Origins of circumcision---in Britain, surgery usually motivated by the relics of an ancient religious superstition

In Cardiff this week Dr Antony Lempert who chairs the Secular Medical Forum proposed a motion to a conference of the British Medical Association that called for doctors to stop performing "irreversible, clinically-unnecessary surgery on the genitalia of non-consenting minors." By this he meant "ritual circumcision on boys". 

However, the British Medical Association decided not to debate the subject.

Simultaneously a support group (NORM-UK) for men who have been injured by infant, boyhood or adult circumcision was lobbying delegates.  


Apparently some 30,000 boys get circumcised in the UK every year, mostly because of their parents' religious faith as believers in Islam, Judaism and to a lesser extent Christianity. 

John Sudworh of the BBC reports that "The medical establishment, including the General Medical Council, refers to the procedure when carried out on children as "Non Therapeutic Circumcision."

Some enlightened National Health Service trusts do not allow circumcisions that are requested for religious reasons. Dr Antony Lempert says "to cut off a functioning part of a boy's body for no therapeutic reason, simply because the parents have a particular belief, is anathema to normal medical practice. It is an extraordinary exception".

He emphasised that circumcision carries risks, not only from haemorrhage and infection but the long-term danger of impaired sexual function: "The available evidence shows that the foreskin contains 20,000 to 30,000 nerve endings and has a very important function in lubrication... [whereas] circumcision cuts away one of the most sensitive areas of the penis." 

Later this year, San Francisco is due to become the first American city to vote on whether to ban circumcision, but of course Jewish and Muslim groups are objecting by saying that the vote is not constitutional.

Dan, a Londoner who is a member of NORM-UK, was circumcised three years ago because he had phimosis which is a tightening of the foreskin. He says no one told him what a negative impact circumcision would have on his sex life. 


Well, millions of years of evolution put the foreskin there for good reason, so why cut it off?

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It seems that circumcision really got going in the US about 1900, with a boost from Dr. John Kellog (yes, cornflakes) and his misbegotten associates.  And why did they think this was a good idea?  Because it would keep boys from MASTURBATING.  Circumcision eventually became popular and became a kind of status symbol for the cereal-crunching, "clean" Americans as compared to the "dirty" European immigrants.


The US is the only major industrialized country where circumcision is performed as a matter of course.  Unfortunately, this procedure is now being pushed in parts of Africa as a means of reducing the chance of getting aids.


Fortunately, I escaped this bit of amputation by being born overseas.  But there is a strong urge in this country to have the son look like his daddy, so I don't see that this practice will end any time soon.  And the fear that a boy may have some problems by having a foreskin are ridiculous.  My father never taught me about all my "parts".  Never fear, little boys are curious and quickly find out for themselves.   





There is no such thing as a Muslim, Jewish or Christian child, a point well made by Richard Dawkins. Circumcision has ever since it came to my knowledge been a horrifying act. Here's hoping for a near future where human beings are to keep all body parts until they are able to reign over it themselves- for the sake of human well-being.
It's interesting that this is a religious issue.  I don't see any reason to circumcise babies or a male of any age without a medical reason.  The myths need to be exposed.  Circumcision does not mean less STD's.  It does mean less sexual pleasure for both them and their partners (unless there is a medical problem with the foreskin).
I tried telling my son not to cut his two boys at birth. We agreed to disagree. My poor granbabies! My son said " we want the boys to look like me". Argh#€%¥!!! I'm so proud of San Francisco!! I just hope it becomes law. The reply by Alice says,"less sexual pleasure for both...". I must say I don't remember any difference during love making. Being married twice, one was "cut", the other not. The uncut man must take special cleaning care before oral love. My uncut husband is more sensitive. My poor granbabies!!!

Oh we deeply sympathise, Connie. 


And Dr Lempert said: "The available evidence shows that the foreskin contains 20,000 to 30,000 nerve endings and has a very important function in lubrication ..."  This is part of what evolution did for the better joy of love-making, hence reproduction. 



My son said " we want the boys to look like me".

That's the worst damned reason to do something.  Arrogant @#$%^&*.

My two brothers and I are among the cut because my mom's doctor sent her to Cincinnati's Jewish hospital to give birth. Years later, after I'd heard of circumcision, she told me that when she brought me home I didn't trust anyone. She told me that I wouldn't eat what she knew was good for me. Why I wasn't surprised?

I often ironically tell people the purpose of circumcision is to teach boys to distrust everyone, which equips them for life in a capitalist economy. More seriously, since most babies are cared for by their mothers, as I was, and boys' memories don't magically disappear, I've often wondered if misogyny is one of the consequences of infant circumcision.


I think much of what you've said is a long shot - although I do support leaving boys alone.  Most of American's are circumcised, but they are not all misogynists.  You could do the research on that - but I think you'd find that there wasn't much correlation.  Most new born babies are hard work.  I've had 3 of them and one of them needed both his ankle tendons cut at 8 weeks old and to be put into plaster casts for the first 3 months and then into braces at night until he is 4 years old.  And yet his is the most loving and affectionate and relaxed of my kids.  He is the youngest.  Whilst my first child who has no such intervention is the most anxious.  I think this is more about my own anxiety with my first pregnancy and giving birth and breastfeeding for the first time etc, as well as his personality and perhaps other environmental factors, such as underdeveloped nervous system due to lack of essential vitamins during early formation in first 12 weeks of gestation.  I really don't know.  There are just so many contributing factors to how we are.  Doing a study on these things and actually getting the facts is really the only way to gain some strong supportive evidence one way or another.  Mine and yours is really just conjecture and not worth too much.

Well, millions of years of evolution put the foreskin there for good reason, so why cut it off?


Perhaps, it has been removed for the breakfast enjoyment of the xtian hoipalloi,  They used to serve it to us in the Navy also...  You know the one, "Foreskiins On Toast"

It's genital mutilation, there is no sound reason to ceremoniously cut the foreskin of a babies penis. How people can take this barbaric practice in stride is beyond my understanding.
Yeah, the level of defense for the practice of organized brutal infant rape aka 'child circumcision,' here on AN is disturbing to say the least... and this is without any religious bias :/



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