Mary Farley Melissa Singleton College Composition April 28, 2009 The Short End of the Stick

Way back when the Dead Sea just had the sniffles, Abraham was praying to God. During the course of this conversation God said, And the uncircumcised man-child, whose flesh of his foreskinne is not circumcised, that soule shall be but off from his people; hee hath broken my covenant (Moses). The Jews, Muslims, and any man wanting to marry into a Jewish family were circumcised. Abraham, his son Ishmael and all the slaves were circumcised as a symbol of an everlasting covenant with God. The removal of the foreskin became a religious tradition, practiced across the world.

Time passed, society progressed, and the Dead Sea has a fever. The reasoning behind and for circumcision changed. In 1888, a man named Dr. John Harvey Kellog reported that A remedy [for masturbation] which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision...The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment (John Harvey Kellog). So now, instead of fulfilling a covenant with God, circumcision is the means to control masturbation. The truth is that circumcision is genital mutilation, justified by religion and the want for social conformity, not by medical or hygienic needs, making it wrong.


Even though the reasoning behind circumcision has changed, the procedure hasn t. A common procedure for circumcising an infant is referred to as the Plastiball . First the tyke is placed on a restrain board to immobilize them, hemostats are applied to the foreskin and locked. Just after the tissue is crushed, a dorsal cut is made along the crush line below the hemostats. The foreskin is then peeled back to tear it away from the glands. The prepuce is then cut off after the bell is inserted. A circumcised boy is the result. The patient isn t given any anesthetics during the procedure and the risk of choking due to vomit his substantial. The topical cream administered to prevent pain has been found ineffective. A quote puts this barbaric procedure into prospective, "The fact that many circumcised men will ardently defend the continued practice ...and dismiss it as a trivial matter has its parallel among circumcised women in Africa." The same physician disclosed research findings and concluded that male circumcision has no medical necessity and should be discontinued as common practice (Pantell).

Today, if you went and asked people how they felt about circumcision, you would receive a plethora of answers. Urinary tract infections and hygiene ranked among the top arguments for circumcision. Oddly enough, Egypt still practices circumcision of women under the false notion that it reduces urinary tract infections. The practice of circumcising women is abhorred by most Americans due to the understanding of the negative sexual and physiological implications. However, the argument that circumcision of men reduces infection has been debunked time and again. One study states, 60% of children with UTIs have anatomic abnormalities in their urinary tracts. UTIs are significantly more common in girls and are rarely seen in boys and young men. It also fails to mention (the study that is the focus of this rebuttal)


other links to UTIs which include malnutrition, diabetes, constipation and incomplete drainage of the urinary system. Infections have also been caused by exposure to E. Coli (Fleiss). Basic hygiene practices, such as washing your hands with antibacterial soap, drastically reduce chances of infection and illness.

After talking to a circumcised friend of mine, as I don t have a penis and I needed some personal insight, a question came up. Besides, it doesn t affect sex, right? That question stumped me. After hours of research, I found the answer. Circumcision has the potential for affecting the male sexual function in extensive ways. Research has found that the foreskin has many uses, such as, to provide sufficient skin to cover an erection by unfolding, to provide an aid to masturbation and foreplay, to serve as an aid to penetration, to reduce friction and chafing during intercourse, to serve as erogenous tissue because of its rich supply of erogenous receptors, and to contact and stimulate the G-spot of the female partner (Bigelow) . I suppose that guys got pretty curious about this, and decided that they wanted to know who really had the short end of the stick. Scientist decided to study the difference in sensitivity between the two, circumcised and uncircumcised, and the results were definitive. The guys that were uncircumcised were significantly more sensitive in the same areas that were removed by circumcision (Sorrells). Essentially, by removing a infant males multi-functional foreskin, you re performing a low-grade neurological castration , severely diminishing the intensity of the sexual experience not only for himself, but his partner as well (Immerman). It figures that even women are affected negatively.


After I revealed all my information to my male friend, he asked me, Well why in the hell would hospitals do it if there wasn t a reason for it! Fortunately for me, I had anticipated this question and had my answer at the ready. Money you dip I calmly replied. It s all about the revenue generated by hospitals for the procedure itself. If a hospital room cost roughly $700 per day for the mother, and $200 per day for the infant, with approximately 7115 male births occur in a year in any given hospital, of those births 88% are healthy and of the healthy, 88% will be circumcised. Take 7115 multiplied by 88% healthy, multiplied by the 88% circumcised, by the average stay, 0.26 (+ / - 0.10) days, by 900$ per day for both the infant and mother, that comes out to anywhere from $793,419 to $1,785,240 worth of revenue hospitals are generating for themselves (Burns). For a procedure that has little proven medical justification, the cost is staggering, and my friend, silent.

Consequently, the rates of circumcision in America have been falling for the past two

decades. Is that in part due to rising insurance cost, better education of first time mothers, the internet, or the rising average age of mothers? Maybe it s the younger generation s autonomy and the found individuality from our parents. I don t have children; however, I hope to. If I happen to bear a son, I prefer to leave that personal and individual option to his discretion, at the appropriate age. I can t justify the physical and sexual loss for the social gain of acceptance or what is expected by a religion. Hopefully, it s the asking of questions and the cessation of simply taking the Doctors word at it and in so doing, calling circumcision out for what it is; genital mutilation.


Works Cited
Bigelow, James, PhD. "The Joy of Uncircumcising, ." Aptos 2nd Edition (1995): 16-18. Burns, L.R., et al. "The effect of physician practice orgainization on utilization of hospital resources." Health Services Research (1994): 583-603. Fleiss, P.M. "Explanation for False Positive Cultures Obtained by Bag Technique." Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (1995): 1041-1042. Immerman, R.S, et al. "A Proposed Relationship between Circumcision and Neural Reorganization." Journal of Genetic Psychology (1998): 288-290. John Harvey Kellog, M.D. Treatment for Self-Abuse and Its Effects. Burlington: F. Segner & Co., 1888. Moses. "Genesis." King James 1611 Bible. London: Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings, 1611. Chapter 17 verse 14. Pantell, Tim. "Circumcision and Medical Need." Canadian Medical Association Journal (1996): 769-780. Sorrells, M, et al,. "Fine-Touch Pressure Threasholds in the Adult Penis." BJU International 99 (2007): 864-869.

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