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View Full Version : Circumcision, +or- ?


05-23-1999, 10:25 PM
O.K, I'll ask.
Is it good or bad? I've read scientific opinions, which seem to slightly favor not to circumcise, But I trust the opinions of the teeming millions.
Citing cleanliness is ridiculous (soap & water work just fine), but what about sensitivity? It makes sense to me that constant contact with clothing would reduce sensitivity somewhat.
Also, what do women think (of male circumcision)? Do most have a preference?
There are many issues around this topic, so what do you open-minded geniuses think?
Also state whether you (or your s.o.) are or aren't circumcised, and if this has an impact on your opinion.
I'm not. Still got my tonsils, too. Wierd :)
Peace,
mangeorge


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"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything" Mark Twain 1894

05-23-1999, 10:35 PM
Cleanliness may not be an issue, but it becomes one where laziness abounds. To wit: Most guys I know who aren't cut don't seem to care much about keeping it clean, and it's noticeable (don't ask me how). I don't see the big deal, myself. I don't feel as though I was mutilated or violated at all. Never having had it, I don't really miss it. I'm cut, and I'm PLENTY sensitive.

05-23-1999, 11:45 PM
I just wish they had consulted me first, dammit. I'll always wonder if I'm missing anything, sensitivity or otherwise.
As for appearance, I'm always reminded of what Elaine said on Seinfeld - "It looks like an ALIEN.

05-24-1999, 01:06 AM
Yeah, sensitivity seems to be the rrreally big issue here. I suspect you'll hear cut men say it doesn't make any difference, and uncut men say that it does. ;)
I know that when my foreskin is pulled back, the head is very touchy. I can't imagine having it rub against my jeans all day.
As for cleanliness, there are plenty of gentle ways to tell a lover "yuck, go wash that thing".
I wouldn't hesitate (and haven't) to tell a woman if she "offends". Not exactly in those words, of course. A mutual washdown can be fun.
Peace,
mangeorge

05-24-1999, 08:06 AM
It seems like a cruel thing to do to a kid. Oh well, at least we don't give 'em neck rings or those stupid lip plates.

05-24-1999, 08:29 AM
The evidence I've seen indicates a slight (very slight) advantage for circumcision. Penile cancer, while extremely rare in either case, is more prevalent in uncircumcized males. Course it's a difference between one in a million vs. one in a million and a half (statistics made up, but you get the idea). Anecdotal evidence from men who were circumsized later in life (usually due to religious conversion) indicates no loss of sensitivity. For a "cut and dry" issue, this one sure spurs a lot of debate ;).

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The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. -- E. Grebenik

05-24-1999, 09:23 AM
Purely anecdotal evidence ahead:

When my son was born 13 years ago, we worried over the circ./ no circ. issue. Finally, we decided to have him cut -- largely on my (uncircumcised) father's recommendation. Turns out Dad has had various problems with his jones over the years and had been told by urologists that circumcision would solve them. Dad declined the proposed circumcision for years, but his problems started escalating with age. Apparently his sausage was tender and prone to tearing -- often it was so fragile he had to refrain from sex. Dad waited until he retired last year to have the surgery -- the doc had told him to expect an excruciatingly painful experience and a lengthy (4-6 week) recovery period and Dad didn't want to file a disability claim for 6 weeks off for willy-surgery. Anyway, he had the surgery last year and it was both successful (in that it cured his problems) and much easier than advertised. He never even needed any of the pain meds the doc prescribed -- extra-strength Tylenol did the trick -- he was pretty much healed within 10 days and was back in the saddle (sexually) within a month. He says he wishes he'd had it done 30 years ago when it was first recommended.

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Jess
Full of 'satiable curtiosity

05-24-1999, 10:07 AM
No offense, but true stories:

Funniest story a woman told me was when she was talking to another woman friend and she said, 'uncircumcized men are so ugly.' To which her friend said, 'hush, my husband is not circumcized!'

Another woman told me that the first time she saw an uncircumcised penis she thought it was so weird that she put on her clothes and left. American women, sheesh.

My friend Eric, got circumcized when he was 25 years old! Whoa. But I guess you'd have to find someone who was not and then was to compare notes on how it feels and how it keeps clean.

05-24-1999, 10:56 PM
I didn't have Greg circumcised because when i was in the hospital, thinking about it, I heard the screams of poor little babies who were being circumcised (I know that's what they were...the nurse told me so). I couldn't stand the thought of him suffering like that and I figured I'd just teach him proper hygiene, anyway.
Why don't they anesthetize beforehand, anyway?

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MaryAnn
Sometimes life is so great you just gotta muss up your hair and quack like a duck!

05-24-1999, 11:11 PM
When my son was born, we had it done mainly for the issue of cleanliness. Of course, this is after my grandfather had gone through some nasty times with his uncut penis later in life. I was and like anyone else cut as a child, can't say I miss it cause I don't know what it's like to have it. On the other hand, I'd think women might be all for anything to decrease the trigger reflex in the male sex organ ;)

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"I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn't."

05-25-1999, 03:22 AM
Jeez man I cannot support that. I heard the kids getting it done and it freaked me. I will let my kid go uncirc and let him choose it later if he wants it

05-25-1999, 07:30 AM
Mangeorge, Just an opinion here: I worked in a hospital when I was in the military and any man that came in uncircumcises invariably was not very clean-don't ask me why. I'm sure you are though, if this is your situation. Anyway, there you go: just an observation.

Jess, your post had me rolling! Nice use of euphemisms!

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Carpe Diem! or at least seize something!

05-25-1999, 01:05 PM
Regarding the sensitivity/condom issue, safe sex demonstrations suggest using a little lubricant inside the condom at the tip (not along the entire length, as it might slip off in action). This is recommended because a lot of people use the "it doesn't feel as good with a condom" excuse for not wearing one, and put themselves at risk in the process. This is supposed to create additional mild friction, and to me seems about as close as you can come (har!) to having foreskin. I've never tried it, myself, because as I already said, I'm cut and already plenty sensitive. One of you less sensitive guys give it a try and let us know how it feels.

05-25-1999, 11:55 PM
Reuters Health (3/1/1999): "Existing medical data does not support the routine circumcision of male newborns, concludes a Policy Statement released by experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics"

05-26-1999, 12:30 AM
I have a friend who had VERY strong opinions on this - even went so far as to look into foreskin-replacement surgery (he was circumcised.)

His main problem was that he felt that there was a loss of sensitivity for circumcised men that was especially noticable when using a condom. He has a bunch of friends from Europe who were uncircumcised, and they told him that they never had any problems shall we say... "finishing" when using a condom. He, on the other hand, used to win bets as to how long it would take him to "finish" while using a condom. He never could.

Apparantly, the logic goes that a foreskin provides a certain amount of lubrication and friction, and the sensitive part of the penis rubs against the foreskin while having sex, rather than against say, a condom. Thus, the condom was a non-issue. The uncircumcised men never even felt it.

I have no idea as to the accuracy of the above theory. I'm just repeating what my friend told me. I maintain that the reason he could never achieve satisfaction while using a condom was that he wanked off too much to begin with, and if he gave himself a rest he'd be able to finish just fine. Come to think of it, he didn't protest too much when I told him that....

05-27-1999, 06:56 PM
Thank you for your replies, teeming dozen.
I guess I'm not yet ready to bring out the ole hedge clippers quite yet. :)
I was hoping for more responses from women about their feelings about circumcised men, as lovers. Mostly curiosity at my age.
I've never had any real comments, plus or minus, but women are kind to our egos. I think cleanliness would be the issue here.
Peace,
mangeorge

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"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything" Mark Twain 1894

06-01-1999, 09:04 AM
Aparantly getting the snip makes the Old Chap look bigger.

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It only hurts when I laugh.

06-01-1999, 07:26 PM
"Aparantly getting the snip makes the Old Chap look bigger."
---Moonshine
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Never heard that before.
Where do I sign up??? :)
Peace,
mangeorge

06-01-1999, 08:59 PM
Is circumcised. Does not regret what he lost since he has a reasonably fulfilling sex life.

Read a story in the Economist a few weeks ago (cannot cite it) in which they said that circumcised men have a significantly lower probability of picking up the HIV virus than uncircumcised men do. That seems to be a good argument in favor of circumcision.

06-01-1999, 09:08 PM
Hmm, my hubby is not circumsized, and my most significant ex-boyfriend was. Doesn't make much difference to me one way or the other.

-Melin

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I'm a woman phenomenally
Phenomenal woman
That's me
(Maya Angelou)

06-01-1999, 09:10 PM
That's what you get for reading the Economist. Try reading Moonshine instead. :)
Peace,
mangeorge
ps- this post is just an excuse to try out my new sig.

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Work like you don't need the money.....
Love like you've never been hurt.....
Dance like nobody's watching! Source???

06-02-1999, 01:38 PM
When it's soft, it's butt-stinkin'-ugly.

Which - circ or uncirc? My answer would have to be BOTH.

"The female body is a work of art. The male body is utilitarian. It's for gettin' around. It's like a jeep."

06-02-1999, 02:12 PM
INMO it doesn't make much of a difference. My current is not, and no complaints.
Much more important than a little bit of skin is concentrating on some technique! :)

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Cave Canem. Beware the Dog.

06-02-1999, 03:46 PM
All things being equal, I prefer cut to uncut. Although when performing oral sex on an uncut man, the extra foreskin does provide a little added something to play with. ;)

06-02-1999, 06:57 PM
"Although when performing oral sex on an uncut man, the extra foreskin does provide a little added something to play with."
---MONTY2
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Cancel my appointment, doctor.
Peace,
mangeorge

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Work like you don't need the money.....
Love like you've never been hurt.....
Dance like nobody's watching! Source???

06-02-1999, 09:43 PM
I've known three men that have had circumcisions as adults, and their reports back up Doctor Jackson's anecdotal evidence that there is no noticeable reduction in "sensation" as a result.

As for your question, mangeorge, I'll bet you're wondering: Why did these men choose to undergo this unpleasant procedure as adults? The most important reason was the same for all three: aesthetics.

Speaking for myself, I find uncut penises to be extremely ugly, as did the partners or spouses of these three men. The fact that I'm cut is probably biasing my opinions on the matter, yet I think it would be fair to say that since the majority of American men are cut -- from which it follows that the majority of women are familiar with cut men -- the overall national "aesthetical bias" is clearly in favor of circumcision.

But if you're uncut, don't let the fact that you're a little "different" interfere with your self-esteem or your sex life! There's no need to "hide your lamp under a bushel", so to speak. Just make certain that you keep yourself clean and be forewarned that your partner might have a bit of a hangup about it. If you're still not comfortable, I'd seriously look into getting a "trim".

Finally, I think Lawrence makes an excellent and important point. I too have read of studies confirming that uncircumcised men are at a significantly greater risk of contracting or at least transmitting HIV. I would think that this alone would strongly tip the scales in favor of routine infant circumcision as a matter of public health.

06-02-1999, 10:46 PM
I'm Jewish. If I had a son, I would have him circumcised by a mohel, and a full bris milah service.

I have attended several brises, and since I was a candy striper who spent a year on Maternity, I have also seen a couple of hospital circumcisions.

The last two brises I was at, the baby didn't even cry-- as for the anesthesia question, he is given a little wine-- very little, but with a baby, it doesn't take much. Also, mohels do many more circumcisions than ob/gyns, so I assume they probably do them quicker and better.

At every bris I've been to, the baby is picked up immediately, and often given to the mother to nurse; also, he's held by another human being during the actual cutting.

In the hospital-- geez, I'll never forget this one time-- the doctor snipped the baby right in his bassinet, then LEFT HIM THERE-- screaming, incidentally. He just lay there crying, no one picked him up. The doctor looked over a chart, then told the nurse to wait five minutes, diaper him, and return him to the nursery. It was awful.

As far as men-- I've slept with Jewish men who were of course, circumcised, and two gentiles, one of each variety.

Over-all, I'd say that the Jewish men were better lovers, and not as much in a hurry, so I was more, well, lubricated, and we never had any problems.

Now, two men are not much of a sample, but I remember one guy-- and he was only ninteen, but he happened to be the snipped one-- was always so raring to go that we had to use additional lubricant. Notice I'm not seeing him anymore.

The other guy, uncut, I didn't need lubricant with. He was a better lover, though, than the other goy, so maybe it was me. Again, that's not much of a sample, but hey-- now that I've opened up the topic, so to speak, any more women want to contribute?


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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-02-1999, 10:51 PM
"But if you're uncut, don't let the fact that you're a little "different" interfere with your self-esteem or your sex life!"
---ambushed

-Damn, almost hit "cut" instead of "copy" :)

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Well, ambushed, I thank you for your well thought-out comments and your concern for my self-esteem.
But I'm 54, and just fine with my ego. Thanks in large part to the kind women who elected to not tell me of my "extremely ugly" penis.
As far as sensitivity? Well, I guess we'll never really know, will we? Since no one who was cut at birth can know what it would be like to be otherwise, and vice-versa.
And how about disease? Do you know what the rhinovirus is? And where it attacks?
Hmmm. :)
Peace,
mangeorge


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Work like you don't need the money.....
Love like you've never been hurt.....
Dance like nobody's watching! Source???

06-02-1999, 10:54 PM
Hey, ambushed;
I was only kidding, man.
Please please please,
DO NOT go chop off your nose. :)
mangeorge

06-03-1999, 12:17 AM
I'm LOL, mangeorge!

But all kidding aside, I doubt I'd lose as much sleep worrying about whom I might have infected with a cold as I would if I had an extra reason to wonder if I might have inadvertently killed someone...

And if a simple, safe and clearly benign minor surgical removal of a superfluous flap of skin could substantially reduce the probability of getting colds or flu and passing these on to others, I'm sure I'd encourage the procedure for everyone! Wouldn't you?

As for your self-esteem, I'm sure you realize that I wasn't suggesting you were in any way deficient in that area (though you did raise the question). I guess I was just trying to include the larger audience of future visitors and potential lurkers in my remarks.

But I still love your replies!

06-03-1999, 12:54 AM
My .02

When it's soft, it's butt-stinkin'-ugly.

When it's hard, you can barely tell the difference.

06-04-1999, 06:11 PM
I guess I've never met a non-cut man. I'm not even sure what one would look like. But let me ask a question I've wondered since childhood: when my brother and I were little (he's two years younger than me) my mom used to throw us in the bathtub together for bath time. Well, of course curiosity got the better of me one day and I asked him how he used that thing. So he showed me how he had to pull something back to pee. Does this mean he wasn't circumcised? I was of course too young to know about circumcision then but when I got older I always wondered. I promise I'm not putting the teeming millions on, will someone resolve the mystery for me?

06-04-1999, 08:11 PM
Uncut.
And if he pulled it back more than 3 times, he was playing with it. :)
The voice of experience.
Peace,
mangeorge

06-07-1999, 04:57 AM
Gracie, when they are uncut they look like little terrorists wearing roll-neck sweaters.

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It only hurts when I laugh.

06-07-1999, 08:57 AM
That's it. I may be cut, but I'm calling mine "the little terrorist" from now on!

06-08-1999, 08:33 PM
Ok, one more (kinda gross) question;
What if I, uncut, don't keep it clean? Is this the source of the "head cheese" I've heard guys giggling about?
I've never been far from a shower for an extended period of time, so I really don't know. And I've never had close contact with a "little terrorist" other than my own. I guess I've lived a pretty sheltered life. :)
Peace,
mangeorge

06-08-1999, 10:39 PM
>>Ok, one more (kinda gross) question; What if I, uncut, don't keep it clean? Is this the source of the "head cheese" I've heard guys giggling about?<< --mangeorge

Umm, no. Actually, believe it or not, head cheese is even grosser than that.


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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-09-1999, 12:12 AM
"Umm, no. Actually, believe it or not, head cheese is even grosser than that."
---rowan
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Just what, Gentle Reader, might that be? :)
Peace,
mangeorge

06-09-1999, 01:24 AM
OK, mangeorge, what are you doing Saturday night?

The head cheese issue is truly vile. It's a sausage like thing made with blood and brains and all sorts of really disgusting things that my mother used to eat on an onion roll.

As for cut or un, I'll take uncut any day of the week. Don't ask me why, partly aesthetics, partly just seems sexier for some reason to me. You tell me. I just like it better, for any activity.

06-09-1999, 08:49 AM
Well, I might as well throw my $0.02 in here, since this thread is still alive.

I'm uncut. I shower at least once a day and every time there's a generous application of soap and water for my friend down here. I've never received any complaints about foul odor or taste from anyone I've been with, and most of the significant women in my life haven't seen very manny (sic) uncircumcised penes. Not a one of them has ever found it odd or disgusting or too freakish to be touched. (That usually applies to the rest of me, including personality. ;)) They've all liked it as a little extra to play with during manual or oral manipulation.
The 'head cheese' I think you're talking about, mangeorge, is technically called smegma and that's what happens when you leave whatever sweat, dirt, old sperm, or what have you sitting around in the folds of your foreskin for long periods of time. Again, soap and water on a daily basis will prevent that.
Only sensitivity issue I've got has been mentioned before - sometimes the foreskin rolls back and the tip of my head rubs against my boxers. Major irritation!! :(

The only way I'd consider getting snipped is the situation that Jess' dad went through, and even then I'd get a second opinion. I like the little terrorist the way he is and my fiancee doesn't have any complaints either. Basically I'd say I feel circumcision ought to be kind of a last resort - you and your doctors are pretty certain that whatever condition you're experiencing can be stopped by this little bit of surgery. I don't think it needs to be done as a preventative, especially when routine washing will take care of the major potential issues. Religious beliefs and traditions aside :)

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Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

06-09-1999, 04:29 PM
Cut, and resentful. Not because I have any new insights into sensitivity, cleanliness, etc., but because any way you look at it, it should have been MY choice, no one else's. It is completely unethical to force unnecessary bodily surgery on a patient who cannot refuse it. I'm not against circumcision, provided it is done to a consenting adult.

06-09-1999, 08:45 PM
I see your point (so to speak), APB9999, but I'm not sure it's very well thought out.

As Cecil and others have established, circumcision is far less risky and traumatic when you're an infant than when you're older. It would be somewhat cruel to wait till the boy is old enough to decide for himself only to have him find the option of circumcision effectively "cut off"!

06-09-1999, 11:26 PM
While wandering through the archives, I found this reference (http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/maids2.html) to the substantially greater dangers of HIV infection for uncircumcised men. The risks of contracting AIDS is from 70% to 820% greater for uncut men than for circumcised men!!

And due to the warm and cozy protection so generously provided by the uncut prepuce, the risk of HIV transmission must be greater still.

This gives whole new meaning to the phrase "little terrorist"!

06-09-1999, 11:34 PM
>>The only way I'd consider getting snipped is the situation that Jess' dad went through, and even then I'd get a second opinion. I like the little terrorist the way he is and my fiancee doesn't have any complaints either. Basically I'd say I feel circumcision ought to be kind of a last resort - you and your doctors are pretty certain that whatever condition you're experiencing can be stopped by this little bit of surgery. I don't think it needs to be done as a preventative, especially when routine washing will take care of the major potential issues. Religious beliefs and traditions aside.<< --Olentzero

Seeing as you put that "Religious beliefs aside," in, I agree. I would have a son of mine circumcised by a mohel at a bris ceromony.

I have never understood why gentile babies are routinely circumcised. Makes absolutely no sense to me-- except in extreme situations. Some unlucky women are allergic so seminal fluid. If a man where ever so tragically afflicted....

>>Cut, and resentful. Not because I have any new insights into sensitivity, cleanliness, etc., but because any way you look at it, it should have been MY choice, no one else's. It is completely unethical to force unnecessary bodily surgery on a patient who cannot refuse it. I'm not against circumcision, provided it is done to a consenting adult.<< --APBP9999

Well, the Torah commands us to do it on the eighth day. Doctors tell us it's best for the baby then, though we do it because of tradition. Now if a doctor said we would almost certainly kill the baby of something, of course we'd stop. But the Torah is a BIG DEAL. I think an uncircumcised Jewish man is likely to wonder why his parents didn't fulfill this mitzvah for him.

I see your point (so to speak), APB9999, but I'm not sure it's very well thought out.

>>As Cecil and others have established, circumcision is far less risky and traumatic when you're an infant than when you're older. It would be somewhat cruel to wait till the boy is old enough to decide for himself only to have him find the option of circumcision
effectively "cut off"!<< --Ambushed

Incidently, if anyone is wondering, there is a ceremony for a man who converts to Judaism, called Hatafah Dam Brit, which means a pin-prick of blood for the covenent. This is for men who are already circumcised.

Men who convert, and are uncircumcised, usually have a hospital circumcision by a urologist, with valium and local anesthesia, or if his insurance will pay, total anesthesia. Then he has a Hatafah Dam Brit.

Some Orthodox rabbis feel this is cheating, but if the adult man has ANY kind of medical consideration for being circumcised in a hospital, the rabbis will say "Oh! Then go ahead!" Most doctors can usually find a good reason to have a hospital circumcision. The fact that few mohels have circumcised adults, and can damage nerves is usually good enough for the rabbis.

BTW, when a Jewish boy baby has ANY kind of medical condition that counter-indicates circumcision, the bris is delayed.


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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-10-1999, 06:11 PM
MY view is not well thought out? Look again! You've stated that it is "cruel" to subject someone who has made the PERSONAL CHOICE to be circumcised to have to go to all the trouble of going to the hospital, getting some anesthesia, and having a minor operation. So instead it should be FORCED on infants without their consent, ON THE CHANCE they might decide later they want the operation? Good Lord, man! THAT is the poorly thought-out position.

There is a special issue of Scientific American on the stands right now, called "Men". If those of you who just had or are having infant sons want to learn some interesting things about being male in America, it is worth picking up. There is also an article in it on circumcision.

I keep hearing assertions that the child feels no pain, but that is far from clear. Indeed, there is at least some evidence to the contrary, as in the article I just mentioned.

I restate my main point: NO ONE should have their body mutilated or surgically altered IN ANY WAY without their consent. The only exception is for medically NECESSARY reasons, which no one contends applies to routine circumcision of infants (though there may be individual cases where it is necessary). Any other approach is absolutely indefensible on ethical grounds; you have denied that person his right to self-determination.

And don't tell me the kids don't mind. I MIND. And even one should be enough.

06-10-1999, 06:11 PM
MY view is not well thought out? Look again! You've stated that it is "cruel" to subject someone who has made the PERSONAL CHOICE to be circumcised to have to go to all the trouble of going to the hospital, getting some anesthesia, and having a minor operation. So instead it should be FORCED on infants without their consent, ON THE CHANCE they might decide later they want the operation? Good Lord, man! THAT is the poorly thought-out position.

There is a special issue of Scientific American on the stands right now, called "Men". If those of you who just had or are having infant sons want to learn some interesting things about being male in America, it is worth picking up. There is also an article in it on circumcision.

I keep hearing assertions that the child feels no pain, but that is far from clear. Indeed, there is at least some evidence to the contrary, as in the article I just mentioned.

I restate my main point: NO ONE should have their body mutilated or surgically altered IN ANY WAY without their consent. The only exception is for medically NECESSARY reasons, which no one contends applies to routine circumcision of infants (though there may be individual cases where it is necessary). Any other approach is absolutely indefensible on ethical grounds; you have denied that person his right to self-determination.

And don't tell me the kids don't mind. I MIND. Even one should be enough, and I'm far from alone.

06-10-1999, 07:16 PM
>>MY view is not well thought out? Look again! You've stated that it is "cruel" to subject someone who has made the PERSONAL
CHOICE to be circumcised to have to go to all the trouble of going to the hospital, getting some anesthesia, and having a minor
operation. So instead it should be FORCED on infants without their consent, ON THE CHANCE they might decide later they want
the operation? Good Lord, man! THAT is the poorly thought-out position.<< APB

First, I never said your view was not well thought out.

Second, I never said it was "cruel" to make adult men who choose late circumcision to go to a hospital. I said that uncircumcised men who convert to Judaism usually don't have a circumcision by a mohel. They have a hospital circumcision, and then the hatafah dam brit, which was originally thought of as a substitute ritual for men circumcised in hospitals as babies who later convert to Judaism.

As an afterthought, I added that since rabbis already have a lot of circumcision by-laws regarding the circumstances of infants who shouldn't be circumcised on the eighth day for medical reasons, and noted that this plays a role in rabbinical thought regarding uncircumcised adults who convert to Judaism.

Some rabbis allow that circumcision by a mohel is not a good idea for an adult because adult and newborn penises aren't the same thing, and mohels' techniques are intended for infants.

I will state once more that if I had a son, I would have him circumcised by a mohel on the eighth day, because it is a commandment.

But I cannot for the life of me understand why gentiles have their sons circumcised.

I am not interested in the gentile opinion of whether or not Jews should continue to circumcise.


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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-10-1999, 08:38 PM
Shelly liked Hollings' little turtle neck! ie: Northern Exposure
PS: My dad told my Mom, "We ain't doin' it, the kid may need the extra when he grows up"!

06-11-1999, 07:40 AM
But I cannot for the life of me understand why gentiles have their sons circumcised.

I am not interested in the gentile opinion of whether or not Jews should continue to circumcise.

Are you interested in non-Islamic and non-African opinions as to whether certain sects or tribes should perform clitorectomies or other forms of female gential mutilation? If so, please defend the difference.

06-11-1999, 09:23 AM
I don't have to defend my religion to you, PLD, and I'm not going to. I've said this many times on the other MB, so quit asking.

06-11-1999, 10:02 AM
I'm not asking you to defend your religion. I simply am quite certain you have an opinion on female genital mutilation, and you almost certainly are opposed to it, which is blatant hypocrisy.

06-11-1999, 10:53 AM
Rowan wroteFirst, I never said your view was not well thought out.

First of all, Rowan, I was replying to ambushed, not you, who wroteI see your point (so to speak), APB9999, but I'm not sure it's very well thought out.

Second, you miss my point as well. It hardly matters who performs the operation or how. My objection is that the CONSENT OF THE PATIENT is not given. This is wrong, period. WHEN the patient reaches adulthood (or some reasonable approximation thereof, say 17) then they can decide for themselves what to do with their bodies. If a girl decides to embrace her Sudanese heritage and WANTS to have aclitorectomy, then I don't see that it's anybody's business to tell her no. If your sons reach 17 and decide they want to be circumcised as a sign of God's covenant with the Jews, fine. But it is not a decision anyone should make for them, including their parents.

I hold that everyone owns himself and his own body. Parents are caretakers: they do not own their children, and do not have the right to mutilate them for any reason. If a Jewish boy reaches 17 and decides that Jesus is groovy or The Eightfold Path is the path for him or that there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet, then that is HIS CHOICE. You can raise your children to believe in your religion, naturally, but you cannot ethically [i]force[i/] it on them.

This extends to African clitorectomies, it extends to Christian Scientists denying medical care to their children, and I would even consider the tattooing of children questionable at the very least, and for the same reasons.

Since you're not interested in my opinion, I offer it to the others. I feel society owes children a chance to reach adulthood as physically intact as is at all possible.

06-11-1999, 10:55 AM
There's a whole world of difference between circumcision and clitorectomy and the reasons they're practiced.

First, there is at least *one* medical argument for circumcision, namely, penile cleanliness and health. Removal of a clitoris confers no health benefits whatsoever.

Second, what's being removed? In a circumcision, it's a flap of skin that doesn't seriously affect sensitivity or the ability of a man to enjoy sex. The clitoris, on the other hand, is a major part of a woman's vagina and can almost completely eliminate a woman's ability to experience sexual pleasure.

Third, clitorectomies are performed on teenage or adult women, entirely against their will. The West African woman seeking asylum in the United States in order to escape her forthcoming clitorectomy is a case in point.

In my view there is a much clearer argument that clitorectomies are drastic mutilation than circumcisions are. It's denying a woman a part of her that makes her a fully sexual being - something conservative Islam really tries to cover up. Clitorectomies are thus a form of women's oppression and should be roundly condemned. Were Judaism to advocate the complete removal of the glans penis as part of the Covenant I'd condemn that too.
"Yes," pldennison might say, "but those male Jewish babies don't have a say in it either."
True, they don't. But infants generally don't have a lot to say in the way they're raised, at least until they develop and master the power of speech. (Then "NO" becomes a big part of the vocabulary.) Parents are obligated to make decisions on what they feel is best for their child and circumcision is one of those decisions. IMO, the foreskin is about the same in status as the vermiform appendix - you're born with it but that doesn't necessarily mean you keep it all your life. It can cause problems later on and then you'll have to lose it, and life pretty much continues the way it did before.
If Rowan wants to circumcise her sons as part of a religious observance, then she should be allowed to, in view of the fact that there are no real drastic consequences of the decision. (The general sentiment of circumcised males on this thread speaks to the point.) The consequences of clitorectomies and labidectomies, on the other hand, convince me that it's a practice that should be opposed, fought against, and abolished. That's not hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy is claiming you're on a humanitarian mission and then sticking the refugees you're claiming in camps without adequate shelter or food, and later on refusing to help rebuild the area you bombed the living shit out of in the name of peace.

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Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

06-11-1999, 10:56 AM
Wow, this big long thread, and no one even mentioned the report of the that Dr. in Atlanta that was performing circumcisions for free!

He didn't charge any money. He just kept the tips!

Har Har Har! I kill me!

Enright3

06-11-1999, 02:23 PM
Olentzero, maybe you missed the part where Rowan specifically said she can't think of any reason why non-Jews would circumsize their children? That strongly indicates that she can't think of any reason besides a religious one, which is self-justifying.

Parents are obligated to make decisions on what they feel is best for their child and circumcision is one of those decisions.

Huh. How do you feel about Christian Science?

It can cause problems later on and then you'll have to lose it, and life pretty much continues the way it did before.

Maybe men should be allowed to make that decision themselves. If it doesn't cause any problems, there's no reason to remove it.

06-11-1999, 02:24 PM
Olentzero, maybe you missed the part where Rowan specifically said she can't think of any reason why non-Jews would circumsize their children? That strongly indicates that she can't think of any reason besides a religious one, which is self-justifying.

Parents are obligated to make decisions on what they feel is best for their child and circumcision is one of those decisions.

Huh. How do you feel about Christian Science?

It can cause problems later on and then you'll have to lose it, and life pretty much continues the way it did before.

Maybe men should be allowed to make that decision themselves. If it doesn't cause any problems, there's no reason to remove it.

06-11-1999, 04:15 PM
Rowan States;

"But I cannot for the life of me understand why gentiles have their sons circumcised."
-----------
But then she goes on to say;

"I am not interested in the gentile opinion of whether or not Jews should continue to circumcise."
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Thereby establishing that her opinions are the only ones that deserve to be heard.
Please tell me, Rowan, that I'm reading something into this that isn't really there.

When I first asked this question, I was interested in the physical effects of circumcision.
I felt that morally it wasn't any big deal, one way or the other.
Reading these posts has changed that. There is no compelling medical reason that I can see to take away a childs right to decide for himself.
Peace,
mangeorge

06-11-1999, 04:45 PM
Leaving aside the ethical issues of circumcising an infant before he can make his wishes known, I have another question.

My husband and I are in the middle of making this decision. I am leaving it finally up to him, because it's a guy thing, but we are sharing our opinions on the subject. One thing he brought up the other night really caught me by surprise. He said that, although an uncircumcised boy isn't going to be alone among his peers these days, he believes that there are class issues involved. He said that upper middle class whites are probably still going to opt for circumcision, because not doing it is still perceived as "foreign" and "dirty", in spite of medical evidence to the contrary. I'm not so sure about this myself. What do you all think?

06-11-1999, 05:56 PM
Mangeorge asks whether I think that my opinion is the only one that deserves to be heard.

Well, no.

Jewish males are required to be circumcised on the eighth day. This is a commandment. I know of no such commandment for gentiles. Within Judaism, this is a Jewish concern. We're not interested in the gentile opinion of whether or not we should eat cheeseburgers, either.

If there is a compelling reason to circumcise non-Jews, I don't know what it is.

Mangeorge, you don't know it, but I have done this dance before. There were a couple of people on the old SDMB who believed thay had all the answers to the universe, and therefore had the right to dictate how Jews should practice our religion.

Actually, I was kind of surprised that they seemed so invested in trying to convince all the Jews on the old board to change our religious lives-- these were people we'd never even met, keep in mind.

When I said I couldn't think of a reason for gentiles to circumcise their sons, I didn't mean I didn't think they should-- I meant exactly what I said-- I couldn't think of a reason.

I know why Jews do. And to the rest of you-- and BTW, to whomever said we should wait 'til boys grow up, then let them choose, No. The commandment says on the eighth day-- Jewish practice is not going to change to make it more palatable for you. If you don't like it, tough. We don't expect you to be like us.


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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-11-1999, 11:13 PM
cher3;
Tough decision.
My experience as an uncut boy?
I didn't grow up white upper middle class-far from it. But I did go though catholic school.
Being uncut was the least of my problems. In fact I don't remember much being said about it at all. I was the charity kid who asked too many questions about my religion.
As an adult, it's never been a handicap. Occasionally it's even been a plus (female curiosity, I guess).
The important thing is hygene, but that's true for cut males too, isn't it?
If you leave it, and are open with your child about his body, he can always decide for himself when he gets a old enough. Even as a teen.
My opinion is biased, of course. Not because I'm cut, but because I prefer to make my own decisions. I am thankful that I'm not cut, if that means anything to your husband.
Either way, you're not going to ruin his life by what you and your husband decide. And you're right. It is mostly a guy thing. But it's your son, too.
Peace to you and your family.
mangeorge

06-12-1999, 12:02 AM
A couple more things here:

To cher and her husband: my stepsons are not circumsized, but their father is. The big issue for all of them has been the fact that they look different from their father. That's an issue to take into consideration, too. The way it was handled in this case was to talk to them about it from an early age, and explain the difference in contemporary thinking about the procedure.

To the fellow who keeps saying that children's bodies should be kept intact: sorry, but parents MUST make certain decisions for their children. It's something which happens daily in large things and small. If you allow your child to make all his/her own decisions, you're doing it wrong. Children require parents to set limits and keep them, in order to feel secure. Maybe it would be nice if it were otherwise, but the world isn't always nice. And if our parents didn't make certain decisions for us, the psychiatric industry would be out of business. You wouldn't want to put all those shrinks out on the street, would you?

As for clitorectomy, that's a whole different subject from circumcision. From any way you look at it, one is a minor procedure with primarily cosmetic long term effects; the other is mutilation to destroy functioning. In this country, clitorectomy used to be performed to keep infants from playing with themselves. It's still done in the course of episiotomy at times, accidentally. Ask any hundred women who have had one versus any hundred men. I think you'll find that there is a profound difference between their responses.

06-12-1999, 12:15 AM
But infants generally don't have a lot to say in the way they're raised, at least until they develop and master the power
of speech. (Then "NO" becomes a big part of the vocabulary.)
That's right, and it is highly probable that many men who are circumcised would decide otherwise if given the chance. This is precisely why it is so wrong to do it to infants.
Parents are obligated to make decisions on what they feel is best for their child and circumcision is one of those decisions.
Exactly wrong. Circumcision is NOT an "obligatory" decision. It is one that COULD be left up to the child, and therefore should be - when he is of an age when it is appropriate.

Also, to argue that clitorectomies are inherently wrong while circumcision is not, is to argue that clitorectomies are disgusting for the wrong reasons: They are wrong because the women involved have no choice. If they WERE given a choice, it would be presumptuous of you to forbid them if they still wanted it. Prohibiting it is as morally offensive as Forcing it on someone, as long as they are mentally competent adults. It's a decision that only the person subject to the operation can ethically make, unless there is an overwhelming medical reason to forego such permission. How many times have I said this? No one has offered a real counterargument to THIS point.

06-12-1999, 05:49 AM
MY view is not well thought out? Look again! You've stated that it is "cruel" to subject someone who has made the PERSONAL CHOICE to be circumcised to have to go to all the trouble of going to the hospital, getting some anesthesia, and having a minor operation. So instead it should be FORCED on infants without their consent, ON THE CHANCE they might decide later they want the operation? Good Lord, man! THAT is the poorly thought-out position.

Take it easy, APB9999! Don't get so worked up in your self-righteous wrath! You're liable to misread -- or at least misunderstand -- what people actually write...

What I actually wrote was:I see your point (so to speak), APB9999, but I'm not sure it's very well thought out.

But now, of course, I'm sure! ;)

As mle so calmly and ably pointed out, there are many decisions that parents must make on behalf of their underage children. Would you wait until adulthood to ask your infant child for formal permission to undergo a corrective surgery for a heart valve, say, or something orthopedic? If you would, you're being both willfully reckless and cruel. If not, you're a hypocrite.

The simple point, which you deliberately obfuscated, is that infant circumcision is considerably safer, easier, and less traumatic than adult circumcision. If, in your ill-conceived desire to be "noble", you wait until the procedure is much more dangerous and painful, you have done your son an injustice. I submit that his options are scarcely more free than if you had had him cut as an infant.

If you don't think your son should be circumcised (even with what you know about increasing his risk of contracting and transmitting AIDS), then don't do it. Just spare us any more pontification about how "noble" you are...

06-12-1999, 08:29 AM
...although an uncircumcised boy isn't going to be alone among his peers these days, he believes that there are class issues involved. He said that upper middle class whites are probably still going to opt for circumcision, because not doing it is still perceived as "foreign" and "dirty", in spite of medical evidence to the contrary. I'm not so sure about this myself. What do you all think?

Gee, Cher -- I don't have any stats, but I think that this might go the other way.

WARNING! Flaming anecdotal generalizations ahead!!!

My mom did home day care for 11 years and almost all of her boy babies were uncut. Most of her clients were upper middle class and well educated (mostly lawyers and doctors -- her first baby was the daughter of a doctor and a lawyer and most of her subsequent babies were aquired through word of mouth). One of her cut boy babies was Jewish and the cut boy twins were neighbor kids and their parents were middle class and had no higher education. We come from a long line of poor white trash and none of our numerous kin have more than a 12th grade education, and all of my cousins had their boy children circumcized. I'll attribute this to the fact that educated people are more likely to read up on what the AMA has to say about a procedure and base their decisions accordingly than less well-educated people. And, currently, the AMA is saying not to bother, right? Also, FWIW, one of Mom's babies had to be cut at age 3 1/2 for medical reasons. Didn't seem to bother him any more than it bothered my dad -- which is to say, not much. No worse than any other minor surgical thing.



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Jess
Full of 'satiable curtiosity

06-12-1999, 08:42 AM
Would you wait until adulthood to ask your infant child for formal permission to undergo a corrective surgery for a heart valve, say, or something orthopedic?

Circumcision is neither corrective nor orthopedic.

The simple point, which you deliberately obfuscated, is that infant circumcision is considerably safer, easier, and less traumatic than adult circumcision.

None of which addresses the question of whether it is necessary or well-advised.

Oh, and incidentally, I strenuously and sincerely object to Rowan's attempt to cast anyone who is critical of any Judaic practice as an anti-Semite. Rowan knows that my father is Jewish, and she also knows that I have stated many times that to the extent that I oppose religion, Judaism is included in that.

I am not going to make concessions and not criticize someone's religion simply because they have a difficult time hearing that criticism. I do not think "God told me to" is a particularly compelling reason to perform surgery on someone.

Maybe I wouldn't have such a problem with Rowan's statements if I hadn't frequently been witness to her own displays of cross-cultural and cross-religious criticism, or heard her say "I slept with a Gentile" like some people say "I slept with a black guy." Being Jewish does not make you above reproach, and does not immunize you to criticism, and it definitely does not confer upon you carte blanche to be critical of other cultural or religious practices you consider silly, or harmful, while hiding behind a shield.

06-13-1999, 01:49 AM
>>Oh, and incidentally, I strenuously and sincerely object to Rowan's attempt to cast anyone who is critical of any Judaic practice as an anti-Semite. Rowan knows that my father is Jewish, and she also knows that I have stated many times that to the extent that I
oppose religion, Judaism is included in that. >> PLD

That wasn't me-- it was on the AOL SDMB, and I think it was Dex. And there really were a lot of people who were baiting us-- PLD, the least of our problems. Many, many people would ask things like "Trichinosis isn't something you have to worry about anymore. Why can't you eat a hotdog. With Mustard. Mmmmm. Smack!"

>>I am not going to make concessions and not criticize someone's religion simply because they have a difficult time hearing that
criticism.<<

You-- and not this time, but in the past, and when other people were doing it as well-- gave the impression that you weren't just sounding off-- You really expected us to change or practice to suit you.

>>I do not think "God told me to" is a particularly compelling reason to perform surgery on someone.<<

Fine, go argue with the chief rabbi. I'm nobody. Even if you convince ME, Jewish practice will not change.

>>Maybe I wouldn't have such a problem with Rowan's statements if I hadn't frequently been witness to her own displays of
cross-cultural and cross-religious criticism, or heard her say "I slept with a Gentile" like some people say "I slept with a black guy."<<

In this case, it meant "I slept with an uncircumcised guy, whcih is relavant to this context.

>>Being Jewish does not make you above reproach, and does not immunize you to criticism, and it definitely does not confer upon you carte blanche to be critical of other cultural or religious practices you consider silly, or harmful, while hiding behind a shield.<<

All it qualifies me to do is inform the board of general Jewish idea which are related to the question. Where did I do othwise?

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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-13-1999, 08:46 AM
[>>Maybe I wouldn't have such a problem with Rowan's statements if I hadn't
frequently been witness to her own displays of
cross-cultural and cross-religious criticism, or heard her say "I slept with a Gentile" like
some people say "I slept with a black guy."<<

In this case, it meant "I slept with an uncircumcised guy, whcih is relavant to this
context.[/quote]

Then maybe you should say that, since "Gentile" and "uncircumcised" are not synonyms, and such characterizations only leave you open to accusations of prejudice.

06-13-1999, 05:01 PM
I'm cut. My parents' reasoning behind their choice is so I would be like the majority. Children tend to be curious about things that are out of the ordinary, such as an uncut penis.

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"Age is mind over matter; if you don't mind, it don't matter." -Leroy "Satchel" Paige

06-14-1999, 11:23 AM
ambushed writesJust spare us any more pontification about how "noble" you are...
I never claimed I was noble. Could you quote what you're thinking of? I did claim that the issue was one of personal choice, and I extend that to all humans, whether I am of their faith or not. After all, I'm sure the Sudanese funamentalists who perform clitorectomies don't really care what I think either, but here I am in the world, and my opinion is as relevant as everyone else's which is NOT negligible. And Rowan, no I don't expect Jews to up and change their traditions on my say-so. How you got that out of what I wrote is beyond me. But I have raised what I think are serious ethical issues over the practice of circumcision, and is it not inappropriate that the dialogue should be ignored by Jews because I am a gentile? Well, that's up to you, but I think it'd be foolish.

Back to ambushed. Give me a citation that AIDS transmission is reduced for circumcised men. I have read that there was such a study, but it was overturned later when it was discovered that the authors had not corrected for social factors. When these corrections were made, the difference disappeared. (Biologically, it would indeed be odd if excising a piece of protective flesh made one MORE vulnerable to disease.) but perhaps I'm wrong. There's only one way to be sure: turn to the literature. Please give me the citation.

PLDennison has seen my point, which you have missed again. The words "medically necessary" that I put in originally were intended to differentiate between a life saving heart operation and something done for cosmetic or ill-supported hygienic reasons.

Further, it doesn't matter how appalling you and I might find clitorectomies. If someone WANTS one for themself, we should have no say in the matter. Similarly, if someone doesn't want one, how can it be justified?

Again. It doesn't matter if we think circumcision is grand. It doesn't matter if doctors or rabbis or a choir of angels tell us it's groovy. It is a choice that must be made by the person himself.

I'm always amazed about how women will scream to high heaven that they have a moral right to do as they please with their own bodies (in a current political debate that shall remain nameless, lest I be accused of obfuscating the issue again) and yet they see no problem in taking this right away from men.

06-14-1999, 01:35 PM
Way back up the list I posted some objective information. Now I'll give some personal information. 1) I am not Jewish 2)I am cut 3)I have a son and have been through this. I had not even thought of the topic of circumcision until shortly before my son was born, and then it was brought up by the OB/Gyn. Having no preconceptions about circumcision, I asked the OB for his medical opinion. He said that, while the opinions and studies conflicted, his opinion was that circumcision afforded some protection against penile cancer and made cleanliness a non-issue. He further stated that there was no known medical benefit for keeping the foreskin. I also asked him about his own sons, to which he replied "Circumcised". Faced with the choice between some medical and hygenic benefit vs. no benefit, we made the decision to circumcise. To address the "self determination" issue: IMO, it is my job as a parent to provide my children the best medical care possible. This includes making all decisions concerning the child's medical care. When faced with any medical procedure where the choice is "some benefit if you do, no benefit if you don't" I will most likely chose the former. If the child is old enough to understand the procedure I will certainly discuss it with them but until they turn 18, the ultimate decision is mine and must be based on what I consider to be in the child's best interest.

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The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. -- E. Grebenik

06-14-1999, 03:24 PM
DrJ. At last a reasonable answer. I disagree, but at least you're thoughtfully addressing the issue I raised.

I think our difference of opinion comes down to how medically beneficial the procedure is, and whether the difference is likely enough to crop up during childhood to justify circucision (or its lack), that difference being the only compelling reason for the decision to rest with the parents.

Frankly I've seen a lot of summaries and hand waving assertions, but I haven't been through the literature. Neither has anyone else here from the sound of it. I DO know that the American Podiatric Association (or American Association of Podiatrists - I forget exactly what the word order is) recently examined the data and concluded that there is insufficient evidence to justify routine infant circumcision. I don't have the reference right in front of me, but I will try to get it for you.

06-14-1999, 04:23 PM
[[I DO know that the American Podiatric Association (or American Association of Podiatrists - I forget exactly what the word order is) recently examined the data and concluded that there is insufficient evidence to justify routine infant circumcision. ]]

Boy, everyone has to get into the act. Seriously, ABP9999, it's Pediatrics, surely?

06-14-1999, 04:29 PM
D'oh! Of course. Put my foot in that one, eh?

06-14-1999, 11:02 PM
>>I'm always amazed about how women will scream to high heaven that they have a moral right to do as they please with their own bodies (in a current political debate that shall remain nameless, lest I be accused of obfuscating the issue again) and yet they see no problem in taking this right away from men.<<

Yeah; and the day you deliver a baby out of your foreskin....

Seriously. You know what, APB? I wish, I wish, I wish to G-d, that when I was a newborn, and wouldn't remember (and quite possibly barely feel) it, someone had broken my hymen.

I really do.

("No," grits teeth, "it's just my period. Whaddya know, I'm early.")


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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-14-1999, 11:30 PM
Objecting to one of my posts, pldennison wrote:
Circumcision is neither corrective nor orthopedic.
I never said it was. APB9999 asserted:
NO ONE should have their body mutilated or surgically altered IN ANY WAY without their consent.
and:
WHEN the patient reaches adulthood (or some reasonable approximation thereof, say 17) then they can decide for themselves what to do with their bodies.
The only exception APB's inflexible and moralistic stand permits is in cases where it is "medically NECESSARY" (his emphasis). But procedures such as orthopedic and heart-valve surgeries are typically not "medically NECESSARY" during childhood. However, putting them off until your child is an adult may well result in physical or social impairments and predispositions to certain diseases. A parent who deliberately defers such surgical procedures until the age of consent can hardly claim to be acting in the child's best interests. Thus, contrary to his assertion, ABP's strict proscriptions are actually unethical.

Another point pldennison misconstrues involves my statement that "infant circumcision is considerably safer, easier, and less traumatic than adult circumcision," to which he replies:None of which addresses the question of whether it is necessary or well-advised.
Obviously, pld, it wasn't intended to. ABP had claimed that it was ethically superior to wait until adulthood, whereupon one would allegedly be "free" to make one's own choice regarding circumcision. The statement you quoted was an essential part of my rebuttal that ABP's view was little more than self-righteous rhetoric, since that same delay dramatically increases the pain, trauma, and risks of the procedure. What this establishes is that ABP is fooling himself if he thinks that intentionally deferring the decision somehow provides his son with a "free choice" to make as he sees fit. It doesn't.

06-15-1999, 01:04 AM
APB9999 asks:I never claimed I was noble. Could you quote what you're thinking of?
Actually, ABP, I'd be hard pressed to defend myself against accusations of hyperbole in some of my remarks here. It's just that when you make pronouncements such as:It is completely unethical to force unnecessary bodily surgery on a patient who cannot refuse it. you're not only asserting that anyone who would do so is "completely unethical", you're also claiming that you and those that share your views are ethically superior. I guess I just can't help taking offense at an attempt to elevate a personal value judgement into a universal ethical standard (and contrary to your later soft-pedalling, that's exactly what your statement attempts to do).
Give me a citation that AIDS transmission is reduced for circumcised men.C'mon, ABP: I already did that. Didn't you read it? Look again.
I have read that there was such a study, but it was overturned later when it was discovered that the authors had not corrected for social factors. When these corrections were made, the difference disappeared. ...but perhaps I'm wrong. There's only one way to be sure: turn to the literature. Please give me the citation.
Once again, I did provide a cite: it's you who haven't backed up your claims. The other medical references I've found confirm substantially increased risk of HIV infection for uncut men. The "corrections" you refer to (assuming they are scientifically valid) may account for the wide range of risk estimates (70 to 820 percent increase), but the established fact of an increased risk remains unchallenged.(Biologically, it would indeed be odd if excising a piece of protective flesh made one MORE vulnerable to disease.)I agree!

Even though I realize you didn't really mean that, it is a mistake to over-generalize. Just because something can serve as protection from one problem is no reason to believe it can protect us from all problems! Clearly, in this case it is precisely due to the foreskin's protective role that HIV finds it such a warm and nurturing environment.

Again. It doesn't matter if we think circumcision is grand. It doesn't matter if doctors or rabbis or a choir of angels tell us it's groovy. It is a choice that must be made by the person himself.

Again. Deferring the decision until adulthood limits your son's options nearly as effectively -- for all practical purposes -- as circumcising him as an infant. To deny your child even minor health benefits for such an awfully weak reason cannot, in all fairness, be justified on ethical considerations.

I, for one, find Doctor Jackson's reasoning to be eminently sound and compelling. And whatever sound reasons may exist to choose not to have your son circumcised as an infant, surely PLB's is not among them.

06-15-1999, 01:13 AM
(er... I meant APB, not PLB, in that last sentence)

06-15-1999, 04:44 PM
At last! I've been trying to get back on here all afternoon - the server's been down, or something.

First, I want to apologize to you, ambushed. That last remark was uncalled for. Like other people, I get pissy when someone presumes to tell me what I'm thinking - I find it even worse than being told what I SHOULD think.I meant to write "presumptuous", too, not "pretentious", and I wouldn't even have said that if I hadn't lost my temper. Further, I chided others in the Great God Debate for being hot with someone over there who was behaving as you are, and here I've gone and lost my own temper. I abase myself before you all. Again, ambushed, I apologize to you, the others, and myself.

BTW, look again before you jump on here to tell me I'm pronouncing what YOU should think. I've raised some issues and couched them in what I think is a universal ethical imperative to self-determination, which I think most people would agree with, even if they don't think it applies to this issue. that doesn't mean I'm trying to compel you. I'm trying to convince you.

I'm going to post some info I got this afternoon, but I want this apology up asap, so I'll give the rest in the next post.

06-15-1999, 06:20 PM
First, we're almost up to 80 posts on this thread, and no one has given a single hard citation! We should all turn in our Straight Dope badges to Uncle Cecil right now. Especially considering how easy it is to find this stuff: the following took me about twenty minutes to collect and another hour to look through.

First:The other medical references I've found confirm substantially increased risk of HIV infection for uncut men. The "corrections" you refer to (assuming they are scientifically valid) may account for the wide range of risk estimates (70 to 820 percent increase), but the established fact of an increased risk remains unchallenged.
I hate to have to tell you this ambushed, but that does not constitute a citation. THIS is a citation:

Van Howe RS
Circumcision and HIV infection:review of the literature and meta-analysis
Int J STD AIDS 1999 Jan;10(1):8-16

The author goes through 35 articles on the topic and looks at the overall data. His conclusions? (I quote from the abstract. The emphases in this, and all subsequent abstract quotes, are mine.)

"When the raw data are combined, a man with a circumcised penis is at greater risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV than a man with a non-circumcised penis (odds ratio(OR)=1.06, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.01-1.12). Based on the studies published to date, recommending routine circumcision as a prophylactic measure to prevent HIV infection in Africa, or elsewhere, is scientifically unfounded.

that's from January of this year, you'll note.

Here's another citation for you.
Simpson ET, Barraclough P
The management of the paediatric foreskin
Aust Fam Physician 1998 May; 27(5):381-3

I quote:
"There are many conflicting opinions among health professionals and parents regarding care of the normal foreskin in young boys as well as the highly controversial subject of circumcision. Minor foreskin related complaints are very common in the first few years of life. Most of these can be managed with advice and reassurance, or with medical treatment alone. Circumcision is very rarely indicated in young boys, particularly under the age of 5 years.The issue of circumcision for nonmedical reasons, that is, religions, ethnic or personal, remains controversial."

Here, now, is the citation I promised in my earlier posts.
Circumcision policy statement. American Academy of Pediatrics. Task Force on Circumcision.
Pediatrics 1999 Mar; 103(3):686-93

They state, "Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.

I must be fair to you. There IS some pretty solid stuff that urinary tract infections (UTIs) are decreased by circumcision. However, this is not exactly a plague among uncircumcised boys, and the effect seems to have been exagerated in past studies, anyway:

To T, Agha M, Dick PT (no jokes, please!), Feldman W
Cohort study on circumcision of newborn boys and subsequent risk of urinary-tract infection.
Lancet 1998 Dec 5; 352(9143):1813-6

I quote; "Although our findings support the notion that circumcision may protect boys from UTI, the magnitude of this effect may be less than previously estimated".

There is also a growing awareness that circumcision IS quite painful for newborns, unless analgesics are given.

Maxwell LG, Yaster M
Analgesia for neonatal circumcision:no more studies, just do it.
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1999 May; 153(5):444-5

and

Olson TL, Downey VW
Infant physiological responses to noxious stimuli of circumcision with anesthesia and analgesia.
Pediatr Nurs 1998 Jul-Aug; 24(4):385-9

I quote from that last one:"FINDINGS:Infants demonstrate physiological and behavioral response to pain. These physiological and behavioral responses are observable and measurable."

So it would seem that there is no medical consensus, to say the least, that circumcision is medically justified on otherwise healthy neonates, particularly on the old pretext that the kids feel no pain at that age. Pediatricians may give advice based on something other than the literature (it wouldn't surprise me), but even a quick exploration of the ACTUAL DATA ought to raise doubts as to how ethical it is to force the procedure on the patient when it is not necessary. And as it happens, most parents who do so aren't thinking of medical reasons anyway,as the following citation clearly shows:
Tiemstra JD
Factors affecting the circumcision decision
J Am Board Fam Pract 1999 Jan-Feb; 12(1):16-20

I quote, "CONCLUSIONS:Most parents have made a decision on circumcision before physicians discuss it, and physician discussions appear to have little impact on the decision. Ease of cleanliness is still the most common reason parents choose circumcision."

A couple of citations that seem pertinent, but I have no segue for them so I'll stick them in here:
Fleiss PM, Hodges FM, Van Howe RS
Immunological functions of the human prepuce
Sex Transm Infect 1998 Oct; 74(5):364-7

Wiswell TE
Routine neonatal circumcision: a reappraisal
American Family Physician 1990 Mar; 41(3):859-63

Laumann EO, Masi CM, Zuckerman EW
Circumcision in the United States: prevalence, prophylactic effects, and sexual practice
JAMA 1997 Apr2; 277(13):1052-1057

And now, for the grand finale. Most of the papers I turned up on this topic were related not to routine circumcision, but to the technique as a corrective in cases where there is malformation or similar problem. A large chunk were on female "circumcision". But not a few were on medical complications arising from the procedure. The scariest was this one:

Money J
Case consultation: ablatio penis.
Med Law 1998; 17(1):113-23

The abstract, in it's entirety:
"In male infants, traumatic ablation of the penis, with or without loss of the testicles may occur as a sequel to mutilatory violence, accidental injury, or circumcision error. Post-traumatically, one program of case management is surgical sex reassignment to live as a girl, with female hormonal therapy at the age of puberty. the other program is genital reconstructive surgery to live as a boy, with male hormonal therapy at puberty if the testicles are missing. In both programs, the long term outcome is less than perfect and is contingent on intervening variablesthat include societal ideology; surgical technology; juvenile and adolescent timing and frequency of hospital admissions construed by the child as nosocomial abuse; development of body image; health and sex education; fertility versus sterility; coitus and orgasm; possible lesbian orientation if living as a girl; and long-term cost accounting, including the psychic cost of being a pawn in possible malpractice litigation on whose disability a very large fortune in compensation may devolve. there is, as yet, no unanimously endorsed set of guidelines for the treatment of genital trauma and mutilation in infancy, and no provision for a statiatical depository for outcome data."

My personal reaction to this was AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Okay, let's be fair. Really he's speaking generally about genital mutilations, and this is certainly not VERY common with circumcision. But as this paper reminds us, mistakes are made, even with circumcision, from time to time, and the results can be EXTREME to say the least.

Even when the procedure is performed correctly, we have:

Upadhyay V, Hammodat HM, Pease PW
Post circumcision meatal stenosis: 12 years' experience.
N Z Med J 1998 Feb27; 111(1060):57-8

"Meatal stenosis is an under-recognised complication of circumcision done in neonatal and nappy aged boys. Symptomatic presentation from meatal s

06-15-1999, 06:20 PM

06-16-1999, 12:42 AM
Ambushed. I'm speechless. WHAT citation? You still haven't given any. (I haven't either. since you insist onseeing this debate as people trying to elevate themselves, let me admit that right out. I intend to, though. I didn't get to it yesterday. Hopefully this afternoon).
Second, you are changing the issue from what I've said to how I've said it and what you take to be my emotional state at the time.
Third, mangeorge, who started this thread, saidWhen I first asked this question, I was interested in the physical effects of circumcision. I felt that morally it wasn't any big deal, one way or the other. Reading these posts has changed that. There is no compelling medical reason that I can see to take away a childs right to decide for himself.

Good enough. Hence, this is my last post here (except for the citation on that AAP release, which I'll post asap).

To be honest, I didn't intend to go off into all of this, either. I simply said I was circumcised and expressed my personal feelings of resentment that I had no choice in the matter. It was a very short post. Those feelings were challenged (!) and I had to defend against the ridiculous assertion that they were not "well thought out". They are: I think that there IS a universal ethical principle here, as I've said again and again and again, only to have my arguments misheard - in such a twisted way I can't help but feel it was at least a little on purpose. Now if you want to psychoanalyze that assertion into a conviction of my own moral superiority, keep it to yourself, it doesn't match my own knowledge of my feelings, you pretentious twit.

06-16-1999, 02:47 AM
I humbly accept your apology, APB9999. I can't help but respect your integrity and candor in offering it. I guess we were each overreacting to what we perceived as deliberate misunderstandings of our positions. Believe it or not, APB, my statement:Actually, ABP, I'd be hard pressed to defend myself against accusations of hyperbole in some of my remarks here. was meant not only to acknowledge that I'd gone a bit overboard myself, but in its own way was also meant as an apology...

In my defense, let me assure you that I understand your point perfectly, it's just that I strongly disagree with it and find your absolute ethical pronouncement to be rather abrasive. I can't help thinking that if I made a similar moral proclamation that contradicted what you held to be proper behavior, you would be equally vexed (for example, if I claimed it was absolutely immoral not to circumcise your child as an infant). And although my language may have been unpalatable at times, I don't think I've misrepresented your position at all.

Let me point out that if you had simply said: "I feel the decision on circumcision should be postponed until the child has reached adulthood and can choose for themselves", we wouldn't be having this argument!

But you didn't say that. Intentionally or not, you impugned the motives and ethics of anyone who would choose to have any beneficial but not absolutely essential surgical procedure performed on their child (not just circumcision). That's what really got my goat! The extreme nature of your blanket ethical censure unjustly castigates parents who act out of a deep, thoughtful, and genuine concern for their child's best interests, which seems manifestly unfair.

And I've never tried to "psychoanalyze" you, APB -- I simply disagree with you.

06-16-1999, 02:53 AM
APB9999 wrote:Ambushed. I'm speechless. WHAT citation? You still haven't given any. It's clear that you missed the reference. Look back at my post of 06-09-99 11:26 PM. I wrote:

"While wandering through the archives, I found this reference (http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/maids2.html) to the substantially greater dangers of HIV infection for uncircumcised men."

Perhaps your browser doesn't show links very well. The specific quote was well down in the article: "... male circumcision (prevalence of HIV infection is 1.7 - 8.2 times a high in men with foreskins as in circumcised men)"

I hate to have to tell you this ambushed, but that does not constitute a citation.

What?? A reference to a Straight Dope article is not a valid citation for The Straight Dope message boards? Maybe you should "turn in [y]our Straight Dope badges to Uncle Cecil right now"! ;)

My initial web search failed to find the (sole) reference you listed claiming increased HIV infection rates for cut men (6% if I understand correctly). The overwhelming majority of hits were little more than cheerleaders for the anti-circumcision movement, which I naturally don't trust (this is a political movement, and in politics science is often bent to conform to the movement's agenda). This movement has been attacked by scientific and medical professionals "for their use of ‘distortions, anecdotes and testimonials to try to influence professional and legislative bodies and the public, stating that in the past few years they have become increasingly desperate and outrageous as the medical literature has documented the benefits."

All the other hits I found backed up my claim of substantially greater risks for uncut men (some of which I'll cite below).

I note that the study you cite is one of those dreaded "meta-analyses". I'm certainly in no position to mathematically challenge their statistical validity, but I have no confidence whatsoever in the technique. After all, meta-analyses of ESP research have magically converted a large body of studies -- which failed to find statistically significant evidence for psi -- into studies that did find such evidence!! To my mind, at least, a technique that can take a set of all "falses" and come up with a "true" is certainly not to be relied upon! I can't help thinking that's probably what happened here.

In rebuttal to your single HIV citation, let's start out with this:

Moses S, Plummer FA, Bradley JE, et. al.
The association between lack of male circumcision and risk for HIV infection: a review of the epidemiological data.
Sex Transm Dis 1994 Jul-Aug;21(4):201-10

I quote from the abstract: "Thirty epidemiological studies identified in the literature that investigated the association between male circumcision status and risk for HIV infection were reviewed. RESULTS: Eighteen cross-sectional studies from six countries reported a statistically significant association, four studies from four countries found a trend toward an association. Four studies from two countries found no association. Two prospective studies reported significant associations, as did two ecological studies. In studies in which significant associations were demonstrated, measures of increased risk ranged from 1.5 to 8.4. ... Because a substantial body of evidence links noncircumcision in men with risk for HIV infection, consideration should be given to male circumcision as an intervention to reduce HIV transmission." [emphasis mine]

With due apologies for straining the patience of the reader, permit me to bombard APB's position with even more citations:


Seed J, Allen S, Mertens T, et. al.
Male circumcision, sexually transmitted disease, and risk of HIV.
J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol 1995 Jan 1;8(1):83-90

"Despite the low-risk profile, uncircumcised men had a higher prevalence of HIV infection than circumcised men"


Hunter DJ, Maggwa BN, Mati JK, et. al.
Sexual behavior, sexually transmitted diseases, male circumcision and risk of HIV infection among women in Nairobi, Kenya.
AIDS 1994 Jan;8(1):93-9

"Women whose husband or usual sex partner was uncircumcised had a threefold increase in risk of HIV, and this risk was present in almost all strata of potential confounding factors."


Urassa M, Todd J, Boerma JT, et. al.
Male circumcision and susceptibility to HIV infection among men in Tanzania.
AIDS 1997 Mar;11(3):73-80

"CONCLUSION: Male circumcision has a protective effect against HIV infection"


Kreiss JK, Hopkins SG
The association between circumcision status and human immunodeficiency virus infection among homosexual men.
J Infect Dis 1993 Dec;168(6):1404-8

"HIV infection was significantly associated with uncircumcised status (odds ratio [OR], 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2, 3.8)"


Tyndall MW, Ronald AR, Agoki E, et. al.
Increased risk of infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 among uncircumcised men presenting with genital ulcer disease in Kenya.
Clin Infect Dis 1996 Sep;23(3):449-53

"A logistic regression model adjusted for behavioral and historical showed that HIV-1 positivity was independently associated with being uncircumcised (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 4.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.3-7.2) ... Male circumcision should be considered as an intervention strategy for AIDS control."


Schoen EJ
Benefits of newborn circumcision: is Europe ignoring medical evidence?
Arch Dis Child 1997;77:258-260

"DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: The decision to discourage newborn circumcision in the UK and the resultant decrease in the number of circumcised males occurred before the accumulation of this evidence about the protective effect of circumcision against UTI and HIV infection. Particularly in the face of an expanding worldwide AIDS epidemic, these benefits are a powerful argument in favour of encouraging universal newborn circumcision."


Jessamine PG, Plummer FA, Ndinya Achola JO, et. al.
Human immunodeficiency virus, genital ulcers and the male foreskin: synergism in HIV-1 transmission.
Scand J Infect Dis Suppl 1990;69:181-6

"Over 95% of attributable risk in men with STD was either genital ulceration or the presence of a foreskin."


Cook LS, Koutsky LA, Holmes KK
Circumcision and sexually transmitted diseases.
Am J Public Health 1994 Feb;84(2):197-201

"CONCLUSIONS. Uncircumcised men were more likely than circumcised men to have syphilis and gonorrhea..."


Niku SD, Stock JA, Kaplan GW
Neonatal circumcision.
Urol Clin North Am 1995 Feb;22(1):57-65

"The medical benefits of circumcision appear to exceed the risks of the procedure."


Serour F, Samra Z, Kushel Z, et. al.
Comparative periurethral bacteriology of uncircumcised and circumcised males.
Genitourin Med 1997 Aug;73(4):288-90

"It has been established that lack of circumcision increases the risk of urinary tract infection in infants. ... Our results also support the role of the prepuce as a reservoir for sexually transmitted organisms."


Weiss GN, Weiss EB
A perspective on controversies over neonatal circumcision.
Clin Pediatr (Phila) 1994 Dec;33(12):726-30

[i]"Controversy continues to surround the issue of male circumcision, especially in the United States. ... [b]It is our conclusion that, as the safest and most commonly performed surgical procedure in this country, the benefits of posthetomy (circumcision), which include a reduction in some kinds of cancer and sexually transmitted diseases, well outweigh the risks cited by those who op

06-16-1999, 02:53 AM

06-16-1999, 10:13 AM
Okay, I lied. One more post. I can't help myself.

First,Let me point out that if you had simply said: "I feel the decision on circumcision should be postponed until the child has reached adulthood and can choose for themselves", we wouldn't be having this argument!

Well, for Pete's sake, that's what I HAVE been saying, again and again and again! And the reason for this position - which I was compelled to provide, because the position was challenged - is because I think it is UNETHICAL to take the decision out of the child's hands. Enough. I think we've both made our thinking on that clear to any reader.

As to the references, the one you couldn't find came from PubMed, which is sometimes a bit inconsistent in what it produces; I don't know why. PubMed is NOT a political group. I purposely avoided any home pages of anyone in the anti-circumcision movement, to avoid that very accusation.

You produce some good references (and I hate to suggest it, but I DO think the primary literature trumps TSD. Heresy!). I saw many of them when I did my search, but of course I wasn't going to do your job for you. ;)

I'm glad we've finally got the discussion around to facts (face it - we were BOTH remiss). But the conflicting literature is just that - conflicting. I could say that you do have a few recent articles, but most of mine are more recent. Still, they are all more-or-less recent enough to be considered current thinking.

So, the last part of my earlier post stands:Now there are other papers that say circumcision is a good thing. But the general trend in all of this is that what was thought in the past to be a medical certainty is very very questionable. At the very least, we cannot say that there is any medical consensus on it. Which makes it an issue of ethical choice, in my opinion

The field seems to be in the process of changing its thinking. The foreskin is, after all, healthy tissue, and what is the first precept in the Hippocratic Oath?

At any rate, people can now look up the references we've given and decide for themselves. I'm satisfied. You?

06-16-1999, 06:46 PM
"CONCLUSIONS: Prepubertal circumcision is associated with reduced HIV risk, whereas circumcision after age 20 years is not significantly protective against HIV-1 infection."
---ambushed
-----------------------------------

Now just a minute here, ambushed. How can this be?
Gone is gone. What possible difference could it make when the foreskin was cut? Do only men below the of 20 get AIDS?
Smells like faulty data.
Reminds me of an old quip I read once;
"Use your branes"
Peace,
mangeorge

06-16-1999, 10:31 PM
Well, for Pete's sake, that's what I HAVE been saying, again and again and again! sigh... forget it.

I saw many of them when I did my search, but of course I wasn't going to do your job for you. ;)

In some places, they call that "selective reporting of data"! ;) (But I guess I can't claim pure and absolute impartiality either).

I'm glad we've finally got the discussion around to facts (face it - we were BOTH remiss)

C'mon, APB; be fair. This forum isn't a refereed scientific journal. I could have listed all those citations earlier, but I just didn't think this was an appropriate place for them. Instead, I referenced what many here would consider a source of fact far better suited to the informal nature of this message board: The Straight Dope. Just because it didn't come in the form of a formal scholarly citation doesn't make it any less a fact! So I resent the claim that my arguments weren't factual until yesterday.

I could say that you do have a few recent articles, but most of mine are more recent.

Ah, yes: the lofty and respected old "nyah nyah nyeh-nyah nyah" argument. Can I play too? I cited eleven papers that concluded there is a substantial increased risk for HIV infection directly associated with being uncircumcised. You cited only one claiming the opposite. So, who's is bigger? ;)

Besides, the dubious history of meta-analysis calls your single citation into grave doubt. A lone researcher's cold mathematical legerdemain is no match for the cumulative weight of the findings of the overwhelming majority of medical scientists who've examined the question directly, even though some of them were done way back in the prehistoric days of the early to mid 1990's. ;) (I couldn't resist the sarcasm; I concede that you already agreed that they were recent enough to be considered current thinking).

Also, many (nearly half) of the citations you selected were little more than scare tactics. Yes, problems can arise from circumcision; is there anything -- surgical or otherwise -- that carries zero risk? Are you so naive as to think that there are no risks from failing to circumcise one's son? Hah!

The only honest question is: which carries the greater risk? To cut, or not to cut? And the overwhelming preponderance of the scientific evidence concludes: there are greater risks from not circumcising! I can list over one hundred formal scientific citations backing this up (but in deference to the other participants, I won't).

Even if you ignore the dramatically increased risks of HIV and other STD infections (and why would you?), even if you ignore the increased risks of urinary tract infections, even if you ignore the increased risks of penile cancer (talk about scary stories!), the risks of complications from failing to circumcise your son are almost twice as great as circumcising him! (I'm not going to list another raft of citations here. Look up Wiswell, et. al., if you want confirmation).

So, for a doctor to honestly follow the Hippocratic Oath, he'd have to strongly recommend circumcision for every male infant. Just like most of the authors of the studies I cited do.

So why do some of the papers you cite fail to do this? The answer -- as in so many cases -- is primarily money. For example, the positions of some groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics are usually based on (of all things) a cost-benefit analysis. They've merely concluded that routine infant circumcision would be more expensive than the cost of treating the potentially life-threatening illnesses and complications arising from the failure to perform circumcisions.

This is the same logic Ford used in making the Pinto!

There is no record of any deaths resulting from complications due to circumcision, but people have died as a direct result of not being circumcised!

Face it, if you're cut, your folks did you a favor. Do your kids a favor, too, and have them circumcised as infants. It's well worth the small risk that they'll resent it when they grow up; at least they'll reach adulthood to bitch about it!

06-16-1999, 11:05 PM
mangeorge, I agree that the statement you quote seems lacking in the "brane" department, but perhaps you should blame that more on the extreme brevity of the conclusion (or rather, my quotation from it) and less on the study itself.

But I agree: the claim that 20+ year olds don't benefit from circumcision is suspicious. It's extremely doubtful, actually.

But this is the way I interpreted it:

- Assume children (at least in that culture) start having sex at or around puberty (or at least before reaching 20 years of age).

- If you're not circumcised by this time, you are much more likely to be infected by HIV as a result.

- Consequently, the majority of HIV infections in that environment occur in uncircumcised men younger than 20.

Thus, it would only appear that circumcision after age 20 has little benefit. The real explanation might be no more complicated than that 20+ year olds are much more likely to use condoms or other safe sex practices than are the randier and less cautious pubescents.

Another thing to consider is that maybe an intact foreskin increases the risks of HIV infection from all sources, not just sexual relations, and those risks are greater for children and those under 20 years of age. You might also factor in the lower average life expectancy.

On the other hand, the latter part of this study's conclusion could simply be wrong -- just like those very few studies that didn't find the protective effect of circumcision.

But to sum up: I dunno!

06-16-1999, 11:41 PM
Now you're saying that uncut, celibate, male intravenous drug users are at higher risk of HIV infection than cut, celibate, male intravenous drug users? (I'm trying to very specific here.)
You're making a mountain out of a molehill, ambushed.
If you use a condom, your risk of infection (Any STD's) is practically nil.
If you're in a monogamous relationship, Same.
Don't inject drugs, ditto.
And on, and on.
In the real adult world cut or uncut makes little difference.
Except to one's male ego.
Peace,
mangeorge

06-17-1999, 01:47 AM
mangeorge writes:
Now you're saying that uncut, celibate, male intravenous drug users are at higher risk of HIV infection than cut, celibate, male intravenous drug users?
Where in the hell did you get that from!! I never claimed anything of the kind!

That'll teach me to try to calmly speculate with you, mangeorge! Boy, ya try to give a guy a break...


In the real adult world cut or uncut makes little difference.

Good god, man, there's no justification for such reckless flippancy! Talk about selecting data! Where in the hell have you been? Haven't you been paying attention? Just how many more studies concluding that being uncut increases your odds by up to 820% for contracting HIV -- not to mention UTI and penile cancer -- do you need! Hello?? Is this thing on?

Sheesh!

06-17-1999, 03:36 AM
From the book In Favour of Circumcision by Dr. Brian Morris, ISBN 0-86840-537-X, published 1999 (emphasis mine):

"It is argued by opponents of circumcision that the male himself should be allowed to make the decision about whether he does or does not want to be circumcised. However, there are problems with this argument, not the least of which is the fact that the greatest benefits accrue the earlier in life the procedure is performed. If left till later ages the individual has already been exposed to the risk of urinary tract infections, the physical problems and carries a residual risk of penile cancer [not to mention a vastly increased risk of contracting HIV]. Moreover, it would take a very street-wise, outgoing, adolescent male to make this decision and undertake the process of ensuring that is done. Most males in the late teens and 20s, not to mention many men of any age, are reticent to confront such issues, even if they hold private convictions and preferences about their penis. Moreover, despite having problems with this part of their anatomy, many will suffer in silence rather than seek medical advice or treatment. Really, though, parental responsibility must over-ride arguments based on 'the rights of the child'. Think what would happen if we allowed children to reach the age of legal consent in relation to, for example, immunization, whether they should or should not be educated, etc, etc. A period of great benefit would have been lost, to the potential detriment of the person concerned."

Thanks for the assist, Doc!

06-17-1999, 03:47 AM
APB9999 writes:
But the general trend in all of this is that what was thought in the past to be a medical certainty is very very questionable.

Not so -- you're the one behind the curve on this. True, there was a fairly recent trend that, while certainly not opposing circumcision, backed away from recommending it (to withhold recommendation for something is not quite the same as recommending its opposite). This trend was largely based on those cost-benefit analyses I mentioned earlier (which do not take into account the cost of AIDS treatment!)

But the latest trend is actually toward a return of favoring routine infant circumcision. I quote from an article dated March 3, 1999 by Dr. Morris:

"However, a reversal of this trend [against circumcision] is starting to occur. In the light of an increasing volume of medical scientific evidence pointing to the benefits of neonatal circumcision a new policy statement was formulated by a working party of the Australian College of Pediatrics in August 1995 and adopted by the College in May 1996 ... The American Academy of Pediatrics has moved far closer to an advocacy position and many recognised authorities in the USA strongly advocate circumcision of all newborn boys."

06-17-1999, 06:10 AM
I hope you've all had a chance to digest my last few posts, because here comes one more! mangeorge wrote:I was hoping for more responses from women about their feelings about circumcised men, as lovers.

Well, I'm not a woman, but here are some fascinating facts from the scientific medical literature, as compiled by Dr. Morris in his previously mentioned new book (see his bibliography for specific references). I thought they might be of interest to everybody...

(Consider the following items to be in quotation marks; I didn't write them.)


- In 5 major series in the USA since 1932, not one man with penile cancer had been circumcised neonatally.

- Of 33 cross-sectional studies, 22 have reported statistically significant association, by univariate and multivariate analysis, between the presence of the foreskin and HIV infection (4 of these were from the USA). 5 reported a trend (including 1 US study). The 6 that saw no difference were 4 from Rwanda and 2 from Tanzania. In addition there have been 5 prospective studies and 2 from Kenya and 1 from Tanzania reported statistically significant association. The increased risk in the significant studies ranged from 1.5 to 9.6 [or 960%!].

- 18% of uncircumcised males underwent circumcision later in life anyway.

- 21% of uncircumcised men who didn't, nevertheless wished they were circumcised. (There were also almost as many men who wished they hadn’t been circumcised and it could be that at least some men of either category may have been seeking a scapegoat for their sexual or other problems. In addition, this would no doubt be yet another thing children could blame their parents for, whatever their decision was when the child was born.)

- Clinical and neurological testing has not detected any difference in penile sensitivity between men of each category.

- Slightly higher sexual activity in circumcised men.

- Women with circumcised lovers were more likely to reach a simultaneous climax.

- Women who failed to reach an orgasm were 3 times more likely to have an uncircumcised lover.

- Circumcision was favoured by women for appearance and hygiene.

- The circumcised penis was favoured by women for oral sex (fellatio).

- Even women who had only ever had uncircumcised partners preferred the look of the circumcised penis. Only 2% preferred an uncircumcised penis for fellatio, with 82% preferring the circumcised variety. Preference for intercourse for circ. vs uncirc. was 71% vs 6%, respectively; manual stimulation, 75% vs 5%; visual appeal, 76% vs 4%.

- The National Health and Social Life Survey in the USA found that uncircumcised men were more likely to experience sexual dysfunctions. This was slight at younger ages, but became quite significant later in life and included finding it twice as difficult to achieve or maintain an erection. It was also discovered that circumcised men engaged in a more elaborate set of sexual practices. Not surprisingly, in view of the findings above, circumcised men received more fellatio.


And if that isn't a good enough reason to favor circumcision, what the hell is!

06-17-1999, 06:23 AM
mangeorge writes:In the real adult world cut or uncut makes little difference.
Yeah, right.

Read my last post and say that!

06-17-1999, 09:14 AM
Wow, this big long thread, and no one even mentioned the report of the that Dr. in Atlanta that was performing circumcisions for free!
He didn't charge any money. He just kept the tips!

Har Har Har! I kill me!

Enright3
I understand he's making wallets from them. When you rub them, they turn into a suitcase.



------------------
President of the Vernon Dent fan club.

06-17-1999, 03:10 PM
Once more ambushed, let people read the references themselves and decide whether the issue is as clear-cut (haha) as you assert.

06-17-1999, 03:53 PM
I can't believe that you people took my name in vain and I didn't notice bacause you hid it on a curcumcision thread.
I just say "If it was good enough for Jesus, Sammy Davis, and John Holmes; then It's good enough for me and any of my offspring"

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&lt;insert witty sig here&gt;

06-17-1999, 05:09 PM
So, APB9999... No thoughtful rebuttal to my "06-17-99 03:36 AM" post about the serious flaws in your argument? No apology for falsely accusing me of previously not using facts? No acknowledgement of the overwhelming preference among women for circumcised men? No gratitude to your parents for dramatically improving your sex life?

One might conclude that your silence speaks volumes...

06-17-1999, 07:39 PM
"Where in the hell did you get that from!! I never claimed anything of the kind!"
---ambushed
---------------------------------------

Well, ambushed, maybe I misunderstood this;

"Another thing to consider is that maybe an intact foreskin increases the risks of HIV infection from all sources, not just sexual relations, and those risks are greater for children and those under 20 years of age."
--------------------------------------
"That'll teach me to try to calmly speculate with you, mangeorge! Boy, ya try to give a guy a break..."
---ambushed
----------------------------------------

I asked for a break?

----------------------------------------
Good god, man, there's no justification for such reckless flippancy!
---ambushed
---------------------------------------

Cut or uncut, the virus won't just appear out of nowhere. If you avoid the risk factors, the virus itself, you won't get AIDS.
Staying away from IV use, unprotected sex, and multiple partners is far from "reckless flippancy"
---------------------------------------
"Just how many more studies concluding that being uncut increases your odds by up to 820% for contracting HIV --"
---ambushed
-------------------------------------
I know this is an unfair question, but how many people contracted AIDS in 1998 as a direct result of being uncut?
I searched this thread and other sources and couldn't find the answer.
Bottom line is your stat (820%) means that for every cut male who has HIV, 820 uncut men have it. (Other factors being equal)
I find that a little hard to believe. Cites or no.

I'm not even going to address your post regarding women's preferences. Except for one point. How the hell can an uncut penis cause male sexual dysfunction?
You really blew me away with that one. :)
Peace,
mangeorge

06-17-1999, 10:38 PM
So, APB9999... No thoughtful rebuttal to my "06-17-99 03:36 AM" post about the serious flaws in your argument? No apology for falsely accusing me of previously not using facts? No acknowledgement of the overwhelming preference among women for circumcised men? No gratitude to your parents for dramatically improving your sex life?
One might conclude that your silence speaks volumes...

ambushed, don't be childish. There are references posted, we've both made our points, and we're obviously not going to convince each other. We could go back and forth endlessly, and indeed I find your "new" arguments as highly questionable as I did before. But we've stopped progressing and frankly I'm getting bored with this thread.

06-18-1999, 12:40 AM
mangeorge writes:Bottom line is your stat (820%) means that for every cut male who has HIV, 820 uncut men have it. (Other factors being equal) I find that a little hard to believe. Cites or no.
You're misinterpreting that number. It doesn't refer to the number of men infected, but the chance that a man randomly selected from that group is infected. In the USA, there will obviously be more circumcised men with HIV than uncircumcised ones, because there are so many more circumcised men in general.

One simulation for this statistic would be to imagine two boxes filled with marbles. One box is labelled "cut" and the other "uncut". There are one million marbles in each box. In the "cut" box, I have placed 1 black marble and 999,999 white ones. In the other box, there are 820 black marbles, and 999,180 white ones. You must pick one box, and draw a marble at random. If you draw a black marble, you die. Which box would you choose?

06-18-1999, 11:35 AM
I understand the probabilities, Aura. I was playing games with ambushed's numbers. One would be 8.2 times more likely to get a black marble from the "uncut" box. His entire post was written to greatly exaggerate the risks of being uncut, so I exaggerated the flaws.
If you were to use a flashlight (condom) to look in the boxes, your chance of grabbing a back marble would be practically nill. In either box.
Or you could reach into the "cut" box with one hand, and into a "IV drug user" box with the other, and still get a black marble. The drug user box would have a lot more than 820 marbles. And the "uncut" box would in reality have fewer.
Advocates use percentages rather than ratios to state their case because of the psycholigical impact on the reader. 820% more likely is more impressive than 8.2 times as likely.
You could reach into the "cut" box once and get a black marble.
You could reach into the "uncut" box 999,180 times and not get a black marble.
My point is if you're going to be a promiscous IV drug user, use condoms and clean needles. Whether or not you're cut is of little concern.
Peace,
mangeorge

06-18-1999, 01:00 PM
All is well and fitting that as we reach the magic century mark in this thread, mangeorge has weighed in heavily in his lighthearted manner with.. what.. the last word? (Peace, o uncut brother). Has everyone had their say?

I'm trying to get a feel for this - can I close this thread without fear of great wailing and gnashing of teeth? You tell me. I've been told 100 posts takes way too long to load, etc.
----
Nickrz
Yer humble mod
yer humble mod

06-18-1999, 02:20 PM
Sure, Nickrz. As far as I'm concerned you can go ahead and close it, although ambushed may have one more post in him.
I think he's out looking for some more numbers. :)
Peace,
mangeorge

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Work like you don't need the money.....
Love like you've never been hurt.....
Dance like nobody's watching! Source???

06-20-1999, 07:47 PM
Thanks for allowing me one last post here, Nickrz. (And call me humorless if you like, but with all due credit to mg for some funny lines early in, I honestly don't see what's so witty about deliberately distorting someone's words. I didn't realize that this was supposed to be a comedy forum, where style counts for more than substance. I thought we were at The Straight Dope, not the vapid and sophomoric ZUG! But I'm probably over-reacting...)


mangeorge, you certainly did misunderstand! Big time! But was this misunderstanding accidental? Hmmm... Looking back to the post in question (06-16-99 11:05 PM), let's examine some of the key words and phrases I used:... But this is the way I interpreted it:

interpret : "to conceive in the light of individual belief, judgment, or circumstance : CONSTRUE"

In other words, a conjecture or speculation.The real explanation might...

might : "used to indicate possibility", or "less probability or possibility than may"

In other words, a conjecture or speculation."Another thing to consider...

consider : "suppose", "to lay down tentatively as a hypothesis, assumption, or proposal"

In other words, a conjecture or speculation.... is that maybe an intact foreskin increases the risks of HIV infection from all sources...

maybe : "perhaps", or "possibly but not certainly".

In other words, a conjecture or speculation. Were you honestly unable to recognize that I was merely hazarding a guess rather than asserting incontrovertible fact? Oh, come on!

As for the bit about giving you a break, I was referring to the fact that I went out on a limb and trusted that you were genuinely curious about one of the conclusions of that single citation out of fifteen that I listed, fourteen of which you obviously couldn't find anything to pick at. I naively thought that maybe, just maybe, we could jointly participate as adults in open speculation about that single curious result. Clearly I was wrong. I regret my error.

(I'm sorry about the tone of this post, but I wouldn't have taken the annoying schoolmarm approach if I wasn't so sure that mangeorge knew perfectly well that I was engaging in pure speculation and guesswork yet deliberately decided to misrepresent my words in order to make me look foolish. If I'm wrong and mangeorge is dull-witted or doesn't understand English very well, I apologize.)

Cut or uncut, the virus won't just appear out of nowhere. If you avoid the risk factors, the virus itself, you won't get AIDS. Staying away from IV use, unprotected sex, and multiple partners is far from "reckless flippancy"

That's a distortion of my words. Although looking back it seems I have to take some of my own medicine for screwing up and inadvertently misconstruing the gist of your earlier statement, I contend that there's a more useful and adult way to object to that sort of thing other than manufacturing your own distortion and childishly throwing it back in your opponent's face.

And although "flippancy" was perhaps not the best word I could have chosen, I certainly never said it was "flippant" to use or recommend safe sexual practices, as you so disingenuously suggest!

But even ignoring these misrepresentations, your point about avoiding risk factors and the virus itself is ludicrous. Yes, it's certainly true that if you avoid the HIV virus you won't get infected by it, just like if you avoid flu viruses you won't get influenza, or if you never board an aircraft you will never crash in one. How trite. The question is: does being circumcised help you avoid the HIV virus! And 12 out of the 13 reports cited in this thread (including at least 33 studies) answer with a resounding YES! And they show that it offers very substantial help indeed!

The only way to be one-hundred percent (or 1, since some people apparently feel that percentages are exaggerations) safe from HIV is to abstain from sexual relations. The things you listed are extremely helpful, but are not 100% effective. Circumcision is obviously a useful avenue of additional protection to add to that list, even though circumcision alone is inadequate (just like all the others you listed). Your complete, out of hand dismissal indicates that you aren't being at all fair or logical.

Finally, you're being naive to the point of absurdity if you think that you can rely on everyone -- or even just one's own children -- to always and everywhere follow the proscriptions on your list. I don't know about you, but I certainly didn't have condoms during my early sexual encounters, particularly since they were rarely planned (they began at 11 years old, for crying out loud!) How many 6'th graders at a Catholic elementary school have access to condoms?

Circumcision is the only way a concerned parent can medically and proactively help protect their children from HIV and other STD's (not to mention protecting them from UTI and penile cancer). Everything else they might try are mere words. If I as a parent couldn't have ideal safety, I would nevertheless be very grateful for up to a 960% (or 9.6 times, since I apparently need to spell it out for mangeorge) risk reduction. (See Morris' reference in one of my recent posts for the 9.6 figure).Bottom line is your stat (820%) means that for every cut male who has HIV, 820 uncut men have it. (Other factors being equal) I find that a little hard to believe. Cites or no.

Ha! AuraSeer nailed you completely, mangeorge!! But do you step forward and admit your mistake like a man, George? Oh, no... You stoop to that last resort of childish ego-defense: "I meant to do that!" Furthermore, even if we ignore the fact that your use of the statistic is completely wrong, in your scenario it would not mean 820 uncut men with HIV for every cut man: it would mean only about 8 uncut men for every cut man, not 820! You are the one who's exaggerating things all out of proportion!I understand the probabilities, Aura. I was playing games with ambushed's numbers.

How sad. At least you had the integrity to admit you've been "playing games" with the contents of my posts!

His entire post was written to greatly exaggerate the risks of being uncut, so I exaggerated the flaws. Sir, on what basis do you so rashly accuse me of "greatly exaggerat the risks of being uncut?" Since [i]when is reporting the fact that one's odds of being infected with HIV are "up to 8.2 times greater" as being "up to 820% greater" an "exaggeration"? 8.2 times greater is 820% greater! One might suppose that you didn't realize that until you were called on it by Aura... Admit it: Your decision to portray my perfectly valid choice of using percentages as "a great exaggeration" was the only "great exaggeration" involved!If you were to use a flashlight (condom) to look in the boxes, your chance of grabbing a back marble would be practically nill. In either box. Another pointless and deliberately obtuse truism. If we had a cheap, simple, and foolproof test (flashlight) to detect the presence of HI

06-20-1999, 07:47 PM

06-20-1999, 11:11 PM
"Perhaps your browser doesn't show links very well. The specific quote was well down in the article: "... male circumcision (prevalence of HIV infection is 1.7 - 8.2 times a high in men with foreskins as in circumcised men)"
---ambushed
---------------------------------------

1.7 - 8.2 times as high.
Less than twice to more than eight times as high.
I've read your posts, ambushed, so I know you're intelligent. So why don't these numbers stink to you, as they do to me.
Times what? What percentage? What's the sample?
Of 1 million 16 year old boys who have sex, how many will be infected with HIV? Of these, how many because of unprotected sex? And of these (no condom, HIV+), how many because they are uncircumcised?
This is the number we're discussing here.
Not plane crashes or auto accidents, but how many men have HIV solely because they are uncircumcised. And what percentage of the total of the men who have HIV do they represent.
Then what percentage of all men who have sex are we talking about?
Simply put;
What are the chances that someone's son will get HIV because his parents didn't have him cut as a newborn?
O.K?

This is my last post on this thread, Nickrz.
Peace,
mangeorge

06-21-1999, 04:35 AM
Well, avid followers of this thread (assuming there still are any), since it's time to close up here, I'm starting a sequel thread. I thought about moving to the Great Debates forum, but that's supposed to be for threads that don't have a definite answer. Since I strongly contend that the question of whether the benefits outweigh the risks of circumcision has just such an answer (i.e., yes), I decided to keep the new thread here in the "General Questions" forum.

But it would have been nice if before we left this thread, my two primary opponents would've had the honesty and integrity to admit they misrepresented my statements and positions on more than one occasion, and completely ignored or dismissed a priori all the evidence that challenged or refuted their emotionally-based positions.

I make mistakes too, as I'm sure you'll all readily believe. But I try to behave like an adult and acknowledge my errors when they're pointed out or when shown strong evidence contradicting my position. Check out some of my posts in a few other threads and you'll see I'm telling the truth.

But perhaps that kind of integrity was too much to hope for...


Anyway, see you all in "The Slice is Nice: Circumcision II!"

raygun
11-12-1999, 02:37 AM
This subject seems to have been side-tracked to sex and aids.
As one who has been circumcised at birth by an amateur idiot doctor or nurse I still bear the scars of that experience which to this day at the age of 44 makes me feel ashamed of my appearance at times and several girlfriends have looked at my thing questioningly as if I had some loathsome disease.
I believe that in the process of the circumcision they used clamps or some other device which penetrated the skin in several places around my penis so that I have holes in the skin some of which are like tunnels through which a wire like device could be pushed through. I suppose I could be generous and think that they did this with the intention of providing me with an interesting place to put rings as they do nowadays, but nevertheless the problem has caused me a lot of grief.
Does anyone else have this problem or am I the only mug unlucky enough to meet the Dr.Hannibal of circumcisions at birth and has anyone done anything about it in terms of surgery,etc. ?

Boris B
11-12-1999, 04:36 AM
Dear Raygun:
Your story is terrible! I am depressed just thinking about it. I've never heard of anything that bad happening to anyone else.

My story is not bad, but it is pretty stupid. I vaguely remember my mother's instructions as to how I should bathe. "Remember to pull your foreskin back when you bathe." I wasn't embarrassed when she said that, so I must have been very young.

The funny thing is, I am circumcised. How stupid is that? She apparently never knew, or didn't remember. I didn't really knew what she meant by "foreskin"; I just figured it meant I should be really careful to wash where the remaining skin is loose. Later on, I saw drawings in a book comparing the cut to the uncut, and I figured it out. I was probably 16. The funny thing is, as a kid I could never figure out what the scar was.

I also couldn't figure out why it is often asserted that "masturbation makes noise". Huh? How could you possibly masturbate fast or vigourously enough to make any noise? Well, it's obviously different if you are unaltered.

If you hadn't guessed, I think circumcision is barbaric. I'm not interested in the STD arguments. I mean, what should we do to prevent eyelid infections? Amputate?

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Nothing I write about any person or group should be applied to a larger group.
- Boris Badenov

lee
06-11-2000, 10:23 PM
My husband was circumcized badly. He has recurring cysts at the scar line and some odd adhesions similar to what Raygun described. The scarring from from postoperative infections narrowed his urethra and other complications lead to his infertility. It is a wonder it works at all. Lucky for me it does!

I am strongly opposed to routine infant circumcision. If it is for religious reasons, I understand. I do not fathom religions anyway and do not wish to interfere. BUT the people who get their kids circumsized for cosmetic reasons are not very bright IMHO. There is too much of a risk for that.

Boris B
06-12-2000, 02:11 AM
I agree that the religious dimension is a touchy part of the whole deal. We don't want to interfere with religious practices, right? Still, I don't really understand the role of circumcision in the Jewish faith. Why is it done at birth and not just before the bar mitzvah? Isn't that when the boy is considered old enough to make his covenant with God? The explanation I usually hear is that it is less traumatic and complicated to circumcise infants, but I don't know how you'd establish this. "When asked his opinion about being circumcised, the infant said nothing. When asked if he felt any pain, the infant said nothing. When asked if he was glad to have undergone the operation, the infant made a few sounds which were unintelligible." A more likely reason is that, if circumcision to be delayed until a boy was no longer helpless and mute, no one would get them.

Until recently, the medical community was convinced that infants could not feel pain, notwithstanding the screaming, shaking, accelerated heart rate, and reduced blood pressure infants undergo after being circumcised without anaesthesia. So you'll have to forgive me if I treat judgements about how traumatic these procedures are with utmost skepticism when those judgements come from the medical community. (They are the ones who smoke Camels more than any other brand.)

I wonder if anyone has studied how influenced the VD statistics are by sexual dysfunction. I mean, how much is the sexually-transmitted disease rate among circumcised males depressed by the fact that some of them can't have sex?

Obviously the foreskin-hating crowd will make the point that some erectile problems are cured by circumcision, which means nothing to me. We are using a pound of prevention where we should be using an ounce of cure. "Routine male circumcision" is an accepted surgical procedure in the United States, just as "routine female circumcision" (infibulation, clitoridectomy) is an accepted surgical procedure in Somalia. I bet the doctors smoke Camels there too.

kiffa
06-12-2000, 04:25 PM
Here's another study on the benefits of circumcision of all those Mr Johnsons and HIV transmission which was found on AFRO-NETS [PRO-MED] message board.

BMJ: Male Circumcision Protects Against HIV Infection
------------------------------------------------------

BMJ 2000;320:1592-1594 (10 June)

EDUCATION AND DEBATE

How does male circumcision protect against HIV infection?

Robert Szabo, medical resident a, Roger V Short, professor b.a Faculty of Medicine, Monash University, Wellington Road, Melbourne 3168, Australia, b Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne, Royal Women's Hospital, 132 Grattan Street, Melbourne 3053, Australia

For full text see:
http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/320/7249/1592

Uncircumcised men are at a much greater risk of becoming infected with HIV than circumcised men, according to new evidence in this week's BMJ.

Using information from over 40 previous studies, researchers in Australia suggest that the virus targets specific cells found on the inner surface of the foreskin. These cells possess HIV receptors, making this area particularly susceptible to infection. The researchers propose that male circumcision provides significant protection against HIV infection by removing most of the receptors.

The most dramatic evidence of this protective effect comes from a new study of couples in Uganda, where each woman was HIV positive and her male partner was not. Over a period of 30 months, no new infections occurred among 50 circumcised men, whereas 40 of 137 uncircumcised men became infected - even though all couples were given advice about preventing infection and free condoms were available to them.

Although cultural and religious attitudes towards male circumcision are deeply divided, the authors conclude that, in the light of the evidence, male circumcision should be seriously considered as an additional means of preventing HIV in countries with a high level of infection.

Alternatively, say the authors, the development of "chemical condoms" (products which can block HIV receptors in the penis and the vagina) might provide a more acceptable form of HIV prevention in the future.

END QUOTE

Sigh, still nothing about female circumcision and HIV transmission.

hedra
06-13-2000, 08:19 AM
Other thoughts not previously mentioned.

1) the AAP still allows that parents can make up their own minds, BUT not only is anesthesia required, but the two most commonly used forms are NOT SUFFICIENT. Forget EMLA in most cases, and go for the ring block.

2) breastfeeding pretty near erases all risk of UTI, circ or not, so if you plan to bf, you can drop that risk significantly (even if you only make it for a few weeks).

3) Only UTI risk is definitively linked to lower rates for infant circ (pre-1st year). other risks change with later childhood and adulthood circ, including cancer. UTI can be nasty, but also is treatable without surgery. If UTI recurrence is a problem in the first few months, THEN circ. After year 1, the UTI-circ-status issue is no longer relevant (UTI no longer linked after 1 year). The penile cancer death rate is lower than the circumcision accident DEATH rate in the US. Granted, I'd rather not have anyone I know lose such a part to surgery, but I'd also not want to lose my son's LIFE. The American Cancer Society (I beleive that's the name) issued an open letter to the AAP stating tha tcircumcision is not an acceptable prophylactic for penile cancer. I trust them to know cancer. Plus, the prenile cancer rate is vastly different in the US and other countries that are prdomnantly NON-CIRCd, so there is some suggestion that behavior of American uncirc'd men is different than elsewhere, and therefore it is the behavior, not the circ status that is the risk factor. (of course, we have to figure out which behavior that is...)

4) In discussing circ with a vet (animal doctor, not veteran), her thoughts on the HIV transission was that 1) pre-existing infections of any kind on the foreskin make other diesase transmission easier across the affected tissue, and 2) lots of dogs show up with yeast infections in their sheaths, despite them licking themselves (don't you wish?). So perhaps pre-existing infections (yeast, etc.) might be the precursor for HIV. Similar infections in females may also play a role in HIV. Such infections can be affected by diet, lifestyle, and care. Might be a good area to look into, study-wise.

5) many infants do not cry when circ'd by a mohel - partly because one of the reactions to trauma in infancy is to withdraw into a sleep-like state, partly because a lot of mohels now give the mom a packet of EMLA cream to apply in advance, which the moms apply far more liberally than any doctor would, and hence the pain is a bit lower than otherwise (even if not gone and will come back soon).

6) I have a bunch of other thoughts on the ethics (right to an intact body being one of the fundamental human rights identified even by the US human rights committees), but that's been hashed a bit, already.

My son is not circ'd, my husband is. Honestly, I think the little baby terrorist is pretty cute, though it took me a week to get used to it. :) We read the research, and figured that since we don't have a religious reason to do it, and it was coming close to cosmetic surgery, and the research seemed to favor leaving it alone AND teaching them to take care of it (more than just saying 'uh, don't forget to wash that thing...'), and being upfront and serious about safe sex, we'd leave him intact. I offer my advice to friends, as my OPINION, and say that if they choose otherwise, PLEASE follow the AAP recommendation on anasthetic - get the ring block. I disagree with using it as a standard procedure or cosmetic alteration, BUT I also agree that if you are making the decision based on your medical concerns, you at least have one foot to stand on. In the long run, we can't know which problem will come up for our sons, whether he'll hate us for taking the choice from him, or be upset by being intact - or love us for either. You think and think and then make the best choice you can based on what YOU value and what YOU think is important. Maybe you screw up, maybe you don't. Just don't take the decision lightly, and if you do circ, make damn sure to get the anesthesia (and find the best doc you can, so you reduce your chances of accidental injury or death), and if you don't circ, make damn sure you train your child to take care of it. Either way, safe sex is a must. It is far easier to forgive a parent for making the wrong choice if they used the best info they had and made the best choice they COULD with that info. It is also far easier to forgive yourself, should you be wrong. Doesn't make you less wrong, though (either way).

I bet we'll have medical studies bouncing back and forth on this issue endlessly, and our children will have the same decision to make.

sailor
06-13-2000, 01:31 PM
I am uncut and see absolutely no reason why it should be done. It seems pretty barbaric to me.

HomeSlice
06-13-2000, 02:36 PM
Barbaric? Funny, I dont remember the excrucuating pain from being cut.

Cartooniverse
06-13-2000, 02:55 PM
I'm cut. My son ( age 10 now) arrived from South Korea, un-cut. I fretted, and the wife thought I was nuts. Son DID have a UTI prior to coming to us, while he was still in South Korea. So, at the age of 9 months, I got her to let me take him to a urologist, just for yucks and giggles, to talk to HIM about the whole thing.
Thank god for me and my penile hang-ups. This child had TWO DIFFERENT congenital defects involving his kidneys, and both would have gone undetected for a long time. One was corrected by surgery, one he mostly outgrew. All because I didn't want the girls to have hang-ups about him. He'll grow up Asian in a lilly-white town, he's "different" enough, and I thought it unfair to saddle him with that issue as well. At least when his first lover gets him down to skin, he'll look like the other boys.
This is coming out sounding kind of wrong, but my fears were for UTI's/HIS self-image, and the issue of lovers.

Cartooniverse