Circumcision is a very controversial subject to discuss for many people, and why is this?
To elaborate it is only male circumcision that is controversial to discuss, since in the western world we all agree that female circumcision is wrong on every level, heck they even call it female mutilation. In 2006 FGM (Female genitalia mutilation) was outlawed in Denmark, and you risk a fine and imprisonment if you do it.
The WHO has four types of FGM listed, Type I is where only the skin around the clitoris is removed, Type II is where the clitoris is partial or completely removed, Type III is where all external genitalia is removed on a girl and the wound is stitched together, Type IV groups all other non-medical actions on female genitalia together, actions such as nicking, tattooing, and labia stretching.
All four types are illegal in Denmark, but when people talk about FGM, they tend only think about Type II and III, where as Type I and some Type IV can be less of a procedure than removing the foreskin on a male.
Why do I mention this?
Because a lot people tend to say, “You cannot compared FGM with male circumcision…”
As a whole, no, you cannot, however certain types of FGM you absolutely can compare with male circumcision.
A ritual poking of a clitoris with a needle is by far a less invasive procedure than removing the foreskin of a boy, however it is still wrong and outlawed. Even removing the skin around the clitoris is less invasive.
I am not defending any forms of FGM, and I think that it is rightfully outlawed.
What does male circumcision do?
To understand that, we need to understand the function of foreskin.
The inner foreskin is a mucous membrane, like the inside of your eyelid and mouth. It helps keeping the glans moist, and provides lubrication during sex or masturbation.
The foreskin also have many nerve receptors that are sensitive to touch.
When you remove the foreskin by circumcizing a boy, then you remove his ability to lubricate and lowers the sensitivity of his penis, which can affects his sex life later on.
It dawned to me why many American teens have to rely on lotions when masturbating, it is also very common in American teen movies, such as American Pie, where they also make a joke where a guy uses glue by mistake. They are unable to lubricate themselves, so in order to make masturbation easier, they have to use lotions.
Who circumcise and why?
The map above illustrates where circumcision is common, the darker the colour, the more common.
In the Middle East and in Africa it is mainly done due to religious mandate, jews believe it has to be done because it is a pact with their god, the muslims do it because their prophet according to their holy texts was born without foreskin (however there is actually no mandate in the Quran to circumcise, but the Shia denomination has it as a mandate, and the Sunni denomination is sort of split on the issue).
What about Northern America, where the muslims and jews are in the minority, why do they circumcise?
Circumcision was introduced to the general public in the USA by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (Kellogg Cornflakes, yes). Dr. Kellogg was very much an opponent of masturbation, besides using cornflakes in mattresses, he also believed circumcision would stop masturbation.
"A remedy for masturbation 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 anaesthetic, as the pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment."
- Dr. John Harvey Kellogg – 1888 – page 295 – Can be read here
It became a part of the American culture, and is still a procedure many people in the USA would defend.
Some of the arguments I hear in defence of circumcisions are;
“It is more hygienic to be circumcised.” — You could also just take regular showers, it is just a matter of regular hygiene.
“I do not want my boy to get teased at gym for looking different…” — Would you tattoo your child if that was the norm, for him to fit in?
“It prevents diseases…” — No, there is poor evidence that it might lower the risk of HIV transmission when doing unprotective anal sex with a female. Vaginal sex there is no evidence that it lowers the risk of infection. There is no study about risk in male to male anal sex, but it is more likely to be the same as the female anal sex. Yes it does lower the risk of cancer in the penis, however that is true for any body part you amputate.
“I am circumcised, and I do not think it is wrong, or that my sex life is bad.” — It does not matter that you don’t feel it was wrongly done, and if you were circumcised as an infant or young child, then you have nothing to compare with.
Lastly I heard this on the live debate show I was on, “Infants cannot remember the pain…” — So you are advocating that violent acts against infants are okay, because they cannot remember it?
I understand it can be hard to get to terms with the fact that your parents, or you yourself as a parent, got a part of your body removed for no good reason. A part of your body that actually served a purpose.
Even if there was some small benefit, it still does not outweigh the adverse effects, many children die because of circumcision, statistically it is about 100 children in America a year, and even more get complications, such a scarring, and partial amputation of the penis.
Even if it was only few children that died of it each year, it is still ONE child too many.
What I am advocating, is that any form of genitalia alterations should be left to consenting adults, just as we do not allow children to get tattooed on the argument that it is semi-permanent. We should not allow amputation of any body parts, just because of religious or cultural preferences.
Only medically neccesary treatments should be done on a child’s genitalia.
When you are an adult, feel free to remove as much as you want from you genitalia, pierce it, tattoo it, amputate, I do not care, just leave the children alone.
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