidence is considered presumptuous in certain situations.
There's no outcry because the vast majority of men have no idea what they're missing. They're completely uninformed on how a penis is supposed to function naturally, and they're completely ignorant as to what sex with and without an uncircumcised penis feels like, never having had the chance to try both.

Also, they're not given a choice. It's not presented to you as something you even get to decide. So it never even broaches consciousness in most men. Make it an option on the child's 18th birthday and see how many men go for it.

As for scientific evidence that circumcision hinders sexual gratification - why not supply me with some evidence that it doesn't?

There's been mention of the fact that circumcision in the Jewish tradition is a mark of Abraham's covenant. How can an infant make a covenant? It's completely meaningless as a religious gesture. Why not let the person choose to get circumcised as an adult, as Abraham did, as a proof of faith? The minutiae of this ceremony have evolved over time anyway, as seen by the fact that rarely does the mohel perform a circumcision using a lengthened fingernail, or suck blood from the penile incision into his mouth, as they traditionally did.

I don't think that babies should get their ears pierced, but neither do I feel this is an apt analogy. Yes, I'm getting defensive. Yes, I have very strong emotions on this subject. Why? Because I carry on my body (and not just my earlobes, which truly ARE useless as evidenced by the fact that lots of people are born without them) the scars of an operation done without my consent, which hinders my sex life to this day. And because I know the motivation behind this act, however it was justified, is actually Puritanical, sexphobic ignorance. And every time I look at the scars on my genitals, and face sexual dysfunction, I'm reminded of how our entire society is just blindly repeating the same errors made by the generation before, and the generation before that, and the one before that. Apply a little rationality to circumcision and the problem evaporates. But a little rationality is too much to expect from the human race.

This makes me disappointed at my parents and in my own body on a micro level, and cynical about the future entire human race on a macro level. My genitals were mutilated as an infant in a senseless oppressive religious rite, and you expect me NOT to be emotional?
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Old 07-11-2006, 10:21 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Tonic
My genitals were mutilated as an infant in a senseless oppressive religious rite, and you expect me NOT to be emotional?
You can take comfort in the fact that the religious aspect has been irrelevant for centuries. Now it's done without any thought at all.

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Old 07-11-2006, 11:50 PM   #45
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The Wikipedia entry "Sexual effects of circumcision" offers a brief overview of the studies regarding just that. It's not by any means exhaustive, and you can find others (believe me, I've looked), but these are the most commonly cited ones.

All the studies cited which found statistically significant declines in sensitivity, etc. were on men circumcised as adults. (The same trend is apparent from studies not cited here.) This is *one* issue the AAP & AUA have cited as contributing to their current position of neither recommending nor condemning routine circumcision of male infants (although the AUA also takes the same stance regarding voluntary adult circumcision for nonmedical reasons; the AAP, obviously, has no stance on adults). There have been various theories offered to explain this, including: 1) less adaptability of the affected penile tissues in adults; 2) less neuroplasticity in adults (i.e., parts of the brain which once received impulses from the foreskin are less efficient at "rewiring" to receive impulses from other areas); 3) the design, scope, and/or number of the studies involved is simply inadequate to draw any conclusions.

However, studies attempting to quantify sexual pleasure in any form inevitably run into the subjectivity problem, and this is where anecdotal experience is helpful (and/or obfuscating, depending on your POV). But that in turn leads to the problem of who are you going to listen to, and what kinds of anecdotal outcomes seem most meaningful to you (or, for that matter, nonmedical forms of scientific evidence--e.g., social science surveys reporting which ethnoreligious groups have the most sex or report the most sexual satisfaction, for example). I have to disagree with Irvine here--there are plenty of online anecdotes from men circumcised as adults (I assume that's what you were referring to) reporting enhanced performance/sensitivity. That said, I take them with a grain of salt, as I would any isolated experience; they could be exaggerations, they could be outright lies, they could be conveniently neglecting to mention some unusual defect that was the real reason for their circumcision to begin with.

Frankly, if we weren't Jewish, we wouldn't have bothered with it for our sons. Not because the studies (or our own personal experiences) convinced us it would likely compromise their future sexual enjoyment, but because we couldn't think of any other sufficiently compelling reason to remove a normal bodily feature. For Jews this is a fundamental rite of religious identity; nothing less than that, but nothing more either--it certainly has nothing to do with male sex drive or male sexual pleasure, let alone the foreskin, being dangerous or dirty or bad somehow. That said, and as I mentioned earlier, I would have no problem with Jews returning to the original, far less drastic form of the procedure. I admit I've devoted no time to campaigning for that; you have to pick and choose your reform-from-within battles, and right now mine is gay marriage and gay rabbis. But any Jew campaigning for going back to the way it was certainly has my vote.

I probably should have omitted that last paragraph...but it would've felt dishonest not to say it. I think most likely this will be my last post in this thread, unless it gets ugly.

Tonic, before you understandably proceed to blast me for stubbornly perpetuating a medically contestable procedure on unabashedly irrational grounds and even having the gall to be Janus-faced about it, I just wanted to say how deeply sorry I am for your problems and the pain they have caused you.
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