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New Team Member Marshall

New Team Member Marshall

Please join me in welcoming the newest member of our intactivist blog team, who joins us as a writer.

Marshall is a new intactivist, beginning in mid-April 2011. He is a health-sciences researcher, meaning that he designs biomedical research projects, analyzes the data, and publishes the findings. He has edited a medical journal and published dozens of data-based and review articles in respected journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and

Blog News May 2011

Just a few announcements / updates for all the readers of

After getting a suggestion from a reader who asked me to look into adding some widgets, the blog now has two new tools available.

A translate option (powered by Google) so that people from around the world can read our message...

as well as a box you can type questions regarding circumcision, intactivism, and restoring. If I don't know the answer, I will do my very best to get it for you!

Please don't hesitate to take advantage of the two new tools available for readers and hopefully these changes will encourage more readers to come here.

We also have a new contributing author who has just joined us. Please look out in the next few days for his bio to be posted.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to say I'm grateful for all the readers and all the links posted all over the internet. I've met some really fantastic people on this journey and look forward to working with more intactivists! Thank you for supporting our efforts!

Blog Glitch

Apologies to the email subscribers for the multiple posts this morning. We've worked out the issue. We apologize for the glitch. :-)

Keratinization and Circumcision Status

Keratinization and Circumcision Status

Please realize this post is recognized as "Not Safe For Work", or if you have minor children standing behind you. Only scroll down if you are able to view graphic photographs of the male anatomy. This is NOT porn.

Illustration 1, above. The intact penis of a 71 year old Caucausian male pictured above shows preservation of child-like thin, smooth, and shiny purple glans surface tissue substantially unlike shaft skin on the same penis.

Illustration 2, above. The circumcised penis of a 40 year old Caucasian male pictured above shows keratinization in the change of glans surface tissue to rougher, pink, normal body skin similar to shaft skin on the same penis.

The bullet (Illustration 1) and helmet (Illustration 2) shaped glans of the models are two normal variations in glans shape unrelated to circumcision status. It was intended to show the models in substantively the same state of tumescence for fair comparison.

Keratinization: Etiology and Relationship to Age

Etiology — The glans (head) of the penis is a genital structure that is normally protected from external contact by the foreskin of the natural penis. When the penis is modified by amputation of the foreskin, then this natural protection is lost and a process called keratinization proceeds to protect the delicate glans surface tissue from drying and the abrasion of the external environment. In other words, the normally delicate and smooth glans external membrane becomes calloused, or keratinized.

Relationship to Age — Although keratinization is an expected age-related change in the circumcised penis, it is not a manifestation of normal aging in the intact penis, as shown in the illustrations above. We document this fact using men of substantially different ages and opposite circumcision status as models. There is no evidence of keratinization in the 71 year old intact penis, and obvious keratinization in the 40 year old circumcised penis.

Effects of Keratinization

Delayed Clinical Presentation — Although the adaptation of glans surface tissue to exposure to the external environment necessarily begins soon after the trauma of circumcision, the process of keratinization progresses for decades and is rarely, if ever, seen as a source of presenting complaints by the OB-GYN or pediatrician who performs the circumcision surgery.

Loss of Glans Sensitivity — However, there are clinical problems due to keratinization that present long after childhood. This is because in protecting the unnaturally exposed glans, keratinization decreases its sensitivity. Research has documented that many different areas of the intact penis are more sensitive than the most sensitive area of the circumcised penis – which is the circumcision scar itself (see Sorrells, M, et al, ‘Fine touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis.’ The full text of this scientific publicatio­n is available: http://www­.nocirc.or­g/touch-te­st/touchte­st.php ). Thus, there is no question that the glans of the circumcised penis is a less sensitive structure than that of the intact penis.

Sex Partner Complaints — Not only has decreased glans sensitivity been associated with complaints of decreased sexual pleasure in men, their partners also suffer consequences of circumcisions. Anecdotal evidence includes complaints of pounding sex, dry unpleasant sex, and vaginal abrasion or lesions that are commonly heard from older women sex partners of circumcised men. The etiology of these complaints involves loss of penis sheath mobility and loss of glans sensitivity in the circumcised penis.

Erectile Dysfunction — Decreased glans sensitivity has also been associated with erectile dysfunction (ED). Men have complained that sexual stimulation during intercourse has been insufficient for them to maintain an erection firm enough for coitus, and have sought relief through the use of prescription medications for treatment of ED.

Foreskin Restoration

The National Organization of Restoring Men (NORM) lists more than 16 physical attributes of the foreskin and adjacent structures, including the frenulum, that are commonly destroyed by circumcision (The “Lost List”: ). Among those that NORM considers restorable are glans color and texture, which is a restoration result that reverses keratinization. Thus, NORM cites foreskin restoration results that “… closely mirror natural glans coloration and smooth glossy appearance of the glans seen in intact men.’ In conjunction with this reversal of keratinization, the gliding action of the skin sheath of the penis, which is lost in the circumcised penis and is consequently a common source of sex partner complaints, can be regained as one of the primary benefits of foreskin restoration, providing “… greater levels of comfort and pleasure during intercourse.” For ongoing discussion of foreskin restoration please see and .

Religiously Compelling

This blog's purpose is not to debate religion, but I realize that many are still circumcising because they believe their religion demands it. I would be remiss if I didn't at least offer the information for you to do your own research. Please keep in mind I am not an expert on religion so therefore will not be able to answer questions that are sent in on this subject. Therefore I am providing the following links to direct you to people who know way more than I do on the subject.

The case against Jews circumcising. Also for Jewish, watch the film Cut.

More reading material here:

Breaking News: Santa Monica

A proposal for a ban on circumcision is now filed in Santa Monica.

Quote from a Cut Male

Came across this quote today from a male in the United States who was cut at an age that he remembers his circumcision:


One Baby's Experience

One Baby's Experience

The following pictures were taken from a slide series depicting a routine circumcision of a newborn infant within a typical hospital nursery setting. These pictures were originally published in the December 1981 issue of The Saturday Evening Post and were provided by The Curtis Publishing Company (subsidiary of The Saturday Evening Post). The accompanying text was written by Rosemary Romberg.

If you can't view these images, check/adjust your Firewall, Popup Stoppers and/or Security Settings.

1.These first two pictures are most important because we must remember that this baby, and every baby, does have a mother (and, of course, a father too). New parents are usually nave and trusting of the medical establishment when they go to the hospital to give birth. They may be overwhelmed by unfamiliar and frightening procedures and equipment. Amidst the emotional upheaval and physical challenge of labor and impending birth, parents often face a bombardment of admittance procedures upon entering the hospital. In this state of excitement and confusion, parents frequently sign circumcision consent forms with scarcely any thought. (In the past many babies were routinely circumcised without any parental consent.) Some medical professionals urge reluctant parents to agree to this operation. Others blindly accept this as one more "cog" in the hospital machinery, and give advice that is vague and neutral at best.

Parents may have heard the long disproven associations of circumcision with disease prevention or cleanliness. A circumcised father may have the idea that his sons penis should "match" his own.

2. It is important to remember that new parents do love their babies and sincerely want to do what is best for them. But usually they know very little about hospital procedures and are shielded from what goes on behind the scenes. Certainly if more parents were shown exactly what will happen to their infants if they undergo circumcision, more parents would think twice about choosing this painful and unnecessary operation.
Some viewers may object that pictures of infant circumcision are "too horrible for parents to see." Again, as I have repeatedly emphasized elsewhere, if infant circumcision is too horrible for adults to see, then it should also be too horrible for babies to experience! Who is it most important that we protect?

3. In this picture the baby is sleeping peacefully in his crib in the hospital nursery, blissfully unaware of the trauma that he will soon experience.

4. This picture also shows him sleeping peacefully, in a row of cribs alongside several other babies.

Each infant, so special to his or her own parents and family, is merely "one in the crowd" in most hospitals.

Hospital personnel in maternity wards see hundreds of new babies every year and can easily forget about the specialness and individuality of each one.

5. Newborns commonly drift peacefully between sleep and blissful semi-awakeness. The newborn infant is innocent and trusting of this world and expects that adults will take care of his needs and protect him from har

6. This picture shows the infant strapped in place to the Circumstraint © board, a specially designed plastic board that is molded with depressions that fit the shape of an infant's body. Velcro straps hold his arms and legs securely in place so that he cannot move. Much of the rest of his body will be covered with sterile drapes to help prevent contamination of the circumcision wound. The baby's genitals have been covered with a brownish antiseptic solution - probably Betadine.

Obviously he does not like his strapped down, vulnerable predicament. Even before the painful operation begins, being restrained in this contraption is frightening and traumatic for an infant who only wants to feel warmth, comfort and security. In the background there are several sterile instruments and a small bowl ready for the doctor's use in performing the surgery.

7. In this picture the doctor appears to be loosening the baby's foreskin from the glans ("head") of his penis. Normally, for almost all newborn infant boys, the foreskin is tightly sealed to the glans and the opening is a tiny "pinhole". If he is to undergo circumcision, the opening must first be enlarged by cutting it and the foreskin must be separated from the glans. This involves forcibly tearing one layer of skin away from another and is extremely painful for the baby.

** Important Note** For parents who are planning or considering leaving their babies intact - some medical practitioners will forcibly retract the foreskins of intact baby boys because they do not understand the normal development of the infant's foreskin. This may happen in the hospital nursery or during one of the baby's office visits. Forcibly retracting a baby's foreskin is painful and is usually what causes the so-called "problems" such as infection or phimosis that are often attributed to non-circumcision. It is NORMAL for an intact baby's foreskin to be tight. If left alone it will loosen gradually of its own accord by the time he is anywhere from a few months to a few years old, or possibly not until his teenaged years. If you leave your baby intact, leave his foreskin alone and be sure to instruct your baby's health care provider to leave it alone as well.

8. Now the sterile drape has been placed over the baby as the little patient cannot anticipate what next awaits him.

9. The sterile drape that is designed for use when a baby is circumcised completely covers the baby's body, leaving only a small hole where his penis sticks out.

Of course all he can do is cry. He cries out of fright, discomfort at being restrained in the Circumstraint , and of course from the pain as the most sensitive part of his body is clamped and cut.

10. The first part of the circumcision operation is called the dorsal slit. Since the opening of the baby's foreskin is very tiny, it must be made larger before the “bell” part of the circumcision instrument can be inserted and the clamp applied.

First a hemostat, a scissors-like clamp, is applied to the end of the foreskin. This smashes and flattens a small length of the skin so that there will be little or no bleeding when the cut is made.

Tweezers are also used to lift the foreskin away from the glans and hold it out as the hemostat is applied.

11. This picture continues to show the dorsal slit procedure and the baby's obvious distress. When skin is pinched, clamped, cut and torn, this causes pain.

The idea that newborn infants feel no pain is absolutely false! In years past mothers were often heavily anesthetized during labor and baby boys were commonly circumcised shortly after birth, so those babies would have had some anesthetic in their systems.

Today most mothers give birth either naturally or with regional anesthetics that have less direct effect on the baby. Also, today, most medical professionals prefer to wait at least a day or two after birth before performing a circumcision.

12. This is another close up shot as the dorsal slit procedure continues.

13. The operation continues as the baby continues to cry. Most babies are not anesthetized for circumcision (although anesthesia is usually administered for more serious, necessary operations performed on infants.)

Some practitioners do give the baby a local anesthetic for circumcision, although its use is tricky and its effectiveness questionable. Most babies scream and cry when they are circumcised. However, a few babies go into a semi-coma state of shock for which the trauma is too intense to cry out.

Adults have sometimes mis-interpreted the lack of crying in these instances as indication that circumcision is not painful for a baby.

14. In this picture the "bell" of the circumcision clamp is applied. This is a small bell shaped piece of metal that fits over the glans ("head") of the penis and under the foreskin before it is cut off.

15. This picture shows the outer clamp applied. There are many different devices used for circumcision. What is shown here is the Gomco © clamp. When this clamp is applied, there is a small hole in it where the baby's penis, the "bell" and the foreskin all fit into place. Once the baby's penis is placed in the hole in the clamp, the clamp is screwed down so that the foreskin is smashed between the metal bell and the outer clamp.

This device is usually left in place for about 5 minutes so that the blood vessels are completely sealed off. After that the outer foreskin is trimmed away with a scalpel and the clamp is then removed. Normally stitches are not required when a baby is circumcised.

16. This shows the baby during the five minute wait while the Gomco © clamp seals off the foreskin.

17. The newly circumcised penis. Normally the freshly exposed glans is bright red like this and will not look like the rest of his skin until after it heals up after several days. When a baby is left intact his glans is normally well hidden under his foreskin and not readily visible. If his foreskin is retracted (again, we urge that this not be done!), his glans will also appear red like this. The glans of an intact older child or adult also looks somewhat pinkish or reddish, distinctly different from that of the circumcised male. The glans of an intact male remains much more sensitive and the intact penis is a much different type of organ. The surface of the foreskin protected glans is similar to the skin in the inside of the mouth or the inside of the vagina. The absence of the foreskin makes what is intended to be an inside organ into an outside organ. The glans of the circumcised individual becomes much thicker, less sensitive, and more like outside skin as it is in constant contact with air or clothing.

The skin of the newly circumcised glans of a newborn baby has just had its outer protective layer torn away and will be raw and sore like the very sensitive new skin beneath a blister. The circumcised baby's penis will be sore for several days and it will sting whenever he urinates. It is advised that he be diapered loosely and have his diaper changed as frequently as possible.

18. In this picture a bandage is being applied to the baby's penis. It is applied in a way that the baby can urinate through the end, and obviously must be changed whenever the baby wets or soils his diaper. Today it is less common for caretakers to bandage a baby's penis following circumcision. Often only a tiny gauze strip saturated with petroleum jelly is applied around the wound. Parents or care providers are usually instructed to apply petroleum jelly or a similar ointment to the wound as it heals. This helps to protect it from urine and makes it somewhat less sore.

19. Now the sterile drape has been removed but the bandage is still in place and the baby is still strapped down to the Circumstraint © board. Another Circumstraint © board awaits in the background for the next baby. Infant circumcision normally takes around 10-15 minutes.

Sometimes medical professionals will circumcise several babies over lunch hour or early in the morning while making their rounds. Hospital nurseries usually have several Circumstraint © boards, various clamps and other equipment used for circumcision on hand.

20. The baby is now lifted up out of the Circumstraint board and is ready to be re-diapered and placed back in his crib, or hopefully be brought back to his mother for comforting. There is a look of betrayal in the baby's expression, especially in his eyes. He now knows that this world is not as safe or harmless as he once supposed. Babies learn from their experiences. Even experiences not consciously remembered later in life contribute to a negative or positive effect on each individual.

We can only speculate what the long term effect of this assault on a baby's body may be, but many have suggested that the tendency for insensitivity, callousness and violence on the part of many males in our society may have its roots in this traumatic operation during infancy. In any event, it is obvious that the infant who is spared the trauma of painful, unnecessary medical procedures will certainly be a much more peaceful, trusting individual.

This alone should be the basis for parents' consideration in leaving their infants whole, peaceful, natural and intact.

For permission to reproduce any or all of these pictures or text please contact:

The Saturday Evening Post
c/o The Curtis Publishing Co.
1100 Waterway Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN. 46202
(317) 633-8841

Rosemary Romberg
13020 Sues Way
Anchorage, AK. 99516
(907) 345-4813

Monica Lunn and received permission from Rosemary Romberg to publish this here.

Van Lewis Interview

Interview with Van Lewis:

John Harvey Kellogg

This morning I realized a lot of people do not know of or understand the connection between Kelloggs cereals, masturbation, and circumcision. I hope this blog post clears it up for those of you who are unaware.

I realized there are an awful lot of people in this country who are cutting their baby boys and don't even know how it started to be culturally acceptable in the United States.

From wikipedia:

John Harvey Kellogg (February 26, 1852 – December 14, 1943) was an American medical doctor in Battle Creek, Michigan, who ran a sanitarium using holistic methods, with a particular focus on nutrition, enemas and exercise. Kellogg was an advocate of vegetarianism and is best known for the invention of the corn flakes breakfast cereal with his brother, Will Keith Kellogg.[1] He led in the establishment of the American Medical Missionary College. The College, founded in 1895, operated until 1910 when it merged with Illinois State University.

I woke up with Kellogg's on my mind, and not because I wanted some cereal. From the above paragraph you now know there was a man named John Harvey Kellogg who lived in the United States and had a medical degree.

Kellogg was a Seventh Day Adventist who lost his fellowship in 1907 after publishing a book that disagreed with the views of the Traditionalists in the church.

While he was still a member of the church he began his vegetarianism and "holistic" teachings. He believed in enemas (gallons of water followed by an injection of yogurt into the rectum) to "purify the bowel" and diets and exercises that would supposedly decrease sexual desire. He taught sexual abstinence, which included avoiding masturbation. Here is the key that leads to the answer: for what is a surgeon to do, what will he promote, if he does not believe in masturbation as a normal part of life? He began advocating and performing circumcision surgery around the turn of the century.

He taught that circumcision must be done while the patient is conscious and without anesthesia. He believed that if this surgery was accompanied by pain the patient would learn to associate pain with the genitals and therefore be able to avoid masturbation. He was cutting little boys' prepuces off without any kind of pain medication whatsoever (a practice that has astoundingly survived up to modern day).

But he didn't stop with boys. He also believed, and taught, that little girls must also be punished in the same way. Instead of circumcising them outright, he gave little girls carbolic acid (phenol) baths to their clitorises.

In Kellogg's own words from his book Plain Facts for the Old and Young:

A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed.

In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid [phenol] to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement.

He also advocated tying children's hands, sewing a foreskin shut, and electric shock to "treat" masturbation.

In a time of Victorian attitudes and fear of the normal functioning of the human body, people believed Kellogg and accepted his prescriptions.

We now understand that masturbation is a normal, healthy part of sexuality, along with sexual relations with your spouse, which Kellogg is also rumored to have avoided in his many years of marriage.

Unfortunately circumcision never went out of fashion and many boys have been damaged physically and psychologically and suffered in this country because of this man's teachings.

To download (for free) two of the books written by JH Kellogg, follow this link. There are many different options for the format that is most convenient for you.

Added note February 24, 2013:
Long time friend of Tom Gualtieri writes here.

Damage That Circumcision Does

Just a few of the common complications from male infant/child circumcision:

What Happens During an Infant Circumcision?

I got a few comments that there needs to be some links to videos easily accessible for expectant parents to be able to view before they make a decision on circumcision. I am absolutely certain this will be the most unpleasant research I have done for this blog.

I have decided to post several videos showing different situations. Please choose the one that would be most closely related to your own personal situation. Or watch them all and know there is no pleasant way to do this at all.

In absolutely every single situation, you have someone removing a healthy body part from an unwilling victim, and there is no getting around that. This act would not be legal in so many other instances. Why is it legal to do this to a non-consenting child?

WARNING: The following videos have very unpleasant footage that many people would be too sensitive to view. Proceed at your own discretion, and keep in mind, if you cannot watch this, how could you even entertain the thought of allowing this to happen to your child?

First video is something called the "Plastibell Method" done in a hospital setting. This is an actual teaching video used to demonstrate how this is performed:

Next is the Gomco clamp, also done in a hospital setting. Note how the doctor does not use any anesthetic before torturing him with amputation:

You think a bris is different? Here is Brit Milah performed as a religious ceremony to mark the flesh of the baby as being in Covenant with God. (Plus, take the time to read this if you're Jewish.)

Here's a closeup so you can really see what's going on:

Babies cry when they are in distress. They need to be held close and protected, not violated and tortured. After viewing these videos you have to understand this is a clear violation of basic human rights to bodily integrity.

In any case, forcing this extreme body modification on someone else without their consent is out and out wrong. There are studies showing the brain chemistry is altered and never returns to normal due to the stress this procedure causes.

Taking the choice away from an individual is wrong.

***For further research:

Visit Circumstitions page on circumcision methods.

Cut the Film

A handy link to watch the abridged version of Cut. You can buy the unabridged version of the film on DVD at their website.