The Foreskin is a Birth Defect and Diseased"

These are current publications by doctors on why circumcision is necessary. What is different between these, and those from 100 years ago? [Especially see the quote from 1896 on the Quotes page.] How might they read to someone who knows nothing about the natural penis at all? As I typed this out, I noticed the large use of the words "might" and "may" and "could"...

Here is a list of reasons for circumcision, sent to me in August 1998 by Gerald N. Weiss, in response to my question, "Why should I get my son circumcised?" I see this as a general picture of the beliefs of those who advocate circumcision.

"Therapeutic [healing/making well; there is nothing "unwell" about the natural foreskin.]

Phimosis [unretractable foreskin; this is normal up until age 18]

Paraphimosis [the foreskin gets stuck behind the glans; PREVENTION: Teach adults to "leave the foreskin alone". Age appropriate materials exist to teach children not to prematurely retract prepuce beyond what is comfortable. TREATMENT: Compress glans with fingers, slip foreskin forward. Hyaluronidase also reduces swelling.]

Balanoposthitis [inflamation of the glans and the foreskin; PREVENTION: Avoid exposure to soiled diapers, bubble baths, soap on genitals/in clothing, chlorinated water; eat yogurt to replenish microbial flora after antibiotic therapy; drink water to reduce uric acid concentration. TREATMENT: Use of topical antibiotics or effective herbal remedies.]

Stenosed Foreskin Prophylactic [Again, circumcision does not PREVENT anything!]

Phimosis [he listed this one already]

Paraphimosis [he listed this one already, too]

Recurrent balantis [reddened foreskin; usually due to exposure to chemicals in baby wipes, or laundry detergent on underwear, or bubble bath. Solution: rinse clothes well, don't use baby wipes on penis]

Dyspareunia (short frenulum)[This is very rare. A dorsal slit may fix this.]

Herpes transmission [The foreskin does not cause STDs; anyone can catch them; see STDs page. PREVENTION: Encourage safer sex behaviors (avoid sex with infected partners, limit number of sexual partners if status is unknown, use condoms; practice good genital hygiene; limit/avoid smoking.]

Balantis [reddened foreskin; listed this one already; PREVENTION: Avoid exposure to soiled diapers, bubble baths, soap on genitals/in clothing, chlorinated water; eat yogurt to replenish microbial flora after antibiotic therapy; drink water to reduce uric acid concentration. TREATMENT: Use of topical antibiotics or effective herbal remedies.],

Balanoposthitis [That is in the list above, too.]

Carcinoma of the penis [male breast cancer is occurs more often than penile cancer]

Carcinoma of the cervix in females [Its been proven that cancer of the cervix is caused by the HPV virus and a history of early sexual activity]

Ease of cleanliness [there is no difference in cleaning circumcised or non-circumcised penises. PREVENTION: No special hygienic intervention is warranted in children. In adults, smegma is a sexual emollient and hygiene for both sexes is best accomplished with plain water (and soap if tolerated).]

Avoid transmission of diseases to partner (yeast, fungal, bacterial, protozoal, cancer, etc.) [STDs are passed equally back and forth between both partners; using condoms while each is treated is the solution. PREVENTION: Encourage safer sex behaviors (avoid sex with infected partners, limit number of sexual partners if status is known, use condoms; practice good genital hygiene; limit/avoid smoking.]

Psychologic trauma of late surgery [not to mention the trauma of the newborn being circumcised who does NOT get pain relief]

Sexual 'soundness' (reduced premature ejaculation, reduced masturbation, reduced enuresis)[No one has thought that circumcision reduces masturbation since the turn of the century! No modern respected medical association, anyway.. Enuresis is bedwetting, and that, too, is a "cure" from the 1800's. Circumcised men have been found to masturbate more than intact men. Premature ejaculation has nothing to do with whether a man has a foreskin or not; men circumcised as adults have said that, in fact, they couldn't "last as long" since they'd been circumcised.]

Cost savings (increases in older male and adults)[This implies that it will "have to be done anyway". Only about 2% of men outside of America, where circumcision is NOT the norm, eventually get circumcised.]

Social reasons ("everyone else")[I don't know about you, but if someone else jumped of a bridge...?]

Spiritual reasons (a 'covenant'). [This is true for Moslems and Jews, no one else; even at that, many of them are now choosing to forego the circumcision ceremony.]"

Dr. Weiss further included a pamphlet that he wrote on the subject, which included several references in the bibliography from the 1880's, 1890's, and early 1900's. Here are a few quotes from this, which were his answer to why parents should have a healthy, natural part of the body cut off by subjecting their newborn son to circumcision:

"For millennia the male's prepupital cavity has acted as a cesspool for infectious agents transmitting diseases, although amenable to prophylactic surgery-- i.e. neonatal circumcision, the most frequently performed surgery in childhood." [Nice wording. What mother would want her son called "a cesspool for disease"?]

"There was an evolutionary time when the prepuce had a purpose. Now, even the function as a protective covering in primitive man is unnecessary. The prepuce has the become a functionless vestigal tissue in the human male." [See the Penile Anatomy section of this site.]

"The surgical risk in the infant is minimal with little, if any, pain, since the pain fiber tracts are not yet fully develped." [See the "Pain" page of this site.]

"The advent of the zipper has further created the possibility of traumatic injury to this redundant appendage. A circumcised child has no foreskin scare or care problems." [Circumcised boys can get their penises caught in their zippers, too. TREATMENT: Cut bottom of zipper; open upward. A circumcised child HAD a very real foreskin scare problem: getting circumcised in the first place! Without a foreskin, sure, he has no care, period. However, circumcised boys must have their foreskin remnants pulled back and cleaned under every day. The intact boy does not have to do this (and cannot do) until puberty.]

"However, in the uncircumcised, the debris accumulation and offensive odors also affect aesthetic sensibilities. In the adult it may be necessary to clean the area several times a day which leads to excessive penile attention and manipulation." ["Debris"? It would take a long time for smegma to build up to that point. Men are known for not washing, but this is rediculous. Men wash, usually, once a day, just as women do. And if they want to "excessively manipulate" their penises, they can have at it, as far as I'm concerned.]

"Ease of cleanliness can make life smoother for the mother and the circumcised child rather than the confusion of 'leave it alone', 'clean under it', 'pull it back sometimes', or 'irrigate occasionally'." [The intact penis requires the same cleaning as a circumcised penis. In fact, a circumcised penis needs a week of bandage changing and fear of infection from the open wound made by circumcision. There is no confusion: "Leave it alone" is the answer. Teach your son to retract and rinse with plain water in the bath once it has retracted on its own.]

Excerpts from the pamphlet "Circumcision: A Guide to a Decision", put out by Dr. John Smith (a pseudonym), Edited and revised by Geoffrey Francis. [Like Dr. Weiss's pamphlets, this is also currently being passed out to many expecting parents.]

"Phimosis also makes sexual intercourse unsatisfactory and low deposition of semen in the vagina due to poor penetration may cause infertility." [Phimosis is treatable and not common. If he cannot sexually "perform" with a true problem with his penis, then who can't understand that? I should think a man would get his penis seen to before making plans to conceive; even then, there are usually more than one cycle in which to try to conceieve. True infertility affects about 15% of the population.]

"It is not generally known that the tendency to penis troubles is inherited so if a man has trouble with his prepuce or frenulum he should seriously consider having his sons circumcised at birth as a preventative measure." [That's probably becuase it isn't so. While foreskin length is generally an inherited trait, problems are not inherited. That's a matter of proper hygiene and care.]

"Merchant seamen, particularly engine-room staff, are also at risk and although circumcision is not a condition of employment it is a sensible precaution and advised by some firms. Whilst one cannot predict that anyone will have trouble abroad or at sea, it is probably better to lose a normal prepuce at a suitable time under optimum conditions in the U.K. than find that the operation has become necessary when conditions are primative, the time is inconvenient, the foreskin is inflamed and medical aid is not readily available." [In other words, incase you're up to your waste in filth one time, maybe, at some point in your average-70-years of life, you should cut off part of your body to avoid possible infection. I've had eye infections fairly often in my life; maybe my eyelids need cut off... ]

"Chefs and other kitchen workers are a further example of those at risk-- with the added complication that food hygiene can be compromised if one is constantly rubbing at the irritated foreskin." [That is one of the most creative things I've read about the foreskin. I'm thinking Benegin's... If someone is going to "constantly rub" at his foreskin, I should hope he's smart enough to at least go to the bathroom at work. What about those "Employee's: Wash You Hands" signs? At any rate, this implies that intact men "itch" all the time. This isn't so, unless maybe they haven't bathed in a month. Women "itch" too. There goes the restaurant industry!]

"A long prepuce may be an anotomical cause of premature or early ejaculation." Might be... [Might be that Mars is green, too, but I doubt it. Maybe all the intact men in europe have awful sex lives from ejaculating too early?]

The troubles which may be associated with a rather long foreskin suggest that it is a redundant or unwanted piece of skin and it would be better to complete the development process by shortening it surgically." [Which "development process" is this? The foreskin makes up on average 50% of the skin on the penis. What skin does the circumcised penis have when it gets bigger during erection? The same skin it has when flacid; this s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s the skin tight. Ow... ]

"Having shown that a tight prepuce is a definite indication for circumcision [a non-retractable foreskin is normal in infancy; true phimosis cannot be diagnosed until age 18.], one would expect that a rather loose one would be an advantage. A loose, short foreskin usually causes no trouble during sexual intercourse but it may ride to-and-fro during everyday activities trapping pubic hairs. A long, loose foreskin may be a nuisance if it will not remain retracted a sa collar behind the glans during sexual intercourse tends to slip forward re-covering the glans. The man virtually masturbates inside his foreskin during intercourse and his partner complains of lack of stimulation." [That's an interesting statement, but it is not true. The foreskin adds to the woman's sexual experience. Think "ribbed for her pleasure".]

"Circumcision renders the penis permanantly clean and avoids the washing and inspection which may draw innecessary attention to his penis at an early age." [Clean, huh? So circumcised men never have to wash their penises... They avoid washing their penises so they don't inadvertantly get an erection; God forbid!]

"The glans without its masking foreskin tends to produce a more prominant buldge in tight clothing which some females find sexually stimulating." ["Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"]

"Whilst there is no exact relationship between stature and the size of the penis, there is a general tendency for the shorter man to have a smaller penis." [And this has to do with the intact penis in which way?]

"The importance of penis size as a factor in sexual adequacy has been exaggerated but it must be apparent that to give the same amount of stimulation the man with a short penis must insert a greater proportion of his organ than his better endowed neighbor. A limiting factor in penetration is how far a prepuce can be drawn back without causing discomfort. The size of the penis cannot be increased but circumcising a small organ may be a useful measure in enabling a man to give greater satisfaction to his partner." [Circumcision removes, on average, 50% of the total skin on the penis. This cannot make it bigger!]

"The resulting psychological disturbance can lead to various problems including enuresis (bed-wetting)." [Bedwetting is another "reason" from the late 1800's for circumcision. Is he saying the resulting phychological disturbances of having a foreskin? Or of being needlessly subjected to a painful operation? I suppose if you traumatize a kid enough, he might wet the bed, yes.]

"Similarly if one son needs a circumcision for medical reasons then his parents may want to consider having all his brothers, both younger and older, circumcised at the same time to keep them alike and avoid possible future problems." [Mothers who have "one of each" have said that they explained to the circumcised boy "People used to think that circumcision was healthy, but now we know better. They say that once the boys know the differences, the issue disappears. Men relay that they never noticed whether or not their father or brothers were circumcised; anyone caught "looking" in the school locker room would soon be teased to no end! If "push comes to shove", the simple explanation by the intact boy, "You had a foreskin, too, but your mother had the doctor cut yours off when you were born," ends the conversation right then and there.]

"On the other hand, feelings of regret or resentment are not engendered in men who are coerced into having the operation when it is not essential (e.g. going to sea or request of fiance) and they are just as pleased as those who are done for, say, phimosis."[There is a group of men called NORM: National Organization of Restoring Men. These men, along with thousands of others, feel that they were "robbed" of a vital part of their bodies which was not anyone's to cut off but THEIRS.]

"A number of men complain that a loss of sensitivity or dryness of the glans following circumcision has spoiled their sex lives. At the other extreme are those who seek the operation to achieve these changes in the glans to enhance their sex lives. [I suppose of those men who want to permanantly lessen their own penile sensation as adult, they can "have at it". This choice should be left up to the boy when he is 18 or older and can make the decision for himself.] These complaints are similar to the mutilation obsession [Nice wording; Women who've lost a breast to breast cancer are "obsessed too", then?] because men with naturally short foreskins are not troubled by having the glans exposed.[A naturally short foreskin still functions as a "naturally long" foreskin. Its when the foreskin is removed altogether that the keritinization process (drying out) happens.] "

"The fear that an erection after the operation will tear the stitches is of course quite unwarranted." [Why? That sounds "OUCH!" to me...]

"If one ignores the extremists who would either forbid circumcision by law or seek to impose it upon everyone, then the evidence does suggest that the advantages do outweigh the disadvantages." [True; extremism is never a good route to follow. However, what does the rest of this sentance have to do with that? The AAP says, "The procedure has potential medical benefits and advantages, as well as inherent disadvantages and risks." In other words, circumcision may possibly have advantages, but it always has disadvantages and risks.]

"'Ballooning' or swelling of the foreskin when passing water is an absolute indication for circumcision at any age." [Balloning of the foreskin is a sign that it is separating from the glans. This is a natural part of penile development.]

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