[If you do not see a blue menu bar on the right, click here.
You are at "History: Non-Religious Beginnings & Old Medical Quotes".]

Circumcision began non-religiously as an attempt to cure masturbation, along with the innumerable ills which this was thought to cause. In the Victorian Era, both purity of the body and purity of the mind were the social ideal. Many of the early medical quotes on this subject revolve around punishment for masturbation or any non-reproductive sexual intercourse. Various surgical and chemical attempts were made to the genitals of both sexes to deaden their feeling and/or make any kind of sexual activity not pleasurable at all.

"Clarence B. was addicted to the secret vise practiced among boys. I performed an orificial operation, consisting of circumcision...He needed rightful punishment of cutting pains after his illicit pleasures," says N. Bergman in his Journal of Orificial Surgery of 1898. (See links below for this and other quotes.)

Circumcision was actually a last resort in this endevour. Earlier attempts to stop masturbation included applying burning liquids to the genitals of both sexes, chastity belts with spikes, belts with cages for the genitals, and suturing or sewing the foreskin together "to prevent erections". (That last one would make the foreskin immobile, but wouldn't prevent erections, actually.) Circumcision took away the "gliding" of the foreskin over the glans, or penile head. [See the "Anatomy" section in the blue menu bar.] It also exposed the head, exposing it to abrasion and drying it out. This, they knew, reduces its sensitivity and claimed that this reduced sensitivity, combined with the pain of the operation would deter even the most determined of children from masturbating. (See the "Anatomy" section in the blue menu bar.) They knew what they were taking away back then, yet today people still claim "there is no difference between the circumcised penis and the 'uncircumcised'."

Illustrated History of Circumcision

"There can be no doubt of [masturbation's] injurous effect, and of the proneness to practice it on the part of children with defective brains. Circumcision should always be practiced. It may be necessary to make the genitals so sore by blistering fluids that pain results from attempts to rub the parts." -- Angel Money. Treatment of Disease In Children.Philidelphia: P. Blakiston, 1887. p.421

For information about issues relating to Jewish circumcision, click here.

There is also a video "About The 8th Day" available to purchase (along with its website link) linked to near the bottom of the video page here.

"MILLIONS of Jews were MURDERED during the Holocaust because circumcision marked them as Jews! This must NEVER happen again! EVERYONE should be circumcised!"

Pediatrician's wife, American Academy of Pediatrics Annual Conference, Hyatt-Regency Hotel, Chicago, April 14, 1996

[The pediatrician she spat this out to and a nurse who heard her (both of whom asked to remain anonymous) told me this in two separate conversations. The nurse said there were not enough exclamations points in the universe to convey the ferocity this woman displayed.] --John A. Erickson

Click on any link to get quotes from that decade.
[Note that I am missing the 1950's still. I'm working on it!]

Quotes from 1860 - 1869. Quotes from 1920 - 1929.
Quotes from 1870 - 1879. Quotes from 1930 - 1939.
Quotes from 1880 - 1889. Quotes from 1940 - 1949.
Quotes from 1890 - 1899. Quotes from 1960 - 1969.
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Quotes from 1910 - 1919. Quotes from 1980 - 1989.
Quotes from 1990 - 1998.