Potential new circumcision recommendations have ‘intactivists’ all hot and bothered.

Pic of circumcised banana.

It's like this. Except with your dick.

To circumcise or not to circumcise, that is the question pondered for thousands of years by new parents of baby boys. For most of that time the decision was usually pretty simple: Are you Jewish or Muslim? If so then you remove the skin-hoodie. If not, God has no interest in your foreskin so you can keep it. (Technically the Jews considered it an edict from God whereas the Qur’an doesn’t specifically mention it, but many Muslims do it anyway because fuck you, we’re Muslims, and we do shit like that.)

Then, sometime around the dawn of the 20th century as the Germ Theory of Disease finally started to take hold, the idea that having a foreskin could be unhealthy (because, for God’s sake, think of where you stick that thing) caught on in Western societies and the practice went from being a quirky religious rite to a matter of good health and cleanliness. Also, a lot of people thought it helped to curb masturbation which was also considered a very bad thing. Masturbation that is, not the curbing of it.

In recent years there’s been quite a debate over whether there actually is any health benefits from trimming a man’s sausage with a number of studies indicating that any health benefits were probably minimal at best and were offset by the disadvantages (decreased sensitivity, etc.). “Intactivisits”, folks who advocated against circumcision as unnecessary and unethical, launched campaigns to not only discourage the practice, but to help men who have been “victimized” by their parents come to grips with what they considered the mutilation of their favorite organ. A few took the problem well in hand and came up with products designed to help you regrow a foreskin if you were so inclined.

Needless to say, they won’t be to happy to read about this:

Pic of ant-circumcision marchers.

I understand you're passionate about this, but there's no need to make yourself a dick over it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, currently neutral on whether to circumcise, are drafting new policies in light of recent studies suggesting circumcision helps prevent transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Both agencies say they plan to publish their new recommendations this year, though they’ve been saying that for the last two years.

Anti-circumcision activists — dubbed “intactivists” because they advocate leaving penises intact — fear official endorsement could encourage more parents to subject their sons to what they consider an unethical and purely cosmetic procedure.

“That would be a disaster,” said John Geisheker, executive director and general counsel for the advocacy group Doctors Opposing Circumcision. “We hope they waffle again.”

My guess is that the chances the CDC or AAP will go back to recommending circumcision are probably small. At best they might offer a flaccid endorsement, but will otherwise continue to leave it as a choice for parents to make. Various studies have suggested that being circumcised may help reduce the spread of sexual diseases, reduce the risk of penile cancer, and so on. That said, the intactivists do have a point:

“We’re talking about amputating tissue from a child in order to prevent disease that adult behavior can prevent,” Geisheker said.

[…] Both sides agree that most parents circumcise their sons not for health but to conform to cultural norms, which raises ethical questions about whether parents should be able to irrevocably alter their kid’s appearance.

“You’re removing healthy, erogenous, highly nerve-supplied tissue from a human being who has not given his or her consent, and you’re doing it for nontherapeutic reasons,” Geisheker said.

On the one hand I can agree that circumcision is ethically questionable, but on the other I think the Intactivists are way more aroused by this than they should be. As a circumcised male myself I have to admit that I don’t miss what I never knew I had and I can’t think of any outstanding mental or physical health issues that are a result of my lack of foreskin. Any decrease in sensitivity that I’ve suffered from due to the lack of my dick-turtleneck hasn’t impaired my ability to enjoy sex over the years in any noticeable way.

That said, I tend to come down on the side of if there isn’t significant health benefits in it then it’s probably best to leave things where they are crowd. But then I feel the same way about unnecessary plastic surgery. There’s certainly nothing that says if for some reason a man later in life decides he wants a circumcision that he can’t elect to have one, but probably best to leave that up to each male’s prerogative unless you can demonstrate the aforementioned significant health benefit.

So that’s that then. My only real reason in writing about this was to see how many masturbation and dick jokes I could squeeze in without using lubrication. I think I rose to the occasion quite well, though it was a little hard going there for awhile.

16 thoughts on “Potential new circumcision recommendations have ‘intactivists’ all hot and bothered.

  1. I was circumcised at birth, too. I am one of those guys who took matters in hand, literally, and restored my foreskin. While you may be correct that you cannot miss what you never knew, I know what I am missing because I do not consider myself circumcised any more. Having a foreskin, even a restored one, is fantastic. I never imagined the difference having a foreskin would make. Sure, I knew I would regain all the sensitivity I lost over the years. I never knew about the gliding action of the foreskin. WOW. The gliding action makes a big difference.

  2. At best they might offer a flaccid endorsement,



    Great article, Les. And, I agree, if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. Kellog was one of those early advocates for circumcision to eliminate masturbation. Let’s see how well THAT worked????


  3. Ever heard a baby SCREAM when they cut it off?
    Who cares if there are medical “benefits” to it, such mutilation should be legally deemed child abuse.

  4. Ugh, I just noticed the fag flag in the middle of the picture. Too bad such a good cause has to be associated with something so filthy.

  5. My opinion is pretty neutral like yours. I’m not exactly a circumcision proponent, but I’ve known people that had to have it done as an adult and I’ve been told there’s very little actual difference sex-wise before and after. So I’m not sure it’s actually that big of a deal, either.

    I do actively dislike the anti-circumcision crowd, who are largely either MRAs that insist it’s exactly the same or worse than removing the clitoris and stitching a woman’s vagina shut or treat being anti-circumcision as a religion of the Westboro kind and scream about what mutilated freaks circumcised adults are.

    Even if they have a point(*cough*), they’re going about it exactly the wrong way.

    As for myself personally, I wish they’d taken my appendix while they were at it. 😉

  6. Japan and Europe have never circumcised routinely. The UK and New Zealand did, but gave it up 1-2 generations ago. Australia and Canada went from circumcising nearly all boys, to only doing a minority, with the taxpayer refusing to pay for it. Where is the epidemic of infected dicks in Europe and Japan? Where are the rising penis problems in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada?

    Research done in sub-Saharan Africa (a world very very different from mine and that of nearly all my readers) claims that can reduce the probability of contracting certain diseases. This research is questionable for reasons that would take us too far afield. But even if it were not, those diseases can be fully prevented by condom use. Better yet, by marrying and staying faithful. It is wrong to look at a day old baby boy and assume the worst of his adult morals, and use that assumption to justify cutting off the most sexually sensitive parts of his body.

    Not all circumcised men are as sexually satisfied as you are. American research has not been honest at all about complications of circumcision that take decades to manifest themselves, including ED, PE, and a gradual decline in the thrill of sex as a man moves through middle age. American research has also turned a blind eye to the growing body of anecdotal evidence that women enjoy intercourse more when his trouser snake has an eyelid.

    The only western nation where it is it not widely understood that the bits removed by circ are major contributors to sexual pleasure — is the USA. A surgical procedure that desensitised women to a similar degree would rightly give rise to a feminist uprising.

  7. You may say there’s little difference for men having sex before and after their circumcision.. you should ask their female partners. Trust me there IS a difference! Women who have had both know there’s something magical about foreskin. Just sayin’.

  8. As far as the Female Mutilation vs. Male Mutilation. The most common form of the prior is actually removing the clitoral hood and in some cases the partial removal of the clitoris (type 2) or at the very least a pinprick to the clitoris to draw blood (type 1). The more dramatic forms (types 3 and 4)that make the news rarely happen compared to the other two but they are so much more grotesque that they make the news faster and louder. BOTH FGM and MGM occur throughout the world for mostly personally and religious reasons and most occur just as a child is reaching puberty (mostly asia and africa), and a good number of cases without the use of antiseptics or analgesics. And in some cases is performed by a religious man/woman or medicine man/woman.

    It is type 2 that most anti-circ-tivists compare male circumcision (which is type 1 on the list of MGM) too. Most of these people know that it is in no way comparable to types 3 and 4, which are more ways to control a woman’s sexuality. Now with that being said there have been RARE cases where a person who was performing a male circumcision did something wrong and removed to much and ended up slicing off a good portion of the penial head along with the foreskin (getting into type 2). Back in the day when that happened the doc just told the parent to raise the poor boy as a girl and removed the rest of the tissue so it would not cause confusion. Or in a few rare cases where an infection set in a resulted in penial loss or death of the child.

    Men who were circumcised have no less interest in sex than those that weren’t just as to be honest women who were circumcised via type 2 have no less interest in sex than women who have a whole clitoris. The clitoris is not the only part on a woman genitals that gives pleasure, some women have more pleasure vaginally than clitorially. There have been many studies done on this too. Those women that come from cultures that practice type 2 say that they still enjoy sex and don’t miss anything because they never had any different.

    Now the reason I know all this junk is not because I am an activist either way it is because a little over 4 yrs ago I found out I was to have a boy child. My first instinct was to circumcise it is after all the norm and I thought nothing of it. My circumcised husband on the other hand had his doubts and being a free thinker did not want to force a decision like that on his child. We got into quite a fight about it, that resulted with me doing massive amounts of research on it. Really looking into it alarmed me that the US is really the only place that does it for a medically vs relgiious reason like other areas. Canadian insurance won’t even pay for it viewing it as a personally preference. Once the decision was made it annoyed me how many times I had to repeat myself that my child was not to be cut only to be given dirty looks and nurses trying to explain the supposed benefits. I was asked over and over again to the point that I had a sticker placed on his crib to make sure nothing happened.

    My view is that is not my body not my choice As my kids parent I weighed all my options and looked at all the pros and cons of such actions. So I have an uncircumcised boy child just as I have an uncircumcised girl child.

    But I will agree that some non-circ people can get a little over the top BUT this is true of any group of people who believe their choice is better than others. Look at any group of activist of any topic and you will find crazies who make the whole group look nuts.

    Now as for the article~

    “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, currently neutral on whether to circumcise, are drafting new policies in light of recent studies suggesting circumcision helps prevent transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.”

    I am slightly curious of how a uncircumcised man can get HIV easier than an circumcised man, I really don’t see how it makes a difference or not. If this was really true then would the presence or lack of a clitoris have the same results. It all comes down to a matter of cleanness and sex safety. A penis rather hooded or not can get grungy just as a vagina can get nasty too. I would be interested in seeing this study and how these results were gathered, especially since I know any study can be skewed to benefit whoever pays the bills. If I learned anything from my biology degree it was that.

  9. Yes, I can see how it would not matter as far as the clitoris but women are ,for lack of a better term, screwed either way. Have unprotected sex with a man who has HIV you will most likely end up with it too, the reverse is not so true. Very rare does that vaginal fluid enter the penis, resulting in the man contracting HIV from the woman. Usually this only happens if there is an open wound.

    “The protective effect of MC on HIV infection was unchanged when controlling for sexual behaviour, including condom use, which was taken into account when defining those at-risk behaviour, the period of abstinence in the intervention group following MC, and heath-seeking behaviour, which was considered because treatment of STIs can have an effect on HIV acquisition [24]. This shows that these factors play a minor role in explaining the protective effect of MC on HIV infection. The reasons for this protective effect of MC on HIV acquisition have to be found elsewhere, and several direct or indirect factors may explain this [25]. Direct factors may be keratinization of the glans when not protected by the foreskin, short drying after sexual contact, reducing the life expectancy of HIV on the penis after sexual contact with an HIV-positive partner, reduction of the total surface of the skin of the penis, and reduction of target cells, which are numerous on the foreskin [26]. Indirect factors may be a reduction in acquisition of other STIs, which in turn will reduce the acquisition of HIV. Our study does not allow for identification of the mechanism(s) of the protective effect of MC on HIV acquisition.”

    This is the problem I see with people using studies like this to promote MC, even in this excerpt they make the statement that they could not really gather substantial proof that with the proper care that a un-circed man will get HIV or not. From what it seems they are thinking that the foreskin and improper cleaning after sex, keeps the the virus alive for longer since it is partially protected by the foreskin sliding back over the glans rather than just drying up and dying off with the circumcised man.

    Moreover it really appears that this type of study would be more beneficial to the groups of people they did the study on. People who don’t have access to all the medical wonders we do and those that don’t have the sex safety ideals or opportunities that others do.

    “As shown by our study, MC is useful and feasible even among sexually experienced men living in an area with high HIV prevalence. Indeed, in our study the intervention delivered by local general practitioners resulted in a limited and reasonable number of adverse events and did not lead to an increase in deaths. In addition to the protective role in men, MC will indirectly protect women and, therefore, children from HIV infection because if men are less susceptible to HIV acquisition, women will be less exposed. Moreover, MC may also be protective against male-to-female HIV transmission, but this will require further investigation [7]. The role that women can play in promoting MC is potentially important. If women are aware of the protective effect of MC, this awareness could, in turn, have an impact on the prevalence of MC by encouraging males to become circumcised.”
    It seems that they are wanting it promoted in that area of the world because it would help keep the women and girls from getting HIV when they are raped or sexually active, as well as protect the men in the process. This to me is a quick fix for the time. Promoting safe sex would yield the same result but in that area it is much harder to have access to that then it is to find a doctor to make a snip.
    SO I really don’t see how this particularly study applies to our culture where HIV is present but not to the gross extent that it is in Africa.

  10. I agree with Imp, not my body not my choice. I have 2 boys, both are Un-circumcised, (while my parents chose to circumcise me), and this is something that I have researched for several years prior to having children, and discussed with my wife and we both came to the conclusion that if they want to get it done, they can with their own money when they get old enough to make that decision.

    But I didn’t have any issues in the hospital with either of them. I just told them we were not doing it, and they were OK with that decision. Although I did make sure I stated it SEVERAL times just to be sure they were on the same page as myself and my wife.

  11. as an uncut male, i too think they’re making too big of a brouhaha over this. on the one hand, yeah, medically unnecessary surgical intervention on infants incapable of consent — icky and wrong and should probably be stopped. on the other hand… it’s an itty bitty flap of skin, and it’s demonstrably easy to live without it.

    i’m not cutting mine off, but it wouldn’t kill me if for some weird reason i had to. not gonna go demonstrating in the streets about it. if it’d been done to me in childhood, at most i might cuss out my parents very loudly and acerbically over it, no more.

  12. All dick jokes aside, I could not care less what any grown man does with his own cock (so long as it’s not harming anyone). If he wants to alter it in any way, that’s his choice. It’s his dick.
    As an intactivist, I see it as simple basic human rights. Everyone has the right to a whole body. Removing healthy normal parts of baby boys or baby girls is ethically reprehensible.

  13. When a man who is HIV positive has sex with a man who is not, the circumcision status of both men does not affect the likelihood of infecting the clean man.

    When an infected man has sex with a clean woman, her chances of contracting HIV are not affected by his circumcision status. But she is less likely to contract HIV if SHE is circumcised. This finding has been downplayed, because of its extreme political incorrectness. Please understand that African FGM very often includes the partial or complete ablation of the labia minora.

    What the African clinical trials have concluded is that when a clean man has sex with an infected woman (often a sex worker), he is more likely to contract HIV if he is intact. It is hypothesized that the inner foreskin is unusually permeable to the HIV virus, and that the virus is more likely to survive in the dark moistness of the preputial sack. It is easily forgotten that marital fidelity or condom use are complete solutions to the HIV problem. Circumcision is not a solution; it only changes the odds in certain circumstances.

    I want to emphasise again that uncircumcised Europe has much lower rates of STDs than the circumcised USA. And that while many circumcised men have good sex lives, some do not, especially after age 40.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.