FUNCTIONS OF THE FORESKIN:
- Protection: The
foreskin protects the glans, keeping it soft, warm and moist. It also
helps balance pH and keep the glans clean. Because the glans itself has
no sebaceous glands, which keep our skin moisturized and soft, the
foreskin provides this service.
The foreskin also protects the whole penis from insults such as abrasions, contusions, lacerations, and burns.
- Self-cleansing: The penis is an entry point for foreign microbes, just like the mouth and other orifices. Luckily, evolution has already conceived a solution; the urine of a healthy person is sterile and acts as a disinfectant. In an intact male, the urine swirls through the inside of the foreskin, naturally washing away any dangerous microbes. There is never urea found in the foreskin, however, because it also secretes cleansing fluids, similar to the eye (or the vagina).
- Infant protection: In a young human, the foreskin is attached to the glans and protects the urethra from foreign contamination. The neck of the foreskin puts the urinary meatus (the hole from which urine/semen flow) at a safe distance from the external environment. Even when the foreskin unfuses from the glans and becomes retractable, it still spends most of its time covering the glans, protecting it from contamination and injury. An infant needs the built-in protection of an immovable foreskin because it is not yet able to consciously protect its genitals.
- Immunity: The foreskin contains glands that produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins such as lysozyme, which is also found in breast milk and tears. Langerhan’s cells, which are an epithelial cell found all over the body and a component of the immune system, are abundant in the foreskin. The mucous membrane of the foreskin secretes immunoglobulin, an antibody. The foreskin also houses beneficial bacteria, just like the vagina, our gut, our skin, and pretty much every other part of the body. The beneficial bacteria are similar to those found at other entry points to the body, and help kill pathogens.
- Sexual pleasure: The foreskin is very sensitive during sex, and facilitates smooth, painless motions during an erection and intercourse. It can sense very fine changes in temperature, texture, and motion. Its own self-lubricating qualities (precum, if you will) allow the penis to slide effortlessly and pleasurably within the foreskin and the vagina, reducing friction and eliminating the need for artificial lubricants.
- Circumcision has no beneficial medical effects (x)
- There is a notable decrease in sexual pleasure among circumcised men (x)
- Circumcision decreases efficiency of nerve response in the glans (x)
- Circumcision is linked to pain, trauma, and sequelae (1|2|3|4)
- Large damage is dealt to erogenous tissue by circumcision (1|2)
- Circumcised penises requires more care in first 3 years of life (x)
- Circumcision leads to abnormal brain development and psychological issues (1|2)
- Circumcision decreases penile sensitivity (x)
- Circumcision is associated with sexual difficulties (x)
- Circumcision causes difficulty gaining sexual pleasure (x)
- Compilation of notable complications from circumcision (x)
- Poorly educated doctors do not know how to clean a foreskin (1|2)
- For most boys, there is no hygiene benefit from circumcision (x)
- The only benefits occur in arid areas with poor hygiene (x)
- The HIV/AIDS risk decrease from circumcision claim is inflated (x)
- There is no case for widespread implementation of circumcision to stop HIV/AIDS (1|2)
- Circumcision does not decrease the incidence of STDs (x)
- Parents choose circumcision for psychosocial factors instead of health ones (x)
- Although circumcision does reduce the risk of a UTI, these infections only affect 1% of boys. (x) Circumcision as a preventative measure for a condition that rare is laughable.
- Circumcision also reduces the risk of penile cancer, but again, penile cancer is so rare that only about 1 in 900 men will develop it anyways. (x)
- Swedish Pediatric Society (they outright call for a ban)
- Royal Dutch Medical Association calls it a violation of human rights, and calls for a “strong policy of deterrence.”
- College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia: “This procedure should be delayed to a later date when the child can make his own informed decision. Parental preference alone does not justify a non-therapeutic procedure… Current evidence indicates that previously-thought prophylactic public health benefits do not out-weigh the potential risks… Routine infant male circumcision does cause pain and permanent loss of healthy tissue.”
- Australian Federation of Aids organizations state that circumcision has “no role” in the HIV epidemic.
- The German Association of Pediatricians called for a ban.
- The German Association of Child and Youth Doctors attacked the AAP’s claims, saying the benefits they claim, including HIV reduction, are “questionable,” and that “Seen from the outside, cultural bias reflecting the normality of non-therapeutic male circumcision in the US seems obvious, and the report’s conclusions are different from those reached by doctors in other parts of the Western world, including Europe, Canada, and Australia.” (scroll to page 7 for the English translation.)
- The AAP was recently attacked by the President of the British Association of Paediatric Urologists because the evidence of benefit is weak, and they are promoting “Irreversible mutilating surgery.”
- The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan has taken a position against it, saying it is harmful and will likely be considered illegal in the future, given the number of men who are angry that it was done to them.
- The Central Union for Child Welfare “considers that circumcision of boys that violates the personal integrity of the boys is not acceptable unless it is done for medical reasons to treat an illness. The basis for the measures of a society must be an unconditional respect for the bodily integrity of an under-aged person… Circumcision can only be allowed to independent major persons, both women and men, after it has been ascertained that the person in question wants it of his or her own free will and he or she has not been subjected to pressure.”
- The Royal College of Surgeons of England: “The one absolute indication for circumcision is scarring of the opening of the foreskin making it non- retractable (pathological phimosis). This is unusual before five years of age.”……..“The parents and, when competent, the child, must be made fully aware of the implications of this operation as it is a non-reversible procedure.”
- The British Medical Association: it is now widely accepted, including by the BMA, that this surgical procedure has medical and psychological risks… The BMA considers that the evidence concerning health benefit from non-therapeutic circumcision is insufficient for this alone to be a justification for doing it.
- The Australian Medical Association has a policy of discouraging it, and says “The Australian College of Paediatrics should continue to discourage the practice of circumcision in newborns.”
- The Australian College of Paediatrics: “The possibility that routine circumcision may contravene human rights has been raised because circumcision is performed on a minor and is without proven medical benefit…. Neonatal male circumcision has no medical indication.
- The Royal Australasian College of Physicians: “Some men strongly resent having been circumcised as infants. There has been increasing interest in this problem, evidenced by the number of surgical and non-surgical techniques for recreation of the foreskin.
- The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons: “Despite uncircumcised men reporting greater sexual satisfaction, which was statistically significant, Kigozi et al (2008) concluded that adult male circumcision does not adversely affect sexual satisfaction or clinically significant function in men.”
- The Norwegian Council of Medical Ethics states that ritual circumcision of boys is not consistent with important principles of medical ethics, that it is without medical value, and should not be paid for with public funds.
- The Norwegian Children’s Ombudsman is opposed as well.
- The Denmark National Council for Children is also opposed.
- And recently, the politically appointed Health minister of Norway opposed a ban on circumcision, yet the ban was supported by the Norwegian Medical Association, the Norwegian Nurses Organization, the Norwegian Ombudsman for Children, and the University of Oslo.