The only problem that I necessarily have with it is that a lot of infants are not anesthesized during the procedure. “Oh, babies can’t feel pain,” one mother told me when I asked about this. To me, this idea seems ludicrous in the extreme.
We’ve become so accustomed to circumsicion in this country, that an uncricumcized penis seems strange. It’s a practice so ingrained that I’ve heard that some hospitals don’t even bother to ask new mothers if they want the procedure done before going ahead. (I don’t know this for a fact, but even if it is just a rumor, it shows how deeply rooted circumcision is in our culture.)
One friend of mine was about to make love to her boyfriend for the first time, but was very turned off when she saw his “un-cut” penis. Telling me about it later, she said she knew there was nothing “wrong” with it, just that it was the first she had ever seen with foreskin intact. To her, it was bizzare and unnatractive.
Of course, the same could be said for a man in a country which so commonly practices female genital mutilation that upon seeing a “normal” woman, he might be vaguely repelled by it.
I don’t know if I would term it “barbaric” because it seems to have little to no lasting effects. There is no impediment to sexual enjoyment as accompanies FGM, and there are no glaring health risks associated with it. At the worst, we could say that it is done for cosmetic purposes, and our culture does not consider surgery for cosmetic purposes to be odd, especially something as minor as having the foreskin removed. (One could almost liken it to having a mole removed.)
** monica’s ** story of Louis XVI’s reproductive woes is partrially correct. He didn’t consumate his marriage for, IIRC, seven years because of the pain his erections caused. Out of fear, he initially declined to have what was termed a “very simple” procedure done which would have fixed the problem. (Marie’s mother blamed her for not arousing her husband enough for him to wish to overcome his difficulties.) However, t was finally done, and Louis was able to father several children.