"Women Are Victims Too" & A Rant From Me

A shout out to a fellow blogger and intactivist who I have the pleasure of communicating with and with whom I share this fight against routine infant cutting.

Cathy publishes Women Are Victims Too. Here you can find stories of how circumcision affects more than just the man whose foreskin is removed.

Please take a moment and visit her blog and read the stories there.

Thinking about her idea for a blog has led me to have a series of thoughts which I'd like to share with you now, here.

Circumcision causes so much emotional damage to so many. It's time we really examined the far-reaching consequences of this "procedure" and think into the future of the man that baby boy will one day become. Circumcision will affect his sexual life as well as his wife or every partner he has, gay or straight. It is not for the parents to decide how a man's penis should be.

The missing foreskin can affect all areas of the man's life. Besides sexual, it will affect him emotionally as well. If his self-esteem is negatively impacted, it will affect how he goes through life. It's common knowledge how fond men are of their penis. Once he realizes a part of it is missing, and he can see only the scars left behind where his foreskin should be, this could potentially be very damaging to the man's psyche.

Deciding not to subject your baby to circumcision will literally help shape his life and the man he will become. What kind of lesson are you teaching a boy who is welcomed into this world only days after his birth with violence and pain? His trust is shattered. He is confused. He doesn't understand why he is experiencing this violation and he feels betrayed. These emotions can be lifelong and permanent.

These are not issues anyone should have to experience at this tender age. This is quite different than if the man chooses circumcision for himself. A man who is circumcised against his will as a baby is not anything like a grown man making a choice for himself with informed consent.

Please take a step back, away from cultural and religious pressure, and see this person for who he is and who he might become, and the right he has to a whole body and to make his own choices in life. He has the right to choose who he has sexual relations with, what religion (if any) he will follow, how he takes care of himself, where he lives, and what he does with his own body. No parent should take these choices away from their child.

Greg's Story

Circumcision is just like castration. I don't feel like my prepuce was cut off from me, I feel like I was cut off of my prepuce.

I am a guy who has been genitally mutilated and I am not okay with it, I speak out against it and I want to take charge of myself, my life, and my body when I didn't even have that right as a child, and someone else touched, fondled, mutilated, and took charge of my body physically and sexually without my consent; mutilated my body, and forcibly hacked off with full pain a functional and necessary and one of the most important parts of my body against my will and without my consent. I will never be okay with that.

I will never be okay with that.

I will always be angry, sad, and depressed. There hasn't been a day that has gone by that I haven't thought about what was done to me. There hasn't been a day that has gone by that I haven't been depressed. There hasn't been a day that has gone by that I haven't been angry that I have been mutilated. There hasn't been a day that has gone by that I haven't been upset that I have been put at risk for death, infection, have been sexually diminished to the point where sex or masturbation has become a chore, with no feeling , painful, and uncomfortable and how I have been so outraged that my sex has been stolen from me and diminished and that I may never feel what sex is truly supposed to feel like as nature intended!

You can see why men try to be so manly and hard when they have to make up for their manhood from being ripped away from them and mutilated and diminished at birth!

There has not been a day where I have not thought of putting myself out of this hell and suffering and killing myself. Do you want this for your children? They will find out the truth and could suffer just like me. Do you want your children to be depressed, angry, suicidal and turn those feelings on you? Because someone took away from me what I was born with I have to fight.

I try my best to raise money for www.foregen.org who will hopefully regenerate everything I lost to circumcision to become intact once more. I can't enjoy what I was born with and what nature gave to me, I have to fight to get back my birthright that was taken away from me. What parent wants their kids to endure this hell and probably fall to it and kill themselves?

Keep your children whole.

Here's all the research you need:

Keep your children whole and dont let them suffer like me!

~Greg, 17 yrs old

Kathleen's Story

When I was seven years old I saw my newborn cousin's bandaged penis during a diaper change. I was shocked to see such a thing and my mother nonchalantly explained to me that he had been ‘circumcised’.

My first sex partners had been cut as infants, though at the time I had never seen many penises and could not tell if they were or not at first. The first time I saw a naturally whole penis I was confused because it appeared to have no head, though now I know that it appeared this way because the penis was not erect or retracted.

When I met my spouse I didn’t notice right away that he was intact. He taught me alot about how the penis is suppose to function :) I was surprised that he didn’t spit on his hands or use lotion to pleasure himself, and that he could climax just by me simply fondling his foreskin over the head of his penis. I noticed that his foreskin provides a nice gliding action and with him I as able to experience sex the way nature intended.

We now have a son and he is whole. During pregnancy I read books about natural childbirth and midwifery. One book, Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin, contained a section about the nature of the infants penis. I learned that a baby boy's foreskin is actually fused to the head of the penis at birth and retracts slowly over the years, typically by puberty.

I will always be so grateful that I learned all I needed to know in order to protect my son from this penis cutting cycle. Despite all that I knew at that point I didn’t feel strongly about speaking out against circumcision.

I knew that other parents were allowing for their sons' circumcisions but didn’t give it much thought until I attended a pharmacy tech course. During the reproductive system module we were given a glossary list and among the words were ‘circumcision’ I knew enough that I felt strongly enough about it that as a definition for the word I put, ‘the unnecessary removal of the foreskin’ the instructor marked me correct though she was in favor of male circumcision but strongly opposed to female circumcision (aka FGM female genital mutilation). This I realized after she showed us a video on youtube of a male infant being strapped to a circumstraint and having his penis cut. It was horrendous. She then showed us another video about the genital cutting of females in Africa and most of the other females became very vocal and outraged at that point. I asked them, "Why is it wrong to do to a female but not wrong to do to a male?" I shared some information with her and she said she would ‘google’ it :) This was a turning point for me.

I researched the topic of circumcision further and I’m convinced that the more one knows about the history of it and the functions of the male prepuce (foreskin) the easier it is to be totally against it and see through the smokescreen. I decided that someone should be talking about this…what has been done to baby boys here in America is no different than what is done to females in Africa. I was so happy to learn that many people have been fighting for genital integrity of all people all over the world and I use facebook to find like minded people and do what ever I can to join them. All this has led me to this point where I share my story in hopes of helping others see what circumcision really is. It’s a violation of human rights to forcibly and non therapeutically cut and forever alter someone else’s genitals/body. Religious rights of the parents/elders should not trump the rights of the individual/child who doesn’t/can’t consent . One's religious/cultural beliefs and cosmetic/sexual preferences should end where another persons body begins. Many people agree, including many doctors and Jews. Many of the people speaking out about and working to eradicate genital mutilation worldwide include doctors who refuse to perform it, parents who regret their child's circumcision, people who resent having been cut without their knowledge/consent, people who suffer sexual dysfunction as a result of being cut/mutilated and want to ensure protection of future generations to a whole intact body as nature intended and Jews who believe that genital cutting has no place in modern Judaism.

Many myths are still being spread to perpetuate the genital mutilation practices. Let’s educate ourselves and start a new tradition of wholeness for all people worldwide. There is no excuse and thanks to the Internet the information is at our fingertips. Start by researching the functions and purpose of the prepuce and the history of circumcision.

~Kathleen P., USA

Greg's perspective

I was born on the small Caribbean island of St. Maarten (formely part of the Netherlands Antilles), in 1992. I know that my father (who was born in Indonesia) is uncut, so I presume that's why I am too. At the age of 15, I moved to Tampa, Florida. That's the boring, background part of the story.

Fast forward to age 17, it's the summer after senior year of high school. Me and 6 guy friends go camping, and bring a lot of beer. During a game of "Never have I ever", I said "Never have I ever been circumcised." The general reaction was "Ohhhhh gross!!!" or "Weird!". Anyway, it becomes sort of a running joke to tell everyone (even girls who haven't seen it) that I am in possession of a foreskin. This doesn't bother me, because I think it's funny.

But ever since, I get comments from friends and people like "Why not just get it cut off?" and "In America, you should be circumcised." While these comments don't actually bother me, it made me realize a general undertone of non-acceptance. So I started a fan page on Facebook for Foreskins, and I generally post things that aren't very serious on it.

I do believe however, that a mutilation like this should be a man's choice. If, for whatever reason, he decides that he no longer wants a foreskin, he can undertake the simple procedure to remove it. It is unfair to force this on an infant who has no say in the matter, and will be affected by this non-reversible procedure for the rest of his life. That's why I say I'm Pro-Skin-Choice. I don't have any kids yet at the age of 19, but when I do, whether or not they get circumcised is a descision they can make later in life.

~Greg Rumeser

Greg can be found on facebook where he has a group that uses humor to help people accept foreskins as a natural part of the body.

His body, his choice

A real conversation with comments right from a man who was circumcised at birth. The sense of loss in his emotional words is quite moving.

Another example of why the rule should always be followed:


An intact man's comments.

I got a note in email the other day and thought it would be interesting to share the point of view from intact men as well. Here is the first I got and I will post more as they come in.

40 years ago, I worked in PA. After each shift, we had 20 minutes to shower and change clothes. And that's how I discovered that in the real America, circ was unknown before WWII, but was almost universal among Baby Boomers like me. Every guy in my shop over 35 was intact, and only two guys younger than that were, me being one of them.

What happened during WWII? Medical insurance became a standard work benefit. In those days, health insurance paid for baby circ without question. Also, military docs thought that being intact made it much more likely that a soldier would catch VD from a sex worker. They also thought that having foreskin often caused problems when fighting in a desert or jungle. The views of the military carried enormous weight in those days.

In high school locker rooms in my town and at the Y, and in pool locker rooms in summer, I saw all of one intact boy. The boys I grew up with were a potty mouthed lot, but one sexual subject they never touched on was foreskin and circ. I very much doubt that most of them knew that their johnsons had been surgically altered. Those of who went on to attend better colleges began talking about it a bit when we were in college.

I was surprised to discover in the 1980s, by reading Rosemary Romberg, that there were American men who were very unhappy about their RICs. I was even more surprised to read, starting in the 1990s, that RIC can have deleterious consequences for the pleasure and functionality of both genders. American intactivism is, in my opinion, a social consequence of the internet and of the rise of sex positive feminism. It is also surprising that nearly all of the passion and leadership in this cause comes from married mothers like yourself.

Why did tens of millions of mothers in the English speaking countries, starting as far back as the 1880s, see nothing to get fussed about, or saw it as positively good? The fact that RIC was done without anesthesia was not a hidden Secret of the Temple. It was freely admitted in most of what I read about sex and baby care from 1965 onwards. Nobody was grossed out by the screaming boys until the 1980s!!

My French mother refused to have me circumcised. When her American mother in law said that she was thinking of having it done without my mother's consent, my mother replied saying that if I were circumcised without her consent, her marriage to my father was history. This was in 1949.

When the history of American sexuality is written, the 20th century obsession to make the penis bald will look very very bad.

Violated: A Baby Boy's Point of View

Something to think about. If babies could use language, this is what they might be thinking.

I just learned this was published on drmomma.org back in January. I feel I need to give credit there because I wasn't aware at first where it came from.


A warm and tight embrace,
keeps me sheltered in this room.
My safe and secure nest,
I know this is your womb.

I feel the surges pushing me,
and I meet a cold harsh light.
Then suddenly I'm in your arms,
and everything's all right.

Warm and sweet milky life
,given to me with love,
Then something firm snatches me,
a hand covered by glove.

Laid on a cot, I'm wheeled away.
Where could I be going?
Am I going to be okay?
I'm pushed through the doors not knowing.
There's the same harsh light again,
blinding my sensitive new eyes.
The door is shut, just me and them,
will anyone hear my cries?

My arms and legs strapped to a board,
I'm struggling just to move.
My clothing from the waist down,
is all that they remove.

My eyes bulge with fear,
I gasp, scream, and cry.
Why won't you help me, mommy?
I'm afraid that I may die!

I wonder where in the world you are,
while my confused head spins.
Its YOUR job to keep me safe.
But, too late. It begins.

A cold liquid poured upon
my most sensitive spot.
Then a sharp needle enters me,
burning icy hot.

Then I go numb,
body and mind.
I ignore them while
they cut and grind.

Finally they finish,
but I don't care.
I have no clue
how long I was there.

Returned to you now,
you smile at me so kind.
"Did it hurt him at all?"
"No! He didn't mind."

I can't help but feel
that I lost a part of me.
How can I go on
when I'm not who I used to be?

So I eat and I sleep,
resting long to recover.
But I no longer feel safe
in the arms of my own mother.

What if they come back
and decide to hurt me again?
Every burning urination
is a reminder of what happened then.

Time goes by,
I've healed from my trauma.
I'm growing everyday,
I can even say "mama!" I live a normal life,
though I am NOT the same,
but what can I do?
And who can I blame?

I can only keep living
and seek no retaliation.
I accept my life as normal,
and forget my mutilation.

live a joyful life,
grow up happily,
and in the process I forget,
all that was stolen from me.

(Jessica Davis Olivera)

Nathan's Story

As a man I feel that I have been wronged because I wasn't born with birth defect; I was born with a healthy, harmless prepuce, AKA a foreskin. The medical staff of Loris Community Hospital of S.C., instead of recognizing my body anatomy, violently violated me by tying me down spreadeagle, then proceeded to rip the most sensitive part of my entire body from the head of my penis and then cut it off.

I feel so angry and hurt because they had no respect for me and betrayed the oath to do no harm to their patient, and because in the eyes of the law I'm considered less important than a woman, as just pricking a girl or woman's genitals is considered genital mutilation even for religious or cultural reasons. When I masturbate or have sex I don't feel any pleasure from the glans I only feel some pleasure from my frenulum and I always feel the need to rush because ejaculating is only real source of intense pleasure I get. I would do anything to get back what was stolen from me and until I do I will grieve and suffer while working to prevent others from having to endure suffering like I have.

~Nathan Pannell

Frank's story

I was circumcised as a days old infant. As far as anyone knew, I had a perfectly normal circumcision with no problems but I knew better. I had stitch tunnels, tube type features in my remnant foreskin. These would fill with something my body produced and looked like enormous blackheads. They eventually went away when I was in my early 40's thank goodness! I also had a skin tag that would become irritated during sex and would hurt terribly afterwards. Foreskin restoration eventually cured this problem. The last time I remembered this irritation happening was after having sex about 10 PM one night and I was in so much pain, I couldn't get to sleep until 5 AM. I had to get up 2 hours later to go to work. The next day was misery and I had to fight off sleep all day. All because somebody didn't like the way my penis looked when I was born.

~Frank O'Hara

Rosemary Romberg's Personal Story

Circumcision: My Own Story
by Rosemary Romberg

(originally published in Mothering Magazine, No. 22, Winter 1982, p. 34-39.)

When children are born and people grow up in this world, we expect each individual to keep all parts of his or her body. All people have hands and feet, fingers and toes, noses and ears. People are unquestionably accorded that basic right. Most people would be aghast at the idea that any individual should be unwittingly deprived of any part of his or her body. People without their expected body parts are usually regarded as unusual.Our feelings toward tiny babies inspire emotions of tenderness and protection. Babies are to cuddle and hold, to he kept secure in their parents' arms. Babies should nurse (preferably) at their mother's breast and sleep peacefully, safe and secure from any harm. Parents want to protect their infants from any unnecessary pain, discomfort, or unhappiness. The idea of cutting, pinching, or tearing the baby's skin, of injuring that baby, causing him to experience pain, crying, or bleeding, is totally against what most parents want for their infants.In the United States people make one glaring exception to these "rules" in that the foreskin of the penis of most newborn baby boys is routinely amputated shortly after birth.

Most American baby boys undergo the following procedure The infant is placed on his back in a plastic "Circumstraint" tray where his arms and legs are strapped down. Paper drapes are then placed over him with a hole where his penis is exposed. A hemostat is applied to the tip of the foreskin to crush it and then a slit is made to enlarge it. The operator then takes a small instrument and goes inside to free the foreskin from the glans of the penis - essentially tearing one layer of skin away from another since at birth the foreskin is normally adhered to the glans.

A small protective "bell" is placed over the glans and under the foreskin. By one method a metal clamp is placed over the foreskin and left in place for several minutes. Then the foreskin is cut off and the clamp removed. By another method a string is tied tightly over the foreskin and the plastic bell. Then some of the foreskin in front of the string is trimmed away. The handle of the bell is removed and the ring of plastic remains in place around the end of the penis. The remaining foreskin atrophies (dries up) within approximately one week and the plastic ring then falls off.

In most cases this is done to the infant without anesthesia, although when the same operation is performed on an older child or an adult it is considered painful enough to warrant an anesthetic.

As an American middle class woman I had always thought penises were supposed to look a
certain way with the exposed rounded "head" at the end. It never occurred to me that anything had been changed or cut off to make them appear that way. As far as I knew males were born with penises that looked like that. I had heard of the term ''circumcision" and knew vaguely that it had something to do with the penis and that the Bible said some things about it. However, this was something that I never questioned, thought about, or really understood.I am a person who seeks to educate and prepare myself for every experience in whatever way possible. Therefore in 1972, when my husband and I were expecting our first child, I read books, asked questions, watched films, and attended classes in natural childbirth. I believed that I knew everything that I needed to know about pregnancy, birth, and care of the new baby.

I gave birth to our first child, a son, by the Lamaze method, and successfully nursed him. However, I gave birth in a "traditional" hospital in which the baby was separated from me, kept in a central nursery, and brought to me on a four hour feeding schedule. Therefore I had little knowledge or control over what was being done to my baby.

When the baby and I came home and I first began changing his diapers, I found that he too had a penis in the style and shape to which I was culturally accustomed, with the rounded glans exposed. The end of the baby’s penis was bright red for the first few days, but soon healed. The baby screamed every time his diaper was changed. Being a naive new mother, I had no idea why diaper changing upset him so much. Perhaps all babies did that. I never gave the appearance of my baby’s penis any concern.Shortly after our baby’s birth I became a childbirth instructor and soon enjoyed the challenges and rewards of educating other expectant parents about pregnancy, birth and infant care.Two and a half years later, in 1974, our second son was born in another hospital, again by the Lamaze method. This birth experience included several "progressive" practices such as "rooming in." I was also more aware of the baby undergoing circumcision. The morning following his birth the doctor came by, took the baby to another room where he cut off his foreskin and brought him back to me about 15 minutes later. Although I expected that the procedure would be painful for the baby it never occurred to me not to have it done. This baby also now had a penis in the style which seemed "normal" to me. The new baby's penis healed within a few days and I forgot about it.

Two years later after our second son's birth I again became pregnant. During this time I underwent a tremendous amount of change in my thinking about what I wanted for this birth and baby. We made the unconventional and daring (for that time and place) decision to go
outside the traditional medical system, seek the services of a lay midwife and give birth at home. I was intrigued with Dr. Frederick Leboyer's philosophy of Birth Without Violence and wanted to use some of these practices for our baby's birth. I read that the baby who is welcomed into the world in this manner is calmer and more peaceful than the baby who is born to conventional
bright lights, loud noises and rough handling. Our first two sons were fussy and cried a great deal as new babies so I was very much interested in trying a different approach for our new baby's birth.

We made plans to use only dim lighting when our baby was born. We would hold massage and speak softly to our new baby and welcome him into the world with gentleness and love. We would delay the clamping of the umbilical cord. No silver nitrate or other chemicals would be placed in the baby's eyes .

During this time I also took additional training as a childbirth instructor in preparation for teaching more technical classes for people planning home births. I did extensive studying in many areas of obstetrics and newborn care. I considered myself more educated and knowledgeable about all aspects of pregnancy birth and baby care than most new parents.
The idea occurred to me that if our new baby was a boy, perhaps he should not be circumcised. However, I knew practically nothing about it . None of our doctors ever gave us any information about the operation - pros, cons, why or how it was done. Although mothers regularly discuss at length all aspects of pregnancy, birth, and infant care, I had rarely heard anyone else talk about circumcision. While I regularly discussed in detail such things as nutrition, breastfeeding,
exercises, breathing techniques, and postpartum care in my Lamaze classes, it never occurred to me to discuss circumcision. Despite my extensive knowledge in many other areas, and my wholehearted desire to do the very best for my children, my awareness of circumcision consisted of nothing more than a basic concept that that was the way that penises were "supposed" to look and a vague idea that it was somehow supposed to be cleaner.

Early one morning in April of 1977, our third little son came into the world in the peace and comfort of our home. He coughed, sputtered, then breathed quietly as he emerged into dim light and was placed on my tummy to be massaged, comforted, and held close to me. Babies do not have to do a lot of screaming to announce their arrival into the world. There is a profound difference in the experience of birth and the nature of the baby when he is welcomed into the world in this manner. During the next few days our new son nursed contentedly, slept peacefully, and rarely cried. He had a peacefulness and serenity that I had never known with my first two babies - something very special and rare.Another thing that was different about this baby was that he had a penis that was straight and long, coming to a point at the end. While I had always thought that intact penises looked "strange", this baby's penis seemed normal and natural the way it was. The first few days of our new baby's life were peaceful and joyous and our new little son was whole and perfect.

What incomprehensible force brought me from this beautiful, untraumatized birth at home to a strange doctor's office one week later - sitting there frightened and reluctant, holding my
sleeping, peacefully trusting newborn infant? "He shouldn't be different from his brothers or father." "I'm afraid he'll have problems." "Our relatives would object if we didn't have it done." All these thoughts went through my head, while all the while I wanted so much to protect my baby from any harm .

My husband and I found ourselves relinquishing our baby and leaving the building. When we returned about 15 minutes later the office was filled with our baby's screams! I found our precious baby on the doctor's operating table with a penis that was cut, raw and bright red! I remembered his brothers' penises looking that way, but while they, to me, seemed to have been "born that way", this baby had definitely been injured, damaged, and traumatized! My maternal protective instincts had been violated! I immediately held and nursed him, trying to relieve his pitiful screams. Soon he mercifully fell asleep and I took him home.

I felt like I had brought home a different baby. His tense, agonized little body reminded me of the way his brothers had been as newborns. Within a few days the redness around the end of his penis healed. But this time I was not about to forget! The trauma and torture that was inflicted upon this tiny, helpless little being was to come back and haunt me again and again. From this sprang my quest to do extensive research for my book Circumcision: The Painful Dilemma which was published in 1985 by Bergin & Garvey, S. Hadley, MA.As emotionally difficult as my own baby’s circumcision was, I still began my research with a
neutral stand on the subject. My sole concern was that the operation was so painful for a baby. My American middle class upbringing had led me to believe that circumcision conferred a number of health benefits on the individual. As a result of my research I have become opposed to infant circumcision. None of the popular myths about circumcision are valid. The startling facts I have unearthed all stack up overwhelmingly against the operation.The practice of male genital mutilation – of drawing blood from, causing pain to, and changing the appearance of the penis find its origins in prehistoric times. It is not known where, how, why, or with what group of people the practice began. Several possible explanations have been offered as reasons for circumcision. Among these are blood sacrifice, an initiation rite in which it was a test of torture and pain by which young boys “became men”, a fertility ritual, a means of subjection to torture and humiliation on conquered enemies and slaves, a means of “purification” that accompanied shaving of all body hair, a means of diminishing sexual desires, and an
expression of envy of the female menstrual process. For some peoples what has been labeled as “circumcision” actually consisted of a gashing of the foreskin rather than a complete amputation as we know it today. It is clear that explanations such as "cleanliness" or "cosmetic value" had nothing to do with the operation’s primitive origins. Female circumcision, which is repugnant to the Western mind, but is still practiced in other parts of the world, originated in much the same manner as did male genital mutilation. Rarely has circumcision been the personal choice of the individual. However, with the exception of the Jewish culture/religion and the present day American medical profession, extremely few peoples have ever performed circumcisions on babies. (1., 2., 3.)In Western society, since the time of early Christianity when St. Paul declared circumcision unnecessary to conversion to the Christian faith, it was rare for non-Jewish people to be circumcised until the late 1800’s. The practice, as an American medical fad arose out of the anti-masturbation hysteria of the Victorian era. (4., 5., 6.) People feared that if a boy had his foreskin he would learn to masturbate while washing his penis. At that time it was believed that masturbation led to insanity. Today most people accept the fact that masturbation is physically harmless and that circumcised individuals certainly do masturbate. Yet American parents continue to accept the operation as appropriate for their infant sons, knowing little or nothing as to why or how the practice originated.During the 1920’s and 30’s many article appeared in American medical publications advocating infant circumcision on the grounds that lack of foreskin would somehow prevent cancer of the penis and the female uterine cervix. Since the rates of these diseases are low among Jewish and Moslem people, both of whom practice male circumcision, many authorities concluded that circumcision must prevent these diseases. However, upon comparing the rates of penile cancer among America’s (mostly circumcised) and Europe’s (nearly entirely intact) males, one find that the rates of this disease in Europe are as low or lower than in the United States. (7.) Among
American non-Jewish women, when comparing those married to circumcised men and those with intact husbands, studies have found no differences in the rates of cancer of the cervix. (8., 9.,) Clearly other significant factors are related to both of these diseases and circumcision is not justified as a cancer preventative.

There have been many astonishing and tragic complications of the operation. Infants have hemorrhaged and developed severe infections of the circumcision wound. Plastic surgery has been required when too much skin was removed or the glans or penile shaft was accidentally damaged. Occasionally troublesome cysts, fistulas, and keloid formations have developed at the site of the circumcision wound. (10., 11., 12., 13., & 14.) There are documented cases of infants who were born male but were raised as females as a result of total loss of the penis due to complications of circumcision. (15.)The most common complication of circumcision is called meatal ulceration. The exposed glans, without protective foreskin, develops painful urine burns from contact with wet diapers. (16., 17., 18.) My own sons had this problem. Our doctors never advised us that this was a complication of circumcision. Probably they did not know this.
Many people choose not to believe that the newborn infant feels any pain when his foreskin is smashed, slit, torn back from the glans, clamped and cut off. Circumcision, in its primitive origins, was often deliberately intended to be a means of torture and a test of endurance in adolescent initiation rites.We think of' that as Barbaric, yet regularly do the same thing to babies. There have been no documented studies to support the popular assumption that babies have little or no feelings. Curiously, the earliest modern writings on infant circumcision, those that appeared in medical publications around the beginning of the 20th century, were full of concern for the feelings of the helpless infant. (19., 20.) The belief that infants feel no pain came about years later during the 1920's, 30's, and 40's, during an era that advocated bottle feeding instead of nursing, rigid schedules, separation from mother and baby following birth, and rigid toilet training. Parents were warned not to rock, hold, or cuddle their babies for fear that they would "spoil" them. Popular attitudes and practices during that time totally ignored the baby's feelings and needs in many different areas.Recent scientifically controlled studies on the reactions of newborns to being circumcised have revealed that the infant characteristically lapses into a deep, "semi-coma", non-rapid-eye movement type of sleep which is an abnormal sleep pattern for newborn infants. This is clearly a stress-withdrawal reaction. (21.) Because some babies do not cry out in response to being circumcised, but instead lapse into this deep sleep, some observers have falsely believed that the operation is not painful for infants.Another study, attempting to evaluate gender differences among newborn infants, found that boy babies were generally fussier and more restless than baby girls. However, it was found that the greater fussiness on the part of the baby boys was due to recent circumcision - not gender. When the study was repeated, using only non-circumcised newborn boys, no behavioral differences between girl and boy babies were found. (22.)

Today, many American parents and doctors are becoming aware of these facts. There is a growing trend against choosing infant circumcision, which is following the recent trend towards natural childbirth and breastfeeding. Many parents do not wish to have their infants experience such a painful ordeal as circumcision. Also there is a growing acceptance of the fact that the body is designed correctly as it normally comes into the world and does not need to be surgically made different. Another facet of the issue is that of individual human rights. Many are questioning the ethics of altering another person’s body in this manner without his permission, especially in the absence of medical and even religious indications. Many parents are realizing that their child’s foreskin is rightfully his, and by consenting to circumcision they are causing the destruction of a valuable and useful part of his body. Parents should be aware that there are a substantial
number of men who do resent the fact that a part of their body was cut off and that they had no say in the matter .

Some parents still do choose circumcision for their infant sons. Usually these reasons are vague and uninformed. Many have accepted it as an automatic medical procedure when giving birth in a hospital or have believed that they had to have it done. Some believe that circumcision is important for cleanliness just as people in other countries believe that female circumcision somehow makes women cleaner. Some people are turned off when they hear that smegma collects under the foreskin and must be washed away. However, smegma is the same substance that collects on the genitals of women and girls and normally gets washed away on a
regular basis. In our society we have running water and bathing facilities unparalleled to any other time or place in history. Like all other body parts, cleanliness of the intact penis is not difficult or complicated. In contrast to the myriad dirty diapers, runny noses and spit up that all parents must attend to regularly, care of the baby’s penis is an extremely minor concern.Some parents worry that their son will be "different" from other boys if he is not circumcised, or feel that he should "match" his already circumcised father or older brother(s). However, with the growing trend to choose against circumcision, the intact boy born today should have plenty of peers who also have foreskins. Many intact males have enjoyed their "individuality." There are many families in which the father and son or different brothers "don't match." This does not appear to cause problems within the family.Some parents fear that if their infant son is not circumcised he may have to have it done at a later age. Many people believe that the operation is more painful for someone who is older than it is for an infant. This belief is unfounded, and the likelihood that he will have to undergo circumcision for a medical reason is small. Undoubtedly some doctors prescribe circumcision for problems that can and should be corrected by less drastic means. Newborn babies do heal rapidly and do not normally require stitches for circumcision. However, older children and adults are given anesthesia for the operation, and most importantly are able to understand what is being done to their bodies. If a boy or man chooses circumcision because he would simply rather be that way, then it is his body and he has made that decision for himself. Therefore, although he will certainly experience soreness, the operation should not be emotionally traumatic.

Certainly people's religious beliefs must be respected. The majority of devout Jewish people believe that circumcision of their infant sons is an expression of their "covenant with God." Yet today even many Jewish people question this aspect of their faith, considering it merely a tradition, or like the other American parents, merely accept it as a medical procedure. There are Jewish parents who have chosen to leave their sons intact.

Many people, doctors included, do not understand the normal development and correct care of the infant's foreskin. We have been led to believe that circumcision is "cleaner" and therefore believe that the care of the intact child's penis is very difficult and complicated. Frequently doctors forcefully retract the infant's foreskin during the hospital stay or at one of the baby's office visits. Parents are sometimes instructed to retract and clean under the baby's foreskin
every day. This practice is more traumatic to the baby than circumcision (since circumcision happens only once) and is what causes such problems as infections, phimosis (foreskin attached
to the glans of the penis) and paraphimosis (foreskin retracted and cannot be replaced). We are having to be educated to leave the normally tight and non-retractable foreskin of the infant alone until it gradually loosens of its own accord which can take up to three or four years. (23., 24,)

In 1980 I became pregnant with our fourth child. This time, based on my learning through all of my research, there was absolutely no question that if this child were a boy, he would keep his
foreskin. In January of 1981 our daughter was born. Today as I care for my baby girl who is so sweet, pretty, and perfect, the idea of anyone cutting up her genitals, making her bleed, or hurting her in any way is totally repugnant to me! I am thankful that our society has not developed any medical fads that cause pain and anguish to baby girls! Perhaps some day soon American people will accord that same protection and respect to our boy babies as well.

- - - - - - - -
Update: In 1985 I gave birth to our fifth child and fourth son. He has been left intact. Even I, after years of research, activism, and writing my book, was surprised to learn how ridiculously simple the whole matter truly is. Correct care of an intact son requires virtually no thought or action at all.

When Kevin was four I gave birth to our sixth and last child, another daughter. Why this baby did not have a penis required considerable explanation to a perplexed four year old boy.

When he was 7 years old I explained to him what circumcision was all about and why his penis was different from his Daddy’s and his brothers’. (He had never asked about it, and I don’t think he had ever even noticed.) As opposed as I now am to circumcision, I left open the option for my son that he could have the operation done if he felt that he wanted to "match" the other males in our family. As I was telling him how some guys have the foreskin cut off, Kevin’s face took on a horrified, frightened expression! His eyes grew big and his hands were cupped over his genitals as he shouted emphatically: "No!! That is NEVER going to happen to ME!!!"

As of this writing (2000) my son is a teenager. He could not care less what anyone else’s penis looks like. Although he is facing all the usual teenaged "crises" right now, the matter of foreskins or the lack of them is a total "non-issue" for him.

1. Bryk. Felix
Sex and Circumcision: A Study of Phallic Worship and Mutilation in
Men and Women Brandon House, North Hollywood, CA., c. 19672. Loeb. E.M.
"The Blood Sacrifice Complex"
American Anthropological Association Memoirs, 30, p. 3-40 .
3. Bettelheim, Bruno
"Symbolic Wounds" p. 230-240.
from Reader in Comparative ReligionLessa, William A., & Vogt, Evon Z.
Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 2nd Ed., c. 1965
4. Remondino, P.C.
History of Circumcision from Earliest Times to the Present
Ams Press, New York, c. 1974
(original ed.) F.A. Davis Co. 1891
5. Marcus, Irwin M., M.D., & Francis, John J., M.D.
Masturbation: >From Infancy to Senescence
National Universities Press, Inc., N.Y. c. 1975,Ch. 16, "Authority and Masturbation", p. 381-409,
by Spitz, Rene A., M.D.
6. Barker-Benfield, G.J.
The Horrors of the Half Known Life
Harper Colophon Books, New York, c. 1976.
7. Persky, Lester, M.D.
"Epidemiology of Cancer of the Penis"
Recent Results of Cancer Research, Berlin, l977, p. 97-109.
8. Aitken-Swan, Jean, & Baird, D.
"Circumcision and Cancer of the Cervix"British Journal of Cancer, Vol. 19, No 2, June 1965, p. 2 1 7-227 .
9. Terris. Milton, M.D.; Wilson, Fitzpatrick, M.D., & Nelson, James H., Jr.,
"Relation of Circumcision to Cancer of' the Cervix "
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 117, No. 8,
Dec. 15, 1973, p. 1056-1066
10. Gee, William F., M.D. & Ansell, Julian S., M.D.
"Neonatal Circumcision: A Ten-Year Overview: With Comparison of the
Gomco Clamp and the Plastibell Device."
Pediatrics, Vol. 58, 1976, p. 824-827.11. Grimes, David A., M.D.
"Routine Circumcision of the Newborn Infant; A Reappraisal"
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 130, No. 2,
Jan. 15, 1978, p. 125-129.
12. Kaplan, George W., M.D.
"Circumcision - An Overview"
Current Problems in Pediatrics, Year Book Medical Publishers, Inc.,
Chicago, IL.,
Vol. 7, No. 5, March 1977.13. Limaye, Ramesh D., M.D. & Hancock, Reginald A., M .D.
"Penile Urethral Fistula as a Complication of Circumcision "
The Journal of Pediatrics, Vol. 72, No. 1, Jan. 1968, p. 105-106.
14. Shulman, J., M.D., Ben-Hur, N., M.D.; & Neuman, Z., M.D. (Israel)
"Surgical Complications of Circumcision"
American Journal of Diseases of Children, Vol. 107,
Feb. 1961, p. 149-154.
15. Money, John, Ph.D.
"Ablatio Penis, Normal Male Infant Sex-Reassigned as a Girl" *Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 4, No. 1, 1975, p. 65-71 .
(*The full story of this experience is related in detail in the recently published book:
Colapinto, John
As Nature Made Him
HarperCollins Publishers, NY., c. 2000.)
16. Mackenzie, A. Ranald, M.D.
"Meatal Ulceration Following Neonatal Circumcision"
Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 28, No. 2, August 1966, p. 221-223.
17. Freud, Paul, M.D.
The Ulcerated Urethral Meatus in Male Children"The Journal of Pediatrics, Vol. 31, No. 2, August 1947, p.131-141.
18. Brennemann, Joseph, M.D.
"The Ulcerated Meatus in the Circumcised Child"
American Journal of Diseases of Children, Vol. 21, l920, p. 38-47.
19 . DeLee, Joseph B., A.M ., M.D .
Obstetrics for Nurses
W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, PA., 7th ed. 1924, (1st ed. 1901 )
p. 436-440.20. Valentine, Ferd C., M.D.
"Surgical Circumcision"
Journal A.M.A., March 16, 1901, p. 712-713.
21. Emde, Robert N., M.D.; Harmon, Robert J., M.D.; Metcalf,
David, M.D.; Koenig, Kenneth L., M.D.; & Wagonfield, Samuel, M.D.
"Stress and Neonatal Sleep"
Psychosomatic Medicine, Vol. 33, No. 6, Nov.-Dec. 1971, p. 491-497.
22. Richards, M.P.M.; Bernal, J.F.; & Brackbill, Yvonne
"Early Behavioral Differences: Gender or Circumcision?"
Developmental Psychobiology, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1976, p. 89-95 .23. Gairdner, Douglas, M.D.
"The Fate of the Foreskin - A Study of Circumcision"
British Medical Journal, Dec. 24, 1949, p. 1433-1437.
24. Reichelderfer, Thomas E., M.D. & Fraga, Juan R., M.D.
reprint from Care of the Well Baby
by Shepard, Kenneth S., M.D. (ed.)
J.B. Lippencott Co., 1968, p. 10.

Lawn's Story

The following was written by Lawn Griffiths and the quote is pasted here by me with his permission:

"I'm 65, and I can remember back to being a teen and resenting circumcision. It was like I was missing the moving parts. I was totally exposed and could do nothing about it. As I investigated what had been imposed on me, I recognized I was a victim of quack medicine, bogus research, and doctors who heartlessly perpetuated a practice they touted as being beneficial. In fact, I learned 20,000 nerve endings were gone, the ridge bands and an entire protective sheath that had an integral part of the mechanics of sex. Beyond being deprived of that structure, I was, and have been, astounded by the cavalier attitudes of so many people who seem oblivious to the notion of human rights, self-determination, wholeness and genital integrity. I could never understand a nurturing, loving parent unable to instinctively protect their baby boy from the intrusion that is circumcision. Obviously when our son was born in 1975 and our grandsons in 2009, they were left intact. I take pride in the non-perpetuation of such a practice in my family. When I restored by foreskin, starting in 1995, I recognized what had been take from me. It only further convinced me that Americans have particularly been duped by the circumcision industry. I never regained what was taken from me for $10 (I have the hospital receipt). I'd give $10,000 for my foreskin back."

Lawn, thank you so much for sharing your point of view.

Lawn's blog can be found HERE.

My Son's Story

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