Question : Do the benefits of infant male circumcision outweigh the risks?
In addition to scientific data on the subject, in the previous thread mangeorge asked for subjective opinions regarding such things as one’s feelings about circumcised vs. uncircumcised men as partners.
In response to both questions, I (re)submit the following scientific findings compiled by Dr. Brian Morris in his new book: In Favour of Circumcision published earlier this year (ISBN 0-86840-537-X). Any bold or italic emphasis is mine, but the material comes directly from the reports Dr. Morris cites… (Please try to remember, mangeorge, that I didn’t come up with these facts and numbers! So please stop blaming or ridiculing me just because you don’t like the facts or they challenge your ego!)
In 5 major series in the USA since 1932, not one man with penile cancer had been circumcised neonatally. [i.e., infant circumcision appears to be a **100% effective** preventive measure against penile cancer in the U.S.]
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 [e.g., the risk of contracting HIV is at least 150% greater – but could well be as much as 960% greater – for uncut men as compared to circumcised men! (In the unlikely event that you are confused by percentages, an increased risk of 9.6 means the same thing as saying a 960% increased risk.)]
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. [but some cultural considerations might be partially responsible]
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 [i.e., cut men were typically less conventional lovers]. 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 is?]
Let me quote from a few other studies in the medical literature (you can find the citations in the previous thread):
“… uncircumcised men had a higher prevalence of HIV infection than circumcised men”
“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.”
“CONCLUSION: Male circumcision has a protective effect against HIV infection”
“HIV infection was significantly associated with uncircumcised status”
“A logistic regression model adjusted for behavioral and historical [factors] showed that HIV-1 positivity was independently associated with being uncircumcised … Male circumcision should be considered as an intervention strategy for AIDS control.”
“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.”
“Over 95% of attributable risk in men with STD was either genital ulceration or the presence of a foreskin.”
“Uncircumcised men were more likely than circumcised men to have syphilis and gonorrhea…”
“The medical benefits of circumcision appear to exceed the risks of the procedure.”
*“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.” *
“Male circumcision consistently shows a protective effect against HIV infection. … The prevalence of HIV infection is 1.7 to 8.2 times as high in men with foreskins as in circumcised men, and the incidence of infection is 8 times [800%] as high.”
“RESULTS: There is substantial evidence that circumcision protects males from HIV infection, penile carcinoma, urinary tract infections, and ulcerative sexually transmitted diseases. We could find little scientific evidence of adverse effects on sexual, psychological, or emotional health.”
“…as the safest and most commonly performed surgical procedure in [the USA], 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 oppose it.”
Q. E. D.