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Circumcision: A Modest Proposal

October 15, 2013

Let’s just stop.

Stop debating it, stop advocating it, stop doing it for god’s sake.

It’s trending downwards, fortunately, which is all that matters.

This is an issue that we will soon be embarrassed was still being openly debated as recently as the second decade of the 21st century.

The medical debates involve extremely fine hair-splitting: the American Academy of Pediatric’s newly (2013) updated and hotly debated policy statement claims that the minuscule medical advantages outweigh the minuscule medical risks by an infinitesimal amount; enough to justify making the procedure available at the discretion of parents, but not enough to justify recommending it.

I have reviewed the medical arguments until my eyes have gone numb, and I have no personal desire to rehash them, especially when they have been so thoroughly summarized and addressed here and here.

Because for me it is not a medical issue, it is an ethical issue, a human rights issue, a personal issue. I see no need to engage in debate over the medical nuances of a practice that is patently unjustifiable.

As an adult victim of routine non-medically necessary infant genital mutilation, no amount of number crunching is ever going to make me be okay with perpetuating the cycle of abuse, regardless of the justification. Regardless of whether some adult men would choose to have themselves cut, regardless of whether some who have been victimized have no particular feelings about it one way or another, even just one man speaking out in objection is enough to undercut the ethical validity of the practice completely, and should be enough to supersede all debate.

I am one such man, but I know I’m not the only one.

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One Comment
  1. concerned cynic permalink

    My short and simple list of why American routine infant circumcision is deplorable.

    1. Most American refuse to inject lifocaine before circumcising. Most that do, don’t allow enough time for the lidocaine to have full effect. Hence baby circumcision hurts like hell. This should be illegal.

    2. There are no studies showing that this or that STD or urological problem is more common in Europe and Japan, where only Moslems and a few Jews are circumcised, than in the USA, where about 80% of adult males are circumcised. Studies whose subjects live in the Third Word, or in First World urban slums, are irrelevant.

    3. There are no large sample studies of the possible long run consequences of infant circumcision on adult sexual pleasure and function. Pleasure is impossible to measure, but counting who is and is not impotent or a premature ejaculator, is not a Big Ask. My wife says that every guy she dated who had PE, was cut. And that intact guys lasted longer.

    4. It is very easy for a young American woman in college to date a cut American dude for a few months, break up with him, then start dating an intact dude for a while. Such women, and gay men, are in an excellent position to compare and contrast the sexual merits of the two circ statuses. I know of only three studies probing this question. All are over 10 years old, and all strike me as very problematic.

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