The Foreskin Renaissance

Circumcision has been on the wane for years, but a growing community of men are out to reverse the snip decision their parents made years ago. Meet the foreskin restoration movement.

Tally has been tugging on his penis for two years. His hand movements are methodical and prescribed. He forms the OK symbol with the index fingers and thumbs on both hands and pulls down on the shaft, stretching it between his spreading hands. After five minutes of tugging, Tally does what any man in a public restroom does: tucks in his shirt, steps out of the stall, washes his hands, and returns to the desk. Tally has what he’s after: his foreskin is slacker. He’s happier because of that. And his co-workers are none the wiser.

Tally is short for Tallywacker, a British nickname for penis. It is also the nom de Internet of a 55-year-old, heterosexual, happily married attorney in Tennessee who is at the vanguard of the foreskin restoration movement. With evangelical zest, he shares his story, and a sequential series of photographs of his penis, to thousands of private members and hundreds of daily visitors to his websites, RestoringForeskin.org and RestoringTally.com.

“Foreskin restoration has changed my life, like I never imagined was possible,” he says. “At 55, I’m enjoying sex like I’m in my 20s. Having my foreskin has made me feel more confident and comfortable in my skin and body.”

♦◊♦

Circumcision has been practiced for millennia, across continents and cultures. Anthropologists disagree about its origins; some think it goes back 15,000 years to a single culture, some think it originated independently at different times, in different places, for different reasons. We know that Australian aborigines, Native Americans, and ancient Egyptians practiced it, dating back at least 6,000 years.

Over time, circumcision took on religious significance in Judaism, Islam, and even Christianity. Jews consider it a commandment from God; Muslims believe it to be one of five acts that “befit the natural state of man.” And then there is the Holy Foreskin (or prepuce) of Jesus, cut off in a cave on his eighth day of life, and supposedly handed down through the centuries by popes, kings, and even Charlemagne himself. It was thought to have magical properties—and if the accounts are to be believed it would have had to, given that during the Middle Ages, there were as many as 18 Holy Prepuces scattered across Europe.

John Harvey Kellogg prescribed circumcision (along with, it should be noted, Corn Flakes) to prevent masturbation.

By the mid-19th century, circumcision was medicalized. It was proposed as treatment for a range of conditions, from the mutually counterintuitive—priapism and impotence, paralysis and epilepsy—to some that are still cited today: prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and foreskin-related problems like phimosis and balanitis.

By the turn of the 20th century, it was widely advocated by doctors, including John Harvey Kellogg, who prescribed circumcision (along with, it should be noted, Corn Flakes) to prevent masturbation.

In the 1930s, by some accounts, the neonatal circumcision rate was around 32 percent. That figure rose over the ensuing decades, peaking in the ’70s, when 80 to 90 percent of American boys were circumcised as infants.

♦◊♦

Tally came to foreskin restoration through the back door. Two years ago, while researching surgery he was about to have for bacterial prostatitis, he stumbled on an abundance of anecdotal information online from men in their 40s and 50s who had lost penile sensitivity or the ability to ejaculate. Tally recognized himself in their stories and confided in the urologist who would perform the prostate surgery.

“I talked to him about the trouble to get erections and taking me longer to complete having sex. And of course his response was he gave me a free sample of Viagra. Viagra helps the erection problem. You’ll stand at attention. But it doesn’t make the sex act pleasurable,” Tally says. “Sex wasn’t fun anymore. There were times when she’d say, ‘Aren’t you done yet?’”

But Tally says while most men think that diminished penile sensitivity is just a normal part of aging, he also found an abundance of narratives by men who restored their foreskins and reported that those problems went away. The idea that Tally’s circumcision might have harmed his penis began to firm up.

♦◊♦

The effects of circumcision on penile sensitivity is the subject of debate, but NORM, the National Organization for Restoring Men in San Francisco, reports that more than 20,000 nerve endings are amputated through circumcision.

For a little over two decades, NORM has been Penis Central for “intactivists,” circumcision opponents and men wishing to restore their foreskin.

NORM co-founder R. Wayne Griffiths, 77, whose outreach efforts have spawned two dozen groups in seven countries across five continents, says he has provided information to at least 10,000 men—and there is no letup in sight.

Griffiths was among those who revived interest in foreskin restoration in the U.S., but uncircumcision is hardly a new phenomenon. The first historical references appear in the Old Testament (I Maccabees 1: 14–15): “Whereupon they built a place of exercise at Jerusalem according to the customs of the heathen. And made themselves uncircumcised, and forsook the holy covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen, and were sold to do mischief.”

Pondus Judaeus

To avoid persecution during the reign of Antiochus (175–163 B.C.), circumcised Jews stretched their remaining foreskins with a specially designed weight, the Pondus Judaeus. A Roman medical text written during the reign of Tiberius (A.D. 14–37), De Medicina, contains the first-known reference to surgical restoration. And although few written accounts exist, surgical foreskin restoration, understandably, made a comeback among European Jews during the 1930s and ’40s.

The latest restoration revival isn’t limited to American enthusiasts. “I recently got emails from men in Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Baltic countries, and Russia,” Griffiths says. “I’m always amazed at where these men come from, whether it’s Kokomo, Indiana, the Philippines, Japan, or China. It keeps happening.”

And the number one reason why? Better sex. “Men have lost tens of thousands of nerve endings that have been amputated,” he says. “No one has feelings anymore.”

♦◊♦

That argument is lost on Dr. Joel Piser. He has been a urologist in private practice in Berkeley, California, for 24 years. And for the past 20 years, he has been a mohel, circumcising newborns as part of the Jewish ritual Berit Milah.

Tally maintains that there’s newfound magic in his johnson—no matter what science says.

Piser says he hasn’t seen a surgical foreskin restoration in Berkeley in 23 years. And while he’s seen a few men who have manually restored, he says, medically speaking, the gain is, as the saying goes, all in the big head.

“The few I’ve seen, it covers part of the glans. It could pass for an uncircumcised penis. Do I think they’re gaining anything other than cosmetic? No, I do not. I don’t see how it’s anatomically possible to rejuvenate nerves by just stretching the penile shaft skin over the glans. That’s not physiologically plausible. If the nerves in the penile skin could be rejuvenated by stretching, we’d be transplanting foreskin into spinal cords,” Dr. Piser says.

Tally maintains that there’s newfound magic in his johnson—no matter what science says.

“The difference I feel is not about the number of nerve endings I have. It is about stimulating what I have in a different way. The gliding action rolls the inner foreskin over the corona, both of which are highly innervated normally. The sensation from the gliding action is very pleasurable and new to me.”

♦◊♦

Circumcision is a lucrative industry, earning the medical community hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the 1.3 million circs done each year. But an equally ambitious, if not as lucrative, industry has sprouted up for men willing to stretch their foreskin. Manual tugging can involve tape, extension devices such as cones, weights, elastics, and just palm-to-penis pull action.

Tally tried two different devices but didn’t have enough foreskin to work with. “In order to wear the device you have to have enough slack skin for it to fit. I had a very tight circ so I had very little slack skin.” So he began manual tugging and made excellent progress. The routine conveniently coincided with frequent bathroom visits following his prostate surgery.

“I’ve noticed major differences in masturbation within about four months. Increase in sensitivity around the six- to eight-month mark just in general and in sex. At about the one-year point, I hit a milestone, full flaccid coverage,” Tally says. “I had enough of a restored foreskin so when I’m hanging natural, I am covered. If someone saw me now, they’d say I wasn’t circumcised.”

That’s music to the ears of the roughly 2,800 active participants at RestoringForeskin.org. Tally spends two hours a day moderating comments and answering questions online.

And who, exactly, is asking? Tally says the demographics are divided evenly between gay and straight, under 30 and over 40. One member is in his 80s, but it’s the younger set, Tally reports, that’s particularly interested in foreskin restoration.

“They’re brought up on the Internet, learning, ‘Hey, they cut off part of my sex organ and I want it back.’” That, in a sentence, has become the clarion call of the foreskin restoration movement: you’re missing out—it’s so much better au naturel.

♦◊♦

At least that’s the message Matt got at the tender age of 15 when he stumbled on information online about FR.

“I had never heard of it,” Matt said. “I didn’t have much self-esteem in the first place, but it scared me—it said if you are circumcised, when you have sex with a woman she won’t feel pleasure, only pain. I didn’t want my wife not to be happy with me sexually when I eventually got married. So I found ways to grow it back.”

Matt, a 26-year-old New Yorker active in the online FR community, asked that his real name not be used. His attempts to restore his foreskin lasted 11 frustrating years before he opted to be re-circumcised.

“The devices didn’t work well or they would hurt too much so I had to take them off,” Matt said. “I never liked the way it looked. The grown-back version is always so much thicker and not very natural-looking—like a swollen version of a foreskin.”

The smell of smegma (the cheese-like secretion found under an unwashed foreskin), the feel of his new, loose skin—just about everything about his lengthening foreskin—turned Matt off of the process. But at the same time—adding to his confusion—he found just as many men online citing better sex as a result of adult circumcision.

Matt eventually went to a urologist, who re-circumcised him almost a year ago. But he was disappointed, he says, that the doctor “didn’t take more off”—so in July he had the procedure done again, by a different urologist, 11 years after he first began growing it back.

For Matt, the worst thing about his restoration adventure was the influence the people on the Internet had on him.

This is precisely the type of story that makes some medical professionals roll their eyes in frustration or disgust. While most restoring websites focus on facts, just as many traffic in personal anecdotes and hysterical grievances.

For Matt, the worst thing about his restoration adventure was the influence the people on the Internet had on him. When he told the story of his two re-circumcisions online, others in the community accused him of lying. “They said how evil circumcision is. Some said they hated their parents because they let it be done to them,” he says, emphasizing that restorers are often swept up in the rhetoric. “One guy said he wanted to pee on his doctor’s grave.”

“Circumcisioninflames a lot of people because they need a focus,” says Dr. Piser. “I want them to look at things objectively and try to eliminate the emotional component, which is hard to do when it comes to the phallus.”

♦◊♦

In the medical community, there is mild debate about circumcision’s benefits.

It is virtually impossible to get penile cancer when circumcised. It is similarly rare to see balanitis (inflammation of any residual foreskin) and it eliminates the possibility of phimosis, a condition in which the foreskin cannot retract from the glans. Snipped newborns are 10 times less likely to get a urinary tract infection.

To be fair, these conditions are rare in uncircumcised men as well. And for over a decade, neither the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) nor the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have advocated routine neonatal circumcision.

And there’s evidence that the anti-circ groundswell is having an effect. In August, the CDC confirmed that between 2006 and 2009, the U.S. infant circumcision rate declined from about 50 to 33 percent—its lowest rate since the 1930s.

While the AAP and the CDC aren’t taking sides, the World Health Organization (WHO) considers circumcision part of a comprehensive HIV prevention program. They cite compelling evidence that it reduces the risk of HIV transmission in heterosexual sex by up to 60 percent.

Research released just last week indicates that circumcision also helps reduce the spread of human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer in women (HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease in the U.S.).

Both the CDC and the AAP are reevaluating their positions on circumcision in light of new data. Results from the AAP’s circumcision task force are likely to be released this year.

Not surprisingly, the new findings haven’t silenced critics of the procedure—among them, mothers, Jews, doctors, and the restoring community. For intactivists, the rhetoric has shifted from a risk-benefit analysis to an anti-mutilation, human-rights argument.

♦◊♦

“It’s quite the task to change your body—to accept that you had a procedure done that harms you.”

Randy Tymkin was only 32 when he realized that the sensitivity in his penis was going away, “quicker than I could have hoped for.” This was 15 years ago, when the Internet wasn’t the fount of FR information it is today. Still, the idea that he could restore some sensitivity intrigued him.

Living in Winnepeg, Manitoba, meant Randy went to tanning salons during the long winter. He suspected the UV rays were one reason he felt desensitized. Wearing jock straps and jeans without underwear were also culprits. “I thought of how rough our hands can be when we masturbate,” he says. “Running callous skin up and down on the naked glans. So I started thinking about this.”

Randy’s thinking turned into tinkering. He got out a sewing machine and created a little silk hood that fit over the tip of his penis, acting as a foreskin substitute. He trademarked it the ManHood, and found that wearing his creation increased the sensitivity in his penis—so much, he says, “I could not not wear it.”

Randy, who works as a juvenile jail guard, began advertising his product in two magazines. Within days, his mailbox was stuffed with 27 orders. Today, he fills up to four orders a day and has sold upward of 20,000 ManHoods without further advertising.

Encouraged by the renewed sensitivity he’d acquired, Randy used tape and weights to stretch about three-fourths of an inch of skin over a period of a few months, but he gave up: “If you have plans for sex, going swimming, or playing sports, you can’t because the device is cumbersome.”

Randy settled for wearing his own silk creation, filling orders, and answering emails from men who are circumcised as well as those who are restoring. But his interest in, or perhaps outrage at, routine infant circumcision, has not abated.

“I wish I hadn’t been circumcised. I don’t blame anybody except doctors. I wouldn’t trust their answers. I don’t think they’re educated.” he says. “When I was circumcised, everyone was. The guy in the shower who wasn’t would be rare. We looked at him like he was different. And he should have looked at us like we were different because we were the ones who changed.”

♦◊♦

If the San Diego–based advocacy group MGMbill.org has its way, locker rooms of the future will be a very different place. The group, founded in 2003, is dedicated to preventing the circumcision of newborns. (MGM is the acronym for male genital mutilation.)

Last week, the group’s regional directors contacted some 2800 legislators in search of a sponsor for its bill, which would extend the 1996 prohibition on female genital cutting to males. The bill would make it illegal—punishable by up to 14 years in prison—for anyone to circumcise or assist in the removal of male genitalia (except when deemed medically necessary for the health of a child) of anyone under 18 years old.

It’s a bill Dr. Piser calls “nonsense.”

“Even if you’re against circumcision,” he says, “why would you make it so that someone else couldn’t do it if they wanted?”

Intactivists, who prefer the term “male genital mutilation,” believe the removal of the foreskin is a straightforward human rights issue: we don’t allow parents to choose neglect or abuse, and thus we shouldn’t allow parents to choose circumcision.

But the comparison of male to female circumcision isn’t so straightforward. Female genital mutilation involves the total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.

♦◊♦

The twain may never meet on the medical benefits or religious significance of male circumcision, or on the physiological truth to the joys of foreskin restoration. But it’s the leap to equate male circumcision with female genital mutilation that irks Hugo Schwyzer.

“I have no qualms about foreskin restoration. But let’s not equate circumcision with a man being robbed of his essence. And I don’t want him elevating what was a fundamentally minor surgical procedure to the status of mutilation. I find that offensive as a feminist in particular. And as man who’s been on both sides of it, I find it ridiculous.”

Mr. Schwyzer is no stranger to the heated debate around infant male circumcision and its correlation—or not—to female genital mutilation. Four years ago, Schwyzer, a writer and college professor living in Los Angeles, wrote a magazine article about the circumcision he had as an adult. He was, in his own words, “hammered by the anti-circumcision” people who perpetuated “the false equivalence between male circumcision and female genital mutilation.”

“All of that leads me to be very clear that there is no comparison. It’s used as a serious argument. It cheapens and diminishes the discussion about circumcision. And invalidates what are some reasons we should rethink infant circumcision.”

Schwyzer, now 43, is married and the father of a daughter, 2. His decision to undergo a circumcision when he was 37 was fueled by a hard-earned combination of medical and psychological imperatives. Schwyzer was an alcohol, drug, and sex addict who managed to earn a Ph.D. while burning through three marriages. “I was very much your classic addict, so my penis went a lot of places,” he says. Those “places” inflicted a series of sex-related injuries that involved repeated tearing of the frenulum, the triangle of skin where the foreskin attaches to the underside of the penis. Life in the fast lane over 18 years took its toll on Schwyzer, who calls himself “a walking cliché.” He ended up in a hospital emergency room on death’s door.

Schwyzer underwent circumcision just before he married his current wife. “I did it for two reasons: to deal with frenular tearing and scarring, and to symbolize this commitment to enduring monogamy.”

“And not only is the pain gone, but the pleasure has not been reduced. The pleasure is as strong as it ever was.”

“I’ve met men who were circumcised as infants who have an amazingly deep sense they were robbed of something. Dude, get over yourself!”

He further explains: “The penis I had had, uncircumcised, had been with a lot of people. With the circumcised penis, I would only be sexual with my wife. It wasn’t born-again virginity. It was a way of saying, ‘Look, I am different.’”

The majority of public reaction to Schwyzer’s story was intertwined with the growing narrative that circumcision is abuse by another name.

“If a guy wants to do foreskin restoration, knock yourself out,” Schwyzer says. “But for the men who feel they lost something—the foreskin wasn’t all that. I had great experiences with it. Foreskin can be integrated into sex play. There’s no question there are nerve endings there,” Schwyzer continued. “But I’ve met men who were circumcised as infants who have an amazingly deep sense they were robbed of something. Dude, get over yourself!”

Schwyzer concedes that opponents of circumcision have valid concerns when they argue that it’s painful, unethical, and full of possible post-procedure complications from scarring, ulceration, and hemorrhage.

“But this idea that circumcision was this horrific violation comparable to sex abuse, and that you were deprived of something extraordinarily valuable? Having had a lot of sex both ways, I can say no. I find it ridiculous.”

“Let’s step back and take a deep breath,” Dr. Piser says. “This is a valid, valuable medical procedure. Whether you want to do it to help protect your child from urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and HIV transmission, or whether you want to do it electively as an adult. That’s personal. But there is a huge psychological component to all of this.”

♦◊♦

And that’s one thing all sides of the argument can probably agree on: that for a little piece of skin, whether retracted or restored, the foreskin carries a lot of emotional baggage for a growing number of men.

But who is to question whether restoration, and its sequelae of an allegedly super-improved sex life, is all in the big head rather than the little? After all, pleasure—as Shakespeare might have said of his willy—is in the prepuce of the restorer.

“Emotionally, I am different from restoring,” Tally says. “I’m freed up to experience life. I don’t have the vocabulary. I have no explanation for it. It’s just something I’ve observed.”

♦◊♦

If you haven’t had your foreskin fix yet, check out “Why I Let My Son Get Snipped.”

The Foreskin Rennaissance

About Laura Novak

Laura Novak is a former television news journalist who has written extensively for The New York Times on health, business, and the arts. She hopes to publish her first novel, Finding Clarity, and she is at work on a mystery series. You can find her on Scribd and find her on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Journalism at its best. This is such a balanced discussion of a difficult topic with a humorous tint just when you need it. Your skills are showing, Miss Novak – and they’re stellar.

  2. How I love it when I’m quoted accurately, and how rare it is that it happens.

    This is a great piece, and I appreciate the even-handedness in the approach.

    Is it worth having a debate about infant male circumcision? You betcha. Are there cons and pros? Yes, and any fair-minded and thoughtful person will admit that there are both. But there are no “pros” to female genital mutilation, and they aren’t comparable. Making the comparison delegitimizes the anti-circ argument. As I — and other adult men who’ve had sex before and after circ can state — there is pleasure on both sides, both ways. Female genital mutilation — clitorectomies, infibulation, etc — is designed to destroy the capacity for pleasure and orgasm. It has no health benefits.

    It is a grotesque false equivalence that needs to stop. And then we can continue to have a reasoned discussion about the pros and cons (for again, there are both) about infant male circumcision.

    • People need to get some of the facts without the heaps of misinformation. It is true that men and women are different so MGM and FGM are not equivalent.. However, there are many types of FGM. There are also many variations of MGM with some leaving more nerves and erogenous tissue and some being tight and causing painful erections and curvature. Most FGM is labia and clitoral hood cutting qand not cutting out the clitoris. This most typical form of FGM (as done eg in Maylasia) is LESS sexually harmful than typical male circ (MGM) as done in the US. Most FGM is NOT done to harm sexual pleasure. Instead, it is typically done for imagined health, hygeine and looks reasons. Like MGM, some of it is done in the bush, but it is normally done in a hospital setting. Women say the sex is fine, say it is cleaner and they want it done to their daughters. There are health benefits claimed for both, but they are contrived by people trying to keep the practices going. At least two studies are purported to show that FGM (labia nd clitoral hood cutting) lowers the risk of HIV to the woman by over 50%. A fact is that both these practices involve cutting off erogenous tissue and often of a minor. As to those general points, they are the same.

      Male circumcision is nerve damage — a cutting off about 20000 fine touch and stretch sensing nerve endings and removing a source of pleasure from the male FOR LIFE. This is 2/3 of the total pleasure source amputated! This is nerves, blood vessels, protective covering and pleasure zones taken away from a human before the human can experience this. The dynamics and function and pleasure from sex and masturbation of the penis is harmed for good.

      I am against all cutting of the genitals, certainly against all cutting of the genitals without the consent of the person being cut. I ask that those against FGM also voice their disapproval of MGM. The rest of the world sees the selective treatment as hypocrisy, which it is.

    • It is foolish to argue with someone who obviously knows nothing about the variable harms that any genital alteration can cause children regardless of gender. When knife is placed on penis, labia, clitoris, etc., it is a violation of human rights to do so to a minor, regardless as to the degree of pain or result. We must protect those who cannot speak for themselves except but to scream in agony at the hand of their abusers. That is what it is, a cycle of sexual abuse regardless of what you might want to believe. We must ere on the side of equal treatment under the law for both genders no matter what because males have rights as well as females.

      You had a choice, and have obviously not had time to realise the loss since you have grown up with a protected and sensitised glans, unlike myself who had no choice and am now inconveniently trying to reverse the damage done with questionable results. Gee, I suppose luck doesn’t always include good sense.

    • John Anderson says:

      Just off hand I would assume that removing some of the folds in the labia would reduce the number of urinary tract infections as substances wouldn’t get stuck. How do we know there are no pros to any alteration of the vagina? What studies were done? You’re basing your assumptions on what was practiced not what could be practiced.

  3. The reason we shouldn’t circumcise infants is its their body and they should be able to make the choice when they’re old enough. Its not legal to cut off any other part of the body without medical necessity before the age of consent for males or females. It is wrong to try to invalidate the feelings of people who wish they weren’t circumcised, they should have had the choice, and no one should have the right to alter someone else’s body without their permission.

  4. Circumcision may or may not help prevent a handful of conditions that, as the article cites, are rare to begin with. But I think it begs the question – there are probably a lot of surgical modifications we could make to nonessential parts of our bodies to stop them from causing problems, so where do you draw the line? Removing appendixes? Tonsils? Etcetera?

    This isn’t something I’m particularly passionate about, but see circumcision as little more than a barbaric practice rooted in religion and tradition. It’s ridiculous, and it’s time for people to see past their visceral reactions that are mostly based on ineducation.

  5. Amazing piece, Laura! You have taught me things I never knew before.
    Not to mention that it’s a well-researched, even-handed story. As one who has done similar work in the past, I know how much organizational ability, research, and just plain sweat and tears this must have taken.
    You deserve all of the plaudits you get!

  6. “But this idea that circumcision was this horrific violation comparable to sex abuse, and that you were deprived of something extraordinarily valuable? Having had a lot of sex both ways, I can say no. I find it ridiculous.”

    That comment does not particularly help Schwyzer’s argument considering his questionable views regarding sexual abuse against boys.

    Setting aside Schwyzer’s extreme views, there is a practical point to be made: it should be the boy or man’s decision. Circumcision is in the vast majority of instances unnecessary. It is done mostly to children for religious or cosmetic reasons without the child’s consent. So as inconsequential Schwyzer may consider it, the difference between what he did and what occurs in most cases is that he made the choice. If someone wants to trim down the cartilage of their nose, as odd as that would be, they should have the right to do so. They should not, however, be allowed to do that to an infant, and certainly not because they think it would be difficult to teach the child how to blow his nose or trim his nose hairs.

    Considering that we do not allow parents to tattoo their children, bind their heads or feet, scar their faces, remove vestigial organs, or do anything but the most superficial altering of a child’s body (ear piercing, hair cuts, etc.) without a valid medical reason, this should be a no-brainer.

    That is what makes those like Schwyzer’s opposition so odd (aside of the peculiarity of a feminist opposing someone’s right to choose what to do with their own body). They do not present any substantive argument for continuing male circumcision. It really seems to stem from protecting barbaric religious practices, maintaining cultural practices, or abject indifference towards any violation of boys, because one can rest assured that if anyone suggested trimming an infant girl’s clitoral hood for aesthetic or religious reasons those like Schwyzer would object to it and they would balk at the request to discuss “the pros and cons” of infant female circumcision. It would be a patently ridiculous suggestion that no one would support, and for good reason.

    So yes, there are instances in which medically a circumcision is necessary. However, medical necessity should be the only reason any child of either sex is circumcised without their consent. It should otherwise be their choice to make. Again, this should be a no-brainer.

  7. Thanks for fairly accurate and balanced coverage with just a few glaring problems.

    First, smegma IS NOT an excretion. It is merely the accumulation of sloughed-off skin cells. We all lose about 1000 cells per minute from all over the body. Wherever they are allowed to accumulate they can build up and dissolve into a natural beneficial emollient, most notably found in female genitals and the folds on plump infant arms, legs, and necks. Don’t like smegma? Your best solution is washing, not amputation.

    Second, no compassionate person would begrudge your re-circumcised man his right to make HIS OWN adult choice, but he should first be referred for a psychiatric consultation. The desire to have your healthy normal parts amputated has a name – Bodily Integrity Identity Disorder – and some sufferers can find happiness without going through with amputations. Would we be as casual discussing a women who wished to volunteer for the worst form of female mutilation?

    You report that last week a Ugandan team found some protective effect against HPV from circumcising women’s partners. It is irresponsible to not ALSO mention that the same team reported in 2009 that circumcising Ugandan men made them 50% MORE likely to infect their partners with deadly HIV.

    Your Dr. Piser can’t see his own unethical stance for what it is. He objects to outlawing non-therapeutic non-consenual circumcising, saying: “why would you make it so that someone else couldn’t do it if they wanted?” He doesn’t see that his view of what should be legal ALSO steals someone’s choice? (It steals the choice of the ONLY person who has to actually live with the outcome.)

    The article refers to a false equivalence between male circumcision and female genital mutilation. But the most common form of female genital cutting affects the hood only, and so it is EXACTLY analogous to male circumcision. And just like with male circumcision, the victims are some of the loudest proponents of continuing the practice. There is no culture cutting females that does not also cut males. The main difference between male and female genital cutting is that 94% of the world’s females live under laws forbidding even a ceremonial pin-prick to draw one ceremonial drop of blood with no religious exemption.

    Piser calls infant circumcision a “valid, valuable medical procedure” but NOT ONE national medical association on earth endorses routine circumcision. The most recently updated national policy is from Holland. Google “KNMG circumcision policy” to read in English how they have considered even all the recent supposed evidence about African research, and their policy states: “KNMG is calling upon doctors to actively and insistently inform parents who are considering the procedure of the absence of medical benefits and the danger of complications.”

    • Actually, this is wrong. The Malian people practice FGM, but they do not circumcise their males. In third world countries, the most common form of FGM is equivalent to cutting off the head of the penis. They then sew up the vaginas, let them scar over, and when it’s time for the women to have sex, they cut open the scar.

      • In fact, the Malian people consider circumcising males to be genital mutilation and can’t believe that it’s common in America.

        • Hi,
          I guess I was thinking that the Dogon culture (cutting both males and females in childhood) as representing all of Mali. Regardless, Mail protects neither gender from non-therapeutic genital cutting.

          The MOST COMMON form fo FGM is practiced throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, and it affects the hood only.

  8. An excellent article. I agree with SMR, this is journalism “at its best.” The history given of circumcision and foreskin restoration is extensive and interesting. I especially appreciate the candor of those interviewed. A great piece by a a great writer!

    • This really is live visitors nevertheless the forum trademark on content seo backlinks in addition gets crawled from the search engines like google and also the backlink will count number. The key is usually to pick a online community that is both appropriate and it has a higher pr.

  9. It’s almost like a countdown on threads like this: men’s rights activists appearing to insist that FGM and male circ are really equivalent in three, two, one…

    It’s like arguing with Holocaust deniers, I swear.

    • That is most impressive. It usually takes more than two posts for someone to break Godwin’s Law. Now that misandrous insults and hyperbolic ad hominems are out of the way, may we “have a reasoned discussion” like someone above suggested?

      • Yeah, calling me an extremist is surely not an ad hominem. Sheesh.

        When it comes to what parents can and can’t do to their children, we permit parents considerable leeway where there is no enduring harm. We permit vaccines for example — and we permit parents to opt out of vaccinations. The pro-vaccine crowd often condemns the conscience exemption for parents who don’t want to give shots to their kids, arguing that these parents are putting kids at risk by withholding the needle. The state wisely takes the middle ground, permitting parents to have painful needles stuck in their kids, even though a number of physicians question the medical benefit — while not mandating those vaccines either. (Not talking about the autism study.)

        There is no medical benefit to FGM. None. There continue to be reputable studies, as Laura Novak’s piece shows, that contend substantial benefit from circumcision both for men and their sex partners. The legitimacy of these studies may be contentious, but the medical community is not ready to do with male infant circ what they are ready to do with FGM, which is declare it unnecessary and without any redemptive benefit.

        This isn’t sentiment or religion, it’s science. And as with vaccines, parents are best positioned to make the decision for their sons.

        It may well be that circumcision will grow rarer and rarer, and I wouldn’t necessarily grieve that. I’m not an advocate for infant male circumcision. I’m an advocate against blowing it up into something bigger and crueler than it really is.

        • Yeah, calling me an extremist is surely not an ad hominem.

          No, I called your views extreme, and that does not constitute an ad hominem.

          There is no enduring harm to removing a child’s tonsils, yet we do not preemptively do so. We do not preemptively remove a child’s wisdom teeth because of potential health benefits either. The situation is not the same as getting a vaccination. The vast majority of men who are uncircumcised do not experience any increased health risks as a result of having foreskin. Such health risks are very rare. Most of the benefits circumcision supposedly creates can be done by men wearing condoms and having good hygiene, and there are studies contradicting the specious ones presented above and studies showing the complications circumcision can cause. Likewise, the vast majority of circumcision are performed for religious, cultural or aesthetic reasons, not for health reasons.

          Whether you support circumcision or not is irrelevant. The issue is that barring an outstanding medical reason, circumcision is an unnecessary mutilation. If a male wants to do it, that should be his choice. As for the act being “[blown] up into something bigger and crueler than it really is,” given your views it would appear we have a very different position of what constitutes cruelty.

        • “Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity.”
          – George Bernard Shaw

          people in FGM-plagued countries still continue to spout that it decreases the risk of HIV infection. IIRC, there was at least one study that “proved” as much.

          i feel sorry for your kids, hugo. you’re so blind to objectivity that you can’t see that MGM and FGM are the same thing.

          2+2=5 …

          who wants to put bets that the only reason hugo is trying to downplay the negativity of circumcision is that he and/or his children are cut? denial isn’t just a river in egypt as they say.

          • oh, i didn’t even see hugo’s part of the article. what a shocker. i was right.

            hugo, you say MGM doesn’t rob a man of his “essence” …

            … why are their scientific studies that show the foreskin/frenulum is/are the most sensitive part(s) of the penis?

            there is one erroneous study the ignorant cite about how there is no difference. unfortunately, said study only tested parts that cut and uncut guys had in common. NOT the foreskin (obviously).

            why does an intact glans look smooth and shiny? why does the cut glans look rough and calloused?

            why does the british medical journal of urology state that after extensive research the foreskin is the most sensitive, pleasure-packed part of the penis?

            why does the journal of health psychology state that somewhere around 50% of men circ’d as infants suffer emotional trauma. we didn’t get to choose like you did. someone literally tied me to a table as a newborn and cut my foreskin off (and did a terrible job given the scarring on my penis). with no anesthetic mind you (96% of infant circs are done without any anasthesia since the baby is so small, it’d be dangerous.)

            why do stats show that more baby boys die from circumcision than SIDS?

            why are there various reports that circumcision scars are incredibly prone to fostering penile cancer (the exact OPPOSITE of what the pro-circ club says)?

          • You make a valid point that male circumcision can cause some psychological trauma for the boys. However, this is does not in any way mean that female genital mutilation is the same as male circumcision. In a book called Empathy and Rage: Female Genital Mutilation in African Literature, one woman describes her agony and pain during her “female circumcision”.

            “When my turn came, I burst into tears. I was scared but froze instead of running away. Still, I screamed as they approached me, I shrieked, ‘I don’t want to!’ But that didn’t help at all. They grabbed me, dragged me to the box that had once held oranges, and sat me down on it. They imprisoned me, tossed my skirt aside, pulled my legs apart, and that was the moment when one of the neighbor women burst into song”

            Another experience in Cutting the Rose: Female Genital Mutilation: The Practice and Its Prevention

            “She had not menstruated for several months, and had not had intercourse, but her abdomen was swollen and sensitive, with the signs of a uterus in labor. She was infibulated with a minuscule opening. Dr. Ollivier performed a de-infibulation (opening of the scarred vulva) and released 3.4 liters of blackish foul-smelling blood”

            I do not believe that any man has experienced this type of pain for a mere cultural ritual. Please do not try to put FGM and MGM into the same category. They are not and will not ever be the same.

          • Alisha, please don’t make the assumption that anyone’s saying the 10% of FGMs that are the most heinous should be compared to the average male circumcision. But google “circumcision damage” and you’ll see hideously deformed male genitals that would not even be logged anywhere as complications of circumcision because they manifest for the most part after puberty. The average male circumcision is much worse than people generally accept.

        • I don’t think that any male intactivist will say that FGM and MGM (male circumcision) are exactly the same. Obviously, they are not. The point that you and those who insist on minimizing the damage done by male circumcision need to understand is that while there is a difference in the “degree” of damage, FGM and MGM are both the same “kind” of procedure. They share much in common, e.g. removal of genital tissue, decrease in sexual sensation, sexual functioning is impaired, performed without the consent of the child, etc. For you to state that the two procedures cannot be compared because they are completely different is simply not the case

          On the same point, to support laws that forbid even a needle stick to draw a single drop of blood from a girl’s clitoris (this is considered FGM) but to turn around and say that is all right to remove up to one half of the skin from the penis of an infant male, including the most sensitive part of the penis, is the most blatant kind of gender discrimination I can imagine. Yes, protect the genitals of all girls, but my God, why can’t the genitals of boys be equally protected. Are female genitals more valuable than those of males?

        • John Anderson says:

          What of the botched circumcisions? What redeeming quality is there to having your penis removed or death from complications?

    • “It’s almost like a countdown on threads like this: men’s rights activists appearing to insist that FGM and male circ are really equivalent in three, two, one…

      It’s like arguing with Holocaust deniers, I swear.”

      Except it’s people who insist that FGM and MGM aren’t equivalent that are the “deniers.”

      There are many kinds of FGM, some that may be equivalent, some that may actually be in fact less severe than male circumcision.

      The fact of the matter is that which ever you think is “worse,” ALL forced genital cutting violates the same exact principle.

      You would never be acquescient to the kind of female circumcision that is equivalent, or less severe than male circumcision.

      Bottom line is, it’s ALL wrong.

      Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, doctors have no business performing non-medical surgery on healthy, non-consenting infants, much less giving parents any kind of a “choice.”

      It is professional abuse to be presenting parents with the bogus dilemma of “the big decision” where there is no medical decision to make in healthy children.

  10. Will all you urologists and obstetricians who are circumcised and promote routine infant circumcision please go have lots of unprotected sex with HIV positive people? Pretty please??

    Any takers? Okay, sarcasm aside, HIV/AIDS is not prevented by circumcision. But obviously the American circumcision industry has taken a page or two from Orwell to keep the proles in line.

    I was circumcised at birth in 1968, and it boils my blood every time I read about African-HIV-circumcision studies. I know that I’m not protected from AIDS by my circumcision, so why the hell is this misinformation being used to con parents into RIC today? One word: Money.

    • Excellent points/questions. What is really bothering me is that the U.S. is paying the bills to mutilate African men. That is outrageous. And these mutilation pushers always fail to mention that one of their studies showed that cut men in Africa pass HIV to women at a rate of more than 50% more than natural penis men. This is a heinous enterprise.

  11. Good article. I did a foreskin restoration a number of years ago. Getting back what was taken is a journey more and more men are wanting to take. I would have liked to have kept my penis intact as God made me. But having missed that opportunity I have tried to do the next best thing, while talking to my children and grandchildren about my understanding that circumcision is not healthy for children and other living things.

  12. One correction that should be made: Tally’s website is RestoringForeskin.org; the link goes to the right place, but there’s no site at foreskinrestoration.org.

  13. Asking a physician/mohel for his opinion about circumcision is like asking a drug addict if marijuana use should be made legal. The good doctor is way too invested in keeping infant circumcision legal and commonly available to provide any unbiased medical information. Would anyone expect someone whose religion holds, as one of its main doctrines, that all males must be circumcised, and whose livelihood depends on performing surgery, to take an objective position and admit that circumcision is medically unnecessary and offers only potential, limited benefits at best?

    • More like asking a tobacco CEO if he thinks smoking should be banned.

      “It’s hard to get a man to understand something, when his livelihood depends on his not understanding.” ~Upton Sinclair

  14. I am 53 years old, almost fully restored. Have never liked being cut, love being “intact/WHOLE”. Thank you for a great article and treating a very serious Male issue with good information and dignity. Circumcism is wrong-the Med Tech LAbs know it. We are being harvested like livestock-it’s absolutely sick. And now the CDC will be pushing this crime to feed the foreskin industry in the name of fighting HIV-and O’Bama has approved the CDC program as a whole-he’s on the CDC site singing it’s praise! Hope you do an article on “where” our foreskins go and for what! (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-cut-above-the-rest-wrin) I think this would truly wake-up the folks that “think” Males don’t suffer. It’s not only physical grief and pain but emotional when we think of how we were not protected at our most vulnerable time in out lives by those we know love us and yet allowed it to happen,…, what a 2 edged sword to live with! In the USA, Females are protected under the law from this very same mutilation, Males should protected too! Again-Thank you!

  15. By virtue of being a mohel Joel Piser suffers from a conflict of interest. It is unlikely in the extreme that a mohel will understand and state for the record that there are sexual advantages to having a foreskin, even a restored one. A restored foreskin does not have the rich ennervation of the real thing. Also, circ often damages or destroys the frenulum and frenular delta, and restoration does not recreate these structures in any way. That said, a restored foreskin is better than no foreskin at all, for reasons that restoration enthusiasts have discussed in detail for years.

    People, talk to women who have had intercourse with both kinds of men. Talk to the spouses of men who have completed restoration. They have a lot to say about the value of restoration, value of a kind that Piser seems completely oblivious to.

    • “It’s hard to get a man to understand something, when his livelihood depends on his not understanding.” ~Upton Sinclair

  16. The foreskin is not just a “a little piece of skin.” It is a five layered structure and an integral part of the natural penis. It contains most of the fine touch and stretch receptors on the penis. It is the most sensitive part of the penis. Its removal clearly changes the sexual experience for both males and females. Extensively quoting a mohel on that which he knows little to nothing about does not improve this deficient article. Nor does quoting a man who was circumcised for unusual reasons, to say the least, prove anything. The hard, cold scientific and anatomical fact is that the the removal of the foreskin amputates the most sensitive part of the penis and by removing that tissue it of necessity changes the sexual experience. No amount of argument or cant can change fact. And saying that it is a “personal choice” ignores the fact that the infant victim has no choice in the matter.

    As is usually the case with articles written in circumcised societies, this article reveals more about the insecurities of the author and of the circumcised than it does about the facts.

  17. Have an STD? you are not alone. Find others with same STD at site named pozmingle. you may be upset and think your life is over. However, once you settle down and learn the facts, you’ll realize that having STD is not the end of the world, and it’s not the end of your social life.

  18. Courageous, balanced reporting, Ms. Novak. Likewise, Dr. Piser struck me as courageous and sincere, given the predictable attacks on his motivation and even his knowledge.

    • Dr. Piser is a pitch-man for a surgery he gets paid to perform and that is medically unnecessary for the health and well-being of the infant.

      Performing a circumcision on any child that does not have a deformity or disease requiring the surgery is medical malpractice since it violates both his physician’s oath of “first do no harm (performing painful and unnecessary surgery is harmful) and medical ethical standards (amputating healthy tissue when there is no disease present that requires amputation). Religious custom and parental desires for cosmetic body modification are not legitimate reasons for a physician to perform surgery on a minor.

    • RE; Dr. Piser’s knowledge. If he was educated in a medical school in the U.S., he was probably never taught about the anatomy of the male foreskin or the functions that it performs. Even the textbooks that are used in medical schools illustrate a circumcised penis when describing the male genitals. If the foreskin is mentioned at all in the text, it is usually referred to as flap of skin covering the glans at birth that is normally removed by circumcision. This has to change. As long as most doctors are circumcised and they don’t learn about the anatomy or function of the foreskin in medical school, the ignorance that has perpetuated this unnecessary surgery will continue. Also, many doctors never see a mature foreskin since so many men in this country have been circumcised. They don’t make the connections that the small piece of infant foreskin that is removed in circumcision grows into a large amount of beneficial penile shaft skin in a adult male.

      Why is it that medical associations have task forces to study the medical benefits of circumcision (an invasive surgical procedure), but don’t bother to investigate the function and value of the foreskin, a natural part of every male’s penis? If every male is born with a foreskin, how can it be seen as a useless flap of skin, rather than a necessary and useful structure that is the product of millions of years of evolution?

      • A deeper question;

        Why is it that the American Academy of Pediatrics has created a “circumcision task force” specifically to oversee circumcision?

        Was there ever any “circumcision task force” for girls?

        Where was the “circumcision task force” and extensive debate before female circumcision was banned in 1996?

        Yes, circumcision of females was quite legal in this country as late as that, and insurance companies like Blue Shields payed for them.

        Is there a reason why “researchers” perform all this “extensive and rigorous study” surrounding the destruction of genital tissue in BOYS, but not in GIRLS?

        This “research” has got to be some of the most backwards research in existence.

        “Research” that places primacy on necessitating the deliberate DESTRUCTION of healthy, normal tissue is devoid of any logic, reason, and ethics.

        Dare I say, that studying the merit of the deliberate destruction of the human body is sheer QUACKERY.

    • Pisner suffers from two conflicts of interests:

      Circumcising babies is his profession, and circumcision happens to be a ritual central to his ethnic, religious and cultural background.

  19. There are a lot of strong debates going on, and that’s healthy. Conversation is good. 10 years ago, these products and foreskin restoration methods were mostly just a whisper among forums. Now, the topic has reached the spotlight and people are talking about it everywhere.

    For those who are skeptical about the benefits of the foreskin— those who don’t think it has any effect on the sensitivity of the penis— I have a simple and realistic solution for you.

    Buy a ManHood, the product discussed on Page 3. Wear it on your penis every day for a couple of weeks. Then, try going without it for a day. Suddenly the cotton fabric of your underwear will be too scratchy, too uncomfortable to endure.

    What’s happening? The head of your penis, the glans, is regaining some of the sensitivity it lost after years of exposure to the harsh elements. Suddenly you’ll understand, from your own experience, how beneficial it is to have a foreskin.

    I ordered the ManHood product back in 2008 and I’ve been a customer ever since. I can’t imagine going anywhere without it on. Randy is very helpful to newbies, and he’ll even give advice. I’ve noticed a significant increase in sensitivity since then.

    It’s not as good as having a real foreskin, obviously, but it’s a quick and easy solution for now.

  20. Alfred C. Schram says:

    Thank you for your article.
    Since infant circumcision is the surgical excision of a healthy, normal tissue, there is no immediate medical necessity, and it is done on a non-consenting individual, I find it difficult to understand why anybody would approve of it. Even if it were to dramatically prevent the dissemination of STD’s and cancer, baby boys are not sexually active, and should be left to decide when they reach the age of consent.
    The suggestion that increased sensitivity brought about by foreskin restoration is mostly psychological cannot be decided by someone who is not restoring.
    By the way, I believe I am the 80 years old man Tally mentioned.
    Best regards,
    freddys.

  21. What a fantastic piece, Laura. Definitely something I’ve never had to think about — particularly the idea of male circumcision being similar to female genital mutilation. I think it’s great that questions are being raised about this.

    Congrats on such a well researched, interesting piece.

  22. “The few I’ve seen, it covers part of the glans. It could pass for an uncircumcised penis. Do I think they’re gaining anything other than cosmetic? No, I do not. I don’t see how it’s anatomically possible to rejuvenate nerves by just stretching the penile shaft skin over the glans. That’s not physiologically plausible. If the nerves in the penile skin could be rejuvenated by stretching, we’d be transplanting foreskin into spinal cords,” Dr. Piser says.

    Dr. Piser’s comments regarding the inability of a man to rejuvenate the nerves lost to circumcision makes it very clear that the decision to perform a surgery that permanently and irreversibly removes a sensitive part of the penis should be left to the owner of the penis, the one who has to live with the consequences of the surgery. Most decisions that parents make on behalf of their children are not permanent and irreversible body modifications The decision to circumcise, by its very nature, cannot legitimately be made by anyone other than the person suffering the cut.

  23. I like many others was circed shortly after birth. It was a choice that was made for me by my parents. I never had any say in the matter which is certainly not right since I will never be able to get back exactly what was removed which was likely done with NO anesthetic while my arms and legs were strapped into a circ board. Even our pets that have to undergo surgery are treated more humanely than that!

    BENIFITS CLAIMED
    The main benefits that pro-circ people claim is that it is cleaner and lessens the chances of getting HIV. How many babies and young children are going to be having sex?? I haven’t read were anyone has said it stops HIV spreading from man-woman intercourse 100% of the time. People in countries where routine circ is not performed do not have a high rate of foreskin related issues. According to several sources it is not that uncommon for the foreskin to remain attached or partially attached to the glans until late teens. If the foreskin is too tight there are other ways to cure that by simply stretching the skin with or without a steroid cream without having to cut anything. Water with a mild soap is all that is needed to keep the foreskin clean.

    WHAT IS LOST:
    Believe it or not the glans is meant to be an internal organ only to be exposed for intercourse. Circ makes it an external organ and with the passage of time causes a layer of keratin to form which lessens its sensitivity. Most circs remove the majority of inner skin/mucosa which is much more sensitive and moist than the outer skin adding to the loss of sensitivity of the glans because of the keratin buildup. Many circ devices remove all or most of the frenulum and damage the nerves that lie on the ventral side near the glans.

    Many times the doctor performing the circ on an infant removes too much skin which results in either scrotal tissue being pulled up onto the shaft of the penis and/or an erection that is tight and painful because of the lack of skin. Lack of skin can also cause erections to be curved/bent when one side of the penis has more skin than the other. The doctor has to GUESS how much skin will be needed when the penis grows throughout puberty.

    SHOULD BE HIS CHOICE
    Whether someone believes all the benefits that circ provides are worth what is lost, it should be the boy’s choice when he reaches 18, not his parents or doctor’s. It is HIS penis!! He can decide if he wants to be cut or not and if cut how much skin he wants removed. He will also be treated like a person undergoing a medical procedure with either general or local anesthetics not bound to a circ board along with pain medication that can be taken while the wound heals.

    FORESKIN RESTORATION
    I discovered foreskin restoration in late Jul 2010 and got my 1st device and started restoring 8-1-10. I used a device for almost 2 months until I found out about Reverse Taping Method on Tally’s RestoringForeskin.org site which was devised by Steph/Nakeemon2 from his research on Tissue Expansion that is done by doctors using implanted saline filled balloons. Reverse Taping/RT works by placing a foam ring around the penis and then flipping the skin over the ring and taping it. The ring does not have to be removed for urination and can also be worn while working out. This method has been extremely effective for me in growing both inner and outer skin. I now have full flaccid coverage after only 5 months of restoring! My inner skin and glans have never been as sensitive as they are now. I do not regret my decision to restore for 1 sec! I highly recommend restoring to any cut male. Restoration no longer requires tugging straps or t-taping and with a method like Reverse Taping the male can decide how much inner skin/mucosa vs outer skin he wants in his final resulting foreskin. There are over 10 videos available on Reverse Taping. Please check out http://www.RestoringForeskin.org for more info.

    • In my culture (Eastern Europe) there is no tradition of male circumcision. And there is absolutely no evidence that this causes anybody any harm medically. I was shocked and deeply saddened when I moved to North America to discover that this horrible practice is inflicted on poor newborn children on a regular basis.

    • Well said Matt, you should write the book on this. I plan to cut and paste your words in helping parents decide NOT to cut their boys. I am also currently restoring with a tugger – I am going to investigate the reverse taping method that you have introduced me to – thanks for offering me an option that I did not know about.

      The fact that this barbaric ritual of mutilation continues to be accepted in a society that claims to be the most progressive, open minded, fair and free absolutely blows my mind. My blood boils every time I look at my scar line and am reminded that I was mutilated at birth and stripped of a whole body.

  24. “I don’t see how it’s anatomically possible to rejuvenate nerves by just stretching the penile shaft skin over the glans. That’s not physiologically plausible.”

    Nobody says it is. Nor is foreskin restoration just “stretching”. Skin expansion by stimulated growth is a well-established surgical technique used to cover amputation stumps or gaps left by conjoined-twin separation.

    “Tally maintains that there’s newfound magic in his johnson—no matter what science says.”

    Professional circumcisor Joel Piser is not “science”. (On the contrary.)

    Tally’s argument makes a lot of sense. Also, having a covered glans causes it to de-keratinise (soften) and become sensitive in a better way.

  25. You want to know why circ’ing is still done in the US?

    2000-3000 bucks a pop. Thats why.

    I mean, jeez, why not take out their appendixes and tonsil while you’re at it?

    • Don’t you mean 200 to 300? Most hospitals probably don’t even make this much money off of it – if they charged too much, they wouldn’t be able to get naive parents to buy into it.

      • This number is rather blown out of proportion.

        Circumcisions are more like 200 to 300 dollars a head. (No pun intended)

        But you must tremember that 1.3 million boys or so, are circumcised every year.

        At a dollar each, that’s 1.3 million dollars.

        Now multiply that by the 200/300 dollar figure.

        And multiply that by the fact that the foreskins are sold to pharmaceuticals, and that the pharmaceuticals themselves create more products from it, such as synthetic skin used for skin grafts, and for consumer products, like Oprah Winfrey’s SkinMedica.

        Synthetic skin created from infant babies foreskins can cost as much as 500 dollars a square inch.

        Do the babies see any of this revenue accrued from their harvested foreskins as men?

        No. They don’t.

  26. MGM-bill is a great initiative that is long overdue in this society. I posted about it on my blog and will keep spreading the word. The more people support this enlightened initiative, the better!

  27. Nicole Smith says:

    First of all, the bill is San Francisco based, not San Diego based. Second of all, second of all, MGM and FGM are very comaparable, more often than not. Thirdly, Mr. Sex Addict’s situation is very rare, provided there was legitimate reason to get circ’d as opposed to performers wanting to make money off him. If anyone wants to read my research on MGM, my email address is [email protected].

    • Henry P. Belanger says:

      Hi Nicole,

      MGMbill.org is based in San Diego. They are putting together a ballot initiative in San Fran, but they are most certainly based in San Diego. From the MGMbill.org website, under “About”:

      MGMbill.org is a private non-profit organization based in San Diego, California, seeking to pass a law that will end the practice of male genital mutilation (circumcision) in the United States of America.

      here’s the link: http://www.mgmbill.org/aboutus.htm

    • While I do not agree with circumcising young male babies….

      Trying to make it equivalent to FGM is the WRONG.

      FGM ‘s equivalent would = Cutting the whole penis off.

      • Would you be okay with people surgically removing their daughter’s clitoral hood?

        That would be an exact equivalent (although it would still remove less skin).

  28. Joseph4GI says:

    This article TRIES to be balanced, but it fails in a few respects.

    Here are a few things that jump out at me:

    The importance of circumcision is correctly shown for Jewish and Muslim culture, and why it is somewhat important in Christianity. Is there a reason why nobody thought it was important to mention the fact that the whole reason there is a divide between Judaism and Christianity is the fact that Christians aren’t supposed to circumcise? That in Galatians, Paul preaches that Christians aren’t saved by following laws, but through the grace of Christ? That if someone is going to circumcise himself according to the law, he is a debtor to the whole law? (Galatians 5) I’m sure Jesus’ “holy foreskin” is important to Christians, but so is the fact that baptism was supposed to replace circumcision for gentiles.

    I think it’s a good thing that the article goes in depth about the history of the restoration of the foreskin, but is there a reason that the authors felt they must counter-balance that with the opinion of a Jewish MOHEL???

    Joel Pisner is Jewish, and a mohel at that, where circumcision is central to his cultural, ethnic, and religious identity. Could The Good Men Project not have found anybody more biased on the subject??? Why would he have ANYTHING good to say about anatomically correct genitaly, let alone restorers? How would HE know that “it’s all in the head,” if he’s seen only a few men who have restored? Is he a psychologist to be able to make this call? It sounds like the man is defensive of his trade.

    Pisner also seems to attack a few straw men:

    “I don’t see how it’s anatomically possible to rejuvenate nerves by just stretching the penile shaft skin over the glans. That’s not physiologically plausible. If the nerves in the penile skin could be rejuvenated by stretching, we’d be transplanting foreskin into spinal cords,” Dr. Piser says.”

    But nobody is arguing that it is possible to rejuvenate nerves by stretching the penile shaft skin over the glans. And nobody is arguing that the foreskin should be transplanted into spinal cords. The way sensitivity is recovered is through the sloughing off of the keratin that the glans and surrounding mucosa develops as a result of being permanently exposed to the air, and to the abrasion of clothing. The nerves in the glans and surrounding mucosa aren’t “rejuvenated” per se, but they are exposed by the process of dekeritinization

    Incidentally, the nerves in the foreskin are different than the nerves in the spinal cords.

    And incidentally, foreskins harvested from children are used in stem-cell research, so it may actually be possible to transplant foreskin into people’s spinal cords.

    It just goes to show you how much American doctors actually know about the topic of the foreskin, and/or how much they are willing to learn, especially routine circumcisers, and especially ritual circumcisers.

    “It’s difficult to get a man to understand something, when his livelihood depends on his not understanding it.” ~Upton Sinclair

    The following statement is grossly omissive:

    “Circumcision is a lucrative industry, earning the medical community hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the 1.3 million circs done each year.”

    Why isn’t it mentioned that foreskins are also sold to pharmaceutical companies by hospitals? That foreskins are further developed into synthetic skin which costs close to $500 per square inch? Or developed into consumer products like Oprah Winfrey’s SkinMedica? Furthermore, doesn’t the article talk about the supportive industries that surround circumcision? IE, the sales of circumstraint boards? The sales of circumcision devices, such as Gomco, Plastibell, and Mogen? (Which, incidentally, Mogen went out of business because they lost a $11 million law suit.)

    Make no mistake; there is MONEY in infant circumcision.

    I did find it was probably a necessary balance to include someone who was not satisfied with restoration. People need to know that, just as not all men end up being happy with their circumcision, not all men are satisfied with restoration.

    Not all circumcisions are created equal, and just with circumcisions, not all restorations will result favorably. Just as with circumcision, one will never know until they try. It works for some, it doesn’t for others.

    “The grown-back version is always so much thicker and not very natural-looking—like a swollen version of a foreskin.”

    This is a very important insight; restoration works for some, but not for others. Not all results are favorable. Which underscores the fact that restoration is not an antidote for circumcision. If a boy is circumcised as a child, there is no guarantee that he will be able to restore a foreskin as an adult. It is absolutely criminal that man have to work hard to get back something that should have been his from birth, and that even so, something that may or may not resemble a natural foreskin.

    Is there a reason why the author felt the need to speak pergoratively of smegma in the anatomically correct male? It would have been nice if the author also pointed out that smegma is actually also found in the female vulva, and in much copious ammounts. It would be nice if someone had highlighted the double-standard of men having pristine, smegma-like organs, but smegma being excusable in women, where they take care of their problem with a shower.

    Secretion? I’m afraid the author needs to educate him/herself. There is no smegma gland that secretes smegma; smegma is the accumulation of dead skin-cells, urine etc., and like all other filth that develops in the body, it is simply a fact of life. It would be nice if authors started talking about the principles of hygiene, which command that when something gets dirty, we make it clean by washing it, not cutting it off.

    The other thing that I wish the authors would have pointed out was that Matt, unlike children, did what he did to his penis out his own free volition; he had the freedom of choice. Intactivists would be equally as outraged if boys were born without foreskins, and doctors were sewing them on at birth.

    I also feel that the author didn’t explore the dubious “potential benefits” of circumcision further:

    “It is virtually impossible to get penile cancer when circumcised. It is similarly rare to see balanitis (inflammation of any residual foreskin) and it eliminates the possibility of phimosis, a condition in which the foreskin cannot retract from the glans. Snipped newborns are 10 times less likely to get a urinary tract infection.”

    It is actually not impossible to get penile cancer when circumcised; it has been documented that the pleas of circumcised men who develop penile cancer are often ignored by doctors who find it hard to believe they even have penile cancer because they’re circumcised.

    Is there a reason why the author doesn’t talk about the conventional treatment of balinitis which does NOT require circumcision?

    Is there a reason the author doesn’t talk about how even when a man DOES get phimosis, circumcision is not always the first option?

    Where is the author getting the figure that newborns are 10x less likely to get UTI? If I’m correct s/he is getting them from a study conducted by one Thomas Wiswell, who basically conducted his research on premature babies. This is important because UTIs are more common in premature babies to begin with, and this is agravated by the fact that premature babies have to be catheterized, iatrogenically introducing pathogens that cause UTI.

    It must be noted that as high as UTIs are played up to be, UTIs are still 4x more common in girls than in boys. UTI is easily treated with antibiotics in girls, as in boys.

    It makes absolutely on sense to be circumcising a healthy, non-consenting child to prevent a disease which is already quite rare, and which is already easily treatable.

    “While the AAP and the CDC aren’t taking sides, the World Health Organization (WHO) considers circumcision part of a comprehensive HIV prevention program. They cite compelling evidence that it reduces the risk of HIV transmission in heterosexual sex by up to 60 percent.”

    Which is relevant in babies who have ZERO SEX and are therefore at ZERO RISK for sexually transmitted HIV, right?

    Isn’t anybody going to talk about the fact that HIV rates are HIGHER here in the US, where the majority of the male population is circumcised, and it is LOWER in various countries in Europe, where the majority of the male population sports anatomically correct genitalia?

    If circumcision prevented HIV, wouldn’t HIV rates be LOWER in America, and RAMPANT in those countries where circumcision is not prevalent?

    “Research released just last week indicates that circumcision also helps reduce the spread of human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer in women (HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease in the U.S.).”

    But of course, if the author bothered to look, she would find that there is actually nothing “new” about this research.

    Two years ago, Johns Hopkins analyzed the exact same Ugandan trials, arrived at the exact same “conclusions,” that circumcision “reduces the risk of HPV and herpes.”

    Here we are, two years later, the basically do the same thing, arrive at the same conclusions, and display the same desparation: “circumcision rates are too low! States need to pay for it, and the AAP needs to recommend it!”

    I guess it didn’t work the first time?

    This is basically a re-hash, and the author wants to help plug this as “new research???”

    Incidentally, let’s look at some of these magical numbers; male circumcision is supposed to “reduce” the risk of HPV by 35%, and of herpes by 28%. But are these numbers really all that significant? Men would STILL be at risk for HPV by 65%, and for herpes at 72%. HPV you can actually get rid of, but once you get herpes, you get it FOR LIFE. WHY does Johns Hopkins think it’s rational thinking to promote an alternative to the more effective STD prevention method that has been tried and true; condoms???

    Says Dr. Pisner regarding the MGMBill: “[N]onsense… Even if you’re against circumcision,” he says, “why would you make it so that someone else couldn’t do it if they wanted?”

    Biff! Bam! Another straw man demolished!
    Does Pisner pay attention to ANYTHING?

    Intactivists aren’t trying to make it so that someone else couldn’t do it if they wanted; they want to make it so that only necessary circumcisions are performed on minors, and, as much as possible, circumcision is a choice made by ADULT men on themselves.

    The author, intentionally, or inadverdently, purports long-standing myths:

    “[T]he comparison of male to female circumcision isn’t so straightforward. Female genital mutilation involves the total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.”

    Not always. The author describes only ONE KIND of female genital mutilation. Not all female genital mutilation involves the total removal of the external female genitalia.

    And she further begs the question; what are the medical reasons for performing circumcisions in healthy, non-conseting individuals?

    “The twain may never meet on the medical benefits or religious significance of male circumcision, or on the physiological truth to the joys of foreskin restoration. But it’s the leap to equate male circumcision with female genital mutilation that irks Hugo Schwyzer.”

    Before we talk about Hugo, may we first know why “the twain may never meet?”

    For better or for worse, female circumcision has religious significance in quite a few countries. In Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, for example, circumcision is performed in baby girls in a procedure known as “Sunnat.”

    This statement is rather bigotted; what it is saying is that the religious significance is enough to ratify male infant circumcision, but not enough to ratify female infant circumcision. Now, let’s see what Hugo has to say about it:

    “I have no qualms about foreskin restoration. But let’s not equate circumcision with a man being robbed of his essence. And I don’t want him elevating what was a fundamentally minor surgical procedure to the status of mutilation. I find that offensive as a feminist in particular. And as man who’s been on both sides of it, I find it ridiculous.”

    This is rather insulting to the many men who feel that circumcision has indeed robbed them of their essense.

    Fundamentally minor, surgical procedure?

    Precisely what is the matter with a healthy newborn baby boy that he requires surgery?

    Without medical or clinical indication, isn’t mutilation precisely what the circumcision of healthy minors is?

    I find it offensive, the double-standard that while taking a knife to a girl or woman’s genitals and cutting part of it off is “mutilation,” but taking a knife and cutting part of the organs of a boy or man off is called “minor surgical procedure.”

    Just who are you to decide how men should feel about their bodies?

    That’s right. You’re a feminist. You place primacy on the importance of women’s rigths, not that of males.

    Women come first, men are 2nd class citizens.

    Now we’re starting to get a picture of who this Hugo character is.

    “Four years ago, Schwyzer, a writer and college professor living in Los Angeles, wrote a magazine article about the circumcision he had as an adult. He was, in his own words, ‘hammered by the anti-circumcision’ people who perpetuated ‘the false equivalence between male circumcision and female genital mutilation.'”

    So this man decides to go for circumcision as an adult. Interesting.

    “All of that leads me to be very clear that there is no comparison. It’s used as a serious argument. It cheapens and diminishes the discussion about circumcision. And invalidates what are some reasons we should rethink infant circumcision.”

    How so, Hugo, how so?

    Who is trying to compare male and female circumcision? The argument is that taking a healthy, non-consenting individual and cutting his genitals, in whole or in part, violates the same principle, no matter what sex.

    How is talking about the genital mutilation of one sex diminish the discussion about the genital mutilation of the other?

    What reasons that we should rethink infant circumcision are invalidated?

    “[Schwyzer’s] decision to undergo a circumcision when he was 37 was fueled by a hard-earned combination of medical and psychological imperatives. Schwyzer was an alcohol, drug, and sex addict who managed to earn a Ph.D. while burning through three marriages. ‘I was very much your classic addict, so my penis went a lot of places,’ he says. Those ‘places’ inflicted a series of sex-related injuries that involved repeated tearing of the frenulum, the triangle of skin where the foreskin attaches to the underside of the penis. Life in the fast lane over 18 years took its toll on Schwyzer, who calls himself ‘a walking cliché.’ He ended up in a hospital emergency room on death’s door.”

    Interesting story… is there a reason why he decided undergo a full circumcision when his problems involved only a tight banjo string? I’m not sure I understand this; he was in an emergency room because of a torn frenulum?

    “Schwyzer underwent circumcision just before he married his current wife. ‘I did it for two reasons: to deal with frenular tearing and scarring, and to symbolize this commitment to enduring monogamy.'”

    I’m not sure how any of this makes any sense. Circumcising yourself symbolises commitment to monogamy because…

    I mean, I know plenty of guys who have stuck with their wives for years, and they didn’t need to get circumcised…

    “And not only is the pain gone, but the pleasure has not been reduced. The pleasure is as strong as it ever was.”

    How would we be able to measure this? I’d like to talk to him in a few years and see if he still feels the same…

    “I’ve met men who were circumcised as infants who have an amazingly deep sense they were robbed of something. Dude, get over yourself!
    He further explains: “The penis I had had, uncircumcised, had been with a lot of people. With the circumcised penis, I would only be sexual with my wife. It wasn’t born-again virginity. It was a way of saying, ‘Look, I am different.’””

    WHAT???

    First off, who the hell are you to tell others to “get over themselves?” What would you think of someone who had the nerve to tell a woman who feels violated because of her mutilation to “get over herself?”

    Oh, that’s right. I must remember that Hugo is a feminist and as a sexist jerk, he can disregard men’s feelings about their own bodies.
    And second, you had to be circumcised to be faithful with your wife??? Hello, logic? Were are you???

    “If a guy wants to do foreskin restoration, knock yourself out,” Schwyzer says. ‘But for the men who feel they lost something—the foreskin wasn’t all that. I had great experiences with it. Foreskin can be integrated into sex play. There’s no question there are nerve endings there,’ Schwyzer continued. ‘But I’ve met men who were circumcised as infants who have an amazingly deep sense they were robbed of something. Dude, get over yourself!'”

    Excuse me, YOU had the choice to mutilate yourself. You liked it, that’s fine. But who the hell are you to be telling others that they should be happy because YOU are?

    What about the men circumcised as adults who fully regret it?

    Author, why didn’t you include a story an a man who regretted being circumcised as an adult to balance this asshole’s rant out???

    YOU had a choice. The men who are angry didn’t. That’s the whole POINT.

    Geez.

    “But this idea that circumcision was this horrific violation comparable to sex abuse, and that you were deprived of something extraordinarily valuable? Having had a lot of sex both ways, I can say no. I find it ridiculous.”

    YOU WERE NOT DEPRIVED OF THIS CHOICE, HUGO.

    You CONSENTED.

    The difference between sex and rape is CHOICE.

    I’m sure tattoos are a wonderful thing.

    I’m not so sure that Jews that were tattooed in internment camps appreciate it though.

    This Hugo asshole misses the whole point.

    “‘Let’s step back and take a deep breath,’ Dr. Pis[n]er says. ‘This is a valid, valuable medical procedure. Whether you want to do it to help protect your child from urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and HIV transmission, or whether you want to do it electively as an adult. That’s personal. But there is a huge psychological component to all of this.'”

    But wait, we’re talking about two or three completely different “persons” here. The person to whom the penis belongs to, and his parents.

    Nevermind the fact that UTIs are quite rare and easily dealt with, nevermind that a child is NOT at risk for penile cancer or HIV transmission.

  29. Joseph4GI says:

    When a doctor performs the wrong procedure on the wrong patient, that doctor can be held liable for malpractice.

    When a doctor knowingly profits from performing medically unnessecary procedures on a healthy, unwitting patient, that doctor can be held liable for medical fraud if the patient were to become aware of that doctor’s actions.

    But here is the bottom line:

    Without any medical or clinical indication whatsoever, how can doctors be performring surgery on healthy, non-consenting individuals? Let alone be giving parents any kind of a “choice?”

    Isn’t it professional abuse to be confronting the parents of a healthy child with a bogus dilemma, and having them make a non-existent “choice?”

    The foreskin is not a birth defect. Nor is it a congenital deformity or a genetic anomaly like a cleft or a 6th finger.

    The foreskin is normal, healthy tissue found in all boys at birth.

    Circumcision is the deliberate destruction of normal, healthy tissue. It is a deliberate wound and it puts a child at risk for infection, partial or full ablation, and even death.

    Unless there is medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of minors is by definition infant genital mutilation.

    It is abuse in more ways than one:

    It professional abuse of the doctor to be presenting parents with the bogus dilemma of the “big decision.”

    And, it is ultimately the abuse of the child himself, who is unable to give consent.

    Doctors who perform infant circumcision in healthy, non-consenting newborns are in the business of mutilating baby boys.

    They profit at the expense of the child.

    Doctors who perform infant circumcisions on healthy, non-consenting individuals are guilty of charlatanism, child abuse, and medical fraud.

    Circumcising doctors are guilty of all these things, and the day draws near when they shall be held accountable for their actions.

    The day of justice for men draweth near, fellas’…

    Lo it is in San Francisco, knocking at our door.

    If not San Francisco, then somewhere else.

    But the day is coming when the floodgates will burst open.

  30. Given that the risks of UTIs, Penile Cancer and transmission of HIV, HPV are not applicable to the early years of a child’s life, given the lack of sexual activity (except in the case of UTIs which is a ridiculous claim to make, I wouldn’t chop off my nose if it reduced the risk of getting sinusitis) it’s shameful that a Doctor would encourage the non-consensual, surgical alteration of a child’s physiology (often times that of a newborn even!). This is further compounded by the fact that all of these benefits can be gained later in life when one has reached the age of consent and reason and can decide for themselves if they want to submit themselves to this kind of irreversible process. (When I say irreversible I’m referring to the fact that the nerve endings are irreplaceable, which is distinct from the variable sensitivity of the glans)

    • By arch-circumcision Thomas Wiswell’s own figures, more than 440 circumcisions would be wasted to prevent one urinary tract infection. The figures for other ailments are as high or higher. Circumcisionists love to shroud-wave about penile cancer, but it would take well over 1000 circumcisions to prevent one case.

  31. Alisha you say you can’t believe that any man has experienced the kind of pain and fear that African girls are put through when being cut. This is rather ignorant and in its kneejerk sexism also rather offensive.

    This story outlines just how male circumcision is done in many communities around the world – just the same circumstances – children aged between 5-10 years old are held down by up to six adults. Many end up in hospital as a result, and deaths do occur too. [In South Africa last year 91 boys and young men died of circumcision wounds, with others surviving but losing their penis to gangrene – even in clinical conditions in the US over 100 boys pa are estimated to die from circ.]

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1670590.stm

    If you want to know what male circumcision looks like in most places in the world try looking at these pictures. I hope you will feel ashamed that knowing nothing about the male experience of circumcision still you sought to trivialise it. Consider for a moment how these boys feel about the mother who handed them over to receive this kind of treatment, and didn’t protect them. The world will be a safer place for everyone when we stop brutalising kids.

    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/76625506/AFP
    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/74949650/Getty-Images-News
    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/74970532/AFP
    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/74971113/AFP
    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/77236129/AFP
    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/88961157/AFP

    • RelievedMom says:

      Thanks for this LG – reminds me that I made the right decision by not having my son circumcised (and that the opinions of men who are against it should be respected).

  32. Bryce McNell says:

    To those that claim FGM and MGM are not comparable, a side by side comparison:

    FGC MGM
    Cutting? YES YES
    Of the genitals? YES YES
    Of babies? YES YES
    Of children? YES YES
    Without consent? YES YES
    At parents’ behest? YES YES
    Removing erogenous tissue? YES YES
    Supposedly beneficial? YES YES
    Justified by aesthetics? YES YES
    Justified by supposed health benefits? YES YES
    Justified by religion? YES YES
    Justified by sexual effects? YES YES
    Justified by custom? YES YES
    Justified by conformity? YES YES
    Effects minimized by its supporters? YES YES
    Performed by its adult victims? YES YES
    Extremely painful? YES YES
    Can cause harm? YES YES
    Very severe damage? USUALLY SOMETIMES
    Can cause death? YES YES
    Legal in Western countries? NO YES

    The bottom line – strapping a human being down and cutting their genitals is a violation of human rights. It is most appalling when the victim of genital cutting violence is a newborn and has no ability to fight back or say NO. Would you want that done to you?

    20,000 nerves, fine touch receptors, 6 layers of specialized skin cells, 15 square inches of erogenous skin – don’t try to tell me this important sex organ has no purpose. That just doesn’t happen in evolution, sorry to burst your pro-circ bubble. Wake up and stop cutting baby penises, that’s sick.

  33. Check out foregen everyone – they’re raising money through donations to launch a clinical trial in foreskin regeneration that will regenerate everything lost to circumcision at foregen.org through regenerative medicine

  34. mike carreras says:

    I WANT MY FORESKIN!

  35. mike carreras says:

    I WANT MY FORESKIN

  36. I like my circumcised dick. I like the way it LOOKS and the way it FEELS. I have absolutely NO PROBLEM with having been cut as a baby. Since I never had the experience of bacon hangin off my dick, I have no cause for regret, or longing. Its absurd what I read these neurotic obsessives say about their lost wang skin. Absurd. Its clear to me they suffer from some mental derangement they have chosen to attach to their dicks and blame their lack of appeal (due to laziness in sex and ignorance about how to earn the interest of a partner by being stimulating) to anyone unlucky enough to share their bed and their dick.
    Get a clue and GROW UP.

    • “I never had the experience of bacon hangin off my dick” Who has? The one-eyed film-maker Errol Morris talks in much the same disparaging way about three-dimensional vision.

    • “I like my circumcised dick. I like the way it LOOKS and the way it FEELS. I have absolutely NO PROBLEM with having been cut as a baby. Since I never had the experience of bacon hangin off my dick, I have no cause for regret, or longing. Its absurd what I read these neurotic obsessives say about their lost wang skin. Absurd. Its clear to me they suffer from some mental derangement they have chosen to attach to their dicks and blame their lack of appeal (due to laziness in sex and ignorance about how to earn the interest of a partner by being stimulating) to anyone unlucky enough to share their bed and their dick.
      Get a clue and GROW UP.”

      You’re about as insensitive as your penis.

  37. G. Greene says:

    “Tally has been tugging on his penis for two years” has to be the greatest opening line in the history of American journalism.

  38. Seymour Eliot says:

    That Dr. Piser visibly knows nothing about intact, functioning penises. The foreskin keeps the urinary meatus sterile and the glans moist and protected from germs, contaminants, irritants, etc. MGM victims are not only deprived from 80% of their penis’ nerve endings, their glans becomes keratinized and loses most of its own sensitivity. The glans is an internal organ, it is not supposed to be constantly exposed to everything. Besides, Piser completely ignores the deep trauma infant circumcision, with its excruciating, coma-inducing pain, causes. And those are not even the reasons not to circumcise; circumcision is simply immoral, whether the child still “looks intact” or not. Not your body, not your right, not your choice.

    FGM is the same as MGM. Done for the same religious/traditional bullshit, have the same destructive physical and psychological results, both are an infraction of sentient beings’ rights, etc. Since girls are protected from genital mutilation, it is constitutional for boys to have the same right.

    Anyway, great article. It’s honestly awesome to finally read a post related to circumcision that isn’t “in between the lines” pro-circ (and those never back up their “arguments”~).

  39. Like Mr. Schwyzer, I was cut later in life (I was almost 18), and by then I’d already been sexually active for a few years. The operation was done at the insistence of the family doctor, whom my parents and I trusted. Unlike Schwyzer, though, I can say unequivocally that sex felt much better when I had my foreskin. That’s why I have been restoring since July 2010. Restoration may not give me back the nerve endings that were removed surgically … but it is quickly returning my glans to its normal state — moist, dekeratinized (like the inside of one’s lips), and protected from friction against my clothing. And a lot of the feeling that I’ve been missing is absolutely returning. I can even masturbate these days — or *be* masturbated — without using lube.

    Why, oh why, would we base what we do in the U.S., on problems some men might suffer in second- and third-world countries? Cleanliness is important … and it could hardly be any easier to achieve for a foreskin owner. Are parents so g–damned lazy these days, that they can’t teach their boys to run some water over and around their penises?

    I don’t hear about penile cancer rates being outrageously high in mostly-uncut Europe, by the way. And y’know, if baby girls’ breasts were routinely removed shortly after they were born, there’d be a whole lot less breast cancer as adults.

    In developed countries, there is usually no truly compelling reason to perform this surgery on an infant. If God really wanted the foreskin gone, He could eliminate it with a snap of His giant fingers. Let the boys decide for themselves, when they’re old enough, whether they want to have it done.

    • I agree with you, but the fact that the human mind can conceive of genital cutting and act it out on babies is probably, not definitely, proof that there is no God. It is definitely a superstitious extension of religion. Believe me, I hope there is a God and that the ones who have vehemently done this to children are shown the ere of their ways. So why refer to God as “His giant fingers?” Wouldn’t “he” have already used those same fingers to snap this travesty out of existence in some way? But I appreciate your thoughts on this.

  40. Male genital mutilation, euphemistically called “circumcision”, is a violation of human rights and denies males their self determination as adults. The human mind has decided to justify this abhorrent behaviour as acceptable and normal. If it were being introduced as something new today, it would be considered as ridiculous as removing fingertips to prevent hangnails and the dirt that lodges under them. One only has to refer to the Aesop’s fable “The Fox Without a Tail” to see the truth. Some men must continue justifying this atrocity to make the atrocity correct in their minds. This is a really sad lesson in psychological denial and self justification, which has and will continue to sexually maim and kill uncounted and unrecognised victims, and this must stop!

  41. It sounds as if Hugo’s real problem was his mind and not the skin on his penis. If one has a sex and drug addition, that would lead to poor health and physical problems for anyone intact or not. If his penis had been mutilated at birth, it would have somehow been better despite his mental illness of addiction? What is the point that he is trying to make? If he is somehow blaming the skin on his penis for his “death’s door step” condition in life, that would be post hoc ergo propter hoc logic, and quite flawed thinking. I’m not sure why this was included in the article. The only problem a penis every has is in the mind of the one who wants to cut it, and it doesn’t sound as if Hugo has a very good one. However, he does have an incredible ego.

    • Well said Nigel. Hugo is the messed up one here – and he has no right to tell those cut at birth to get over it. He had the opportunity to try both uncut and cut while those cut at birth never get to find out for themselves. He also illudes that restoration is a perfect fix and we should go for it if we want to try uncut – while he fails to note that restoration takes 2-10 years and only brings back a portion of what was in fact ROBBED.

    • Hugo was really lucky to have his foreskin while he was screwing his way through all those girls. If he had been cut as a child then he never would have been able to strip away that filth and offer a faithful marriage to his current wife. What a laughable load of crap. But if it did work that way Hugo, then don’t you think all of us should be left intact as children so we will have the same opportunity to cleans ourselves after we are finished sewing our wild oats. Your piece of the article makes no sense buddy – get over yourself!

  42. Hugo said:

    “It’s almost like a countdown on threads like this: men’s rights activists appearing to insist that FGM and male circ are really equivalent in three, two, one…

    It’s like arguing with Holocaust deniers, I swear.”

    I have to agree that arguing with some people over the issue of infant circumcision is like arguing with Holocaust deniers. Some people are SO intent on keeping the practice of cutting baby boys’ genitals going, SO intent on finding excuse after excuse after excuse that they are, indeed, very much like Holocaust deniers! No matter how much evidence they see, they are totally unwilling to accept it, while they jump on any suggestion that hundreds of circumcisions might prevent one treatable infection like ducks on a junebug. Also, Hugo, I very much resent the suggestion that those of us who want to protect children from pain and injury are in any way comparable to the Nazis. Good grief.

    There are quite a few body parts that people can live without. Since no body part is totally free of problems, there isn’t anything that we couldn’t have cut off of our children and find something to say was prevented in the process. You know, the nails on big toes can be very troublesome. Many people get ingrown toenails, which cause a great deal of pain and can get infected. Some people need to have very painful surgery on them. In diabetics, infected toenails can even cause gangrene and result in amputation. We could prevent a great deal of pain by just obliterating the big toenails of all babies. We wouldn’t, though, because that would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it?

    Saying that penile cancer is unheard of in circumcised men is not only wrong, but quite irresponsible. Few men ever get penile cancer but, of those that do, some are circumcised. A common site for the cancer to start is the circumcision scar (which everyone who wasn’t born with aposthia has). There have been men whose treatment for penile cancer has been delayed because they, and/or their physicians, had heard that circumcised men couldn’t get penile cancer!

    Suggesting that circumcision protects against AIDS is especially irresponsible. We have all ready seen the effect of circumcision on AIDS in America. We have had some of the highest AIDS rates in the industrialized world, despite also having, by far, the highest circumcision rates among sexually active men. In the 1980s and 1990s, many American men suffered horribly and died from AIDS. Most of those men were circumcised and, in many cases, the sexual partners they had caught it from were circumcised, too. How many young men, caught in the heat of passion without a condom, will think “Oh well, I read that article that says that circumcision protects against AIDS and other STDs.”, and decide to take a chance?

    If Hugo, Matt, or any other men want to have part of their penises cut off, fine. That is their right and their choice to make. Children, of both sexes, have a right to make their own choices regarding what to have, or not have, done to their bodies, too. In addition, children have a right to be protected from pain and injury.

  43. I don’t agree with circumcision either… It should be an adult’s choice not something forced on babies.

    But it’s UNBELIEVABLE and incredibly obtuse to equate FGM with circumcision.

    FGM removes the entire sexual organ, it literally is cutting off the clitoris. The closest equivalent would be cutting off the entire penis shaft.

    You will not win people to your side by making these erroneous and incredibly disrespectful arguments that minimize the severity of what FGM is.

    Also, while some argue benefits to circumcision there are NO stated benefits to FGM.

    Stop this madness.

    • FGM removes the entire sexual organ, it literally is cutting off the clitoris. The closest equivalent would be cutting off the entire penis shaft.
      If you really want to get down to it that’s still pretty far out there. Unlike the clitoris the penis has other functions beyond sex.

      No I’m not trying to say that that makes it okay to remove the clitoris I’ve just grown a bit aggrevated by that comparison.

    • John Anderson says:

      There is something called type 4 female circumcision, which involves a ritualistic nick of the vagina. This is much less traumatic than a male circumcision and is not permanent like a male circumcision. The AAP in 2010 almost advocated for allowing the practice, but chose not to because of fierce opposition from feminists.

      When dealing with feminists like Hugo, it’s not the crime, but who the victim and the perpetrators are that is important. Women’s choice is paramount even when it comes to male bodies. Before you bring up that fathers have choices too, I need to point out tht there is already one male that doesn’t have a choice. It’s not about choice for men.

      You’re right FGC and MGC are not comparable. Sometimes MGC is much worse.

  44. “But I’ve met men who were circumcised as infants who have an amazingly deep sense they were robbed of something. Dude, get over yourself!”

    Schwyzer concedes that opponents of circumcision have valid concerns when they argue that it’s painful, unethical, and full of possible post-procedure complications from scarring, ulceration, and hemorrhage.

    “But this idea that circumcision was this horrific violation comparable to sex abuse, and that you were deprived of something extraordinarily valuable? Having had a lot of sex both ways, I can say no. I find it ridiculous.”

    And there we go. Hugo just sweeping in and using his own experience to dictate what something means to other men.

    As for cirumcision helping against AIDS is there any proof that circumcision is more effective than proper genital hygiene and sex education (which by the way you kinda need whether you’re circumcised or not)?

  45. alberto remus galvan says:

    i dont like my circumsition. what can i do? can it get to be thet i can have a foreskin? thak you please write

  46. Alfred C. Schram says:

    The cases of Matt and Shwyzer involve ADULT individuals who made the decision for themselves. I object to routine infant circumcision on the basis that it is a surgery performed on a non-consenting individual, for no immediate health benefit. I does cause an irreversible alteration of the boy anatomy. After becoming an adult, it will be the individual’s prerogative to decide for himself.

  47. “Even if you’re against circumcision,” he says, “why would you make it so that someone else couldn’t do it if they wanted?”

    The MGM bill wouldn’t make it illegal to get circumcised if you wanted to.It’s not a total ban only a partial ban for minors.If you are an adult man or woman you can still legally get circumcised even with the MGM/FGM bans in effect because they only protect children from circumcision.

  48. It’s easy for someone who lived half their lifespan with a foreskin to say that it’s no big deal. The guy does not have the perspective of somebody who does not know both sides of the story themselves. You could argue both sides without a clear winner, because the real issue is that the procedure is only needed on a case by case basis, and should not be performed routinely without individual consent unless there are overwhelming evidence that circumcision would somehow save the child’s life or eliminate a real source of lasting pain or discomfort. Global disease statistics (especially when they’re shown to be on the very low end, with uncircumcised guys rarely having problems) shouldn’t determine whether or not you get to keep your functional sexual organ parts. That’s like automatic enforcement of birth rate laws. Wouldn’t you rather let people have the choice, and make good decisions for themselves?

    I agree about FGM – it’s “worse”. But that’s like saying it’s worse to choke to death than to get shot in the head quickly. What you call worse or better is up to the individual.

    It’s a matter of individual rights, forget the comparisons to FGM. People say it’s the same thing because what they mean to say (or ought to be saying) is that it’s a question of personal freedom. Cutting off genitalia to any degree is a violation of FREEDOM to be born into this world as you are. Whether that’s a clitoris, or a foreskin, or a testicles, an earlobe, an appendix.. It’s a personal rights issue, the comparisons are just distractions. The “foreskin isn’t really that big of a deal” comments are also distractions.

  49. Long Hanger says:

    Imagine if women hoods were removed at child birth. I was circumcised for many years until after restoring for about 3 years. Sex is a million times better. anybody that is into this type of ritual is insane. The skin they hack off has tons of nerve endings. In addition since your cock head is covered its very sensitive and feels much better than a rough head. Never circumcise your baby, its cruel. I am a conservative and i would never do this, its sick.

  50. I don’t believe that Dr Piser should have been the medical authority to speak throughout this whole article, though his input was valuable for a single side of the argument. You can’t really trust the opinion of a man who makes his money performing a procedure when he makes a statement against it. The opinion of a urologist who does NOT perform circumcisions would have been more impartial and thus more valuable to the article.
    Hugo’s story was relevant to the article as a whole, but his opinion is invalid and hurtful when he speaks about other circumcised men. He had the benefit of being able to CHOOSE his circumcision, which most other circumcised men did not. It is completely understandable that these men would be upset at their parents and doctor who permanently altered their body against their will, much like a woman who has been raped would understandably hold ill will against her rapist. Which brings me to my next point-
    Mutilation is defined as “to cut up or alter radically so as to make imperfect” or “to cut off or permanently destroy a limb or essential part”, and it is generally accepted as occurring without consent. Now, what is “perfect” is certainly up for debate, especially amongst religious groups, but it seems to me that neonatal circumcision certainly meets this definition. An infant cannot give consent to having an essential part of his penis, one that has been developed to cover and protect, cut off.
    The arguments in favor of neonatal circumcision are dubious at best. Protection from UTIs? Try proper diapering techniques and potty training, a good diet, and limiting bubble baths. Compare that to the potential for serious infections from the circumcision wounds, as well as excrement exposure during diapering. Better hygeine? An utter fallacy, as the foreskin is adhered to the glans well into childhood, giving the parent plenty of time to teach proper washing as the child begins to retract it on his own. STD prevention? Circumcised men can still get them, so just use a condom like all sexually active, non-monogamous people SHOULD be doing anyway. Penile cancer? Why don’t we cut off female breasts at puberty or replace our lungs with artificial ones while we’re at it? All other cited conditions are those that have the outstanding potential to clear up on their own with proper hygeine or with less invasive medical intervention.
    To be clear, I am not against circumcision as a whole. My only “beef” is with neonatal circumcision. An infant can’t even clearly communicate what they want, much less understand and consent to something that will permanently alter something as critical to their lives as their sex organs. If a grown man chooses to have a circumcision like Hugo did, regardless of his reason for it, that is his choice.

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  52. “The smell of smegma (the cheese-like secretion found under an unwashed foreskin)”
    Guess what, girls and women have smegma too. Under their clitoral hood. The clitoris and surrounding area has to be washed just like the glans of an uncircumcised penis. The labia have to be pulled aside just like the foreskin has to be pulled back.
    But you don’t see anyone in the western mainstream world saying that the labia and clitoral hood should be cut off in infancy.

  53. Why should I suffer for my parents’ willful
    ignorance? How dare they decide this for me
    without my consent? My father believed the hygiene
    myth so much, he kept himself intact – how cruel.

    Its cruel that I cannot experience a full body orgasm
    and its cruel that my parents can come between the intimacy
    of myself and my partner. She feels the difference too and enough
    women have commented online how they prefer intact men.

    Who on earth gave these people the right to even debate this??
    Its not their decision to make – its only mine!! Got it?

    We are victims of genital mutilation. One day this will be seen as
    the barbaric (religious/commercial) ritual that it is.

  54. “I did it for two reasons: to deal with frenular tearing and scarring, and to symbolize this commitment to enduring monogamy.” – Hugo Schwyzer

    Just goes to show that Phds do not necessarily
    “equate” good logic. I mean, seriously, frenular
    tearing can be treated, and a circumcision to symbolise
    a new relationship bond?

    Hugo Schwyzer does not seem to see the problem
    here – he was allowed to make that decision as an
    adult. I was not.

    For him to make great statements about how a foreskin
    is not as important as the hood of a clitoris is just
    plain ridiculous.

    It is still child abuse. A German court of Law
    in Cologne has already ruled it as such.

  55. i think restoring your foreskin is awesome. guys you have idea how much better sex can be after being restored. the only guys that knows the differents is one that has ben restored .even a uncut man can’t no the difference. luckily now us cut guys can be fixed. and four you uncut guys you only have to say thanks to your dad four not having you cut because he made the right choice . and yes i did not 18 years ago i had my son cut because i didn’t no better i talk to alot of people about restoring. the only one i had a problem talking to is my son i told him i am sorry. restoring is his choice if he wants to i told him i wood pay for all the devices. i don’t no if he is restoring or not. some people can’t talk about this .the only thing i can say is restoring your foreskin works its awesome it will take time but it will work thais to things in restoring foreskin. restoring and retaining .you can just use a retainer to see its something you want to do. when you use just a retainer your only changing the sensitivity if you don’t like how it feels. just let it go back to how it was .i haven’t talked to one guy that started to restore that didn’t find it AWESOME

    thanks roy

    if you have a question email me [email protected]

Trackbacks

  1. […] After 11 years of tugging and frustration, “Matt” gets re-circumcised. Twice. Read more here. […]

  2. […] in a new online magazine titled "The Good Men Project". Here is a link>>> The Good Men Project: Article and interview with Tally Please congratulate Tally and let him know how we appreciate all the hard work he has done to help […]

  3. […] Restoration article on The Good Men Project The Foreskin Renaissance, January 18, 2011 in The Good Men Project Magazine I was interviewed for this foreskin restoration […]

  4. […] Created by Matthew Hess, president of MGMbill.org, Foreskin Man is a product of Hess’ mission to prevent infant male circumcision. Like his character, Hess currently works in San Diego, but instead of donning a cape and plasma boots, he is pushing the Male Genital Mutilation (MGM) Bill to ensure government protection against forced male circumcision. Hess has even been restoring his own foreskin. […]

  5. […] Recently, an interesting article about a so called “Foreskin Renaissance” has been brought to my attention. Follow this link to read it. […]

  6. […] January here at GMPM, we ran the most comprehensive and entertaining story ever written on the foreskin restoration movement (yes, you read that right, foreskin restoration is real—so real it has its own movement), […]

  7. […] Novak, the writer who interviewed me for a story on circumcision at the Good Men Project, has been writing a great deal lately about the so-called “Sarah […]

  8. Trackback Link…

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  9. […] by resentful, circumcised men: here, here, here, here, and here. This man lost his penis. Several thousand men are attempting “foreskin restoration,” which is an arduous process of stretching skin from […]

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