Ban Infant Circumcision in Massachusetts - Ron Low resents having been circumcised





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Published on Feb 26, 2010

As the Massachusetts legislature reviews the MGM Bill to outlaw all non-therapeutic genital cutting, I'd like the lawmakers to know that I very much resent the fact that a valuable sensual part of my healthy body was amputated without my consent. I am a man who is fully capable of making my own rational choices about which cosmetic amputations to endure, based on the evidence presently available. Yet I can't make the circumcision decision because someone made it for me, LONG before it was relevant to my life, while I was a healthy normal infant. The only possible justification for cutting soon after birth would be to reduce risk of urinary tract infections (if conflicting data can be trusted at all) in the first year of life, yet girls get more UTI than any group of boys and we treat those cases with antibiotics, never looking for something to amputate. Most of the world does not circumcise, and where caregivers know how to treat an infant's foreskin the UTI "advantage" is not observed.

I would certainly never elect circumcision as a means of disease prevention. For one thing, I know that most of the US men who have died of AIDS were circumcised at birth, so whatever circumcision's effect, I must still use safer sex practices every time. Secondly, the foreskin is so nerve laden and so valuable for normal sexual stimulation that I wouldn't want to live without it unnecessarily.

To undo some of the damage of circumcision I have endured a tedious multi-year process of non-surgical foreskin restoration through tensile tissue expansion, and I can say with authority that foreskin feels REALLY good. The slinky slack skin gives my wife something to manipulate and some exciting new options for oral stimulation, and the glans and adjacent mucosa just sparkle with pleasure-receptivity now that they are protected from the drying and abrasive effects of clothing and air. I can only speculate how much better sex could have been with all my original equipment, but scientific evidence shows that the parts I am missing would be the MOST fine-touch sensitive parts of my penis (see Sorrells et al) today, and the roughly 15 square inches of exquisite sexual interface would include half of the sensual nerve endings in my genitals (see Taylor).

Further, the known risks and unplanned harms of infant circumcision far outweigh any conceivable supposed benefit. I've seen photos of adult penises with jagged irregular scars, painful bulgy truncated veins, skin bridges, pits and gouges to the glans, stitch tunnels, meatal stenosis scars, buried penis, coarse hair growing all the way to the scar line, horrific malopposition of the shaft and glans, curved erection due to tight skin, and the list goes on and on.

The frequencies of these effects are not known, but these are NOT rare and should surprise no one. Cutting a tiny infant and then leaving it to heal haphazardly in a fouled diaper under the care of lay people is a far-from-ideal way to perform cosmetic surgery. Imagine trying to do a breast augmentation on an infant girl. The surgeon would have no idea how to proceed since nothing could be known about how the breasts or the body would eventually grow, and even if the correct procedure could be somehow divined, any tiny error in cutting would be magnified as the patient grew. Most importantly the OWNER of the body is not able to express her preference. Cutting a baby boy's penis is EXACTLY as absurd.

Boys deserve equal protection under the law (see the 14th amendment) from non-therapeutic and ill-advised cosmetic surgeries. All citizens have the basic human right to enjoy their whole intact bodies. No doctor is obligated to perform risky surgery - on someone who is well - just because someone else requests it. Girls are protected by federal law from even a pin-poke to draw one ceremonial drop of blood, with NO religious exemption. Massachusetts law must protect boys too.

-Ron Low


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