Pharyngula

For the boys with boo-boos

We have a thread on female genital mutilation, and a few boys are insisting on turning it into a discussion of the damage done to their pee-pees by circumcision. For the record, I agree with you: circumcision is mutilation, too, and it shouldn’t be done, and doctors shouldn’t be collaborating in such a primitive and barbarous practice on children — like piercings and tattoos, it should only be practiced on consenting adults. Except that it’s even crazier than a tattoo.

However, FGM is a much more serious problem that causes great pain, destroys most of the capacity for sexual response, and is a tool used to control and oppress women. There is no comparison between FGM and circumcision, and it is annoying to see boys intruding on a thread about a serious political and social issue to insist that everyone look at their little boo-boo.

Yes, I am belittling your loss, because compared to what mutilated women have lost, it’s goddamned trivial.

But since some of you are so insistent on demanding that your tallywhackers must be privileged with sympathy, this thread is for you. Go ahead, tell us in all the detail you want how sad you are that your sensitivity has been reduced and that you were tortured for a bit when you were a baby, all true, and I’ll even concede right here that it is a genuine problem that ought to be stopped.

Ladies, I suggest that you just ignore this thread. This one is for all the hormonal little guys who need a place to hold hands and cry together.

Comments

  1. #1 Randomfactor
    May 6, 2010

    I don’t remember mine, but I’m told I couldn’t walk for a *YEAR* afterwards…

  2. #2 Deepsix
    May 6, 2010

    This one is for all the hormonal little guys who need a place to hold hands and cry together.

    Well, I’m certainly not posting in this thread!

  3. #3 https://me.yahoo.com/a/LlaccK5xlPYil6CoNI2wlq1_H5DTVA--#3e296
    May 6, 2010

    In November I will be a new dad and it looks like we are having a son. The decision I face is to mutilate my son because of the tradition around it. Frankly, I don’t want too because of the religious reasons involved, but pressured because I don’t want my son to be ostracized.

    But a bizarre and perverse custom the cutting of genitalia is.

  4. #4 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    Thank you, PZ, my thoughts exactly (as a guy who was circumcised as an infant, would probably prefer not to have been, but who’s had no sexual pleasure problems, and who understands that he doesn’t get to make equivalences between male circumcision and FGM until male circumcision = head of penis chopped off).

  5. #5 Nerdette
    May 6, 2010

    I dunno about self-pitying guys, but reading Hitchens’ “god is not Great” certainly elevated my consciousness about male circumcision. I was taught that it was a matter of hygiene, and during my budding sexual forays, I tended to prefer men without foreskin for that reason. After reading Hitchens though, I conceded that the purpose behind genital mutilation was simply to make sex less pleasurable. I don’t plan on circumcising my future sons, and making sure they know how to keep his nether regions clean.

  6. #6 Givesgoodemail
    May 6, 2010

    @3: Do not have the circumcision done. If your son wants to have it done once he is of majority age, he can choose to do so.

  7. #7 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    @Yahoomess:

    Frankly, I don’t want too because of the religious reasons involved, but pressured because I don’t want my son to be ostracized.

    Are you serious? Ostracized by whom? Members of your synagogue? Are they going to be poking around in your son’s britches?

    If you’re seriously considering cutting off your son’s foreskin because of that pressure, maybe you need to rethink your ethical obligations as a father.

  8. #8 Shplane
    May 6, 2010

    I agree that female genital mutilation is worse than male circumcision by several orders of magnitude.

    I agree that the posts about it were a bit off topic.

    I do not agree with the sentiment (Which was expressed several times in the previous thread) that those making said posts were horrible sexists and probably Osama Hitler bin Dracula. Yes, they were off topic. Yes, we should be talking about what the thread is about. No, they are not HORRIBLE PEOPLE for discussing a different issue.

  9. #9 A. Nuran
    May 6, 2010

    Absolutely agree with you, PZ. Yes, it’s unfortunate that boys get their pee-pees bobbed. But it’s absolutely nothing compared to the real physical harm, complete sexual dysfunction and occasional death from female genital shredding.

  10. #10 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Yahoomess:

    Frankly, I don’t want too because of the religious reasons involved, but pressured because I don’t want my son to be ostracized.

    Why would your son be ostracized and by who? I don’t think any male infant should be circumcised. If your son decides at some point (say, in his teens) he’d prefer to be circumcised, it can be done then.

  11. #11 Givesgoodemail
    May 6, 2010

    I suggested that the wives, daughters, and granddaughters of AAP board members “enjoy” the process.

    Then we can all get back together and discuss the matter.

  12. #12 Tenek
    May 6, 2010

    So why all the hatred for people who propose to take something significantly worse than circumcision and reduce it to something significantly better?

  13. #13 Becky
    May 6, 2010

    The whiny boys with boo boos weren’t the ones to bring it into the discussion, the AAP did. Just saying.

  14. #14 PZ Myers
    May 6, 2010

    Boys are not ostracized for being uncircumcised — it’s another myth used to promote the procedure. Boys tend not to flaunt their penises at each other, and even in situations like locker rooms where nudity is common, making an issue of someone else’s penis would be a bit of a faux pas.

    It’s also not going to effect courtship. Seriously, women do not pick out prospective mates by having all the guys line up and pull down their pants first. And if some weird girl later, after further sexual exploration, demands that your boy get cut, well, he has the option of elective surgery. Or better yet, telling the girl with the freakish sexual fetish to take a hike.

    There is traditional pressure from parents and grandparents, I know. Tell them to take a hike, too. They are not the Guardians of Grandson’s Penis. The probability of them ever encountering said penis after the days of diaper changing are over is virtually negligible, so they shouldn’t be at all concerned with it.

  15. #15 skeptical scientist
    May 6, 2010

    I was circumcised during infancy for religious reasons. I really don’t give a fuck.

  16. #16 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Tenek:

    So why all the hatred for people who propose to take something significantly worse than circumcision and reduce it to something significantly better?

    You’re in the wrong thread. Try the right one, eh?

  17. #17 bcoppola
    May 6, 2010

    My talleywhack was…nick nacked! :(

  18. #18 Benjamin Geiger
    May 6, 2010

    Three levels of mutilation:

    1. What the AAP is talking about, and what some more progressive religious (yes, that’s an oxymoron) communities practice: pricking the genitals of an infant to satisfy the letter of religious law.

    2. Male circumcision.

    3. Female genital mutilation.

    There’s a big gap between 2 and 3 for a reason.

    And note that the AAP is not talking about 3. Nobody should be practicing 3. 3 is child abuse, full stop.

  19. #19 Fortknox
    May 6, 2010

    I was circumcised during infancy for religious reasons. I really don’t give a fuck.

    Of, course, it’s called cognitive dissonance, look it up…

  20. #20 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 6, 2010

    Boys tend not to flaunt their penises at each other

    pffffffft

    Tell that to George Alan Rekers

  21. #21 Kobra
    May 6, 2010

    It’s an emo-gency!

  22. #22 CJO
    May 6, 2010

    yahhohash @ #3:

    I am circumcized, my son is not. There’s no need to worry. It requires a little extra instruction in the hygeine department, that is all. Ostracism seems a little over the top, unless you live in an Orthodox Jewish community or something. It’s just not that big of a deal for most people and if his peers are mostly circumcized, he might be teased a little, but you can’t eliminate that. Everybody gets teased in school about something, and your job as a parent is to raise a confident, compassionate, well-adjusted social being, not to try to anticipate and eliminate beforehand any possible source of childhood anxiety over being different in some way.

  23. #23 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawl3TpOVyxxwCT5cVU3M80c_cpxoMBZmiOQ
    May 6, 2010

    Waaaait a second. It reduces sensitivity? Why didn’t anyone tell me before? Where can I get signed up?

  24. #24 Givesgoodemail
    May 6, 2010

    @12:
    1. Because this sort of harm, of any kind, directly contradicts the Hippocratic Oath.
    2. Because this sort of harm is designed to placate those who would violate the law and a shitpile of human rights to satisfy a cultural imperative only slightly better than murder.
    3. Because this sort of harm is misogynistic in the extreme and is designed to subjugate women to men.

  25. #25 chaseacross
    May 6, 2010

    Circumcision and FGM: It isn’t in the same ballpark, it isn’t even in the same league, hell it ain’t even the same fuckin’ sport. The only known consequence of male circumcision is an increased chance of winning a Nobel Prize.

  26. #26 SomeGuy123
    May 6, 2010

    like piercings and tattoos, it should only be practiced on consenting adults

    You can actually get a tattoo down there? I had no idea.

    circumcision is mutilation, too, and it shouldn’t be done, and doctors shouldn’t be collaborating in such a primitive and barbarous practice on children

    Those doctors should be charged, because they had malice aforeskin…er, I mean aforethought.

    But even worse than genital mutilation is refusal to vaccinate, since it has this unfortunate side effect known as,…oh what is it again?…oh, right, death.

    I know, why don’t we genitally mutilate parents who don’t vaccinate their children and those children later die of some entirely preventable disease like measles? That ought to make everyone happy.

  27. #27 strange gods before me ?
    May 6, 2010

    I do not agree with the sentiment (Which was expressed several times in the previous thread) that those making said posts were horrible sexists and probably Osama Hitler bin Dracula. Yes, they were off topic. Yes, we should be talking about what the thread is about. No, they are not HORRIBLE PEOPLE for discussing a different issue.

    Good job at not listening.

    That happens almost every time that FGM is discussed. There’s a pattern, not just today’s coincidence.

    The pattern occurs over and over because of men who feel accustomed to making it about them, and they are normally able to do this without complaint because they are afforded the social advantages that come with being male.

    That can only happen in a sexist culture, and the takeover of FGM threads is a symptom of pervading sexism, regardless of how well-meaning the guys who do it.

  28. #28 SaraJ
    May 6, 2010

    Benjamin @18: “Nobody should be practicing 3. 3 is child abuse, full stop.”

    Okay, but why isn’t male circumcision child abuse? It is cutting something off of a baby’s body for an unnecessary reason. Yes, female genital mutilation is horrific and terrible and bad, but so is male genital mutilation. And I just can’t accept that because one is worse it means we have to ignore the other simply because we’re talking about boys and girls.

    And this is nowhere near the same thing as saying “we’re paying more attention to the girls in math class and forgetting the poor wittle boys”, this is saying “we are cutting body parts off of children, and it needs to stop, period”.

  29. #29 ChrisD
    May 6, 2010

    Let’s compare scars, shall we?

  30. #30 jemand
    May 6, 2010

    Alright, I’m ignoring PZ, I’m a lady and butting in to say that being upset about unconsensual cosmetic surgery isn’t something that you have to be hormonal to raise a stink over… and raising a stink and trying to change social norms and laws isn’t exactly the same as just crying in a corner and holding hands either (though that would just be trivializing to those who have been hurt, anyway).

  31. #31 Becky
    May 6, 2010

    @Benjamin

    Exactly. If you compare the common forms of FGM to circumcision, you’re way off base. However, what the AAP is (conditionally) approving of is, in their view, less extensive (ie. less mutilating) than circumcision.

  32. #32 mikerattlesnake
    May 6, 2010

    what’s the evidence for reduced sensitivity? I understand not wanting to cut your kids penis (and I will readily admit that that is the more rational choice), but is this just another myth? I’m cut, and I don’t think I would benefit from a MORE sensitive penis. Constant boners!

    Like I said in the other thread, two people close to me had miserable experiences when a circumcision became necessary later in life, so it biases me. I understand the disagreement, but I don’t understand the anger. Sometimes I feel like some of the really angry anti-circumcision folks are projecting a few of their sexual inadequacy issues on that procedure.

    Someone in the other thread brought up forced appendectomies as an example. They chose the WRONG example! I spent ten days in the hospital and almost two months out of commission (some of that dealing with a newly discovered penicillin allergy) because of my appendix; I would have loved it if that damn thing was removed at birth.

  33. #33 B
    May 6, 2010

    I don’t have a strong opinion one way or another, but it’s also important to consider the potential health impact:

    “Since 2007, several randomized clinical trials have established that male circumcision could lower the risk of HIV acquisition in heterosexual men by as much as 62 percent.”

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=is-male-circumcision-a-humanitarian-2010-04-23

  34. #34 Budbear
    May 6, 2010

    “tallywhacker” is one of my favorite euphemisms for my junior partner, jimmy-jammy, trouser trout, one-eyed snake, love wand,
    bald-headed giggle stick, meat missile, etc.

  35. #35 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawl3TpOVyxxwCT5cVU3M80c_cpxoMBZmiOQ
    May 6, 2010

    BTW: The proper thing to compare FGM with is not circumcision but chopping off the entire gland.

  36. #36 Ben Goren
    May 6, 2010

    Anybody considering ordering or consenting to a boy being circumcised needs to watch the Penn & Teller Bullshit! episode on the subject. Google is your friend.

    Cheers,

    b&


    EAC Memographer
    BAAWA Knight of Blasphemy
    “All but God can prove this sentence true.”

  37. #37 unclexbob
    May 6, 2010

    #3, I was uncut and in the minority for my era, and never once had anyone comment on it, or did it ever come up. In fact I was quite shocked when I discovered what circumcision was….I had just assumed everyone’s dick’s were like mine.

    It wasn’t until I became sexually active that I started hearing about it, and I can’t say I ever had a woman say anything negative. The ones that had never seen an uncut dick thought it was fascinating. The ones that had seen it before, didn’t really care one way or the other.

    It is even less of an issue now than it was back then. Less than 50% of boys get cut anymore. Its not like your (possible) son would stand out in a crowd of his peers.

  38. #38 eigenperson
    May 6, 2010

    I was circumcised during infancy. I also don’t give a shit.

    It’s not like my human experience has been significantly changed. Basically the difference is that I use different techniques to clean a certain region of my body than I would have otherwise.

    The literature on the whole doesn’t support the idea that circumcision in infancy changes one’s experience of sexual pleasure in any way. This isn’t surprising, since the brain is so plastic at that stage of life. The area in my sensory cortex devoted to my penis is probably the same size as it would have been had I not been circumcised.

  39. #39 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    strange gods before me:

    That happens almost every time that FGM is discussed. There’s a pattern, not just today’s coincidence.

    Yep. I seem to remember every thread that was supposed to be about FGM turning into a male circumcision thread. It’s irritating to see people making excuses for that too.

  40. #40 Becky
    May 6, 2010

    @B

    FGM has also been associated with a reduced risk of AIDS in a couple of studies, but since it is *unethical,* it hasn’t been been investigated as a potential way to fight AIDS. Circumcision is considered as a possible solution because it is assumed that it is acceptable.

  41. #41 Shplane
    May 6, 2010

    #27

    K. Then people need to handle it by explaining that calmly and concisely, as you did there. Instead of screaming “OH GOOOODDDDD YOU ARE SO SEXIIIISSSSST MANSPLAIN MANSPLAIN”, because that does nothing. At all. People won’t stop doing things wrong unless you explain whey they’re wrong.

  42. #42 mikmik
    May 6, 2010

    Yeah, I didn’t even know i was circumcised and i doubt i care.
    i have no doubts about my manhood or enjoyment of sex.
    in fact, this has caused me to wonder if what happens to us very early in life is really relevant to our development.
    now that’s a interesting thought. at what age do experiences affect our development.
    can being hungry or cold or experiencing pain in the first few days or weeks impact our personality?
    i doubt it.

  43. #43 rob
    May 6, 2010

    Twas brillig, and the slimy foes
    Did gyre and gimble around the baby:
    All flimsy were the anecdotes,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    “Beware the Jabbercock, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
    Don’t “Jubjub” your “bird” and shun
    That frumious girls snatch!”

    He took his vorpal scalpel in hand:
    Long time the manxome foe he sought
    So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
    And stood a while in thought.

    And, as in uffish thought he stood,
    The Jabbercock, with single eye of flame,
    Came whiffling through with bulgey wood,
    And burbled secular quotations as it came!

    One two! One two! And through and through
    The vorpal scalpel snicker-snacked off the tallywack!
    He left it dead, and with its circumscised head
    He went galumphing back.

    “And hast thou mutilated the Jabbercock?
    Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
    Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
    He chortled in his joy.

    Twas brillig, and the slimy foes
    Did gyre and gimble around the baby:
    All flimsy were the anecdotes,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

  44. #44 unclexbob
    May 6, 2010

    #33, you should take any study involving circumcision with a very large dose of salt, because the people pushing it are usually religious groups.

    All the studies I’ve read on it are horrible.

    Not like it matters much, even if there is some small percentage difference, you don’t prevent aids by chopping up the genitals. You give them proper sex education.

  45. #45 Fortknox
    May 6, 2010

    Yeah, babies go into shock when circumcised because of the pain.

    And all because of pandering to superstition.

    And then you get adult circumcised dumbasses who try to downplay the ridiculous dangerous nonsense because of cognitive dissonance.

    Thousands of boys lost their genitalia for no reason at all in various accidents.

    Dumbass circumcised adults, get over your cognitive dissonance already.

  46. #46 jemand
    May 6, 2010

    @strange gods before me, again, I’m a woman and didn’t post in the last thread, but it seems to me as long as there is widespread acceptance of genital cutting of children, NO child will be safe, male or female, anywhere. And… it’s just a fact that male genital mutilation is EXCEEDINGLY more common all over the world than it is for female children.

    So I think in *this particular* case it may not be a case of men trying to make it all about themselves, but a disagreement between those who have different practical viewpoints, whether it would be most efficient to first attack the most common practice, or whether it would be best to first attack the worst practice.

    The latter view *leads too* opinions such as those of the medical association in the last thread where ‘mild’ forms are substituted in place of extreme forms, whereas the second lends itself to saying, no, we need to stop all of it immediately.

  47. #47 The Other Ian
    May 6, 2010

    That happens almost every time that FGM is discussed. There’s a pattern, not just today’s coincidence.

    I confess I’m not familiar with the problem. I’d like to see it for myself. Can anybody provide links to threads where an FGM discussion was hijacked by a circumcision discussion, resulting in the FGM discussion getting shut-out?

  48. #48 catta
    May 6, 2010

    WTF. I’m a woman. Reading the last thread, as outraged as I was by the female genital mutilation topic, I a) not once got the impression that the people mentioning male circumcision were hijacking anything or being particularly “male-priviledged” or whatever and b) couldn’t help but think of how widespread circumcision is in the US and how little difference I see in the procedures. Yes, even as the owner of a clitoris, and despite having had unanaesthesized surgery on my private parts as an adult, which is, mildly put, horrifying.

    If you make the statement “no waving scalpels around infant genitals, ever”, then don’t exclude male infants because it’s accepted in your culture (don’t start on “it’s not comparable” — Yes, it is. The only reason you think it isn’t is that one of them is common practice where you live.)

    Also, I guess you can put me down as a weird girl who has had the chance to compare and has found that the lack of sensitivity caused by a missing foreskin makes my experience less enjoyable, fwiw. Furthermore: the number of people in the other thread claiming that the entire clitoris surprised me quite a bit, too. The clitoris is much, much bigger than the part you see peeking out between the labia, people! Maybe the idea that the visible part is the only important one explains why people seem to think the lack of sensitivity caused by male circumcision makes no difference to their partners.

    Seriously. Unanaesthesized surgery on infants is unanaesthesized surgery on infants, period. If the size of the lopped-off bits counts at all, then the apologetic “it’s just a nick compared to the procedures performed in Africa” is a valid argument. And last time I checked, everybody agreed that it wasn’t.

  49. #49 farnorth
    May 6, 2010

    There are actual medical reasons to consider circumcision. It’s hardly a mutilation of the penis, any “sensitivity” issues are dubious complaints at best. There are various studies that show it appears to reduce STIs, it is certainly more hygienic, and it may reduce penile cancer. Additionally, it’s not terribly uncommon for young men to have to get it done later due to an inability to pull the foreskin back (too tight). A couple of my cousins did, in their teens. Now there is some trauma!

    As for people that say “let them wait until they are adults and choose for themselves” perhaps you should think a little harder on that. Weigh the evidence, discuss it with several medical professionals and then choose for your child – in the same way we always make medical decisions for our children. Should we wait until they are 18 to vaccinate them? There’s a little risk in a vaccination too – it’s a simple weighing of risk vs. benefit.

    Stop your whining over a flap of skin.

    And PZ, are you dismissing all the medical literature on the benefits of male circumcision? Just because it comes from a “primitive religious practice” doesn’t mean that there are no benefits. At one point, I imagine wiping our butts was a primitive religious practice as well, stumbled upon by accident.

  50. #50 Weed Monkey
    May 6, 2010

    I truly enjoy my foreskin, and when I say enjoy, yes, I mean masturbation. Who in their right minds would like to diminish THAT pleasure for their children?

  51. #51 andrew h
    May 6, 2010

    this is weird, i always wondered why i hadn’t been circumcised, because most guys i knew had been, girlfriends asked, i always said “i don’t know” and guessed one thing or another.

    so, this winter somehow the topic of circumcision comes up during a big family get together, and i finally ask my mother, so why wasn’t i circumcised?

    because, clearly, you know, you can look at the thing, and it looks like a circumcised thing.

    she says, “but you were!”

    i say, “it sure doesn’t look like i was!”

    my cousin says, “i remember you(my mother) saying something about how you didn’t think they did it right!”

    apparently it can grow back? or i have some sort of mutant healing factor?

  52. #52 MultiTool
    May 6, 2010

    I thought circumcision increased sensitivity, by exposing the glans of the penis.

    I remember a guy who was circumcised in his 20s (due to an infection); he was annoyed that it became harder to delay orgasm.

    And… just when you thought snipping dicks was headed the way of human sacrifice, it turns out to be a tool (heh heh) in the fight against HIV/AIDS:
    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/circumcision.htm

    So much so that Bill Gates is funding mass circumcisions in Africa:
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17312

    So all those men bitching about their poor wangs might as well shut up and count their blessings.

  53. #53 eigenperson
    May 6, 2010

    @45: I may have gone into shock as a baby. I have no idea because I don’t remember it AT ALL. (Contrast this to the urinary tract infection that I had 3 years later. JESUS CHRIST do I remember the operation for that. Even though I was under a sedative at the time, or so I’m told.)

    You’re trying to tell me that I should be upset or angry or something about being circumcised. Maybe I should, but sure I don’t see why, when it’s one of the few things in my entire life that has had no effect on me.

  54. #54 Becca
    May 6, 2010

    yahoomess @3 We faced a similar issue when my son was born; we opted not to circumcise. We live in a very small town, and he went to school with a bunch of rednecks. He didn’t report one incident of being teased or any comment at all on the subject. I know, anecdote is not data, but our experience has been good.

  55. #55 SomeGuy123
    May 6, 2010

    I was uncut and in the minority for my era, and never once had anyone comment on it, or did it ever come up.

    I heard Ciagra can help with that, or is it Vialis? Talk to your doctor.

  56. #56 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkduSiHEcXKGQvpZ4TOg7xZa3cLOBte4XQ
    May 6, 2010

    I agree with several other posters here. While it may be overblown to compare regular FGM with male circumcision, it seems perfectly valid to compare what the Academy has proposed here.

    As for the HIV benefits, that hardly means it’s ethical.

  57. #57 Becky
    May 6, 2010

    “I thought circumcision increased sensitivity, by exposing the glans of the penis.”

    When an uncircumcised penis is erect, the glans is exposed.

  58. #58 SaraJ
    May 6, 2010

    Well eigenperson, if it had no effect on you, then clearly it’s fine for everyone. Right?

  59. #59 Fortknox
    May 6, 2010

    So all those men bitching about their poor wangs might as well shut up and count their blessings.

    All that shit you linked and said was thoroughly debunked many times over.

  60. #60 mikerattlesnake
    May 6, 2010

    @45

    gonna just roll my eyes at that. See previous comment.

    I notice you frothing anti-circumcision folks still haven’t felt the need to back up the “loss of sensitivity” claim. Beyond that, what’s the harm? My brother and I are both circumcised, him later in life, me at birth. His was a painful process (now that it was mentioned, I believe it was the ‘too tight’ problem) leading to a painful surgery and a painful recovery process. I don’t frigging remember it and I’ve always been happy with my dong.

    I definitely understand the people who don’t want to put a knife to their newborn, but I feel like the positives and negatives are pretty evenly weighted (again, probably my bias).

  61. #61 catta
    May 6, 2010

    Just to correct myself: I was surprised at the number of people who thought the whole clitoris was cut off, when it isn’t.

    And yes, I concede that the sensitivity thing may be anecdotal on my part and I wouldn’t use it as evidence. Still: either it’s okay or it isn’t.

    I’m sure girls wouldn’t remember the horrifying pain either if you just mutilated them early enough, too.
    That’s the argument, isn’t it? It’s okay as long as you don’t remember it afterwards and can’t tell the difference?

  62. #62 SaraJ
    May 6, 2010

    We are PZ!

  63. #63 The Other Ian
    May 6, 2010

    Now you’ve really done it, people. PZ is getting his own threads confused.

  64. #64 tacroy
    May 6, 2010

    B @ #33:

    You know what else reduces the risk of AIDS transmission? Condoms. And you can take a condom off afterwards, but you can’t put your foreskin back on.

    (The actual process involves weighting down the skin of the cut, so that it stretches out over time and creates another foreskin. It’s pretty gross.)

  65. #65 KyBoiler
    May 6, 2010

    #35 has the comparison correct. The equivalent of FGM on a male would be the removal of the glans. Chop the entire head off, leaving a shaft with a hole for urine.

    The knee-jerk reaction to male circumcision is that it’s a horrible, backwards thing to do, and for the reason it was started, it WAS a horrible thing to do. But as B mentioned in #33, the scientific literature supports it for health reasons, and has found no significant downside to the procedure. Unless of course we want to be hypocrites and disagree with empirical evidence like those in the anti-vax and ID camps do.

  66. #66 Benjamin Geiger
    May 6, 2010

    SaraJ:

    Yes, male circumcision is child abuse, but it’s not nearly as bad. As has been repeatedly pointed out, female “circumcision” isn’t comparable to male circumcision; it’s more akin to cutting off the glans penis.

    I was simply pointing out that people seem to misunderstand (possibly intentionally) what the AAP is talking about. They talk about 1 and people start screaming about 3. And the irony is that the AAP points out 1 as a possibility in order to make 3 less likely.

  67. #67 Mike Crichton
    May 6, 2010

    Except the “ritual nicks” the AAP grudgingly approves of really _are_ less invasive than a male circumcision is.

  68. #68 unclexbob
    May 6, 2010

    it truly shocks me how many people are peddling nonsense about the benefits of male circumcision here. I guess I expected the skeptic community to be a little more skeptical.

    But hey, if you REALLY care about your kids, cut the entire dick off. No STI’s then.

  69. #69 mikerattlesnake
    May 6, 2010

    notice that the people posting “nonsense” are actually backing up their claims with links to trusted sources. None of us are saying you’re necessarily wrong, just that we’re skeptical of your claims when there’s just histrionics on your side.

  70. #70 Becky
    May 6, 2010

    “but I feel like the positives and negatives are pretty evenly weighted (again, probably my bias)”

    I believe that boys/men in the US are more likely to be told that they “need” a circ when in countries where circ is not the norm other options would be presented for their conditions. Still, I agree with you that medically, it seems pretty balanced. There are a few boys that need to be circed later, there are some circed boys that end up needing later surgery to fix a botched circ or correct meatal stenosis. Circ makes a difference in the rate of contracting STIs, but practicing safe sex provides the same benefit.

    That said, I don’t think that amputation of a body part should be undertaken except for clear medical benefits. For me, “medically balanced” isn’t a good enough reason to justify circ.

  71. #71 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    May 6, 2010

    A whole thread where strangers can discuss penises? I know where this is leading. (Unless the internet has grossly miss informed me.)

    OT:

    a tool used to control and oppress women.

    QFT. The people who prescribe such things are those who believe that sex should only be about reproduction and that it’s a punishment for women. She should have every right to enjoy what is being done to her body.

  72. #72 Randomfactor
    May 6, 2010

    We are all PZ.

  73. #73 B
    May 6, 2010

    I’m all for sexual education and condom use to curb the spread of AIDS, however, those are largely behavioral suggestions and human behavior, especially on a large scale (i.e. country or continent, such as Africa) is almost impossible to change quickly. If you frame the decision of male circumcision as an act that can potentially save a huge amount of lives vs an act that can be considered unethical (but in which case the child will not remember later in life), I think the potential saving of lives aspect trumps all others.

  74. #74 https://me.yahoo.com/a/AKp_B_gSkpRDRUl5yBtgnnB0OHZG#94c23
    May 6, 2010

    I was cut as an infant for religious reasons. But, let me review what I got out of it: less self-maintenance requirements, and increased staying power.

    Sorry, but I have a hard time feeling like I was dicked-over by this. (pun definitely intended)

    –Raynfala

  75. #75 KOPD
    May 6, 2010

    I’ll be responsible for a newborn some time this month. There’s approximately a 50% chance it will have a penis. I’ll be referring back to this thread as time permits to see what people have to say on the subject.

  76. #76 Randomfactor
    May 6, 2010

    You know what else reduces the risk of AIDS transmission? Condoms.

    Tell it to the Pope…

  77. #77 mikerattlesnake
    May 6, 2010

    yes, all things being equal I would most likely come down on the “don’t cut” side, but having witnessed some pretty extreme pain and suffering I think I can’t help but be on the “cut” side. I would be happy to be swayed by the “don’t cutters” (the data must be out there to have them so convinced) but so far I’ve just been called an idiot.

  78. #78 mmj_gregory
    May 6, 2010

    @18

    That is where my mind goes. I completely agree that FGM and circumcision are in different categories as far as the amount of harm done and whatnot. My problem with what the AAP is doing is that they are now attempting to make female circumcision as “acceptable” as what male circumcision has become by lessing the tourture of it all. Can we be honest? If the religious nutjobs could cut off more of the penis or plug it shut the way they do during FGM…they would. Maybe if the majority of religious leaders were women and not men they would have already found a way to make male circumcision more terrorizing. If the AAP guidelines become the norm what is to keep their new form of female circumcision from becoming as popular as male circumcision is today? All I can think is that people aren’t immune to that idea the way they are for baby boys but who is to say what would happen in a few decades?

    I have a girl and am about to give birth to a boy. I have done ALOT of research and it seems that besides lowering the male’s risk of AIDS (especially in places like Africa), there is NO benefit. If my son decides that he wants to have exhorbant amounts of unprotected sex with strangers when he gets older, he can get his penis cut himself.

  79. #79 The Pint
    May 6, 2010

    @#62 – something tells me that even if the mutilation was done to a little girl when she’d be too young to remember it, she’d certainly remember the pain caused by her sewn-together labia being ripped open the first time she has sex – and every subsequent time she has sex afterward (and I don’t even want to contemplate the amplified pain of childbirth for someone who’s gone through this horrific procedure). See the difference?

  80. #80 KaneHau
    May 6, 2010

    Well, here’s another for you then. I am adopted and originally from a middle eastern country. I was circumcised at birth – and at the same time, they did something else…

    Namely, they inserted tiny stones into my dick (the skin just below the head). Growing up, I didn’t know what they were (and one time I tried to remove one, that didn’t work *OUCH*).

    However, when I got married, my wife knew exactly what it was. “Ribbed for her pleasure” was her comment. Since then I’ve read about the practice (seems that it was done to increase pleasure).

    Now that I’ve switched to the other side… I’m ribbed for HIS pleasure :)

  81. #81 skyesepp
    May 6, 2010

    I’d like to add my voice to those saying that FGM and circumcision are miles apart in effect. This is not to say that circumcision should be wholeheartedly condoned (or accepted uncritically as a cultural practice), just that the invasiveness of circumcision is far less significant.

    I was circumcised when I was 12 after developing some sort of infection where the foreskin began to close. It was an embarrassing experience for my pubescent psyche, but it only took 3 days to recover from the surgery and I haven’t had any problems since.

  82. #82 Jimmy-boy
    May 6, 2010

    @65 (and all the other “the science supports it” gang). Firstly – the science is being pretty robustly challenged I believe.

    However, in Europe we don’t routinely circumcise babies/children unless clinically indicated (it’s called evidence based medicine).

    The contra-indication would be the small incidence of death from associated bleeding.

    Doesn’t really seem worth it does it?

    And – absolutely: FGM is in it’s whole own special category of very bad things that very bad people do – where the male issue doesn’t really feature.

  83. #83 valis667
    May 6, 2010

    In my country (South Africa) over a hundred boys DIE every year from male circumcision. A large number also have to have their penises amputated due to botched circumcisions. And I’m talking twelve-year-old boys here, not babies. So it’s NOT just a “little boo-boo”. It’s a very dangerous practise that the government is trying hard to stop.

    All you’ve done here is shown your cultural bias.

  84. #84 strange gods before me ?
    May 6, 2010

    jemand, there is nothing stopping those who have different priorities from starting their own blogs or forum threads and organizing themselves. They are welcome to do it.

    In the meantime, we cannot have a discussion of FGM without these guys showing up. That’s great for you that you don’t find it distracting, but other people shouldn’t have to put up with routine threadjacking.

    I’m circumcised. It is not and should not be a priority on the same level as FGM. The amount of suffering is lower, it does not function as sexual control throughout men’s lives, and there are anti-HIV benefits to male circumcision which complicate the balance.

    Now, I hope that I answered you adequately, because I do not intend to post in this thread again.

  85. #85 unclexbob
    May 6, 2010

    #69 considering that the studies I’ve seen are pseudo studies done by religious groups, I’m not impressed that you found studies.

    Nor do those studies take into account complications from the operation. Sure a very insignificant number of uncut men will get penial cancer (I don’t remember the exact percentage, but it was around .001%, but roughly 2% have complications, some of which lead to death.

    And the STI’s is immaterial. Assuming we’re talking about western civilization, the average chance of getting aids is 1 in 10K. Thats the AVERAGE. Lets assume getting cut does effect it some small percent. So what?

    And finally, what the hell would your kid being having unprotected sex for in the first place? Are you planning on keeping him ignorant?

    What amazes me is people treat this like a minor cosmetic surgery, that the difference between the two options is immaterial, so we can weigh whether there is a .002% chance of STI’s with and without the skin, to help us decide.

    Well, can’t the kid make that choice? Or, like sex ed, is he too stupid to make that choice also?

  86. #86 qpsk
    May 6, 2010

    Hi, my name’s Dave. *waits for “Hi Dave”* And I’m a victim of male circumcision.

  87. #87 SaraJ
    May 6, 2010

    Banjamin @ 66:

    I understand why people have that reaction. I’m merely saying that in this instance, in my mind, one has to do with the other and it is a broader conversation we should be having on this social/religious acceptance of genital mutilation on a child. I don’t care what gender the baby is, I care that we are cutting off bits of children’s genitals. I care that it is acceptable in many cultures to cause unnecessary pain to a baby because of sexual control, because it supposedly looks nicer, because god wants us to, because of a whole host of silly reasons. And considering boys in this instance, to me, is not sexism because we’re talking about mutilation, which has nothing to do with privilege and everything to do with a person’s right to NOT have their fun-bits cut to pieces.

  88. #88 mikerattlesnake
    May 6, 2010

    @78

    Not “NO positives”, but the positives are minor. Less upkeep and not having to get the procedure done later in life are the ones that spring to mind. But what are the negatives? I get that the big one is CUTTING BABIES, but we also stab babies with needles and that’s ok. Again, I understand that circumcision is permanent, and therefore different. But you’re going to provide more negatives to justify the hysteria surrounding the issue.

    FGM has truly NO benefits and never has to be done later in life, so there’s no justifying it. Male circumcision, on the other hand seems to have some small benefit and no real harm. I think it’s justifiable.

  89. #89 webriggs
    May 6, 2010

    @#1 That was the funniest thing I’ve read in several days.

    Since I’ve never known any other state, being circumcised never bothered me at all. I certainly don’t recall the event. I guess it was just a popular thing to do back then. Big shrug here.

    Sex has been just great without that extra skin there, and since I never had the chance to compare, I have no idea if it’s better the other way. Never considered it to have been a personal violation at all. From a purely cosmetic perspective, I prefer the cut look.

    But I’m in total agreement with PZ that you just can’t compare circumcision with FGM. FGM is barbarism. Nobody should have the right to do such a thing to another person, no matter whether they are your children or not. It’s theft of one of the central aspects of being human – the ability to enjoy sex. Gives me the creeps just thinking about someone doing that to a young girl.

  90. #90 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    mikerattlesnake:

    notice that the people posting “nonsense” are actually backing up their claims with links to trusted sources.

    Uh, not exactly. This is hardly a new topic here, and many of those links lead to studies which have been successfully refuted and debunked. Yes, there are circumstances where circumcision might be desirable, however, the ‘study’ which claims circumcision cuts down on HIV transmission is one that has been debunked. I’ll see if I can track down the paper. (I’m running on no sleep here, so my brain isn’t at it’s best). Good hygiene and common sense, such as condoms when it comes to safe sex work great.

    Again, these issues need to be investigated closely, because many of the pro-circumcision studies have religious affiliation and aren’t always conducted properly. MGM is down due to parents doing research and talking with their physicians about it. The people who truly have a vested interest in keeping the status quo are religious. The bible goes on and on and on about foreskins and how badly god wants ‘em. That’s not a good reason to mutilate a child.

  91. #91 SaraJ
    May 6, 2010

    Benjamin, sorry for the typo in your name in my post @87. Major fail on my part!

  92. #92 Ben Goren
    May 6, 2010

    Look people. Can we agree that just because a shotgun blast to the chest is worse than a bullet in the rump it’s still a bad idea to go ’round poppin’ caps in people’s asses?

    I mean, really. It’s like those Republicans who want to waterboard everybody with brown skin wearing a turban because it’s not quite as bad as what happens to political prisoners in China.

    All y’ll all are whinin’ about what has or hasn’t been done to your dicks yet none of you have the balls to consider the matter objectively.

    In what other context would one even make it past sheer horror at the thought of taking a knife to a child — let alone a child’s privates? Would it be okay if we were talking about cutting off the child’s earlobe?

    Jesusfuckingmaryonastick, y’all are a bunch of barbarians.

    Cheers,

    b&


    EAC Memographer
    BAAWA Knight of Blasphemy
    “All but God can prove this sentence true.”

  93. #93 Becky
    May 6, 2010

    @mikerattlesnake

    The Canadian Paediatric Society and the AAP both list potential complications of circumcisions and weigh the risks and benefits, and the CPS puts this into a form aimed at parents making the decision.

    Both societies are reviewing their policies due to newer studies showing that circ has a protective effect against AIDS.

  94. #94 Utakata
    May 6, 2010

    I bet these boys nitpick about homophones as well.

  95. #95 Ibis3
    May 6, 2010

    Thanks for this thread, PZ. I wanted to point to this great post by FreedomofSpeech on studies about male circumcision, but didn’t feel it appropriate to deflect from the horrible practice of FGM.

    http://forums.leagueofreason.co.uk/viewtopic.php?p=34099#p34099

    Circumcision of male infants is a brutal, superstitious practice that should be stopped.

  96. #96 mikerattlesnake
    May 6, 2010

    @90

    which is why I hav ebrought up religious reasons exactly zero times.

    @92

    If I could choose to give my child an almost zero risk, no-scar appendectomy at birth I would at least consider it. If my appendix had burst a couple of years earlier than it did, when I was in the middle of the great rift valley with a malfunctioning land rover, I might have died. You’re gonna have to do better with your rhetoric or come up with some conclusive data. Seriously, if studies showed that circumcision had a significant effect on erectile disfunction or sensitivity later in life I wouldn’t even consider it. Bring the data, folks.

  97. #97 Bill Dauphin, OM
    May 6, 2010

    Nerdette (@5):

    After reading Hitchens though, I conceded that the purpose behind genital mutilation [i.e., in this context, circumcision of boys] was simply to make sex less pleasurable.

    I have no doubt that this is the intended purpose of the genital mutilation of girls in tradtional cultures, but I dispute that it’s the intended purpose of (male) circumcision in the developed world.

    I happen to have been born at a time when circumcision was broadly popular in the U.S., far beyond the religious imperatives of the Jewish tradition, just because it was seen as the correct modern, hygienic thing to do. My parents were intelligent, well-educated, socially progressive people who have always been open and positive about sex: They had no reason to want to disable me sexually; they had me circumcised simply because that’s what seemed, in that place and time, to be the right thing to do.

    We can, in retrospect, perhaps say that was a misguided belief, but it is entirely a different class of motivation from parents who have their girls mutilated for the specific purpose of sexually disabling them to “protect” them from “sin.” For Hitchens or anyone else to equate the two practices is simply crazy (assuming that’s what Hitchens was doing; I haven’t read the piece you mention).

    FWIW, if the puropse of circumcising me had been to damage my sexual pleasure, it would’ve been a spectacular failure: I have nothing to compare it too, of course, having never had uncircumcised sex, but (at the risk of TMI) there’s no sense in which my capacity for sexual pleasure seems at all deficient to me. As one or two other guys here have noted, if this is “reduced” pleasure, I’m not sure I could handle it full-strength!

    And that, I think, gets us back to PZ’s point in the OP above: Regardless of how wrongheaded and regrettable circumcision might be, it utterly pales in comparison to what’s happening to girls who suffer FGM.

    That said, while I understand the frustration engendered (oops, that’s an awkward word in this context!) among women when men talk about circumcision in this context — “Jesus H. Sebastion Fucking Christ on a crutch!! Does everything have to be about the boys and their dingalings?!?!?!?” — I’m afraid that as long as the deceptive term female circumcision continues to be used anywhere by anyone, fighting back against false equivalency will always be part of this conversation.

  98. #98 David Marjanovi?
    May 6, 2010

    There are actual medical reasons to consider circumcision. It’s hardly a mutilation of the penis, any “sensitivity” issues are dubious complaints at best. There are various studies that show it appears to reduce STIs, it is certainly more hygienic, and it may reduce penile cancer. Additionally, it’s not terribly uncommon for young men to have to get it done later due to an inability to pull the foreskin back (too tight).

    One argument from ignorance about another.

    - Why don’t those medical reasons seem to occur more often outside the US of A?
    - Call it “amputation” if “mutilation” is too value-laden for you.
    - Having a foreskin, I can tell it’s sensitive. More importantly, it protects the sensitive area beneath… I think I’d have trouble wearing clothes without that protection.
    - As far as I’ve seen, those studies all have flaws, such as using inappropriate control groups.
    - “Certainly more hygienic”? Where’s the epidemic in Europe?
    - I’m not surprised that amputating part of the penis reduces the risk of cancer…
    - “Not terribly uncommon”? Why have I never heard or read of such a case outside this very blog?
    - Why is inability to pull the foreskin back supposed to be a problem? I can’t pull mine back more than 2 mm or suchlike, and I don’t have any complaints. Nothing hurts, everything that needs to get through gets through. Sure, I can’t use a wet sponge to clean the glans like the 8th-grade biology textbook said, but nothing gets to it anyway, so I don’t need to clean it at all. I don’t even seem to produce any smegma.

    are you dismissing all the medical literature on the benefits of male circumcision?

    Did you even know that only Jews, Muslims, and Americans are circumcised?

    (Apart from a few small cultures in subsaharan Africa and in Australia.)

    I was surprised at the number of people who thought the whole clitoris was cut off, when it isn’t.

    FGM has many different forms. One is like circumcision; the other extreme is to cut everything off, scratch everything out, and sew the rest shut afterwards.

  99. #99 SaraJ
    May 6, 2010

    Yes, yes, some of you men have had the procedure done to you, and your penises are fine. Great for you! I’m glad the doctor didn’t botch it, leaving you with half a penis. I’m glad your sensitivity hasn’t been reduced (as far as you know). I am glad you like your little helmet-head. That doesn’t change the fact that no parent should have the right to decide to cut something off of their child for no fucking reason other than their religion, dubious research, or because they want their little baby boy to “look like daddy” (yes, I have heard that excuse).

    My problem is with the fact that this is so culturally accepted that people are NOT horrified by it. I am a social work student, and I have personally spoken with a woman who was a victim of genital mutilation. She came from a country where it was perfectly acceptable, and she had no problems with it, and was surprised by how awful I thought it was. Obviously this means it’s okay to do it, because one of the victim’s was unaffected, right?

  100. #100 Brownian, OM
    May 6, 2010

    All y?ll all are whinin? about what has or hasn?t been done to your dicks yet none of you have the balls to consider the matter objectively.

    Hardly my fault. The pediatrician slipped.

  101. #101 barfy
    May 6, 2010

    “This one is for all the hormonal little guys who need a place to hold hands and cry together.”

    I’m a big guy. Bigger than you. Way bigger than you.
    First: well, you know how I’m bigger.
    Second: I don’t demean people in a mean-spirited way who have a legitimate harm done to them.

    It’s not about who has the bigger harm, PZ. If my harm is bigger than yours, does that make my right to spew my harm into the marketplace of ideas less righteous?

    I do agree that there is a proper time and a place to express my harm, but should I be figuratively belittled when you are clearly the smaller man?

  102. #102 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 6, 2010

    FGM has many different forms. One is like circumcision; the other extreme is to cut everything off, scratch everything out, and sew the rest shut afterwards.

    And the purpose of this? To make having sex as painful as possible for the woman. After all, a pure woman does not find sex enjoyable.

  103. #103 Benjamin Geiger
    May 6, 2010

    We can end the thread now. Brownian wins.

  104. #104 SaraJ
    May 6, 2010

    So my new understanding of male genital mutilation is that because there is some shaky evidence that it’s beneficial, and not much evidence that it’s harmful, we should keep doing it without further study because it’s culturally acceptable? Do I have that right?

  105. #105 Christian M.
    May 6, 2010

    Hi folks. I have, I believe, unique insight into this issue.

    There’s a complication of circumcision that people never seem to know about, and which I see as, by far, the most damning practical evidence against it:

    If the circumcision is performed in a mediocre manner, or if it heals improperly, it can result in skin bridges between the remnants of the foreskin and the glans. These are permanent, and must be corrected by surgery. Some cases are rather extreme, with bridges covering most or all of the glans, causing pain during erection and making it impossible to clean.

    In these cases especially, the surgery to correct skin bridges is pretty serious – I had to be knocked out for it, then heavily medicated for a week. It was bloody and traumatizing for a month, and total recovery takes even more time. (Though, to be fair, minor cases of skin bridges can be repaired in any urologist’s office, with a local novocaine injection and some cauterization. Still not the sort of thing anyone would want to go through, and still has a nasty recovery process.)

    So, now that you know, go forth and educate others. Skin bridges are horrible. I think this risk in itself is enough reason not to circumcise.

  106. #106 The Other Ian
    May 6, 2010

    @mikerattlesnake,

    If I could choose to give my child an almost zero risk, no-scar appendectomy at birth I would at least consider it.

    There’s no such thing as a zero-risk procedure. The risk of complications from circumcision is around 2-3%.

    The basis of your argument seems to me that you want to spare your sons a small (~1%) risk of having to undergo a painful experience later in life. Please bear in mind that circumcision is no less painful for a newborn than it is for an older child. The only difference is that the older child will actually remember it, and memories of physical pain are, in my experience, never painful.

  107. #107 Becky
    May 6, 2010

    John Harvey Kellogg was one of the first advocates of circumcision in the US, and he promoted it as a “cure” for masturbation.

    “A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anæsthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed. If any attempt is made to watch the child, he should be so carefully surrounded by vigilance that he cannot possibly transgress without detection. If he is only partially watched, he soon learns to elude observation, and thus the effect is only to make him cunning in his vice.”

    So there definitely have been “anti-sex” reasons for the promotion of circumcision at some points in the past.

  108. #108 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 6, 2010

    SaraJ, thank you for your comment at #99. As far as I am concerned, that is all that needs to be said on the subject.

    (Sadly, it will not be the last word.)

  109. #109 mmj_gregory
    May 6, 2010

    @88 aka mikerattlesnake

    Honestly, 15 seconds in the shower is no reason to chop off a part of your body. About 10 in 1,000 boys need to be circumcised later in life due to medical need according to sources already cited in comments directed at you. Again, not enough to automatically cut off a part of an infant’s body in my opinion. Not to mention circumcision issues from botched operations or other complications that outnumber that 10 in 1,000 number.

  110. #110 SaraJ
    May 6, 2010

    Janine, thank you. I did bring this up in the other thread, and I am truly sorry if it felt like I was derailing the thread. I can’t speak for anyone else, just myself, but I honestly equate the two because they both seem so terrible to me, and because they do have to do with cutting into sex organs.

  111. #111 sean.peters3
    May 6, 2010

    strange gods @84:

    In the meantime, we cannot have a discussion of FGM without these guys showing up. That’s great for you that you don’t find it distracting, but other people shouldn’t have to put up with routine threadjacking.

    Welcome to the internet! We have a bunch of really strange customs here, one of which is that people can talk about whatever they want. Even (I know this is shocking) if you personally don’t approve of what they’re saying! I hope this doesn’t unduly interfere with your enjoyment of this great new medium.

    Seriously, folks, a couple things: 1) comparing circumcision to FGM is like comparing an unjust arrest for a crime to the Holocaust. One of these things is just not like the other. But 2) infant circumcision is still bad, and for the most part, people opposed to the practice are mostly brushed off as weirdos by society. So I can understand where the extremism on this topic comes from.

    Why is circumcision bad? It’s not, if you consent to it. But when done to baby boys… you’re exposing them to real risks of complications, in exchange for benefits (if they exist at all) that won’t be felt until they reach sexual maturity. Babies and pre-teen boys don’t have sex – so they’re not exposed to STDs. So why not wait until they’re old enough to understand the risks and benefits before you go cutting off parts of their bodies? Hygiene? A truly nutty argument. You want to cut off part of someone’s body because… it’s some trouble to wash? Are you kidding me? Penile cancer? Incidence rates are really, really tiny even in uncircumcised males. I guarantee there are more bad outcomes from circumcision.

    I wish people could all stop being douches about this subject. FGM: really, really, horribly bad. Infant (as opposed to adult) circ: not nearly as bad as FGM, but still bad. I don’t understand why the people opposing one feel like they have to compete with those opposing the other.

  112. #112 Michelle R
    May 6, 2010

    @ David Marjanovi?: “Did you even know that only Jews, Muslims, and Americans are circumcised?”

    You know what? It just struck me that I cannot tell if most men here in Quebec are circumsized or not.

    Damn, now I got to do some research. Excuse me…

  113. #113 SaraJ
    May 6, 2010

    Totally OT, but this thread and the other one totally reminded me that if it’s a thing, people will argue about it.

  114. #114 https://me.yahoo.com/a/SaqGVG0xvJEQVwURVamS3DTCdvov0BLhXK1jOsYPPJQ-#b4893
    May 6, 2010

    What happened to the short-sighted circumcisor?

    He got the sack.

    (You’re welcome.)

    MikeM

  115. #115 Walton
    May 6, 2010

    I agree with Professor Myers here. It should go without saying that female genital mutilation is a horrible form of maiming. It’s just causing pain, suffering and physical dysfunction for no good reason whatsoever, and is medically very dangerous. Morally, it’s no different from gouging a small child’s eyes out for no reason.

    As to male circumcision, I wasn’t circumcised and I don’t know much about it – but how much does it actually matter? I realise it’s medically unnecessary, but I don’t see why it’s a big issue either way. Though admittedly this could be down to ignorance on my part. :-/

  116. #116 tracy.caraker
    May 6, 2010

    One of my friends married the love of her life from England. She told him one day how glad she was that HE was circumcised. He looked at her and, straight faced, said “I am?”. Because apparently he is NOT. So not all women even know what the difference is between the two. LOL! And yes, they have a fabulous sex life :)

  117. #117 mikerattlesnake
    May 6, 2010

    @104

    no, the conclusion I was trying to reach is “people probably shouldn’t do it, but people who do aren’t baby-mutilating savages.”

    @106

    hence the “almost”. I think you’re picking the estimates that support your cause. The estimates for complications seem to range from 0.2% to upwards of near 2%. That is definitely higher than I would like, and more convincing than the histrionics above, but significantly different than your numbers. Likewise, the complications later in life seem to range from 1-10%, significantly higher numbers.

    Every study seems to be pretty balanced (besides those that are clearly biased), so I’m still not convinced that circumcision is inherently evil. I honestly expected to be trounced pretty handily in this thread as it’s not something I have ever studied or looked into extensively (believe me, if the prospect of having a kid was imminent, I would), but it seems like my uneducated assessment of the state of things was pretty close to reality.

  118. #118 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 6, 2010

    I was circumcised as an infant. I don’t miss the piece of skin I have no memory of having or losing. I’ve been able to perform sexually to several partners’ satisfaction. And I am sick and tired of hearing or reading folks whining about male circumcision. If you’re a man and don’t like circumcision, then don’t have one. If you don’t want your son to have one then don’t give him one. Other than that, stop your nagging about it.

    Female circumcision is a whole different subject.

  119. #119 SEF
    May 6, 2010

    @ mikerattlesnake #77:

    having witnessed some pretty extreme pain and suffering I think I can’t help but be on the “cut” side.

    David Reimer vs Dr Money et al: botched circumcision incident and failed gender reassignment. A case of professional child mutilation (physical abuse), child abuse (mental abuse) and death.

  120. #120 russell.glasser
    May 6, 2010

    My two cents, which seem to be generally unpopular in my atheist group:

    I had culturally Jewish, atheist parents who circumcised me.

    I remember nothing. I have experienced no discomfort since then. I have no objection to the way it looks or feels. If there is a downside, it is beyond trivial.

    I can entertain arguments that if you are a parent, you should make the decision not to do it. I don’t really accept the idea that society should take any sort of proactive role in stopping it. As far as I can tell from anything I’ve ever read, it is a neutral action in terms of lasting effects.

    Until it is shown in some way to do any kind of demonstrable, lasting harm, I’m fine leaving the decision in the hands of the parents, whether or not it’s a decision I would make. (For the record, I didn’t circumcise my son, but I wouldn’t have opposed it either.)

  121. #121 LinzeeBinzee
    May 6, 2010

    Throwing in my two cents…a bunch of somewhat disparate thoughts on circumcision…

    My husband was circumcised at 17 for medical reasons (his brother and cousin both had the same problem).

    He’s a hockey player, and hockey change rooms it seems to me is one of those places where boys have now issues with being naked and comparing penises. There was no change in how people treated him after he was circumcised.

    My cousin recently had a baby, and they didn’t know the sex so they were trying to decide whether or not to circumcise if they had a boy (it’s a girl). I guess what doctors tell people is that there’s no medical reason to get circumcised, the only reason they might want to is so that they can be the same as other kids, so they recommend going along with what the majority of parents are choosing at the time that the kid is born. This seems to me to be incredibly stupid reasoning, but my cousin said that in his hockey change rooms they always made fun of the uncircumcised kids, so that was his dilemma.

    So since foreskin issues runs in my husband’s family, we had decided that we were going to circumcise our son at birth to avoid that pain later in life. We’ve changed now and we’re not going to do that to our baby – we had both assumed that there were other good reasons to circumcise since it’s so common, but we know better now.

    Circumcision is stupid, but it doesn’t nearly compare to female genital mutilation.

    Hey who’s seen that Bullshit episode on circumcision? Is it really true that you can form a new foreskin? That episode showed these guys who put weights on the looser skin on the shaft that stretched it out to form a brand new “hood”

  122. #122 Carlie
    May 6, 2010

    I don’t understand why the people opposing one feel like they have to compete with those opposing the other.

    That’s kind of exactly the point we were making, so just take what you meant when you said it and reverse the sexes.

    When we were trying to decide whether to circumcise my sons, with a huge amount of history and societal pressure on one side, and (for that time, pre-superinternet) a tiny bit of actual information on the other, the (male) pediatrician likened it to piercing a baby’s ears. Which…no. Piercing a baby’s ears is stupid, but not in any league with circumcision. I’m still shocked that a doctor would make that kind of comparison.

  123. #123 coughlanbrianm
    May 6, 2010

    For the record, it’s a pee pee, not a boo boo.

  124. #124 Leon
    May 6, 2010

    FWIW, I’m circumcised, and I don’t consider it a big deal. It was just what parents did back then, so I don’t hold it against mine–and I’m sensitive enough down there as it is.

    At the same time, it isn’t just what parents do any more, and there’s an awareness now just what an ugly thing the procedure is. So my son isn’t circumcised.

    He’s coming on three now and hygiene just isn’t an issue with it, for anyone who might wonder.

  125. #125 mmj_gregory
    May 6, 2010

    @118

    The problem is you didn’t choose to have your “piece of skin” removed.

  126. #126 SaraJ
    May 6, 2010

    Tis Himself, please see my post at 99.

  127. #127 mikerattlesnake
    May 6, 2010

    @106 (again) and others

    Memory and cognition have a whole lot to do with pain perception. We wouldn’t have words like “suffering” if they didn’t.

  128. #128 toth
    May 6, 2010

    So because MGM is less traumatizing, long term, than FGM, those who are complaining about the former are whiny crybabies? You know, it’s possible to say they are both horrible and leave it at that. This post was kind of a dick move, PZ.

  129. #129 Joey Mack
    May 6, 2010

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned foreskin restoration. Not surgery, stretching using specialized devices over a period of months. The guys who do it report incredible increases of pleasure and spousal satisfaction.

    I’m actually considering it. Sure it would take a long time and effort but I’m that into sex.

  130. #130 danielm
    May 6, 2010

    oh gods, quick send the waaaambulance.

    alright, hands up (eew, eew, I said *hands* up – stop that, you’ll go blind), who was the tallywhacker with a chip on their shoulder about having got their tip snipped? whoever it was, you’re officially branded with the sandy vagina branding iron.

    whilst it’s still wrong to nobble the todger, it’s nowhere near as bad, wrong, evil, fucked up, wicked, twisted and despicable as it is to slice up a girl.

    for a male, it can *sometimes* be necessary (you crazy yanks and your perversity in making it common are *not* excused) but for a girl? never. ever.

    honestly, the first time I heard about it, I thought “what the *bloody* fuck is that supposed to do? cleanliness? fuck that, I’d rather keep my one eyed trouser snake intact!” and I thanked god (yes, I was that young) that such madness isn’t common in the UK – only jews did it at the time, and not even all the time then because you got teased about it if you *did* get it lopped off.

  131. #131 The Other Ian
    May 6, 2010

    @mikerattlesnake,

    The figures I used were from the Canadian Pediatric Society, which seems to present a fairly balanced overview.

    Here’s a paper that presents a 2-10% risk of complications:
    http://www.cirp.org/library/complications/williams-kapila/

    So no, I don’t think I’m cherry-picking estimates.

  132. #132 stompsfrogs
    May 6, 2010

    I see the relation between FGM, female circumcision and male circumcision. One’s really bad, the other two are iffy. Slippery slope from circumcision of either sex to FGM. I get it. I’m fine if you guys want to talk about male circumcision. You have my permission :)

    But allow a lady to jump in and say, please don’t circumcise the boys. You’re making me go broke on lube. Condom + circumcised boy = buy stock in astroglide.

  133. #133 David Marjanovi?
    May 6, 2010

    For the record, I still have my appendix and my tonsils, too. No complaints so far.

    My problem is with the fact that this is so culturally accepted that people are NOT horrified by it.

    Only in America among Western countries.

    When I read my first circumcision thread on Pharyngula 3 years ago, I actually had to interrupt and lie down in the middle of it.

    infant circumcision is still bad, and for the most part, people opposed to the practice are mostly brushed off as weirdos by society

    What I just said.

    Damn, now I got to do some research. Excuse me…

    Heh. Have fun! :-)

    I have no idea to what extent Canadians adopted Kellogg’s insanity, and no idea to what extent the Québécois went along with the rest of Canada. I hope “Americans” was sufficiently ambiguous.

  134. #134 The Other Ian
    May 6, 2010

    Memory and cognition have a whole lot to do with pain perception. We wouldn’t have words like “suffering” if they didn’t.

    Please elaborate. In particular, what does the word “suffering” have to do with memory?

    I’ve had two surgeries in the past 6 months. I already can’t remember the experience of the pain, just the general description of it and that it sucked. I don’t consider myself worse off in any way at this moment for having experienced it.

  135. #135 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 6, 2010

    I see that toth is yet an other person who misses the point. As barbaric and silly as MGM is, it is not in the same league of harm as FGM. All PZ did was set up a seperate thread for those people who feel the need to talk about MGM instead of derailing a thread about FGM.

    Your post was kind of a dick move, toth.

  136. #136 PZ Myers
    May 6, 2010

    For the record, it’s a boo-boo on the pee-pee.

  137. #137 David Marjanovi?
    May 6, 2010

    Memory and cognition have a whole lot to do with pain perception.

    How do you know?

    We wouldn’t have words like “suffering” if they didn’t.

    Come on. It’s not like language were logical or were some kind of key to philosophical truths.

    You know, it’s possible to say they are both horrible and leave it at that.

    They just aren’t equally horrible, and that occasionally needs to be pointed out…

  138. #138 Benjamin Geiger
    May 6, 2010

    Janine:

    PZ’s wording in the body of this post was rather dickish, and toth called him out on it. Fair.

  139. #139 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 6, 2010

    For the record, it’s a boo-boo on the pee-pee.

    As opposed to the pee-pee on Boo-Boo. I will say nothing about Yogi.

  140. #140 Joe Fogey
    May 6, 2010

    What’s the big deal? I had it done as a baby for “hygienic” reasons – it seemed to be routine then. If sex was any more enjoyable it might be dangerous.

    It’s probably a mistake to get the snip as an adult, though. A guy I knew had it done in his twenties. They should have given him hormones (to suppress erection) and painkillers to take afterwards, but by some cock-up he was given two lots of hormones. He was in agony for days and started growing breasts.

  141. #141 SaraJ
    May 6, 2010

    I don’t know if you all are familiar with Dr. Dean Edell, but he is the one who convinced me that MGM is wrong. Here’s a great write-up by him http://www.healthcentral.com/drdean/408/9985.html (sorry I don’t know how to make fun linkies).

  142. #142 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Benjamin Geiger:

    PZ’s wording in the body of this post was rather dickish, and toth called him out on it. Fair.

    No, it wasn’t dickish. It was blunt and to the point. When comparing “tweaking” a 5 year old girl’s clitoris then taking a pair of scissors and cutting it and the minor labia out then sewing up the outer labia, the binding the child’s legs for two weeks all without anasthesia is nowhere near the same as MGM and the idjits who think it’s comparable deserve to be called out.

  143. #143 brianemond71
    May 6, 2010

    I can’t believe no one is talking about blowjobs yet!

    Is there a woman out there that would suck on an uncircumcised penis? If a single responded says no, then I would opt on the side of caution and get circumcised. I chose to circumcise my son for this very reason alone.

  144. #144 mikerattlesnake
    May 6, 2010

    well, suffering implies pain over time. A creature that can’t percieve time can’t suffer, it can only experience momentary pain constantly.

  145. #145 Heemahaw
    May 6, 2010

    I was circumcised as an infant, but in my early twenties restored my foreskin. Having experienced both, I have to say that being uncircumcised increases sexual pleasure immensely.
    The studies showing decreased HIV infection rates with circumcision only had that result in Africa. When repeated in Europe and North America, there was no difference in infection rates. I think this says a lot more about the effectiveness of reason-based sex ed and access to effective birth control than it does about foreskins.

  146. #146 stompsfrogs
    May 6, 2010

    You choose poorly, #143.

  147. #147 PZ Myers
    May 6, 2010

    Oh, woe for all the millions of men out there who never receive oral sex because they are uncircumcised!

    That is one of the more insane assumptions I have read yet, and there are a couple of threads today that seem to be potent insane assumption generators. I presume you are circumcised? And heterosexual? And therefore lack any knowledge at all about the hygiene or flavor of uncircumcised penises?

    Or perhaps you are an expert on penis flavors, and will soon regale us with the details as a connoisseur. Then please continue.

  148. #148 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 6, 2010

    Yes, I am belittling your loss, because compared to what mutilated women have lost, it’s goddamned trivial.

    Why, yes, Benjamin and toth, you are both correct. PZ is most certainly being asshole by pointing out that circumcised men have not been injured as much as women who have had FGM. All men should feel insulted.

  149. #149 Aquaria
    May 6, 2010

    “You’re mansplaining” is just another way of saying “I don’t care if you’re right or wrong; I’m not going to listen to you because you’re a man.”

    Sigh.

    Yes, they are mansplaining (look up the definition rather than making up your own), and it doesn’t matter if they’re right wrong or if they’re male or female. Not when every damned discussion about FSM turns into boys whining about their weenies.

    That is what y’all just don’t get. That is why we get angry when you bring it up EVERY. FUCKING. TIME. Because it happens EVERY. FUCKING. TIME. We get as tired of that as the pro-evolution crowd gets at evolution bashing. Or as much as GLBTs get tired of having to explain for the millionth time that they can’t be cured.

    You get tired of going over and over and over and OVER the same fucking ground.

    We know circumcision is bad for y’all, too. We get that. I’d wager that most of us even do what we can to stop it (including, in my case, not subjecting my son to it, and by actively discouraging friends from torturing their newborn sons that way).

    Yes, it would be great if the press covered the issue more. It needs to be. But do something to get it talked about in the press more. You need to talk to someone other than the choir if you want this to change, and you need to talk about it on its own not by feeding off another groups pain, especially when it’s worse.

    Use the forums where you could reach people about it who most need to have their consciousness raised about it. Oprah or Ellen would be a good idea. Don’t laugh–their shows reach the audience that most needs to be swayed.

    Have more television drama shows address the issue. Surely there’s a medical show or two on these days that would take up the issue. Write to these shows and ask them to address it. Get your friends to write. The more of you who do, the more likely they’ll address it.

    And so forth.

    Just don’t ask women to take a back seat and let males hog the microphone for themselves and what they care about every damned time. It gets old. And stop telling us things like what we’re concerned about is all in our heads.

    That is fucking unacceptable.

  150. #150 Sven DiMilo
    May 6, 2010

    It looks friendly!
    [/Mr. Deity]

  151. #151 mikerattlesnake
    May 6, 2010

    yeah, that BJ example was pretty silly. That’s like telling all girls to wax their snatches just because a few uptight dudes won’t have it any other way.

  152. #152 blog.notdot.net
    May 6, 2010

    @143 Your son will do a lot more masturbating than he will receive blowjobs – and wanking is a _lot_ easier and more comfortable if you’re uncircumsized.

    It honestly looks to me like many people here are arguing with a strawman. Yes, FGM is unquestionably far, far worse than circumcision. But the comparison being made is with the ‘ritual prick’ the AAP are suggesting. Can anyone provide a rational argument why a ‘ritual prick’ is worse than circumcision?

  153. #153 PZ Myers
    May 6, 2010

    Correct. I am also a man, and proudly dickish. Do not question my sexuality, ever, because I will stand up erect, big-headed, and puffed-up, and present an awe-inspiringly monumental onslaught against your soft and indefensible pose until you yield. Just call me the Big Dick of Pharyngula.

  154. #154 SomeGuy123
    May 6, 2010

    For the record, it’s a boo-boo on the pee-pee.

    I thought that was called scabies.

  155. #155 mikerattlesnake
    May 6, 2010

    how is masturbation easier? I never had any trouble.

  156. #156 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    brianemond71:

    Is there a woman out there that would suck on an uncircumcised penis? If a single responded says no, then I would opt on the side of caution and get circumcised. I chose to circumcise my son for this very reason alone.

    Well, I suppose we can hope all he ever gets are blowjobs, that way he won’t breed and pass the stupidity on.

  157. #157 blog.notdot.net
    May 6, 2010

    @155 No need for lube.

  158. #158 PZ Myers
    May 6, 2010

    Can anyone provide a rational argument why a ‘ritual prick’ is worse than circumcision?

    No. Probably because no one is arguing that it is.

    Wow. I love the easy questions.

  159. #159 Benjamin Geiger
    May 6, 2010

    Janine and Caine:

    Here we go again on the equivocation merry-go-round.

    We’re not talking about clitoridectomies. We’re not talking about barbaric bullshit they pull in Africa.

    We’re talking about making a tiny incision on the clitoris or clitoral hood, comparable to what diabetics do to their fingers up to 10 times per day.

    Stop equivocating the two. Both are wrong. One is profoundly more wrong than male circumcision, and one is arguably less wrong than male circumcision.

  160. #160 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawl3TpOVyxxwCT5cVU3M80c_cpxoMBZmiOQ
    May 6, 2010

    You know, if you regularly take a shower, having or not having that extra piece o’ skin is not really making a difference when it comes to hygiene and therefore also won’t make a difference when it comes to BJs. So there.

  161. #161 truthspeaker
    May 6, 2010

    For the record, I am circumcised*, it doesn’t bother me at all, I understand the moral argument against it, and I agree that female genital mutilation is a far more destructive procedure.

    *I am willing to prove this if asked, but don’t make any snap judgments. I live in a cold climate.

  162. #162 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 6, 2010

    Things have gotten silly when PZ starts swinging his sausage.

  163. #163 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Benjamin:

    We’re talking about making a tiny incision on the clitoris or clitoral hood, comparable to what diabetics do to their fingers up to 10 times per day.

    You’re wrong. However, this is the boy’s thread for all things penis. You want to talk FGM, hit the other thread.

  164. #164 Sven DiMilo
    May 6, 2010

    got smegma?

  165. #165 matthew.james.neil
    May 6, 2010

    Aquaria @ 149:

    Not when every damned discussion about FSM turns into boys whining about their weenies.

    That made me chuckle.

  166. #166 Benjamin Geiger
    May 6, 2010

    Caine:

    Did you actually read the previous post? Not even the thread… just the post. That’s *exactly* what the AAP is talking about.

  167. #167 blog.notdot.net
    May 6, 2010

    @PZ, 158 – But from reading this thread, most of the “circumcision is wrong” people are comparing it to the ‘ritual prick’, or making arguments about unnecessary surgery on babies in general, while most of those arguing with them are assuming the comparison is between actual (as opposed to ritual) FGM and circumcision.

    I don’t think anyone on this thread is seriously advocating circumcision is in the same league as ‘true’ FGM.

  168. #168 Mario
    May 6, 2010

    @155 Masturbation is easier because you do not need lubrication at all, you just move the foreskin up and down and away we go.

  169. #169 mikerattlesnake
    May 6, 2010

    @157

    wtf? Who told you circumcized people needed lube?

  170. #170 PZ Myers
    May 6, 2010

    Yes, Benjamin, we can make a scale of harm done, and I think everyone would agree that clitoridectomy is worse than circumcision is worse than a small incision to the clitoris.

    But the key point is that they are all wrong. None of them should be done. Murder is worse than rape is worse than robbery; that does not mean the police should issue a position paper allowing robbery to be committed because maybe it will reduce rapes.

  171. #171 hinakuu
    May 6, 2010

    I think we can all agree that no adult would want someone else deciding whether or not their genitals should be augmented/altered/amputated. (I’m talking about the present, here – for example, if you were circumcised as a child and don’t care, how would you feel about being pearled or pierced now without your consent or how about castration?)

    Why not extend the same respect to your child? Unless your child has a specific medical issue that requires genital surgery, don’t touch their genitals. Respect them for the human beings they are by letting them make that decision for themselves when they reach adulthood.

  172. #172 SaraJ
    May 6, 2010

    Penises are awesome. Vaginas, labia, and clitorises are awesome. Let’s stop cutting them up, that’s all I ask. THINK OF THE SEX ORGANS!

  173. #173 mikerattlesnake
    May 6, 2010

    In that analogy, wouldn’t robbery have to prevent murder?

  174. #174 Benjamin Geiger
    May 6, 2010

    blog.notdot.net: Exactly.

    Mario: Maybe this is just because I’m fat, but I can do that, and I’m circumcised.

  175. #175 Captain Kendrick
    May 6, 2010

    There is no such thing as female circumcision. It’s genital mutilation, plain and simple. So stop comparing the two.

    I have no problem with male circumcision. I’m glad I was circumcised. I think it looks better and so does my wife, so did all the other women I’ve been with. They’ve all said that uncircumcised cocks are gross, and I have to agree — I’ve watched plenty of porn and uncut cocks are fucking disgusting. If I was a woman, I wouldn’t go near one of them, or would at least close my eyes.

    The no-pork rule and belief in a magic god fairy and the idea that you’re the chosen race is bullshit, but those ancient Hebrews, they knew what they were doing when they started the circumcision rites. It was all about the babes. And getting more oral.

  176. #176 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    SaraJ:

    THINK OF THE SEX ORGANS!

    I am! I am! … As Jayne would say, I’ll be in m’bunk. ;D

  177. #177 SaraJ
    May 6, 2010

    Captain, you think they look gross because society has deemed it to be so – it’s what you’re used to. If you were not circumcised, I guarantee you wouldn’t find your own penis disgusting to look at. It doesn’t make cutting up an infant’s penis acceptable.

  178. #178 Benjamin Geiger
    May 6, 2010

    PZ @ #170:

    Back in the 1920s, we Americans argued that drinking alcohol is wrong. So the government outlawed it. Murders (and, more appropriately, accidental poisonings) skyrocketed.

    Even though drinking alcohol was still considered ‘wrong’, they eventually repealed the laws against it. They tightly regulated it, but they legalized a form of it.

    And we’re all better off for it.

  179. #179 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Captain Kendrick:

    I’ve watched plenty of porn and uncut cocks are fucking disgusting.

    Oh well, that makes you an expert. *eyeroll* Uncircumcised penises are not disgusting, they don’t look all that different from circumcised ones. And unlike you, I’ve seen them up close and personal.

  180. #180 matthew.james.neil
    May 6, 2010

    Anecdotally:

    When I was in the hospital after my daughter was born, I was at the nurses’ station handing in some paperwork when another new dad came up frantically trying to get the attention of one of the nurses. I found out later that his newly circumcised son had gotten meconium all over his newly circumcised penis. The father was frantic because the kid was screaming bloody murder, and he had no idea how to clean it off.

    That was enough for me to decide any future son of mine would remain uncut.

  181. #181 J Dubb
    May 6, 2010

    Just call me: Circumcised at birth… AND BITTER.

    Seriously though, I was wondering about brain plasticity and circumcision. My guess is that men who have their foreskins removed as adults will lose sensation, but men who were circumcised as infants will not lose any sensation.

  182. #182 skeptifem
    May 6, 2010

    This happens in most of the threads about FGM on skeptics forums, because most skeptics are dudes.
    Misogynist dudes have to make everything about them. They won’t even allow lesbians to have sexuality that doesn’t involve men somehow, either by commodifying and fetishizing their interactions or by hating ones that do not conform to heterosexual male fantasy. When I made threads about rape on places like JREF people made the thread into something about men being falsely accused, or how dude victims do not have enough resources (which is an issue, but get your own fucking thread, thanks). Threads about women in general turn into threads about how fuckable/not the men in the thread find her to be. It has to do with the shock of not being the center of fucking attention all the time if you ask me, because dudes take the general concern of others completely for granted. Issues that affect their half of the population are not pushed off to the side to take up a small genre deemed ‘mens issues’, mens issues are just the issues. Men make up more than half of people in popular culture and way more than half of people making decisions in society like ceos, professors, doctors, lawyers, and politicians. It is all about them constantly. Boo fucking hoo, assholes, imagine how it must feel for everyone else all the damn time next time you want to whine about how ignored your oh-so-important problems are, because no one wanting to hear you is the default for people who are actually on the receiving end of most of the violence and hardship in the world.

  183. #183 AJKamper
    May 6, 2010

    WOuld you allow someone to jaywalk if it prevented rapes?

    That’s about the level of harm we’re talking here.

    People shouldn’t get hung up on the idea of refusal to compromise with obvious stupidity if a compromise will actually help people.

    I am surprised to see so many people who care so much about their principles that they don’t care if actual FGM happens, as long as their refusal to compromise remains strong.

  184. #184 The Other Ian
    May 6, 2010

    well, suffering implies pain over time. A creature that can’t percieve time can’t suffer, it can only experience momentary pain constantly.

    “Pain over time” implies that the being is still in pain. We were talking about the memory of the pain once it’s gone, which I still maintain is irrelevant.

  185. #185 EvilSooty
    May 6, 2010

    PZ:

    The levity you are treating male circumcision with is astounding. I have followed your blog for some time and read your rants about much more trivial things, yet on the topic of parents mutilating their boys you are completely dismissive and even derisive of anyone who tries to draw attention to it.

  186. #186 AJKamper
    May 6, 2010

    Oh, and a) I’m circumcised, b) I wouldn’t do it to my son if I had one (two daughters), and c) anyone who wants to barge in with the unfairness of MGM in an FGM debate is a total maroon.

  187. #187 Captain Kendrick
    May 6, 2010

    I’ll betcha it all got started one night thousands of years ago like this:

    A Hebrew priest was fooling around with his wife, and he pulled back the foreskin, and noticed her reaction when she actually saw that way, and her eyes widened up and she realized that it so much more beautiful then she thought — it was not just an over-sized disfigured worm-like appendage, but something more erotic to worship, and play with, to enjoy.

    Then next morning he told all of his priest friends what happened in his bedroom the night before. The scissors came out.

    And so a movement had begun. Soon to become a law.

  188. #188 JBlilie
    May 6, 2010

    Disclosure: Male, circumcised for non-religous, medical reasons. Had son C’ed for same reasons.

    IMO: Only botched circumcisions are a problem. I see no issues with it otherwise at all. Although I won’t be imposing my opinions on others — if you-all want to go au naturel, good onya, hey no skin off my … er nose.

    (Normal, correctly performed) Circumcision is in no way in the same class/neighborhood/level of impact with FGM.

    [We do ALL KINDS of things to/for our kids before the age of consent; it's pretty near the definition of parenting. The medical consensus as far as I read favored circumcision for future medical prophylactic reasons at the time our son was born. I can attest peronally that it in no way interferes with a good sex life. I don't have a all-natural hangup. I've had my body modified through surgery in various ways to correct (mainly) orthopedic issues. Circumcision, for me, seems no more consequential than such surgery and certainly has fewer negative side effects/direct effects.]

    My $0.02

  189. #189 MadScientist
    May 6, 2010

    I’ve always wondered where the claims of ‘reduced sensitivity’ came from. Did Jesus miraculously restore someone’s prepuce? Or did someone think it sounded like a good idea then later claimed he’s lost all feeling in his third leg? inquiring minds want to know!

  190. #190 Travis
    May 6, 2010

    I had phimosis all of my life and for a long time I did not realize it was different than anyone else’s. When I got older I realized that something was up but I did not know it was a condition until I started having sex. Then I realized it was a problem. However, I just lived with it for years as I was silly and embarrassed about my problem. Last summer, on the urging of my girlfriend I went to a doctor, tried the steroid creams, and they did not work, and eventually had a circumcision done. It was pretty unpleasant for some time. I was naked for about a week as I was so sensitive and in pain. And rather than taking 3-4 weeks before I was healed enough for sexual intercourse I had to wait about 8 weeks. I am glad I had it done though. Since then I have been a lot more happy with how everything works.

    I am now a strong proponent of circumcision when it is needed. I think there are a lot of people out there who were embarrassed like I was and live with pretty unhappy sex lives. So I hope that by being open they might talk to their doctors about it. But please do not take this as meaning I endorse the practice of infant circumcision. I think people should be old enough to make the decision themselves. Sadly that does mean that some people like myself will have to live in some discomfort as adult.

  191. #191 Kraid
    May 6, 2010

    I have a feeling I’m going to regret even asking this, but here goes:

    If we accept that, in terms of outrageousness and evil, clitoridectomy >> circumcision > small incision or pin prick to the clitoris, then why does the third one make people livid, while the second makes people pejoratively dismissive? I recognize that not everyone is responding that way, but certainly some are.

    If the answer is that MGM is culturally ingrained while “FGM-lite” is something new, I guess I can understand how the outrage is more fresh toward the latter. But really, that doesn’t justify hating on those who draw the rather obvious and justifiable comparison to MGM. If anything, you’d think it would remind people to apply that incensed feeling toward ALL genital mutilations, instead of using a double standard to dismiss one as a “boo boo” that hormonal little boys are needlessly crying over.

    If circumcision is a boo-boo, then FGM-lite is just a boo. So that’s great, right? No? Wait… if FGM-lite is monstrous, then so is circumcision. No again? WTF?

  192. #192 pteryxx
    May 6, 2010

    *sigh* Whenever the boy-snipping fight breaks out anew, I refer folks to erotica-readers, for actual polite and curious discussion.

    Cut or Uncut – what is your preference?

    Circumcision – does it work for you?

    But in summary, some people prefer uncut partners, some prefer cut. Some men got teased for being cut, some got teased for being uncut, and for some, nobody cared. Sometimes circumcisions can lead to later medical problems, and sometimes natural foreskins can lead to later medical problems. Foreskins vary tremendously in length and tightness, and so do circumcisions. Men can have good or bad hygiene regardless. YMMV, YMMV, YMMV. Sheesh.

    I can find only one difference between the two adult conditions that doesn’t boil down to personal preference, personal comfort zone, cultural/religious standards, or minute statistical inferences:

    Some circumcised men resent the loss of their foreskins. Uncircumcised men don’t seem to resent not being snipped. They can, if they wish, choose to be circumcised later. Adult circumcision seems to be less complicated and more often successful than foreskin restoration does. Therefore, leaving boys uncut would be the less harmful default position.

    (note: this does not address the kerfuffle-veiled issue of whether infant circumcision is painful, traumatic, performed with sufficient skill, easier, or any of that. It’s finals week and I just don’t have the time; but feel free.)

  193. #193 CJO
    May 6, 2010

    If circumcision is a boo-boo, then FGM-lite is just a boo. So that’s great, right? No? Wait… if FGM-lite is monstrous, then so is circumcision. No again? WTF?

    You’re missing the point altogether, probably several. The outrage over the “compromise” approach taken to FGM by the pediatricians isn’t really over the “nicking” procedure itself (as pointless and harmful as that is), or the relative harm caused, which is quite obviously less; it is to the very idea that some, any, compromise with a barbaric and misogynistic cultural practice should even be considered. One compromises with positions one does not agree with but that one can at least understand the rationale for. This is not the case with maiming little girls for life. The practice should have been roundly condemned by the pediatricians’ group.

    And male circumcision is entirely irrelevant to that entire discussion, a red herring.

  194. #194 matthew.james.neil
    May 6, 2010

    RE: sensitivity

    The glans penis is, as I understand it, a corresponding part of the anatomy to the glans clitoris. Like the clitoral hood protects the clitoris until arousal, so the foreskin protects the glans penis when not aroused. As any (most?) women will tell you, too much direct contact with the clitoris can be overly stimulating to the point of not just being uncomfortable, but painful. While the glans penis doesn’t have as many nerve endings, it is still a very sensitive part of the anatomy. With the foreskin completely removed, the body necessarily needs to compensate for the constant stimulation that results from contact, and so dulls the sensitivity of the skin (much like developing a callous).

    I don’t know how much of a difference this makes, but there is a necessary reduced sensitivity otherwise circumcised men could never wear clothing. The increased sensitivity that men relate after a circumcision in their adult life is not just because of having skin removed in that area, it is also because a very sensitive part of their body is being overstimulated.

  195. #195 Cheerios623
    May 6, 2010

    Mutilation, Circumcision, and Nicking of children are all bad practices. Most of us here agree about this, and we are justifiably angry at folks who endorse those practices.

    Given that we’re mostly all on the same side, I don’t understand why everyone is getting so angry at each other. Save your anger for the folks endorsing the evil practice. We shouldn’t waste our anger on people who stray slightly off topic on internet threads.

  196. #196 rufustfirefly66
    May 6, 2010

    I don’t remember being circumcised, of course. I most likely wouldn’t have it done as an adult without a very good reason, but aesthetically, I like the way my cut dick looks.

    Now, when I was around 11, the meatus began closing up. They rubbed a little ointment that was supposed to numb it on the end of my dick, used forceps to pinch up the tip, and sliced off the excess. Now that hurt. And the next time I pissed, that hurt.

    But I doubt if comes close to FGM in some third world ass backward patriarchal society.

  197. #197 Kraid
    May 6, 2010

    The outrage over the “compromise” approach [...] is to the very idea that some, any, compromise with a barbaric and misogynistic cultural practice should even be considered.

    This makes sense and does clear some things up for me. Thanks. From this perspective, MGM is indeed irrelevant.

    That being said, I would contend that the other perspective I’ve presented is also a valid one. To use the (admittedly not quite perfect) murder-rape-robbery analogy, it’d be like people getting irate over robberies while being dismissive of rape victims. There’s a legitimate complaint there.

  198. #198 https://me.yahoo.com/a/SaqGVG0xvJEQVwURVamS3DTCdvov0BLhXK1jOsYPPJQ-#b4893
    May 6, 2010

    Well, allow me to draw a parallel:

    Some people have a pain in their lower-left abdomen. For many of these people, that turns out to be an appendicitis. Quick surgery, and 2 months later, you never knew you had a problem.

    For a few others, the pain turned out to be Crohn’s Disease, which stays with you for life and has a number of really nasty symptoms.

    Think of the male circumcision as being more like the appy, and the female circumcision more like Crohn’s. The appy might qualify as an interesting topic for discussion, in passing, and nothing more, while Crohn’s is life-altering, and nothing less.

    No one should be circumcised, but for men, it’s just way less of a concern than it is for women. You don’t compare the two; you contrast them.

    In some parts of Africa, close to 100% of women have been mutilated. And do you want to start talking about breast ironing, too? How about foot-binding?

    Women have it worse than men here, and it’s all about power. I thought the world had come farther than that, but I guess not.

    Been a while since I had a rant here. I feel much better now, thank you.

    (Yeah, I have Crohn’s.)

    MikeM

  199. #199 shonny
    May 6, 2010

    Posted by: A. Nuran Author Profile Page | May 6, 2010 1:47 PM

    Absolutely agree with you, PZ. Yes, it’s unfortunate that boys get their pee-pees bobbed. But it’s absolutely nothing compared to the real physical harm, complete sexual dysfunction and occasional death from female genital shredding.

    OCCASIONAL death? Do you know the conditions under which they do the mutilations? In African countries it is about hygienic as having it done in a septic tank!
    And the hags doing it (yes, in Africa it is grannies who usually perform the grisly task) generally have no qualms doing it although they see how risky the procedure is.
    And the percentage of victims getting either major debilitating infections or die is very high, there is nothing ‘occasional’ about the death rate.

  200. #200 Jimmy-boy
    May 6, 2010

    I cannot believe the poor quality of this fucking debate! Gents: the fact that you like your cut/uncut dick is totally irrelevant to the ethics of cutting them or not! Or if you like – what happened to you personnally is about as relevant as your ‘experience’ of god in a debate about her/his/its existence.

    The fact that some of you are not aware that in much of the world dicks are largely uncut – and that is entirely attractive to many women in those societies, who are just as prepared (OK – no stats – I’m guessing) to give blow jobs – is just an indication of how unbelievably ignorant you are.

    And there is no hygiene issue that I am aware of for most male Europeans. Get over it.

    But seriously. Surely this discussion is about medicine and nothing else? And/or the kind of intelligent and challenging point made in #183…

    And yes – it is stunningly irritating that we can’t have a debate on FGM without dicks taking over. Being a woman must make you want to scream on occasion.

    OK – rant over – back to subject: I sat in a school in Sierra Leone recently – in the capital, Freetown – and we discussed violence against women (in all its forms). There was almost universal agreement that FGM was wrong – both boys and girls. The Canadian White Ribbon campaign has been very helpful on this.

    Next day I went up country and we had the same discussion in a rural school. Despite significant attempts to raise the girls consciousness on the issue over some years, awareness was much lower – and tragically many of those in the discussion will end up being cut or had already been.

    I found it truly shocking. This has to remain one of the truly huge outrages of the modern world, right up there with slavery and poverty. This is an issue that the next generation will judge us on – and rightly so. How is it we do so little about it?

  201. #201 Morse
    May 6, 2010

    I’m with the “PZ is being a dick” crowd. I don’t think that anyone in the last thread was every trying to equate the horror of FGM with circumcision, but I don’t think it was wrong or sexist to open the topic up to all forms of genital cutting, especially when the AAP used the excuse that ‘nicking’ would probably be okay since it was ‘not as bad as male circumcision’. It is not a wrong response in that case to say “no, we should not be nicking women, and we shouldn’t be nicking the men either.”

    I also think that the reason that FGM threads might ‘derail’ into discussions on circumcision is that there’s nothing really to ‘discuss’ on the topic of FGM. We all agree, it’s horrible, it’s barbaric, and anyone caught doing it should be stripped of their parenting privileges. Pretty much the only thing to discuss is the fastest way we can stop this horror. I don’t even see the discussion of other forms of genital cutting as a derail when it is actually taking a stronger stand against all forms of non-consensual genital cutting.

    The thing about circumcision is that even though it’s not as bad as FGM (not even the same ballpark), it’s much more widely practiced in our society right now. As a woman in a western world, if your parents take a scalpel to your genitalia, they will be jailed. If you were a man though, they might be pressured into and applauded for that act. The reason circumcision is brought into these threads is that there is still very much a discussion to be had about circumcision (as evidenced by this thread). Just look at the people in this thread who have already had their opinions changed. Rational debate over circumcision makes a difference, whereas no number of comments will have an effect on the last holdouts of FGM.

    Sorry for the long rant, I just got tired of people throwing around words like sexist, mansplainer, and whiner when the discussion evolved in a topical and logical direction.

  202. #202 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    May 6, 2010

    Is there a woman out there that would suck on an uncircumcised penis? If a single responded says no, then I would opt on the side of caution and get circumcised. I chose to circumcise my son for this very reason alone.

    That’s pretty fucking stupid.

  203. #203 monado
    May 6, 2010

    #3, don’t do it. A generation ago, we bought in to the pressure about hygiene but you don’t have to. Teach the little nipper to wash behind his ears and between his toes and under his foreskin. He may well be one of the “with-it” kids in locker-room trends when he’s a teen (pun just slipped in there). As long as you and the baby’s mother agree, you don’t need to discuss it with anyone else: “Thank you for your advice, but our doctor doesn’t think it’s necessary” or “thanks for the information” or “ & I will discuss it” and just let the matter drop.

  204. #204 Leon
    May 6, 2010

    I can’t believe no one is talking about blowjobs yet!

    Is there a woman out there that would suck on an uncircumcised penis? If a single responded says no, then I would opt on the side of caution and get circumcised. I chose to circumcise my son for this very reason alone.

    HA! Hasn’t helped me any.

    ‘Course, results of a survey group of 1 are hardly conclusive.

  205. #205 greg.bourke0
    May 6, 2010

    I always thought it was tallywackle. But yeah, down with that sort of thing.

  206. #206 Kel, OM
    May 6, 2010

    It seems odd that anyone can defend forced genital mutilation regardless of sex. If an adult male wants to get circumcised for whatever reason, all the power to them. But forcing it on a child?

    ftr, not circumcised. Not tattooed either, would be pretty annoyed if my parents tattooed me as a baby tbh.

  207. #207 Pen
    May 6, 2010

    In the bad old days, boys were sometimes castrated on purpose. There were various reasons but not usually medical ones. That seems more on a par with many forms of FGM to me.

    Personally, I wouldn’t circumcise my son if I had one. And especially not as some kind of badge of membership to some particular sub-section of the human race.

  208. #208 Neilgue
    May 6, 2010

    My wife is a midwife and has seen what goes on.

    Her answer is that the mother should hold the baby while he is being cut. The eldest son may have it done, but none of his brothers will.

  209. #209 Weed Monkey
    May 6, 2010

    I’m sure someone must have said it already, but this simple reason should be enough: It’s his body, it’s his penis. He should be the only one to decide what to do with it, when he’s old enough.

    *just a quick check to make sure I’m on the right thread and… submit*

  210. #210 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    May 6, 2010

    *Medical reasons in adulthood*

    *Couldn’t walk properly for weeks*

    *Won’t even compare that with the hideous female shit*

  211. #211 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 6, 2010

    I’m sure someone must have said it already, but this simple reason should be enough: It’s his body, it’s his penis. He should be the only one to decide what to do with it, when he’s old enough.

    Visions of uncomfortable looking piercings just flooded my head.

    Time for beer.

  212. #212 toth
    May 6, 2010

    “All PZ did was set up a seperate thread for those people who feel the need to talk about MGM instead of derailing a thread about FGM.”

    No, Janine. That’s not all he did. Did you actually READ the fucking post? His references to “hormonal little boys wringing their hands”? You’re either being stupid or dishonest. Whichever one, you’re wrong.

  213. #213 DominEditrix
    May 6, 2010

    #26:

    But even worse than genital mutilation is refusal to vaccinate, since it has this unfortunate side effect known as,…oh what is it again?…oh, right, death.

    Someone may have addressed this, above [I don't have time to read the entire thread], but FGM is a leading cause of female death in 3rd world countries – it’s estimated that a third of all girls undergoing FGM in the Sudan die. [Girls even die in western countries, as their parents are aware that the mutilation is illegal, and therefore don't get medical care.]

    Additionally, the death/complication rates of women in childbirth and their infants is significantly higher for women who’ve been subject to FGM. So, no, refusal to vaccinate is not worse.

  214. #214 Weed Monkey
    May 6, 2010

    Visions of uncomfortable looking piercings just flooded my head.

    I’ve seen pictures of some really shrimpifying body modifications I absolutely cannot understand, but as long as it’s their own choice… whatever rocks their boat!

  215. #215 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 6, 2010

    I have read it, toth. He made fun of the whiny little boys who have to inject the concerns about what happened to their genitalia into a subject the is even more serious and more harmful. It is your problem if you could not handle the sarcasm.

    You concern is noted and is placed in the proper storage unit.

  216. #216 The Other Ian
    May 6, 2010

    Morse @200,

    Another possible reason for it, and I think the reason I’ve been spending more time in this thread than the other one, is just that FGM is so damn horrifying. I’m comfortable talking about circumcision because I can relate to it. I’m more familiar with the anatomy involved, and I know plenty of people who are circumcised who seem no worse than the wear for it.

    Reading that AAP recommendation, on the other hand, feels like watching a snuff video. I don’t want to read it, or discuss it, or think about it any more than I want to discuss a YouTube video of a street gang beheading somebody in Malaysia.

    Let me just say that I admire those who actually have the stomach to stand up and confront it and be passionate about it, because I couldn’t do that.

  217. #217 lautrec85
    May 6, 2010

    It’s funny how US folks don’t realize that their personal taste has been shaped by their American society. I have to laugh when they say “I’ve had plenty of girlfriends and all of them thought foreskin is gross, therefore chop-chop is good”, wanting to mean “I’ve checked different sources independently and all of them say the same”. Of course your girlfriends, living in the US like you, think it’s gross like you. I bet they love baseball, too.

    As for risk of disease, well, if you cut off your legs, you won’t get leg cancer, that’s for sure. Certain studies have shown that the risk of a dog bitting your leg decreases quite a bit, too.

  218. #218 pixelfish
    May 6, 2010

    Is there a woman out there that would suck on an uncircumcised penis? If a single responded says no, then I would opt on the side of caution and get circumcised. I chose to circumcise my son for this very reason alone.

    So you didn’t think to apply this “if a single respondent says no,” logic to the exact opposition proposition? Because I can guarantee there are some women/men who prefer uncut.

    Also noting that you assume your son will be hetero.

    And if you actually viewed your logic as tenable, then you’d have to accept that you also just introduced a batch of potential but shallow mates to your son’s pool.

    Basically, you cut your child on the basis of a weird notion: he might not get oral stimulation from shallow women. Bravo!

  219. #219 redrabbitslife
    May 6, 2010

    The HIV transmission thing: have you read the studies? The confounders are HUGE, far bigger than the effect. I’m always astonished that this sort of study gets published, but I can only assume the publishers were hoping nobody would look at it too carefully or something.

    The cancer thing? Hm. Maybe, but penile cancer is that uncommon. Just use a condom, and inspect your penis regularly (as if most guys need to be told).

    I’m a family doctor and people ask me for referrals routinely for circumcision for newborns.

    Here’s the rub: I give them the risks (infection, accident, poor healing) and benefits (he’ll look like daddy, usually). Someone (the mother) usually asks, hoping for reassurance I guess: “Will it hurt?”

    I say, of course it will hurt. He’ll have pain for about a week to ten days, vaseline in the diaper to keep it from sticking to the wound.

    But I can’t, in all conscience, say they shouldn’t do it. While it remains legal, I have an obligation to give them the facts and let them make their own decisions. I disagree heartily, but I can’t refuse to provide the referral.

    Before someone jumps down my throat with both feet, remember, if this was abortion and I was “morally opposed,” I would have an obligation to nonetheless provide the information and referral.

    If you have other suggestions about how I might handle this, please, help.

  220. #220 luyola
    May 6, 2010

    My 2 cents:

    Firstly, I’m from South Africa, where male circumcision is a tribal rite of passage performed at around 12-13 in certain cultures.
    My Dad’s a medical doctor and familiar with the results of these procedures – he’s assured me it’s quite a horrific practice, although not everyone it happens to agrees, probably because it’s the norm in their culture. Ring any bells?
    (incidentally, a large percentage of these boys end up hospitilised)

    Moving on, from a medical and hygiene perspective, my Dad always told me there was absolutely no reason to be circumcised. Not as far as his medical knowledge and experience had shown. Further reading on the subject in later life, as well as being the owner of a foreskin for many years, has led credence to this.

    Regarding the sensation / sensitivity argument – I have a VERY sensitive “member”. I can’t handle much friction to the exposed glans. If you can, and you must be able to if you’re circumcised, then you’re less sensitive than me. Does this make you enjoy sex less? I don’t know, but I do know that I wouldn’t wanna take the chance. Even if I had to have it cut for medical reasons, that would be an absolute last resort.
    I guess what I’m saying is, doing it to your baby without his consent is wrong, cruel, barbaric and irresponsible, not to mention disrespectful.

    To get back on topic – yes, FGM is beyond terrible, and people shouldn’t be derailing discussions about it, but that doesn’t mean you can belittle the suffering of others, just because their’s is “not as bad” (PZ, toth was right, you were being a bit of a dick, even though u were just doing so to make a point.) Other’s in this thread are just being assholes tho. You know what, just cos you’re ok with being circumcised, doesn’t mean it’s ok to allow the practice to continue unopposed.

    OK, rant over.

  221. #221 MATTIR
    May 6, 2010

    @Caine #142

    Not to mention the special ritual knife for the husband to cut the wife open for sex on the wedding night. (How romantic.)

  222. #222 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    Is there a woman out there that would suck on an uncircumcised penis? If a single responded says no, then I would opt on the side of caution and get circumcised. I chose to circumcise my son for this very reason alone.

    You idiot. Most men in Europe aren’t circumcised, yet I’m not aware of any dearth of oral sex on the continent.

    And just FYI – I wouldn’t suck your lousy dick if I was suffocating and there was oxygen in your balls.

  223. #223 toth
    May 6, 2010

    He made fun of people who objected to [male] circumcision in a thread about…genital mutilation. Yeah, huge derailment. You seem to think discussion threads must be rigidly confined to the exact content of the original post. Janine, meet the internet. Internet, meet Janine.

    He could have simply said “Yes, circumcision is bad, but female circumcision is much worse. Here’s a thread to discuss [male] circumcision.”. The jibes about whiny, hand-wringing, hormonal little boys were just entirely unnecessary, belittling, dickish additions.

  224. #224 luyola
    May 6, 2010

    oops, forgot to add:
    Some of those HIV studies were done here in South Africa, where we it’s prevalent. At first everyone was all gung-ho to circumcise their way across Africa, but as more data came in and more studies were done, it was found that the original results were inaccurate. (too small a sample or something? I can’t remember)

    Anyway, this isn’t new, people have mentioned it in this thread before, I just wanted to give the common-sense explanation from someone who lives in SA.
    The highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in South Africa is among the Black population. This is also the population group which practices the most circumcision. So all these circumcised men are spreading HIV like wildfire.
    hm, doesn’t really gel with the circumcision is preventative idea, does it?

  225. #225 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 6, 2010

    As opposed to some men who feel the need to bring up male circumspection when the much more serious issue of FGM comes up. Because that is not whiny, hand-wringing, belittling, and dickish.

    I am so fucking sorry that your fucking skin has less strength then wet tissue paper. I will weep myself to sleep over your concern.

  226. #226 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    Fake wife:

    bring up male circumspection

    That was a deliciously appropriate malapropism!

  227. #227 luyola
    May 6, 2010

    @ #225

    Nice. That really furthered the discussion in an intelligent way… (/sarcasm)

  228. #228 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 6, 2010

    Fake hubby, you mean there is such a thing?

    Sorry, luyola, I cannot take toth’s whining seriously.

  229. #229 luyola
    May 6, 2010

    Janine

    I get where you’re coming from, but toth has a point. I know PZ was being sarcastic and blunt to get his point across, but it was still a dick post. Which was exactly the point, I guess.
    Still doesn’t make it less “PZ you’re being an asshole” tho.

  230. #230 PZ Myers
    May 6, 2010

    The ‘dickish additions’ were a slap to your face. There is so much obliviousness to the expression of male privilege: just imagine if there were a thread about prostate cancer, and women kept butting in insisting that you address breast cancer RIGHT NOW. I’ve never seen that happen. I’ve seen plenty of cases where men intrude on discussions of female issues with irrelevant concerns about their special problems.

    Wake up.

    Don’t elbow women aside to bring your issues front and center. Stop and think that maybe their concerns are also important and maybe you should contribute to their discussion rather than derailing it.

  231. #231 Zeno
    May 6, 2010

    My cousin has a do-it-yourself circumcision, courtesy of a barbed-wire fence. I used the incident as the basis for a chapter in my novel, which a friend said was “laugh out loud funny”.

    I have strange friends — in addition to shortened cousins.

  232. #232 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    PZ:

    just imagine if there were a thread about prostate cancer, and women kept butting in insisting that you address breast cancer RIGHT NOW.

    Agreed with you totally, but I think it’s even worse than your analogy. Prostate cancer is much less deadly and disfiguring (usually) than breast cancer (not that that would make it OK to derail a thread about prostate cancer). What we’re seeing here is male privilege bumping aside what’s often a hideously disfiguring, horrifying act on female genitals in favor of a comparatively benign (though not OK) male circumcision. And you’re right, it always happens when this topic comes up.

  233. #233 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Mattir:

    Not to mention the special ritual knife for the husband to cut the wife open for sex on the wedding night. (How romantic.)

    Yes. That little scene was covered by Ayaan Hirsi Ali in Infidel as well, except the wife in question screamed and screamed when her husband went for the knife because he couldn’t break through with his penis; he and the families (who were waiting around for the triumphant parading of the bloodied sheet) agreed to take her to the hospital to be cut open. There really aren’t enough words for this type of behaviour.

  234. #234 Restoring Tally
    May 6, 2010

    Mutilation is mutilation. The form of genital mutilation that the AAP is talking about making legitimate is less severe than male circumcision. With the current stance of the AAP, male circumcision falls between what they want to allow for women and infibulation, the severest form of FGM.

    What say we leave the sex organs of babies alone? That means girls and boys could grow up with their whole body.

  235. #235 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    May 6, 2010

    Everybody gets teased in school about something, and your job as a parent is to raise a confident, compassionate, well-adjusted social being, not to try to anticipate and eliminate beforehand any possible source of childhood anxiety over being different in some way.

    I’m going to tell my sons (if I have any) that if anyone teases them, that they should tell the teaser ask their parents why they didn’t love them enough to not mutilate them.

  236. #236 JustALurker
    May 6, 2010

    Is there a woman out there that would suck on an uncircumcised penis?

    *waves hand vigorously*
    I will and do on a regular basis, my boyfriend is not circumcised. I hate the stigma against men who are not circumcised. My bf was hurt emotionally by people who made fun of him, and women that refused to have sex with him because of it. It’s not a problem that he’s not circumcised, it makes no difference to our sex life. If I ever have a son, he certainly isn’t going to be circumcised, there’s no point in doing it.

    And no, that doesn’t mean I go around sucking and fucking any dick and I won’t be doing anything with yours at all. (preemptive strike, I have a feeling some jackass would say something like that after my post.)

    FGM is horrible. I was first exposed to this in college when I read “The Hidden Face of Eve”. I cried when she described her experience. I also saw a video about an African women who went back to her village to try and stop the practice. She videotaped the ritual and showed it to the male elders who were horrified at the practice. They had no idea since they have never seen it done. They simply made the rule to control their women. I tried to find it to share but am still looking for it now……

  237. #237 Reaper
    May 6, 2010

    hehe…. I’m still wearing my hoodie

    That was my mature post for the year, have to lie down now.

    Seriously though, I’ve never had any negative reactions when I’m pantsless…. except maybe from ploice, but that’s a whole other story.

    - Joel

  238. #238 FossilFishy
    May 6, 2010

    Caine 233:

    There really aren’t enough words for this type of behaviour.

    Truly, but I’m going to try.

    Misogynistic, ignorant, moronic, repugnant, heinous, repulsive, barbaric, revolting, sadistic, brutal, inhuman, depraved, malevolent, foul, vile, obscene, vicious, monstrous, goddamned FUCKING EVIL!

    Ah shit, in light of the topic and the nature of this site I was trying to leave out words with sexual or religious connotations. But seriously, I have a 2 year old daughter and the thought of this practice reduces me to the words that have the most emotional weight for me, and all of those words are religious or sexual.

  239. #239 Lynne
    May 6, 2010

    When I was pregnant with my son, my husband and I argued about circumcision. I didn’t want to have him circumcised, but my husband did. He had been circumcised, and he thought his boy should look like him. This wasn’t enough for me, considering that it’s unnecessary, unnatural, and painful. My husband was adamant, and was, in fact, repulsed by the thought of an uncircumcised son (why, I still can’t understand), so I did some research. What finally convinced me to allow the procedure was a study that was done that found circumcised men were the recipients of fellatio more often than uncircumcised men. I still think it’s unnecessary and unnatural, and I wish it would go out of fashion. But at least I found a reason that let me live with the fact that I caved.

  240. #240 gregvalcourt
    May 6, 2010

    Usually I enjoy and a agree with PZ’s posts. I’m kind of annoyed with the way he framed this one: “I am belittling your loss, because compared to what mutilated women have lost, it’s goddamned trivial.” That’s like saying the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse problem is goddamned trivial compared to the Crusades.

    We live in a culture (I live in Canada) where female genitals are put on a pedestal (and rightly so) while male genitals are treated like dirt. Human rights commissions have routinely ignored this issue. What’s the point of a human rights commission if they just accept what is cultural?

    I can see why MGM comes up during FGM (it’s more horrible, I know) discussions. When your having a conversation about the flowers blooming in the garden, you don’t suddenly change the subject to MGM (it’s weird). However, if the discussion is already on GM (specifically FGM), you can move into MGM without being a weirdo. It’s not about comparing FGM to MGM, it’s simply an entry point in the conversation. It’s already illegal in our countries to perform FGM on infants. Let’s move on to discussing why it should be illegal to perform MGM on infants.

    I realize that FGM is a problem in other countries that we should all be opposed to. Let’s lead by example by showing that all forms of infant genital mutilation are not acceptable.

    I’m usually just a lurker on this forum, but I am going to call PZ on this one, because he bloody well knows what culture he is living in and he just wanted to come off as PC.

  241. #241 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    FossilFishy:

    Ah shit, in light of the topic and the nature of this site I was trying to leave out words with sexual or religious connotations.

    It’s okay, all those words fit. It is such a mind numbingly evil practice. Reading Infidel was difficult for me (on many levels). What struck me the hardest though, wasn’t the graphic descriptions of the act itself, it was the bone deep belief of so many women who had the excision done, that it was utterly necessary to be pure and that being around unexcised women is a bad, bad thing. This is so soaked into their brains, it’s terrifying.

    Thankfully, more and more women subject to this evil are waking up and they need every ounce of support we can give.

  242. #242 OurDeadSelves
    May 6, 2010

    I had culturally Jewish, atheist parents who circumcised me.

    This is the one major argument in my marriage. Mr. ODS and I are trying to have kids. I’m an atheist who was raised by atheists and he’s a Jewish agnostic. However, even though we’re not going to raise any children in a religion (duh), he insists that if we have boys they must be circumsised.

    Me: Why the hell do you even care?
    Mr. ODS: It’s a part of my culture.
    Me: I call bullshit on that. You eat bacon.
    Mr. ODS: Well, what if he decides to join a temple?
    Me: 1) He won’t and 2) they don’t do penis checks at the door.
    Mr. ODS: Yes, they do.

    He’s so irrational, I don’t think I can even win this argument. :(

  243. #243 OurDeadSelves
    May 6, 2010

    Ack. I am sucking at the blockquotes today. Let’s try this again:

    I had culturally Jewish, atheist parents who circumcised me.

    This is the one major argument in my marriage. Mr. ODS and I are trying to have kids. I’m an atheist who was raised by atheists and he’s a Jewish agnostic. However, even though we’re not going to raise any children in a religion (duh), he insists that if we have boys they must be circumsised.

    Me: Why the hell do you even care?
    Mr. ODS: It’s a part of my culture.
    Me: I call bullshit in that. You eat bacon.
    Mr. ODS: Well, what if he decides to join a temple?
    Me: 1) He won’t and 2) they don’t do penis checks at the door.
    Mr. ODS: Yes, they do.

    He’s so irrational, I don’t think I can even win this argument. :(

  244. #244 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    gregvalcourt:

    It’s not about comparing FGM to MGM, it’s simply an entry point in the conversation.

    Wrong. It’s about making penises the center of the discussion when the topic is female genital mutilation. You know, those people who don’t have penises. Every effing time FGM has been up for discussion here, the MGM brigade comes along, and it’s all about the penis. PZ and others have said this so many fucking times already: would it kill you guys to talk about the problem in regard to females just once, and leave your dicks out of it? That’s why PZ made a special boys and their penises thread.

    It’s already illegal in our countries to perform FGM on infants.

    Well, if you’d take a look at the FGM thread, you’d see that might well be in danger. Or not, if you don’t have any problems with ritual nicking of a young girl’s clitoris.

  245. #245 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    OurDeadSelves:

    He’s so irrational, I don’t think I can even win this argument. :(

    Is there no way to compromise, say fine, no circumcision in infancy, at X age, you get to have a chat with son and allow him to make the decision and if he wants it done, we’ll do it.

  246. #246 gregvalcourt
    May 6, 2010

    PZ #230:

    PZ, your analogy isn’t apt. We could stop MGM by simply not doing it anymore. Breast cancer (any cancer) requires more research to cure.

    Women’s issues are important. So are men’s. Why can’t the importance of men’s issues be = to importance of women’s issues. Females already have legal protection from FGM. In an equal world, so would males.

  247. #247 Carlie
    May 6, 2010

    However, if the discussion is already on GM (specifically FGM), you can move into MGM without being a weirdo.

    But you can’t do it without being a jerk who is pushing aside the actual issue that was raised in favor of one you’d rather talk about.

    And PZ, thank you so much for bringing it up in this way. Strong allies make bitter old feminazi hearts turn warm and fuzzy.

  248. #248 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    @Lynne:

    so I did some research. What finally convinced me to allow the procedure was a study that was done that found circumcised men were the recipients of fellatio more often than uncircumcised men.

    You’re kidding, right? You’re a Poe, right?

  249. #249 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 6, 2010

    gregvalcourt,

    ‘facepalm’

    Please read what Caine wrote #244. It is not about shutting men up. It is about not changing the subject to men’s issues when it is about women. Yes, it really is that simple.

    ‘mutters something about the poor oppressed men of the patriarchy’

  250. #250 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Josh, apparently people like Brianwhatshisface and CaptainWhatever aren’t alone in choosing ritual mutilation due to fears their son won’t get enough fellatio.

    I’m finding it very difficult to grok this moronic line of “reasoning”.

  251. #251 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    @Caine:

    I can’t grok it either, but I’m so hoping they’re just saying it as a naughty joke. Maybe? Please?

  252. #252 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    ‘mutters something about the poor oppressed men of the patriarchy’

    Janine, are you trying to make me choke on my cider?

  253. #253 OurDeadSelves
    May 6, 2010

    Is there no way to compromise, say fine, no circumcision in infancy, at X age, you get to have a chat with son and allow him to make the decision and if he wants it done, we’ll do it.

    I wish I could say that a compromise would work, but it won’t. Mr. ODS and I have talked about this extensively and there’s no way he’s accepting anything less than infant circumcision. (That’s what he had! That’s what happened to his father and grandfather! It’s tradition!)

    We’re really between a rock and a hard spot on this one. He gets to play the religion card* and I don’t, so he thinks that he automatically wins.

    My only hope is that we can resolve this before I actually get pregnant. Or, failing that, the OB/GYN listens to me on the issue and not him. Or we only have girls.

    *Even though he only kind of sorta sometimes believes.

  254. #254 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 6, 2010

    Janine, are you trying to make me choke on my cider?

    Caine, only if the result is cider coming out of your nose. Anything else would be unacceptable.

  255. #255 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Josh, OSG:

    I can’t grok it either, but I’m so hoping they’re just saying it as a naughty joke. Maybe? Please?

    I wish, I wish. I expect it’s all too true though. With all the things parents have to be concerned with, we have those who are apparently all committed to making sure their son’s dick gets sucked, by gum! Jesus, my brain is just revolting at the idiocy.

  256. #256 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    OurDeadSelves:

    Mr. ODS and I have talked about this extensively and there’s no way he’s accepting anything less than infant circumcision. (That’s what he had! That’s what happened to his father and grandfather! It’s tradition!)

    ODS, I can’t tell you how to run your relationships, but here’s how I see it:

    ODS: There’s no medical reason to circumcise our son, and I’m not going to subject him to having his foreskin cut.

    Mr. ODS: OMG! Grandpappy did! Daddy did! Tradition!

    ODS: Tradition is not a good enough reason to inflict a medical procedure on our son that’s not necessary, and which alters his natural sexual function.

    Mr. ODS: Tradition!

    ODS: Not good enough. You need to think through this more soberly. I’m not getting pregnant until you can have this conversation without reflexively insisting on genital cutting. End of story.

    Mr. ODS: Tradition!

    ODS: Neither of us owns our son, and we have no right to do something to him that he might not choose to do himself as a grown man, unless it’s necessary to save his life or protect him.

  257. #257 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    OurDeadSelves:

    My only hope is that we can resolve this before I actually get pregnant. Or, failing that, the OB/GYN listens to me on the issue and not him. Or we only have girls.

    Do you know if a physician will perform a circumcision if both parents don’t consent? You might want to find out. Also, there is info out there about what happens when a circumcision is botched, along with how often. You might want to get him some reading material. Sorry if this is ground you’ve already covered. I don’t think you should have to be in the position of mutilating your child, especially one you get to carry around for 9 months and birth.

  258. #258 JustALurker
    May 6, 2010

    @248

    That’s what I was thinking.

  259. #259 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    @Caine:

    we have those who are apparently all committed to making sure their son’s dick gets sucked, by gum! Jesus, my brain is just revolting at the idiocy.

    Oy. Oy. Oy.

    As a Public Service Announcement to all those parents who Fear Their Sons Won’t Get Enough Fellatio:

    Get off it. Those who like to suck dick are definitely going to suck some dick, cut or no. Your sons will get their dicks sucked in proportion to their desirability as mates (be they temporary, or more long-term), not with any regard to your stupid fantasies about pretty dicks.

    Jesus. . .that we even have to have this discussion.

  260. #260 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Janine:

    Caine, only if the result is cider coming out of your nose. Anything else would be unacceptable.

    Good thing I wasn’t drinking when I read this, or you would have gotten just that result. :D

  261. #261 Lynne
    May 6, 2010

    @Josh

    You’re kidding, right? You’re a Poe, right?

    No, just a mother who bowed to social pressure, and tried to rationalize it.

  262. #262 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    @Lynne:

    No, just a mother who bowed to social pressure, and tried to rationalize it.

    I commend you for your honesty.

  263. #263 tremorfan
    May 6, 2010

    PZ, I have a lot of respect for you, but here you’re simply off-base. No one is arguing that male circumcision is worse than female circumcision, but the difference is that most, if not all, of the women here have never had their genitals mutilated, whereas most of the men probably have. This has nothing to do with male privilege, and you should know it.

    And Josh, Official Spokesgay (a title which I somewhat resent, btw), it wouldn’t make sense to never talk about gay marriage or ENDA just because gays in Africa are terrorized, imprisoned, and killed. While the situation there is terrible, it really isn’t very relevant to our lives, and you know it. It doesn’t represent “white privilege” or “American privilege” to be concerned about situations that actually affect us.

  264. #264 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Josh:

    Jesus. . .that we even have to have this discussion.

    I know. And they’re the parents. Oy vey.

  265. #265 mommimus-prime
    May 6, 2010

    The first time I saw a circumcision as a student nurse convinced me that I’d never subject any potential future son to that. I was 20 and didn’t have my son until I was 41. I’ll never, ever forget it. I also remember that the only discussion in class was basically a nondiscussion. Not circumcising wasn’t even an issue. This was in the mid 70s.

    I didn’t have any trouble convincing hubby but then I was the one who told him he was circumcised. He had no clue. It was harder convincing the pediatrician and a special note had to be placed on my chart because it was so routinely done that without the note, he would’ve been cut. This was in the late 90s. If things are different now, I’m overjoyed to hear it.

  266. #266 headers
    May 6, 2010

    I am an uncircumcised male living in North America. There is no ostracism, I have never had a problem.

    Chopping pieces of sexual organs off kids is legally assault, in addition sexual assault, and also just plain wrong. Anybody who performs it or sanctions it should be tried, sentenced and put on the sex offenders list. That means you, parents going with the flow. It is a serious crime and is plainly wrong to any thinking person.

    S

  267. #267 gregvalcourt
    May 6, 2010

    #244

    Wrong. It’s about making penises the center of the discussion when the topic is female genital mutilation.

    So when female genitals come up, we should just stay on that topic forever? Let’s talk about vulva forever, because only the vulva deserves protection.

    If MGM is all about the penis, then FGM is all about the vulva. What’s your point?

    would it kill you guys to talk about the problem in regard to females just once

    It doesn’t kill me (it hurts, though, because no one should have to deal with GM) to talk about female side of the problem. It’s horrible.

    if you don’t have any problems with ritual nicking of a young girl’s clitoris.

    I do have a problem with ritual nicking of young girls genitals. It’s disgusting. Please don’t project on me. I also have the same problem with nicking of baby boys genitals, and even more so the cutting off of sensitive tissue.

    That’s why PZ made a special boys and their penises thread.

    That’s why I’m commenting here.

  268. #268 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    tremorfan:

    No one is arguing that male circumcision is worse than female circumcision, but the difference is that most, if not all, of the women here have never had their genitals mutilated, whereas most of the men probably have.

    When a discussion about female genital mutilation gets overrun by penis discussion, it’s worse than comparison, it’s complete indifference to a subject which involves females not males.

    As for most women here not having mutilated genitals, that’s right. Most men here, if circumcised, had it done as infants and have no memory and no knowledge of ever being different, so don’t make out like it is anything like FGM. It’s not. If you men had the head of your penises removed routinely, fine, then we could compare and have equal things happening. And just in case you haven’t noticed, the females, for the most part, are vociferously against MGM.

    None of that though has to do with one simple godsdamned thing: when it is an issue which has to do specifically with females, including a law that deals only with females that a bunch of you men simply cannot discuss the subject without steering the discussion to your penises. Christ, how many times does that need to be said?

  269. #269 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    I’m going to back off a little bit (surprisingly), and defend Lynne (see her comment at #261

    Women -mothers- are under tremendous social pressure to be perfect. From time immemorial, society lays the blame, or the laurels, for how the child turns out at the feet of the mother. The man can come in, inseminate, and leave, yet the mother is left to pick up the pieces, raise the child, feed it, and be responsible for everything that goes wrong or right in the child’s development.

    My mother got “knocked up” with me at 18, by a much older bartender. She gave birth to me at 19, fighting her entire family, who refused to speak to her, since she was a “slut” who was “fallen.”

    In 1974, when I was born, the scientific vogue was to feed your kid baby formula. It was specially formulated, see, to give kids all the vitamins they needed, and it was infinitely better than breast milk. My mother was terrified to even try to breast feed me, because she was convinced she’d be depriving me of nutrients.

    When my brother and sister came along years later, the pendulum had swung. If you didn’t breast-feed your baby, you were depriving her of crucial bonding (and vitamins) she needed to grow up healthy. When my mom had to put the tit away (because it was fucking sore), she felt guilty giving my sister a bottle.

    As a consequence of this schizo bullshit, my mother blamed herself, variously, for:

    1. My homosexuality

    2. My sister’s personality problems

    3. Every damned thing her kids did that wasn’t “normal”

    It’s not right, it’s not accurate, and it’s not fair.

  270. #270 OurDeadSelves
    May 6, 2010

    Josh and Caine:

    Thanks for the advice, guys :). I know a big part of the problem is that we haven’t been able to talk about it rationally because we’re both so stuck in our ways.

    I didn’t mean to turn this into a “poor ODS and her problems” convo. To bring it back on track, the whole “fellatio argument” has got to be bunk– from experience, I don’t care one way or the other and I doubt that many other people do either. If you like penis, you like penis. End of story.

  271. #271 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    @Tremorfan, #263:

    And Josh, Official Spokesgay (a title which I somewhat resent, btw),

    You needn’t resent it. It’s a tongue-in-cheek joke, delivered with a lot of sarcasm and winking. It’s not serious at all.

  272. #272 gregvalcourt
    May 6, 2010

    #247

    But you can’t do it without being a jerk who is pushing aside the actual issue that was raised in favor of one you’d rather talk about.

    Please tell me when it is appropriate to raise the issue. And why is it more import to talk about FGM in a culture that promotes MGM? How do we set an example by arguing over a form of GM that is not acceptable in our culture while ignoring a form that is?

  273. #273 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    gregvalcourt:

    If MGM is all about the penis, then FGM is all about the vulva. What’s your point?

    My point is that certain men are incapable of discussing female genital mutilation. In the FGM thread, there weren’t even 10 fucking posts before the all important subject of penises came up. It’s as PZ said, if there was a discussion about prostate cancer or testicular cancer, would you be impressed it it were overrun with woman talking about vaginal and ovarian cancer? For fuck’s sake, what’s so hard to grasp here?

  274. #274 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    OurDeadSelves:

    I didn’t mean to turn this into a “poor ODS and her problems” convo.

    If you can’t discuss it in this thread, then where? It’s a major problem, I know it’s not one I would settle on if I had ever wanted kids. I don’t know exactly how I would have handled it, either, if it turned out my partner was opposed.

  275. #275 DexX
    May 6, 2010

    I got the snip as a bouncing baby boy and I’ve never had an issue with it. I’m also a big old queer who has had the opportunity to play with quite a few others belonging to both the hoodie and polo-neck camps. Quite frankly, none of these guys seemed to be better or worse off with or without their foreskins. A few guys I have know have had some hygiene and infection troubles with their uncircumcised penises, but not enough that they wanted to lop off their foreskins. Equally, though, none of the snipped guys I have known have ever expressed sadness about the bit they lost.

    Compared to a clitorectomy, a missing foreskin is nothing. The only issue I have with male circumcision is the pain it causes a little baby and the low risk of infection afterwards. In comparison, women who lose their clitorises may never be able to even enjoy sex, let alone have an orgasm, throughout their entire lives.

    People focus on the orgasm, but straight and bi guys, just think about female arousal for a moment. Clitoral stimulation is one of the best ways to increase arousal, make the vagina lube up to prepare for penetration, and just plain feel good. Forgot trying to get a woman off; how hard would it be to simply turn her on with all those vital nerve endings missing? Imagine a culture where the husband will get to fucking whether his wife is physically prepared or not. Without a clitoris, she may not lube up at all. Can you even begin to imagine how painful that would be? Even consenting sex would feel like brutal rape.

    Female circumcision is all about making sex a pleasureless, joyless, loveless thing for women. Male circumcision is simply nothing in comparison.

    Of course not – would the religious patriarchy invent a custom that would make it impossible for them to enjoy sex? Of course not. Fucking it up for women, though, that’s a-okay.

  276. #276 middo
    May 6, 2010

    My father was circumcised. He also did National Service as it was known in the 50′s. He said that on outback camps, by day 3 without washing you could smell which guys were circumcised and which were not, from 3 feet away. He had me circumcised. I have not suffered, and do not regret his decision at all. When my son was born, I also had him circumcised, for the same reasons.

    More recently, AIDS research shows that circumcised males are less likely to contract HIV than those who are “intact”. In fact, a South African study was stopped, and all males offered circumcism because the evidence half way through was so clear that a circumcised male is less likely to catch HIV.

  277. #277 OurDeadSelves
    May 6, 2010

    Caine you are awesome:

    If you can’t discuss it in this thread, then where? It’s a major problem, I know it’s not one I would settle on if I had ever wanted kids. I don’t know exactly how I would have handled it, either, if it turned out my partner was opposed.

    It’s especially tough because Mr. ODS gets so fucking righteous about the whole damned issue of circumcision. He goes from being a regular non-religious guy to OMG! MY PEOPLE! YOU’RE DENYING US OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE! And we haven’t even had a kid yet.

    Fuck it. From now on, we’re only eating Rakfisk until he gives up.

  278. #278 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    @OurDeadSelves:

    He goes from being a regular non-religious guy to OMG! MY PEOPLE! YOU’RE DENYING US OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE! And we haven’t even had a kid yet.

    Girl, please. If he wants to have that argument, send him to me. I’ll throttle his ass so hard he won’t even see it coming. That’s bullshit.

    Or, if you want to be more gentle with him, I can do that too. We can talk for a while about the precious, to-be-treasured “cultural heritage” of chopping up penises. Your choice, and I take Visa/Mastercard.

    Bottomline: You have to draw a line in the sand. No compromise, no giving in to his stupid ego.

    And it is stupid.

  279. #279 gregvalcourt
    May 6, 2010

    My point is that certain men are incapable of discussing female genital mutilation.

    I think that most intelligent men who read this site regularly are capable of discussing FGM.

    if there was a discussion about prostate cancer or testicular cancer, would you be impressed it it were overrun with woman talking about vaginal and ovarian cancer?

    If a thread about prostate cancer was “overrun” with woman talking ovarian cancer, I wouldn’t try to make out like the cause for my gender was more important. Cancer is nothing that anybody wants, regardless of gender. My sentiment is that we should find a cure for cancer for the human race, not for just males, not for just females.

  280. #280 Morse
    May 6, 2010

    @Caine #273 I think the problem people are having is that you keep trying to turn this into some sort of sexist issue. You are insinuating that people brought up circumcision because MEN REALLY JUST WANT TO TALK ABOUT THEIR PENISES AND IGNORE WOMEN’S PROBLEMS. You’re being insulting. You’re acting as though men are more interested in their penises, and couldn’t care less about a women being brutally tortured.

    Does it escape you though that, in a thread about genital mutilation, and whether it’s okay in our society, that someone may just comment on a form of genital mutilation that’s still really common and accepted in our current society.

    I think that splitting the threads was a good idea, this one has turned into a fruitful discussion about male circumcision, and the other thread has refocused on the AAP’s policies.

    Just please, stop implying that anyone who brings up male circumcision in a genital mutilation thread is a misogynist who only wants to talk about penis. Stop trying to make this a battle of the sexes when it doesn’t need to be one.

  281. #281 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 6, 2010

    Fuck it. From now on, we’re only eating Rakfisk until he gives up.

    Good plan. Throw in the some lutefish and surströmning just to be on the safe side.

  282. #282 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 6, 2010

    I didn’t mean to turn this into a “poor ODS and her problems” convo.

    Caine already commented on this but I feel the need to second her. You did no such thing. It was on topic and it is a dilemma that many women have to face. Good luck in conceiving a fetus and good luck in talking hubby into going her route. And I hope that the advise given helps you and oher mothers to be.

    I just wish more women were like mommimus-prime, see what it is and decide that it is something that baby boys should not go through.

  283. #283 OurDeadSelves
    May 6, 2010

    Josh, OSG, OM

    Bottomline: You have to draw a line in the sand. No compromise, no giving in to his stupid ego.

    And it is stupid.

    Thank you! Hearing that from a dude means so much. Every guy I know is either in the “I don’t remember it, so I don’t care (but it should be done anyway)” or the “tradition/locker room/hygiene/any other stupid argument you can think” camp. I want to slap them all silly.

    Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one that cares about my future son’s future penis.

  284. #284 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    OurDeadSelves:

    He goes from being a regular non-religious guy to OMG! MY PEOPLE! YOU’RE DENYING US OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE!

    Oh boy. For me, those would be fightin’ words, as in you’re gonna die. There has to be a way to discuss that particular distinction though. There has to be a wealth of ways in which his actual cultural heritage is displayed and shared, if not by him specifically, then by family.

    Passing on deliberate bodily mutilation is not a good way to share cultural heritage, it’s like passing on abuse. It’s just continuing the cycle. I honestly think you need Jewish perspective on this, to give you talking points which are truly helpful, so I’d bring this up in the endless thread (after the frickin’ election and the resultant must talk about it forever biz) to get a lot of varied viewpoints. JeffreyD might be very helpful, he’ll be back to the thread in a while.

    Meanwhile, you might have something with that Rakfisk. I know if I was threatened with lutefisk, it would be a most powerful weapon. ;D

  285. #285 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    OurDeadSelves:

    You’re welcome. And you’re NOT:

    the only one that cares about my future son’s future penis.

    Your instincts are right. Your ethical compass is right. Very few men or women are willing to stick their necks out for this, but that’s because they’re going along with the crowd, and they’re wrong. You’re right.

    Don’t be pressured, don’t be dissuaded. Your son deserves to make his own choices about his body, when he’s an adult. Your husband can – to be candid – go fuck himself sideways and worry about his own cock. He doesn’t own your son’s dick too.

  286. #286 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Janine:

    I just wish more women were like mommimus-prime, see what it is and decide that it is something that baby boys should not go through.

    You know, that might not be a bad idea, for ODS to see if it would be possible to watch a circumcision, with the Mr.

  287. #287 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Josh:

    He doesn’t own your son’s dick too.

    Damn straight. I know if it was me (I am not a nice person), I’d ask him what was more important to him: not being able to pass on his “cultural heritage” through mutilation or not having a son at all. His fucking choice.

  288. #288 Sven DiMilo
    May 6, 2010

    female genitals are put on a pedestal (and rightly so) while male genitals are treated like dirt

    That is a very weird metaphor/simile suite there.

  289. #289 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    @Caine, #287:

    I’m with you. It’s not about being a “nice” person, it’s about what’s ethically right. Parents have no ethical claim over their children except to protect and nurture them. They have no right to cut them up, indoctrinate them, or mold them into little monsters.

    I don’t like children, as a class. They annoy the shit out of me. But I’ll stand in the way of any adult who tries to abuse or mutilate a child.

  290. #290 Rachel Bronwyn
    May 6, 2010

    ?He said that on outback camps, by day 3 without washing you could smell which guys were circumcised and which were not, from 3 feet away.?

    This is bullshit. Even if it were true, most people have access to showers daily, so it doesn?t matter.

    ?He had me circumcised. I have not suffered, and do not regret his decision at all.?

    How could you? You have no grasp of what being uncut entails. You don?t know what you?re missing. Doesn?t mean you aren?t missing out on anything.

    ?When my son was born, I also had him circumcised, for the same reasons.?

    So, when he doesn?t shower for days at a time, his dick doesn?t stink? I?ll just teach my kids proper hygiene, thanks.

    ?More recently, AIDS research shows that circumcised males are less likely to contract HIV than those who are “intact”.?

    And guess what?s more than twice as effective regarding HIV transmission prevention? Condoms. And you don?t lose a big chunk of your dick when you use them. For most of us in the developed world, there?s also the option of not having sex with people with HIV.

    Unless you live in an HIV-ridden part of the world where condoms aren?t available to you nor is clean water, circumcision is completely without merit.

  291. #291 djinnag
    May 6, 2010

    This will be a tl;dr post, word of warning.

    Definitely feel that any thread on FGM should just have a separate thread for male circumcision paired with it, as I have never seen one that didn’t get at least 1/4 derailed by it, even on the most feminist-oriented of blogs.

    I must apologize for being part of the problem – as an American straight female, I have a strong preference for circumcized penises. Don’t think I’ve ever seen one IRL on a male older than 8 days (shout-out to all the other former WWCG cultists that I know are Pharyngulites, though since so many Pharyngulites are quite familiar with the details of the Old Testament, that’s not such an inside joke between former Armstrongites and jewish people). That’s what squicks me out the most about European porn, there’s something wrong with the penises! Yes, intellectually I know that there’s nothing wrong with them, they’re the way they were born, and my reaction is the same as a dood freaking out that his new g/f doesn’t have the same effortlessly perfect breasts and manicured toes and smooth and golden legs he’s used to seeing everywhere. If I were to suddenly encounter an adult man’s uncircumcized penis, or even a toddler that was uncircumcized still learning toilet training and needing assistance in learning the boundaries betwen pants-time and pants-optional time, it would have to watch myself very carefully to make sure I didn’t react in a way that might potentially give the guy any sort of complex over looking like a freak due to seeing my reaction. Much more likely at this point in life (the sibs on both sides are in full spawn mode, though thankfully only one nephew among three neices) that it would be due to toddler training. And as much as I would hate making an adult male feel bad/weird, I’d hate even more to ruin some boy’s psyche for life.

    I’m safe, for now, very secure relationship, but we might want to go to an adults-only risque vacation spot abroad at some point in the vague future. Very unlikely that any full sized uncircimcized penises will be put anywhere near my line of site in the near future. Yeah, sure, there’s always uninvited flashers, but the proper response to those is to laugh, regardless of details of what they are trying to flash, so no worries about psychological damage to them.

    But, as much as I’m bothered by seeing foreskins on adults, I’m really bothered by the ethical problems with removing them from infants. Yes, it’s not the same thing, but I clearly remember being traumatized when my mom took me to get my ears pierced when I was 2. I don’t care now, kinda glad that they were done so young that I can go without earrings for a year and no worries that they’ll close up, but…. I was very clear when my sister came along that they really needed to wait until SHE asked to have it done. Yes, a quick poke in the earlobe is in no way comprable to snipping off parts of the genitals, but unless there is such a strong cultural bias in favor of the procedure that mental health issues of being non-compliant clearly outweigh the permanent physical alteration, I just can’t justify it. When my sister got old enough to articulate that she wanted “holes in my ears, like Djinna!” she was old enough to endure the pain because it was her choice, and not something she got dragged to a mall to do.

    I’m really hoping that our future spawn are all of the female variety, in a significant part due to just not wanting to have to deal with this very issue. It’s wrong to do that do babies, but…. it’s also my personal preference. The Djinnman doesn’t seem to have any strong feelings on it, seems to think that his was done just because he happened to have a jewish pediatrician (I keep reminding him I’ve seen a whole helluva lot more up close and personal than he has, and they can’t all have had jewish peds, it’s just the default state amongst American white middle class east coast types). I really hope he doens’t have any great desire to have his son look like daddy does in the shower, but all of our discussions on the topic have left me with the impression that he doesn’t have any super-strong feelings on the matter. I think it’s wrong, but it’s also my preference. Which leaves me feeling very conflicted, and worried that I might just leave the final decision up to him, as the only one with any direct experience in the matter. Standard liberal guilt over having preferences that don’t match my morals

  292. #292 OurDeadSelves
    May 6, 2010

    There has to be a wealth of ways in which his actual cultural heritage is displayed and shared, if not by him specifically, then by family.

    Besides the holiday part, there’s not much that Mr. ODS has done to celebrate his heritage. Scratch that, he also likes to make and eat traditional Polish foods. Which is partially why I don’t understand why he’s so insistent on the circumcision issue– my best guess is that it’s a combination of religious upbringing and American society saying that a cut wiener is the preferred wiener.

    ps- My Dad has horror stories about having to eat lutefisk as a kid. From the way he described it (lumpy snot in sour cream), I didn’t believe that it could be something that people actually willingly ate until I saw my granddad sucking it down like it was his last meal. Why, oh why, do I have to be descendant of people with shitty foods?

    pps- I don’t know what’s wrong with me and all of my blockquote fails today. I haven’t even been drinking!

  293. #293 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Josh:

    I don’t like children, as a class. They annoy the shit out of me. But I’ll stand in the way of any adult who tries to abuse or mutilate a child.

    I’m right there with you, every word of the way. I don’t like them either, but some shit isn’t right and it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) matter that someone justifies mutilation because of blowjobs or cultural heritage. Wrong is wrong.

  294. #294 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    #291:

    Are you fucking nuts?

  295. #295 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    @Caine, #293:

    Amen. If there were a better word for it. . . :)

  296. #296 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 6, 2010

    they’re the way they were born, and my reaction is the same as a dood freaking out that his new g/f doesn’t have the same effortlessly perfect breasts and manicured toes and smooth and golden legs he’s used to seeing everywhere.

    um, no

    It’s nothing like that

  297. #297 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    OurDeadSelves:

    My Dad has horror stories about having to eat lutefisk as a kid.

    I consider lutefisk to be Roundworld’s equivalent to Discworld’s dwarf bread. You’ll eat anything else first. Just one look will do it. ;)

    djinnag:

    If I were to suddenly encounter an adult man’s uncircumcized penis, or even a toddler that was uncircumcized still learning toilet training and needing assistance in learning the boundaries betwen pants-time and pants-optional time, it would have to watch myself very carefully to make sure I didn’t react in a way that might potentially give the guy any sort of complex over looking like a freak due to seeing my reaction.

    You’ll pardon me sayin’, but having a friend who is uncircumcised and willing to let you have a long look (and gape and freak and all that) is very helpful, and generally takes care of the problem.

  298. #298 Rachel Bronwyn
    May 6, 2010

    My ears were pierced around ten and I can go years without wearing earings without the holes closing. None of my other piercings close when I don’t wear jewellery either. I don’t think it has a thing to do with age.

  299. #299 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 6, 2010

    Josh:

    I don’t like children, as a class. They annoy the shit out of me. But I’ll stand in the way of any adult who tries to abuse or mutilate a child.

    I’m right there with you, every word of the way. I don’t like them either, but some shit isn’t right and it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) matter that someone justifies mutilation because of blowjobs or cultural heritage. Wrong is wrong.

    me three and my wife too

  300. #300 OurDeadSelves
    May 6, 2010

    You know, that might not be a bad idea, for ODS to see if it would be possible to watch a circumcision, with the Mr.

    In theory, yes that would be in great idea.
    In practice, though… ugh, I’d lose my lunch.

    Don’t be pressured, don’t be dissuaded. Your son deserves to make his own choices about his body, when he’s an adult.

    You’re totally right, Josh. I’m not backing down from this.

  301. #301 gregvalcourt
    May 6, 2010

    I was born with foreskin. Evolution endowed me with it. But my father, who was friends with the invisible man in sky, heard from other men who were also friends with the man in the sky, that the perfect creator had made a mistake, and so my father had my genitals trimmed.

  302. #302 Stephen Wells
    May 6, 2010

    Do the US posters talking about cleanliness and fellatio have any idea how fucking stupid this sounds from the perspective of countries which don’t routinely snip?

  303. #303 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    ODS:

    I know I’m hardcore, and uncompromising, and that’s not always the best way. But in your case, I think you need to hear it.

  304. #304 Rachel Bronwyn
    May 6, 2010

    I honestly don’t think Americans who preach the supposed benefits of circumcision realise how dumb they sound to the rest of the world, who does just fine without modifying their genitals at birth.

  305. #305 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Stephen, I seriously doubt it. If it helps, both Josh and I are ‘Mericans and we about had a meltdown over the fellatio thing.

  306. #306 Weed Monkey
    May 6, 2010

    @djinnag #291:

    Did you really just say you’d like to circumcise your son because that’s your sexual preference? You really need to start thinking, hard and good.

  307. #307 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    @Stephen:

    Do the US posters talking about cleanliness and fellatio have any idea how fucking stupid this sounds from the perspective of countries which don’t routinely snip?

    Yes. Which is why I keep beating my fellow Americans over the head.

  308. #308 Rorschach
    May 6, 2010

    Are you fucking nuts?

    She expressed an opinion and her preference.You might disagree.Why call her fucking nuts?

  309. #309 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    #291:

    Oh, gee, Rorschach, shall we start this up again?

  310. #310 OurDeadSelves
    May 6, 2010

    I know I’m hardcore, and uncompromising, and that’s not always the best way. But in your case, I think you need to hear it.

    I did need to hear it and I’m sure I will in the future.

    I’m still learning that there are things that can be compromised on and things that can’t. I’ve always liked to be the person who can find the middle ground but dammit, this is too freaking important to back down on.

  311. #311 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Rorschach:

    Why call her fucking nuts?

    Because her main knowledge of penises is cut ones, uncut ones freak her out, ’cause she’s never been near one and her sexual preference is for cut penises and she doesn’t think she could cope with a child who wasn’t cut, ’cause it might be icky and it’s really no big deal, mutilating a penis, because it’s like not having perfect breasts or a perfect manicure.

    Josh is far from the only one who had an issue with that post.

  312. #312 Gaia sighs...
    May 6, 2010

    “what’s the evidence for reduced sensitivity?”

    Male circumcision removes the frenar band, that band of super-sensitive Meissner’s corpuscles lining the foreskin that are responsible for a male’s actual,volitional control of orgasm. Males who possess an intact foreskin are usually more gentle lovers, who needn’t resort to paroxysms of athletic thrusting to achieve a little death — as Maimonides well knew when he advised that circumcision’s actual intent was to lessen sexual pleasure (for their mates, as well as the men afflicted).

    I’m rather taken aback by PZ’s almost rabid belittlement of male circumcision and those who dare to mention it in the same breath as FGM. Such a reaction would surely be a pointer to serious denial if it was observed in a clinical setting…

  313. #313 Rorschach
    May 6, 2010

    Did you really just say you’d like to circumcise your son because that’s your sexual preference? You really need to start thinking, hard and good.

    If you would read for comprehension and not confirmation you would not have missed this part :

    Which leaves me feeling very conflicted, and worried that I might just leave the final decision up to him, as the only one with any direct experience in the matter.

  314. #314 Weed Monkey
    May 6, 2010

    BTW my main objection with lutefisk – or lipeäkala as we say – is that it doesn’t taste much like anything. On christmas table it’s topped with a bland sauce made of milk and flour, and flavoured usually with just allspice.

  315. #315 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    OurDeadSelves:

    I’ve always liked to be the person who can find the middle ground but dammit, this is too freaking important to back down on.

    Just remember, if you do have a son (or more than one), they will thank you for their bodily integrity and the right to make that choice for themselves. Keep that as inner steel.

  316. #316 Kraid
    May 6, 2010

    Morse #280

    Does it escape you though that, in a thread about genital mutilation, and whether it’s okay in our society, that someone may just comment on a form of genital mutilation that’s still really common and accepted in our current society.

    Well obviously such a person is a sexist ogre who must always divert attention away from women, preferably to his all-important penis. Sheesh, been on the Internet long?

    Curiously, I think that kind of attitude (the one I’m parodying, not yours) reveals a subtle sexism of its own, but I’ll not push my luck trying to make that case here.

  317. #317 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    And also, Rorschach, because her entire post was Word Salad, and you know it. But don’t let that stop you from trying to find something negative to say about me, god forbid. No, it’s not about me at all, it’s just your objective disagreement with my posts.

    Whatever.

  318. #318 Stephen Wells
    May 6, 2010

    @313: did you read the other, fucking nuts, parts?

  319. #319 Kendall909
    May 6, 2010

    Captain Kendrick:

    I’ve watched plenty of porn and uncut cocks are fucking disgusting.

    Funny how people in cultures where circumcision isn’t the norm don’t see dicks with an extra bit of skin as fucking disgusting.

    I understand it’s fairly common for women in porn to have undergone labiaplasty. Protruding labia are seen as something disgusting and ugly, needing to be surgically removed to have nice looking genitals. From what I’ve read that’s one of the fastest growing forms of cosmetic surgery for women.

    Unlike FGM, that kind of aesthetic female genital cutting seems quite comparable with foreskin removal, but I doubt many people would accept it being performed on young girls.

    Personally, I’d quite like to live in a world where our natural bodies aren’t considered ugly and in need of surgical alteration.

  320. #320 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 6, 2010

    Gaia sighs:

    Males who possess an intact foreskin are usually more gentle lovers, who needn’t resort to paroxysms of athletic thrusting to achieve a little death — as Maimonides well knew when he advised that circumcision’s actual intent was to lessen sexual pleasure

    That’s useful information. Thank you.

  321. #321 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 6, 2010

    BTW my main objection with lutefisk – or lipeäkala as we say – is that it doesn’t taste much like anything. On christmas table it’s topped with a bland sauce made of milk and flour, and flavoured usually with just allspice.

    Hell is not comprised of pain and horror, it is rife with bland boring nothingness.

  322. #322 OurDeadSelves
    May 6, 2010

    Hey, thanks for everything, guys! :) Seeing as though it’s about midnight here, I am off to bed.

    I’ll pop in the endless thread after the election fervor dies down* to see if anyone has any advice for approaching this rationally.

    And one last note about lutefisk: it’s not the taste, it’s the texture.

    *The election was tonight, right? I only have to wait until the post-election analysis is done, right? YOU BRITS BETTER GET CRACKIN’ ON THAT. I have more important things to discuss than your silly “parliament.”

  323. #323 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 6, 2010

    Night, ODS. .sleep well honey!!!:)))

  324. #324 Stephen Wells
    May 7, 2010

    Can we have a huge fucking CITATION NEEDED on the claim that having foreskins makes men more gentle lovers?

  325. #325 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 7, 2010

    G’night, ODS, sleep sweet!

  326. #326 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 7, 2010

    Stephen, sure. I’d like to see citations on that, actually.

  327. #327 Kraid
    May 7, 2010

    #291:

    So basically you’re squicked out by intact penises because all the ones you have experience with have been of the mutilated variety. You’ve been societally conditioned to see mutilation as normal. I’m sure there are men and women in some cultures who would be quite squicked out by your intact vulva, too.

    Fortunately for you, none of them were ever in charge of making decisions regarding your bodily integrity.

  328. #328 Stephen Wells
    May 7, 2010

    It rang a few alarm bells because claims about the frenar band being the primary male erogenous zone, uniquely sensitive etc. seem to circulate largely among anti-circumcision groups without being well anchored in the general literature on sexual response. I’m opposed to circumcision myself, but am wary of the pernicious effects of bad arguments in a good cause. So, cites would be good.

    Even if circumcision doesn’t affect sexual response at all I would still object to it on the grounds that cutting bits of your children off is bizarre.

  329. #329 Mattir
    May 7, 2010

    I think that Sir Richard Burton was circumcised as an adult and described the resultant lessening of sensitivity. Granted that I’m not the possessor of a penis, but I’ve never actually noticed much difference in the performance of or seeming pleasure obtained from possessing a cut or uncut variety.

    I must admit that our son is circumcised, for reasons that I might not go along with now, but I did insist that he receive anesthesia, and made myself watch the procedure. The stupid doctor-mohel told me to go away and not watch because it was “traumatic,” to which I retorted that “if it wasn’t traumatic, it wouldn’t have survived for 4000 years.” It sort of threw him off his macho ritual groove, which was nice.

    FWIW, the actual circumcision struck me as irrational, atavistic, and unnecessary, but it also wasn’t wildly horrifying to watch and didn’t seem to be horridly traumatizing for our son. It was nothing at all like the tapes I’d heard on the radio of the screaming during no-anesthesia circumcision of infants.

    Like I said, I might well make a different decision now, but it still strikes me that one of the worst long-term consequences might be the physiological stress caused by pain. Who was the fool who decided that infants didn’t feel pain, again?

  330. #330 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 7, 2010

    Stephen, okay. I’ll make a note of that and do some searching tomorrow. I apologize for just accepting it, I’m 34 hours without sleep and I’ve had 3 ciders. Brain’s a bit mushy.

    I would like to read legitimate research on the subject.

  331. #331 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    May 7, 2010

    Rev Big Chimp Sez:

    um, no

    It’s nothing like that

    …Why not? I don’t get it; On both ends it’s about an expectation for harmless but stupid shit to be done for looks, isn’t it? I’m not even arguing that you’re wrong, I just.. don’t get it.

  332. #332 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 7, 2010

    Rutee, imperfect breasts are natural. A perfect manicure is an absurd and incredibly stupid comparison. It’s mutilation. One that is not necessary. At all. If you read the thread, you’d find that no, male circumcisions are not done just for looks. There are all manner of asinine justifications for them. Doesn’t make them right. Would you think labia tucks on newborn girls was cool?

  333. #333 Morse
    May 7, 2010

    I don’t think it’s quite fair to be calling #291 fucking nuts. She obviously has a fear of uncut penises that transcends mere dislike, but she’s open and honest about it, and is trying not to let here own convictions affect what might be good for her child (and also says she is trying to avoid imposing her dislike on any uncut men).

    For djinnas herself, I would say I hope you can come to see uncut penises are something other than “disgusting.” Really, they look pretty similar with the skin pulled back. Maybe you just need some more experience with one though. I find it hard to believe that you would actually have an issue if you were changing an uncut baby.

  334. #334 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 7, 2010

    Would you think labia tucks on newborn girls was cool?

    Well, sure, if that means Lil’ Bindi gets laid…

    (runs, ducking)

  335. #335 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 7, 2010

    #333:

    I don’t think it’s quite fair to be calling #291 fucking nuts. She obviously has a fear of uncut penises that transcends mere dislike, but she’s open and honest about it,

    She’s “open and honest” about what? I’m sorry, I don’t have time for verbal diarrhea and word salad. Give me a break. Don’t act like that post made sense to you, because you know it didn’t.

  336. #336 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawl1k6PszjnGq9QW3VPLA3NUnoXywPJe7ZQ
    May 7, 2010

    A lot of you are missing the point.

    The point is not about belittling the loss. The point is that for the overwhelming majority of circumcised men, there’s just no loss.

    For that matter, it may be true, but I have a hard time believing that there is any significant number of circumcised men who really, sincerely feel that they are missing something. I can’t say that for sure because I don’t talk about it with other men, I don’t look at other men’s penises, and I have only my own experience to go by, but I just don’t believe it. I really think they’re just pretending.

    I don’t quite get why, though.

  337. #337 F
    May 7, 2010

    Evil Sooty @ 185

    Way. Off. Base.

    Getafuckingclue.

  338. #338 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 7, 2010

    Googlemess @ 336:

    I don’t quite get why, though.

    I don’t think men are pretending about being concerned and upset about routine MGM. It’s the fact that it is routine that’s the problem. I get why and I’m not male. Unnecessary mutilation of a child who cannot consent is wrong.

    Josh…;D :D

  339. #339 Gaia sighs...
    May 7, 2010

    Not to belabor the point, but it seems to me a bit suggestively trollish to assert “It rang a few alarm bells because claims about the frenar band being the primary male erogenous zone, uniquely sensitive etc. seem to circulate largely among anti-circumcision groups without being well anchored in the general literature on sexual response.”

    Seem to/without? Either the claim is addressed in the literature, or it isn’t. Since you’ve obviously perused the subject enough to ascertain that the claim isn’t well anchored, would you please direct me to some (or any) cites you’ve found that do mention it? It would also be of some help if you would explain how one ascertains the ‘anchoredness’ of a subject… with any degree of objectivity, I mean.

  340. #340 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 7, 2010

    I don’t look at other men’s penises, and I have only my own experience to go by, but I just don’t believe it

    Let’s share experiences. Come on – you tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine. Ooooooh. . . .

    I believe it, baby.

  341. #341 Mattir
    May 7, 2010

    A reading of Mary Roach’s Bonk provides an good overview of the astonishing paucity of our understanding of how the reproductive organs, both male and female, actually work. Pretty appalling, actually, so it would not surprise me much if here weren’t great peer reviewed research on penile sensitivity and function.

  342. #342 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 7, 2010

    …I’m 34 hours without sleep…

    Why? Woman, get some sleep. Do not come back to this blog for at least twelve hours. It is for your own health and sanity.

  343. #343 Usagichan
    May 7, 2010

    Googlemess @ 336

    The point is that for the overwhelming majority of circumcised men, there’s just no loss.

    How would you know? There may be no sense of loss, but that is not the same as there being no loss.

    That however is not the point – I think you are the one missing the main point here. The main question it seems to me is should we cut bits off children who are too small to have a say in the matter, just to comply with cultural or religious norms? One could just as easily say that there would be no loss if we trimmed the earlobes from small children – should we allow that as well?

    I doubt anyone here is opposed to allowing consenting adults to make informed choices about their own bodies. It is inflicting choices upon infants that is the crux of the matter, not whether or not the mutilation is materially damaging to the child.

  344. #344 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 7, 2010

    it would not surprise me much if here weren’t great peer reviewed research on penile sensitivity and function.

    Bitch, please (he says, jokingly). Peer review this.

  345. #345 Stephen Wells
    May 7, 2010

    @339: I’m not trolling, I’m a regular poster here and I’m opposed to circumcision. Now, pretty please, source your claims @312 for us, in particular the claim that structures in the frenulum are responsible for “the male’s actual, volitional control of orgasm” – does that mean that you can’t masturbate without a foreskin? – and that uncircumcised men are gentler lovers. Doesn’t have to be peer-reviewed literature, but some kind of source would be nice.

  346. #346 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 7, 2010

    Gaia sighs, it’s not the least trollish. It was a very reasonable response to me. Perhaps you aren’t aware, but literature is different from scientific research and evidence. An uncircumcised penis can be praised to the sky in literature and all manner of claims made, that doesn’t make them true.

    Actual research and evidence is objective. I imagine there have been studies done with sexually active males who were not circumcised until some point of adulthood. I’ll look into it tomorrow. As for Stephen, he asked you for citations (scientific research) as to your claim about sex with an uncircumcised penis. Do you have something other than literature?

  347. #347 Mattir
    May 7, 2010

    Yeah, Josh? I thought I wasn’t your type, being, like, female, and all.

  348. #348 Usagichan
    May 7, 2010

    * the last sentence of 343 should have read -

    “It is adults inflicting their choices upon infants that is the crux of the matter…”

  349. #349 FatFrank
    May 7, 2010

    OK, weirdo anti-foreskin people, I got about half-way down this thread and had to sign in to say IT’S ONLY NORMAL IN YOUR CULTURE. As a European, it is not fucking normal to remove part of your child’s dick. Seriouly, WTF is wrong with you people?

    (Apols for spelling mistakes, 6 am~ish here, been watching the election all night, and apols if someone else made this point, but too angry to read the rest)

  350. #350 JustALurker
    May 7, 2010

    Stephen, I seriously doubt it. If it helps, both Josh and I are ‘Mericans and we about had a meltdown over the fellatio thing.

    I’m in the same boat, and gladly whack anyone on the head when they bring this stupid shit up. Especially, when it’s in front of my bf since it really makes him feel bad and disgusting for being “uncut”.

    I find your shallow, ignorant view disgusting.
    Opinions like this throughly piss me off. My wonderful, brilliant, funny bf is put down because of some stupid social trend. A penis is a fucking penis. Love it, fuck it or leave it, I don’t give a damn what your personal preference is unless it hurts someone else. Your opinion certainly falls into this category. Sure, I’m attracted to it and love getting some dick but honestly a penis is not “hot” and neither is my vulva. The human body is a beautiful, amazing thing don’t fucking degrade it and promote mutilation in order to get your rocks off.

  351. #351 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 7, 2010

    Janine, as soon as this bottle of cider is done, I’m out of here and off to sleep.

    Mattir, I’d peer review Josh. Just lookin’, ya know. I’m a curious sort. (I’m not even getting into just how much peer reviewing one does when helping friends prep for a drag revue.)

  352. #352 JustALurker
    May 7, 2010

    shit. blockqute fail, my fail,

    the quote that is disgusting and ignorant was this one,

    I’ve watched plenty of porn and uncut cocks are fucking disgusting.

    I find your shallow, ignorant view disgusting.
    Opinions like this throughly piss me off. My wonderful, brilliant, funny bf is put down because of some stupid social trend. A penis is a fucking penis. Love it, fuck it or leave it, I don’t give a damn what your personal preference is unless it hurts someone else. Your opinion certainly falls into this category. Sure, I’m attracted to it and love getting some dick but honestly a penis is not “hot” and neither is my vulva. The human body is a beautiful, amazing thing don’t fucking degrade it and promote mutilation in order to get your rocks off.

  353. #353 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    May 7, 2010

    Rutee, imperfect breasts are natural. A perfect manicure is an absurd and incredibly stupid comparison.

    Imperfect breasts, imperfect manicures are the natural state. Uncircumsized penis is the natural state.

    So far so good, right?

    Hyper perfect breasts (generally fake) and perfect manicures aren’t natural. The surgery for the former is fucking painful without anesthesia. Circumcised penises are unnatural, and fucking painful to get without anesthesia.

    I’m missing a difference here. Is it simply the “They’re kids! WTF! You don’t mutilate kids!” part? Because I agree with you on that. But the irrational preference for circumsized penises is probably not predicated on it having been done before the age of consent.

    It’s mutilation. One that is not necessary. At all. If you read the thread, you’d find that no, male circumcisions are not done just for looks. There are all manner of asinine justifications for them.

    Most of the justifications seem to be either outright wrong (Health claims) or ultimately devolve to “I think this is what makes a penis pleasant to look at”, given in odd words (Unless, for instance, that wacko seems to think people are more likely to give his son fellatio for having an uglier penis?)

    Doesn’t make them right. Would you think labia tucks on newborn girls was cool?

    I don’t disagree that newborns are a problem, so you can put the cannon down already. I also agree that a preference for circumsized penises is no reason to mutilate your child. I’m only asking about how the preference for circumsized penis (to the apparent point of excluding uncircumsized penises) appears to be exactly as irrational to me as only liking perfect boobs, perfect body.

  354. #354 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 7, 2010

    Yeah, Josh? I thought I wasn’t your type, being, like, female, and all.

    Well, see, I’m mysterious that way. I have all these fake wives: Carlie, Janine, Lynna, Caine, SC (if she lets me).

    I mean, what’s another? More’s the merrier, in my gay harem, right? Lol.

  355. #355 Mattir
    May 7, 2010

    Oooh. How do I apply? If I’m even eligible, having been a consensus-seeker for so many years. Perhaps you can teach me the errors of my ways – I’ve been a baaaad pantheist…

    Perhaps this is why Richard Dawkins calls pantheism (a la Einstein) “sexied up atheism.”

  356. #356 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 7, 2010

    SC? That hussy? I missed that!

    How come no one told me about that?

    Josh, do you have any other wives and husbands to declare. Dammit, I thought that openness and honesty was the foundation of our fake marriage?

  357. #357 Mattir
    May 7, 2010

    OK, that comment was directed at Josh OSG. And Dawkins called pantheism “sexed up atheism,” not sexied.

  358. #358 Brownian, OM
    May 7, 2010

    Perhaps you aren’t aware, but literature is different from scientific research and evidence. An uncircumcised penis can be praised to the sky in literature and all manner of claims made, that doesn’t make them true.

    Caine, Gaia Sighs said “in the literature”, commonly taken to mean “in the scientific literature”.

  359. #359 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 7, 2010

    Rutee:

    I’m only asking about how the preference for circumsized penis (to the apparent point of excluding uncircumsized penises) appears to be exactly as irrational to me as only liking perfect boobs, perfect body.

    Okay, gotcha. Canons down. It is irrational, and no surprise, it’s based in religious belief. The Abrahamaic god has a serious taste for foreskins. All these years later, in the U.S., it’s the “done thing” and parents come up with all sorts of bizarre rationalizations to do it. The good news is, it’s not nearly as commonly done as it used to be. The number of people doing this to their sons is dropping.

  360. #360 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 7, 2010

    @Janine:

    Josh, do you have any other wives and husbands to declare. Dammit, I thought that openness and honesty was the foundation of our fake marriage?

    Um, uh, Miss Janine. . I ain’t got no other womenz or menz. . I swear. . . and . .stuff. ..

  361. #361 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 7, 2010

    Brownian, as Gaia sighs said literature then immediately cited Maimonides, I took a different view. I guess we’ll find out what was meant.

  362. #362 Brownian, OM
    May 7, 2010

    Ah, I see where you were coming from, Caine.

    You’re not the only one who should hit the hay, I guess.

  363. #363 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 7, 2010

    ‘no words are said as i just glare at josh’

  364. #364 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 7, 2010

    (me looks around)

    (blink. . blink)

  365. #365 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 7, 2010

    oh, lawd. I’m in trouble, I know.

  366. #366 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 7, 2010

    G’night, Janine! Josh, I’d watch your ass if I were you…

    G’night, Brownian. We’ll check up on the scientific literature of Maimonides later. ;D

  367. #367 JustALurker
    May 7, 2010

    what’s the evidence for reduced sensitivity?”

    I found a couple different links by quick googling (I love google)

    this a pdf of a recent study

    http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org/pdf/sorrells_2007.pdf

    and this essay

    http://knol.google.com/k/the-ridged-band-of-the-human-prepuce#

    I don’t know about the whole uncut men are gentler lovers but my bf isn’t gentle. Although, that’s how I like it lol ;)

  368. #368 jack.rawlinson
    May 7, 2010

    Of course female circumcision is worse than male circumcision. But infant male circumcision is still child abuse, and it is still utterly inexcusable.

    Do you know that I, as a typical uncircumcised male Brit, had no idea why so many American males talked about “lube” in conjunction with wanking until I figured out that many American males are circumcised? I’d just like to point out to all those brainwashed American males that defend needless circumcision that we uncircumcised males don’t need lube to wank. We just let that soft, pliable little foreskin ride up and down over our glans and mmm-MMM, it feels so good.

    I just thought I’d share that with with you.

  369. #369 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 7, 2010

    ‘still glaring’

    Good night, Caine. Be prepared to give hubby some first aid in the morning.

    ‘still glaring’

  370. #370 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 7, 2010

    Oh, dear. I do not want to piss off Number One Wife. How may I please you, J, dear?

  371. #371 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 7, 2010

    Kittehs are howling in yard. Most unbecoming – just FYI.

  372. #372 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 7, 2010

    You-should-not-have-to-ask-me-be-cause-you-should-al-read-y-know.

    ‘ggggrrrrrrrr’

  373. #373 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 7, 2010

    meow. yes ma’am. meow.

  374. #374 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 7, 2010

    Perhaps it is time to pour cat food down your pants and set the cats on you. I am sure that they are…hungry!

  375. #375 elzoog
    May 7, 2010

    @35 “The proper thing to compare FGM with is not circumcision but chopping off the entire gland.”

    If the entire gland is chopped off a male, then comedians make jokes about it.

    From Angry Harry
    “I don’t know who you are, Sir, but I can tell you what you are worth. If your partner was to cut off your penis tonight, the world would laugh.”

  376. #376 Kraid
    May 7, 2010

    #336:

    I really think they’re just pretending.
    I don’t quite get why, though.

    I’ll bet they think your marginalization of their feelings is pretty incomprehensible too.

    It’s difficult to find literature on the topic that doesn’t come from anti-circumcision groups, so I suppose that leads to some bias. But with that in mind, try this:
    http://www.noharmm.org/bju.htm
    and scroll down to the heading “Psychological Consequences.” Hell, read the Physical Consequences section too. 27% of the respondents were circumcised so tightly that they couldn’t get a normal erection. You don’t think that naturally leads them to some resentment in those folks?

    Re: “there’s nothing lost,” personally I suspect that most men harboring this macho “Get over it, I wasn’t hurt by it” dismissive attitude are partially described here, particularly by points 4 and 5:
    http://www.circumcision.org/satisfied.htm
    I’m going to go ahead and risk overstating my case by likening it, in at least this one dimension, to rape victims who consequently devalue sex in order to reduce the psychological impact of the trauma. Likewise, many men will tell themselves “it was just a flap of useless skin” in order to better ignore the very painful notion that they were physically violated and robbed of an exquisitely sensitive, highly personal, irreplaceable part of themselves. See also: sour grapes.

    Before anyone objects, no I’m not claiming that rape is exactly analogous to circumcision. However, I do think there are some striking parallels.

  377. #377 Jadehawk, OM
    May 7, 2010

    but I’ve never actually noticed much difference in the performance of or seeming pleasure obtained from possessing a cut or uncut variety.

    well, from my experience, cut=more friction. which does somewhat impact when, where, and how sex can be had without leaving me uncomfortably sore for the rest of the day.

  378. #378 DominEditrix
    May 7, 2010

    When my son was born, I also had him circumcised, for the same reasons.

    a) All men stink after 3 days sans bathing, be they cut or not;

    b) It takes far less energy to teach one’s son to wash himself correctly than it does to get him to pee into the toilet. My son had mastered it at age two.

    Is there a woman out there that would suck on an uncircumcised penis?

    Thousands. Hundreds of thousands. Millions. Because the number of men in the world whose cultures don’t call for routine circumcision is in the millions. Hmmm – counting two Frenchmen, three Englishmen, a Swede and a Catholic from Pittsburgh, I can recall seven uncut men I’ve known personally who regularly got blow jobs.

  379. #379 FossilFishy
    May 7, 2010

    You know, I really wish that even one station on TV was as educational and entertaining as a thread like this. Thanks all.

    And as for education: I’m cut and I had no idea that that was suppose to make one less sensitive. The one or two times I thought about it I assumed that it increased sensitivity, ’cause if I had any more feeling down there I’d never get any work done.

  380. #380 Travis
    May 7, 2010

    @367 JustALurker,
    Hehe, I am glad not everyone is looking for the gentle lover. I had a foreskin but the only reason it make me a gentle lover at times was because it caused problems and could be painful at times. Once it was removed I certainly did not get more gentle.
    But gentle is also not the way I like it:-)

    Before my surgery I did some reading about the reduction of sensitivity and it seemed to be pretty inconclusive. While I did not do a full literature review or anything like that the papers I did find did not seem to find much difference between those who were cut or uncut, at least in terms of their satisfaction or abilities. Other studies did not find a much difference in terms of feeling through direct testing by prodding some poor penises. But I do not have the references now. Doh. So I admit I could be biased in reporting these broad conclusions.

  381. #381 Usagichan
    May 7, 2010

    Travis #380,

    So you had a problem, made an informed decision and had a successful outcome – good for you! The point is you did this as an adult, getting the information you felt you needed for your decision.

    Question is, should you make that decision for an infant? For me its not a question of sensitivity or loss thereof, but one of chopping bits off babies.

  382. #382 arkestrate
    May 7, 2010

    #14: “Boys tend not to flaunt their penises at each other…”

    …You’ve not been to Pakistan, have you, PZ?

  383. #383 Travis
    May 7, 2010

    Usagichan #381,
    I totally agree that is the real question, and I do not think children should be circumcised at birth. In fact I think the world should probably end up being mainly uncut if people were sensible, leaving nipping the tip largely to those who have to get it done, or who really like body mods. Or if someone just wanted it but I would not recommend it myself. I am not sure about the US but in Canada I believe infant circumcision is no longer paid for as I recieved a $1000 bill for the procedure before they realized I was not an infant and was having it done for a medical reason. I hope that making it an out of pocket expense has reduced rates.

    I should have reiterated that point. I did make earlier on but that was a long time ago.

  384. #384 Travis
    May 7, 2010

    Just another note, the reason I was mentioning what I had read, and the difference in sensitivity was simply because it was asked about earlier on. Not because I wanted to support infant circumcision in any way. Simply because it might feel pretty much as good cut as uncut does not mean it would be okay in my opinion.

    I read about it mainly because I was worried research might show a drastic change. No matter what I was going to get it done as it was for a medical condition. Though I figure no matter what I am better off now.

    Okay, enough about my penis.

  385. #385 Jimmy-boy
    May 7, 2010

    @218

    But I can’t, in all conscience, say they shouldn’t do it. While it remains legal, I have an obligation to give them the facts and let them make their own decisions. I disagree heartily, but I can’t refuse to provide the referral.

    But hang on – you’re a doctor: can’t you just go with ‘I provide evidence based medicine: this procedure is not clinically indicated’?

    I don’t really know how it works in the US, but surely you aren’t running a sweet shop where the customer gets to choose what they want? You run a medical practice where you tell them what they need. Or have the lines really become that blurred now?

  386. #386 f.boniboni
    May 7, 2010

    No matter how satisfied you are with your genital mutilation it is, STILL, CHILD ABUSE. The kid should have its normal development and then, if it’s for cultural reasons, decide to mutilate itself.

  387. #387 Kel, OM
    May 7, 2010

    Bring up a topic on the penis, and it brings out a whole bunch of people who are obviously using their wrong head to think. The stupidity of the thread, ffs!

  388. #388 Darreth
    May 7, 2010

    Who are these men who have issues with circumcision and why?

    I have no issue whatsoever being circumcised. None. No sexual dysfunction, no need to feel cheated, etc. And I like the look, too. No ragged end hanging over the tip of my tallywacker. No smegma smell, eg, no issues with hygiene, etc.

    I totally understand why parents wouldn’t want to have their sons crying like a banshee after such a procedure: it looks like torture. But I don’t remember my circumcision and no one I have ever talked to about it remembers it either (I’m gay and we talk about these things).

    All that makes sense here is that there must have been some sort of unconscious trauma associated with those who were cut as infants.

  389. #389 JustALurker
    May 7, 2010

    @380

    hehe great minds think alike =) and I’m going to force my dirty mind to stop at that since this really isn’t the thread for sexual preference talk. I apologize if my comment was out of line for the topic. And I’m very glad you don’t condone mutilation of any child’s genitalia.

    Okay, enough about my penis.

    awwww too bad ;(

    (Sorry couldn’t help it, I will stop now.Promise.)

    No matter how satisfied you are with your genital mutilation it is, STILL, CHILD ABUSE. The kid should have its normal development and then, if it’s for cultural reasons, decide to mutilate itself.

    I second this. Obviously, the deciding should be done as an adult and hopefully, people will be educated and not simply pressured into the decision. One can certainly hope at least.

  390. #390 JustALurker
    May 7, 2010

    Who are these men who have issues with circumcision and why?

    If you read the thread, most (not all of course) men are okay with their cut. There are some that okay with it and oppose it happening to other children for many reasons. Like the fact that there is no medical reason, it may in fact limit how sensitive your penis is and of course, the fact that INFANTS CAN’T CONSENT. The reason for male circumcision? Debunked medical reasons, cultural “norms” and of course the horrible chance some shallow, misinformed woman will think your natural penis looks funny. *rolls eyes*

    No smegma smell, eg, no issues with hygiene, etc.

    Uncut men also don’t have a problem with hygiene if you clean. Obviously, if you take care of yourself you won’t smell cut or not.

    I have no issue whatsoever being circumcised. None. No sexual dysfunction, no need to feel cheated, etc. And I like the look, too

    Wonderful for you. You like it and go with the fucked up social norm. That doesn’t make it okay do it. If it was a social norm that you liked, would that make it okay for FGM? Do you realize how stupid that sounds?

    But I don’t remember my circumcision and no one I have ever talked to about it remembers it either (I’m gay and we talk about these things).

    So if I knock you out and rape you it isn’t a problem since you don’t remember? How about pedophiles who target infants, I mean they don’t remember it so its ok, right? So fucking wrong. This has been covered up thread already.

    All that makes sense here is that there must have been some sort of unconscious trauma associated with those who were cut as infants.

    Are you really that incapable of understanding why someone might not like having a piece of their dick cut off without their permission? And you do realize there are complications sometimes right? Or is that just “some trauma” the wussy boys need to get over?

    All of this has been covered up thread, if you are capable of reading for comprehension. The whole rape analogy was used up thread too. Try reading it, the regulars here are much better at this than me, maybe you will learn something.

  391. #391 Copyleft
    May 7, 2010

    PZ is absolutely right–thread drift should never happen when issues affecting women are involved.

    Unlike all other topics, where the conversation bounces all around in a hundred different directions and tangents, topics that start out focusing on women’s issues should never evolve into anything else, ever.

    I quite agree, PZ. This sort of meandering, undirectd discussion is quite intolerable and obvious proof of misogyny at work on the intertubes.

  392. #392 Stephen Wells
    May 7, 2010

    Fuck off, copyleft. When the issue is clitoral excision, having the bandwidth filled out with men displaying their penises is not helpful. If anyone’s had their penis entirely cut off, that might be more relevant. And guess what? those who want to turn the discussion dickwards get _this_ thread to play in.

  393. #393 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 7, 2010

    I’m only asking about how the preference for circumsized penis (to the apparent point of excluding uncircumsized penises) appears to be exactly as irrational to me as only liking perfect boobs, perfect body.

    In that sense, yes it is the same. However, people who have breast “enhancements” generally do so on their own free will (we could argue about that if we bring societal pressures etc.. into play, but you know what I mean). Circumcisions are, I would guesstimate 99% done to a male completely absent of consent.

    So expecting / requiring a cut partner is more than just a preference it’s an, admittedly small, contributer to the continued society norm of cutting.

    I’m sure everything I just said has been repeated above but I don’t have time to read through all the comments right now.

  394. #394 EvilSooty
    May 7, 2010

    I agree Copyleft.

    We should all also remember that it is misogynistic, sexist and a symptom of penis worship to mention a form of genital mutilation of infants in a thread already about genital mutilation of infants.

    We should instead save such irrelevant discussions for threads that have nothing to do with genital mutilation of infants.

  395. #395 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 7, 2010

    Copyleft and EvilSooty…

    Ah, what is the fucking point. Except I will say the I am so fucking sorry that you two are fucking unable to control what the topic of conversation is. I am so fucking sorry the most of the people here do not respect the authority that your internet phallus grants you.

  396. #396 Copyleft
    May 7, 2010

    Actually, Janine, I was going to express the same sympathy for you.

    I, for one, apologize on behalf of all Internet discussions everywhere for the evil of thread drift. More people need to remember that topics affecting women should be the sole exception to that pattern.

    SO sorry you can’t control how discussions meander. It’s just wrong and evil of people not to respond in the way you’d prefer.

  397. #397 AJKamper
    May 7, 2010

    I think “MGM” is bad, stupid, and pointless. I don’t think it’s a good idea, and (I reiterate) even though I’m cut, I wouldn’t think about doing it to my kid. (Okay, full disclosure: I felt a wisp of unease that my kid “wasn’t gonna be like me,” but for me that didn’t outweigh the other issues.) I also don’t think the harm is so vast that it can be dropped as a trump card over millenia of cultural heritage.

    Culture’s important. Ritual is important to many, many people. And as much as it might be nice for those of us who do not rely on ritual for cultural belonging to tell others to just STOP IT, people aren’t wired that way.

    This pretty clearly doesn’t hold for FGM, or so it seems to me, because the harm is an order of magnitude greater

  398. #398 Darreth
    May 7, 2010

    I think #390 proved my point. This is a huge unconscious ‘rape’ issue for some men.

  399. #399 RMT
    May 7, 2010

    One thing that have made me rather twitchy is that entirely too many here seem to assume some very faulty things…

    No, foreskins are NOT ONE SIZE FOR ALL.
    Nor are all male circumcisions the same.

    Women’s genitalias are not one kind for all, and more people seem to be aware of this than that the same applies for men.
    Warning, different penises galore: http://www.newforeskin.biz/CI/CIchart.htm
    and for good measure, different vulvas galore: http://www.the-clitoris.com/n_html/v_image1.htm

    Some people have no foreskin at all in spite of never having any circumcision, some people have a ton of foreskin in spite of circumcision.
    Also, some people get more skin chopped off, some less. Either way, their genitalia can grow different amounts, and the same amount of skin chopped of two baby boys can result in different looking circumcisions, even if they get approximately the same penis size and neither are “growers”.
    Even considering that, skin is skin: it can be gradually stretched, even unintentionally.

    In summary, someone who is circumcised can look uncircumcised, or vice versa, for MANY different reasons.
    Your penis is not everyone else’s penis! You’re not even guaranteed the same amount of sensitivity as someone else even if neither/both of you are circumcised!
    According to statistics the percentages will be this and that, but that is not some magical guarantee for you having a disadvantage/advantage to another specific person’s penis.

    /rant

  400. #400 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 7, 2010

    Fuck off and fuck you.

  401. #401 EvilSooty
    May 7, 2010

    Janine:

    You are right to feel sorry for me and I apologise unreservedly for my previous sexist comments.

    I now realise that my pointing out of the inconsistency in condemning one form of genital mutilation of infants, but not another, was an expression of subconscious misogyny and phallus worship.

    We should instead ignore the widespread accepted practice of mutilating boys’ genitals as this is no way gives support to the AAC’s position on mutilating girls’ genitals.

  402. #402 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 7, 2010

    I’m trying to figure out the point to #399

  403. #403 RMT
    May 7, 2010

    #132: Cowper’s Gland, have you heard of it?

    While I get why more lube would matter for uncut masturbation, for condoms I don’t…

    I thought a bit of lube on the glans underneath the condom was useful for anyone who doesn’t get too wet by himself, regardless of being cut or not. Why would more lube be needed outside of the condom if someone is circumcized or not (if that is what you mean)? Please enlighten me, I dislike being ignorant of useful info.

  404. #404 EvilSooty
    May 7, 2010

    AJKamper:

    ‘Culture’s important. Ritual is important to many, many people. And as much as it might be nice for those of us who do not rely on ritual for cultural belonging to tell others to just STOP IT, people aren’t wired that way.’

    So it is acceptable to commit actual bodily harm against an infant who cannot consent for ritual purposes?

    Glad we cleared that up.

  405. #405 RMT
    May 7, 2010

    Rev. BigDumbChimp @ #402
    Not much, mainly the first half of the thread. Just going off on a tangent because of how some people seem to think of penises/foreskins.

    Janine @ 400
    ..Me? Why?

  406. #406 AJKamper
    May 7, 2010

    EvilSooty:

    “So it is acceptable to commit actual bodily harm against an infant who cannot consent for ritual purposes?”

    Depending on the degree of harm, sure. Think of it as a continuum: Is ear piercing okay? A ritual prick of the toe? These are all actual physical harm, but so minimal that they don’t really matter on a pragmatic level.

    Male circumcision is clearly more significant harmwise, and certainly shouldn’t be considered lightly. As a group we should disapprove of it. We should try to convince people not to do it. But we should also recognize that it’s not the end of the freaking world, and that to some people ritual and culture is important enough that it outweighs the harm done.

    Maybe you can afford to be idealistic about it; I don’t have much patience for idealism these days.

  407. #407 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 7, 2010

    Not much, mainly the first half of the thread. Just going off on a tangent because of how some people seem to think of penises/foreskins.

    Ok. I was trying to tie it as a reaction to someone else’s post and couldn’t.

  408. #408 Gaia sighs...
    May 7, 2010

    It’s surprising how ill-informed many offering comment on male circumcision here are. For an excellent, informative overview of the subject, I’d recommend Zoske’s “Male Circumcision: A Gender Perspective” to be found at http://www.noharmm.org/zoske.htm

    It should also be mentioned that there are, indeed, forms of male circumcision that far exceed in brutality that inflicted by the more abridged forms of FGM. One, in particular, comes to mind: in some areas of the Mid East circumcision of males entails literally flensing the entire genital area below the navel at puberty.

  409. #409 Copyleft
    May 7, 2010

    So, should idealists worried about church/state separation “not bother” with trivial things like the National Day of Prayer, or mentions of gods on our money and in our Pledge of Allegiance?

    After all, those things do a lot less harm than injecting God into science classrooms and outlawing gay mariage “cuz Gawd hates gays,” so why bother commenting on them?

    I disagree. I think idealism–i.e., principle–is pretty darn important, and worth fighting for on ALL fronts.

  410. #410 Rachel Bronwyn
    May 7, 2010

    Darreth,

    I think #390 proved my point. This is a huge unconscious ‘rape’ issue for some men.

    Just because you’re pleased to have been circumcised as an infant and enjoy the outcome, Darreth, does not mean those who do feel their rights were violated as infants are being irrational. Your insistance that there’s absolutely no legitimate reason any man should be unhappy about having been circumcised as an infant and that those who are unhappy about it are just silly is profoundly condescending and dismissive. Not everyone’s experience is the same as yours nor are their preferences.

    Glad you like that your parents opted had your genitals cosmetically altered at birth. My boyfriend certainly isn’t and it’s got nothing to do with rape.

  411. #411 toth
    May 7, 2010

    Uh, PZ, discussing MGM does not entail NOT discussing FGM. No one said “Yeah yeah, enough about the chicks, what about US BOYS!?!?!!”. Which, incidentally, is pretty much what you did, in reverse, in this post. I have no problem you you being a dick–that’s half the reason I come here. It’s just that you should only be a dick to those who deserve it.

  412. #412 mommimus-prime
    May 7, 2010

    I’ve never understood the I want my son to look like me reasoning for cutting. Do dads and sons really stand around looking at each others penes comparing them? My hubby and son don’t. And they’re not the same anywhere else, why should they be the same there? And if the subject comes up isn’t it a wonderful chance for a grownup talk about the subject, a chance to educate?

    This was one of the reasons I heard all through my time as a nurse and later. I never got it.

    I’m also curious (I haven’t been a nurse in a very long time and haven’t kept up on all the literature and I know I could google it) but is it still common practice not to use an anesthetic? I do know it was just starting to be talked about in the 80s and 90s but from one comment upthread, I got the impression that it’s still not a common practice.

  413. #413 EvilSooty
    May 7, 2010

    AJKamper:

    I am not being idealistic; I am struggling to understand why it is legal even though a similar act (like lopping off earlobes) performed on an infant would earn the parent a custodial sentence.

    Preventing harm to children should be paramount. A child should not be subjected to unnecessary ‘medical’ procedures on the whim of whatever arbitrary rules and rituals their parents happened to grow up with. Carrying out similar procedures against adults against their will would cause outrage, yet it is fine when it is practised on the most vulnerable in our society who cannot defend themselves.

    The existing exemption from conviction for mutilating boys’ genitals also lends support to advocates of mutilating girls’ genitals as they can use it as a precedent.

    As long as it remains legal there is no cogent reason why FGM (of a similar level of seriousness as MGM) should not be allowed. I am disappointed that PZ cannot see that and has saved all his (inconsistent) rage for FGM.

  414. #414 AJKamper
    May 7, 2010

    Copyleft:

    After all, those things do a lot less harm than injecting God into science classrooms and outlawing gay mariage “cuz Gawd hates gays,” so why bother commenting on them?

    Well, commenting on them is one thing. Feel free to comment. Idealism is easy in idle chitchat. But it’s what we do and where we spend our resources in the real world that matter. And I think I’d rather make sure that we actually get some good done rather than fighting for every principle without considering the real-world consequences.

  415. #415 EvilSooty
    May 7, 2010

    Copyleft:

    ‘So, should idealists worried about church/state separation “not bother” with trivial things like the National Day of Prayer, or mentions of gods on our money and in our Pledge of Allegiance?’

    I find it strange that PZ can get much more worked up on these trivial issues than on the ritualised physical abuse of boys by their parents.

    Is there some sort of cultural bias going on here with him and many of the other posters that someone from the UK like me is not familiar with?

  416. #416 Westcoaster
    May 7, 2010

    The original article wasn’t just about female genital mutilation, it was about the AAP’s response to it, and the assertion by the AAP that ritual “nicking” would be appropriate. My point when I raised the issue of male circumcision was that any kind of genital mutilation is wrong. Yes, male circ is trivial compared to full on FGM, but so is clitoral nicking. That’s not the point. The point is that the AAP is an organiztion that supports the mutilation of babys of both sexes. It’s not about men and women, its about cutting babies.

  417. #417 AJKamper
    May 7, 2010

    EvilSooty:

    I am not being idealistic; I am struggling to understand why it is legal even though a similar act (like lopping off earlobes) performed on an infant would earn the parent a custodial sentence.

    This is a fundamentally idealist stance. If earlobe-lopping were socially acceptable, we wouldn’t ban it either, because the harm is pretty meager, and we rate cultural tradition as more important than negligible harms. I don’t approve, but my disapproval doesn’t rise to the standard of thinking that it should be illegal if there is a solid cultural background for it.

    “Preventing harm to children should be paramount.”

    More idealism. I let my five-year-old climb a 20-foot tree (with lots of branches to break her fall), because the harm that could come to her is less than what she gains by testing her boundaries and learning what she can do. You or I might not get why people perceive similarly an advantage to a physical sign that one is a member of a culture, but it’s a true fact, not one we can simply ignore. If the advantages are less, well, the harm’s probably quite a bit less too.

    The existing exemption from conviction for mutilating boys’ genitals also lends support to advocates of mutilating girls’ genitals as they can use it as a precedent.

    Except, given the magnitude of the harm, this isn’t going to fly real well.

    As long as it remains legal there is no cogent reason why FGM (of a similar level of seriousness as MGM) should not be allowed. I am disappointed that PZ cannot see that and has saved all his (inconsistent) rage for FGM.

    Except it isn’t the same level of seriousness as practiced. Not even remotely. And that’s my point; there becomes a level of harm at which this sort of thing is no longer excusable (and MGM is close in my book, but not quite there).

  418. #418 JustALurker
    May 7, 2010

    Darreth,
    I think #390 proved my point. This is a huge unconscious ‘rape’ issue for some men.

    Excuse me? I wasn’t trying to say the two are equivalent but this was mentioned here up thread and it was brought up in the FGM thread. I was just trying to point out the stupidity of the “I don’t remember it so its ok” excuse.
    I’m sorry if in the heat of the moment I wasn’t very clear.

    See comment 46 from FGM thread.

    Your statement about them remembering the procedure as an excuse to do it when they’re a baby (and therefore unlikely to remember) could be used as a defence for using rohypnol to rape someone. Afterall, they don’t remember it right? What’s the harm?

    And for your fucking information rape is extremely damaging, whether you’re conscious or not. You are simply trying to down play it as “oh, they just feel raped, boo hoo” and that’s bullshit. As a person who has actually been raped, FUCK YOU. Your dismissive and condescending attitude towards male circumcision and rape is appalling.

    Again, just because you or every other fucking man on the planet is okay with their cut off foreskins doesn’t mean it’s okay for it to be done. Fucking moron.

    I second comment 410. Again, I apologize if I’m not being clear…..

  419. #419 Rachel Bronwyn
    May 7, 2010

    That was pretty clear, I think.

  420. #420 Copyleft
    May 7, 2010

    If the overwhelming majority of a given community agreed that lesbian students shouldn’t be allowed to attend a high-school prom, would that make it okay? After all, there’s no real harm done….

    Since the F-bomb seems popular on this thread, I’ll reply to the whole idealism-vs-cultural-tradition debate in like manner: fuck cultural tradition.

  421. #421 davita22
    May 7, 2010

    @luyola
    Nice (almost) to see a fellow South African. However, you need to get some facts straight: not all “Blacks” circumcise, Zulus dont usually do it anymore, and not all Xhosas do (usually only those in the Eastern Cape). On the other hand, Muslims always do, and ofcourse Jews. Im guessing you’re white and dont have much to do with those non-white folk so I’ll excuse your ignorance on the basis of your thinly veiled racism:

    The highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in South Africa is among the Black population. This is also the population group which practices the most circumcision. So all these circumcised men are spreading HIV like wildfire.
    hm, doesn’t really gel with the circumcision is preventative idea, does it?

    This is not evidence for anything except your obvious bigotry. Ever thought that the main reason most people who are HIV+ in SA are black is because most of SA *is* black?

  422. #422 brianemond71
    May 7, 2010

    I’m slow to respond, but respond I shall!

    So far I’ve been called idiotic, stupid, whatever for circumcising my son because I’m concerned about what women may find preferable in a man (circumcised vs uncircumcised). It doesn’t appear that I got too may female responses as to what would be preferable; but I can tell you that my wife obviously had input into this, and her sentiment was that she would likely be put-off by an uncircumcised penis as opposed to circumcised. This has just become an (unfortunate?) norm for American society.

    All human beings spend ridiculous amounts of money making themselves more attractive to the opposite (or perhaps not) species. To criticize me because I’m thinking about what may be more preferable to the likely future suitors of my son is incredibly hypocritical in a country that spends billions of dollars a year on plastic surgeries.

    I think we’ve all established here that circumcision (when done right) is not a life-altering, tragic mutilation. Rather in the context I’m arguing, it is a form of male plastic surgery, which like any other plastic surgery, is to heighten the likely attractiveness of yourself to your interested partners.

  423. #423 SomeGuy123
    May 7, 2010

    In the bad old days, boys were sometimes castrated on purpose. There were various reasons but not usually medical ones.

    I think it was because they used UNIX (or was it EUNUCHS?)

  424. #424 Tim Harris
    May 7, 2010

    A thread should be confined to FGM if that’s how it started – should it? You know, apart from the splendid feeling that comes from publicly indulging one’s outrage at such barbarousness, which a large number of posters duly and dutifully did, there is not, really, much to be argued about – I noticed nobody arguing for the practice, which is, let it be said again, something that endangers very, very few young American women; the only serious issue was whether the Association was right or wrong in fudging principle a bit in an attempt to reduce the damage caused by the practice. There has not been a proper discussion of this, or any real attempt to seriously address the argument of the one person who seems to have actually read the Association’s paper and who defended it.
    But beyond that: as more than one person has pointed out, MGM in certain non-American countries is not the nicely sterile practice that so many Americans feel comfortable with. And beyond that: what is surely worth addressing is precisely the role of religion in the practice of genital mutilation, whether female or male, and why it is, in the main, religions originating in the Near East that advocate it (the very high incidence of MGM in the USA in comparison with other developed countries surely has a lot to do with the power and importance of Christianity in the USA, whatever the reasons in favour of MGM put forward by various people). Of course I agree that FGM and MGM (in its sanitised Western guise) are incomparable, but it is religion, and particular religions’ attitudes to the human body that undergird the practice, and this needs to be recognised and addressed. In East Asia, where I live, as (mostly) in Europe, there is no genital mutilation generally practiced on either sex. And then what needs to be asked is the best way of dealing with a practice that involves deep-seated religious beliefs and is sanctioned by tradition: it is all very well to indulge one’s justified outrage and to complain, rightly, about patriarchal societies, but this outrage and those complaints are not only unlikely to be accepted, they are unlikely even to be understood by those who believe in the correctness of the practice. Cries of ‘Fuck cultural tradition!’ are worthless. The USA is not (thank whoever!)in the position of the British in India, and its power to stop the practice is limited. So how should it be stopped? I have no answers, but the religious dimension to genital mutilation needs to taken seriously and seriously addressed, as opposed to the ready and easy way of merely reiterating ‘religion bad’, which is something most sensible people realise. And perhaps for Americans it might be a good idea to begin at home, and to ask themselves why it is that male circumcision is so prevalent in the States and why people flounder around trying to find or invent nice secular reasons for it; this might lead to a better understanding of why certain societies like to mutilate females and of the reasons that members of those societies give for doing so (I shouldn’t have to say this, but understanding and acceptance are two different things).

  425. #425 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 7, 2010

    News flash: Despite a nearly 4 hour head start, and despite the absolutely outrageous proposition that a medical organization would condone infliction of unnecessary pain on children, the FGM thread has very nearly exactly the same number of posts as the male circumcision thread.

    Guys sure do love to talk about their tadgers…

  426. #426 SaraJ
    May 7, 2010

    brianemond71 @423:

    I know you don’t want to read through 400+ posts, but the point is, if a consenting adult wants to make the decision for themselves, that is fine, but slicing and dicing an infant because of some weird cultural norm is not okay.

    You say it’s like any cosmetic surgery, okay, would you give your son (or daughter) a nose job as an infant, or an eyebrow lift, or an ear pinning, because you’re afraid those features are going to be grotesque to some mysterious future woman? And do you REALLY want your son to be with a woman who is so shallow that she wouldn’t like your son if his penis wasn’t circumcised?

  427. #427 Tim Harris
    May 7, 2010

    Brianemond71: what a parochial, self-indulgent little prick you are. And , forgive me for saying this, but your wife is no less parochial and childish.

  428. #428 brianemond71
    May 7, 2010

    Tim Harris: You almost convinced me that you had a thought in your head at #424, and then you just go and show yourself to be just another one of PZ Myers ‘I’m right and if you disagree with me your an asshole’ douchebags!

    Why don’t you respond with a real fucking point to make regarding my post instead of resorting to childish name calling? And calling me parochial and self-indulgent does not count as making a point.

  429. #429 JustALurker
    May 7, 2010

    @422

    So far I’ve been called idiotic, stupid, whatever

    In case you’re new here, that’s getting off easy. I will gladly lengthen that list for you now, fucking child mutilating douche bag.

    To criticize me because I’m thinking about what may be more preferable to the likely future suitors of my son is incredibly hypocritical in a country that spends billions of dollars a year on plastic surgeries.

    No, fuckwit it’s not. Cosmetic surgery is used by consenting adults with their own damn time and money to change themselves because that’s what they chose. The infants do not have a choice, they cannot consent and perhaps your son would be better off with a female who wasn’t so shallow?

    This has just become an (unfortunate?) norm for American society.

    Right, because we all know the only way to fight stupid American norms is to go along with them. Just like how homosexuality, atheism and mixed race couples weren’t allowed, and spousal rape didn’t exist. Oh wait….
    Oh and fyi the number of male’s being cut is declining in the US. Why aren’t you worried your son might be on the wrong side of the current trend?

    To quote another comment up thread to refer to your wife:

    Did you really just say you’d like to circumcise your son because that’s your sexual preference? You really need to start thinking, hard and good.

    In this same sense, would you then have a labia tuck for your infant daughter? I mean, she won’t remember and it will look prettier for potential mates down the line so no harm done right? Fucking hypocritical bullshit spewing ignorant fool. Is this clear enough?!?!

  430. #430 SaraJ
    May 7, 2010

    brianemond71, so far you have not answered either myself or JustALurker. I’m waiting for your answer on whether or not you would perform rhinoplasty, ear pinning, or other cosmetic procedures on your infant son purely because you didn’t like how his features looked and you were worried he wouldn’t be able to attract a future mate.

  431. #431 SomeGuy123
    May 7, 2010

    slicing and dicing an infant because of some weird cultural norm is not okay

    But they taste so much better that way. Not to mention being easier to cook. Swallowing them whole is not good for one’s health.

    –from a baby-eating atheist

  432. #432 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 7, 2010

    Uh oh. Do we have another that needs to be pointed to the intersection?

  433. #433 JustALurker
    May 7, 2010

    Why don’t you respond with a real fucking point to make regarding my post instead of resorting to childish name calling? And calling me parochial and self-indulgent does not count as making a point.

    Jeez, you patronizing, hypocritical ass why don’t you answer me or SaraJ? And don’t play the fucking tone card with me, prick, because the fact that I’m cussing you out while making a point doesn’t negate the fucking point.

    show yourself to be just another one of PZ Myers ‘I’m right and if you disagree with me your an asshole’ douchebags!

    Oh, Christ on a Stick, that’s original. You clearly haven’t been around here long. Reader’s here disagree plenty with PZ. Read the Video Game thread where PZ sided with Ebert. For the record, if you’re wrong you are wrong. Nothing will change it, not even if we refrain from telling you to go get fucked sideways with a rusting knife. You So what if we call you an asshole? You didn’t come here for an adult, rational discussion. I will not accommodate your horribly shallow ignorant views. If you wanted to learn, you would do your own damn research. Instead you came here stuck up, convinced you are right and you rightly deserved to be debunked and smacked down for it. You are promoting and continuing barbaric mutilation of infant male genitals and we’re calling you on it. Fucking nitwit deal with it and grow up.

  434. #434 brianemond71
    May 7, 2010

    @429

    fucking child mutilating douche bag

    Cute – keep trying to make it sound as BAD as you can. As myself and many others have said, I’m circumcised, I’m glad for it, I’m glad I did it for my son and I’m quite certain he will hold no ill-will for me in the future over his missing foreskin. My god they way some of you whine over a useless piece of skin just makes me laugh!

    Right, because we all know the only way to fight stupid American norms is to go along with them

    Every one of us, everyday, makes a choice to go along with some social norms, and ignore or oppose others. In my estimate, this one isn’t anywhere near as important as anything else you’re trying to compare it to. Not matter how hard you or others try, ITS JUST NOT THAT BIG OF A FUCKING DEAL!

    In this same sense, would you then have a labia tuck for your infant daughter

    I have no idea what the hell that even is, but I’ll play your game. If this was a relatively painless procedure that a majority of women were doing in a region I lived in, then yes, I would do it for my daughter if my wife also consented to it.

    hypocritical, ignorant

    I fail to see where I’m demonstrating either of these. Rather all of you who think you know best, and that only one way, clearly uncircumcised, is the only way human males should exist on the planet while pretending to be defenders of human freedoms and choice, are the true ignorant hypocrites.

    Yes, my son didn’t have a choice in the matter. Neither did I. As some have pointed out, making the choice later in life truly is a painful process, and that played into my decision to have it done for him as an infant.

    Keep trying, but you’re not gonna make me feel guilty, ashamed, whatever for making this choice for him.

  435. #435 brianemond71
    May 7, 2010

    @430

    I didn’t see your previous posts – I skimmed through the thread today.

    You make a valid point, and my answer would be that i would not support a painful, highly involved procedure for my infant whose SOLE purpose was for cosmetic, and not functional reasons.

    I know where you’re going with this, so I’ll go ahead and say that I do not see circumcision as a painful, highly involved process (its not, its trivial), and you could make the argument that it has functional reasons as well :)

  436. #436 Hairhead
    May 7, 2010

    Carlie, Fleur, et al. WE HAVE A WINNER!

    We have finally found a North American male who supports FGM, viz:

    “In this same sense, would you then have a labia tuck for your infant daughter

    I have no idea what the hell that even is, but I’ll play your game. If this was a relatively painless procedure that a majority of women were doing in a region I lived in, then yes, I would do it for my daughter if my wife also consented to it.”

    Yup, there is the connection. A person who supports MGM will also support FGM. Because “other people do it.”

  437. #437 mommimus-prime
    May 7, 2010

    @435: But it is painful otherwise the baby wouldn’t have to be tied down or wouldn’t be red faced with screaming while the procedure is done. If a local anesthetic is used, that’s painful. The whole process is painful.

    And if you’re doing it because some future partner might be grossed out by a foreskin then it seems to be cosmetic as well. Let’s hope that the potential partners don’t find uncut penes gross.

  438. #438 JustALurker
    May 7, 2010

    Rather all of you who think you know best, and that only one way, clearly uncircumcised, is the only way human males should exist on the planet while pretending to be defenders of human freedoms and choice, are the true ignorant hypocrites.

    WOW. That clearly demonstrates your ignorance. Did I ever say it’s the only way males should exist on the planet? Nope, not even fucking close. If a male wants to do it when he’s old enough to be informed and consent, that’s fine by me. It’s his body and his own damn decision at that point. That’s what defending human rights and liberties is about you jackass. Why not trying reading the fucking thread? Or do you just skim it over the parts that point out your ignorance?

    As myself and many others have said, I’m circumcised, I’m glad for it, I’m glad I did it for my son and I’m quite certain he will hold no ill-will for me in the future over his missing foreskin. My god they way some of you whine over a useless piece of skin just makes me laugh!

    Ok, I am going to repeat this again, very slowly so maybe you can get it though your pea sized brain:

    Just because you are fine with it and okay doesn’t mean every other man who has had their foreskins removed without their permission, is okay with it. It doesn’t mean that your son will be okay with it. It doesn’t make it right if every man on the planet is circumcised. This is not “just a piece of skin”. This is taking an infant and removing a piece of them without their consent for no damn reason. And no, social norm is not a fucking reason. Just like social norm is not an excuse for FGM* or infant nose jobs, or infant tattoos.

    *Obviously, FGM is far, far worse than removing the foreskin, and has deadly effects physically, sexually, and mentally. I am no way trying to say they are equal. They just have similarities that I am using to demonstrate his horrible viewpoint.

  439. #439 JustALurker
    May 7, 2010

    Apologies, to everyone else reading the thread, I didn’t realize how big that text was going to be =(
    I previewed it but didn’t think it was going to be that big, I got a little too happy with new my text format bar.

    And you could make the argument that it has functional reasons as well :)

    No, there is not functional reasons. No hygiene reasons, no medical reasons, nothing. In fact, if you’re not cut you can masturbate without using lube because that “flap of skin” you so loving downplay actually has a function. You are taking away from you’re penis when you hack away from it, who knew?

  440. #440 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 7, 2010

    Rather all of you who think you know best, and that only one way, clearly uncircumcised, is the only way human males should exist on the planet while pretending to be defenders of human freedoms and choice, are the true ignorant hypocrites.

    If you look up quick enough you’ll see the point sailing far over your head.

  441. #441 brianemond71
    May 7, 2010

    JustATroll:

    Yeah, keep yelling, that’ll make your point. Why don’t you use all caps next time like a christian fundie? I stand by what I said – ITS NOT A BIG FUCKING DEAL, no matter how hard you’re trying to make it one, its not.

    @436

    I thought I was quite clear that I wouldn’t support a procedure that was painful, involved, or could possibly affect my daughters future sexual enjoyment; I wouldn’t. You could make the argument that ear piercings are a mutilation as well; let’s call it Female Ear Mutilation, or FEM from now on since you people seem to think your acronyms containing the word ‘mutilation’ give more merit to your argument. It can be painful, people do it to infants purely for cosmetic reasons, and they had no choice! OMG WTF the world is ending how horrible!

    Thousands of people will starve to death today and you people think a useless piece of skin being cut off an infant’s dick is some kind of a worldwide epidemic. Please…I wish this was the pinnacle of problems our planet had!

  442. #442 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 7, 2010

    Thousands of people will starve to death today and you people think a useless piece of skin being cut off an infant’s dick is some kind of a worldwide epidemic. Please…I wish this was the pinnacle of problems our planet had!

    logic, you’re doing it wrong.

  443. #443 naddyfive
    May 7, 2010

    Well, one of the major differences between FGM performed in Africa and MGM performed in the industrialized west (mostly the U.S. afaik) is that it’s pubescent girls getting cut in Africa, while it’s baby boys in the U.S.

    What really makes FGM more startling, however, is that the procedure is performed 1) bt someone who is not a medical professional, 2) often in highly unsanitary conditions, and 3) very often leads to severe complications (fistula, for one) and sometimes death. It’s also somewhat more harrowing because girls who would refuse to be cut are considered basically unwed-able and are cast out of their communities, left to starve.

    FWIW, male circumcision in many African tribes takes place under similarly harrowing conditions. But that’s not the comparison men on these threads are making.

  444. #444 JustALurker
    May 7, 2010

    JustATroll :

    Oh, so now I’m a fucking troll now? I thought I was one of PZ’s mindless heard? FUCK OFF. If you care to read, I apologized I didn’t realize it would be that big, I haven’t use my text formatting bar before. Oh and the irony of saying

    Why don’t you use all caps next time like a christian fundie?

    right before you say

    ITS NOT A BIG FUCKING DEAL

    is not lost on me.

    So what isn’t not the planet’s biggest problem? Does that mean we just let the problem stand even if we can do something about it? National Day of Prayer isn’t the planet’s biggest problem, ( even if it is a symptom of a bigger one,) so do we let that stand? And yes, we do actually work towards resolving the major fucking issues of the planet but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the “little” ones either.

  445. #445 naddyfive
    May 7, 2010

    Oh and I forgot to mention the lack of access to anaesthetic and NSAIDs for girls who undergo FGM in Africa (and a few other places…)

    P.S. Ignore the poor grammar and typos up there. I plead finals week.

  446. #446 JustALurker
    May 7, 2010

    Naddyfive, interesting that you mention that indeed.

    FWIW, male circumcision in many African tribes takes place under similarly harrowing conditions. But that’s not the comparison men on these threads are making.

    Of course not, because the people they are arguing against are against all mutilation of infant genitalia. Plus we have the unfortunate posting of a man who will be in favor of any social norm, provided the infants have ” a relatively painless procedure that a majority of people were doing in a region I lived in”. So load ‘em up on pain killers, on with the ritual pin prick in the genitals. (snortle)

    Sorry, genuinely liked your post and your observations, not meant to snortle at you or anything.

  447. #447 JustALurker
    May 7, 2010

    useless piece of skin

    Try researching that. It’s not useless, it has a function, whether or not you notice it’s loss. Especially, since you never got to experience the difference in the first place.

  448. #448 naddyfive
    May 7, 2010

    I understand what labiaplasty is, but what on earth are “protruding labia”??

    *googles*

    Wow… you learn something new everyday. I was picturing labia majora reconstruction, but it looks like most of the photos are of labia minora reconstructions. How common are protruding labia, I wonder? Never seen this before, and I’m no naif.

    Anybody who would get elective surgery on such a sensitive area would have to be doing it to make money. Or maybe they have a really creepy, controlling partner? Majora would be bad enough, but… I can’t even think about it…

  449. #449 naddyfive
    May 7, 2010

    I’d also like to be the first person to say:

    Who cares if uncut dicks *look* better (which I don’t really think they do, much)? They don’t feel quite as nice, even on the receiving end.

  450. #450 Knockgoats
    May 7, 2010

    I do not see circumcision as a painful, highly involved process (its not, its trivial) – brianemond71

    The foreskin is packed with nerve-endings, capable of transmitting pain as well as pleasure. If you hadn’t been robbed of yours, you’d know that. Cutting it off also involves a small but non-trivial risk of death or irreversible loss of sexual function. No, of course it’s not comparable to FGM, or starvation. So?

  451. #451 Morse
    May 7, 2010

    @brianemond71
    Did I just see the reasoning used that child genital cutting is justified because it will make the child a more attractive mate and because it was done to the child’s parent and grandparents. Where the hell have I heard that line of logic before? (Of course, originally it was proposed to stop boys from playing with themselves [sexual control], but now it’s “just what we do in our culture”) Welcome to America: The World’s Richest Third World Country.

    Also, everyone should stop worrying that their child is going to somehow be socially disadvantaged by being uncircumcised. If for whatever reason they are teased in the locker room(never happened to me or my brothers), the correct response is “Why are you so interested in my junk?”. If they do end up with a shallow bitch who won’t accept them for who they are, then at that point they can weigh whether she’s worth a week of pain. (Or if they just decide that they’re tired of the turtle neck look. I’ve known friends who have done crazier stuff to their penises. At that point however, it will be their choice.)

    Of all the things you can do to improve your son’s sexual attractiveness, a non-consensual, non-reversible* operation is pretty low down on the list. After all, since he won’t remember the pain, why don’t you look into surgical options for also lengthening or enlarging his penis, or maybe add some implants to make him “ribbed.” Maybe when he grows up, he’ll want a Jacob’s Ladder [google at your own risk]. You should just get him the piercings now. (you want to talk avoiding future pain, most people get their’s done over the course of multiple visits so you’d be saving him a lot by having it done early)

    If you simply must focus on giving your son more ‘attractive’ genitalia, might I suggest instead teaching him the basics of proper pubic hair grooming. (A cropped bush will enhance the apparent size, and having lickably smooth balls is well worth the upkeep.)

    *Okay, maybe not non-reversible, but not easily, quickly, or naturally reversed (unlike, say, a piercing, which you can just leave out)

  452. #452 brianemond71
    May 7, 2010

    If they do end up with a shallow bitch who won’t accept them for who they are

    You sound like someone who’s never gotten head before, or had to deal with the shame of having a woman look at your creepy-looking dick and say ‘no thanks’.

    After all, since he won’t remember the pain, why don’t you look into surgical options

    As I stated already, I would not be for any involved, lengthy (hehe), painful or otherwise overly invasive procedure done to my child purely for cosmetic reasons. And as I already stated, I do not believe circumcision falls into any of the above-mentioned categories, and numerous people have been quick to disagree with me. We’ll simply have to agree to disagree on this at this point.

    If you simply must focus on giving your son more ‘attractive’ genitalia, might I suggest instead teaching him the basics of proper pubic hair grooming

    I can’t teach my son anything that I struggle with myself :)

  453. #453 Brownian, OM
    May 7, 2010

    Thousands of people will starve to death today and you people think a useless piece of skin being cut off an infant’s dick is some kind of a worldwide epidemic. Please…I wish this was the pinnacle of problems our planet had!

    Millions of people will die this year of coronary heart disease, stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases and you’re freaking out about a few people not getting a few square meals as some kind of worldwide epidemic. Please…I wish starvation was the pinnacle of problems our planet had!

  454. #454 skeptifem
    May 7, 2010

    I know there are women out there who don’t like uncircumcised wangs. The feelings the uncut dudes have at that is a good opportunity for them to have some empathy for women. We are constantly given the message that our bodies are disgusting without altering them fundamentally- like shaving off all the hair that we grow (except on eyelashes/head), dieting ourselves way below normal body weight, wearing strange contraptions on our feet and busts, making sure our vaginas and tits fit some porn defined dimensions, pretending that we don’t have periods, etc etc. I have had the same conversation about fellatio and pubic hair that has gone on here about fellatio and foreskins. The same bullshit reasons get brought up (hygiene!!11). It does feel bad and I am sorry you all feel that way, but imagine for a second if every part of your body had that kind of freakish scrutiny applied to it in public. I have heard so many conversations where the fuckability of women was discussed on the basis of some specific bodily trait/lack of it. A wee bit of it being shot back at you all is a chance to get some perspective, not a special cookie for yer plight.

  455. #455 jugglingbuffoon
    May 7, 2010

    I used to be a huge fan of yours but not anymore. This post is disgraceful and disgusting.

    You have lost a reader.

  456. #456 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 7, 2010

    I used to be a huge fan of yours but not anymore. This post is disgraceful and disgusting.

    You have lost a reader.

    I’m sure PZ is devastated.

  457. #457 Smoggy Batzrubble OM4Jesus
    May 7, 2010

    Dear Atheists,

    I’d just like to say how happy this thread has made me (and how sorry I am to have arrived in it so late in the game after the rest of you have sliced up all the interesting arguments).

    Nothing spices up my morning coffee like a lengthy (ar! ar!) discussion of our fleshy bottom parts. FWIW my own meatstick had its little pink cowl forcibly separated from me when I was just a few days old. But fear not, such things are not lost forever in the Batzrubble clan. Our family Matriarch has the honour of wearing the dried and cured foreskins of all small Batzrubble boys as an ever-lengthening necklace around her scrawny chicken neck.

    Before you express disgust or delight at such a thing (depending, I would guess, on your tastes in jewellery), I should point out that this is a vast improvement on the practice of centuries earlier when all baby Butzrubble boys were anally circumcised (or more correctly, anally excised) at birth. No one knows why the Batzrubbles began practicing the Male Anal Mutilation Act (or MAMA as is became known), but it is commonly assumed that it is because we Batzrubble men, like the Ancient Greeks, prefer to do each other up the bottom.

    MAMAs were eventually banned because the Batzrubble women became sick of all the men shitting themselves whenever they moved–hence the welcome shift to foreskin chopping.

    Why do I share this unusual piece of Batzrubble family history with you? Because it taught me that while any adult infliction of body modification on another person, no matter the age, without consent, for reasons cosmetic, sexual or religious, is reprehensible, there are degree of reprehensibility. I’d rather lose my foreskin and keep my anal sphincters (and be able to exert control over my bowel movements and, even better, retain a nice tight meathole for any friendly chap in a hat that comes a-calling). Similarly, I’d rather be a boy with a bald head, than a girl whose hairstylist is Madame Guillotine.

    Any games involving teeth, knives, needles and fun-filled-fleshy-bits should only be carried out between consenting adults, in safely sterile conditions, and with an array of cameras (I know a good agent). Otherwise my motto is?as it has always been?DON’T FUCK WITH THE FLESH YOU DON’T FUCK WITH.

    Yours in Christian Enlightenment

    Smoggy

    PS I sat down to watch a documentary on a happy hooker not so long ago. She was a real pro whose vagina, by my conservative estimate,had accomodated in cumulative thrusts some 156 kilometres of penis in her ten-year working career (I can supply calculations to those who are interested. The figure rises if anal sex is included). This Woman of the Night (and day, for shift workers) said the only thing she really hated in her entire career was what she called “cock cheese”. As I said, I have a scalped todger, with no place for a whiffy accretion of any jelly of discharge, dust and dentine, but it behoves me to advise you proud possessors of hooded cobras that even hookers prefer hygenic ones. Peel and floss is my advice.

  458. #458 Rorschach
    May 8, 2010

    To repeat from PZ’s post above :

    But since some of you are so insistent on demanding that your tallywhackers must be privileged with sympathy, this thread is for you.

    Happens every 6 months or so, when we discuss this, and it always goes down the same lines, never to disappoint !

    @ 439,

    No, there is not functional reasons. No hygiene reasons, no medical reasons, nothing. In fact, if you’re not cut you can masturbate without using lube because that “flap of skin” you so loving downplay actually has a function.

    I have yet to see any cut guy who needs lube to masturbate, what a nonsense.
    And yes there is medical reasons(phimosis etc), hygiene reasons(smegma, possibly STDs).I’m surprised that after 2 threads and nearly 1000 comments you still haven’t tried to at least inform yourself.

  459. #459 Kel, OM
    May 8, 2010

    And yes there is medical reasons(phimosis etc), hygiene reasons(smegma, possibly STDs).

    Are those reasons significant enough to warrant an invasive procedure? Even if there are some benefits to doing so, it sounds like removing an appendix because it could develop appendicitis later in life.

  460. #460 JustALurker
    May 8, 2010

    Masterbation – Ok, not all cut men need or use lube but in come cases it does make it difficult or uncomfortable. I was only pointing out the uncut men don’t have to unless that’s how they prefer it.

    In this area it depends on how tightly a guy is circumcised. Some guys are circumcised so tightly (that is, there’s little/no mobility in the shaft skin) that they pretty much have to use lube, otherwise it gets uncomfortable or painful. However, some guys are circumcised pretty loosely, so they can stroke the loose skin up and down their penis almost as if they had a really really short foreskin. It does hurt some guys to masturbate without lube if they’re circumcised really tightly. In some cases a guy may be circumcised so tightly that erection itself is a bit uncomfortable/painful, because there might not be enough skin left over to “cover” the erection.With a foreskin lube is never necessary, just an option.

    Smega? Wash it.

    production of smegma increases from adolescence until sexual maturity when the function of smegma for lubrication assumes its full value, and from middle-age production starts to decline and in old age virtually no smegma is produced

    Phimosis? Right, because it’s such a huge problem that effecting so many of our male children we must cut off all their foreskins. If there are problems later in life, it is a small percentage and can be done then for medical reasons. Or because the man wants it.

    Age is reportedly a factor in non-retractability: according to Huntley et al. the foreskin is reportedly retractable in approximately 50% of cases at 1 year of age, 90% by 3 years of age, and 99% by age 17. These authors argue that, unless scarring or other abnormality is present, non-retractibility may “be considered normal for males up to and including adolescence.”[2] Hill states that full retractability of the foreskin may not be achieved until late childhood or early adulthood.[18]
    Some pediatric urologists have argued that many physicians continue to have trouble distinguishing developmental non-retractility from pathological phimosis.

    STDs? Tell them to use a condom since it is a documented way to prevent STDs/HIV and it doesn’t involve removing a piece of themselves.

    What began as speculation has resulted a century later in 60-75% of American boys being circumcised with no clearly confirmed medical benefit. In the interim, no solid epidemiological evidence has been found to support the theory that circumcision prevents STDs or to justify a policy of involuntary mass circumcision as a public health measure. While the number of confounding factors and the inability to perform a random, double-blind, propective trial make assessing the role of circumcision in STD acquisition difficult, there is no clear evidence that circumcision prevents STDs. The only consistent trend is that uncircumcised males may be more susceptible to GUD, while circumcised men are more prone to urethritis. Currently, in developed nations, urethritis is more common than GUD [34]. In summary, the medical literature does not support the theory that circumcision prevents STDs.

    HIV?

    There have been 36 case-controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals addressing the relationship between the foreskin and HIV infection; the results have been inconsistent. Several studies performed in STD clinics have found the foreskin to be a risk factor [17,18,21,25,29,30,68-72], while several random population surveys, which do not have the population bias of an STD clinic study, have found circumcised men to be at higher risk [32,73-75]. Several studies have failed to detect a statistically significant difference between men with and without a foreskin [31,76-87]. In several studies, when the populations are controlled for GUD, number of sexual partners and other factors, the results differ significantly from the raw data. The USA has the highest incidence of HIV infection, as well as the highest incidence of male circumcision amongst developed nations. This speaks against the protective effect of circumcision [89]. The inconsistency of the results and the number of confounding factors make it impossible to link the foreskin to HIV infection [36,90].

    I have tried to inform myself. If there is more current data that hasn’t been debunked that proves me otherwise I would love to see it. If that evidence is out there, I would gladly review it and reestablish my views. However, all of the information I have found and received supports what I said. This is not something I came to a decision lightly on. Before I knew the sex of my child I talked to my doctor about it and researched it. Feel free to provide the links that show my ignorance and arrogance. I humbly await your evidence.

    (Ok, that part is snarky, but honestly, if I’m wrong you have to put up or shut up. I’ve done my homework to the best of my abilities, so nothing else will do. And if there is evidence that shows I’m wrong, I’m will look at it and reassess my views.)

    link for HIV/STD http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/STD/vanhowe6/

    Others against circumcision:
    http://www.cirp.org/library/anatomy/garcia/
    http://www.circumstitions.com/reasonsnotto.html

  461. #461 Rorschach
    May 8, 2010

    Are those reasons significant enough to warrant an invasive procedure?

    Phimosis means “foreskin too tight to pee”, so yeah, significant enough I’d say.

  462. #462 JustALurker
    May 8, 2010

    @459

    Exactly Kel, thank you.

  463. #463 JustALurker
    May 8, 2010

    Phimosis means “foreskin too tight to pee”, so yeah, significant enough I’d say.

    Again, rare and if it does happen, they can do the correct medical procedure to correct it.

  464. #464 Rorschach
    May 8, 2010

    Again, rare and if it does happen, they can do the correct medical procedure to correct it.

    Certainly not rare, in the medical sense of the term rare.I assume you know nothing about it, as with the other things you mentioned.
    And the correct medical procedure is circumcision, when you stated at 439 that a medical indication for it did not exist.
    So I conclude that you are clueless and have no idea what you are talking about.

  465. #465 Kel, OM
    May 8, 2010

    Phimosis means “foreskin too tight to pee”, so yeah, significant enough I’d say.

    Of course in that situation – there’s a clear medical reason. But really can it be justified in others? (for example, parents are circumcising their children in Africa because it supposedly reduces the risk of AIDS) And what about for non-medical (aesthetic or cultural reasons) as it is justified so often these days?

    Arguing against mandatory appendectomies or even non-medical elective appendectomies is far different from arguing that it shouldn’t happen for legitimate medical reasons. I don’t think that anyone here is arguing that circumcision is categorically wrong even when there are life-threatening circumstances, but that it shouldn’t be done unless there is a good medical reason for it.

  466. #466 Usagichan
    May 8, 2010

    #458

    To repeat PZ’s post from above

    For the record, I agree with you: circumcision is mutilation, too, and it shouldn’t be done, and doctors shouldn’t be collaborating in such a primitive and barbarous practice on children

    FGM is of course far more harmful, but for that reason it is less controversial here – any right-minded adult should oppose it.

    Hygiene is not a problem for uncut guys (or are you claiming that cut guys that don’t wash properly are magically cleaner), and as for protection against STD’s, using a condom is far more effective and less permanent.

    It is not a question of whether circumcision is a good idea or not, but of whether a parent has the right to make that decision for their child. Still, its your culture so who are we to tell you what to do to your children?

  467. #467 JustALurker
    May 8, 2010

    And the correct medical procedure is circumcision, when you stated at 439 that a medical indication for it did not exist.

    It doesn’t exist when the infant doesn’t have this condition. Admittedly adults can get a circumcision for whatever reason, and if the child, or adolescent has a medical condition they can get it done. That’s not what I’m arguing against.
    Yes, that’ how they correct it. I am aware and did my research, read my previous comment. If this is a problem, then there is a medical reason to do it. However, there is no medical reason to do it to an infant just because this might happen down the line. When it happens, fix it, that means circumcision. What I’ve been arguing against is circumcising infants when there’s no medical reason to do so at that time. Maybe I worded my comment poorly and didn’t get my point across. However, I hope I am making myself very clear now.

  468. #468 Rorschach
    May 8, 2010

    (for example, parents are circumcising their children in Africa because it supposedly reduces the risk of AIDS

    I don’t have much time tonight, but I think the evidence for this is dubious at best.

    And what about for non-medical (aesthetic or cultural reasons) as it is justified so often these days?

    By far the most common reason for circumcision in Australia is religious.Aesthetic, as in lifestyle choice? Never heard about that being done a lot over here.Different in the US I guess.

  469. #469 JustALurker
    May 8, 2010

    Oops, sorry blockquote fail in my 467 comment.

    I don’t think that anyone here is arguing that circumcision is categorically wrong even when there are life-threatening circumstances, but that it shouldn’t be done unless there is a good medical reason for it.

    Thank you again, Kel.

  470. #470 Rorschach
    May 8, 2010

    What I’ve been arguing against is circumcising infants when there’s no medical reason to do so at that time.

    Fair enough, I can agree with that.Sorry if I misunderstood your comment.

  471. #471 JustALurker
    May 8, 2010

    Aesthetic, as in lifestyle choice? Never heard about that being done a lot over here.Different in the US I guess.

    Yes, it is different. People here argue that is okay to do infant circumcision because it supposedly looks better, or they want their sons to be just like daddy or just because it’s a social norm here and they are worried their sons won’t get as many blow jobs. That’s what I’ve been arguing against. That was covered up thread and where I jumped into the argument as an American female who doesn’t discriminate against cut or uncut males.

  472. #472 JustALurker
    May 8, 2010

    Fair enough, I can agree with that.Sorry if I misunderstood your comment

    Thanks, and I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear and got too snarky. I was commenting on someone who was for infant circumcision for those medical reasons down the line and generalized too much. Looking back now, I really should have specified and been more clear that if there is a problem down the line that needs a circumcision, I certainly won’t have a problem with it.

  473. #473 Kel, OM
    May 8, 2010

    Thanks for the link, it’s now saved in my “science papers” folder on my computer.

    By far the most common reason for circumcision in Australia is religious.

    Interesting that the link you gave shows that 40% of Australians are circumcised. I didn’t expect it to be that high! Following this up, I’ve found somewhere which says the current rate is about 12%.

    Aesthetic, as in lifestyle choice? Never heard about that being done a lot over here.

    In regard to what multiple commenters have alluded to above about what women find pleasing or because father and son should have the same looking penis. I think that should be distinguished from someone doing purely because they think it the societal norm or because of religious reasons.

  474. #474 negentropyeater
    May 8, 2010

    People here argue that is okay to do infant circumcision because it supposedly looks better

    I think uncut dicks look much more pretty. And my personal experience as an uncut gay guy who lived in America was that most cut American gay guys agreed with me.

  475. #475 Rorschach
    May 8, 2010

    Yes, it is different. People here argue that is okay to do infant circumcision because it supposedly looks better, or they want their sons to be just like daddy or just because it’s a social norm here and they are worried their sons won’t get as many blow jobs.

    My opinion(and the evidence from men circumsized after they’ve had sex seems to suggest that) is that there isn’t much difference in the sensation with or without foreskin, so in my personal opinion circumcision doesnt do any harm, if it’s done, not that it should be done just based on the petty reasons of the parents, and the rest of it is really all personal preference, I personally like (looking at) cut cocks and hairy pussies best, but as a mere personal preference lol, other people will have different preferences !

  476. #476 naddyfive
    May 8, 2010

    Yeah, Skeptifem.

    I don’t care if people want to alter themselves as adults, but a lot of men are completely blind to the ways in which women are told they’re disgusting if they don’t alter themselves, all the time, every day, in every cultural arena.

    People think women don’t watch as much porn because they don’t like it, or think it’s demeaning, or icky, to see people fucking on screen. Maybe for some, that’s the issue. But for most of us, the reason why porn shuts us down is because of the way the only breasts allowed are the kind that are ten times larger than what would look proportionate and they don’t even move or resemble flesh. The extreme fake tans. The anorexia. The surgeried faces.

    That’s whats gross about it, to me. (Well, that and the pneumatic drill close-ups and fake female orgasms). And before some rube claims I’m probably some overweight or hideous jealous person who can’t handle the fact that there are good-looking people in the world– I’m not. I just don’t happen to think “porn star” is an attractive look.

  477. #477 Rachel Bronwyn
    May 8, 2010

    I guess my primary issue with porn is that it`s demeaning, not towards the participants, but towards me. The porn industry puts forth a very, very specific model of what is sexually ideal. This ideal is absolutely not me nor could I or most women achieve it without surgicaly altering our bodies. I figure that`s a pretty shitty message to send anyone – that they`re not good enough.

  478. #478 Knockgoats
    May 8, 2010

    Naddyfive, Rachel Bronwyn,

    I can only think you’ve never looked at the range of porn that’s available. I hasten to add, nor have I – but I have seen enough to know that the range of body types appearing (of all possible sexes) is vast (and indeed, includes performers who are themselves vast).

  479. #479 Walton
    May 8, 2010

    Knockgoats,

    I can only think you’ve never looked at the range of porn that’s available. I hasten to add, nor have I – but I have seen enough to know that the range of body types appearing (of all possible sexes) is vast (and indeed, includes performers who are themselves vast).

    Yes – but I assume you (given your anti-capitalist views) would tend to share my discomfort with the commercial porn industry and the way it exploits women’s (and men’s) bodies for profit.

    I hasten to add that, as a classical liberal, I have no problem with porn in principle and believe that, in a free society, consenting adults should be free to produce and view it. Still, the mainstream porn industry (from the little I know of it) has always struck me as somewhat misogynistic and exploitative. Admittedly I really don’t have any experience of this at all, so I could be talking nonsense.

  480. #480 Stephen Wells
    May 8, 2010

    Rule 34, everybody: if it exists, there is porn of it. This includes natural bodies.

    I’m impressed by the psychic powers of those who know what the fashion in foreskins will be in several decades time.

  481. #481 Knockgoats
    May 8, 2010

    Walton,
    Yes, I believe there are serious problems of exploitation and misogyny in porn – but so there are in all economic sectors. The entire advertising industry, fashion modelling and professional sport, exploit women’s (and men’s) bodies for profit. When Rachel Bronwyn and Naddyfive object to it on the grounds that it implicitly tells most women they are inadequate or disgusting, I think it is probably less guilty of this than mainstream advertising and fashion.

  482. #482 Shirudo
    May 9, 2010

    although it is actually a painful procedure, A) most circumcisions are done shortly after birth, and as such there is no actual memory of the event, just a subconscious imprint that tells males not to let anything near that region again. and B) Circumcisions are actually done for health reason, to prevent infections of the penis, by eliminating the risk of buildup of bacteria and dirt/skin/urine etc etc etc.

    For many uncircumcised men, they later have severe health issues when they start to get older because of infections that started near/in the penis, and causes potentially permanent damage (such as e.d.) and/or pain/discomfort while urinating or even just constantly while doing nothing.

    And its not so much the removal of the head of the penis, as it is the removal of some of the foreskin around the penis.

  483. #483 JustALurker
    May 10, 2010

    @482

    Everything you said has been addressed up thread. I know its long but read it, it’s there.

    And honestly, no fucking duh it’s the removal of the foreskin. No one is saying they chop off the head of the penis.

  484. #484 redrabbitslife
    May 10, 2010

    @Jimmy 385: I’m in Canada.

    Of course I tell my patients that there is no medical indication for circumcision (unless there is in their case). Of course I teach them how to care for and clean a foreskin.

    But I do also direct them to a physician who performs them. No, a medical clinic is not a sweetshop, but as things stand currently, elective circumcision is not yet considered child abuse, and as such, people are independent and have a right to take my advice or leave it. My duty to them is to make sure that they have the appropriate info. I may start directing them to this thread.

    Paternalistic medicine is, for better or worse (mostly better, I think), on the way out.

    Oh, and phimosis does not mean a foreskin “too tight to pee.” Phimosis refers to foreskins which have become attached to the glans, usually via skin bridges. These are normal in children, and I spend a lot of time reassuring mums.

  485. #485 hugh7
    May 11, 2010

    The one silver lining from the AAP’s benighted new policy on FGC is that no longer can anyone say “but FGC is MUCH worse than MGC”. Male circumcision is patently much worse than the “ritual nick” the AAP wants to allow, and anyone who objects to that on principle must object to non-therapeutic male circumcision.

    @redrabbitslife: “phimosis does not mean a foreskin “too tight to pee.” Phimosis refers to foreskins which have become attached to the glans, usually via skin bridges. These are normal in children” You are conflating three different conditions. In adults, extreme phimosis may result in preputial stenosis, a foreskin too tight to pee. Children are normally born with the foreskin attached to the glans by a membrane called the synechia, and forcing them apart prematurely can result in wounds that heal together in skin bridges. They come apart by themselves in their own good time, sometimes not until puberty, and the boy himself is the best person to decide when that is. A much more common form of skin bridge is an ugly artifact of circumcision, where the foreskin remnant reattaches to the glans from which it was recently torn.

    “people are independent and have a right to take my advice or leave it.” The parents are not your patient, the boy is, and your duty is to him, not them, to protect him from unnecessary surgery, until he is old enough to choose it for himself. He almost certainly won’t.

    @Shirudo: The foreskin is not “around” the penis, it is an integral part of the penis. And do you seriously think that “a subconscious imprint that tells males not to let anything near that region again” is a good thing?

    “Later, severe health issues” are very, very rare. In non-circumcising cultures the lifetime risk of circumcision is less than one in a thousand.

  486. #486 hugh7
    May 11, 2010

    As for angry circumcised men hijacking threads about FGC, this seldom happens until someone (often enough the OP) says “Oh you mustn’t call it ‘female circumcision’. Male circumcision is painless, healthful, puts hair on your chest and is commanded by God.”

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!