Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What is lost to circumcision

1. The foreskin

Source: Wikipedia
2. The ridged band and its concentration of Meissners corpuscles (soft touch receptors)


Photo by deviantArt user ~tottus, used with kind permission - illustrates the ridged band
See The Forgotten Foreskin and its Ridged Band, John R. Taylor 2007

3. Inner mucosa

Inner mucosa fully deployed in last panel. Source: foreskin.org


4. Damage to the frenulum

Left side image used with permission of user oTupeiraX Original: otoupeirax.deviantart.com/art/…


5. The mobility of the skin (gliding function)


Photo by deviantArt user ~oTupeiraX, used with kind permission to illustrate the gliding function

Mechanical function of the foreskin. The foreskin does not remain static behind the glans during sex; it moves, covering and exposing the glans. This fact has been ignored by researchers such as Payne et al. This action is not possible for a circumcised man.
6. Keratinization of the glans


Comparison of the glans in an intact penis (above) and a circumcised penis (below) Photo: http://intactipedia.org/index.php?title=Keratinization
7. Sensitivity

See Sorrells et al, 2007. fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis
8. Interaction ridged band and the ridge of the corona

Through the anatomy of the penis and the mechanical function (gliding skin), the ridge of the corona and the ridged band interact during sex, as the foreskin glides over the glans. As a result, the sensitive area of the glans and the sensitive area of the foreskin touch stimulate each other. This mechanism is destroyed by circumcision.

Additional information

What exactly is circumcision and what is it not. Francisco Garcia.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Is this blog biased?

We are all familiar with the AAP's mantra that "the benefits outweigh the risks". This statement reduced the equation of circumcision to just two variables, "benefits", and "risks".

But besides the risks and the possible complications, there is objective damage due to circumcision. Damage that always occurs because when you remove parts of the body, you remove the functions of those parts:


  • Loss of skin mobility on the penis. This is actually an important and very misunderstood function of the foreskin. The ability to slide the skin over the glans creates a dynamic stimulation system where the glans and the foreskin stimulate each other during sex, and the inner surface of the foreskin  stimulates the inner walls of the vagina. This is destroyed by circumcision.


  • Loss of the soft-receptors - the "ridged band" of the foreskin, the area where the outer skin transitions into the inner mucosa, has a high concentration of Meissner's corpuscles whose function is to feel soft touch. These receptors do not exist on the rest of the penis, so removing them means the penis will mostly rely on the rough sensations. That's like listening to your favorite song but without the guitars or the keyboards, you are only left with the bass and the drums.

  • Progressive keratinization or cornification of the glans. The surface of the glans is a mucosa, and mucosas thrive in moist environments. The natural covering of the glans is the inner foreskin, which is also a mucosa. Once the foreskin is gone, the glans is permanently exposed to friction with clothes and air, the moisture has no place to stay, so the glans becomes dry and develops layers of skin cells - which bury its nerve endings, making it less sensitive over time. Compare the part of your lips that stays inside your mouth with the part of the lips that stays outside. The glans is supposed to be like the part of the lips that stays inside your mouth, or like the inside of your cheeks, but once the penis is circumcised, the glans becomes like the outside of the lips. Hardened.


All these items are objective damage. It doesn't matter if the baby didn't cry, if all the possible combinations of anesthesia were used, if the procedure took 30 seconds with a Mogen clamp (and didn't get the glans sliced) or 30 minutes with a Gomco clamp... It doesn't matter if the wound did not get infected or the baby didn't bleed. When circumcised, the penis has lost all of those functions and structures. It won't work the way it's supposed to work. It will become erect and allow for sex and orgasm and reproduction, yes, but what it's missing is something the man will never understand.

If you couldn't see in colors, how would you understand colors? If you don't have the ridged band and the frenulum, and your skin doesn't glide, you may repeat until you get tired that your "junk works perfectly fine", but it doesn't. You just won't know what was taken from you.

Some men have been circumcised without real medical necessity as adults and have been able to report the loss. Some males are undergoing non-surgical foreskin restoration, and even though the Meissner's corpuscles won't come back, the gliding function of the skin CAN be restored and some of the keratinization can be reversed, and things become better.

Pro-circumcision groups will say that "there is no evidence that sexual satisfaction is different" between circumcised and uncircumcised men. But they will never discuss these structures and functions (see AAP's Policy Statement and Technical Report on circumcision for an example of this intentional omission), because once you study these structures and evaluate this functions, the damage becomes really apparent. Only by remaining willfully blind to these structures and functions one can argue that there is no sexual difference.

And that is the purpose of this blog. To bring awareness about the damage that occurs when the foreskin is excised, the loss of functions. This has been a learning experience for me. Even when I saw an uncircumcised penis, I didn't know what to look on it, I didn't know how to see the difference. And that's what I want to share in this blog: the difference, so that we don't deceive ourselves into thinking that nothing is lost after a circumcision.

Regardless of any potential benefits, this is what is lost. I hope my readers will learn something useful here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Genital Cutting, Forbidden Senses and Forbidden Colours

Imagine if you made your child color-blind on purpose, you'd be accused of child abuse, wouldn't you?

Why would you do that? Why would you do that?

Monday, April 22, 2013

A friend shares - Negative sexual impact of infant circumcision

A friend shares that when he reached puberty, his erections were tight and painful. He often chafed his penis and bled after masturbation. Not even lots of lubrication could prevent this. Things haven't changed since.

He also suffers from lymphedema, so his penis sometimes fills with fluids and swells above the circumcision scar.

When he became sexually active he also realized he had very little touch sensitivity.

Due to these complications, he limits his sexual activity to one or two times per month.

He wishes he was not circumcised.

This is the type of damage from circumcision that parents almost never find about, the type of problem that quietly affects many men's lives and which many men are too embarrassed to talk about.

My friend shares this picture of a red sore spot on his penis, the result of a single encounter which, enjoyable as it was, left him in pain. He wishes people will think twice before circumcising their children.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Presentation

On August 27th, 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released their most recent "Policy Statement on Circumcision and Technical Report" stating that the "heath benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks". They also indicate that "male circumcision does not appear to adversely affect penile sexual function/sensitivity or sexual satisfaction". Further reading of their statement indicates that "the medical benefits alone may not outweigh these other considerations for individual families", and yet they conclude that "the preventive and public health benefits associated with newborn male circumcision warrant third-party reimbursement for the procedure".

In contrast, the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) on their "Viewpoint on Non-Therapeutic Circumcision of Male Minors" states that "these days, more critical articles are being published about circumcision. These articles point to the rights of children, the absence of medical benefits and the fact that this is a mutilating intervention that regularly leads to complications and can cause medical and psychological problems, both at a young and a later age".

On their viewpoint, they later indicate that "In response to the possible medical benefits, a large number of complications resulting from circumcision are described: infections, bleeding, sepsis, necrosis, fibrosis of the skin, urinary tract infections, meningitis, herpes infections, meatisis, meatal stenosis, necrosis and necrotising complications, all of which have led to the complete amputation of the penis. Deaths have also been reported. The AAFP estimates the numberof deaths as 1 in 500,000. That would mean that in the United States, two children die each year as a result of the intervention."

 Regarding the sexual effect of circumcision, the KNMG says "Another part of this argument says that NTC does not affect male sexuality. The foreskin is regarded as a part of the body that has no function at all in male sexuality. Many sexologists contradict this idea: in their view, the foreskin is a complex, erotogenic structure that plays an important role ‘in the mechanical function of the penis during sexual acts, such as penetrative intercourse and masturbation’.49 The many attempts by men to restore their foreskins by mechanical or surgical means also contradict the idea that the foreskin is a useless part of the body."

The KNMG concludes their viewpoint with several points, including:

  • There is no convincing evidence that circumcision is useful or necessary in terms of prevention or hygiene. Partly in the light of the complications which can arise during or after circumcision, circumcision is not justifiable except on medical/therapeutic grounds. Insofar as there are medical benefits, such as a possibly reduced risk of HIV infection, it is reasonable to put off circumcision until the age at which such a risk is relevant and the boy himself can decide about the intervention, or can opt for any available alternatives.
  • Contrary to what is often thought, circumcision entails the risk of medical and psychological complications. The most common complications are bleeding, infections, meatus stenosis (narrowing of the urethra) and panic attacks. Partial or complete penis amputations as a result of complications following circumcisions have also been reported, as have psychological problems as a result of the circumcision.
  • Non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is contrary to the rule that minors may only be exposed to medical treatments if illness or abnormalities are present, or if it can be convincingly demonstrated that the medical intervention is in the interest of the child, as in the case of vaccinations.

And with a call to restrict non-therapeutic circumcision of minors as much as possible.

A recent Global Survey of Circumcision Harm was focused on exposing the complications that frequently arise from infant circumcisions, ranging from mild cosmetic issues such as skin tags, to medium issues such as skin bridges (sometimes called "adhesions" by doctors) to more severe scarring of the glans, buried penis, denudement of the penis and even partial glans amputation.

However upsetting these complications can be, even the most successful circumcision always causes damage. There is damage inherent in removing healthy erogenous tissue and changing the functions of the penis. The human body is capable of adapting to different situations, so the body normally compensates for the lack of foreskin by changing some behaviors, which is why many people are not aware of being affected by their circumcision.

This is even reinforced by Douglas Diekema, bioethicist of the Task Force on Circumcision of the AAP who said: "Ultimately, we don't have any good data. Circumcised men may experience sex differently than uncircumcised men -- intuitively that makes sense -- but it's simply not the case that we have an epidemic of uncircumcised men that don't get pleasure or can't function sexually." It is however a fact that thousands of men are undergoing non-surgical foreskin restoration in an attempt to recreate their foreskin and improve their sexual life, as it can be seen in the Foreskin Restoration Forum http://www.foreskin-restoration.net/

Diekema also stated in an interview that circumcision "does carry some risk and does involve the loss of the foreskin, which some men are angry about. But it does have medical benefit. Not everyone would trade that foreskin for that medical benefit. Parents ought to be the decisionmakers here". Please note that if not everyone would trade the foreskin, parents making the decision are not giving the infant the option to make that choice. A current campaign of Intact America states that doctors don't just circumcise babies; they circumcise the men those babies will become.



Andrew Freedman, another member of the AAP Task Force on circumcision, stated that "[r]isks include significant bleeding, which occurs in about one in 500 boys". As for loss of sexual sensation during adulthood because of the loss of nerve endings on the foreskin, Freedman said it's a poorly studied issue. "There are lots of people who are unhappy" about a lack of sexual sensation, he said, but "millions of men are perfectly happy. From a scientific standpoint, we really don't have a good handle on it." Source

If there are lots of people who are unhappy about lack of sexual sensation, doesn't that indicate that better studies are required? That perhaps we need to re-think this cultural custom of circumcising babies?

Christopher Guest, M.D, co-founder of the Children’s Health & Human Rights Partnership (CHHRP) says: “‘Circumcision alters the structure of the penis, which inevitably alters function. Long term harm to men from infant circumcision has never been studied.’  He referred to a growing body of anecdotal evidence collected by the Canadian-based Global Survey of Circumcision Harm. Guest said that in the past 12 months over 900 men have answered the online survey to document their harm.” Read more at http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/our-bodies-our-choices-circumcision-is-not-a-joke/#qbsdk4advxoO49fM.99

It is the objective of this page to dig deeper into understanding the damage that circumcision makes on a routinely basis, to create awareness about the need of further research and reevaluation of routine infant circumcision.