Should We Circumcise Our Children?
This month’s seen a lot of debate over rape, abortion, and a woman’s right to control what happens to her own body. DANIEL WORRALL argues that we should be worried about men too.
For many men, the thought of bringing a knife close to part of his Johnson sends shivers down his spine. In fact any genital mutilation is far beyond unpalatable. So why do we still allow the ritualistic circumcision of boys?
I lost my foreskin when I was seven – not for medical reasons, but because my pious grandma found me out and immediately took me to the local doctor. I remember every gruesome moment to this day. It was painful, but after a week of groaning and crying it didn’t change my life all that much.
The problems started a few years later when I discovered sex. Now I sleep with men and women, call me bi or plain greedy if you like labels. Like anybody else I love sex, but I can’t help feeling that there is something missing. I rarely climax with a partner, mainly because they always come first and although some would say that makes me a considerate lover, I disagree.
I read one study recently that found circumcised men to take 30 seconds longer to climax than had they a foreskin (unless they are Turkish, then actually they are 30 seconds faster – I feel for the women of Turkey). Other studies have shown that circumcised men are three times more likely not to reach orgasm than their hooded counterparts and that their female partners have higher levels of sexual frustration and pain. It turns out we like it rough and for tender partners that can be a short-coming.
The ‘science’ of it is that the foreskin contains the five most sensitive parts of the penis and in removing it not only does the sensitivity decrease, but a layer of skin around the frenulum (the lip of the bellend) toughens and requires extra fricative stimulation. Mmmm!
But the pursuit of sexual fulfilment is a first-world problem. As of yet, I haven’t come across any well-established charities aimed at people with depressing sex lives. This is unless you count YouPorn and Grindr as charities.
My issue is that I never got to choose. I never really was old enough to experience a foreskin and so how could I know, but I’ve been denied the right to have one. Petty contrast as it may seem, a doctor wouldn’t just remove your tonsils, or your appendix – you need a medical reason. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’m against denying people the opportunity to make choices about their own bodies, habits, beliefs, ideology etc. I’m an intactivist.
How can a week old baby possibly know that it is going to be Jewish or that in 20 years time it may possibly contract a penile infection? It can’t. But neither can our parents. My grandmother, bless her, was convinced that I would be a good little pious Muslim and due to age-old tradition had me snipped, but she was wrong.
Now I risk being deemed an anti-religious critic. Surely I would be denying my parents the right to their beliefs. For many strongly religious parents, the thought of not circumcising their offspring is the same as bastardisation. I respect spiritual duty, but for me, individual rights are more important.
Despite my beliefs, I strongly feel that a legal ruling to ban non-medical circumcision would be wrong as this German court found. The debate to be had is a moral one, but when it comes to questions of practicality, people are still going to circumcise and forcing them underground or abroad is not an option.
No one should be allowed to make permanent changes to another’s body. When my children reach some arbitrary age of maturity, I would like them to choose for themselves how to live their lives and if they want to choose circumcision, fine. But that’s their decision.