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Circumcision of Males in America and How it is Viewed by American Women

Are women responsible for unnecessary, non-religious circumcision of male infants in America?

I didn’t know how the majority of women in America (mothers, wifes, girlfriends) view the foreskin and male circumcision until I happened to come across a heated discussion about whether infant male circumcision was child abuse in one of the message boards I frequent.  It was an eye opener to me because I didn’t know American women think the way they do about the foreskin.  I will come to the specific opinions these women had later in this article.  First, I’d like to touch upon circumcision of male infants.

Circumcision of male infants happens mostly for religious reasons around the world, but in America, you have parents choosing to have their male child circumcised for non-religious reasons, specifically “hygienic” reasons.  Now, the “hygiene” theory is highly suspect and I don’t know of any medical association that says that you need to circumcise male children due to “hygienic” reasons.  In fact, routine male circumcision is not recommended by doctors in general.  Also, do the propagators of the “hygienic” theory mean to say that most of the men around the world are unhygienic?

Most European men don’t get circumcised and by far the majority of men around the world aren’t – does that make them “dirty?”  If an uncircumcised penis was so susceptible to infections, then all these men would be queuing up to get circumcised, but they aren’t.  They are living just as normal as anyone else.  Also, animals don’t get circumcised and they don’t seem to have any problems with infection.

It does make one wonder as to how the “hygienic” argument came about in the first place.  Some believe that Dr. John Kellogg (of the cereal fame) was responsible for propagating this idea of “hygiene.”  Apparently, this man advocated circumcising young boys to check/curb masturbation.  This is what he said about the subject – to quote him.

“A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed.”

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  1. In the countries where they cut girls, the men make similar comments about the intact women. Try to point out the similarity between female and male circumcision though to Americans advocating male circumcision, and they freak out.

    You might also want to check out the following:

    Canadian Paediatric Society
    http://www.cps.ca/english/statements/fn/fn96-01.htm
    “Recommendation: Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.”

    http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/pregnancy&babies/circumcision.htm
    “Circumcision is a ‘non-therapeutic’ procedure, which means it is not medically necessary.”
    “After reviewing the scientific evidence for and against circumcision, the CPS does not recommend routine circumcision for newborn boys. Many paediatricians no longer perform circumcisions.”

    Royal Australasian College of Physicians
    http://www.racp.edu.au/download.cfm?DownloadFile=A453CFA1-2A57-5487-DF36DF59A1BAF527
    “After extensive review of the literature the Royal Australasian College of Physicians reaffirms that there is no medical indication for routine neonatal circumcision.”
    (those last nine words are in bold on their website, and almost all the men responsible for this statement will be circumcised themselves, as the male circumcision rate in Australia in 1950 was about 90%. “Routine” circumcision is now *banned* in public hospitals in Australia in all states except one.)

    British Medical Association
    http://www.bma.org.uk/ap.nsf/Content/malecircumcision2006?OpenDocument&Highlight=2,circumcision#Circumcisionformedicalpurposes
    “to circumcise for therapeutic reasons where medical research has shown other techniques to be at least as effective and less invasive would be unethical and inappropriate.”

    National Health Service (UK)
    http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/articles/article.aspx?articleId=649
    “Many people have strong views about whether circumcision should be carried out or not. It is not routinely performed in the UK because there is no clear clinical evidence to suggest it has any medical benefit.”

    Canadian Children’s Rights Council
    http://www.canadiancrc.com/Circumcision_Genital_Mutilation_Male-Female_Children.aspx
    “It is the position of the Canadian Children’s Rights Council that ‘circumcision’ of male or female children is genital mutilation of children.”

    drops in male circumcision:
    USA: from 90% to 57%
    Canada: from 47% to 14%
    UK: from 35% to about 5% (less than 1% among non-Muslims)
    Australia: 90% to 12.6% (”routine” circumcision has recently been *banned* in public hospitals in all states except one, so the rate will now be a lot lower)
    New Zealand: 95% to below 3% (mostly Samoans and Tongans)
    South America and Europe: never above 5%

    You’re right – we wouldn’t even be having this discussion if it weren’t for the fact that 19th century doctors thought that :
    a) masturbation caused various physical and mental problems (including epilepsy, convulsions, paralysis, tuberculosis etc), and
    b) circumcision stopped masturbation.

    Here are some more quotes from around that time:
    http://www.noharmm.org/docswords.htm

    Over a hundred years later, people seem to have got used to it, and keep looking for new ways to defend the practice.

    The record payout for a botched circumcision is $22.8 million. It was said at the time that the victim “will never be able to function sexually as a normal male and will require extensive reconstructive surgery and psychological counseling as well as lifelong urological care and treatment by infectious disease specialists.”

  2. You have made many good points but the idea that women are to blame for circumcision continuing ignores the fact that doctors/nurses in many places still push for circumcision and that circumcised men also feel very strongly that their sons should look like them and many times insist on circumcision for that reason alone.I have been involved in the intactivist movement for 4 years and have found that the biggest group of people fighting circumcision are women.Mothers,grandmothers,and women without children that have already decided to not circumcise.The next biggest group fighting circumcision are mothers that felt they had no choice to circumcise due to being told it had to be done by a doctor or bullied by a circumcised father and are upset that they did not protect their son.They are probably tied with unhappily circumcised men.

  3. I am an American woman, born and raised in the USA, and am completely against routine infant circumcision. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to chop off a person’s healthy body parts without their permission / consent. It is a disgusting practice to me, and violates basic human rights.

  4. Thank god our family has put a stop to this practice!!!
    Healthy intact boys who are completely happy with their body’s and have not had any problems which these American Doctor’s keep talking about!
    My favorite quote was by some well informed woman(If boy’s were supposed to have Foreskins they would be born with them)?????
    How can people both male and female be so blind to what circumcision actually is,a way to stop boy’s/men from experiencing pleasure the way it was intended and a money maker for the Doctors who keep insisting this is a good thing even after being proven wrong over and over!!!???

  5. They used to advertise on Television and in newspapers on radio and magazines that cigarette smoking was good for you also!!!! And had no bad effects !!!!!! See how easy it is to be lied to and believe those lies???????

  6. People like what they’re used to.

    95% of the non-Muslim world does not circumcise. Fewer than 2 in 1000 men who reach adulthood intact choose to be circumcised. No national medical association endorses routine circumcision.

    Foreskin feels REALLY good. HIS body HIS decision.

  7. Women have a “warm moist area” too, but we don’t cut parts of them off.

    The glans isn’t the most sensitive part of the penis, even for most circumcised men. The studies purportedly showing no difference in sensitivity between circumcised and intact men never actually measure the sensitivity of the foreskin. They don’t even measure the most sensitive part of the glans. Is that ignorance on the part of the researchers, or were they looking for a certain result? Either way, it’s bad science.

    The Canadian Pediatric Society doesn’t “want parents & guardians to research circumcision and weigh the pros and cons before making a choice for their newborn son”. They specifically recommend against neonatal circumcision:
    “Recommendation: Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.”

    Why are pro-circers alway so worried about the “locker-room” in the USA, but in countries like Canada, the UK, and Australia, they still do it anyway, despite the dramatic declines in circumcision there? They don’t seem to worry about their children being different. No-one seemed to worry about the “locker-room” in the days when non-religious circumcision was new, so why should it be an issue now?

  8. NotStyro,

    You are incorrect in your definition of routine infant circumcision. It does not by any means “all infants without consent” it means done routinely without prior medical cause or need. That is what routine infant circumcision is.

    And comparing the sensitivity of a man who was circumcised as an adult to an infant hardly holds water, since an infant’s glans would have been exposed and desensitized his whole life and a grown man would obviously still feel the same sensation after only just being circumcised.

    Trying to grasp for straws? Circumcision is a CURE looking for a DISEASE. Why do you all fail to see this?

  9. Please do NOT reply to NotStyro. They were identified in December on change.org as a TROLL. Just ignore them , they are TRYING to upset you and get off in doing it. Trolls are sad , antagonistic, lonely people. Please see Wikipedia for more information on internet Trolls.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll

  10. Nature’s primary purpose for creating the foreskin was sexual — to enhance intercourse comfort and maximize sexual pleasure, for both the man and his female partner.

    http://xrl.us/ForeskinSexualFunctions

    http://xrl.us/WhyWomenLikeNaturalSex

    The wonderful joys of natural intercourse contribute to strengthening the love bond in a relationship, thereby insuring that the partners to stay united while raising their children.

    http://xrl.us/ChristianeNorthrupMD

    Circumcision adversely alters a man’s sex organ and abnormalizes the act of intercourse for both partners, and it has profound harmful effects on sexual fulfillment and love happiness.

    http://xrl.us/10WaysCircumcisedSexHarmsWomen

  11. Sad thing here is that sounds like all the comments I got screamed at me on Cafemom.com! I am avidly against circ! I find it horrible that that these proponants of male circumcision rattle off most of the same reasons for circ that Africans do for circumcising their girls. It has been scientifically proven that Circumcision diminishes feeling in men look on http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org

    Unfortunately the real reason it continues is because of the tens of billions of dollars it generates! not only do they charge you 2-700 dollars to hack at your boy but then they toss the skin in a petry dish and grow it to the length of of a football field; then sell it to cosmetics companies for wrinkle cream and use it for a base in botox injections and for skin grafts on burn victims.

  12. Many men are finding out that they miss their foreskin. They, like me, are restoring their foreskin to regain what was taken from us at birth. See http://www.RestoringForeskin.org to read stories of men who wish they had never been circumcised and are doing something about it.

    Also, many of those men are very upset with their parents for having them circumcised. This is particularly true of the younger men, who can easily research circumcision on the Internet and wonder why their parents ignored the evidence available to them.

  13. I was circumcised 15 years ago at age 29. I have not regretted having the foreskin removed for one second. There was no medical condition for the circumcision, only a phychological one. It\’s true, most American (and Canadian) women of my generation don\’t like uncircumcised penises and aren\’t shy about telling men so. I too believe that circumcision makes the penis look better and it\’s much cleaner and easier to keep clean. I don\’t feel \”mutilated\”, but rather \”liberated\” and proud of my circumcision, scar and all. My only regret is that I didn\’t do it years sooner. How I wish my parents had circumcised me when I was born. But I guess it\’s better late than never.

  14. Jim, good for you. As an adult, you should have the choice to do what you wish to your genitals. I am glad it worked out for you.

    But, I never had that choice because I was circumcised at birth.

    Pray tell, how would your parents know at your birth that you would feel the way you do now or the way I feel? The best option is for parents to let the adult decide if the owner of the penis wishes to have permanent surgery on his genitals.

  15. Prim squeamish mothers may have played an important role in making routine neonatal circumcision fashionable among middle class English speakers 100 years ago. But they no longer are much to blame. In fact, American women who have never been intimate with an intact man, who have never raised an intact son, and who know the foreskin only by way of photographs, are among the most eloquent of intactivists.

    Can the intact penis be dirty and smelly? Yes, but the way forward is not to cut off the foreskin, but for intact men to freshen up before starting sex.

    Taylor’s study of the foreskin under the electron microscope convinced me that it must play a major role in male sensation. I suspect it makes a difference for women as well, altho’ discovering this requires that a woman have extensive experience with several partners, at least one uncut, and often without a condom. I cannot recommend premarital sex without a condom. All penises are more alike when wrapped in a condom.

    I suspect that English and American families began to circumcise because Victorian and Edwardian mothers and nannies did not want to inspect a growing boy’s penis and talk about retraction and cleaning. The foreskin was also blamed for masturbation, which was seen as highly immoral. The routine snip was seen as solving all sorts of child rearing dilemmas in one fell swoop. Our ancestors knew deep down that the foreskin made for better sex, but they also believed that “oversexed” men caused all sorts of medical and social problems, starting with STDs and marital infidelity. Anything that made men less horny was welcomed.

    Attitudes about the genitals and sex liberalized. The daily shower became a norm for all. Condoms became universally available. The other English speaking countries walked away from routine circ. But many Americans can’t give it up. Why? Because they fear that Junior will be taunted and ridiculed when using a public rest room. In summer camp. In the middle school and high school locker room. Worst of all, they fear that girls will reject him when it’s time for his sex life to begin.

    A big factor here is the American expectation that str8 sex must include BJ, and that putting an uncut member in one’s mouth is a nauseating experience. But in an intact world, manual foreplay tends to replace fellatio. And again, it is always a good idea to clean one’s privates before beginning sex. American parents seem to think that they have to accept as normal that sexual initiation takes place inside a car parked on a lover’s lane on a moonlit Friday or Saturday night. The Great American Blowjob is not a fact of nature but a peculiarity of a place and time.

  16. I love these comments! Even the guy who seems so happy without his foreskin…at least he made the choice for himself, instead of experiencing the unethical treatment that our babies receive. (NO anesthetic? You wouldn’t do that to your dog!)
    Some women may feel their sex lives may be better if they had bigger breasts, or people may get piercings, etc. to enhance their sex life, but it is a decision that they make for themselves as adults!

    I wanted to respond to Edouard’s post. I can personally attest to what it is like to be intimate with both cut and intact men. To be honest, the actual act of intercourse is not terribly different. The difference is more noticeable during the slower more romantic sexual exchanges, where, as a woman, I can definitely feel the foreskin moving; and contrary to popular belief, it feels really good!!!

    As far as the “Great American Blowjob” is concerned, I had to laugh! The man I am with now is intact, and I can assure you, he gets his fair share of *ahem*, oral stimulation. I have soft moist parts, and so does he. We enjoy giving each other pleasure equally! His parts are no more “gross” or “unhygienic” than mine. Um, do the words sexually repressed mean anything to you people?

    This aversion that many american women seem to have towards foreskin completely mystifies me. It leads me to believe that most women have little or no experience with intact men, and given the chance to have that experience, would turn it down due to preconceived ideas that they can’t get past. I hope these ideas change.

    If a woman will run away squealing at the sight of foreskin, then she is shallow. End of story

  17. Lena, I value your post.

    I continue to believe that the Great American BJ began as safe sex on Saturday night in the back seat of cars.. and he’s cut. From high school and college life, it spread to the adult film industry, which diffused it around the world. I am confident that BJ is less important in Europe and Japan, because HJ is a lot of fun when he’s intact.

    The aversion some Americans have to foreskin does not mystify me. I grew up in midwestern factory towns. It is a dirty secret of American life that many American women are squeamish and shallow. They are also conformists, and are afraid that peers of either sex will make a face when they see an Anteater. Turning such women around will require either that 2-3 leading Hollywood actresses publicly defend the intact penis, or that the AAP ban routine circ.

    I was astonished to read a few months ago a column by a woman who was a senior at HARVARD defending intact to her women peers! In 2009, Harvard women had to have the virtues of foreskin explained to them!

    I would love it if you would flesh out what you meant when you wrote:

    “The difference is more noticeable during the slower more romantic sexual exchanges, where, as a woman, I can definitely feel the foreskin moving; and contrary to popular belief, it feels really good!!!”

    Have you noticed an effect of foreskin on foreplay?

    Intact has come a long way since the 1970s, when over 90% of Caucasian babies were snipped. And I am fairly confident that routine circ will be gone by 2050.

  18. The comments from those women disgust me. Who are they to decide what someone else’s genitals should or shouldn’t look like? If men regularly mocked and sneered at the appearance of vulvas, and suggested it should be trimmed back, there would be a furious outcry from women – but they see no problem doing the exact same to the natural, normal penis. The idea that a circumcised penis “looks better” is not fact, merely opinion. I am more familiar with intact penises, and it’s actually cut penises that look unusual to me.

  19. It amazes me that people would want to amputate part of a newborn’s healthy penis because they think natural penises look gross. Whew! Some people have some very serious issues! My 3 young boys have everything they were born with and I am thrilled they weren’t genitally mutilated every time I see them naked. When I see circed babies and young boys, I cringe. While I personally don’t consider any type of genitals (male or female) to be “attractive,” those poor little boys look so wrong and deformed. My favorite site for info on all aspects of circumcision and the great value of intactness is http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/are-you-fully-informed.html.

  20. I feel that only a woman who had never experienced intact, normal intercourse would say anything derogatory about foreskin and the natural penis. Sex as nature intended it is much more pleasurable than is sex with a circumcised man. It’s more pleasurable for the man as well.

  21. It is costs more (embarrassment and money) to end seek circumcision as an adult. Did not please first wife and ended up in divorce. Foreskin tearing and hygiene problems as an adult forced me to seek circumcision as a retired aged male. I wish I had overcome fear and found help in my 20s! Quality of life is so much better for me now…..

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