surgical removal of the
foreskin. In the United States today, all forms of
circumcision are prohibited under
Title 18 of the U.S.
Code. Males are not included in that legislation,
however, and as a result nearly
33% of American boys are
still circumcised, with wide variations among
the function of the male foreskin?
male foreskin performs a number of
functions. First, it directly enhances sexual
pleasure via specialized erogenous nerve endings such as
ridged band, and stretch receptors called
Meissner's corpuscles. The foreskin also serves to
protect the moist, mucous membrane of the glans (the
"head" of the penis) and the inner foreskin from outside
elements, similar to the way the
female foreskin protects the clitoris. When the
foreskin is removed, the penis is transformed from an
internal organ into an external one, initiating a
desensitizing process known as
keratinization. Keratin is a tough, skin-like
substance similar to a callus that forms on top of the
nerve endings of the glans, resulting in significant
loss of sexual sensitivity. The foreskin also provides a
mechanism during sexual intercourse that reduces
friction and locks in moisture, acting as a natural
lubricant. The foreskin provides a number of
other important functions as well.
Why would anyone cut off such a valuable body
origins of circumcision are unknown. However,
circumcision began in the United States
in the late 1800's largely because some doctors
thought that it prevented masturbation, which at the
time was thought to be harmful. But once that and
other myths were proven wrong, new reasons were
created to perpetuate circumcision, most notably that a
circumcised penis is more hygienic than
an intact penis,
that it makes boys
look the same as their fathers or others in their
community, and for
reimbursement for circumcision in
thirty-two states and a lucrative market for
infant foreskins also provides
financial incentives for circumcision.
some newer studies shown that circumcised men are less
likely to contract HIV and penile cancer?
Although some new studies suggest that circumcision may
penile cancer later in life, those findings are not
a valid reason to amputate a healthy, functioning body part of a
Similar studies show that
may reduce HIV transmission,
but nearly all
physicians agree that any type of forced female genital
cutting is unethical. Doctors don't cut off the breasts of baby girls
to help prevent breast cancer, either, and
medical ethicists believe that the male foreskin
should be treated no differently. It is also important
to note that
proponents of female circumcision often use
medical reasons to justify cutting off parts of
girls' genitals, but those arguments are rightly
condemned in most countries.
circumcision cause psychological harm?
Many men who are
circumcised suffer the same psychological effects
found in rape victims. A
sense of great loss and feelings of
anger, distrust, and grief are common among
circumcised men who are aware of the functions that the
Problems with intimacy in adult life, long term
post-traumatic stress disorder, and
feelings of personal powerlessness are also
reported by men when discussing their circumcisions.
circumcision be reversed?
The unique nerve
endings that are cut off during circumcision cannot be
restored. However, other significant damage from
circumcision can be reversed through a method called
non-surgical foreskin restoration, which involves
stretching the remaining shaft skin over the glans
to grow new skin. By keeping the glans and remaining
inner foreskin area covered and protected, the keratin
that built up over the lifetime of the victim slowly
peels away, resulting in a significant improvement to
sexual sensitivity. The natural gliding mechanism can
also be restored to some extent, provided that
enough new skin can be regrown.
up to parents to decide what is right for their own
Unless there is a
compelling medical reason to do so, no one has the
right to cut off the working body part of a
child. Genital mutilation is done for social,
"hygienic", or religious reasons, and
no national medical organization in the world
supports forced infant circumcision as a beneficial health
measure. We don't allow girls to be circumcised because
we know that it is harmful to their physical and mental
well being, and boys should be afforded equal
protection of the law.
What about misinformed parents who have already had
their son(s) circumcised?
continue to misinform parents by telling them that
circumcision is harmless or even beneficial,
so oftentimes parents are not to blame. We suggest that
parents take the time to sit down with their son and
explain that they never would have agreed to the
circumcision procedure had they known it was going to
hurt him. Explaining that some damage from circumcision
can be reversed through non-surgical foreskin
restoration is also good advice.
about expecting parents who have already circumcised
their first son(s)?
even those who have newfound doubts about the ethics of
circumcision, are tempted to circumcise their new baby
boy if their other sons are already circumcised. They
may worry that the older boys will resent them
for allowing their penises to be cut while
leaving their younger brother's penis intact.
But continuing the cycle of genital mutilation will not
make things better. The best thing for these parents to
do is to leave their new son intact and explain to the
older sons that when they were born, many people
believed that circumcision was a harmless or even
beneficial procedure. Now that more is known about
circumcision, however, it is no longer routinely done
and that is why their younger brother is intact.
What should Jewish parents do if they have a
Some of the most
criticism of circumcision comes from
Jewish community itself. This is because many Jews
have actually witnessed the painful cries of baby boys
as parts of their penises are cut off in the name of
religion. As a peaceful alternative,
more and more
Jewish parents are calling for a
Brit Shalom to replace the
Brit Milah. A Brit Shalom is a non-cutting
naming ceremony that welcomes baby boys into the
world with love, not mutilation. Many
celebrants now specialize in performing this
Are there any alternatives for Muslim parents?
largest single group of circumcised men in the
world, not all Muslim men are circumcised. Ethnic Chams
non-violent rituals, and
converts to Islam are not required to undergo
intactivists are also increasingly
harmful effects of
ritual circumcision, helping to provide support to
Muslim parents who choose not to circumcise their sons.
perpetuated by silence. When the topic is brought up in
conversation, many people react by changing the subject
or by making jokes.
When you hear circumcision being discussed, don't be
afraid to tell others about the negative consequences
that it has on each of its victims. In addition,
take action by writing your
congressional and state officials to voice your
support for the
bill proposals on this website.
Lastly, if your son was circumcised and you feel that
you were misled by your doctor, hospital, or
religious advisor, you may want to
file a lawsuit
against them seeking damages. If you yourself are a
victim of circumcision, you may want to consider suing
the person or organization that circumcised you.
If the MGM Bill becomes law, would men be
allowed to have a circumcision if they want one?
Yes, men would be free to undergo circumcision for any
reason once they reach eighteen years of age. The
purpose of the MGM Bill is to protect males from being
circumcised against their will, not to prevent them from
altering their own genitals if they wish to do so.
I find more information on circumcision?
more about circumcision, please click the links on our
Resources page. A number of
books on circumcision are also available.