Thursday, September 24, 2009

Functions of the Foreskin: Purposes of the Prepuce


The prepuce is primary, erogenous tissue necessary for normal sexual function. The complex interaction between the sensitivity of the corpuscular receptor-deficient glans penis and the corpuscular receptor-rich ridged band of the male prepuce is required for normal copulatory behavior. ~Dr. Christopher Cold, M.D. and Dr. John Taylor, M.D.

We have found that most fully informed parents do not wish to amputate the prepuce organ from their newborn son for several reasons - one being the excruciating pain it causes a baby at a time when baby's sensitivity is heightened and he is new to the world, and a second being the many functions the foreskin serves on the body of all mammals on earth (male and female).

The two most common types of circumcision surgery in North America are the Gomco and Plastibell. Recently, many parents have been told that the Plastibell style of circumcision surgery does not hurt. This is far from the truth. Cutting occurs in exactly the same manner as other prepuce (foreskin) amputations, but it is a plastic bell used to cover the glans (head) and separate the prepuce from the glans so it can be severed. Rather than cutting high up on the shaft as in some amputations, the person cutting with the Plastibell typically cuts further toward the glans, and leaves the bell and string in place to sever the remaining part of the prepuce.


Even if circumcision was entirely pain free, to amputate the prepuce would still be removing a healthy, vital, fully functioning organ from a non-consenting person. We forever change the sexuality of this future adult man and his partner. All human beings - male and female - have the basic human right of genital integrity. They have a right to all their functioning, healthy body parts. A man (even as a newborn) has a right to his whole, intact penis, to do with as he pleases.

In the documentary, CUT: Slicing Through the Myths of Circumcision, it is noted that a man's sexual life without the prepuce may still be great -- but it is as though his sexuality is an orchestra missing the entire strings section. The music just isn't the same. It cannot be. The #1 organ necessary for full functioning was taken from him. Men (and women) ought to have their full 'orchestra' intact.

Studying this topic as a young grad student, I was continuously floored with the amount of information and research we do have that is not shared openly with the general public (or taught as a standard in medical school). Even those who will be working in obstetrics, gynecology, or pediatrics are rarely well versed in research of the prepuce if they have completed their training in the United States. As part of my research, I reviewed top used medical anatomy textbooks and found the prepuce organ to be missing from most of them. It is also rarely examined (or present) on cadavers practiced upon in medical schools across the nation.

When parents are asked "do you want your son circumcised" they answer 'yes' or 'no' without ever being fully informed of what that question entails. Their doctor may not even be fully informed on the topic. (Side note: If you work on a labor and delivery floor and are the one posing this question to parents, you might consider rephrasing the question to accurately represent these new, perfect, little babies: "Do you wish to keep your son intact?" and make sure parents at your hospital have access to full and accurate information before making their decision).

It is crucial that we spread this wealth of knowledge. Rarely is there a body organ that comes fully formed and functioning at birth on all mammals (male and female alike) that is not also important and useful throughout life. Even the appendix has important functions that we were once in the dark on. The prepuce, however, is an organ that we do know a lot about -- we just have to start talking about it!

The following is an excerpt from the outstanding book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision written by Dr. Fleiss and Dr. Hodges (two experts on the prepuce who have studied the subjects of intact care and circumcision for the past 30+ years). Fleiss is a practicing (Jewish) pediatrician in Los Angeles and Hodges has served at Yale University for many years.

After Fleiss and Hodges' work, there is a video clip below in which Marilyn Milos (founder of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers) discusses some of the ins-and-outs of the functions of the foreskin. Her commentary adds to the reading by Fleiss and Hodges in a manner that is easy to understand and thorough.

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The foreskin has a great number of important protective, sensory, and sexual functions.

The Foreskin in Babyhood

Babies are born perfect. Every part of your baby’s body is there for a purpose. Every part of your baby’s body helps him grow, develop, learn, and experience our wondrous world. The foreskin is one of these special body parts. In fact, the foreskin is an important body part throughout the entire life of the male.

The foreskin adds more to the penis than just increased sexual functioning and pleasure. It keeps your baby’s penis safe, warm, clean, and moist. It allows the baby’s glans (head) to complete its development normally. The glans is meant to be an internal organ, covered and protected from the outside world.

No attempt should be made to retract the foreskin before the penis has fully developed. Premature retraction causes the glans to become dry, hard, and scarred. The foreskin protects the glans from injury simply by covering it. The first person to retract the foreskin and expose the glans should be the child himself, and only when the child is ready to do so. It is best that parents avoid concerning themselves with this natural process. All by themselves, little boys will make the discovery that their foreskin can be retracted.

[How to care for an intact son - resource list.]

Intact vs. Circumcised Newborn Baby's Penis
Top Right: Circumcised by Plastibell
Bottom Right: Circumcised by Gomco
View back side of postcards here.

Protection

Just as the eyelid protects the eye, the foreskin protects the glans, keeping its surface soft, moist, warm and sensitive. It also maintains optimal warmth, pH balance, and cleanliness. The glans itself contains no sebaceous glands – glands that produce the moisturizing oil that our skin needs to stay healthy.(2) The foreskin produces the moisturizer that keeps the surface of the glans glistening, smooth, soft, and a deep healthy red or purple color.

The foreskin will protect the entire penis when accidents happen, such as contusions, abrasions, lacerations, and burns. The foreskin is the first layer – a double layer – of defense from injury to the rest of the penis.

Self-Cleansing Function

The intact penis is naturally clean. The common view of the penis or the foreskin as ‘dirty’ is unscientific and irrational. The penis, however, does provide an entry point into the body, and it is exposed to foreign microbes every day, especially during sexual intercourse. The immunological functions of the foreskin and the self-cleansing functions of the penis protect the body from harm.

Every time a genitally intact male urinates, the urine stream flushes out the urethra and foreskin of foreign microbes that may have strayed inside. In healthy individuals, urine is sterile and has a disinfectant quality. Researchers have demonstrated that the swirling action of urine as it rushes through the foreskin flushes it out effortlessly and naturally.(3) This function is especially efficient when the foreskin is long and the preputial orifice is narrow.

Though urine passes through the foreskin every day, the inner foreskin is remarkably free of urea – a by-product of liver metabolism that is secreted in the urine. Studies demonstrate that washings from the foreskin are rich in fructose, acid phosphatase, and mucin, but never urea. It appears that the secretions of seminal vesicles, prostate, and urethral mucous glands, collectively or individually, keep the foreskin clear and clean as well. (4) These self-cleansing functions of the penis are analogous to the self-cleansing functions of the eye, which similarly maintains its cleanliness through fluid washings (tears) and mucus secretion. Therefore, you never need to worry about the foreskin being ‘unclean.’

Self-Protecting Functions

The urinary meatus (the opening of the glans through which urine and semen flow), is an entry point into the body. From infancy to adulthood, the foreskin ensures optimal protection of the glans and urinary meatus from contaminants of all kinds. During childhood, the foreskin is also usually firmly attached to the glans to prevent contaminants from invading the urethra. The neck of the foreskin places the vulnerable urinary meatus at a distance from the external environment and defends it against invading contaminants. The fusion of the foreskin and glans and the nonexpandability of the preputial orifice in the child’s penis are therefore necessary for the health of the child. Even after the foreskin separates from the glans and becomes retractable, it continues throughout life to cover the glans and meatus in order to protect these delicate structures from dirty, contamination, abrasion, or bacterial invasion.

Immunological Protection

The mucous membranes that line all body orifaces are the body’s first line of immunological defense. Glands in the foreskin produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins such as lysozyme. (5) Lysozyme is also found in tears and mother’s milk. Specialized epithelial Langerhans cells, an immune system component, aboud in the foreskin’s outer surface. (6) Plasma cells in the foreskin’s mucosal lining secrete immunoglobulin’s, antibodies that defend against infection. (7)

Rigorously controlled studies have also demonstrated that the foreskin plays a protective role in shielding the rest of the penis and thus the rest of the body from the contagion of common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) encountered during sexual activity. (8)

In infancy, antibacterial substances, such as the complex sugars (glyconutrients) in breastmilk, the oligosaccharides, are passed from mother to child during breastfeeding and are secreted in the baby’s urine. (9) The penis retains these substances in the foreskin. Universy studies have shown that these substances protect against urinary tract infections (UTIs), as well as from infections of other parts of the body. (10) Babies excrete in their urine 300-500 mililgrams of oligosaccharides every day. These compounds prevent virulent strains of Escherichia coli (e.Coli) from adhering to the mucosal lining of the entire urinary tract, including the foreskin and glans.

Researchers conducting immunological experiments with the foreskins of bulls have found that plasma cells in the mucosal lining of the foreskin secrete immunoglobulin. (11) The researchers hypothesize that this provides immunity from bacteria and other germs. This is likely to work the same in other mammals, including humans.

Apocrine glands are important glands found in the skin. They are found in the foreskin and elsewhere on the body. (12) They secrete the important lysosomal enzymes cathepsin B, lysozyme, chymotrypsin, and neutrophil elastase. (13) All of these enzymes help protect the body from many kinds of bacteria. These enzymes are also found in tears and other bodily fluids. Human apocrine glands also produce cytokine, a nonantibody protein that generates an immune response on contact with specific antigens. (14) All these substances have immunological functions and protect the penis from viral and bacterial pathogens. This natural protective function has been destroyed in circumcised males.

Antibacterial Function

To help fight harmful bacteria, the foreskin supports a rich flora of beneficial bacteria. Friendly bacteria exist in a symbiotic relationship with the body and are found on all body surfaces and through the gastrointestinal, genitourinary tract (the urinary system that runs from the kidneys, through the bladder, and out the penis), and the mouth. Friendly bacteria also thrive in the eyes. Without the presence of friendly bacteria, the human body would be vulnerable to attack from pathogenic bacteria.

The good bacteria that live in the inside of the foreskin are similar to the bacteria found in the mouth, nose, the female genitals, and the skin in general. It must be stressed that this good bacteria is both harmless and highly beneficial. Without these friendly bacteria, the urethra would become an easy entry point for germs and harmful stains of bacteria, which could cause disease.

Coverage During Erection

During erection, the penile shaft becomes thicker and longer. In some males, the penis can extend to twice its flaccid length. Sometimes, it can become even longer. The double-layered foreskin provides exactly the right amount of skin necessary to accommodate the expanded organ and to allow the penile skin to glide freely, smoothly, and pleasurably over the shaft and glans.

It is important to consider the fact that every penis is unique. By looking at an infant’s penis, it is impossible to predict how big his penis will become when he is an adult. Heredity does play a role in determining the ultimate shape, size, and configuration of the penis, but it is still difficult to predict the adult size and shape of an infant’s penis even if one looks at the penises of his father, brothers, and other male relatives.

What we can say with certainty is that your baby’s penis will develop and mature according to his own unique genetic coding. Thus, the amount of foreskin he is born with is exactly the amount he will need for his penis to develop properly and experience comfortable, pleasurable erections throughout life. As a result, the idea that any amount of penile skin can be cut off without affecting the later function of the penis is false. In nature there is no surplus, only economy. Everything provided is required.

In the natural penis, as the shaft elongates during erection, the lips of the foreskin slowly expand. The glans begins slowly to protrude through the widening opening. Since the foreskin is soft, elastic, and pliable, it can easily and comfortably stretch to allow the passage of the glans. The stretching process elicits pleasurable sensations as the foreskin gently unrolls (everts) over the glans and shaft. Eventually, in most males, the glans can be fully exposed.

Some males, well endowed with a generous foreskin, have the glans fully covered even when the penis is fully erect. Most, however, if they choose, can manually roll the foreskin all the way back to expose the glans.

During full erection, the sensitive inner sleeve of the foreskin is turned inside out, exposing it. In this position it receives and transmits pleasurable sensations. The natural penis is a marvelously engineered organ for receiving and giving natural pleasure.

Needless to say, circumcision destroys all these functions and imposes a diminished, scarred, immobile, dowel-like penis that has permanently lost the ability to experience normal levels of sexual sensations. A circumcised male, or his partner, for that matter, can never know the intimacy of the normal penis and the ability of the foreskin to open and glide up and down the shaft. An entire dimension of sexuality has been lost to both the male and his sexual partner.

Erogenous Sensitivity

The foreskin is more sensitive than the fingertips, the glans (head) of the penis, or the lips of the mouth. It contains a richer variety and greater concentration of specialized nerve receptors than any other part of the body. (15) These specialized nerve endings can discern motion, subtle changes in temperature, and fine gradations of texture. (16) This function enables genitally intact males to experience a superior dimension of sexual pleasure, compared to males who were circumcised. Intact males can be more tender, gentle, relaxed, and loving during sex because the slightest and subtlest gesture or motion evokes deeply satisfying sensations. Circumcised males have to work harder just to feel sensations. This is an unhealthy situation for both the male and his partner.

Self-Stimulating Sexual Functions

The intact penis has moving parts. The foreskin’s double-layered sheath enables the penile shaft skin to glide back and forth over the penile shaft. The foreskin can usually be slipped all the way, or almost all the way, back to the base of the penis, and also slipped forward beyond the glans. This wide range of motion stimulates the orgasmic triggers in the foreskin, frenulum, and glans.

This is the natural way that the penis is erotically stimulated. The movement of the foreskin over the glans and the pressure of the glans pressing against the foreskin is pleasurable. Sadly, males circumcised at birth can never imagine the pleasure of this natural sensation.

In the natural penis, the foreskin is the most important source of erotogenic, orgasm-inducing sensations. As we learned in the previous chapter, the foreskin contains a highly organized erotogenic sensory nerve-receptor system. It transmits special sexual sensations to the central nervous system and brain. The glans also has erotogenic sensory nerve receptors along its rim (the corona glandis), but far fewer than the foreskin. The massaging action of the foreskin against the glans produces sexual stimulation in both organs – something else that the circumcised male will never experience.

Some genitally intact males can even stimulate themselves to orgasm without touching their penis. They simply clench the groin muscles that help fill the penis with blood. Each voluntary contraction of the muscles forces more blood into the erectile tissues. This causes the shaft and glans to engorge even further and pushes the glans through the lips of the foreskin. Each dilation of the lips of the foreskin stimulates the specialized nerve receptors in the foreskin. In addition, the tension exerted on the foreskin stimulates the nerve receptors in the glans. The resulting sensation can lead to orgasm. A circumcised male would never be able to accomplish this natural feat.


The Foreskin Enhances Forepleasure

Forepleasure is the pleasurable stimulation of the genitals with or without the intention of eliciting orgasm. Forepleasure takes place during foreplay. Forepleasure of the penis stimulates the brain to release beneficial and health-giving hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones improve overall bodily health, improve the emotional state, and can even reduce pain in any part of the body. Forepleasure, as the name implies, feels great.

Orgasm and ejaculations are usually the smallest part of sexual activity. They take only a few seconds and generally signal the end of sex interest. The period devoted to forepleasure is the greatest component of sexual activity and can continue as long as there is interest to do so. The intact penis is masterfully designed to give and receive forepleasure. Its many surfaces, structures, and moving parts lend themselves to pleasurable exploration. Unrolling the foreskin and exposing the glans is an intimate discovery that provides fascination and delight, since different parts of the penis respond to different kinds of pleasurable attentions. The exploration and discovery of these differences provide a lifetime of intimate enjoyment and satisfaction.

Sexual Functions of the Foreskin During Intercourse

One of the foreskin’s functions is to facilitate smooth, gentle, and slow movement between the two partners during intercourse. The foreskin enables the penis to slip in and out of the vagina nonabrasively inside its own slick sheath of self-lubricating, movable skin. The female is thus stimulated by moving pressure rather than by friction only, as when the males’ foreskin is missing.

The foreskin fosters intimacy between the two partners by enveloping the glans and maintaining it as an internal organ. The sexual experience is enhanced when the foreskin slips back to allow the male’s internal organ, the glans, to meet the female’s internal organ – a moment of supreme intimacy and beauty.

You may have heard circumcision promoters allege that the foreskin is ‘dangerously thin and delicate; and that it ‘rips and tears easily during intercourse.’ This is unscientific nonsense and has no basis in anatomical fact. I am sorry to say that it is a deception calculated to provide false reassurance to anxious circumcised males and to frighten parents into letting their children be circumcised. The simple truth is that the foreskin is perfectly designed to function effortlessly and pleasurably during sexual activity. Its double-layered integument is strong, flexible, and resilient. The foreskin is a durable and vigorous organ that enhances and facilitates sexual intercourse. If it didn’t, it would have atrophied years ago.

Self-Lubricating Function

Analogous to the eyelid, the foreskin protects and preserves the sensitivity of the glans by maintaining optimal levels of moisture, warmth, pH balance, and cleanliness. The glans is an internal organ. The glans itself contains no sebaceous glands and relies on the foreskin for production and distribution of sebum to maintain proper epithelial lubrication. Lubrication is naturally secreted by Cowper’s glands in the urethra. This clear fluid begins to flow out of the meatus as the male becomes sexually aroused.

During intercourse, this natural lubricant assists the male in inserting the penis in to the vagina. Because the fluid is sheltered under the foreskin of the erect penis it is less likely to dry up. Instead, it keeps the penis well lubricated and prevents the vagina from drying out.

In the circumcised penis, the Cowper’s gland fluid quickly evaporates. When the circumcised male inserts his dry penis into the vagina, it soon uses up all the female’s natural lubricants, causing friction and pain for both partners. This can lead to small tears and painful bleeding in the organs of both partners. It comes as no surprise that in the United States today, where a large majority of sexually active adult males have been circumcised, painful vaginal dryness is the biggest complaint women have about sex. This is also the reason that there is such a large industry in the United States that manufactures artificial sexual lubricants. I doubt there has been a study to determine the longer-term effects of using these chemicals on such delicate organs.

Genitally intact males are free of the need for lubricants of any kind either for manual stimulation of the penis, or for vaginal intercourse.

Many circumcised males must also resort to using these artificially factory-made lubricants to masturbate. Other circumcised males research orgasm by friction of their hand over their externalized glans. They have been deprived of the gliding movement of the foreskin to stimulate themselves naturally. The penis is a different organ without a foreskin, and a sexual function is altered when the foreskin has been amputated.

Many circumcised men will think they are normal because they are able to function sexually to their satisfaction, never realizing that their sexual functioning as an adult was changed forever by a medically unnecessary and extremely painful procedure done to them as an infant.

In my practice, I have examined little boys how have had so much foreskin removed that there is hardly any loose skin on their penis. The skin on their flaccid nonerect penis is taut. I wonder what will happen to a boy with such a radical circumcision when he gets an erection: Will he be able to have as much pleasure from his penis as he would have had if the circumciser had amputated less of his prepuce organ? This most unfortunate situation is all too common in the United States.

Production, Retention, and Dispersal of Pheromones

The sense of smell is one of the oldest, most precise, and most important senses in humans. Smells convey vital information to the brain. Pheromones are hormonal chemical messengers secreted by an individual and perceived by another individual of the same species. They create sexual arousal and attraction in the person perceiving the pheromone. These glands are found in the armpits, breasts, and in the genital area. The penis itself is a specific site for these glands. Pheromones are secreted by the apocrine glands in the foreskin. These glands are present at birth, but during puberty they develop in the presence of testosterone.

Although pheromones themselves are odorless, they are released by the foreskin into the air where they are perceived by the vomeronasal organ, a small tubular structure in the mucosa of the nasal septum. This organ is a component of the accessory olfactory system. The olfactory area of the cerebral cortex is closely associated with the limbic system, the part of the brain that organizes emotional responses, mood, memory, and sexual arousal. Although most complex smells and their emotional associations are learned, the identification of pheromones is hardwired into the brain. The automatic sexual arousal elicited by the perception of pheromones is as certain as the automatic pleasure reflex elicited by a caress.

The perception of any scent associated with pheromones varies from individual to individual and depends largely on bacteria. The bacteria itself may be needed to chemically interact with the pheromones to make them active. (17) Diet, bathing habits, and general health also impact the quality of these scents. The predominant odor associated with male pheromones is musk. Nearly all human cultures esteem the rich, earthy, musky, pheromone-rich scent produced by the glands in the foreskin. Perfume makers obtain musk from the foreskin glands of the musk deer. The nonhuman pheromones contained in this muck are unable to elicit sexual arousal in humans, but the fragrance of the musk itself may, bay association, elicit a pleasant response in humans that evokes a sympathetic erotic arousal. (18) This is, at least, the effect that the perfume industry hopes to create.



The Prepuce Organ 101






Related reading on the functions of the foreskin: 

Intact and Circumcised: A Significant Difference in the Adult Penis:
http://www.drmomma.org/2011/08/intact-or-circumcised-significant.html

Functions: Circumstitions:
http://www.circumstitions.com/Functions.html

Functions: CIRP:
http://www.cirp.org/library/sex_function/

Functions: Circumcision.org:
http://www.circumcision.org/foreskin.htm

Functions: NORM-UK:
http://www.norm-uk.org/function.html

Anatomy of the Prepuce: NOHARMM:
http://www.noharmm.org/anatomy.htm

NOCIRC Symposium: 
http://www.nocirc.org/symposia/second/denniston2.html


AngelFire: Functions: 
http://www.angelfire.com/ca5/intact/foreskin.html


Citations





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67 comments:

  1. I got the link to the site from FB also. My girlfriend is an "attachment" parent, and I guess in hindsight, I (was) am too. My husband was circumsized, but our son is not. It is by far the greatest decision I made. My hubby was not cool with it at first, but has learned to "deal" with it. I had no idea about all the immunilogical plusses for NOT circ'ing, but it makes total sense to me. I ran a daycare and I can tell you first hand my son has the healthiest immune system, and has never had an infection in his 5-year life and has only had three colds!

    I didn't want to mutilate my son a few hours after birth. If he chooses to get circ'd when he's older and can have pain pills and be unconscious during the procedure, then all power to him. But I believe God made us the way we are supposed to be. And God is the only Creator I know!

    I am the aunt of three intact boys and one circ'd boy as well. Thanks for the info--I will be passing the link on to friends.

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    1. If you do believe in God, He demands circumcision of Abraham and all of His people in Genesis...

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    2. Anon - there are tabs at the top of this website (www.DrMomma.org) to resource lists by/for Jews and Christians, and also the same plus those by/for Muslims linked at: http://www.drmomma.org/2011/01/faith-considerations-on-circumcision.html Easy to find and review. My right to practice my faith (and to cut my body as I wish) only extends as far as the next human being's right to his/her full and functioning body and what s/he chooses to do with it.

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    3. The circumcision in the old testament was a covenant before the new covenant we received through Jesus, and it was a symbol for the way we are to be circumcised from our flesh spiritually.. not literally.... It wouldn't apply to me or those generations before me... the new covenant is for all who will receive it... circumcised and uncircumcised alike.

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  2. What a thorough and enlightening article - it's just excellent. I think it would be helpful for prospective parents if they could read this before making a decision on circumcising their infant sons.
    Speaking from my experience as a natural guy(intact foreskin), I can't imagine what it would be like to be genitally mutilated/circumcised. The feeling, the pleasure and satisfaction that comes from having a whole penis as Mother Nature/Creator intended is beyond words. I'm grateful to be in the 75-to 80% of the men in the world who are still genitally intact.
    My girlfriend tells me that she notice the difference, the first time we had sex. With other guys, she had to use a lot of lube and was sore after having sex. Now she feels so much better about not being a lube girl.
    I'm appreciative to my mother and father, who refused to allow the docotors to circicumcised me or any my four brothers.
    And once Again, thanks for all that you do with your 'Peaceful Parent' Blog.

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  3. @Stephanie- The USA is ass-backwards because we lost half of our pointer to go forward.

    A most important missing point is how the dartos muscle tenses with excitement so that the penile skin becomes a single piece tube so that any action anywhere on it is transferred to the ridged band, in turn this action is then transferred through its loop to act on the frenulum, which may act by pulling on the glans. Thus all action acts on the frenulum to elicit the stepped orgasmic response. No action is wasted as it is on the circumcised penis.
    IA circ'd penis uses 10 times the force for vaginal entry.
    A circ'd average 45 aged man has 1-2 condoms thick of callousing. The true infant circ. scar starts at the cut and continues up to include all of the glans because of ripping the foreskin apart from the glans. This scarring can not be sloughed off with restoration as callousing can. (Sorrells et al. preliminary study). Circ, kills brain cell by non impulse receiving neural atrophy. Infant foreskins are sold for $14-$30 to the medical industry and cosmetic industry (Oprah uses and Dr. Oz both promote this skin cream containing foreskin fibroblasts, soon to be a hair rejuvenator.) (What if apocrine glands secreting musky pheromones of mature foreskins (Africa) are sold to the perfume industry? Is this such a stretch?)
    Nelson Mandela says is circumcision was blinding white light that electrically burned throughout his body and http://bit.ly/mMoZR 3,928 island villagers males&females all ages forced circ'd into Islam by Muslim clerics.
    http://tinyurl.com/qnmt8b Operation Abraham's Elephant Trunk.
    http://bit.ly/ZDEfA Imagine having penile wounding that must be torn apart everyday for a year.
    http://bit.ly/ts4Vx Born Intact - Circumcision Sing-along - Parody lyrics for Born to Run (great work TLCTugger!)

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  4. Circumcision is like a vaccine that at the injection site kills 15 square inches of skin and doesn't work.

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  5. Wonderful! I am sharing this on FB. Thank you so much for taking the time to put this together!

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  6. [When parents are asked "do you want your son circumcised" they answer 'yes' or 'no' without ever being FULLY INFORMED of what that question entails. Their doctor may not even be fully informed on the topic. (Side note: If you work on a labor and delivery floor and are the one posing this question to parents, you might consider rephrasing the question to accurately represent these new, perfect, little babies: "Do you wish to keep your son intact?" and make sure parents at your hospital have access to FULL and ACCURATE information before making their decision).]

    This is a good interim step, but I would like to see the day arrive when new parents are not asked anything at all about their sons' foreskins. I look forward to the day when everyone recognizes that parents have no decision to make about their sons' penises, when it is understood that each person's body belongs to him- or herself alone.

    Thank you so much for continuing to bring such good information out for us to share! Please keep it up.

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  7. I think it's important to note that parents are making a decision about a child's sexuality right after a child is born that causes effects for the rest of the child's life. I don't understand why circumcision is approved for boys at all. Even if there were medical benefits, our society doesn't allow surgery to say, "sterilize" the mentally ill, cognitively impaired, or any other person incapable of making that decision, so why impose genital cutting on infants who can't make those decisions. I have known many men who are angry about being circumcised because they have no way of knowing what their penis would be like naturally, and their parents, these men feel, stepped into their sex lives when these men were infants.

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  8. nice comments, the part that strikes me as the most disturbing is the cultural infatuation with the erect "virile" penis; why can't we let babies have baby penises and men have men penises. It exemplifies the determination of our society to force kids into adulthood asap. :(

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  9. My first son is circumsized while his two younger brothers are not. It's thanks to articles like this that we were able to make more informed decisions. Like most people, when we KNEW better, we DID better. When you read the facts, there is NO good reason go mutilate a baby boy and there are many good reasons not to.

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  10. I understand why some might be upset- know that those people that do generally do because of cultural/religious/familial reasons.
    I did not want to get my kid circed but my husband did- I cried as much as my son did. My husband and every male in his family has been circed, so it was a cultural/familial reason.
    Whether it is the right decision or not, I do not know, but this is an insightful article, thank you.

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  11. In the article, there are several numbered footnotes, but I don't see the references at the end. Do you have those references? Thanks so much!

    PS: I was actually interested in the part about STD transmittal, b/c I had heard the exact opposite from a good friend. Thanks!

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  12. I am in the Midwest, and the pressure to circumcise is very strong. We were asked several times with both of my sons shortly after birth to the point that I became afraid to let them out of our sight for even a few minutes thinking that they might try to do it without our consent. We were even billed for a circumcision with my 1st son, and when I called to dispute it, they told me that it is charged for all male babies. It took me forever to get through to the woman that we had not actually had the surgery done and should not be billed. I do believe that they will be proud and thankful for their whole bodies, and thank you for all the wonderful information and support.

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  13. Great article. Thanks for sharing. My 6 month old son is still intact. Another promotion for homebirth. Our midwives never even brought up circumcision - it was never even a conversation. We were so happy with the care that we received, and after reading this article I am glad we were not ever faced with a choice.

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  14. I cannot express how upset I am! I had my son circumcised because I was raised believing it was the "clean and healthy" thing to do. After having read this, I'm literally crying and I feel so deceived! If we have another son, we won't make the same mistake, but I WISH I had known this before we had our first :( ~Erin

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    1. how is the one son going to feel about his brother when he realizes he has a 'mistake' on his manhood and his brother does not?

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    2. Anon #2 - your question was shared with the Future Sons community here: https://www.facebook.com/FutureSons/posts/629656113724397 There are thousands of parents raising both intact and circumcised sons and we've yet to hear of any boys who harbor poor feelings toward their brother(s) because their penises do not 'match.'

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  15. @ Anonymous - And those parents whish they hadn't circumcised - A positive thing you can do now is document everything leading up to, during , and after your son's circumcision. Most circumcision records are sadly thrown away leaving many questions unanswered for the circumcised. This act shows caring and can greatly enable the son to sue successfully even if the circumcision was done correctly without complications. Collect time, place, doctors, hospital, what information given, by who, how many times you were asked to circumcise, complications, expectations, what you were not told type of instrument used. (Note Mogen clamp is out of business. Has been sued successfully three times, last lawsuit lost $11 million probably noncollectable. Poor boy.)
    http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/atlanta-lawyer-wins-11-573890.html $11 million circumcision lawsuit win

    You may also sue and win.
    http://www.circumcisionandhiv.com/2010/07/j-steven-svoboda-circumcision-lawsuits-.html

    @ general readers - you may want to help all circumcised men by donating to:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEJhTYK3Z2E Intro to Foregen.org, a non-profit agency to promote foreskin stem cell regeneration
    http://www.foreskin-restoration.net/forum/showthread.php?t=5095 Foregen Financial Disclosure

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  16. @ any intact guys who want to know something of the feel of being circumcised. Carefully put numbing cream on the areas cut off. Retract foreskin as far back as possible and keep holding this in place while masturbating with other hand. Doing so you will feel even more that circumcised men do because numbing cream is not equal to cutting out the 75% sexual receptors.

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  17. In Australia nowadays, circumcision is no longer a available option. It has been taken off the table from Day 0. Parents that wish their child to be circumcised must in fact seek out a specialist practitioner and make separate arrangements after being discharged from the hospital. From my understanding, there are only a handful of such specialists in Queensland and it is generally advised by Paeds that this is an unnecessary surgery and should only be undertaken if there are religious or health related motivations.

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  18. I too, get pretty angry about male circumcision like Stephanie. Though I do not have a baby boy, I have a daughter, I had already decided that I would not circumcise if she was a boy. My comment here is a little different in perspective than the others. Being a woman who has been with both intact men and men who are not I have to say that I prefer, hands down, every time, an intact penis to one that is not. I believe that they smell better, feel better and hurt less. I also have had a much more intimate connection with those intact. I 100% advocate to my friends and family the benefits of not cutting their baby boys not only for their future sexual experiences but also for their health, and all around wellbeing. Thank you for this article. There were several things in here that I did not know. :)

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  19. I work as a nursery RN and am painfully aware on a daily basis of how little parents know of what they are agreeing to, and how little they are told by physicians, when they are asked if they want their son circumcised. Here's a recent story. First time parents, in the presence of their new baby boy, born just 10 min. before. While the doctor is examining the baby on the radiant warmer, doc asks the Dad, "So are you going to do the circumcision?" (Interesting phrasing, different from the usual, "Do you want your son circumcised?") Dad says "Yes." Doc proceeds to the typically two-sentence informational disclosure, while continuing to examine the baby, not looking at the Dad: "There is a small risk of bleeding, infection, and damage to the penis. We use a shot of anesthestic for the pain." As that was all the Doc seemed to plan to say, I then piped up, "So are you going to also tell him that it’s not medically necessary, and that the foreskin is a normal body part with important protective and sexual functions?" The doc stammers, "Uh, yeah, it’s not medically necessary. And [turning to me], why don't you tell him about the protective functions?" It was quite apparent that he didn't know anything about the functions of the foreskin, and was so blind to the sexual implications that he didn't even ask me to talk about that. Mind you, all this is going on in the first MINUTES after the baby was born, when the parents were completely blown away by their life-changing and heart-opening experience of having their first child. Although this was a particularly awful example of the poor state of informed consent in hospitals, I'd bet that very, very few parents are ever told anything like, "The foreskin is a normal body part with important protective and sexual functions." Talking about the alternative of NOT circumcising is ethically a required part of disclosure prior to consent. Not that doctors should be soliciting for unnecessary surgeries in the first place, but if docs are going to bring it up (or if parents do), it is MANDATORY that they talk about what the foreskin is, what its functions are, and the expected effects of its loss to circumcision. And if docs don't know enough to explain this clearly and accurately, they jolly well shouldn't be blithely performing foreskin amputations in the absence of any medical indication. If they did know this information, I bet you a lot fewer docs would refuse to do circumcisions, and if they told parents this information, I bet a lot fewer parents would refuse to have it done to their sons.

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  20. I work as a nursery RN and am painfully aware on a daily basis of how little parents know of what they are agreeing to, and how little they are told by physicians, when they are asked if they want their son circumcised. Here's a recent story. First time parents, in the presence of their new baby boy, born just 10 min. before. While the doctor is examining the baby on the radiant warmer, doc asks the Dad, "So are you going to do the circumcision?" (Interesting phrasing, different from the usual, "Do you want your son circumcised?") Dad says "Yes." Doc proceeds to the typically two-sentence informational disclosure, while continuing to examine the baby, not looking at the Dad: "There is a small risk of bleeding, infection, and damage to the penis. We use a shot of anesthestic for the pain." As that was all the Doc seemed to plan to say, I then piped up, "So are you going to also tell him that it’s not medically necessary, and that the foreskin is a normal body part with important protective and sexual functions?" The doc stammers, "Uh, yeah, it’s not medically necessary. And [turning to me], why don't you tell him about the protective functions?" It was quite apparent that he didn't know anything about the functions of the foreskin, and was so blind to the sexual implications that he didn't even ask me to talk about that. Mind you, all this is going on in the first MINUTES after the baby was born, when the parents were completely blown away by their life-changing and heart-opening experience of having their first child. Although this was a particularly awful example of the poor state of informed consent in hospitals, I'd bet that very, very few parents are ever told anything like, "The foreskin is a normal body part with important protective and sexual functions." Talking about the alternative of NOT circumcising is ethically a required part of disclosure prior to consent. Not that doctors should be soliciting for unnecessary surgeries in the first place, but if docs are going to bring it up (or if parents do), it is MANDATORY that they talk about what the foreskin is, what its functions are, and the expected effects of its loss to circumcision. And if docs don't know enough to explain this clearly and accurately, they jolly well shouldn't be blithely performing foreskin amputations in the absence of any medical indication. If they did know this information, I bet you a lot fewer docs would be willing to do circumcisions, and if they told parents this information, I bet a lot fewer parents would be willing to have it done to their sons.

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  21. This is the only topic to do with circumcision that I will not identify myself on. Because of my religious beliefs, my sexual experience is limited to two men, but it just so happens that one was circumcised and the other intact. I knew nothing about sex when I was with my circumcised partner, but I didn't think it was supposed to hurt. It didn't always, but it usually did. Sometimes, it was excruciatingly painful, at the start and then for ten minutes or so, after it was over. A few years later, when I was with the second man, I knew that there was something different. I eventually realized that he wasn't circumcised. It wasn't just that it looked different. It also felt different. Even though his penis was quite a bit larger than my first partner's was, it never hurt, either during, or after, intercourse. Of course, when I started studying about circumcision, I realized that the foreskin was the difference. Nature intended for there to be movement during intercourse, but not friction. Friction hurts. I think it is why some studies have shown that circumcised men who are HIV+ are more likely to infect both female and male partners. I also believe that accounts for the USA'a extremely high rates of HIV/AIDS, compared with industrialized countries where virtually no one is circumcised. If that friction is enough to cause pain, it can certainly cause small tears and abrasions in delicate mucosal tissue, through which the virus can pass.

    I think just not putting a newborn through the pain and risk of genital surgery is plenty of reason to protect infants from circumcision. But there are many more reasons to leave a baby's normal, healthy penis normal and healthy. One of these is so that they, and their future partners, will be able to experience intercourse the way it was meant to be.

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  22. I want to share this article on facebook, but the first comment is what shows up as the descriptor when I click share. The comment is way too inflammatory for me to share, and have that be the intro. Why doesn't it show the beginning of your article instead of the first comment on the bottom of the article? Is there any way to change it. I don't want people to miss out on this info, and I'm worried they'll ignore it, or worse grow callous, if that's what they see first.

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    1. just copy and paste the url, and click "no thumbnail." better?

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  23. Jessica - thank you for pointing that out. What we do when sharing on FB is to copy the first paragraph (or any part of the text that you wish to use) and paste it into the description on FB before posting the link. You have the ability to double click/right click on any of the text in your FB links (the title or the description) and change it to whatever you'd like it to say before posting. :) Hope this helps. This is also how we take out the 'peaceful parenting:' section before posting so that the title is solely the title of the article and not pp in front of it.

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  24. The foreskin is not separate from the penis. It IS a part of the penis! By circumcising you are not just cutting off "extra skin." You are indeed cutting off part of your son's penis! Just thought I'd clear that up...

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  25. I think if men (and women!) knew this reality there would be a lot of really pissed off people!

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  26. If we thought of people that way, women have a lot more "extra" skin! But to cut a baby girl recognized as wrong.. thankfully more and more moms are not cutting their boys either.

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  27. Seriously. When the penis is erect, the foreskin just becomes part of the shaft. It's not extra, it's not optional, it's necessary!

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  28. What really angers me is that it wasnt just one part of my husband that was taken from us before we even met, actually it was many many parts that even restoration cannot fully give back to he and I.:(really tired of him at 32 not being able to function in the bedroom..we are both so sad.

    What is lost due to circumcision?

    http://norm.org/lost.html

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  29. Well I have been with both circ and intact men and honestly I felt no difference at all. My husband is circed and we have never had any kind of problems with sex either. We have a son and he is circed as well with no complications arising from it. However, I never felt completely right about circumcising him. For some reason I just felt an uneasy feeling, can't really explain it. Also I always felt badly for causing him any pain, as parents we are supposed to protect our babies from pain. The bottom line imo is that it is acually just not necessary to do it. Why do an something that causes pain for no good reason? And I also believe that God creates people with exactly what they need and how they should be. If I had it to do over again, I def would not do it.

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  30. I understand the frustration I'm reading. I have 4 boys - 2 intact, 2 not. When we had our first son, we said NO to circumcision. Less than 12 hours after he was born (14 hour labor than C-section - don't get me started on unnecessary C-sections), they gave us a HUGE stack of paperwork to sign. My hubby didn't read most of it because they said it was all standard. Later that day, they took him for some test & did a circumcision. I flipped out. They had slipped that page in & didn't even mention it when they took him. The nurse told me she gave him a pacifier (against our wishes) because he was so upset he vomited & had diarrhea when they did it.

    2 years later, my husband didn't want our 2nd son to be the only intact male in our family (all his brothers & mine are circ) so he signed it.

    When we had twins in 2009, the doctor was amazing! He supported my decision to not do it & even explained to my husband why it isn't necessary and the sexual issues it can cause. Most of our friends & family have told me I'm nuts for not doing it. They are going to get teased, its dirty, yada yada.

    Almost a year after we had the twins, I found my husband reading about lack of penile sensation & circumcision. Guess what the doctor said stuck...

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  31. I had a convo with a woman the other day who was wondering if she should or she shouldn't. Most of her nurse friends were saying yes, because when they are older, the nurses have to keep it clean and it's ickier and it's a higher risk for STD's and infection. I (also a nurse) countered with - women have TONS of folds - but we don't cut their labia off. We simply teach them how to keep it clean. And because it's near the rectum, it's at an even HIGHER risk for infection than the penile meatus is. And the vagina is a breeding ground for infection and STD's - because of the anatomy - but we don't change it. And when those women are old and need cleaning, I do NOT hear nurses or aides complaining. But give them an intact penis and hear them roar....it sucks.

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  32. Oh, and one more thing - in the dark, you can't tell a cut penis from an intact one. They all feel the same!

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  33. That is not what one lady here said. I too fond intercourse painful...I have other problems so thought it was just me. I'm wondering now if it was his having been ciec'd. I won't ever have children, but had decided long ago prior to meeting my husband that if graced with a boy, he would be intact.

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  34. I too was vastly uninformed and am very angry I had my son circumsised,it should not be allowed!! I am in tears as I am reading this,but my husband who is circ'd is angry at me for bringing it up and says the whole topic is stupid! I feel heartbroken...

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    1. Anonymous (Dec 21): You have every right to feel how you feel. The topic is not stupid at all and neither are your concerns. I do hope that you can feel better about this as time goes on, and that your son will be okay with it, too. I suspect your husband is angry because he might also feel guilty about it, and also that the right to an intact body was taken from him as a baby. I've had this discussion with my friends, and without failure, it is my circumcised friends who get incredibly emotional (usually angry) when we talk about it. My intact friends never get angry when people suggest circumcision is better; they do not desire it at all and could get it done if they wanted it. As your son becomes older, you can talk to him about foreskin regrowth if it is possible and if he is interested. Overall, you are a good mother. Don't second guess your terrific parenting skills. You and your husband will raise a wonderful family.

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  35. The more I read the more comfortable and *thrilled* I am with my decision to leave my son intact. I always felt that my son was born perfect the way he was and God would not give him body parts that he did not need. I didn't fully understand the purpose of the foreskin until reading this article, but I knew in my heart that circumcision is not right and didn't want to put him through that pain.

    I do have to add that even though I think infant/child circumcision should be illegal because it is genital mutilation, that is going to be hard to convince so many people... especially people who have been circumcised or have circ'd their sons. People get very defensive at the topic because they didn't know any better and made the decision without considering their options. I think at the very least this information needs to be more widespread! Parents should be given this information before making a decision! No one ever shared the information with me, I had to seek it out myself. And after my son was born, I was probably asked if he was going to be circumcised close to 10 times! I had to repeatedly tell them no. I believe that when more people get informed, the trend of circumcision will continue to drop. It's up to the enlightened to get the information out there, even if it means offending a few people.

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    1. I was asked probably more times than that. After my first sons circumcision was completely messed up and he now needs multiple surgeries to fix it, I totally balked at the idea of circ'ing my second. I was asked so. many. times. I was even asked BEFORE he was born!! I had to sign papers saying I *wasn't* going to get it done, and that I had to take liability for those "implications" that came along with that (!!!!!!!!).

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  36. I'm woman who has been in two long term relationships, the first with a circumcised man and the second (my husband) an intact man. The sexual relationship I have with my husband was and is different and better in so many ways. With my circumcised boyfriend, I always enjoyed sex but I always dealt with dryness issues. We always had lube close by. I really thought there was something wrong with me. I also never experienced a real orgasm with him during sex. Even though we were young adults, he had occasional erectile disfunction issues (again I though this must be my fault). From the start of my sexual relationship with my husband it was different. I never have to use lube with him, I orgasm easily during intercourse, we're in our mid-thirties and he's never once had erection issues. I just can't say enough about how much better an itact penis is. I'm really just now figuring out WHY it's so much better. I have really been enlightened by reading these articles. We have four girls so we never had to face the question. I really think it shouldn't be offered as an everyday normal procedure because it's not normal!

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    1. ok, so neither of you have infection problems? everyone i've talked to has cut their kid, but a few of them said "oh, i know so-and-so, their such-a-relative always has infections with her husband because he isn't!" i mean, you can get infections either way if you're nasty, amirite? but would the foreskin actually BE the reason for this?

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    2. Why would the foreskin be a reason for infection? The foreskin *protects* the penis from infection, abrasion, drying out, etcetera.

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  37. This is my first discovery of this topic, and I am still in shock at how hush-hush this is in our society! I am 30 years old, and am working on having my first child. I am SO thankful I found out the truth and dangers of circumcision. I really had no idea. I know it is going to take my husband some time to agree with me...just because he was circumcised, and like me, I am sure he never even knew it was a big deal! If we have boys, they will stay intact.
    And now I'm wishing I could go back in time as well....I guess I'm just lucky that my husband and I have a strong sex-drives....but gosh! What IF it could have been even better :/ Thank you for this info!!!

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  38. I am an intact 54 year old man. When growing up in N.E. Pennsylvania, it was the boys that were circumsized that were teased about their strange looking penises. Until I moved to the Southern part of the U.S.A. did I realize that most males in the South are cut. I was blown away! I can only attribute this to the lack of education that most Southerners have lived with. Not that their is any connection, but I have also noticed that most men born in the Southern United States tend to have very little body hair when compared to their Northern counterparts.

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    1. i'm thinking generationally, less body hair because less snow. just from an "evolutioinary" perspective...

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  39. I got lucky with keeping both of my sons intact- I wasn't comfortable with the concept, though I was perhaps more nebulous on it than I am now, but my partner wanted them circumcised, completely without thought, "to be the same as him." Carrying haemophilia was on my side of the family, and there wasn't enough time for the genetic work to determine if I, too, was a carrier, so the nurse midwives and paediatrician would not perform circumcision at birth, and I won out after that. Neither of my sons, fortunately, have haemophilia, and both are intact. The moment I saw them, I felt they were perfect just as they are, not perfect "except for this extra bit we just absolutely need to remove right away."

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  40. Thank you so much for this information , I feel much Better Bout our decision!

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  41. Very informative. The only thing I think needs to be addressed is I don't think it matters how you ask parents if they want to circumcise or not. I think it shouldn't be offered at all. This is an optional, unnecessary cosmetic surgery. You wouldn't offer a breast augmentation to every mother who just gave birth would you? Why are we even offering this. If parents truly want to do this they should have to do the research and ask the questions before making a choice like this. Some parents may not even think about it unless it is brought up to them and then they say yes because they trust that their doctor wouldn't suggest something that's harmful or unnecessary.

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  42. This is such an incredibly difficult discussion and situation for my spouse and I. With our first child, we researched both sides of this "debate" and went back and forth on what to do. One doctor advised we do it; another said it didn't matter either way. Family members were repulsed by the idea that we might not circ our son. I was completely at a loss as to what was the "correct" choice. My cousin, a labor and delivery nurse, said she always advised moms like me (completely undecided) that they just make the boy look like his dad. So if dad was intact, baby should be too, and vice versa. Since my husband was circ'ed, I convinced myself that was the way to go... because I just didn't know!

    15 months later, our second son was born. Everything happened so fast, I hadn't even had time to process what we'd chosen for our first son. I was reeling from the violating feelings of an unnecessary cesarean with our firstborn and consumed with battling to achieve a VBAC against the medical machine. I don't recall discussing circumcision or even considering options. He was circ'ed... just to match his brother and his dad.

    Now, we are awaiting the arrival of our third son. Again, I am at a crossroads. I now KNOW that medically, there is no reason to do this completely unnecessary surgical procedure. I believe my son's penis should remain as God created it. Yet, here I am, having long discussions with my husband, my mother, and my child's pediatrician about what to do. If we go my way (keeping him intact), it will be a source of continued friction for who knows how many years to come. Should he develop a UTI, I have no doubt I will be blamed for subjecting him to such a horrific situation (sarcasm intended there).

    I deeply appreciated my sons' pediatrician taking extra time to speak frankly about both sides of this issue. She wanted her own son circ'ed, but her husband opposed the idea because of his cultural beliefs. He is intact. Yet, as a pediatrician she told me she was obligated to share the new AAP recommendations in favor of circumcision. She acknowledged everyone is confused, and with good reason! In the end, she said all she could offer was her personal opinion, which was that we already made this decision, and if she were me, she wouldn't change course now. But then she added, "But you are correct in your understanding that is absolutely NOT necessary for the health of your baby."

    I loved how she ended our conversation... She said to me, "Everyone will tell you you're wrong, no matter what choice you make. At this point, you just have to choose and know you're doing the best you can." Indeed.

    Here's my point in sharing all of this... I'm fully informed. I know the arguments in favor of and against this procedure. I've watched the videos of the surgeries. I've interviewed doctors on both sides of this debate. I've prayed. I've read articles. I've talked to parents of intact babies. Whatever we decide, we are making an informed decision.... and THAT is what matters. Parents have the right to be INFORMED. When medical professionals withhold information, they are taking away a parent's right to PARENT.

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    1. Jen - not that it matters much to hear from one stranger out there - but my intact son did develop a UTI and it was not a big deal at all. He was given a round of antibiotics for it, and that was that. It was not traumatic, not the end of the world, and had no long lasting impact. I had UTIs often as a child, and they were also treated in the same manner (although it frightens me to know what would have happened had I been a boy instead of a girl...). Love to you and your family. And congrats on your son!

      Maybe you'd like to hear from others at Keeping Future Sons Intact - just those parents who are also raising both circumcised and intact sons.

      www.Facebook.com/FutureSons

      .

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    2. Think about how you felt after your cesarean birth - violated because it was unnecessary. Circumcision is also an unnecessary violation and someday your sons may be reeling from their feelings about not having control over their bodies. Know better, do better - I have 1 cut and 2 whole sons if you'd like to chat.

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    3. There are many parents who make the decision to circ their first child(ren) and change their minds with latter ones and have found loving, gentle ways to talk about it with their circed boys. I do hope this will be the case. Both of my boys are intact, their penises don’t match, but they are both intact. My husband is circumcised. My four year old and my husband still shower together, and my four year old has never once asked why his penis looks different from his father’s. If he did, we would tell him that when daddy was born, doctors told grandma and grandpa that they should cut off the extra skin on the end, and now we know cutting is not necessary, so we did not do it. My husband has repeatedly stated that he wishes he was given the choice. My dad is 66. I found out a few years ago that he is intact. I was giving my grandma high fives when she told me. My husband and I didn’t even discuss the decision with our parents, when our first child was born, we showed them they should not retract the foreskin during diaper changes or baths because the majority of problems with intact babies occur because of forced retraction which then allows bacteria to grow as the foreskin tries to reattach itself. We watch closely during routine doctor visits to make sure that the doctor does not retract. Our first pediatrician told us to retract. We immediately switched to a pro-intact, informed doctor. Not long ago, I had six UTI’s in one year. I did not consider having my clitoris cut. I went to the doctor and got antibiotics and then I figured out it was the lube we were using. Once I got rid of the source of bacteria, the UTI’s stopped. If my son gets an ear infection, we treat it with antibiotics. If he were to ever get a UTI, we would treat it with antibiotics.

      The AAP actually stopped short of universally endorsing the procedure, only stating that access to it should be allowed and insurance should reimburse providers. There are some errors in the AAP report, for example, the AAP says that the foreskin should retract in 2 – 4 months, which is not true. Doctors Opposing Circumcision is a great FB resource on the topic from a medical perspective.

      In my research, I was alarmed to find out that circumcision in the US was touted in the 1800’s as a way to prevent boys and girls from masturbating. We all know how effective that was. Is it any wonder the medical establishment is still trying to come up with reasons to justify the surgery so that they would not have to admit they were wrong in the first place?

      Eighty percent of the human males on earth are not circumcised; the procedure is actually illegal in some countries. We do not circumcise male mammals. If the problems with keeping males intact were real, surely it would be in the news and other countries would endorse this procedure, but none do. How doctors in our country can come to different conclusions regarding the foreskin than doctors in other countries is unfathomable to me.

      The real risks of a UTI are 1% if you leave the foreskin alone. If you retract it – which shouldn’t ever be done - obviously slightly higher. The real risks of cancer are 1 in 100,000. I do not even consider sexually transmitted diseases because we all know that it is a condom that prevents transmission, it does not care whether or not a foreskin is present.
      We, as parents, are smart enough to take care of our boys’ intact penises when we have the correct information. If we trust that our boys are fully capable of tying their shoes and getting dressed by themselves, we should also trust they are capable of taking 15 seconds to pull back their foreskins and rinse their glans when the time comes for their foreskin to retract.

      Momma, I will be on my knees praying for your boy #3. Please keep him intact.

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    4. "How doctors in our country can come to different conclusions regarding the foreskin than doctors in other countries is unfathomable to me."

      what? hint, it's money. the difference is money. if it was a free procedure and no one got paid to do it, no doctor would recommend it, and no nurse would want to do extra work for nothing. money.

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    5. Im a circumcised male and am really pissed about it. foreskin is natural and if you ask better looking.But most importantly it protects the glands and keeps them sensitive. When a male is circumcised after about 15 years he starts losing the sensitivity in his glands.

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    6. "If the problems with keeping males intact were real, surely it would be in the news and other countries would endorse this procedure, but none do."

      I was lucky enough to study in Europe for several months when I was younger and realized then that none of the boys or men are circumcised. I asked my European relatives about it, and they were completely shocked and horrified to learn that RIC is performed in the U.S. because they only knew it was done for religious reasons. I innocently explained all of the health and hygiene benefits that I had heard about, and they were astounded. No one has any of these issues that would supposedly plague intact American men. I am thankful to this day that I learned the truth, and I have 3 intact sons.
      If a parent in Africa makes an "informed" choice to circumcise their daughters after prayer and talking to doctors and watching videos, would we also respect their rights as a parent to make that decision for their baby girls? No, we would be just as horrified as the Europeans are at Americans when we circumcise our sons.

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  43. Thank you so much for these articles. I was left intact at birth, but was mishandled by forced retraction at a young age and sexually abused as a child on top of that. Today I have phimosis, but the few times I've been able to retract in the shower I've found there is no buildup underneath; it is clean, healthy, and doesn't get in my way. I'm glad to leave it as it is, no more trauma or stretching. It makes me sick how much material out there is skewed towards the mutilated penis as if it is "superior" when it isn't. Thank you so much for this foreskin-positive information! So much material out there wants to make us intact males feel bad about ourselves and think we need to do all of this harmful stuff.

    Why are the penises of young boys treated so roughly in our society? It's illegal to mutilated a girls vagina or stick your finger inside, but these practices are considered 'good' if done to a boy. They aren't!

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  44. Pro-circumcisionists often refer to the fact that a circumcised male has a one in 600 chance of contracting HIV during unprotected sex with an infected female, whereas an intact male has a one in 450 chance of doing so. The "improvement" is therefore claimed to be (mathematically) 50%. (This is due to the fact that the circumcised glans becomes keratinized, i.e. turns into "leather", and is more difficult to penetrate by the HIV virus.)
    Statistics are what you wish it to be. The circumcised male has a "safety factor" (of NOT contracting HIV during unprotected sex) of 600/601 or (percentage wise) 99,83%. In the case of the intact male, it is 450/451 or (percentage wise) 99,77%. This minute increase in the "safety factor" is, statistically, negligible. To promote circumcision as a procedure to prevent HIV transmission gives a false sense of security to circumcised males, and is unscientific and unjustified. The only safe sex is with a condom.
    Turning baby boys into prepuce amputees without their informed consent is a leftover of tribal rituals performed in countries where water was a scare commodity and soap and hygiene unknown. I may add: I have no qualms about an informed decision by an adult male to have himself circumcised. Also, phimosis and balanitis are treated successfully with non-surgical methods in the 21st century.

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  45. Thank you for this site and related information. We were referred to a urologist to see if there was an issue with my four year old son's foreskin not retracting. No infection, only slight ballooning and spraying when urinating. It's truly difficult to get well-rounded advice. Our experience with this doctor was brief, insulting and lacking any useful info. "Try the cream, if it doesn't work, circumcise" was all he said. And then he added "just do it before he's 18". To "diagnose", this doctor attempted to retract the foreskin, although it appeared more ticklish and awkward for my son than painful, and he does not have any resulting issues. Really wish I'd found this before then, but am very thankful (and relieved) to have found it now.

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  46. Thank God I never yield to my husband's family pressure to do it just because they ignore the facts (and they feel proud about ..."I'm not") just because one member had a infection because of his foreskin? more like his mommy didn't clean it properly daily maybe...,I'm glad that my husband is very open mind he never even ask me to do it to our son even if he is circumcised.Not sure if i will show him this article as i don'tr want upset him but i'm happy for son and my decision all I can say is that he is a very healthy, happy boy for sure :)

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    1. Remember, however, there is no 'daily cleaning' necessary for intact boys... :) This is where most problems arise (due to forced retraction and 'messing' with things): http://www.drmomma.org/2009/06/how-to-care-for-intact-penis-protect.html

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