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'm a girl and don't know what I'm talking about

Nope, wrong. You are wise and he is ignorant. YOU have a prepuce and you know how good it feels to rub it. He has none and is left with only friction-based modes of stimulation; nothing like what a foreskin allows. He has no idea what he's missing.

The onle person whose judgement is tops here is the one person who will have to live with the outcome. But of the other family, an intact mom is a close second.
I agree that the bf has no idea what he is missing, but I would strongly urge that it is not in his interests to be told. My husband is cut and happy with his penis but if he had all the information I have now then he might begin to feel like many of the guys here...robbed, mutilated, victimised, and that isn't going to make him feel good at all. The only reason to *really* spell it out to a cut guy would be on the birth of his first son if he was pushing for circumcision but until such a day comes I'd suggest anyone do as I do with my guy and let him remain blissfully ignorant.
Your bf knows what it's like to be circumcised, but not what it's like to have a complete penis. So if he gets to decide, it's not just the blind leading the blind, it's the blind blinding the sighted.
Nice turn of phrase you have there Hugh.
Your boyfriend was probably circumcised shortly after birth and has had no experience of intact genitals. He doesn't know what he's missing and the fact that he feels VERY strongly in favour of circumcision should be a dead giveaway that he has serious insecurity issues in this area.
You're absolutely on the mark. It's also true that women who get breast reduction surgery drastically reduce their risk of breast cancer !!!!!!!!!!! :) Of course, if you remove the cells, there are less cells left to go cancerous!

It's just one of the many misleading statistics cancer prevention groups push. Frankly, from where I stand, we'd be better fighting cancer through eliminating toxins from our lifestyle. Cancers are a panacea for drug companies. So much money to be made. Bigpharm has no financial reason to cure cancer, it's much more profitable to 'manage' cancer.
Circumcision of males represents a "surgical vaccine" against a wide variety of infections, adverse medical conditions and potentially fatal diseases over their lifetime, and also protects their sexual partners. In experienced hands, this common, inexpensive procedure is very safe, and can be pain-free. Although it can be performed at any age, the ideal time is infancy. The benefits vastly outweigh risks.

http://www.circinfo.net/

From personal experience in a doctor's office where I assisted in a number of circumcisions, there is a largely pragmatic aspect to parent's decision to have their children circumscribed. The foreskin retains fluids post coitus and this increases exposure time to possibly infectious agents. The male urethra is a small target, so this is pretty easy to visualize. You get infections when the mucous membrane of the urethra is penetrated by an organism.

I grew up in church and had an intellectual interest in scripture. Most of the ancient sexual ethics were found alongside dicta to prevent other sorts of diseases. We find the passages difficult to relate to in this era with all of its contraceptives, but because the Jews were a very tribal group disease was prone to spread. The various rules for sex had good reasoning and were handed down by community authorities. It makes sense then that perhaps an ancient Jew -we'll call him Abraham- had a scientific revelation as to the practicality of removing the foreskin and passed it of as a religious rite like the rest of the sexual ethics.
Someone else forgot to read the thread before posting...

While it's true circumcision lowers the risk of some diseases, the diseases are not at all dangerous and the complication rate is about the same as the risk of infection. As a result, there's no medical organization in the world that promotes routine infant circumcision for medical reasons.
I had read the post, but due credence isn't being given to the evidence. I invite people to visit the link I included. The tendency in the conversation seems to be there is evidence but it's inconclusive. The website is a database for the answers to all of the questions that are being treated in this forum.
I have read through the site, and basically, nowhere does it (or you) address the criticism I made - that the diseases circumcision is meant to prevent are generally easily treatable, that the complication rate is roughly the same as the rate of the diseases it's meant to prevent, and that there's no professional medical organization in the world that promotes RIC.

The main problem with the website you posted is that it's a pro-circ propaganda site - notice that there's no place in the entire site that discusses the main reasons why people are anti-RIC (that is, that there are no clear benefits and that it ought to be the man's choice, not his parents). Nowhere in the entire site does it even set the supposed benefits side-by-side with the costs. When it does give actual numbers, they cite studies that are biased in favor of circumcision.

It's not that we think that the evidence is inconclusive, it's that it's been studied and there's no net medical benefit.

To my brief, unaddressed criticisms I made before, I'll add that for things like STDs, a far better solution is not to cut off the most sensitive parts of men's genitalia without their permission, but to 1) not sleep around and 2) if you do, use a condom. In other words, lifestyle is by far the more operative variable, not circumcision.

The rate of infection by various diseases before age 18 is virtually nil. Granted, the complication rate from circumcisions is also small - but this only underlines my basic point that circumcision is not a medical decision, but a personal one.

In short, we've read stuff like your site over and over again and while it's not completely bogus, it's blatantly biased and you're going to have to give us something better.

And also, I'd recommend that you not tell us circumcision is good because it's in the Bible. That sort of reasoning isn't so effective here.
Hi Eric,

It could be me, but nowhere on the website that you linked to can I find anything about whether or not RIC is a violation upon the basic human rights of the infant.

Earlier in this topic, I wrote:
When done on a person under the age of consent, infant circumcision is a violation upon their rights. Nobody should be allowed to remove a part of the body of an infant because of any ethical or societal value. The removed part has a function and it does effect the infant during his whole life. This is a decision that should be made by the adult that has to live with the consequences, not by anybody else.

Also quite important since you mention the medical benefits of RIC:

Gliktch wrote
... back to the 'medical benefit' rebuttal that's been covered several times; since removal of breast tissue can demonstrably lead to a reduction in the rate of breast cancer in adulthood, should this procedure thus be performed on infants?

I'm really looking forward to your explanation why RIC is not a violation upon the basic human rights of the infant. And whether or not you would approve of involuntary breast tissue removal for infant girls.
Let me qualify whatever I say and whatever I had said that I have only a passing interest in this topic at hand. My greater concern is how it is being treated without due credence given to objectivity.

It seemed to me that there was too much emphasis on the child having a choice in having his foreskin removed. I am circumcised and as an adult have never seen any obvious benefits or complications from not having a foreskin. It wasn't performed as a religious rite as far as I can tell, and the circumcisions I've seen in person in hospitals didn't seem informed by any desire to mutilate a baby for religious reasons. Any anecdotal account should be taken with a grain of salt however, because I've not had the opportunity to live with and without a foreskin. I'm only trying to assert my neutrality on the subject.

The immediate benefits and risks are most based in sound evidence, so talk about long term complications isn't based in sound reasoning. Anecdotal evidence is the basis for research into long term complications. However assertions of this type are first person and too difficult to discern motivations for complaining- other sexual impotencies for example- from genuine medical complaints. The discussions of long term complications from circumcision (loss of sexual sensation for example) are predominantly of the anecdotal type and should be considered with a lean towards skepticism. This is not to say long term complications shouldn't be studied, but as of yet they have not been treated in a scientifically sound, or conclusive manner.

The basic human rights of an infant is kind of a tricky subject. I have heard the legal relationship between children and their parents described as a community of interest. Parents ideally make decisions for their children that they perceive as best. The likelihood of complications are on par with the likelihood of benefits, but how those benefits and risks come about are of a differing nature. According to the AMA position paper on circumcision those benefits are best realized in the first year of a child's life including reduced UTIs. It would make sense that parents faced with a choice would opt for an active stance (let's try and give Johnny the best advantages as possible) as opposed to the passive stance (let's see what happens if the foreskin remains intact). Because circumcision is a simple medical procedure the complications seem far removed from possibility. Therefore parents make the choice to have a circumcision performed, because the results seem in the hands of a medical professional rather than left to the realm of chance.

Ostensibly this is only an attempt to explain the thought process of parents though, and does not fully address the issue of infant's fundamental rights. However, the idea that parents would act with the best of intentions and circumcision is an extension of that thought process indicates that a community of interest is being fostered. This is the extent of infants rights. Rights are accompanied by duties and it is understood that infants cannot fulfill any of the burdens that accompany their assertion of rights, so their position in society is subordinate to their parents unless the community of interest standard is not being fulfilled. Doctor's provide information that demonstrates the nature of benefits and risks, but it is understood that, especially in the hands of experienced doctors, the risks are very low. Given that infants cannot assess the risks themselves, that the benefits are best realized in early childhood, and that the long term risks are unestablished it would seem lying down normative suggestions that contraindicate allowing parents the choice would be a violation of the community of interest and by proxy the rights of the infant. The science is still out, so the atheist community should take the philosophical stance until better evidence for or against circumcision arises.

That being said this is my opinion of circumcision clarified. At this point it is scientifically established to have neutral effects on the individual and ideally reflects the interest of the parents in a child's well being. Practically it has been demonstrated that the choice to have the child circumcised reflects the parent's circumcision status, so parents who have not discerned any disabilities due to their circumcision status tend to pass on their personal experience in the matter. Because of this superficial motivation, I believe that medical scientists can and will continue to work towards establishing a clearer position on the effects of circumcision. Only after a point where it is demonstrated that it is reasonably only a cosmetic procedure, should thinking people as ourselves be up in arms over the potential harms to the child. Until that point, however, speculation is useless and assertions that fall outside of established evidence demonstrates more personal bias than any knowledge or willingness to remain objective on the matter.

As for voluntary breast tissue removal in infants I know little of the matter and am having difficulty finding any. Links and sources pertaining to the evidence, cost benefit analysis, et cetera would be appreciated. My speculation is that circumcision should be treated separate from infant mastectomy. While both are sex organs it seems that the situation would be disanalagous on account of the social role of foreskin being very different from the role of breasts. Marred breasts for example are more easily perceived in the general public compared to a man's circumcision status. As I've said though, I would need to see the evidence to make a substantiated decision.

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