I think one of the things that we far too often overlook in this country is that fact that genital mutilation of newborn boys is common practice, if not standard. Why isn't there more of a cry against this? Do the benefits of circumcision (if any, and I don't see any valid argument that there are any) outweigh the cost and mutilation of a boy?

Of course circumcision isn't the only genital mutilation in the world, but it's the only type in practice in the United States. Female genital mutilation is just as barbaric, if not more so. Americans, and Europeans in general, ban female genital mutilation of babies, but why the hypocrisy in not doing the same for males?

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I was looking at it from the methodology. But if you look at it from the principal of the thing, it's pretty bad(I think). No little kid wants their bits hacked on. Count me converted. Well, you know.
I'll say, this is a really riské topic to raise in groups of friends in real life, I've tried!... amazing how the internet is conducive to raising topics we let slide in real life, truly eye opening. I hadn't given it much thought before reading about it here on this very thread. Few threads on A|N have been so memorable. Thanks to Eric for that :)  Have you read the entire discussion? there have been some amazing points raised.

Monica I'm utterly stunned at your myopia and insensitivity.  About 100 U.S. infants die annually from the medicalized procedure. 


But if you want to focus on Somalia, then maybe I can enter into evidence just the Eastern Cape province of South Africa where about 100 boys die annually from circumcision. 


MOST of the FGM on earth affects the hood only and is exactly analogous to male circumcision.  The U.S. AAP last spring said male circumcision is much worse than a common form of clitoral incision.  They were making an appeal to allow their members to do it so girls would not be dragged overseas for more radical mutilation.  Of course within a month they rescinded the appeal amid public outcry, but they never got around to calling for males to be protected from the "worse" procedure. 


Obviously womens' rights have a long way to come, but at least we have gotten 94% of the world's women covered by anti-FGM laws (yes, rarely enforced), while no males are protected. 

I can walk into a doctor's office and instruct him to cut my boy in a manner I believe ensures he won't get pleasure from masturbation and nobody can legally object. 


There is no culture cutting girls that does not also cut boys.  It is utterly foolish to expect any culture to heed our outrage about genital cutting when we allow half our population to be cut. 

Rob, I'd rather be honest and say I do not know than to have false piety. So if you are shocked that I am as you say, insensitive, please at least read the rest of what I am saying or have already said. 


Lashing out at me doesn't help the cause at all. And assualting my character does not help either. I did not know the bad things that could happen in male circumcision, and stated as such. So sir, I would suggest calming down and responding in a respectful manner. I have already stated that I have been, as you say, converted to this, for a lack of a better word.

I am only aware of what I learn about, and if you had any idea of how long I've been atheist, you'd realize I'm playing catch up. So pardon me that I am not a paragon on human compassion on matters that until now, I knew nil about.



Thanks for following up.  I'm sorry for using harsh langauge.  As a victim of forced haphazard genital reduction surgery I feel entitled to react with every bit the outrage you might expect from an FGM victim faced with someone discounting her loss. 


In my work I regularly see some very seriously harmed men.  Nobody - male, female, or intersexed - should have to live with cosmetic decisions others made that could have just as easily waited until the informed adult owner of the genitals could weigh in.  It sounds like you agree.  Welcome. 


Group Hug  :)

@Monica S.


I would kindly ask you to read some of the posts that have been made in this (long) discussion. 

Many of the things that you say here have been discussed before and many people have given quite eloquent answers and comments on points that you raise here.


WIKIPEDIA: "Mutilation or maiming is an act or physical injury that degrades the appearance or function of any living body"


Thus, circumcision is mutilation, FGM is mutilation too. Whether or not one is worse then the other has no meaning when discussing whether or not it is mutilation. 


I say until they have to go through what my cat naruto did(he's...fixed), please refer to it as an annoyance.


I hope that you will reconsider this statement. You are ignoring serious consequences of an unnecessary procedure that mutilates a body part. People have died from the procedure, and many males have been scarred both in function and appearance*.


Would you think that FGM is not really mutilation if only the labia have been cut, would you think that it would be just an annoyance? 


As I've said before in this topic:

"If you can explain which body parts and sensory data you're allowed to remove from an infant and for what perceived advantage, please do. I remain convinced that it is not the decision that the parents should be allowed to make unless forced by necessity."


* The first time I watched (US made) porn and saw how difficult it can be for a circumcised male to self stimulate (masturbate) I was shocked. The fact that so many people see circumcision as no big deal at all is just mind boggling to me.


All the skin on the penis ("attached to the penis") is a Part Of The Penis. It is all "the penis". It is all natural genital anatomy. If cutting the prepuce off the female constitutes a mutilation then cutting it off the male must likewise be considered as such. Contrary to what you said regarding FGM, many victims attest to experiencing sexual pleasure. It seems to depend on the severity of the procedure and the individual case. Similarly, many men circumcised as adults attest to a reduction in sexual pleasure, and some experience a total loss. All of this can be researched very easily on the internet. One such man has already commented on this thread.


It is also arguable that the male prepuce (foreskin) has more nerve-endings than the female prepuce (hood). What is not up to debate is that the foreskin is of much larger area than the clitoral hood. So it is more accurate to compare male circumcision with the removal of the clitoral hood and the labia minora in females. It is arguable that male circumcision is worse than this, though, as it removes more nerve-endings, permanently exposes the glans, and renders the penile skin largely immobile. As to which forms of genital mutilation between the sexes are worse, that really depends on the kind of mutilation and the individual case. As regards infibulation, this has historically been performed on both males and females, but it is no longer practiced on males, along with subincision and castration.


You say that there are no "dulling agents" used in female circumcision. Most male circumcisions occur without anaesthetic or "dulling agents". The few that do involve anaesthetic are questionable and debatable in terms of how much the baby actually feels. The majority of male circumcisions are done on boys who are "becoming men". For those that are performed on neonates, the effects are just as bad if not worse: the baby has no idea what is happening or why, has no emotional support, is physically restrained, is very sensitive to pain, and often goes into shock.


If you knew your history then you would know that secular male circumcision had its debut in the USA during the 19th Century precisely for reasons of control - to control sexuality. It was performed on boys and girls to punish and prevent masturbation, and to diminish and inhibit sexual pleasure. The writings of scholars such as Rabbi Moses Maimonides also speculate that religious circumcision has a similar function.


Circumcision of a neonate is in no way elective for the baby, whose body and penis it is. It is quite literally forced onto the infant. And No, parents do not "always" make choices for their children. They are, for example, prohibited in the USA from making the choice to circumcise their daughters. They should likewise be prohobited from making a similar decision to alter the genitals of their sons, who should have that choice available to them when they reach adulthood, along with decisions regarding other body modifications.


For your clarification, the foreskin is not "extra" - it's standard biological equipment - and it's not a "flap" - it's a mobile highly enervated sheath which protects and lubricates the glans and facilitates a gliding action during sex. Cleaning of an intact boy is not harder than cleaning of an intact girl, or a circumcised boy for that matter. During infancy and childhood the foreskin is adhered to the glans and does not need to be retracted. You 'only clean what is seen'. It usually separates some time during childhood or adolescence, at which point you tell the child to Retract, Rinse, Return. Very simple. Most boys figure this out for themselves.


As a gay man I can definitely say that I have seen others who were truly mutilated. Botched jobs are quite common, leaving skin tags, skin bridges, chunks missing, terrible scarring, hair on the shaft, twisted skin, warped erections, and the list goes on. Even socalled good jobs usually leave discolouration and scarring, and cause the head to become drier and rougher. These are not pretty things. (To say nothing of how it affects function and sensation.)


Indeed many men may be proud or happy to be circumcised, some may be indifferent, some may experience annoyance, but let us not forget those who feel intense rage and those who have had their sex lives forever damaged or destroyed as a result of botched jobs which were totally unnecessary to begin with. To compare this to what your cat went through is an insult. For a man to feel angry and emotional over the potential loss of any degree or kind of pleasure (much less all his sexual pleasure) is a perfectly valid reaction and you have no right to deny him this.


When a circumcised man goes to the doctor he is not going to be met with shock or surprise because circumcision is common. This is also the case for a circumcised female going to a doctor in Africa. It is not uncommon, however, for men in non-circumcising cultures, e.g. Europe, to travel to the USA and upon finding most men in the showers circumcised to be shocked or surprised.


As for comparing the two, a comparison most definitely can be made. In all likelihood what you know of FGM and male circumcision is limited to American TV Newsbites. These are not good sources of accurate information. Male circumcision is trivialised and minimised and explained away with so much rhetoric because it is common in your culture and nobody wants to acknowledge that they are cutting at babies' genitals for nothing and in the process affecting the sexual experience of both partners. Whereas FGM is reported always in its worst form to get that shock reaction from the public and generate anger and indignation about women's rights. (No mention is made of baby boys' rights of course.) It also helps re-inforce an anti-Islam perspective in the American public mindset (How barbaric and mysogynistic they are!)


The reality of FGM is much more complex and subtle, with many different types being performed in many different areas with many different effects. The opponents of FGM who have themselves been circumcised are almost invariably against routine infant male circumcision also, but this is never acknowledged, much less addressed, on American Television. Nor is it ever acknowledged or addressed the damage that male circumcision can and does do. (Where are the interviews with men who have had their penises permanently and severely damaged as a result of this unnecessary practice?) It is not acknowledged or addressed that every culture which practices FGM also practices male circumcision. Moreover, it is never even mentioned that the USA itself used to practice female circumcision and genital mutilation (starting at the same time as male circumcision and genital mutilation), that there are circumcised American women still alive, and that female circumcision was still covered by medical insurance until the 1970s and was only made illegal in the USA in 1996!


The fact is that in Your culture the female genitals are considered important (important enough not to be altered at birth), whereas you see the Penis as "a bit of a problem"! Oh no it's just the foreskin, you might say. To which FGM proponents could say 'oh no it's just the clitoral hood and labia'. The foreskin is Part of the penis! It's a significant aspect of the penis. It has Functions, not least among which involves Sexual Pleasure. Where's the talk in the American Media about the functions of the foreskin and the loss of sensitivity and sensation due to circumcision?


It is You who do not care about the man's pleasure! And in your ignorance you don't realise you are also denying your women pleasure because normal natural sex depends on intact genitalia! (Do you think it is any coincidence that American women find it so hard to orgasm during sex, or that Viagra is so popular your country?) So you ARE being hypocritical because it is the pot calling the kettle black! You just can't see it because you are so inured by your own conditioning. You are so ignorant and misinformed that you consider the permanent surgical alteration of your sons' healthy genitals at birth a valid option! This is ridiculous.


All the while the rest of the world looks on in bemusement, quite clearly seeing that your genitally mutilated culture-which prides itself on personal liberties and the pleasure principle-is just trying to justify its own condition. How many intact men have you been with? Name ONE of the many functions of the foreskin! You don't care, because, whether you know it or not, you consider the female genitals more important than the male genitals, and the more discerning of the readers here can see it.

@ Anthony and by extention, @ Rob.


I am going to say this only one more time. After this, I will personally email each of you and in detail say all of what I wish to say. That being said.


Both of you are coming at me with aggression, when honestly, my ignorance on the subject has been dealt with accordingly. If you wish, Anthony, to attack my prowess in bed in order to give more light into the plight of male circumscion,may I suggest that you remove yourself from further commenting. For it is obvious that you have not read any of my responses after intial comment. In other words, you are beating a dead horse which instead of enlightening me only further proves to me that you making assumptions that shouldn't be made.


Now, if we want to get into the thick of it, I will, but not on this page. I have already, I am sure applogized, and again, will not further self-flagelate for your amusement.


I made an honest statement, from assumptions, instead of lying and not being what one would call "real". In that, it was not wrong.


What is wrong was that I did not see circumscion as mutilation, and it took reading the more logical and dare I say patient readers to sway my opinion.Not personal attacks and certainly not something as the strident tones that are coming from you.


If you wish to have me listen, talk to me calmly, do not lash out at me. If you wish to castigate me over my ignorance, fine. I bet there are many things that you are also ignorant over.


And is it not better to admit ignorance that to dumbly sit there and agree? Or would you rather that I change myself, who I am so that it would please you? I hope not. As that any such agreement is a false one.


And as I have stated before, it was through reasoning and patience that I said "I was wrong". Not guilt, and certainly not personal attacks on a person you do not know.


I can only say so many times that I see it differently, but I refuse to, at this time, perform such a mea culpa for you.


When I said I was wrong, it should have been the end of it. I'm not asking to be thought of as one of the guys. What I ask for is the same thing I attempt to give folks.


Time and Patience. If you wish to cause me to grow hostile and in that lash out in the same manner, I will not give you that. I am exhausted and have my own problems to deal with besides having to grovel for forgiveness of my ignorance and, dare I say it, naivete.


@Rob. I'm learning what I can right now. I won't lie to you, it is not a life mission of mine to bend men to my will in that manner. All I can do, at this moment in time is speak out against it and learn what I can.


Despite that, there is nothing else I can do. I'm to the point where I am done having to smile and applogize over and over again.


If anyone else wishes to talk to me on this, with resources or just stories I'm more than willing to listen.


Other than that, I have homework I should be attending to.

Thanks for your response. I do not believe that Rob or myself have treated you with disrespect. And I don't think we have been attacking you. Criticising, yes. Chastising, maybe. But not attacking. I do, however, apologise for coming on so strong. I consider this to be a serious issue which I feel strongly about. The term 'mutilation' is also a strong one, designed perhaps, as has previously been mentioned, to deliberately provoke thought and debate.


I did not attack your prowess in bed and no fair-minded reader of this forum will say that I did. I asked you how many intact men you had been with sexually. This is a valid question, in my opinion, considering that you don't seem to know anything about the foreskin. The point of the question was to show that, like most Americans, you don't really know what is being done to the male: you have no penis yourself and in all likelihood have never been with a man with a foreskin. Additionally, like most Americans, you have probably read or seen little or nothing on the subject. All of this could be said about the female genitals in cultures that practice FGM: another parallel.


I've since read your few other comments and aside from saying that you're converted I don't know what you're referring to. The majority of my critique was not of you personally but of the American culture, mindset, and media. Being an American yourself, you may have considered this rude, but I assure you I am just as critical of my own society and culture.


Aside from a few exclamation points in the last two paragraphs, I don't see how I was being aggressive. Empassioned, yes. Emotional, yes. Perhaps my tone was too strident but this is a highly sensitive issue which is precisely Why it is not often talked about, and when it is discussed it is done so with a lot of emotion and intensity. This is only to be expected as we are discussing very important things: sexuality, pleasure, body-image, masculinity and feminity, psychology, power, abuse, religion and health. So if you do broach the subject with others then be prepared to offend or get offended, as TNT666 already alluded to.


In spite of all this it does NEED to be talked about - openly, honestly, and yes, with emotion, because many men and women have a lot of pain and anger as a result of this and that cannot be denied. The first step in healing is acknowledgement of the wound, and for the longest time men have had to suffer in silence because of circumcision, either because of botched jobs or because they grew up intact in a circumcising culture and were humiliated and rejected. This is yet another parallel with FGM.


The internet has been great in allowing issues such as this, which would otherwise remain hidden, mis-reported, or denied, to be spoken about 'out in the open', as it were. As TNT666 said, this has to be one of the most interesting and certainly most memorable threads on A|N. It has been dealt with in this forum with much more tact and politeness than in many other places on the internet, I can assure you. And that is a credit to the members of A|N. But it has still been a lively debate, and for good reason: the biggest debates always are.



Rob, Anthony, Eric (just in case) Monica has seen the validity of the excellent points that have been made here (in a previous response of hers), so it's really no use doing any further chastising now! Come now, group hug :)

Damn it, I tried to be nice but I failed, apparently.

Luckily people continued talking to each other, so I hope the air has been cleared somewhat.

@ Monica S. 


It was not my intention to be an ass, and if I read back my post I don't see how I came across as being aggressive. I am outspoken and my tongue can get me into trouble, yet in this specific case I thought that it would be best not to be too much of a dick in my response to you. 


I am done having to smile and applogize over and over 


Honestly, you are open to new information, willing to change your opinion and unafraid to speak your mind, what's there to apologize about? 

Apologizing for a lack of knowledge is just silly in my opinion, if I were to start doing that I will be apologizing forever.



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