May the Force(kin) be With You

This article is aimed at people that are about to have children, or people that have influence over someone that is pregnant. Thankyou, for taking the time to read this.

WHAT IS CIRCUMCISION

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin from the human penis.

Anesthesia is used on approximately 45% of circumcisions. However, even the most effective anesthesia does not eliminate all pain, and the most commonly type used – a topical cream, does almost nothing to reduce pain.

The foreskin on an average adult male is about 12 sq inches of erogenous tissue.

The foreskin’s role is to protect the head of the penis and to assist in facilitating intercourse. As mentioned, it is erogenous skin and therefore enhances sexual pleasure for the male, and in many cases, the partner as well. For females, most report less friction and less discomfort during intercourse.

Let’s look a little more into the history and origins of circumcision, but firstly I’m going to issue a challenge to you. Watch how a baby reacts when undergoing this surgery, so we can dispel a few myths, which you’ll read later on.

Could you get through that video? There are multiple different procedures that can be used, however as mentioned, the majority of these surgeries are performed with no or little anesthetic. I’ve watched a few alternative procedures and the babies all react the same.

HOW COMMON IS IT

Around 1 in 5 babies are being circumcised in Australia today.

Around the world, the trend continues with 70-80% of the world’s males still being “intact”. The World Health Organistion have estimated globally that 30% of males aged 15 and over are circumcised, with almost 70% of those being muslim.

In the US, a circumcision is performed every 49 seconds, this equates to approximately 640,000 procedures each year. It is the most common surgical procedure performed on newborns in the US. Male circumcision is nearly universal in the Middle East, central Asia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Male circumcision is one of the oldest and most common surgical procedures known. It is traditionally undertaken as a mark of cultural identity or religious importance.

The interesting part is – no national medical organisation in the world recommends it.

At no time in its 75-year history has the American Academy of Pediatrics ever recommended infant circumcision.

 

THE PAIN

Doctors have claimed in the past that newborn babies do not feel pain – at all. What do you think after watching that video? A new study indicates that newborn responses to pain are “similar to but greater than those observed in adult subjects”. In all cases where topical or no anesthetic were used, the procedure was extremely painful and traumatic.

Some infants do not cry because they go into a traumatic shock from the overwhelming pain of the surgery. No anesthetic has been found to be safe and effective in preventing circumcision pain in infants.

Babies urinate while in nappies, which means the uric acid is right up against the wound. This explains why circumcised babies scream when they are placed on their bellies or while they urinate.

An obstetrical nurse who has seen many circumcised infants before they go home reported; “When you lay them on their stomachs they scream. When their diaper is wet they scream. Normally they don’t scream if their diaper is wet. Baby boys who are not circumcised do not scream like that. The circumcised babies are more irritable and they nurse poorly”.

EFFECTS

BEHAVIORAL

Babies that are circumcised show some fundamental changes – behavioral and maybe even personality changes.

Studies have found that short-term effects of circumcision include changed sleep patterns, activity level, mother-infant interaction, more irritability and disruptions in feeding and bonding.

Researchers at Children’s Hospital in Boston confirmed many changes in sleep patterns, activity levels, irritability and mother-infant interaction. They noted; “The persistence of specific behavioral changes after circumcision in neonates implies the presence of memory. In the short term, these behavioral changes may disrupt the adaptation of newborn infants to their postnatal environment, the development of parent-infant bonding, and feeding schedules.”

In one of the most important studies, the behavior of nearly 90% of circumcised infants significantly changed after the circumcision. Some became more active, some less. The scale of the change generally was associated with whether they were crying or quiet respectively at the start. This suggests the use of different coping styles by infants when they are subjected to extreme pain. In addition, the researchers observed that circumcised infants had a lessened ability to both comfort themselves, and be comforted by others.

COMPLICATIONS

Complications are as high as 55%. Complications include hemorrhage, infection, surgical injury or in some cases, death.

In many cases, extended crying after the circumcision lasts for hours each day and can persists up to a year. This behavior is often called colic. Colic remains a bit of a mystery; no one can really confirm what causes it. Circumcision is hypothesized as one cause, and is certainly correlated.

Persistent crying, colic-y behavior, sleep disturbances, poor latching on, poor breastfeeding. These things all lead to frustration by the mother, especially first mothers. These complications can interfere with the mother/child bond and can lead to depression.

About 117 newborn males die each year in the US because of circumcision, most from infection and blood loss. This accounts for 1.3% of male neonatal deaths from all causes.

Meatal stenosis (narrowing of the urinary opening) has been found in 20% of circumcised boys.

LONG TERM

Long-term effects have not been studied enough; however, changes in pain response have been demonstrated at six months of age and over.

A team of Canadian researchers produced evidence of long-lasting traumatic effects. Circumcised boys were more sensitive to pain when vaccinated at 4 and 6 months. Differences were significant regarding facial action, crying time and assessment of pain. Authors of the study believe that it has a permanent alteration in the infants central neural processing of pain stimuli. They also write that long-term consequences of surgery without anesthesia are likely to include post-traumatic stress as well as pain.

It is therefore possible that the greater vaccination response in the infants circumcised without anesthesia may represent an infant analogue of a post-traumatic stress disorder triggered by a traumatic and painful event re-experienced under similar circumstances of pain during vaccination.

Essentially, it’s a permanent re-wiring of the neural pain response.

SEX

Circumcision removes up to one-half of the erogenous tissue on the penile shaft. This tissue makes up approximately 75% of penile sensitivity. The removed tissue includes the ridged band, foreskin lips, and often the entire frenulum.

Males that were circumcised in infancy are approximately 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with erectile dysfunction as adults.

Males that were circumcised later in life report that they have to thrust much harder and faster to get some pleasure. The decreased sensitivity also makes using a condom even worse because you lack sensitivity to begin with.

Unfortunately, this means circumcised males are less likely to use a condom, and as a result, circumcised men are 4.53 times more likely to use erectile dysfunction drugs.

In a survey of those with comparative sexual experiences, women preferred natural over the circumcised penis by a 6 to 1 ratio.

Is a happy sex life foundational to a happy relationship or marriage for you?

ARGUMENTS

HYGEINE

“I do it because of hygiene reasons”

American Academy of Pediatrics stated, “There is little evidence to affirm the association between circumcision status and optimal penile hygiene. The uncircumcised penis is easy to keep clean. Caring for your son’s uncircumcised penis requires no special action. Foreskin retraction should never be forced.”

THEOLOGICAL

Throughout history, the practice was a way to increase social status and “improve cleanliness”. It became a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood in many religions.

In the book of Genesis, God told Abraham to circumcise himself, his household, and his slaves as an everlasting covenant in their flesh. Those who were not circumcised were to be cut off from their people.

In early days of Christianity, it was required for all male converts – no matter the age (you must have REALLY loved God to become a Christian, right?) It was only until Evangelist Paul stated that it was no longer required, that baptism took on its role.

Christianity would have had more appeal without it, particularly to Greeks and Romans. Greeks in particular had a big issue with it, as it violated the natural human form. Whereas Jewish rabbi’s argued that the foreskin itself was an imperfection that needed to be cut off to reveal the correct male form (this is interesting because it implies God created something imperfect).

Greek and Jewish cultures clashed around this issue and it caused fierce debate.

The role of circumcision in Christian faith is still debated today; both Old and New Testaments are considered the word of God but the New Testament is seen to release people from old rituals and traditions.

Controversial religious ceremony within the ultra-orthodox Jewish community called “metzitzah b’peh” adds another layer of controversy to the circumcision discussion. After performing the ritual circumcision, the rabbi or mohel draws blood away from the newborn babies freshly circumcised penis using his mouth to create suction.

The CDC has determined that 20,493 newborn males born in NYC may have had direct oral suction during the almost six-year period in which stats were monitored.

The risk of contracting a form of herpes following this ritual with confirmed or likely direct oral-genital suction is estimated to be 24.4 per 100,000 cases, which is 3.4 times higher than for babies who did not have oral-genital suction.

The 5000-year-old practice has infected at least 13 newborn males with the herpes simplex virus. Ten of the infected babies were hospitalized, two suffered brain damage and another two died due to the infection.

When religion is removed from this practice, what is left?

MASTURBATION

In the 19th century, (non-religious) circumcision in English-speaking countries rose due to negative attitudes towards sex, especially masturbation.

Masturbation was believed to be responsible for a wide range of mental disorders commonly referred to as “masturbatory insanity”. (Could this be an early name for the internet?)

Masturbation was considered self-abuse and a wide range of preventative treatments were recommended. Some included a strict diet, hydrotherapy and marriage. Drastic measures were surgery, physical restraints and punishment.

Some doctors even recommended;

  • covering the penis with plaster of paris, leather or rubber,
  • cauterization,
  • chastity belts for men,
  • spiked rings and,
  • at times, even castration.

The role of the foreskin in erotic sensation was well understood and they wanted to cut it off, as it was a major factor in leading boys to masturbate.

UTI’s

The most common medical justification is that circumcision decreases the risk of UTI’s. This correlation was only discovered in 1982 (long after the custom was well established).

Yes, for the first few months of life, uncircumcised male infants are at increased risk of UTI’s, but thereafter UTI’s are predominantly found in females.

The rate of UTI’s in males under 2yrs is approx. 1%
To prevent a single male UTI, an estimated 111 circumcisions need to be performed.

On the flip side, when a female gets a UTI, doctors and parents tend to avoid removing her labia or clitoris. She is prescribed anti-biotics.

Funnily enough, the same treatment works for males.

PENILE CANCER

Some studies show that circumcision during infancy or childhood may provide partial protection against penile cancer. Some have proposed circumcision as a possible strategy for penile cancer prevention.

The lifetime risk of penile cancer is estimated as 1 in 1437 for men in the US
The lifetime risk of breast cancer is estimated as 1 in 8 for women in the US

By the same logic, shouldn’t those recommending the slicing of a penis as a preventative measure against penile cancer, also be recommending the slicing off of the breast or portion of the breast to protect against breast cancer?

I mean, this is the nonsense that people say.

Should we start removing the appendix of every baby to avoid problems?
Should we remove 1 of the 2 kidneys in every baby to half the chance of kidney cancer?
Should we remove every child’s tonsils in case they get tonsillitis?

FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

The World Health Organisation classifies any removal of the external female genitals as female circumcision or female genital mutilation.

Yet, it’s not male genital mutilation when you remove half to ¾ of the sensitive skin and create significant problems for them in the moment and in the future. Its circumcision, right?

Does it have to be called genital mutilation for females because, in general, women are more important than men? An estimated 140 million females around the world have experienced some form of female genital mutilation, with 100 million of these occurring in Africa.

The rationale behind those that choose to circumcise their daughters is hygiene, disease prevention, improved appearance and social acceptance. Sound familiar?

Why is it so different for females than for men?

Whatever the justification, it breaches moral principles, in particular, the non-aggression principle – thou shalt not initiate force against others. It’s the removal of healthy tissue – we’ve evolved this way for a reason.

Like many other things, it’s simply a cycle of trauma that repeats over and over again because very few people are asking themselves, “why do we do, what we do?”.

As always, be good to yourself.

Mathew.

SOURCES

http://forward.com/articles/161642/circumcision-rates-vary-widely-in-us/?p=all#ixzz2bVibVSx5
http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb126.jsp
http://www.d.umn.edu/~mcco0322/index.htm
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/detection/probability-breast-cancer
http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/malecircumcision/en/
Why Circumcision Lowers Risk of HIV
http://allafrica.com/stories/201308071633.html
http://www.circumcision.org/hiv.htm
http://www.jmhjournal.org/article/S1875-6867(10)00050-3/abstract
http://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/23905566/Complication_rate_after_circumcision_in_a_paediatric_surgical_setting_should_not_be_neglected_
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20851685
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16429216
http://www.readperiodicals.com/201107/2478941811.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2304793/Two-babies-stricken-HERPES-ritual-oral-blood-sucking-circumcision-New-York-City.html
http://circumcisiondecisionmaker.com/circumcision-facts
http://www.intactamerica.org/
http://www.mothersagainstcirc.org/

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