Dadvice #7: A Skeptic’s Letter To Intactivists

16 months.

Dear Intactivists,

I have enjoyed this past week or so as we’ve debated “pro-circumcision vs. Intactivism.” You all have enlightened me. I respect your cause. In fact, I would like to officially crown you the winner.

You win, in the sense that I now see “staying intact” as a legitimate and respectable alternative to circumcision.

You win, in the sense that you seized the opportunity to use the comments sections of both Dadvice #5: How Is It Natural To Circumcise Your Son? and Dadvice #6: Is Circumcision Unnecessary And/Or Immoral to inform not just me, but anyone curious enough to watch our debate, with a plethora of knowledge that we normally would not have exposure to.

You win, in the sense that you have proven that Intactivists can make a powerful presence and be very persuasive.

(In regards to me being curious to hear from those who oppose circumcision but are pro-choice regarding abortion, I realize now that was completely fruitless. I forget that those who are pro-choice don’t regard a fetus as a human life because of the technicality that he or she hasn’t either passed through the birth canal or been surgically removed via C-section. So you’re right; there’s really no comparison.)

In the end, however, I am still sticking to my beliefs on why I personally support circumcision, for the very reasons I have already explained. So while you did win the debate for the world to see, you didn’t win me over.

That’s not a lack on your part; you can’t help my resoluteness.

Throughout our debate, I have asked professionals (doctors, medical students, and an owner of a day care) for their personal takes on the necessity of circumcision; not hinting at my own stance before inquiring them. All their experience-based answers reflected my own beliefs.

If not, I would have been willing to change my mind on this.

Therefore, I believe it’s fair to say that I have been pretty open-minded to what is a new concept for me: Intactivism.

And I guess that’s what bothers me about Intavistism. I don’t see how as its subscribers you are open-minded to any other viewpoint on this: Either all or nothing.

It’s been made pretty clear to me now that unless I vow to circumcise my next (yet to be conceived or born) son, then I am ultimately making a selfish, prideful, self-serving, immoral choice.

Go back and read all the comments on those two posts. Notice how few Intactivists had any words or even tones of encouragement. (Some did.)

But for the most part, I was shouted at (indicated by ALL CAPS, re-occuring italics and exclamation points!) and spoken to in a sharply condescending tone.

It has been demonstrated to me that in the blogosphere, Intactivists have power in their large presence, but overcompensate their passion and zeal in a way that comes across as bullying. Yes, bullying.

Not that I am offended. I instead find the whole thing to be such a curious event.

I am convinced that the comments left on a blog post can easily send a stronger message than the one the actual author writes. The way the majority of Intactivists have chosen to represent themselves, as a whole, is clear for anyone (including those readers who pondering Intactivism) to go back and read.

I think with a better bedside manner, Intactivists could really get their point across in a way that is not so loud that we “cutters” can not hear it. I question your approach, not your morality or your competence; like I feel you have done towards me.

That’s my constructive criticism; though again, ultimately, the way Intactivists have represented themselves in my comments sections is not the reason for my refusal to convert.

This is not an emotional experience for me. It is for you. I think that’s where the disconnect is between us.

Sincerely, I thank you for what I have learned about circumcision from you. These deep discussions have indirectly caused me to think of other hot button issues (or at least strangely moral ones) like “how young is too young to medicate a child for ADHD and/or depression?” (Obviously, I’ll be publishing that one soon, along with one about how questioning if surgical birth control, getting snipped, is like playing God.)

No matter what, we’re still cool. I enjoy being your frenemy. Let me know the next time you’re in Nashville; I’ll let you buy me a Starbucks.

 

Your Open-minded, Yet Barbarically Cut Fellow Parent,

Nick Shell

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  1. by Bob

    On March 30, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Parents should research circumcision and make an informed decision for the health & well-being of their son.

    Circumcision is a safe, popular, healthy & beneficial procedure for individuals & parents to choose. It provides benefits such as 12x less likely for UTI, +22x less likely for cancer, decreases HIV acquisition by 53% to 60%, herpes acquisition by 28% to 34%, and HPV prevalence by 32% to 35 % in men. The risks are about 0.2% and are typically minor & easily corrected.

    More information can be found at the following sites:

    The case for neonatal circumcision

    A ‘Snip’ in time: what is the best age to circumcise?

    Medical researchers recommend male circumcision

    Circumcision info from AAP

    Circumcision info from Mayo Clinic

  2. by Wendy

    On March 31, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Nick,

    I do not support intactivist bullying, but regarding infant circumcision, you have completely missed the point. Obviously, based on the heated debate, there is controversy in our culture about whether or not routine infant circumcision (RIC) is beneficial or harmful. For this reason, and several others, the choice should be the individual’s alone to make for themselves. No one else should ever be able to make such a life altering choice for another human being without immediate medical need or benefit. We have stood firm as a society that we will protect our girls from circumcision, why do our precious baby boys deserve less than that? Consider that this boy will be a man one day and he may disagree with you. He may feel seriously harmed by this. Based on the numbers of individuals out there who are stepping forward to say so, this is a real possibility. You would not strap down a grown man and perform this surgery against his will, why do it to him as an infant? I guess my point is that I can see why the ‘intactivists’ get so worked up. It’s because they are speaking for the babies who do not have a voice in this debate. They are desperately trying to get our culture to see that this is wrong. If it is wrong to do to girls – it is wrong to do to boys – because every human has the right to bodily integrity.

    “Cultures that promote female genital cutting offer the same rationales—hygiene, disease prevention, improved appearance of the genitalia, and social acceptance—as those offered in cultures that promote male circumcision. Whatever the rationale, of course, forced removal of healthy genital tissue from any child is unethical. Boys have the same right as girls to an intact body, and to be spared this inhumane, unnecessary surgery.” – Intact America

    Thanks for the forum, Nick. God bless,

    Wendy

  3. by Wendy

    On March 31, 2012 at 7:17 am

    It must also be pointed out that Bob’s comments above are totally inaccurate. No medical organization in the world recommends routine infant circumcision. These supposed claims have been repeatedly debunked over and over again. See previous two threads. Thank you.

  4. by Liesha

    On March 31, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Hi Nick,
    Although I didn’t post a comment on this subject when you first brought up the topic, I couldn’t resist now. I have several points to make….the first one being toward the people whom say it (circumcision) isn’t natural & the foreskin should be left intact. You’re correct, the foreskin is there when an infant boy is born & no child is forced to have a circumcision. That decision is left to the parents to make that decide on the behalf of the child. As parents, we make decisions on a daily basis on the behalf of infants who are unable to do so. A baby doesn’t ask for immunizations but they are still recommended

  5. by Liesha

    On March 31, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Hi Nick,
    Although I didn’t post a comment on this subject when you first brought up the topic, I couldn’t resist now. I have several points to make….the first one being toward the people whom say it (circumcision) isn’t natural & the foreskin should be left intact. You’re correct, the foreskin is there when an infant boy is born & no child is forced to have a circumcision. BUT, i say this…for those of you who are saying its not natural, please respond if you DO NOT have any piercings (including ears because some people forget), tattoos, don’t color or dye your hair or cut your hair, or do abything else to your body in any way which alters it from its original state of “naturalness”. Don’t be a hippocrit. For those who say it should be the child’s choice to be circumsized….That decision is left to the parents to make that decide on the behalf of the child. As parents, we make decisions on a daily basis on the behalf of infants who are unable to do so. A baby doesn’t ask for immunizations but they are still recommended (highly controversial but recommended) for the health of your child. We are advocates for our own children because they aren’t able to make these important decisions. I’m not sure about your kids, but my seven year old would much rather stay at home & play than go to school, but as his parent I know it’s in his best interest to be well educated so I send him to school….I make those decisions FOR my child. Lastly, waiting until the son is grown & letting him decide to be circumcised or not…are you kidding me?! There’s a reason why they perform this proceedure while the baby is a newborn! I have personally known an adult male who went through this & it was horrible! He went through years of his life being the joke of the locker room. He was angry at his parents for not having him circumcised. Just had to get my two cents in :)

  6. by Debo

    On March 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Should parents also decide whether they want to cut off/out other body parts on infants to try and prevent possible future problems that probably won’t happen? performing mastectomy because of breast cancer, removal of prostate gland because of prostate cancer, removing the palatine tonsils because of infections, removing the ears because they get dirty, and the list goes on and on. Cutting off body parts or pieces of them to prevent things that haven’t even happened makes no sense.

  7. by Layla

    On March 31, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Liesha-
    Are you allowed to tattoo or pierce body parts (other than ears)
    on a child? No. An adult has every right to make any type of body modification they choose.
    Circumcision has been clearly shown to be purely an elective, cosmetic surgery. That is why it is not a necessary “choice” for parents to make.
    BTW, only about .006% of intact adults ever medically need to be circumcised.
    You have been culturally indoctrinated into the American cutting culture as has Nick and all of the people he spoke with who have been hoodwinked.
    Nick- if you had reached out for opinions from doctors, parents and daycare providers outside the US, you would have received the opposite (intactivist?) responses.
    It’s a shame that just because a boy is born in the US, he has a high chance of having completely unecessary genital surgery.
    It’s a shame that only parents in the US have been so culturally blinded.
    P.S. the first comment up above was left by a known circumfetishist, quoting from a site full of misinformation.
    http://www.drmomma.org/2009/11/brian-morris-his-circumfetish-push-to.html?m=1
    http://www.circleaks.org/index.php?title=Circumfetish

  8. by Dolores S RN

    On March 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    When you took your poll, did you ask the doctor and the day care provider and the others about the purpose and function of the foreskin? Did you check to see if they had any knowledge of the only mobile and most sensitive part of the human male anatomy? Because it is easy to say “it’s better to cut it off” if you have no idea of its value.

  9. by Layla

    On March 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Nick- in your first post you said the reason for having your son cut was because of the bible. When that was taken apart, you then said in your next pist that it was because you didn’t want him to be the only intact boy around. But since fewer then half of baby boys in the US are n

  10. by Layla

    On March 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    (con’t)
    are now circumcised, that reason is bunk too. (only 33% in 2009 according to the CDC)
    It really seems as though you are grasping at straws in order to make yourself feel ok and justify your decision.

    I would also like to address a few other things

    Liesha- are you allowed to tattoo or pierce body parts of your child (othe then ears)? No. But an adult has every right to modify any body part they choose.
    It has been proved that infant circumcision is a purely elective and cosmetic surgery, therefore not a necessary “choice” for parents to make.
    Only about .006% of intact men ever medically need to be circumcised.

    Nick- why did you not address the fact that there are many intactivists who are also against abortion?
    It seems that anti abortionists would be first in line to protect a newborn’s body from being unnecessarily cut up.

    Had you asked for opinions of doctors, parents and daycare providers outside the US, you would have got the opposite response. You would have got a puzzled look and “Why would you ever want to have your child’s penis cut?”
    It’s a shame that American doctors and parents are so culturally entrenched and indoctrinated into this unecessary surgery. It’s a shame that just because a boy is born in the US, he has a high chance of having cosmetic surgery on his penis.

    I also want to note that the first comment above was left by a know circumfetishist ( yeah, creepy, that does exist) he is quoting a site full of misinformation.
    http://www.circleaks.org/index.php?title=Circumfetish
    http://www.drmomma.org/2009/11/brian-morris-his-circumfetish-push-to.html?m=1
    (this doesn’t seem to be posting so excuse me if it is in fact posted multiple times)

  11. by Layla

    On March 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    (con’t)
    are now circumcised, that reason is bunk too. (only 33% in 2009 according to the CDC)

    Liesha- are you allowed to tattoo or pierce body parts of your child (other then ears)? No. But an adult has every right to modify any body part they choose.
    It has been proved that infant circumcision is a purely elective and cosmetic surgery, therefore not a necessary “choice” for parents to make.
    Only about .006% of intact men ever medically need to be circumcised.

    Nick- why did you not address the fact that there are many intactivists who are also against abortion?
    It seems that anti abortionists would be first in line to protect a newborn’s body from being unnecessarily cut up.

    Had you asked for opinions of doctors, parents and daycare providers outside the US, you would have got the opposite response. You would have got a puzzled look and “Why would you ever want to have your child’s penis cut?”
    It’s a shame that American doctors and parents are so culturally entrenched and indoctrinated into this unecessary surgery. It’s a shame that just because a boy is born in the US, he has a high chance of having cosmetic surgery on his penis.

    I also want to note that the first comment above was left by a know circumfetishist ( yeah, creepy, that does exist)
    http://www.circleaks.org/index.php?title=Circumfetish
    http://www.drmomma.org/2009/11/brian-morris-his-circumfetish-push-to.html?m=1

  12. by Erica

    On March 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Wendy is right on the mark. As intactivists it is hard sometimes for us to separate the emotion from what we are saying. Many of us have children who are intact and we cannot imagine allowing this to happen to our sweet babies. To someone who doesn’t oppose circumcision perhaps it doesn’t make sense to you that people would be so worked up over something you consider a “little snip.” To us, this is serious and we cannot understand why anyone would choose this for their sweet babies when the truth is so easy to find. It is easy to fall back on “if they only knew the truth surely they would not make this choice.”

    When you see something as a human right and not a parenting choice it isn’t so easy to live and let live. Sometimes intactivists get desperate: “why can’t you just see what I’m telling you it the truth? Why can’t you look past your emotions and see your son deserves a choice?” and they bully which isn’t right. You should not be bullied or made to feel like a bad parent; this isn’t your fault it is the medical establishment’s fault or caring more about money than they do about babies. It is society’s fault for not being able to rise above barbarism and remove the tree from our own eye before pointing out the splinter an another’s.

    We have to care, we have to talk, we have to step on toes; because if we don’t speak up no one will. It is our duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves. It is our duty to hold up the mirror so society can see the injustice in what is being allowed to occur.

  13. by Aimee

    On March 31, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Erica could not have said it better. Many doctors are not even trained in the care of an intact penis, much less the benefits of leaving it alone. Please, please, please google circumcision and Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (yes, as in Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes). You may find the connection appalling. The reasons why circumcision is so prevalent in the States are so disturbing. The medical community makes money first on the procedure, and then on the sale of the foreskin to companies who make skin grafts and COSMETICS! Why would you expect to get accurate advice from them when they will not benefit if you say no to circumcising, but they profit if you say yes?

  14. by mare54

    On April 1, 2012 at 1:51 am

    I think Nick really gave his most honest reason that he is staying pro circumcision…..it is NOT an emotional issue for him. There in lies the real problem. If a person can detach themselves emotionally from an unnecessary surgical procedure being done on a defenseless baby that is unnatural and traumatic…then you have his real answer. If you think about it, it is what doctors and nurses do all the time as an infant is unnecessarily cut every 26 seconds in the U.S. IF THEY didn’t detach emotionally and rationalize their actions, they would NOT be able to take part in the assault. It’s true….a friend who was in nursing school confirmed this for me and it fits perfectly into Nick’s mindset too. No matter what anyone says, holding or strapping down a defenseless infant and cutting their normal, natural healthy genitals, is just plain wrong on so many levels! However it is the “disconnect emotionally” that allows parents and medical professionals to condone doing this horrific thing to babies. It is tragic.

  15. by rachel

    On April 1, 2012 at 6:36 am

    It is not okay to strap down a helpless child and cut apart his penis.

    In any other context, it would be a chargeable offense. But because a “doctor” is doing it and “caring parents” believe it is acceptable, the practice continues. Circumcision of minors is disgusting and abusive. It has no place in a civilized and caring society.

    In the 21st century, it is time to remember that men, too, can be victims of unjust hegemonic systems tolerated in the name of tradition, culture or religion. If we oppose female genital mutilation, has the time not come for us also to oppose male genital mutiliation?

    I’m proud that my son is a healthy intact boy. This psychosexual violence has stopped with our generation in our family, all his cousins are also intact, thankfully.

    “Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all – the apathy of human beings.” -Helen Keller

  16. by Rose

    On April 2, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Getting warmer, Nick…I applaud you for coming this far.

  17. by HG

    On April 2, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    “[I]t is hard to imagine anything more grotesque than the mutilation of infant genitalia.”-Christopher Hitchens, on circumcision

    “But this has nothing to do with your pathetic ego.” -Alvin Singer, to the irate driver who’s car he just hit.

    Intactivists are shrill and annoying for the same reason fire alarms are shrill and annoying. Both warn of imminent harm.

    Watch a video of an infant screaming and terrorized as his most sensitive body part is ripped from him and ask yourself who is the bully in this situation, the father who insists on it, or the intactivists who work voluntarily to prevent it.

    Pediatricians have described ‘adamant father syndrome,’ circumcised fathers who have been given all the facts and understand that cutting the boy harms him, yet insist on circumcision anyway.

    In ‘The People of the Lie,’ M. Scott Peck described evil as malignant narcissism. Among the traits he listed were, excessive intolerance of criticism, scapegoating, coercion and control of others, lack of empathy, and unwillingness to suffer the discomfort of significant self-examination.

    Adamant father syndrome shares these traits of malignant narcissism.

    Pity the child.

  18. by AP

    On April 3, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    You say you asked doctors, medical students and day care providers their opinions – someone already touched on this – but did you ask them if they are aware of the functions of the foreskin? are they aware of the risks of the surgery? are they aware that 117 newborn boys die every year from circumcision (to give you a comparison, only 11 newborns (as in neonates, <1 month old) (boys and girls) die every year from car accidents)? Simply asking people who have been just as deceived as you on the subject, as to what their opinion is, is a good way to get a lot of uneducated responses regardless if they're professionals or not.
    Did it ever occur to you that many of the intactivists posting here are ALSO professionals? Many of us are doctors, medical students, day care providers, nurses, other medical professionals, scientists, etc. Just because the ones you asked reaffirm your misguided beliefs (and beliefs is a poor choice of words here, as the scientific facts about circumcision don't leave much room for unfounded "beliefs" about it. there are facts here, not just "beliefs") doesn't mean all of them would.
    I have a degree in Biology/pre-med and wrote a 25 page thesis on the subject of circumcision for my degree. I also use to be an EMT. My husband works in child care. We are intactivists. There are many professionals on this "side" of the debate. Here is my paper, by the way (and it is not an opinion paper, it is a scientific analysis of studies on the subject): https://acrobat.com/app.html#d=38Sfp-YkTlyrEvynS-gRCQ

    Your arguments for circumcision still don't hold water. You're grasping at straws here, as you are continually changing your reasons.

    You ask for encouragement yet whenever someone politely gives it to you, you ignore it. Giving someone facts and information is a way of encouraging. People can only give out so much encouragement to closed ears before it becomes less of an encouragement and more of a debate. And if you expect intactivsts to be bullies, then of course you'll read a condescending tone out of typed responses even if the author didn't put them in there. Perhaps your perception of intactivsts is more about your defensiveness than reality?

    And yes, it is all or nothing. Cutting off a fully functional, important part of a child's body is all or nothing for the child. That isn't closed minded-ness, it's an acknowledgment of facts.

    I ask you again – would you un-necessarily have a part of your daughter's (if you had a daughter) surgically removed for cosmetic reasons despite the risks of the surgery and the facts about the function of that body part when no medical organization in the world recommends it? Would you compare her genitals to her mother's genitals and have hers surgically altered to match? Creepy right? One in four women in the US will get breast cancer…so would you choose to have her breast tissue surgically removed as an infant to "prevent" it? Sounds barbaric doesn't it? This is what circumcision is to boys. Boys deserve the same protection that girls have.

    Perhaps your complete emotional disconnect is a defense mechanism you have developed to avoid recognizing what was done to your penis? Or what you unknowingly chose to do to your sons? To people who circumcise – of course it isn't emotional if you see it as just a "little snip" and "no big deal" – but that is a denial of the facts. It is a big deal. To those of us who see it as a human rights issue and a gross disregard of scientific and medical fact and medical ethics, it is very emotional. I cannot fathom subjecting my son to an unnecessary, cosmetic surgery with serious risks and complications based on fallible arguments and "beliefs" and the fact that any boy should have to face this in the name of "parental choice" is disturbing.

    You're still missing the point.

  19. by AP

    On April 3, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    It also occurs to me that perhaps your inhibition to leaving a child intact comes from not realizing that there is no special care of the intact penis? There is literally no special care of the intact penis. It does NOT have to be retracted and cleaned when you change diapers (in fact doing so is very harmful). You clean it like a finger….you don’t peel back your finger nail when you wash your fingers to wash under it, right? It is very very easy to care for a child with an intact penis – nothing special, no different than any other child. The foreskin is attached to the glans (head) with a specialized membrane that eventually separates and allows for natural retraction. This usually does not happen until around puberty. For some boys earlier, some later. Until that natural retraction occurs, the foreskin is attached to the glans and retraction is painful and forcibly rips that special membrane apart and opens the child up to infection and a complicated healing process. The only person that ever needs to retract the foreskin is the owner of that foreskin – the child himself. When it becomes retractable (and boys will figure it out on their own) then all he has to do is gently pull it back, rinse with water, and replace it to clean – and even then, not every time he washes. Just like a woman does not have to wash the inside of her vagina, the foreskin is generally self cleaning. It isn’t anything the parent ever really has to deal with.

    It concerns me that the director of a child care facility would reaffirm your beliefs only because that makes me think this person believes one must retract the foreskin and clean underneath during diaper changes – and if this is the case, this child care facility is unknowingly causing harm to intact boys there and this person needs to be informed to stop.

    Perhaps with the right information about the care (or lack thereof really) of an intact penis, you would be less apprehensive to leave a son intact?

    http://www.cirp.org/pages/parents/peron1/
    http://www.fathermag.com/health/boy-care/boy-care.shtml
    http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/basic-care-of-intact-child.html

  20. by AP

    On April 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    http://www.drmomma.org/2009/09/history-of-female-circumcision-in.html

    Female circumcision was still a part of US culture clear through the 1980s and early 90s until it was made illegal in 1997. It was phased out and lost “popularity” due to accurate scientific information being made available and people coming to realize that it was unnecessary, cosmetic, and harmful. If you had a daughter 30 years ago you would have been faced with this decision for her. It sounds horrible to think about now and we can’t imagine why a parent would chose that for their daughters, right?
    The same thing is beginning to happen with male circumcision.

  21. by Joe

    On April 3, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Nick,

    I think most of the previous commenters (i.e., Wendy, Layla, Erica, Aimee, mare54, and AP) have already said what I was going to say anyways.

    First off, I hope you haven’t seen my comments as disrespectful or condescending. You have to keep in mind that we anti-circumcision people are so intense at times because we see the urgency in ending the cultural misunderstanding about the issue. To us, it’s a black and white issue. To most people, it’s something they’ve always just accepted as the norm and not though much about or put any emotional effort into. However, we who have done hours and hours of research and debate on this know the reality of the practice and it horrifies us. It’s not about winning a debate, Nick, it’s about opening the eyes of the whole American culture.

    However, just as in Christianity there are evangelists and apologeticists convicted to try and show people God’s love, there are also the crazy bible-thumper people. Even though there can be a handful of people that need to be heard, and have absolute conviction to spread a message of Christ’s love, many people have a run-in with one of the crazy ones and that’s what people think of when they hear the word ‘Christian’ from then on. Same goes with intactivists. Don’t let a few harsh comments spoil your whole view of our convictions or character.

    I do have to say, though, that you need to really do your own research. You live in Tennessee. This has one of the highest rates of circumcision in the US. Check out this interactive map: http://mgmbill.org/statistics.htm . Like my fellow “intactivists” have noted, you really should ask some more non-Tennessee/American sources what they think. You’ve succumbed to what is known as ‘selection bias’…everyone you interviewed (all 3 of them?) is in the same position you are in…a homogenous group. If every doctor/med student you asked was educated in an American school, there’s an issue right there. If the textbooks/classes/teachers don’t teach correct information (e.g., origins of the practice of circumcision in America, functions of the foreskin, correct information regarding HIV studies/cancer research, complications), then anyone coming out of those learning environments gets imprinted with the same biases. Asking those (unreliable) sources for their ‘opinions’ or ‘facts’ just perpetuates the myth that circumcision has any medical value. If you had randomized your sources more, say, asking a few American doctors AND a few European doctors (and not asking any daycare workers, since unless they hold medical degrees, their input is only opinion and hearsay, not fact), your answers would have been vastly different. Instead, since you chose a very limited cross-section of the world population, you got a very limited, biased result. The anthropological term for this would be ‘ethnocentrism’.

    Furthermore, Upton Sinclair said,  ”It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” That is to say, if you look at the amount of revenue generated by Routine Infant Circumcision, you can easily see why no doctors/OBGYNs/hospitals are not so quick to question the practice. Check this out: http://www.circumstitions.com/$$$.html .

    Then, we get to the REAL heart of the issue, which again, most of my fellow commenters have already commented on. You don’t yet see it as an emotional issue. The truth is that this disconnect of emotion from physical harm may very well be part of the cycle that most American fathers find themselves in, having been circumcised themselves. I offer this quote from http://www.cirp.org/library/psych/:

    “Denial of loss. Persons who have lost body parts must grieve their loss.41,42,43,45 The first stage of grief is denial of the loss.25 Fitzgerald and Parkes state that “Anything that seriously impairs sensory or cognitive function is bound to have profound psychological effects, not only on the person who is affected but also on family, friends, workmates, and caregivers.”42The thought of permanent loss of sensory function is so painful that persons deny their loss in order to avoid facing the painful feelings.42 Denial of loss causes a flight from reality.Parkes et al. state that persons in denial may minimize their loss.41-43 Circumcision causes the loss of a body part and all of its functions including a drastic loss of erogenous sensory function, so denial of loss is not uncommon in circumcised males. Circumcised males may experience the full range of distress and emotional dysfunction resulting from loss. This frequently results in circumcised fathers adamantly insisting that a son be circumcised.25,29, 57
    Fathers are frequently unable to vocalize their feelings. They will say that “I want my son to look like me,” even though the child may be different in eye color, hair color, and other aspects. In fact, what the father really may be feeling is, “I don’t want a son with an intact penis to remind me of what I have lost.””
    It may also well be that you don’t realize that your personal experience of a ‘normal penis’ is actually much more inhibited than you might realize. It took me a while to realize that what I had always considered to be ‘normal’ was actually quite far from how God created me to be. Check out this survey of ‘normal’ men: http://www.circumcisionharm.org/ . Better yet, take the survey. It’ll challenge your perception of what happened when you were circumcised.
    I think the bottom line of this debate is this: you weren’t exposed to all these facts before 2 weeks ago. The reality of the issue hasn’t sunk in yet, and you haven’t had time to truly digest the facts and come to terms with how you really feel about the issue. Give it some time. I stand by my original statement that once someone truly understands the horrors of circumcision, no justification for the procedure exists that could bring themselves to endorse it or do it to their own sons. You can’t simply know the facts, though. You have to grieve for what was done to you, and what happened to your son before you knew better. You have to give it to God, know there’s no condemnation in Christ for past events, and then set your eyes on the present and future. Then you’ll be able to see the issue clearly, and we ‘intactivists’ won’t seem quite so weird :-)

    I look forward to hearing from you about all this, even if it’s not in another blog post. Ask me any questions you might have. I’ll be glad to help you. You know how to get ahold of me on Facebook.

    In Christ,

    Joe

  22. by ferne

    On April 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Interestingly enough, I decided to google Female Circumcision, and I get a much different return in hits than I do when I google male circumcision.

    I also find it interesting that there seem to be so many forms of female circumcision. For example, some people remove the hood of the clitoris, much like the same manner they remove the foreskin; yet, some of these methods for female circumcision include removing labia and the entire clitoris. The hits on Male Circumcision are clearly different in nature than female.

    In asking the following question, I am looking for scientific answers and not opinion or religious or cultural answers. Since the hits on male circumcision show for and against reasoning with science and medical research to back up both claims, why do I not see this in female circumcision? Is there, or has there ever been, a scientific or medical reason that one would circumcise a female? Has anyone ever said it’s cleaner to remove the hood of the clitoris as one would the foreskin of a penis?

    Okay, that’s like three or four questions, but I honestly find this incredibly interesting. Mainly, focus on the last question because I couldn’t find any support for female circumcision from the medical community anywhere.

  23. by circesadreim

    On April 25, 2012 at 10:47 am

    “Throughout our debate, I have asked professionals (doctors, medical students, and an owner of a day care) for their personal takes on the necessity of circumcision”

    You do realize, don’t you, that most of these people were cut themselves? And that (like you) they currently still live in a culture that actively promotes cutting. So their personal takes are slanted to erroneously believe cutting off part of a baby’s healthy penis is somehow necessary. And you forget that the medical profession makes a lot of money off infant circ – so you won’t find a whole lot of members who will actively speak out against the procedure.

    Did you ever check out what Doctors Opposing Circumcision or Nurses for the Rights of the Child have to say about the fact that it’s NOT ‘necessary’ to cut off a baby’s healthy foreskin?

    BTW – a word of warning for anyone reading the comments: the first post in this thread seems to have been made by someone affiliated with sites that promote infant cutting; sites that are operated by circumfetishists. Code words/phrases that give them away are things like this: “Circumcision is a safe, popular, healthy & beneficial procedure [...]“

  24. by sh

    On May 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    If you believe in circumcision then you should go with your son and watch it being done to him. If it is a harmless operation then you should have no problem watching it.

    If you have a daughter perhaps consider having her done as well. All of the benefits of male circumcision apply equally well to girls. Just avoid cutting off the body of the clitoris. Removing the labia minor and the clitoral hood will reduce the amount of bacteria that can reside there. It will be easier to clean, she won’t have a foul smell. And girls suffer from yeast infections and UTI’s (urinary tract infections) at an alarming rate. Sure they can be treated with antibiotics but so can UTIs in boys. Surgery is a better choice for boys, why not girls too?

  25. by cosmopolite

    On May 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I do not defend the hectoring bullying manner of a fair number of web intactivists. But the reasons for this anger include the following:

    1. Many are men whose ability to perform and enjoy sex is damaged or extinguished by the routine infant circumcision (RIC) they underwent at birth. Believe me, there are such men.

    2. There are women who have had sex with both kinds of men, and who have observed that they have difficulty enjoying with cut men, and climax easily with intact men.

    For these people, anger, impatience, and sorrow are understandable reactions.

    American RIC is an unethical medical practice for two simple reasons:
    1. It is usually done without any pain reduction.
    2. There are no studies of the possible adverse consequences of infant circumcision for adult sexuality.

  26. by Callie

    On July 24, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Hey I just came across your blog. I’m an intactivist and was looking for some printable facts to stick in diaper bags and books at the store later today. I didn’t read the BIG debate, but I just wanted to add something about this thing you said. “Throughout our debate, I have asked professionals (doctors, medical students, and an owner of a day care) for their personal takes on the necessity of circumcision; not hinting at my own stance before inquiring them. All their experience-based answers reflected my own beliefs.”

    I guess the whole point about circumcision is that people choose it because it’s the only thing they are know and are familiar with. A lot of doctors included. And I can tell you that a lot of docs get it wrong about intact care..like say you should retract by XX age or pull it back to clean it as an infant. Lots of misinformation out there in general. So it doesn’t surprise me that your or my life experience would steer to you the penis scalpel. ;) I expect that most people in my life to be wary of intact penises. But that doesn’t take away from the undeniable merits of intactness and the human rights factor. That’s why i have one circumcised son and one intact son.
    So anyway, i guess I get it. But the fact that those people in your life are pro-circumciison explains why you were anti-intact in the first place. It’s a symptom of our unique American circing culture. So I don’t know why you would defer to their judgement in light of new and better information.

  27. by HettGutt

    On August 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    May I propose a hypothesis about the psychology of intactivists? All prohibitionists are inherently bullies. The end goal of banning a practice, such as circumcision, abortion, gay marriage, etc. is to eliminate its very existence. Therefore, the need to overwhelm the debate immediately comes first in their minds. Slanderous lies such as the “circumfetishism” talking point come about naturally when total elimination of a practice and the idea of that practice is the end goal.

    In their minds, any discussion from the other side, especially scientific evidence, must necessarily be silenced immediately, lest the concept of circumcision as a preventative medical procedure be allowed to exist any longer. They want all discussion and records of circumcision to disappear, for corrupt and personal reasons, regardless of the damage done to other men.

  28. by RodC

    On August 23, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I have recently read that in the three oldest known versions of the Torah that circumcision is not mentioned in the covenant between God and Abraham. The myth about circumcision is thought to have been added around 500BC by Jewish priests.

  29. by Sarah

    On September 27, 2012 at 12:12 am

    This was a GREAT post that I needed to hear so badly. It was wonderful to know that I’m not the only inhuman “cutter” on the planet, as I have been bullied into believing!!

  30. by Nick Shell

    On September 27, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Sarah, thanks for reaching out to me and letting me know!

  31. by Kix

    On April 23, 2013 at 12:30 am

    Congratulations on your exposure to intavisim. I suggest you contact a few British Doctor’s and urologists to continue your research and round it out.