Ban male circumcision. Why or why not?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by tony2, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    how do you reason that? not all (in fact few actually) drugs work opposite in high doses.
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  3. Gravity Deus Ex Machina Registered Senior Member

    Wow, do you look for a fight in every possible detail you can WCF? Sounds lonely.

    Anyways, yeah - I'm not a Pediatric MD - I was just assuming that an infant would be more sensitive to medications. I certainly could be wrong . . . has that ever happened to you?

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  5. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

    The reduction in pleasureable sensation is certain. The reduction in susceptibility to disease is not. The reduction in sensation will still be there if the man is a responsible sex partner or not. It will still be there even if he chooses to be a lifelong masturbator, and not have sex with anyone.

    You're portraying being circumcised as the socially responsible choice. I feel there are many ways to be a responsible sex partner without going under the knife. And even if the worst case scenario of increased risk for HPV and HIV proves to be true beyond a shadow of a doubt, getting your tip clipped doesn't buy you immunity, anymore than seatbelts and airbags make it safe to drive drunk. At best it will give you (maybe) some better odds against infection. An individual could remain uncircumcised and greatly better his odds of not contracting or spreading these diseases by using condoms, having fewer sex partners, and knowing who their sex partners are.

    If a woman is fearful that she might contract a disease because a man is uncircumcised, she should insist that he use a condom. Or she could choose to not have sex with him at all, assigning him to the same category as bisexual men, and men who use intraveinous drugs. If uncircumcised men have a hard time finding someone to have sex with, they would probably choose circumcision over lonely Saturday nights.

    Having sex always entails some risk. It is a sad fact of life, and so it will remain for the foreseeable future. The risks have to be balanced against the pleasure, circumcised or not.

    The voice of reason, Dr. Dean Edell speaks about circumcision.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics circumcision policy statement;103/3/686

    Edit: fixed link.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2004
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    (Insert Title Here)

    Where to start?

    The same can be said of condoms. In fact, your average two-bit abstinence promoter will tell you that.

    It will be irrelevant to a male circumcised at birth. Period.

    Incorrect. And I'm sorry that's all you can get from this debate. Stop thinking with your penis, please.

    As you quoted it in your post, I feel silly reiterating, but:

    Unlike condom hysteria, it cannot be said that an uncircumcised penis is disrespectful to one's partner, but to claim your pleasure is worth more than her health ... well, now that is disrespectful.

    What I am arguing against is this tendency to treat scientific research as if it's religion in order to defend your pleasure.

    It's downright rude.

    Additionally, look at the topic title: "Ban male circumcision ...."

    This isn't just about "routine male circumcision". This is about:

    And from the first response, there has been discussion of disease for those who do not think infant male circumcision should be banned, and discussion of pleasure from those who argue to varying degrees against male circumcision. There has also been some hyperbole, which is the perfect return to examining your post.

    The "voice of reason"? Dude, provide what links you want, but calling Dr. Edell's article the "voice of reason" is beyond disingenuous. The voice of reason, as such, wrote:

    Edell starts out expressing "long and vociferous opposition" to a medical procedure. I would hope his reasons are more reasonably-founded than what he included in that article. He's being intellectually dishonest, and this is something that troubles me about many arguments in diverse causes: If one is right, why does one need to be intellectually dishonest in the presentation?

    Unnecessary and inhumane assault: Necessity is an arguable issue, but "inhumane assault" is a political opinion, not a medical or scientific one. Mere hyperbole. And he's entitled to it to a certain degree, but let's consider how low Dr. Edell is willing to sink.
    A woman's reproductive tract: Can Dr. Edell not tell the difference between the outside and inside of a woman's body? Additionally, if we stick specifically to the clitoris for comparison (e.g. clitoridectomy, also called "female circumcision"), the ideas aren't necessarily comparable. In the case of female circumcision, it's not "mere skin" being removed; instead of merely slicing away the hood around the clitoris, female circumcision removes a large portion if not the entirety of the clitoris. Inasmuch as Dr. Edell refers to the interior of a woman's reproductive tract, perhaps he could explain to us what the anatomically-equivalent surgery would be. He doesn't because there is none. The comparison is dishonest at its foundation.
    Women who have sex with uncircumcised men will get cervical cancer: Here we must concede that Dr. Edell's article is over five years old, and cannot consider the most recent information in the general debate. When Dr. Edell argues against "the idea that women who have sex with uncircumcised men will get cervical cancer", what he is really doing is maneuvering away from the issues. The idea that people who smoke cigarettes will get lung cancer is untenable in a similar sense. What's the reality of both? That there is a relationship. In the case of cigarettes, we know that people who smoke have an insidious lung-cancer rate, but compared against the statement that people who smoke will get lung cancer, the realities of cigarettes and lung cancer simply do not support the statement. Likewise, I have never in the twenty years that HPV and cervical cancer have been discussed in the news heard such a simplistic and intellectually-worthless assertion as the one Dr. Edell pretends to argue against. There are places in America, I'm sure, where such arguments are necessary, but I'm not so sure those folks will be reading medical articles on the internet. Additionally, in dismissing this phantom argument, Dr. Edell reminds, "Cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted virus," and goes on to claim that cervical cancer, "has nothing to do with the circumcision status of the male." This statement is so untrue that it should not be written. However, here we acknowledge the age of the article, as it may not have occurred to the voice of reason that circumcision status of males can play a large role in sexually transmitted diseases. Of course, Dr. Edell, as a political voice, has no reason to have ever thought of it. However, I'm surprised.
    STDs more common in the intact male: Dr. Edell does not discuss what we know about the structure of the foreskin. This could be a result of information availability; the information we have now was not available five years ago. Nonetheless, while it is true that behavior is far more important in determining STD risk, behavior is not a guarantee. Dr. Edell knows this, and relying on impressions to the contrary in order to make a political argument is medically irresponsible.
    I just don't get it: Why does he have to be intellectually dishonest if he's right?

    Like where he raises the issue of urinary tract infections, and then follows that with the issue of complications; he pretends that UTI is the only reason offered for male circumcision, "So you can see that there's no benefit at all".

    Why? If it's so cut-and-dried as a medical and ethical argument, why is the argument based in unethical distortions of medicine?

    It just doesn't seem like a voice of reason to me. Even as an argument against routine male circumcision, which is a separate issue from the original topic issue, the argument is so politicized as to be mere fluff.

    Unfortunately, I can only work at this time with your cited statement from the AAP; the link is not coming up for me. Nonetheless, let's look at the sentence you highlighted, in its entirety and including the highlight.

    1971? Between 1975 and 1983? Fair enough, but what about that next paragraph, that covers the time between then and now?

    The argument you present in the AAP citation is a compelling consideration of routine male circumcision. But it undermines the general case for the outright banning of male circumcision.

    So while I'm perfectly willing to concede that routine male circumcision is not warranted by any medical necessity, that speaks nothing about whether or not the practice of male circumcision should be banned outright.

    And by the way, while seat belts do not make drunk driving safe, why reach for such a blanket condition in order to compare? Condoms don't make sex with a junkie safe. It's a consideration of general risk. Seat belts do reduce the amount of human damage resulting from drunk driving, just as condoms reduce the amount of human damage resulting from otherwise-unsafe sexual practices.

    Just a question: who here has worn a condom for a dry-hump or femoral intercourse? (I expect this number to be low, as the dry-hump is in general decline, though enjoying some specialized affinity, and I don't know anybody who claims to have had femoral intercourse.)

    Who wears latex gloves for heavy petting and "finger-banging"?

    Not all risk factors are apparent at the time one engages them. This is, of course, left to the people engaging in such behaviors.

    • Edell, Dr. Dean. "Circumcision: A Closer Look". Health Central, March 1, 1999. See
    • American Association of Pediatrics. "(Circumcision Policy Statement)". Undated.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2004
  8. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

    "It will be irrelevant to a male circumcised at birth. Period."

    It isn't irrelevant to me. I'm getting the definite impression that I'm missing out by being a clip tip from what I've read. Some have even gone as far as having their foreskin surgically recreated. I can't really see myself doing that though.

    Yes, I do consider Dr. Edell the voice of reason on this, and many other issues. I used to enjoy his radio show, though I've not listened in years. You might browse through his other essays to see if you find yourself sympatico about other things, even if you disagree with him on this issue.

    Do I personally think it should be banned? No, as I said before I think it ought to be left to an individual to decide as an adult. But even though I think the medical consensus is that it isn't medically necessary, I don't think it warrants an intrusion by the state if parents choose to have it done. But I think the majority of parents who are choosing this procedure are ignorant of the facts.

    The same can be said of condoms. In fact, your average two-bit abstinence promoter will tell you that.
    The link between the consistent use of condoms and the reduced chance of contracting a venereal disease is indisputable. But, yes, all you are ever talking about is less unsafe sex, since sex with anyone carries some risk.
  9. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    I don’t get this, when surveys show that the majority of men that get circumcisions as adult were pleased with the result, then why would the belief that it reduces sexual performance continue? Somehow in the majority of cases it made sex better.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2004
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Fair enough; it's your choice to feel that way. Personally, I don't think I'm missing a damn thing, except for an additional hygienic necessity and a body odor that I absolutely despise.

    Perhaps on other issues, but how is intellectual dishonesty the voice of reason on any issue?

    It hasn't always been. At the end of the 1980s, there was much discussion about whether HIV, for instance, could pass through latex. More research established the coincidence between condom use and dramatically-lowered HIV as valid and not coincidental.

    The "editor's note" posted earlier about circumcision and cervical cancer would throw out all that research and pretend there's no issue to be had, as it is based on a similarly-disingenuous straw man. If I saw headlines like such dismissals pretend to respond to, I would wonder when we would start delivering virgins to our AIDS patients to save them. Perhaps there are folks who need to be frightened away from science, but that would seem to call for a lowering of the bar for the rest of us.

    Ignorance does prevail in routine male circumcision, but I think your statement goes over the line; calling willing and informed parents "ignorant" is the equivalent of reducing concerns against circumcision to nothing more than a bunch of arrogant, selfish people who consider their own extraneous pleasures more important than the people around them.

    We're probably not that far apart on the issue in the end, but I cannot bring myself to base my considerations in hedonistic greed.
  11. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

    The main reason I consider most parents who choose to have their children circumcised ignorant is because I believe they are. I don't think that even now as the medical establishment at large is slowly starting to consider that it might not be necessary (or possibly even a good thing to do) most parents are exposed to any ideas about possibly not having their children circumcised.

    The chief reason I've heard stated in the cases I know of is that they didn't want their children to feel awkward in gym class when showering! Does that seem like a legitimate reason to you? Sure, it's a reason, but not one I would qualify as good.

    I'm much more comfortable with the idea of people choosing to have it done anyway if they have done some research than if they are just having it done because, well, just because.

    I would not call parents who have researched the issue, and still chosen the procedure, ignorant. Honest people can honestly disagree.

    I could be wrong, there might be a sea of pediatricians out there recommending literature both pro and con to parents prior to performing circumcisions. But I don't think that is the case.
  12. Bells Staff Member

    Female circumcision is viewed by the civilised world as genital mutilation. Yet we see nothing inherently wrong with male circumcision. Why is that? The hypocrisy of this issue is ridiculous. Male circumcision, for any reason that is not medical, is genital mutilation. Just like the removal of the female clitoris is genital mutilation, so too is the removal of sensitive foreskin from a male penis for religious, fashion, cosmetic (looks) or some warped sense of cleanliness.
  13. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    female circumcision is the removal of the clitoris. Cutting off the clitoris is equivalent to cutting the glans off a penis! Not only does it remove a majority of the nerves in the genitals, there is not research to show there is any medical benefits what so ever from the procedure. The main ideology behind female circumcision is to remove much of a women’s ability to enjoy intercourse and thus make her more controllable and less likely to commit adultery.

    A equivalent of male circumcision in women would be to remove extra hanging skin from the inner labia.
  14. Bells Staff Member

    WFC, I meant it in the sense that it is genital mutilation just the same. While I am aware that it is not as drastic as female circumcision, it is still a form of mutilation. It is a painful procedure, regardless of the male's age. And it is extremelly unnecessary unless it is for medical reasons.

    The foreskin is also very sensitive. I've actually heard guys say that it's one of the most sensitive areas of the penis.
  15. Xev Registered Senior Member

    In the sense that cutting off a fingernail is the same as cutting off an arm. But the comparison ends there - clitoridectomy not only leads to many health problems (which circumcision does not) but destroys the woman's ability to experience sexual pleasure (which circumcision does not, indeed it may enhance such pleasure) and is painful for as long as a woman lives (circumcision only hurts for a short while)

    And I have a friend who claims the ability to hammer tacking nails into his. Argument from anecdote.
    In any case, it won't be sensitive if it's not there, correct?
  16. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Also we cited that there are many reasons other then medical for circumcision, such as sexual performance and hygiene benefits
  17. Bells Staff Member

    Each time I discuss this subject, the name David Reimer comes to mind.

    And then of course the amount of deaths that occur because of botched circumcisions each year. Just one of the many sites on deaths and injuries causing permanent damage due to circumcisions.

    And Fetus, if it was so beneficial for sexual and hygenic reasons as you stated yourself, why does the American Academy of Pediatrics no longer advocate routine circumcision because they feel that it isn't essential to the child's current well-being?
  18. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    When was I saying it was good enough to recommend unconsenting, required surgery on infants, perhaps you haven’t be reading any of my other posts.

    By the way how many people die a year from appendix removal?

    How many people die a year from infections under the foreskin?
  19. Neildo Gone Registered Senior Member

    Well the way some guys shoot their load way too fast unable to please their women long enough, I say remove even more sensation from the guy!

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    - N
  20. gotanygum Registered Member

    Ban it!!!

    why is it so hard to understand? many fine-touch sensitive nerves removed in females = immoral,

    so why is it okay to cut baby boys then??

    1 plus 1 still equals 2...last time I checked!

    but of course, its a crazy idea. Its crazy to be for preservation of sexual identity. Come on, its pretty clear isnt it??

    uh-oh, hes talking about foreskin, he has penis envy, or is disturbed....same old arguements just keep on going, meanwhile the baby grows up and finds out the truth ...

    The truth never stays hidden for long, and eventually the TOTALLY unnecessary and immoral [yes immoral] practice of neonatal circumcision, hospital or otherwise [yes] will be exposed for what it is: child abuse [thats right].
  21. Hapsburg Hellenistic polytheist Valued Senior Member

    I know a guy, he related this story: his foreskin got caught on a flap of skin in his woman's vagina. When he pulled his wang out, it pulled and tore it along the shaft. His wang started bleeding immensely, or so he said.

    Circumcision is probably more healthy, safer, and when it's done as an infant, there won't be obstructions in the way of the cut.
  22. Theoryofrelativity Banned Banned

    Haven't read whole thread so this may be repeating what's already been said;

    few snippets

    Where tdid his practice originate?....Answer: Eyptian snake worshipping...they thought it may honour snake if they were 'snake like' and 'shed their skin' like the snake. Caught on from there. So not really a valid reason for continuing the practice?

    Some Muslims (family connection here) think they circumsise because Mohammed was born without foreskin ........lucky he wasn't born without legs!

    It is true Aids is harder to transmit in the circumsised. This may therefore be valid reason to circumsise in communities where aids is rife, some African cultures have found this has steemmed the spread, which is all good.

    Meanwhile my personal view , nature gave males this skin, no ones right to presume to know better and mutilate babies, this happens to girls also and is much worse.

    Also coming from medical proffession, I can confirm it is true there are LOTS of complications from these proceedures carried out in this country.
  23. Facial Valued Senior Member

    I'm surprised I haven't payed much attention to this post.

    In various places that I have seen over the years, my general impression is that the general medical community is against circumcision because it damages certain parts that may be vital to penile function.

    That is also the stance that I adopt.

    I am against circumcision, both male and female. Circumcision being beneficial for the body has about as much credence as creationism is to the truth of earth's formation.

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