New Internationalist

Argument: Is male circumcision harmful?

March 2013

Richard Wamai and Ronald Goldman go head to head.

Every month we invite two experts to debate, and then invite you to join the conversation online.

Richard

Why would so many human cultures, historically dominated by males, have for thousands of years removed a piece of skin that wraps around the end of the penis if doing so caused harm or impeded sexual enjoyment?

Richard Wamai is an assistant professor of Public Health at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. He conducts research in HIV/AIDS – male circumcision for HIV prevention and the cost efficiency of interventions – neglected tropical diseases, and health systems and policy in Africa. He comes from Kenya.

The answer is, of course, that male circumcision (MC) does no harm. In fact, when the World Health Organization (WHO) and, later, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP – the largest association of paediatricians in the world) considered the best available scientific evidence on MC for adults and infants, they concluded that the health benefits far outweigh its minor risks. The benefits include protection against a horde of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Additionally, a circumcised penis has been found to improve sexual function, sensation and satisfaction, to be more appealing to women both cosmetically and for hygiene reasons, and, when done purely for religious or cultural reasons, it promotes a sense of identity and belonging.

Despite the solidity of evidence on its benefits, opposition to MC by groups or individuals in non-circumcising societies remains. Since their claims are not supported by quality research and fail to withstand scrutiny by academic and medical experts, the opposition appears motivated by ideological or other reasons. Such opposition has failed spectacularly: in Germany, politicians last year voted four to one that infant circumcision does not violate children’s rights or endanger their welfare.

Thus, while evoking strong sentiments – perhaps because it targets a vital sexual organ – circumcision for men and infant boys is not harmful.

Ronald

Most of the world instinctively avoids circumcision, recognizing it as just as harmful as cutting off other natural, healthy, functioning body parts.

Ronald Goldman, Ph.D is a psychological researcher, educator, and Executive Director of the Circumcision Resource Center in Boston, a non-profit educational organization. Dr Goldman is internationally known for his work on circumcision and is the author of Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma and Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective.

AAP and WHO’s positions on circumcision are influenced by personal, cultural, financial, and professional conflicts of interest. No medical organization finds any proven medical benefit for circumcision, and European organizations oppose circumcision.

Circumcision is painful and traumatic. Some infants do not cry because they go into shock. After circumcision, infants exhibit behavioural changes and disruptions in mother-child bonding. Anaesthetics, if used, do not eliminate pain. There are many surgical risks, including, in rare cases, death. Some doctors refuse to perform circumcisions because of ethical considerations.

Circumcision removes about a third of the erogenous tissue on the penile shaft, including several kinds of specialized nerves, resulting in thickening and progressive desensitization of exposed erogenous tissue. The adult foreskin is a double-layer movable sleeve of approximately 75 square centimetres. It protects the penile head, enhances sexual pleasure, and facilitates intercourse. Circumcised men are more likely to have erectile dysfunction, orgasm difficulties and premature ejaculation. Female partners have more problems with sexual function, fulfilment and painful intercourse. Conflicting studies on sexual effects of circumcision leave the burden of proof on those who advocate circumcision.

Dissatisfied men wish they had a choice and report anger, feelings of loss, sadness, sexual anxieties, and reduced emotional expression. Psychological factors affect every aspect. Circumcised men often have difficulty acknowledging the harm and generally accept information favouring circumcision.

Richard

The series of statements about circumcision and the foreskin made by you are either outright wrong, or not supported by quality research. Simply making a statement does not make it true, no matter how ‘believable’ it might sound.

There is no evidence to support the suggestion that low rates of circumcision worldwide (about 70 per cent of men are uncircumcised) therefore means the practice is harmful. Nevertheless, the focus here is on whether there is harm where MC is practised.

Almost everything you say has been examined in well-designed studies, including large randomized controlled trials and reviews carried out by reputable bodies of multi-disciplinary researchers. Not only have these statements been, on the whole, proven to lack scientific merit, but almost all the sources you cite have been debunked repeatedly in peer-reviewed quality publications. This literature – most of which can be found on websites such as Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision and Circinfo.net – is well-referenced by scientific and policy bodies such as the WHO, the AAP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Furthermore, the assertions you make about the AAP and WHO have no credibility whatsoever. Such an argument appears to serve a self-fulfilling proposition of a personal anti-circumcision position; the position of these global medical organizations on adopting MC for its medical benefits is a matter of public knowledge. The reader can therefore be assured that circumcision does not adversely affect overall health, sexual function, sensation, pleasure or satisfaction.

Ronald

Repeated references to AAP, WHO, and CDC do not change the facts. These groups have lost global credibility1 on circumcision because of their highly biased pro-circumcision positions. In addition to its other conflicts and deficiencies, the AAP has legal and political reasons to defend circumcision. Circumcision policies in countries that do not circumcise recognize the functions of the foreskin and the psychological effects of removing it.

Circumcision advocates’ biases include seeking to show ‘benefits’ only and receiving millions of dollars of funding for that view, consequently weakening the reliability of their research, including randomized controlled trials. The WHO pro-circumcision ‘expert’ promotes the sale of his own circumcision devices! Conversely, circumcision critics often work as volunteers trying to help protect males from this traumatic genital surgery.

One example of psychological factors producing bias is that circumcision is more often supported by doctors who are circumcised. Advocating circumcision, denying harm, and ignoring psychological factors help them avoid the emotional discomfort of questioning their own circumcision. Instead, they accept presumed medical ‘authorities’, without questioning conflicts of interest, motivations, defences and emotions that led to the cascade of flawed research and policies.

Psychological factors do not magically disappear from advocates involved in presumed ‘reputable bodies’, ‘well-designed studies’ and ‘quality publications.’ Actually, these factors multiply due to less attention to detail, more conformity, and fear of debate, as erroneous ideas about circumcision spread like an epidemic.

Psychologists know there is a compulsion to repeat trauma. As a trauma, circumcision is a psychological issue disguised as a medical issue.

Richard

Rejecting values and conventions of science, opponents of MC are entitled to their own personal opinions. Declarative statements denying the credibility of the AAP, WHO and CDC and fallacious arguments about adverse effects of MC will be recognized by educated readers as specious in fact.

The fact is that the AAP, the WHO, the CDC, UNAIDS and other bodies (whose members include uncircumcised bioethicists and psychologists) have painstakingly examined hundreds of research studies and weighed the evidence for and against MC, including that provided by opponents, and endorsed MC for infant males, older boys and men. They have delineated its considerable benefits for disease prevention, finding no adverse effects on sexual function, sensation or satisfaction or human rights. These bodies would lose credibility if they pandered to the extremist views of opponents, or if they came to conclusions discordant with the scientific evidence.

Global medical, policy and funding organizations, governments, civil society groups, human rights, gender and women’s health advocates, and youth in numerous countries endorse MC. Men need to understand that its benefits vastly exceed risks and that over their life-time up to half of uncircumcised males may suffer an affliction attributable to foreskin retention. MC produces enormous health and economic benefits and not providing it to males who want it and to parents choosing it for their infant boys would be an ethical violation.

Proponents of MC strongly support acceleration of its implementation to save lives and promote health as a biomedical and ethical imperative.

Ronald

Your previous statements are unsupported, false and misleading. Deficiencies and biases found in pro-circumcision literature are illustrated by the findings of renowned meta-researcher John Ioannidis. He shows much of medical research is ‘misleading, exaggerated and often flat-out wrong’. His work is widely accepted by medical people.

Ioannidis says: ‘Claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.’ The prevailing bias is pro-circumcision. Circumcision advocates design studies to produce desired results. ‘There is an intellectual conflict of interest that pressures researchers to find whatever it is that is most likely to get them funded,’ says Ioannidis. ‘At every step in the process, there is room to distort results.’ He notes that opposing views are often suppressed.

Circumcision harms have been ignored, not refuted. (I asked the WHO’s pro-circumcision ‘expert’ to describe the anatomy and functions of the foreskin. He didn’t know!) Psychological and sexual harms of circumcision are reported by clinicians and circumcised men. Women with comparative sexual experience greatly prefer genitally intact men. Other studies find more sexual difficulties for circumcised men and 4.53 times higher likelihood of using drugs for erectile dysfunction. Thousands of dissatisfied circumcised men have had their foreskins restored. Questions about harm remain unanswered.

Beware of biased ‘authorities’. Pro-circumcision researchers often ignore feelings and common sense. Don’t make that mistake. Watch a circumcision video and trust your feelings. Imagine having your genitals cut by force. Common sense tells you that losing 75 square centimetres of erogenous tissue has negative consequences, and involuntary surgery on a natural, healthy, functioning body part and inflicting trauma is harmful.

  1. See page six of linked document

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 460 This feature was published in the March 2013 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Comments on Argument: Is male circumcision harmful?

Leave your comment







 

  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

  1. #1 hanabi 25 Feb 13

    Circumcision is obviously harmful. That men can lead relatively normal lives without a foreskin is not evidence it is useless. The ear lobe gets more respect from US doctors than the foreskin. Evolution placed it there after millions of years of trial an error, Richard's statement says he knows better than God or Evolution. Doctors have made such silly statements for decades and have ALWAYS been proven wrong.

    The AAP chose a very narrow selection of research assiduously avoiding any consideration of harm collected from many crossectional studies. They ignored thousands of men who wrote in and said they did in fact mind and would have preferred to have been asked. To ignore this is to place the doctor above the patient, an ethical error.

    Trials in Africa ignored the result that wiping after sex was as effective as cutting without risk. Further they ignored data from their own studies showing that intact men showed increased pleasure and satisfaction. They chose only to publish selected data regarding the pre and post results of the intervention group. The true result is the a foreskin without medical care was the same as circumcised with medical care. The unpublished result was that intact with medical care showed a significant increase in pleasure and satisfaction. These data have never been made available to other researchers so the truth remains hidden behind the doors of CDC and Johns Hopkins

  2. #2 Tora Spigner RN 25 Feb 13

    As an RN, a doula and a Mother, I would no more circumcise my son as my daughter. All children have the right to grow up with all their healthy and functional body parts, especially their genitals. If you change the form, you change the function and that is what circumcision does. It changes the function of the genitals so they do not work the way nature intended. If you believe in human rights, you allow each individual free will to experience their sexual lives as they should, not as others want them to be.

  3. #3 Gary Harryman 25 Feb 13

    Professor Wamai - Whatever informed adults voluntarily chose to do with their bodies is their business, but I find it shameful and disturbing when any person defends child abuse and child abusers. It is stunning to witness seemingly intelligent life on this planet twist and obfuscate and lie to defend child abuse; and let's talk straight - cutting off healthy body parts of a child is mutilative child abuse.
    ’Not harmful’? Well, what we euphemistically call ’circumcision’ crudely amputates thousands of the most specialized pressure-sensitive cells in the human body and leaves the victim sensorily impaired for life. Thousands of Pacinian corpuscles, Meissner's corpuscles, Ruffini corpuscles, and Merkel discs are found only in the glabrous skin of the tongue, lips, palms, nipples, fingertips, and most densely, in the clitoris and especially in the Ridged Band portion of the natural roller bearing we call the male foreskin. These four specialized cells are the cells that process thousands of information impulses per second. They are the cells that allow blind people to ’see’ Braille with their fingertips. Why have these mechano-communication cells evolved so richly in these seven locations? We don't know because it's never been studied, but we do know Nature does nothing without a reason, and to deliberately snuff out the tactile interfaces of thousands of somatosensory channels of communication that Nature has perfected over millions of years is irrational, and it leaves the victim partially devitalized and sub-normalized for life.
    Meissner’s corpuscles respond to light touch and fast touch, Merkel’s disc cells respond to light pressure and texture, Ruffini’s corpuscles respond to slow sustained pressure, skin tension, skin stretch, skin slip, and they are thermoreceptors, and encapsulated Pacinian corpuscles respond to deep touch and vibration, and changes in touch. When one looks at the distribution and concentration of these specialized nerve cells, it is clear that the nervous system of the mobile male foreskin has evolved to use many modalities to synergistically gather and process information multidimensionally. Humans must have evolved such complex communication skills for a reason - it must at least have survival value. Also, we know that for some reason Nature has mandated that these four types of mechanoreceptors are so important to human survival that they do not age-degrade like other nerves. Those limited areas where they are concentrated - fingertips, lips, eyelids, tongues, ridged band, etc. stay alert to tactile communication for life while the rest of our nerves degrade with the passage of time.
    Unfortunately, when the natural multidimensional sensory receptors and their information channels are crudely eliminated by amputation, tens of thousands of synergistic tactile interfaces are lost along with the moment to moment situational awareness they provide. The limited capacity of the remaining relatively simple immobile nerve modalities become overwhelmed and unable to process information without errors. Performance suffers. You can't read Braille with your elbow. With lack of awareness comes lack of control. Unable to accurately process the tactile confusion the circumcision victim suffers from progressively worsening lack of recognizable multidimensional feedback, experiences performance anxiety, premature ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction. Every communication error is recorded and compounded by repetition. Psychological troubles are certain to follow. We see the most common psychological defenses are denial, and bravado.
    It is for these reasons that what we call ’circumcision’, male or female, is de facto sexual mutilation and therefore if forced on another human being is a violation of fundamental human rights and American Constitutional Rights. And no amount of squirming pseudo-intellectual defense of child abuse and child abusers will ever make it right.

  4. #4 Stilla phallus 25 Feb 13

    This 'debate' taught me nothing except that men can apparently still have a pissing contest with or without a foreskin.

    Neither side has made any concession to any point of the other, and the other commenters here appear to be contributing just as unhelpfully. What no one here seems to acknowledge is that there are valid points on both sides of the argument. The issues are far more complex than anyone seems willing to admit. I'm disappointed with NI for reducing this complexity down to pulp-diction...

  5. #5 Gary Harryman 25 Feb 13

    Dear Stilla phallus,

    I'm willing to listen. Just what are the ’valid points’ of child abuse?

  6. #6 Stilla phallus 25 Feb 13

    Gary Harryman, you could start by unloading your loaded language. Clearly that's what you believe, but equally proponents obviously do not. So just throwing that accusation around isn't really going to make people go, ’Oh, wow, you know something, you're on to something there! Let me just send the Mohel home and order pizza instead.’

  7. #7 James Loewen 25 Feb 13

    Richard Wamai begins by asking why circumcision if it caused harm or impaired sexual enjoyment, and then quickly answers his own question by incorrectly stating ’male circumcision does no harm.’ That is blatantly false. Circumcision is inherently harmful. Take a good look at the photos submitted from men around the world on the Global Survey of Circumcision Harm. Circumcision causes severe physical harm.

    Circumcision also causes psychological trauma, often severe and life long. Ronald Goldman has treated that subject with scholarly respect in his book, ’Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma.

    To answer the questions Richard Wamai asks, the real reason for circumcision IS to cause harm AND to impair sexual enjoyment. It follows the same pattern of all child abuse. When done to a child that child grows up to enforce the same harm on his own children, and others.

    The current drive to cut men, infants and boys in Africa to ’prevent HIV’ is medical fraud. Circumcision does NOT prevent HIV. Education about safer sexual practices and condoms prevents HIV.

  8. #9 Dreamer 25 Feb 13

    Mr. Wamai asks why would so many cultures have for thousands of years removed the foreskin if doing so caused harm or impeded enjoyment. His answer is that of course MC does no harm.

    I propose a different answer. Perhaps they have done it so BECAUSE it does harm.

    In other words, why would many cultures have insisted for thousands of years on removing specifically THAT one part of the body, why would they have done it if it made no difference?

    Mr. Wamai lists as evidence of no harm a study indicating that circumcision has been found to improve function. Interestingly enough, in that same study the control group, with no intervention whatsoever, reported an improved function as well. Could it be that by enroling in the study, participants automatically improved their function as well?

    Furthermore, one has to wonder if there was any attempt to understand, from a biological point of view, the results of the study. The study states that 64% of the circumcised men reported their organ to be ’much more sensitive’. This is indeed logical in the short term after circumcision, as the glans is getting used to being permantly exposed. Different results usually occur in the long term, after a life time of exposure, when the glans keratinizes and buries its nerve endings under layers of skin cells. And a second question would be, what happened with the other 36%?

    In other words, the study listed by Mr. Wamai seemed to magically improve every participant's experience, regardless of circumcision status. That would be a wonderful study to participate in.

    Mr. Wamai lists as benefits of circumcision ’protection’ against a ’horde of STIs including HIV’. However, Mr. Wamai would find difficult to find a solid causal effect of this ’protection’, as in fact the removal of a part of the body does not positively affect the immune system, and every ’biological plausibility’ so far contemplated has been disproven. Furthermore, real world analysis of circumcision prevalence vs. HIV prevalence does not favor circumcision as a HIV prevention in spite of the wishful thinking of the ’experts’ at the WHO, who seem more interested in promoting and selling their products, that in improving the health of the continent (is it a surprise that the WHO's chief expert on circumcision, David Tomlinson, is the inventor of the improved Gomco clamp and the AccuCirc device, both of which will give him profits if used on the VMC programs?)

    BTW, Mr. Wamai, in self-quoting the criticism of the criticism of the African trials (which he co-authored), is aware of the lack of credibility of Brian Morris and Jake waskett, two of his coauthors? The first one, a professor of Nuclear Biology who is not a medical doctor and who has a strong bias for circumcision, and the second one, a computer programmer who fantasized with being circumcised since he was 5 years old, both members of questionable online groups such as circlist.

    With all his arguments, Mr. Wamai comes out as dogmatic, expressing himself with assertive and aggressive words to crush laymen's opposition, but without solidity to undermine the arguments of anyone with a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

    It's also clear that Mr. Wamai refuses to discuss the anatomy of the foreskin. Anyone paying attention understands why that is.

  9. #10 Mark Lyndon 25 Feb 13

    (I've had to remove some links, since the commenting software keeps saying ’Sorry, too many URLs (which makes your comment seem spammy)’ )

    From a USAID report:
    ’There appears no clear pattern of association between male circumcision and HIV prevalence €”in 8 of 18 countries with data, HIV prevalence is lower among circumcised men, while in the remaining 10 countries it is higher.’
    http://www.measuredhs.com/pubs/pdf/CR22/CR22.pdf

    From Puerto Rico:
    Results. Almost a third (32.4%) of the men were circumcised (CM). Compared with uncircumcised (UC) men, CM have accumulated larger numbers of STI in their lifetime (CM = 73.4% vs. UC = 65.7%; P = 0.048), have higher rates of previous diagnosis of warts (CM = 18.8% vs. UC = 12.2%; P = 0.024), and were more likely to have HIV infection (CM = 43.0% vs. UC = 33.9%; P = 0.023).

    Malaysia, where 60% of the population is Muslim and therefore circumcised, but Muslims constitute 72% of the HIV+ population. People who are circumcised for religious reasons would normally have fewer sexual partners, so you'd expect their HIV rates to be lower.

    It seems highly unrealistic to expect that there will be no risk compensation. The South African National Communication Survey on HIV/AIDS, 2009 found that 15% of adults across age groups ’believe that circumcised men do not need to use condoms’.

    It is unclear if circumcised men are more likely to infect women. The only ever randomized controlled trial into male-to-female transmission showed a 54% higher rate in the group where the men had been circumcised:
    [link removed]

    ABC (Abstinence, Being faithful, and especially Condoms) is the way forward. Promoting genital surgery seems likely to cost African lives rather than save them.

  10. #11 Mark Lyndon 25 Feb 13

    It's very easy to find circumcised doctors who are against circumcision, but surprisingly difficult to find male doctors in favor of circumcision who weren't circumcised themselves as children.

    38 senior European pediatricians, including several leaders of pedatric associations wrote a strongly worded response to the AAP statement:
    Abstract
    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released its new technical report and policy statement on male circumcision, concluding that current evidence indicates that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks. The technical report is based on the scrutiny of a large number of complex scientific articles. Therefore, while striving for objectivity, the conclusions drawn by the eight task force members reflect what these individual doctors perceived as trustworthy evidence. Seen from the outside, cultural bias reflecting the normality of non-therapeutic male circumcision in the US seems obvious, and the report'€™s conclusions are different from those reached by doctors in other parts of the Western world, including Europe, Canada, and Australia. In this commentary, a quite different view is presented by non-US-based doctors and representatives of general medical associations and societies for pediatrics, pediatric surgery and pediatric urology in Northern Europe. To these authors, there is but one of the arguments put forward by the AAP that has some theoretical relevance in relation to infant male circumcision, namely the possible protection against urinary tract infections in infant boys, which can be easily treated with antibiotics without tissue loss. The other claimed health benefits, including protection against HIV/AIDS, genital herpes, genital warts and penile cancer, are questionable, weak and likely to have little public health relevance in a Western context, and do not represent compelling reasons for surgery before boys are old enough to decide for themselves.
    http://www.intactamerica.org/german_pediatrics_statement

    Just this month, a Belgian study found the following:
    ’For the glans pen-s, circumcised men reported decreased sexual pleasure and lower orgasm intensity. They also stated more effort was required to achieve orgasm, and a higher percentage of them experienced unusual sensations (burning, prickling, itching, or tingling and numbness of the glans pen-s).
    For the penile shaft a higher percentage of circumcised men described discomfort and pain, numbness and unusual sensations.
    In comparison to men circumcised before puberty, men circumcised during adolescence or later indicated less sexual pleasure at the glans pen-s, and a higher percentage of them reported discomfort or pain and unusual sensations at the penile shaft.’

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11761.x/abstract

  11. #12 Frederick Rhodes 25 Feb 13

    There are hidden benefits from infant circumcision that don't show up until after puberty. If done by a proffesional, doing a light cut job with minimal pain, and dammage to the nerves, flesh and muscle contained in the prepuce, the infant will grow up and experience no sexual dysfunctions, and if the circumcisor cuts just a little bit extra with more pain and dammage, he can cause the infant man to grow up and develop sexual dysfunction, preventing him from being a successful father. This can be used as eugenics, to benefit all mankind, by only allowing those men who have better immunities to sexually transmitted disseases to succeed at breeding. Good for those of European descent because many of them who have survived the black plague have natural immunities to HIV, but bad for the black Africans, because they don't.

    Another hidden benefit from infant circumcision is that because the glans callouses over, called keratinization, after having the protective prepuce excised, it descensitises the glans and causes the man to maintain an erection for a longer period of time. The extra time he has will cause his women to get vaginal erosion increasing her chances of contracting HIV, and often leading to death if hysterectomies are not available, freeing up the circumcised men to remarry. At pressent 1 in 3 US women married to circumcised men need a total hysterectomy before they turn 60. Look it up.

    Another hidden benefit from RIC is that it can be used to punish the sons of bad men without killing them and ever knowing it. This is called Kabala witchcraft. Kabala witches have taken over the WHO and AAP through a long process called attrition, waiting for they older members to die out and be replaced with proponents of RIC so they can get laws passed to protect their witchcraft and witchdoctor medicine.

    I found all this out because it happened to me and my brothers, botched infant circumcisions that caused us to grow up and develop reproductive brain chemistry dysfunctions from the excess trauma and nerve dammage, this causing suicidal depression and delayed onset PTSD needing psychotropic drugs and anti depressents

  12. #13 Jonathon Conte 25 Feb 13

    Only someone who is completely ignorant of the anatomy and physiology of the male genitals would suggest that the removal of nearly half the penile skin (including the most nerve-laden parts) does not cause damage.

  13. #14 Hugh7 25 Feb 13

    ’...over their life-time up to half of uncircumcised males may suffer an affliction attributable to foreskin retention.’
    This unattributed claim was first made by Brian Morris, an Australian circumcision extremist (he has said on national television that it should be ’compulsory’) without any evidence. He previously said one in three, by taking the upper limit of every affliction. But so what? Over a lifetime, most body parts give some trouble or other and we treat them and move on. Why should we pre-emptively cut just this one off? Only because of extreme cultural bias against it.

    The WHO has said nothing about infant circumcision. It recommends circumcision to prevent female-male HIV transmission only for adult volunteers. That has been subverted in the field to infant circumcision, when men proved reluctant, without a smidgin of evidenced that infant circumcision has any effect on HIV. The recommendation followed an invitation-only, closed-door meeting (whose membership has never been disclosed) in Monteux, Switzerland in 2007 that was reportedly a rubber-stamp affair. A detailed handbook for doing circumcisions emerged suspiciously soon after.

    The HIV claim is based on three trials: in which the control and experimental arms were given differing safe-sex advice; that were terminated early (call it ’stopping while you're ahead); and from which several times as many circumcised men dropped out, their HIV status unknown, as the number of non-circumcised men in the control groups who contracted HIV. Thus their results could be completely spurious.

    Circumcision causes ’no harm’? A Brazilian study found a death rate of 0.013% or one in 7700. That may sound small, but it translates into 156 unnecessary deaths in the US annually. It is twice as great as the risk a court recently ruled that patients should be warned of. (And that was ’only’ the risk of loss of sight after an eye operation.) The rate of lesser harm is of course much greater, including
    Infection
    Haemorrhage
    Pain / shock
    Necrotising fasciitis (’galloping gangrene’)
    Damage (scarring, pitting) to the glans or shaft.
    Urethral fissure/fistula
    Scaphoid megalourethra
    ’Trapped/buried pen!s’
    Meatitis (inflammation of the urinary opening)
    Meatal ulcer
    Meatal stenosis
    Eczema of the glans and meatus
    Loss of sensitivity / impotence
    Painful erect!ons
    Wound re-opening
    Production of ugly scar tissue, skin-bridges, skin-tags, malapposition (rejoining on the twist) and/or suture holes
    And even when none of those have happened, many circumcised men bitterly resent what was done to them.

    The bottom line is that non-therapeutic infant genital cutting is a human rights violation. We recognise this when the infants are girls, no matter how tokenistic, surgical and pain-free the cutting. It is time we granted male children equality.

  14. #15 Joseph4GI 25 Feb 13

    Wamai engages in much logical fallacy, it is obvious he has actually no knowledge on this subject, save what he has been spoon-fed to say.

    He opens with argumentum ad antiquitam. Of course, human cultures have also, for thousands of years, removed parts of a woman's anatomy. Of course this does not mean it's ’not harmful,’ only that they have been removing female body parts for thousands of years.

    His entire argument is basically the logical fallacy of argumentum ad verecundiam (AKA appeal to authority).

    Of course he only mentions the authorities that suit him, as Ron Goldman counters that none of the other medical authorities have reached such conclusions. Additionally he fails to mention that the AAP falls short of any recommendation.

    Learned readers will be able to see through Wamai's fallacies and come to the conclusion that he is but a pro-circumcision crony.

    I must point out that one of the ’authorities’ that Wamai seems to quote as a credible source is Gilgal Society's Brian Morris and his website. Brian Morris is neither a surgeon, urologist, pediatrician, nor a medical doctor of any kind. He is not even an epidemiologist.

    Really Mr. Wamai? Really?

  15. #16 Ron Low 25 Feb 13

    Most of the effects being discussed by the pro-circumcision side only affect a sexually active adult. Informed adults can decide for themselves. Most of the world does not circumcise, because foreskin feels REALLY good.

    I'll keep my whole functional body. I'm not at all persuaded by ’controlled’ studies about HIV. Most of the US men who have died of AIDS were circumcised at birth. In half of African nations it is the circumcised who have markedly higher HIV incidence. This ’miracle vaccine’ effect is only seen when a small group of circumcision advocates is controlling the outcome.

  16. #17 Petrina 25 Feb 13

    Richard Wamai claims that circumcision is not harmful. Here is proof that it is harmful, with numerous cases of botched circumcisions and circumcision deaths. These are all harms caused by circumcision, and Wamai's claims are false, as evidenced by the lawsuits brought for botched circumcisions.

    http://www.glorialemay.com/blog/?p=581

    Complications from circumcision (its harms) are discussed in detail in many medical journal articles. Mr. Wamai and others can read about these harms in ’Complications of Circumcision’ by Rosemary Romberg, at:

    http://www.catholicsagainstcircumcision.org/

  17. #18 Professor Brian Morris 25 Feb 13

    Richard Wamai clearly wins this debate. Now that major international medical bodies have come out in support of male circumcision, best performed in infancy, it really is time for the anti-circumcisionists to pull their collective heads in and accept the medical evidence. Goldman completely loses the plot when he invokes conspiracy theories by those who formulate international health policies. I think all intelligent people have had a gutful of the ridiculous nonsense of opponents. Infant male circumcision is a ’surgical Vaccine’ with a lifetime of powerful benefits.

  18. #19 Joseph4GI 25 Feb 13

    Well if it isn't Brian Morris himself.

    Brian, could you tell us what your credentials are, and why Wamai ’wins’ for quoting you?

    Tell us, Brian, what is Gilgal Society, and what is your connection to them?

    Who is Vernon Quaintance?

    Tell us about what your connection is to male circumcision, even disease prevention before asking us to lend you any credibility?

    Great. You modified the Pap smear.

    Tell us about the foreskin and its functionalities.

    And do please cite other sources other than yourself, fanks.

    I'm afraid that The trend of opinion on routine male circumcision is overwhelmingly negative in industrialized nations. No respected medical board in the world, not even the AAP recommends circumcision for infants, not even in the name of HIV prevention. They must all point to the risks, and they must all state that there is no convincing evidence that the benefits outweigh these risks. To do otherwise would be to take an unfounded position against the best medical authorities of the West.

    Tell us, Brian, DID the AAP endorse circumcision? Or did they stop short because the ’evidence’ was insufficient?

    Tell us, does the CDC and WHO endorse circumcision for infants? What about medical authorities in the rest of the world?

    What does the RACP in your home country say?

    Oh, that's right. They've publicly disowned you.

    Yes. The medical evidence, let's have it; no respected medical authority in the world has found it sufficient enough to recommend routinely in children, not even the AAP.

    I'm sorry, but medical evidence, not to mention real world data, does not support your fallacious assertion that circumcision is anything like a ’vaccine.’

    I challenge Brian Morris to name a single virus that the circumcised man is immune against.

  19. #20 Courtney 25 Feb 13

    You obviously know nothing about foreskin. You're discredited as soon as you said 'piece of skin'
    Dare telling me and my husband that circumcision isn't harmful? You aren't involved in our painful, friction filled sex are you?

  20. #21 CircEsAdreim 25 Feb 13

    Anyone quoting Brian Morris as a trustworthy or credible authority on this subject clearly does not know much about his true underlying motivations and affiliations.

  21. #22 Chris 25 Feb 13

    I find it amusing that someone who supposedly cares about stopping HIV infections never once made a reference to condoms. The condom is science's solution to HIV. Science does not support mass genital mutilation to prevent HIV when a condom is 99%+ effective. Genital cutting to stop HIV is superstitious, you might as well carry a 4 leaf clover to stop AIDS. They should focus their efforts on educating Africans about safe sex and use the multi-millions of aid the United States provides to make condoms accessible to the people. From a purely scientific perspective, this is pure propaganda to make money off a needless operation and create jobs for circumcisers and does little to stop HIV, especially since there is a perfectly reasonable solution to stomp out HIV, condoms. You simply have to change the perception of condoms, make them acceptable in that culture, educate people, be honest. Don't fill their heads with false hope and only further makes the HIV epidemic worse.

  22. #23 Henry 25 Feb 13

    Richard, my neighbor’s nephew died as a result of infant circumcision. Can you tell me how the health benefits outweigh the risks in his case?

  23. #24 Thinker 25 Feb 13

    Male circumcision astoundingly abnormalizes the sex act for both the man and his female partner. For the Top Ten ways male circumcision harms the sexuality of the female partner visit www.SexAsNatureIntendedIt.com

  24. #25 Elizabeth Noble 25 Feb 13

    This site is rigged! It does not want comments! I have had my comments rejected 6 times! ANd I am sick of that illegible captcha!

  25. #26 michael roloff 25 Feb 13

    Making it a taboo to compare male with female sexual mutilation is the biggest scandal of the controversy. In both instances the most sensitive and most erogenous zone of the human body is amputated and severely damaged. In both instances, what counts primarily is the cutting of human sexuality. The imposition of control by the patriarchy.


    //analytic-comments.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-circumcision-debate-links-and.html




    /analytic-comments.blogspot.com/2012/10/michael-wolffsohns-foreskin-of-heart.html

    What is lacking in all the talk about circumcision is discussion of its
    archeological dimension - that it is the left over of human sacrifice.


    Also, unfortunately it is / has been circumcision that has MADE for no end of anti-semitic sentiments. Freud found that it was the chief reason for unconscious anti-Semitism. And the myths surrounding it are at the core of the “blood libel.” Thus, it's time to eliminate the Brit Milah because if that is the chief reason for being anti-Semitic or anti-Abrahamic [Islam too practices the rite] then why hang on to this left-over of human sacrifice? that traumatizesthe child, cutting off 5,000 nerves, that is the equivalent of female circumcision in the sense that it eliminates everything but the clitoris,and only serves the UltraOrthodox to maintain their power? After all, reform Judaism sought to eliminate the rite in the 19th century, and Jewish identity depends on being born by a Jewish mother, or converting. Here a link to an archive of the entire German and then some debate, note especially Michael Wolffsohn's two pieces . Circumcision has been controversial also within Jewry forever.

  26. #27 Greg Allan 26 Feb 13

    I'll make this very simple for you Richard. If parents handed their infant to a third party for the purposes of fondling that child's genitals all three adults are guilty of child sexual abuse.

  27. #29 Jo Lateu 26 Feb 13

    From the moderator: please keep your comments respectful. Comments which include attacks on individuals will be deleted.

  28. #30 Grace 26 Feb 13

    What's pretty clear from this, as Stilla Phallus has noted, is that both sides of this view feel very strongly about this. Neither is likely to come around to the otger's viewpoint. So we know this is an issue with deeply held persobal beliefs, that vary from man to man.

    The solution, then, is actually very simple. Since each male is likely to think differently about it, let each male decide for himself.

    You won't find many opponents of circumcision who object to fully jnformed adults choosing circumcision for themselves. What most anti-circumcision activists oppose is forcing the procedure onto people who have not chosen it for themselves.

    The only people advocating taking away men's choice over what happens to their body are those who want to force circumcision onto children.

    So how can it be right to refuse to allow men to weigh up the risks and ’benefits’ as they apply to them personally, and let them decide personally?

    The motivation of circumcision proponents is not to improve health or any such lies - it's to normalise circumcision, to force others to undergo it so they feel vindicated in supporting it
    If it was truly to do with men's health, they'd inform men and let those men decide.

  29. #31 James Mac 26 Feb 13

    Richard Wamai displays a clear cultural bias for circumcision and his argument is deeply flawed in two key areas.

    Firstly, he launches straight into a risk versus benefit defence of circumcision, without first confronting the critically important moral question; as a matter of principle, is it acceptable to remove normal, healthy, functional body parts from children on the basis of some possible future malady?

    Secondly, Richard Wamai should not have dishonestly represented the positions of the organisations he cites, none of whom actually recommend infant male circumcision. Referencing Professor Morris' circinfo.net website further undermines the credibility of his position. While head of Sydney University's Faculty of Medicine, Professor J.A. Young, described Professor B.J. Morris' writings on circumcision as ’both tasteless and offensive’ and instructed him in writing to desist from promoting his views on letterhead mentioning the Faculty of Medicine.

  30. #32 Robbie T RN 26 Feb 13

    Every male and female, has the right to genital integrity, amputating healthy body parts is considered unethical. Foreskin is not a birth defect. Foreskin has 14+ functions, it's healthy errogenous tissue. Once you change form you change function. as an RN, Amputating healthy body parts or tissue does not prevent disease. Circumcision is a cure looking for a disease. condoms prevent HIV infection 99%, Circumcision does not. What do you tell the Circumcised men, that are HIV+? its education NOT amputation. www.Aidscirc.org

  31. #33 Brother K 26 Feb 13

    The second-class citizenship of American boys is a disgrace. Parents would never let a doctor rip apart the genitals of their precious daughters. Boys are treated like inferior citizens, without the same right to bodily integrity that girls enjoy under the law. The male p-enis has been trivialized into a disgusting dirty object of scorn by the c-ircumcision industry, which has no intention of ever stopping their cruel practice. They hide behind a smokescreen of preposterous health claims that men in the rest of the world disprove by merely living with their intact g-enitals, just as normal men & women have lived throughout human history. The reality is that the pro-c-irc medical lobby has a vision of America as a place where generation after generation of men will live and die with wounded genitals. The malevolent genius of forced infant c-ircumcision is that its victims become its chief proponents in a terrible impulse to deny their own loss. As a c-ircumcised man, I stand up with the truth, ’This is wrong. It stops with me.’ Others who accept their c-ircumcision without objection, or embrace it, live under the tyranny of the c-ircumciser, who owns them. Every absurd hypothesis put forth by the c-ircumciser to justify himself has also been used to justify female circumcision. It's a sick world out there, and American doctors bear the bloodstained mark of their own shame. (hyphens added because original post denied with this message, Sorry, you used a spammy sounding word in your post so we are unable to process your request)

  32. #34 Brother K 26 Feb 13

    It looks like people like that ’professor’ from the other side of the world will never realize circumcision is dead until they see the coffin lowered into the ground and dirt covering it entirely. We're working on it, bri.

  33. #35 Greg Allan 26 Feb 13

    To the moderators...those folk who promote the mutilation of infants NEED to hear from those hurt by their actions. They need to hear it loudly and harshly. I am one of those thus hurt and have experienced more than half a century of pain. Brian Morris is here to protect a source of income. Nothing more. That sort of cynicism demands the harshest of responses. He should be named for what he is.

  34. #36 Jo Lateu 26 Feb 13

    From the moderator: Re. comment #25, this is the message that Elizabeth Noble wanted to submit (but was unable to because of our spam filter - I've put asterisks in to certain words for this reason):

    Imagine yourself with no eyelids, Mr. Wamai! The p*nis needs its prepuce (so the glans remains an internal organ) like your eye needs its eyelid!. Without this extra sheath, physiological intercourse is impossible. V*gina is Latin for sheath;so an intact man slides and glides gently moving both sheaths. No need for lubrication! Circumcised men have lost so much sensitivity that they have to ’scr*w’ and who likes being scr*wed?

  35. #37 Leo Sorger 26 Feb 13

    As an intact OB-GYN from Europe, I refuse to do circumcisions and do my best to talk my patients out of this unnecessary and violent amputation.
    I took the Hippocratic oath: first, DO NO HARM! All surgery carries a risk. But this is primarily a human rights issue and the victim of neonatal circumcision is not giving informed consent. The prepuce is not a cosmic error; every body part has a function and what hubris to think we mere mortals can improve on God's design!

    Leo Sorger, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.

  36. #38 Jack Perry 26 Feb 13

    The knowledge of the this WOUNDING affecting sexual pleasure and function goes back thousands of years. There is NO IF as to SEXUAL HARM, it is a matter of HOW BAD IS IT for any particular man.

    What is pathetic is that the hygiene myth continues. Unlike the more primitive views of the 19th and 20th century, this Richard fellow should know that there is bacteria all over us. It is not a good thing to remove or displace it. Problems occur when you replace the natural bacteria with new invasive bacteria. The most recent info indicates that a cut male member is actually less clean than a natural male member. A study has noted that natural boys have natural bacteria (the same as girls) and cut boys have different invasive bacteria.

    Lets also drop the HIV/STD scare tactics. The real world data clearly shows that men missing genital parts get HIV and STDs at the same or higher rate than natural men. Also, natural men get full and natural sensation, thereby making it more acceptable to use condoms.

    Forcing this on a child or doing this to a baby is a human rights violation.

  37. #39 Joseph4GI 26 Feb 13

    Wamai's entire argument, the arguments of male circumcision advocates, such as Wamai's employers, such as people like Brian, are all based on the dubious premise that an action is morally acceptable, or morally reprehensible based on the outcome of ’research.’

    All Wamai et al. can offer is ’the research says, the science says, science science science.’ (The ’research’ and ’science’ of their choosing of course.)

    But could we make the same arguments for female cutting?

    Is there magic number of ’studies’ or a certain amount of ’research’ that could *ever* be used to justify cutting women?

    There is actually research that demonstrates that women are actually quite capable of normal lives without a c-litor-is. Research shows that, on the whole, women do well even after undergoing the worst kind considered of cutting. Google Johnsdotter and Catania.

    Actually, some research, albeit limited, shows a reduced HIV transmission rate in women who have undergone cutting.

    So how ready are we to state that it ’does no harm?’

    Or is the principle that forcibly cutting a person is wrong the same, ’research’ or not?

    Why do Wamai et al. actually think that having ’research’ makes their arguments any stronger?

    The principle of forcibly cutting the organs of a healthy, non-consenting person is ethically bankrupt and morally repugnant, with or without ’research.’

    It is mistaken, the belief that the right amount of “science” can be used to legitimize the deliberate violation of basic human rights.

  38. #40 THJ 26 Feb 13

    Wamai's opening sentence shows just how thick his professional blinders are on this matter. Citing cultural justifications, which are relative, and showing complete dismissal of the œpiece of skin, Wamai hit all of the pro-cutter camp's talking points in his leap from cultural justifications to his peculiar brand of ethically-challenged 'œscience.'

    So, by his cultural argument, anything that has persisted for thousands of years cannot possibly pose harm because presumably it would have fallen by the wayside as cultures march inevitably toward self-improvement. I guess this would include institutions like slavery, war, polygamy and yes, even female genital cutting.

  39. #41 THJ 26 Feb 13

    As genital cutting has fallen in recent decades in the US, the pro-cutting camp is increasingly desperate to maintain its revenue stream, a lucrative one after all, and is now exploiting vulnerable foreign markets in the third world like any business, such as cigarette manufactures to name one example.

    Genital cutting has no medical efficacy, full stop. It is purely a cosmetic procedure culturally entrenched in the US. All one needs to do is look at demographic data comparing different populations of men, cut and uncut, to reveal that there is no health benefit.

    Ronald Goldman wins this debate hands down by acknowledging the value of the foreskin, being sensitive to the emotional and psychological harm and trauma many men suffer, recognizing the neurological impacts on the infant brain and maintaining a moderate tone throughout.

  40. #42 ciderpunx 26 Feb 13

    Hey folks,

    I am one of the techs here at New Internationalist.

    Couple of things. You can now say penis in the comments on this thread.

    If you are struggling with the captcha, set yourself up an account at
    http://newint.org/cgi-bin/new.comments.pl?article_key=/sections/argument/2013/03/01/male-circumcision-argument/index.html&action=register_profile

    There is a captcha on there, but once you get past that and log in you wont see any more. We are looking into various other spam fighting options, but we've not found anything that works as well I'm afraid.

  41. #43 Aaron 26 Feb 13

    Richard, you are so very very wrong. I doubt anyone can change your mind, it seems you are impervious to logic and facts. I hope you never touch another infant as long as you live.

  42. #44 Alan Shulman 26 Feb 13

    The arguments Mr. Wamai presents are in large measure spurious. That women might prefer a circumcised penis' appearance must surely be a statement of shifting fashion if it is anything at all, and certainly not a reason to consider whether circumcision is appropriate.

    That humans over the ages have performed circumcisions on their male babies is also no real argument. Humans have engaged in other forms of genital mutilation, in slavery, in torture, in genocides - all justified at one time or another, as humans are wont to do, in the name of identity or ideology.

    I made the decision, despite my upbringing in a conservative Jewish household, to avoid having my son circumcised several years after I attended this procedure being performed on a nephew. His piercing cries registered with me at a very deep level. I swore to myself then that, should I ever have a male child, it would be his decision to choose circumcision, not mine. He is now well into his thirties, has avoided any infections or sexually transmitted diseases; I taught him early on how to care for his uncircumcised penis - it was not difficult. He now has three sons, none of whom are circumcised. I see no significant shortcomings in their feelings of belonging.

  43. #47 don cintura 26 Feb 13

    Richard: ancient cultures have done far worse than genital cutting. The Carthaginians in their worship of Baal threw their firstborns into his ovens to insure their societies continued economic success. Would they have done this if they really thought it was harmful? Ignorance leads to much error and human sacrifice to gain favor with the gods is among it's most horrific forms.
    Ignorance. There is an elephant in the room. You have not explained how the lack of a foreskin impedes the entry of HIV into the mans body. What is that mechanism?
    But you do say that along with circumcision that condoms must correctly and universally employed. Why not cut out the circumcision then and just go directly to this efficacious and inexpensive method?
    Comments seen on the web by men circumcised as adults consistently say that sexual pleasure and sensation had been reduced by 3 or 4 times. What if your newly circumcised have the same experience and realize that, in addition, the condom is reducing their sensitivity even more? Might they not be strongly tempted not to use it at all? Especially if they thought that the circumcision alone was giving them a 60% reduced possibility of contracting HIV?
    And how would you keep an HIV positive circumcised male from seeking sexual partners who erroneously think that they are safe with a circumcised man?
    Elephants. Big elephants.
    Were I an African uncircumcised male I would just simply use a condom as usual and wait and see what develops with my fearless fellow citizens. Let them be first in providing the statistics.
    While waiting for the big elephant roundup I'll just keep my penis clean with a little soap and water and meditate on my foreskin as nature (or God) has provided me and all the other mammals in the world.
    The last thing in the world that I would want as a health professional would be to be associated with a totally sponsor paid social experiment that wound up as a failed neocolonial style public health boondoggle.
    Perhaps you are a believer. But so were the Carthaginians.

  44. #48 Michael Glass 26 Feb 13

    Arguments both for and against circumcision are both utterly predictable and almost always futile. They cover the same ground repeatedly, and important issues about circumcision are treated as debating points or completely overlooked.

    To get anywhere in this debate we need to look at issues where people with different opinions on circumcision have a chance to agree. Then we may be able to do something to reduce the harm done by unregulated circumcisions.

    The first thing is that not all circumcisions are equal. There is a vast difference between the medical circumcision of consenting adult men and forced circumcision of men, such as what happens in tribal or religious conflicts. I believe that the forced circumcision of a man should be treated as a sexual assault. This would effectively brand the assailant as a sexual offender and this would act as a powerful deterrent to these assaults.

    The second thing is to recognise that circumcision is a procedure that is totally dependent on the skill of the operator and always carries a risk of infection and excessive bleeding. The law should forbid people who do not have the proper training to carry out this procedure. Furthermore, regardless of training, the law should weed out incompetent operators.

    Thirdly, we need to take a stand against dangerous traditional practices. Whether it's dangerous tribal circumcisions or oral suction of the circumcision wound, these dangerous traditional practices must be discouraged.

    Finally, we need clear rules to deal with the circumcision of children. No child should be circumcised without a doctor's written assurance that the child is healthy, stable and free of any genital defects or bleeding disorders that would make the procedure inadvisable or dangerous. No child should be circumcised without the written permission of both parents. If one parent wants the child to be circumcised and the other does not, then the child should be the one to decide, when he is an adult.

    These rules won't solve all the problems connected with circumcision but at least they will help to reduce the harm of this common but controversial procedure.

  45. #49 Survey Programmer 26 Feb 13

    The U.S. medical community has never investigated the long-term adverse physical, sexual, psychological or emotional outcomes to men from having their genitals forcibly circumcised as children.

    The Global Survey of Circumcision Harm [www.CircumcisionHarm.org] is an initial attempt to qualify and quantify such adverse outcomes. The survey includes responses from 1,008 men who answered the questionnaire, and uploaded photos and video testimonies of their harm.

    Since the 1980s men have become better educated about their bodies, the important functions of the foreskin, and how to identify their circumcision harm. Since that time they've been speaking out for the human rights to genital integrity and genital autonomy of all children, girls and boys. Their voices will only grow louder and more numerous until even people like Richard Wamai accept what most of the world deems 'common sense' (i.e., not cutting the genitals of children).

  46. #50 Harry Meislahn 26 Feb 13

    Much recent pressure for infant circumcision comes from AIDS studies in Africa that purported to show through randomized controlled studies that circumcised males were less likely to get AIDS. These studies were terminated way early, supposedly because of overwhelming evidence, but, in fact, the males circumcised in the studies were very unlikely to have sexual intercourse during the period of the study because they were still in pain from their circumcisions. Sex isn't fun when you're in excruciating pain, and abstinence is the best AIDS preventative. Males in the not-circumcised group were under no sexual restrictions. This is an example of the kind of study bias which Dr. Goldman referred to. There have been many examples of cooked results over the long sorry history of pro-circumcision research.

    I once asked a physician at CDC who likes circumcision how he would account for the persistent, dramatic persistence of much higher AIDS/HIV (by WHO statistics) in the U.S., a heavily circumcised country, compared with European countries, where circumcision is uncommon. He had no rational answer.

    The late Dr. John R. Taylor published evidence years ago in the British Journal of Urology, which has stood unrefuted for many years, that the foreskin contains many thousands of Meissner-form sensory end organs. Stretching them produces a sexual reflex that is part of the normal process of erection and ejaculation. What else would they be for, located where they are?

    If you think circumcision is a minor procedure, watch and listen to a video of an infant circumcision. Decide for yourself. Bear in mind that the male foreskin and the cornea of the eye are the two most pain-sensitive parts of a male's body.

    Between my son, my grandfathers, my father and myself, we have accumulated more than 300 years of life with foreskins intact and no foreskin problems. Millions of other males could say the same. Almost all through life, genitally intact females have more problems of odor, inflammation, and infection than intact males. But no rational person recommends routine amputation of little girls' external genitalia.

  47. #51 Tom Tobin 26 Feb 13

    Richard, you are using the WHO buzzword MC. It doesn't change the reality. If man was meant to have half the skin of his genitals removed, wouldn't he be born that way? It is comical, that almost no one believes that female circumcision is a good thing, but when you bring up male circumcision, so many who drank the kool aid believe that it is justifiable, and beneficial.
    Let me ask you this. Why did the health of the Australians actually improve, in scientific studies, after they deeply reduced their circumcision rate? Do Europeans suffer, because they keep their foreskins? Ever ask a European about the value of their foreskins?
    It is hard to look at the WHO studies, and imagine that they are unbiased, after realizing that at least two of the authors of the three studies which showed such unbelievable benefits of circumcision, co-wrote books with the Australian scientist and former Gilgal Society and circlist (two circumcision fetishist organizations) member Brian Morris.
    Is there any other surgery you advocate, which is not recommended by the medical organization of any country?

  48. #52 Mickey 26 Feb 13

    Richard continues to promote the lies and propaganda of Morris, Wawer, Gray, Bailey etc. who blatantly make up 'evidence' to support their pro-circumcision bias. 50% of intact males do NOT develop any problems. That is pure garbage. And, yes, relations are better with an intact male compared to a circumcised one. All mammals can tell you that!

    The AAP did not do an exhaustive review of the literature. They cherry-picked and left out any evidence that did not support their pro-circ bias. Other medical associations around the world full of credible physicians disagree quite strongly with the conclusions of the AAP. The AAP policy is quite simply: hate speech against normality. Now that more than 1/2 the males in the U.S. are left intact, those in power are scared. They had best be very afraid of the backlash because the intact males I know are furious.

  49. #53 Tom Tobin 26 Feb 13

    forgot some medical studies published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health...

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21672947

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23374102

    still think that circumcision causes no damage?

  50. #54 Mickey 26 Feb 13

    If circumcision is so great and healthy, then why are 70-80% of the world's males intact? And quite healthy in fact. This attempt to circumcise the planet will go down as one of the world's greatest hoaxes of all time and worse than Tuskegee. U.S. taxpayers money is being spent to make Africans less healthy by circumcising them when the money could be used to make Americans and Africans more healthy by paying for necessary health care, healthy food, clean water, and the list goes on. A travesty of monumental proportions!

    And I love how Richard references Morris and his buds who make crap up!! Those of us who know the science are appalled by this attempt to push off bad science and bad ethics as Evidence-Based Medicine.

  51. #55 Mickey 26 Feb 13

    Please tell us, Richard, how much money you are making by your association with the pro-circumcision lobby?

    It is racist, biased hate speech against the intact p-enis and all intact males to continue promoting circumcision as cleaner, prettier, sexier, more appealing to women, healthier, etc.
    None of that is true. S-e-x is much more comfortable with an intact male. Circumcised males are mutilated males. Sorry but it is true. As a female, I do not prefer circumcised males. Intact males have some major differences and not just sexually.

    No mention is made of the obvious fact that much of the HIV in Africa is being spread through non-sexual means and through homosexuality, neither of which will be stunted by circumcision.This has been proven by studies in the U.S.: circumcision does not decrease HIV transmitted by MSM. Circumcision does not prevent HIV period! End of conversation.

    Have you ever personally witnessed an infant being circumcised? Anyone who is not profoundly affected by the screams and cries of these babies, has no soul or has built an extensive defense mechanism to shut out the horror of it.

  52. #56 Mickey 26 Feb 13

    Just wanted to add that I am Professor Mickey MD. Just saying.....

  53. #57 Dr Robert Darby 26 Feb 13

    What a silly question: the whole point of circumcision, both as a cultural ritual and as a c19th medical intervention, was to cause harm. In the first case it was a painful endurance ritual without which a boy could not progress to adult status; in the other it was intended as a means of discouraging juvenile sex play (masturbation). Dozens of quotes from advocates confirm this:

    http://www.circinfo.org/quote.html

    As to the sanction of time, compare slavery, an accepted institution in most cultures from ancient times until the 20th century. When in 1842 the British consul asked the Sultan of Morocco whether he was taking any measures to suppress the African slave trade, the Sultan replied that the trade was ’a matter on which all sects and nations have agreed from the time of Adam’, meaning that no further demonstration of its acceptability was needed. (Quoted in Seymour Drescher, Abolition: A History of Slavery and Anti-Slavery, 3-4) Circumcision of children is analogous to slavery because it denies autonomy and choice to the individual. In fact, on a world scale, very few cultures practised male circumcision, most of which were in north-east Africa and the Middle East, and most of which also practised female circumcision. Slavery was far more common.

  54. #58 eric 27 Feb 13

    Circumcision does incredible harm to some people.
    Google ’David Reimer’ to see what it can do........
    I know that circumcision damaged my sexual feeling and function....
    If it's wrong to circumcise female minors, it's equally wrong to force genital mutilation, called circumcision, on male minors. Males are supposed to have equal protection under the law.
    Circumcision is a fraud and a hoax.

    A foreskin is not a birth defect; it is a birthright.

  55. #59 Jay 27 Feb 13

    Richard completely lost the debate as soon as he said circumcision for men and infant boys is not harmful.

    It's estimated that 100 baby boys die each year in the US due to circumcision complications ('Lost Boys: An Estimate of U.S. Circumcision-Related Infant Deaths' D.Bollinger. Thymos Volume 4, Number 1 / Spring 2010)

    So... I guess it's a big relief that we can tell the parents of those ~100 boys that die each year that circumcision isn't harmful? Sure.

    What about ethics of circumcision? There is no liberty without a right to bodily integrity. There is no democracy without liberty.

  56. #60 Michael Dulin 27 Feb 13

    In spite of all the debate over the pros and cons of RIC the irrefutable fact remains that the victim does not give consent.
    What really warrants a study is how anyone, in this modern age, can defend a practice that is a clear violation of, not only human rights, but also medical ethics.
    The burning question remains; does anyone have the right to permanently alter the body of a non-consenting individual on the supposition that it will prevent a disease in the future? Personally, I don’t believe that anyone has the right to make that choice for a healthy child.
    Regarding the religious aspect of c*rcumcision; both the Jewish and Muslim cultures have made enormous contributions to civilization over the ages and I have nothing but the utmost respect for these faiths, however, I also believe that human right must supersede religious tradition.
    This bodes the question; does anyone have the right to impose body modification on children in order to support a belief system?
    Children are human beings too and they deserve our respect and protection until they are adults and can make their own choices.

  57. #61 Petite Poulet 27 Feb 13

    The justifications for infant circumcision are scraping the bottom of the barrel, demonstrating how desperate the circumcision proponents have become. This intervention is all about power and control over the weakest in our society. Attaching a financial motive to circumcise only feeds into this bizarre practice. The despair comes from the falling rates of circumcision in North America. It was realized that only by performing ethically and methodologically questionable studies in Africa could the practice be buoyed up in North America. Now that the quality of the African studies is coming to light, the AAP has released its report on male circumcision as a last-ditch attempt to preserve the revenue its members receive from the procedure. The gig is up. With a shift away from reliance on abstinence, be faithful, and condoms (ABC), which cut the HIV infection incidence in half, to a nationwide circumcision roll-out, Uganda is seeing an increase in HIV incidence. The circumcision solution is failing in Africa and will continue to fail. I would anticipate that the defenses for male circumcision will only become more shrill and emotional as the ’evidence’ supporting circumcision collapses and the human right aspects of the intervention gain traction. We have witnessed the beginning of the end.

  58. #62 Cor Bastinck 27 Feb 13

    It is so simpel: all arguments are non issues: adults do not have the right to cut any part of a child his body. They have to keep out with there fingers of a child his body. When the child is an adult, he can make the the decision himself or he wants circumcision or not.

  59. #63 tmp 27 Feb 13

    The AAP's case, isolated and opposed by other Western pediatric societies, is so weak that two of its own authors explicitly refrained from endorsing circumcision: Diekema [a href=’http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/27/science/benefits-of-circumcision-outweigh-risks-pediatric-group-says.html’]in the NYT, Freedman [a href=’http://www.thejewishweek.com/features/new-york-minute/fleshing-out-change-circumcision’]in TJW. Freedman also proudly noted to personally have religously circumcised his son on his parents' kitchen table.

    The WHO recommendation for circumcision is limited to high-risk HIV areas. Its current European Action Plan for HIV/AIDS contains not even a single mention of circumcision.

    Moreover, the bulk of HIV infections in the West are due to MSM (’gay sex’) — some 60 - 75 % — for which circumcision is useless. It's only argued to help against female-to-male, which is the least important sexual infection vector here.

    As Mark Lyndon's comment already mentions, most specialists regard the supposed 'health benefits' as irrelevant in the West, and thus no justification to force circumcision on children.

    A lot of this is due to the abysmal performance of the 'cut' US in regard to STDs: Despite all its circumcisions, the country actually performs worst among all industrialized nations (source: CDC NPIN, ’STD Prevention Today’). Its HIV infection rate for heterosexuals is 5.5 times worse than that of uncut Germany, for instance.

    Some numbers on new HIV infections:

    Germany 2012 (RKI Eckdaten der Schätzung): 3,400 in 81.9 million, ie. 41.5/M. 18.5% among heterosexuals, ie. 7.7/M. Less than 10% of all men circumcised.

    US 2009 (CDC HIV Infections 2006-2009): 48,100 in 307.0M, ie. 156.7/M. 27% among heterosexuals, ie. 42.3/M. More than 55 % circumcised.

    Kenya 2011 (UNAIDS report): 104,137 in 39.5M, ie. 2636.4/M. 77 % among heterosexuals, ie. 2030.0/M. More than 80 % circumcised.

    South Africa 2009 (UNAIDS report): 400,000 in 49.3M, ie. 8113.6/M. ~75 % among heterosexuals, ie. ~6000/M. About 35 % circumcised.

  60. #64 Grace 27 Feb 13

    Michael Glass, comment 48 - how is it that you conclude that the individual whose body is being subjected to circumcision should have no say in the matter, simply because his parents are in agreement? How is it that you conclude that an act which would be sexual assault when forced upon an adult is acceptable when forced upon a child? Your cowardice does nothing to protect children from this harm. It is simply that you are too weak to challenge the religious lobbies that force their members to undergo circumcision as infants. You would rather bow to the wishes of the parents than consider what the wishes of that individual boy will one day be.

    The boy's parents will wipe his penis a few times a day when he's an infant, then will have nothing more to do with his penis for his entire life.

    On the other hand, the boy will urinate with, and wash, his penis every day for the rest of his life. He will masturbate with that penis, he will have sex with that penis.

    What makes his parents qualified to make decisions that will so strongly affect such an intimate part of his life? Should that not be his decision, and no-one else's?

    Once again, there are two sides to this - guarantee what the boy's parents want, or guarantee what the boy wants for himself. Why would you choose to do anything other than guarantee that the boy gets to have the circumcision status that he is happy with?

  61. #65 Hugh7 01 Mar 13

    I'm still waiting to hear from Stilla Phallus what the valid points are in favour of non-therapeutic infant circumcision. He let himself be sidetracked by one word, and he's never come back. Yes, opponents, especially circumcised men, are angry, and so they use angry words, but circumcision advocates never answer their valid arguments. Cutting a healthy part off a child's genitals off is NOT just another ’decision parents have to make for their children’ like feeding them spinach. Babies may forget the pain (and even that is now being challenged), but they have to live with all the other effects, whatever they may be, for the rest of their lives. Circumcision is NOT ’just a snip’ but a serious operation that happens to be on a very small part, with real risks, up to and including death. The issues are not actually complex. Most of the world gets along very well without cutting parts off babies. Circumcision advocates address these very real issues very badly, when they do so at all.

  62. #66 Timmy 03 Mar 13

    Infants are ultimately the new products of this earth, born into all of it's creative process and of being one with the environment.
    The idea of imposing one's will onto such innocence is corrupted logic. If a man wants to be circumcised then it is his lone decision. Nuff said.

  63. #67 Henry 05 Mar 13

    I think the Filipino way of cicumscision is preferable. It does remove any foreskin. It just makes a slit on thr dorsal part of the foreskin, thus foreskin does ligate the glans penis during erection. Many uncircumcised men experience pain during because of tight foreskin. The foreskin can loosen if it is pulled back regularly pulled drunring musterbation. Those who don't suufer some sort painful ligation.

  64. #68 Grace 05 Mar 13

    Henry, comment 67 - If an adult man finds he has difficulty with an erection, he can opt to have any number of treatments, from simple stretching to a dorsal slit to circumcision.

    The argument that some men at some point in their lives have foreskin difficulties is no support at all for the case made by those who wish to inflict this potentially disastrous surgery onto the non-consenting.

    The only way to preserve a man's right to choose what happens to his body is to leave infant males intact.

  65. #69 DrWLWG 09 Mar 13

    I have to point out that Dr.Wamai opened his argument with an utterly false statement. He claims that ’for thousands of years’ cultures have ’removed a piece of skin that wraps around the penis’.

    Yes, the term circumcision has been around for thousands of years. Yes, it has always involved taking a sharp object to the genitals.

    That is where the similarities between ’modern’ circumcision and that talked about in the Bible end.

    Biblical (if you will) circumcision involved removing a small amount of the foreskin just the part that extended past the tip of the penis.

    Today, doctors rip the foreskin off the glans, to which it's fused like your nail is fused to your finger, and cut it off where it's attached along the penile shaft.

    Not the same thing at all.

  66. #70 Michael Glass 09 Mar 13

    Grace, in response to your comment (number 64) I think you have to distinguish between what is possible and what is beyond reach. Because a billion Muslims and over 10 million Jews insist on circumcision there is no prospect of banning infant circumcision any time soon. However, it just might be possible to brand the forced circumcision of adult men as a sexual assault.

    You say it is cowardice not to take on the religious forces in favour of infant or childhood circumcision. I say that an insistence that circumcisers must be properly qualified and that incompetent operators must be weeded out has a greater chance of success than taking on two powerful religions.

    I understand your principled stand against all juvenile circumcisions. However, I believe that working for more achievable goals could have a greater chance of success.

  67. #71 roger desmoulins 10 Mar 13

    Wamai: ’Simply making a statement does not make it true, no matter how ‘believable’ it might sound.’ Ironically, a good example of what Wamai objects to is his own statement as follows: ’The answer is, of course, that male circumcision (MC) does no harm.’

    RIC ’appears’ to do no harm, because American investigators have yet to look for the harm. We don't know how many North American boys die because of circumcision, and dishonest coding of death certificates may make this question a very difficult one to answer. We do not know the number of circumcisions that go seriously wrong but do not kill (case in point: a lawsuit recently filed in Queens, resulting from a botched bris). We do not know the number of adult males who have damaged adult penises because of their RICs. How many men had too much cut off? Have a lot of scar tissue?

    We do not know if circumcision encourages or discourages condom use. We do not know if there is a correlation between PE/ED and RIC. We do not know if RIC makes these conditions manifest themselves earlier in the life cycle. We do not know for sure how the circumcised penis ages in comparison to the intact penis. We do not know if circumcision exacerbates vaginismus. If one has reservations about the work of O'Hara & O'Hara, as I do, we know little about what women who've been intimate with both kinds of men prefer and why.

    There is ample internet anecdotal evidence of all these circumcision problems. Moreover, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The ethical response to this lack of knowledge of the possible adverse effects of circumcision on adult sexual pleasure and functionality should be to cease RIC immediately, until the issues I raise in this comment have all been clearly laid to rest. Finally, it is unacceptably patronising to dismiss as ’emotional’ the issues raised by intactivists. For starters, science itself is not free of emotion, cultural loyalties, and urban myths. The way to deal with such biases is not by denying that they exist, but by a free market in ideas.

  68. #72 roger desmoulins 10 Mar 13

    ’The benefits [of circumcision] include protection against a horde of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.’
    ME. Then why are all STD more common (per 100,000 population) in the USA than in Europe and Japan? Why does Israel have high STD rates?

    ’...a circumcised penis has been found to improve sexual function, sensation and satisfaction,’
    ME. Unproved and unprovable. We have no way of quantifying sensation and satisfaction across intact and cut male subjects.

    ’...to be more appealing to women both cosmetically and for hygiene reasons...’
    ME. This should not decide the fate of a man's foreskin at birth, just as men's preferences for breast should not decide whether a teenage girl gets implants or not. Moreover, how women think about this is very culture dependent. Most European women do not prefer cut. Many American women who say they prefer cut have never had a long term relationship with an intact man. Many American women who've been with both have revealed in social media that they prefer intact.

    ’...and, when done purely for religious or cultural reasons, it promotes a sense of identity and belonging.’
    ME. Religious and cultural reasons have nothing to do with the circumcisions performed daily in USA maternity wards. I also insist that I should have a say in what religions and cultures I affiliate with, and how that affiliation is to be expressed. I believe that a Jewish or Moslem male has the right to remain intact if he prefers. Parents should not pre-empt this decision. I find it most curious to place one's sense of identity in the most private and sexual part of the male body, the tip of the penis. The only people who see that part of my body are my doctor, twice a decade say, and my wife.

  69. #73 roger desmoulins 10 Mar 13

    The site circinfo.net cited by Wamai as an unbiased medical reference, is owned and edited by Brian Morris. Be warned. Wamai and Morris have coauthored several articles. Be further warned.

    Having a PhD or a medical degree, and a tenured position in a reputable university, does not mean that the person in question has a mind free of prejudice, of urban myths, of mythical beliefs about what is sexually ’desirable’ and ’appropriate.’

    Having grown up intact in the USA a half century ago, I can assure all of you that in many walks of American life, the natural penis was despised and misunderstood. A man with foreskin was seen as unclean, as having parents oblivious to sexual etiquette, as socioeconomically deficient. Tens of millions of American boys were circumcised simply because their parents feared that an intact son would be bullied and ridiculed by other boys, would face rejection by the women he tried to date.

    In this respect, the only difference between my foreskin and the skin that covers all of Wamai's body, is that he cannot hide his beautiful brown colour. By being careful in locker rooms, none of my mates was ever the wiser about my having a Weird Dick. Wamai rightly benefits from three centuries of enlightened thinking regarding negritude. On the other hand, the male foreskin is still struggling against a 100 years of entrenched prejudice among the American upper middle class, and millenia of supposedly theological prejudice in Jewish and Islamic cultures.

    Anyone arguing that Wamai should evade any racial disabilities he faces by lightening his skin would be rightly deemed completely beyond the pale of decency. I submit that intact men deserve the same consideration. They should never be pressured to give up part of their natural bodies. If a man takes a daily shower and has a responsible sex life, his foreskin is medically harmless, and is very likely to enhance his sexual pleasure and functionality. An adult man is free to disagree with me here, insofar as his own penis is concerned. But parents should not impose their disagreement on the bodies of their minor sons.

  70. #74 Bronwyn 12 Mar 13

    Anyone that quotes circinfo.net is a complete idiot! It's a circumfetishist site which is blatantly all about getting off on circ stories!!!! Good god Richard, don't you research your sources????

  71. #75 Sam 12 Mar 13

    However much pseudo science is spouted, it will take a very clear description of the physiological mechanics to persuade me that a glans continually rubbed against clothing can be MORE sensitive than one protected by a foreskin, and if that is the case, how do circumcised men bear it ?

    Even if the research Richard Wamai relies on (and mis-reports to favour his argument) hadn't been clearly shown to be dubious at best, and more likely just wrong, it would still just be a minority of research, which shows a possible reduction in HIV transmission between non-condom using heterosexual couples.

    None of this emphasis on non-transmission of STDs has any relevance to boys before they become sexually active, and thus quite old enough to decide for themselves (assuming they are not being abused in other ways).

    Removal of the foreskin in infancy is done BECAUSE advocates know it will be much harder (and more obvious)to coerce young men.
    To do something to a child because you know they will not let you when they are older is inherently abuse,
    I agree with #48 Michael Glass, that socially stigmatising and legally protecting against forced adult circumcision is a good, and easily agreed, starting point, but only so that it can be quickly extended to infants.

  72. #76 Louis 13 Mar 13

    People! People!
    Let's just go on Wikipedia (because I know a lot of people are going there, to learn about stuff...) and fix that damn page about circumcision!
    ... The current one is so flawed...

    For me, I'm not as ressourced as some of the people who have commented... And it is not a One-man job.

  73. #77 John Z 18 Mar 13

    It is truly sad that anti-circumcision fanatics don't believe
    the overwhelming high quality scientific evidence showing
    the health benefits of circumcision.

    They would rather see people suffer and die than be circumcised.

  74. #78 Michael Glass 19 Mar 13

    Sam, in comment 75 said:

    ’I agree with #48 Michael Glass, that socially stigmatising and legally protecting against forced adult circumcision is a good, and easily agreed, starting point, but only so that it can be quickly extended to infants.’

    While I welcome Sam's support for socially stigmatising and legally protecting adult men against forced circumcision, this would be a worthwhile reform by itself.

    It would also be worthwhile to ensure the following:

    *That unqualified operators are banned from performing circumcisions.
    *That incompetent operators are banned from performing circumcisions.
    *That before any circumcision takes place, that an independent medical doctor must agree that the person to be circumcised is strong enough to withstand the surgery, and that the person to be circumcised is free from any conditions (e.g., haemophilia, genital anomalies) that make the procedure inadvisable.
    *That both parents must agree in writing before a child is circumcised.

    These changes won't stop circumcision but they will help to ensure that a boy cannot be circumcised against the wishes of one of his parents. If a circumcision takes place, such changes would help to prevent catastrophic outcomes.

  75. #79 John Z 21 Mar 13

    I think the AAP has done a good job responding to all of the
    anti-circumcision arguments:

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/03/12/peds.2013-0081.full.pdf+html

  76. #80 N D Robey 23 Mar 13

    The researcher Dr. Robert Bailey, that did the African studies never went to medical school and has no medical training. His doctorate is in anthropology. In the studies, he told the circumcised group not to engage in sex, and if they did, to use a condom. The uncircumcised group was told to have sex often, and not to use a condom. Guess which group got HIV infections 40% more often? Dr. Bailey then used these falsified and fraudulant studies to convince WHO, AARP and CDC to recommend circumcision.

  77. #81 philip 23 Mar 13

    Dear Folks
    To say that circumcision, a pagan offering to the gods is not harmful is pure fantasy, its meant to be, the most brutal lifelong mutilation of the genitals and the subconscious, and I know because I am 63 and suffered P T S D all that time. To see a circumcision done puts the practitioner in a special bracket of child sexual molester, how anyone can withstand the screaming of one poor baby losing his most sensitive skin on his body beggars me but to do it to the second and subsequent babies must surely put the doctor or priest in a special category of torturer that even Hitler would object. Any way most people who argue for the satanic practise or against fail to use the, what I see as the linchpin to all argument, and that is surely the issue of consent, bottom line NO FURTHER ARGUMENT. No one has the right to touch anyone else’s genitals not priests not other persons not even parents except for the obvious cleaning and washing not child molester not doctors (how many foreskins present an immediate threat to life). My beautiful foreskin was forcibly taken from me and tossed aside like a bit of rubbish to rot and with it my whole sexlife. People who advocate circumcision are mentally sick...........

  78. #82 Erminaz 28 Mar 13

    In response to the ’pagan’ comment:

    You're going to have to specify what kind of pagan we're talking about here. Here, let me help you narrow down the list by mentioning all the pagans who never practiced male genital cutting and likely would have been disgusted by the concept:

    Germanic pagans
    Celtic pagans
    Iberian pagans
    Italic & Roman pagans
    Greek pagans
    Finnish pagans
    Ugric pagans
    Steppe pagans
    Slavic pagans
    Pagans of the Americas
    Persian pagans
    Many African pagans
    Asian pagans
    etc.

    So that leaves Egyptian, Semitic, some African, and (IIRC) Australian aborigine pagans.

    Male genital cutting is NOT a pagan practice. It is not a sacrifice to Odin, Zeus, Pelor, or the majority of gods of our ancestors (laughable to think such a thing would be fit to respect the gods; as an example: the Germanic gods rewarded honour, something that cannot be found by cutting up your defenceless children). It's from the Mid-East/parts of Africa and Australia, nowhere else.

  79. #83 Michael Glass 28 Mar 13

    In comment 80, N.D. Robey said:

    ’The researcher Dr. Robert Bailey... told the circumcised group not to engage in sex, and if they did, to use a condom. The uncircumcised group was told to have sex often, and not to use a condom. Guess which group got HIV infections 40% more often? Dr. Bailey then used these falsified and fraudulant studies to convince WHO, AARP and CDC to recommend circumcision.’

    Where is his evidence to back up this claim?

  80. #84 Luke 24 May 13

    ’... a circumcised penis has been found to ... be more appealing to women both cosmetically and for hygiene reasons’... this reason is enough to make the circumcision mandatory for every adult male.

  81. #85 Anon 27 May 13

    Richard is wrong in every single way. Male circumcision is useful for people whose lifestyle involves spending several days (even months) in environments where water is too rare to be used for bathing, like a desert, but other than that, there is no reason that male circumcision should be a thing. It's actually an outright lie that circumcision will prevent STDs, if you stick your penis in an infected hole it doesn't matter if you have a foreskin or not, it matters if you have a condom on or not.

  82. #86 Hugh7 29 May 13

    To Michael Glass, comment #80:
    I don't know where N D Robey got his information about Bailey either, but the Trinidad Express of
    August 20, 2007 says:

    ’Bailey admitted that the studies in South Africa, Uganda and Kenya found an increase in the number [of] sexual encounters, less consistent condom use and an increase in unprotected sex respectively among the circumcised. But he said that with repeated study visits and intensive behavioural counselling there were eventually reductions in risk behaviours.’

    And who would get the repeated study visits and intensive behavioural counselling, but the men thought most likely to need them, the circumcised experimental group?

    Luke, comment #84:
    The only study claiming to find that women prefer circumcised men was of 145 Iowa mothers of sons, most of whom had no experience with intact men. At least one was not invited to take part until she had expressed a preference for circumcision (which she has since renounced), so the study can be dismissed as rigged.

  83. #87 Heather Annastasia Siladi 09 Jun 13

    I'm confused about the references to the AAP here. The AAP's official stance on infant circumcision is that it neither endorses or rejects the practice. The AAP's change in position (they recommended infant circumcision until the late 1990's) has caused a massive decline in infant circumcisions in the United States. Only 50% of boys born in the US today are circumcised, and the percentage is decreasing every year. Basically, once the AAP stopped advocating for infant circumcision, insurance companies stopped covering the procedure, and now that parents have to pay for it out of pocket, they are more likely to say, ’wait... why are we doing this?’ Once people stop and actually think about circumcising a newborn, they stop doing it.

  84. #88 Heather Annastasia Siladi 09 Jun 13

    I'm confused about the references to the AAP here. The AAP's official stance on infant circumcision is that it neither endorses or rejects the practice. The AAP's change in position (they recommended infant circumcision until the late 1990's) has caused a massive decline in infant circumcisions in the United States. Only 50% of boys born in the US today are circumcised, and the percentage is decreasing every year. Basically, once the AAP stopped advocating for infant circumcision, insurance companies stopped covering the procedure, and now that parents have to pay for it out of pocket, they are more likely to say, ’wait... why are we doing this?’ Once people stop and actually think about circumcising a newborn, they stop doing it.

  85. #89 Ron Low 17 Jun 13

    Because ’so many cultures’ do something is no reason to keep doing something, especially when ’many’ cultures don't.

    Circumcision has never been practiced by more than 30%. About 2/3 of all cut males are Muslim. Excluding Muslims, over 95% of human families do not circumcise children.

    Tradition was not sufficient reason to leave female genital cutting legal and it is no reason to leave male genital cutting legal. Every human has a right to make an informed decision about his/her own body at a rational age.

  86. #90 DarkLady 30 Aug 13

    It's seems kind of obvious that Ronald is angry with his Mommy for removing his precious foreskin, and thereby depriving him some of male ego. WHY are men so uptight about there genitals? It never fails to amaze me that males consider themselves superior because during their 8th month of development in the womb they formed a penis and a pair of testicles! They forget that until that 8th month they were ALL as female as I am. Sexual identity the the very LAST thing that a fetus develops.

  87. #91 ismael 10 Oct 13

    1/5 Benefits of circumcision in islam and judaism la circoncision
    goo.gl
    /0HNoyz

    +++++++++++++++++
    2/5 Benefits of Circumcision in Islam and Judaism la Circoncision
    goo.gl
    /f8LT8T
    ++++++++++++++
    3/5 Benefits of Circumcision in Islam and Judaism la Circoncision
    http://goo.gl/E9BdsK

  88. #92 Richard Dey 29 Jan 14

    The circumcision question is answered simply by determining whose penis it is. Is it the father's? No. Is it the mother's? (She'd like!) Is it the religion's? No. Does my penis belong to the art world? To doctors? To the local butcher? Then leave it alone. And leave me alone to campaign for having mandatory glossectomies done on female on the 8th day of birth. It would half the number of screaming infants in the world. I knew a single woman who had her infant (her penis) circumcised when she was told that it was covered by insurance. That's a ’decion’? It's just brutal child-molestation -- and when the circumciser sucks on an 8-day-old's penis, it's not a minor sex crime; it's sex on a minor. No wonder prudes don't want to see penes in public; they've had them mutilated! By the way, women will be glad their glossectomies were done when they were infants. Having your tongue cut out is practically painless before you can give consent -- and, afterwards, you can't anyway! Too late. Let's face. Circumcision is child-molestation leaving permanent damage. I was done late; Circumcisers are child-molesters. They should be put in prison -- along with the rest of Massachusetts' ’Great and General Court’.

  89. #93 Frederick Rhodes 18 Feb 14

    Richard Wamai was forced to state lies as truth to justify his superstitious faith based beliefs about prepuce excision and cannot even bring himself to use the correct words for describing the natural state of being intact males. Here in the US where it is a circumcision society, which contains the largest group of Intactivists world wide, Richard lies when he states ’Despite the solidity of evidence on its benefits, opposition to MC by groups or individuals in non-circumcising societies remains.’

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Get our free fortnightly eNews

Multimedia

Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Argument

All Argument

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 460

New Internationalist Magazine issue 460
Issue 460

More articles from this issue

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.

Subscribe