Friday, November 22, 2013

Male Circumcision: Facts, Myths, Racism

Presentation abstract

Three major areas related to male circumcision are covered: facts, myths, and racism. The factual material includes activities of health organizations,  the costs and benefits of circumcision as a preventative health intervention, and the legal status of male circumcision. We first review the statements and programs of major international health organizations. Next, we present the scientific findings on the risks and benefits of male circumcision. Findings related to male and female sexual satisfaction after circumcision are also presented. Finally, we review the status of male circumcision under human rights law.

Male circumcision is the subject of widespread myths. First, we consider positions of various organizations and of "European doctors" on male circumcision. Exaggeration of intervention risks and minimization of disease prevention effects by opponents are discussed. Information that confuses the public about the effects of circumcision on disease incidence and sexual satisfaction is analyzed. We show that the "right to bodily integrity" is not a valid objection to male circumcision. 

Finally, we review the material disseminated by "Intactivists" and examine the effect of proposed bans to clarify the racist impact of the opposition campaign. We show how this position has the effect of promoting sexual dysfunction as well as discrimination against groups practicing circumcision. In the Nordic countries, new and proposed legislation regulating male circumcision most directly impacts Muslims.


  1. It is very tiresome to hear the cry about racism again. Bodily harm and mutilation of innocent children has nothing to do with race but is - or should be globally - a simple criminal offence. Is prosecuting muslims for stealing also racism? Are muslims exempt from scrutiny for barberism? It's pathetic to hide under the racism outcry when decency and logic runs out.

    1. So how about cutting the umbilical cord - is that barbaric? Compared to removing the flap of skin from the tip of a 1 hour old baby's penis, it certainly is an infinitely greater surgical perturbation. And as for racism, when only Jews and Muslims in Denmark would be affected by such a ban, well that, my dear friend Anonymous, smacks of racism. Not that I subscribe to the ritual of circumcision. However, as Dr Stodolsky points out, the evidence is overwhelming as to its benefits.

    2. I am not aware of anyone advising circumcision in the first hour of life. Jews typically perform the removal on day eight in modern times.

  2. This comment was received after I suggested this presentation would be appropriate for the Annual General Meeting of the Danish Atheist Society (AS). I stated: "AS is currently promoting Christian culture. This presentation explains how." I was banned from the AS Facebook group after opposing the attempt to get male circumcision banned in Denmark. The failure to understand what racism is, use of terms like "mutilation of innocent children" and "barberism," and the appeal to "logic", while opposing scientific findings, is characteristic of cultism.

  3. Was there in the comment any mentioning of AS, any indication of representing this organisation? Or is David Stodolsky using the good old "build by association" trick? Is David Stodolsky member of any club, stamps, football, knitting, so he can be guilty by association too for something?

    Because I do not go around with a knife and cut off things from my or other peoples children, then I am guilty of cultism. What a magnificent piece of reasoning.

    My grievance with religions is that they make people mad. People fokus on rules from one silly book taken by random from the collection of silly books and stop using their own brains for the good of society. Religion is the history of oppression, violence and evil disguised as goodnes. "We burn and kill you for your own sake, to save you" - yeah, right!. Sad but true.

    Go get a life dear David Stodolsky and lift the heavy burden of religion from your brain. Be a free and gentle man!

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  5. This slide show was presented on the 9th of March 2014 at a Festival of Learning, Folkuniversitetet, Malmö, Sweden. (Folkuniversitetet is an association of five foundations: the extra-mural departments attached to the Universities of Stockholm, Uppsala, Göteborg, Lund and Umeå.) It was also presented in part at a meeting of the Danish SOS Against Racism organization.

    1. Another partial presentation was given to a youth group associated with one of the Danish political parties meeting in Frederiksberg Municipality, Denmark on Nov 6th. I expect to do several more of these, since the issue has heated up again due to the parliamentary hearing on a circumcision ban. I will no longer individually list them.

  6. Questions have been raised about this finding: Patients with redundant prepuce or phimosis have poor mental health...

    Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2010 Dec;16(12):1095-7.
    [Sexual function and mental state in patients with redundant prepuce or phimosis].

    [Article in Chinese]

    Yang L, Ruan LM, Yan ZJ, Cheng Y, Wang GY, Ji YX.

    Department of Psychology, The First Hospital of Ningbo, Ningbo, Zhejiang 315010, China.

    OBJECTIVE: To investigate the correlation of sexual dysfunction with psychological abnormalities by analyzing the sexual function and mental state of the patients with redundant prepuce or phimosis.

    METHODS: This study included 216 randomly selected patients with redundant prepuce or phimosis and 85 normal male controls. We conducted investigations among the subjects using a questionnaire on the general data of the patients, Chinese Index of Sexual Function for Premature Ejaculation (CIPE), International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), and Symptom Checklist 90 (SCL-90). Then we assessed the status of premature ejaculation (PE) and erectile dysfunction (ED), calculated the incidence of psychological abnormalities, such as depression and anxiety, and analyzed the correlation of PE and ED with the mental state of the patients.

    RESULTS: The PE and ED patients scored significantly higher than normal controls on SCL-90, somatization, compulsion, depression, anxiety and other factors (P < 0.05). CIPE scores were correlated with the scores on SCL-90, somatization, compulsion, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety and other factors, while ED-related scores showed no correlation with the scores on SCL-90 and other factors.

    CONCLUSION: Patients with redundant prepuce or phimosis have poor mental health, and there is an interaction between PE and the mental state of the patient.

    PMID: 21348200 [PubMed - in process]

  7. Scientific Misconduct:

    Frisch, et al. (2013). Cultural bias in the AAP's 2012 Technical Report and Policy Statement on male circumcision. Pediatrics, 31(4):796-800.

    The article in question displays four types of scientific misconduct. One, the first author doesn't indicate a conflict of interest. Second, the references are one sided as a result of "cherry picking." Third, references don't show what is claimed in the text. Fourth, there are 38 authors listed, but it isn't credible that all of these persons have acquired a right to authorship. A full understanding of the nature of this misconduct requires an understanding of the article's political objectives. While the author tries to maintain the appearance of staying within the bounds of scientifically acceptable conduct, the article's conclusions are clearly at odds with accepted medical and legal knowledge. That is, it attempts to promote discussion on scientifically settled issues for political reasons. Therefore, it violates one of the most fundamental requirements for a scientific publication, that something new is presented

    1. update:

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Nature Really Likes Male Circumcisions

    Way down under in Melbourne, Australia is the story of a tightly done male adult circumcision of the ultimate kind. You’ll never believe the story … or will you?
    Around 17 years ago, I became aware that circumcision was of interest to me. How to go about it ? What an embarrassment, how to sneak into a Doctor cost etc. I became more and more frustrated, as I knew I wanted it done. Australia is a hot climate too and I wanted a slick model penis, not a sock, at half mast. I had learnt from school that I was bisexual, I would use the odd opportunity to check out and occasionally talk another classmate into pulling down his pants and letting me give him oral sex. Both circumcised and uncircumcised, although I didn’t know what circumcision was then, I was only ten ! We start pretty early in Australia !
    Anyway back to circumcision. I became more and more, frustrated and there didn’t seem to be a way of resolving the issue. Then I had a bereavement in the family. If I couldn’t solve this simple problem… It was a question of honor.
    So what I did may surprise many. I am an everyday kind of bloke, a family now, job and the rest of it. So don’t be too shocked. Where there is a will there is a way.
    I had been researching on the net at the time and I was reading and seeing pics of tribal and African circumcisions. There are great stories of the Tuli in the Philippines and also teens putting their penis on a log with a piece of twine and the elder slicing off the foreskin, high and tight, leaving a terrific red patched scar.
    I decided after much viewing and research that this is what I wanted. I was a bit far from the Philippines and Africa, so this is what happened.
    One long weekend when there was a Public holiday, I decided to have a go myself. This is not for the faint hearted.
    On the Friday night, I did the usual, a few beers then came home. I opened a bottle of white wine and proceeded to watch an x-rated video. Of course with a long ring barked cock or two. After a while I was ready. A bit of popper amyl and I was more or less ready to have a go. At circumcision.
    I knew the skin would be sensitive, so I had purchased from an adult store, delay spray. This I think had lidocaine like when you get Suntan mozzie burns cream from the supermarket only stronger. I applied it to my foreskin until the end of my cock felt number, than usual. Another drink and some poppers, a look at the tightly taut scarred cocks on the TV screen and it was time. Time to join the rest of my male brothers on the planet with a permanently forever nude glans and a stripped pointed helmety penis. Intention purple glans to always lead the way, from that night on or else.
    I sized and drew a line working out where to cut and checked this out numerous times. Another drink, more amyl and an inspection of the video playing and I was ready.
    I took a very sharp pair a medium size sewing scissors and sat down. Carefully lining them up, I very slowly, and I mean really really slowly, put them through the line on the foreskin I had drawn. I had already pulled the foreskin as hard as I ever could in front of my glans.
    Slowly but surely I got the job done. Everything dropped back behind my glans and my foreskin lay on a tissue. A dream come true. I couldn’t believe my absolute relief and satisfaction.
    All this time later nearly two decades on, I am still happy. A couple a days later, I consulted a friendly doctor and some stitches were added on the quiet to complete the job.
    Result is I have a very tightly circumcised penis, with absolutely no frenulum or foreskin.
    The absolute tightest male circumcision possible, for myself and any partner I should choose, whether it be female or male. Amazingly there is no two tone scar and the circumcision join is one color and height. No different levels of skin height or misalignment.

    Nature really does like circumcisions.

  10. The text on the upper part of page 33 is from:

    J Med Ethics 2013;39:421-428 doi:10.1136/medethics-2013-101318
    The child's interests and the case for the permissibility of male infant circumcision

  11. Circumcision Denialism Unfounded and Unscientific

    Although three RCTs and dozens of
    observational studies have confirmed that medical male
    circumcision reduces the risk of HIV acquisition in men
    by at least 60%, Green et al. continue to question its
    effectiveness and would deny millions of men—and their
    female partners—a proven, permanent, and inexpensive
    method to reduce their lifetime risk of HIV infection.
    Such denialism in the face of the ongoing pandemic are
    unethical and immoral.

  12. CDC draft report:

    This fact sheet summarizes information in four areas of male circumcision: 1) male
    circumcision and risk for HIV acquisition; 2) male circumcision and other health
    conditions; 3) risks associated with male circumcision; and 4) HIV infection and male
    circumcision in the United States.

    Schoen published a retrospective review of 5 studies
    with 592 cases of invasive penile cancer in the United States; none of the cases were in
    men who had been circumcised in infancy

    1. Summary
      Male circumcision reduces the risk that a man will acquire HIV from an infected female partner, and also lowers the risk of other STDs,
      penile cancer, and infant urinary tract infection. In female partners, it reduces the risk of cervical cancer, genital ulceration, bacterial
      vaginosis, trichomoniasis, and HPV. Although male circumcision has risks including pain, bleeding, and infection, more serious
      complications are rare.

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