Circumcision: Some Things You Can't (Or Maybe Shouldn't) Put Back

Illustration for article titled Circumcision: Some Things You Can't (Or Maybe Shouldn't) Put Back

In a follow up to the great snip-or-don't-snip debate last week, I stupidly read an article from Time magazine about the inactivist movement and proceeded to do some follow-up research. My conclusion? The way that men will mutilate themselves for sex is rivaled only by the way women will. Basically, there's a whole political (and otherwise) movement out there to keep wee little babies from having their foreskins removed and to help men rediscover the joys of a foreskin-full life. They claim that involuntary circumcision is a civil rights violation (which, honestly, is one of those hyperboles in political activism that I think does one's cause more harm than good in the public eye, but, whatevs).


Point being, there are a variety of horrible-looking products on the market or that the handyman type can make himself to stretch the skin on his penis out [the link is safe for work, but the involuntary leg crossing may draw attention to you]. None of them look comfortable, and all of them would make me run screaming in horror from a man I found utilizing them. All of them require months to years of use to grow skin back over the head of a man's penis.

On the other hand, women are having collagen injected into the fronts of their vaginal walls, their vaginas remade and their labia surgically sculpted, all of which is probably more dangerous and definitely just another way of trying to live up to some ideal of what sex is supposed to be. So, yay equality? I guess?

[A side note from last week's discussion: medical research conducted in Africa shows that circumcision can reduce the risk of HIV infection in males by 50-60 percent. In one study in South Africa in particular, scientists stopped the trial after 18 months because the findings were so starkly in favor of circumcision that they felt it was unethical not to offer the uncircumcised participants circumcision. Yes, AIDS is not as big a problem here as in Africa, and, yes, condoms are more effective, but I think it's important to note that the scientific consensus, even at the UN, is slowly moving toward recommending circumcision for health reasons. I write this because someone is going to bring it up anyway in the comments and we should all read that information anyway. Knowledge is power or something.]

The Great Uncircumcision Debate [Time]
Restoration Devices [NORM]
Moving Forwards: UN Policy And Action On Male Circumcision (Part 3) [Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS]
Circumcision 'Reduces HIV Risk' [BBC News]



The thing is, it's be shown that penile circumcision reduces sensitivity. First, there are a ton of nerves in the foreskin that we're routinely cutting off. Second, the foreskin protects the head of the penis where the largest concentration of nerves are. So the unprotected head is constantly chafing against boxers, tight hipster pants, etc. I think it's fair to say that circumcised guys have no idea what they're missing.

I know I'd be pissed as hell if I learned my parents had screwed with my clitoris when I was born.

By the way, when they do this to girls in Africa, we

call it genital mutilation.

And I second the recommendation for A Mind of Its Own. I lent it to my mother last summer and haven't seen it since.