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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A follow-up on male genital mutilation

Following up on my earlier post about circumcision, I want to mention that my sister did not circumcise her son, who is named Dylan and is, as expected, even cuter than fifty animals driving.

A friend of the family who gave birth just a few days later, however, did circumcise her son, partly because men in her family have had problems with penile infections--one had to be circumcised as a teenager, not a pleasant experience.

I'd like to post one of the most informative comments I've read on the subject, an email I received a few days ago:
Hi Ben -

As a fellow Jew who was also uncircumcised (until mid-adulthood), I'd like to make a few points - maybe too late for your letter, but for you to keep in mind.

1) Jewish circumcision differs from hospital circumcision in technique and result.

Basically, Jewish circumcision preserves the sensitive inner lining of the foreskin. Only a portion of the outer layer of skin is removed (this is a lot easier to explain to a fellow uncut guy!) The pinkish inner layer of skin gathers in folds behind the head of the penis, and may cup it like an acorn cup. This skin accommodates erection and continues to fulfill its sensory function.

This is in sharp contrast to most hospital circumcisions, in which everything is removed. These are the guys with the same colored skin all the way down to the head. As some posters here have mentioned, often this leads to tightness, torsion, or friction.

So not all circumcisions are alike.

2) Israel has absorbed hundreds of thousands of Soviet emigres, and as a result tens of thousands of adults underwent (Jewish style) circumcision. Israeli doctors used this opportunity to ask the sexual pleasure question - they sent follow-up surveys to several thousand men who underwent circumcision.

The results split evenly into thirds:

1/3 said "now it's better"
1/3 said "now it's worse"
1/3 said "no significant change"

Immediately the pro- and anti- circ forces set out to prove their point using this study.

So the doctors went back and correlated between the response to this question and the reason given for circumcision.

The "now it's worse" group contained almost all the men who were circumcised for external reasons - pressure from peers or girlfriends.

The other 2 groups contained mostly men who were circumcised because they themselves wanted it.

So the nerves between the ears are at least as important as those between the legs...

Shalom and best wishes -

--Posted by Anonymous