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Circumcision: Whose Penis is it Anyway?

Jimmy Winston
Outyouth News, p.4-5, Spring 1993

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Circumcision has always been a one-sided argument. It is the most commonly performed unnecessary surgery in the U.S.A. In other countries, less than 5% of male infants are circumcised, and then only to correct isolated problems such as congenital birth defects.

Why are "rights" given only to the guy with the knife, with no heed to the danger? Why are no rights given to the guy strapped down to a table? Have boys nothing to say about what is cut from their penises? Whose body is it anyway?

Medically, there's absolutely no foundation for routine infant circumcision. A physician's duty is to heal the wounds, not inflict them. It is cart-before-the-horse to "cure" something healthy which "might one day get an infection". "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" - a simple, wise proverb, to express a point. Should mammary glands in female infants be routinely amputated because they "may develop breast cancer later in life"?

It is total arrogance to think improvements can be made on a design which took nature millions of years to perfect. The foreskin is a highly specialized tissue with several functions. It's not "just a piece of skin" that begs for mutilation. It's a super-sensitive moveable covering that protects and lubricates the glans, which has ultra-sensitive nerve endings and is meant to guard against abrasion. Circumcision totally defeats the purpose of penile sensitivity, and the glans develops calluses.

Cut males often complain of reduced sensitivity, yet there's little complaint from intact males of this sort. However cut males are not given the benefit of the doubt, even though a cut penis loses its most sensitive nerves. Condoms reduce sensitivity further and this makes sexual intercourse difficult and frustrating for many males, since erection is dependent on feeling. As a result, this discourages many males from using condoms. Unfortunately this is a typically American phenomenon.

Ignorance due to lack of education is partially to blame for the negative image Americans have given to intact penises. Foreskins (and males in general) are associated with "dirtiness". Unclean and smelly, boys are made of "snakes and snails and puppy dog tails... ", are images that condemn the male from day one.

People keep clean and free of smell with good ol' soap and water; not dissection. If a kid's nose gets runny or ear wax builds up, is surgery the imperative? It is an insult to the male to amputate his foreskin without his consent. HIS consent, not a parent.

Americans create a double standard by placing so much significance on penile hygiene that surgery is mandatory, while giving boys the conflicting message that "the penis is not the most important organ in life," and "males are inherently dirty and completely incapable of cleaning their penises." This is how males are welcomed into America, with a scalpel and suffering imposed on one of the most sensitive external body parts aside from the eye.

The general male population of America is either misinformed or in denial, trying to hide what they cannot face head on. Both groups nervously laugh when confronted with circumcision, shrugging it off by saying "it doesn't bother them", or quoting other misconceptions like "I'm fine", "It's not important, I look like all the other guys in the locker, I conform." Really? You look exactly like everyone else just because none of you are intact. You are all the same size, shape, color, no one is thicker than the other and there is only conformity in the locker room; where it's peaceful and no one makes fun of any other guy for any other reason? Many boys have lost their penises or the use of their penises due to the slip of a knife. I wonder how they feel in the locker room. I wonder how they feel when they want to have sex or masturbate?

Religion in our culture is also partly to blame for genital mutilation. Separation of church and state is being ignored when it comes to circumcision. The State is supposed to protect people in their property and person regardless of age. This includes infants and minors. Circumcision imposes the beliefs of one person unto another. If you really want to make a sacrifice to God, nurture his handiwork instead of making a mockery out of it.

People have imposed their opinions on the male body far too long and I think it's time we impose our opinions. The bottom line is males have a right to their bodies as they were made by nature, including a foreskin. I am just one of the many young people who refuse to sit on our hands about the issue.

More Pages Related to Male & Female Circumcision

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Last updated: 22 February, 2008
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