Malice wrote:circumcision does not cause significant or lasting harm because:
-The operation has a reasonably low level of risk to the infant, and recovery is not overly onerous;
-Social effects are not a factor (unlike say FGM)
-Sensitivity has not been proven to be significantly reduced, and men who have the procedure as infants go on to have healthy, productive sex lives
-Any emotional trauma is undocumented/unproven
Basically the harm argument is much less convincing than the rights argument.
This is going to look familiar because I posted much of it before. But I think nobody saw it because it was in a new-guy moderation queue until the thread had moved a couple pages beyond.
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Hundreds of thousands of men are enduring a tedious multi-year process of non-surgical foreskin restoration to undo just some of the sexual damage of circumcision.
The reason to advocate against forced genital cutting is NOT because it is barbaric. Many things we need to do for kids could be described as barbarically painful; they need to get over it if we deem it necessary (like cleaning broken glass out of a wound or drilling holes in their teeth for example). The reason to oppose forced genital cutting is the permanent harm
The foreskin includes thousands of specialized pleasure-receptive nerve endings and about 15 square inches (in the adult) of sexual interface. Removing that healthy normal body part dramatically alters sexual sensation. You simply can't take away a large sensitive surface (even if done magically with no risk or scar) without changing sensation. The penis owner has natural human right to keep his whole body and make decisions about which parts to keep. Denying this right is a HARM to him.
The foreskin protects the glans from the drying and abrasion associated with rubbing against dry clothing and bedding and being exposed to the open air. Any doctor will instruct an adult circumcision patient that it could take a few months before his glans has caloused enough for him to comfortably wear briefs. The frenulum - which is normally very ticklish (perhaps the neurological homologue to the clitoris) - is also (if it survives the circumcision) left unprotected so it can dry and numb. Eliminating the protective foreskin dramatically diminishes pleasure-receptive capacity.
The normal slack foreskin slinks and glides over the erect shaft and the corona of the glans during intimacy, massaging the penis in a way that can't be matched when the slack is absent. This gliding action reduces abrasion for a man's partner and reduces the need for sexual lubricants. The skin tube as it enrobes the glans during a withdrawal motion literally makes the perceived girth of the glans greater - by FOUR skin thickness (inner and outer on each side) - and that might partly explain why the percentage of intact men making an informed choice for penis reduction surgery is much less than 1%.
Circumcision changes the mechanics of sex. The specialized nerve endings in the skin respond to the tight bending and re-straightening associated with the travelling roll-over point as the skin slinks - in a way a cut man will simply never understand. With the slack present a man's partner can manipulate that nerve-rich skin forward of the glans and nibble on it, or slip a tongue between the skin tube and glans ans swirl around against two surfaces simultaneously, or use the rolling bearing of the skin tube as a tool to frictionlessly flush the engorgement from the glans and then gnaw on the tips of the corpus cavernosa before the glans re-engorges. I mean there are just lots of things you can do when the normal slack skin is present that are taken out of the sexual repertoire after circumcision. Reducing a healthy normal person's sexual repertoire is a harm to him. Parents have a duty to keep a child's future doors open.
You might hear people say cut men still reach a climax so they haven't lost anything, but intact men often say the whole ride feels so good they are in no hurry to get to a big finish.
Assuming there were no accidents and unintended consequences (only the predictable losses I describe above), exactly how many men would have to regret having been cut at birth for it to warrant not closing that door for all men, but instead leaving the option so he can get cut (or stay intact) later at a rational informed age?
Exactly how many healthy normal babies would have to die each year to cause the government to ban something? Three deaths per year was enough to cause banning of drop-side cribs. I can produce media accounts of four infant circumcision deaths from this year, and I assert that studies showing deaths of 100-200 per year are more likely reflecting the true number.
Most of the world is not cutting infant genitals or conducting studies to justify it. The fact the you think studies are mixed reflects the efforts of circumcisors to justify the practice. Non-circumcisors have no profit or cultural motive to do anything. It is in my mind inappropriate to give all studies equal weight. One study finds no difference between cut and intact sensitivity. They poked a few dozen men with a pin in two spots on the penis. Another study finds a huge difference after measuring more than 100 men on 17 spots on the penis (INCLUDING on the foreskin) and found that the 5 most sensitive were all not present on the circumcised men. This isn't just inconclusively "1 in the yes column and 1 on the no column." I find it conclusive. No study has repeated the 17-point methodology and gotten a different result.
I am very curious what you mean by "Social effects are not a factor (unlike say FGM)."
I strongly disagree with the assertion "a reasonably low level of risk to the infant" but my comments above reflect only "successful" not botched circumcisions.