Monthly Archives: December 2011

What’s Most Important?

I’m genuinely curious.

Is it more important to put the ‘we’re actually doing something’ face on intactivism by posting circ rates as 32.5%?  Or is it more important to be truthful and admit that they’re actually higher?  A good example of this is fine touch sensitivity and penile cancer.  Being intact raises the risk of penile cancer, but penile cancer is so rare that circumcision for it makes no sense.  However, when it comes to a study about fine touch sensitivity, even though the actual difference is negligible, intactivists show misleading charts that make it seem as though intact penises are miles more ‘sexually sensitive’.  Just as in the cancer argument, the actual difference at which point a man can simply sense the least amount of pressure on his penis, the difference between circumcised and intact is small, so small that it makes no sense not to circumcise based on this.  So why use that to try to prove a point?  It doesn’t really work.

Again, why not focus on the argument about how unnecessary it is to routinely circumcise all or a majority of boys in the US for supposed ‘prophylaxis’ reasons?  These arguments are much better.  I do understand that intactivists want it to appear as though there are mountains of evidence in favor of the foreskin and against circumcision and nothing good about circumcision, but in all honesty, the publicly available information does not indicate this.  Most of it pretty shaky.  Have evidence that supports your claim, make sure you’re 100% familiar with that evidence, or don’t bring it up.  It’s very annoying to have the same links and arguments regurgitated at me by people who don’t understand them.  I’m sure that’s true for parents researching circumcision as well.  Add in the bullying and generally unpleasant disposition, and that is not a formula that’s going to encourage change.

Circumcision is Not The Devil

I’ve seen this scenario played out time and again.  Intactivists welcoming parents who see the error of their ways into the fold.  Who usually become the biggest, loudest, screaming-ist advocates against circumcision, more than willing to throw around words like mutilation and offensive comparisons to slavery or child rape.  Oh and “When we know better, we do better”.  There’s direct condemnation for parents who circumcise when words like mutilation are used.  When awful comparisons are used.  So I guess I don’t understand this.  Of all the people to be compassionate and understanding about parents still choosing to circumcise, you’d think that parents who had made that choice previously would be the ones.   It may be the boards I’ve been to online, or the comments I’ve seen.  Perhaps I’m viewing a very small selection.  I’d love to hear from parents who changed their mind about circumcision.  Good, bad and ugly opinion of people who circumcise.

I’ve also seen many intactivist parents who throw around ‘His Penis His Choice’, but when asked if they’d support their son making the choice to be circumcised in the future, get utterly horrified and start back pedaling.  What they really mean is ‘Intactivism Is a Cause I’m Fighting For and I’ve Been Saying No Man Would Prefer To Be Circumcised, So OF COURSE He Wouldn’t Want That Done, And NO I Would Not Pay For It Or Support Him In It, Because I’ve Just Spent The Last 6 Hours Typing Furiously To Prove That Circumcision Is Clearly A Horrible, No Good, Rotten, Bad Choice, And Him Making That Choice Makes Me Look Like An Asshole’.  Then there are the people who are clearly horrified with it, but want to be consistent in their argument, and they usually say something like ‘Yes, I’d Support Him In It, After I Give Him 72,000 Sources About Why Circumcision Is Really Awful And Bad, And We Have Long Arguments About How Stupid He Is To Want This Done And How I Won’t Love Him As Much If He Does It, But For The Sake Of This Debate, Yes, I’d Support Him.  Oh, Also He’d Need To Wait 6 Months To A Year To Make Sure It’s What He Really Wanted, After Reading All Of These Sources, Because I’ve Just Spent The Last 6 Hours Typing Furiously To Prove That Circumcision Is Clearly A Horrible, No Good, Rotten, Bad Choice, And Him Making That Choice Makes Me Look Like An Asshole’.   I’ve seen quite a few people who have very reasonably said they’d support their son in whatever choice he makes, because they really do believe in the bodily autonomy argument.  In my opinion, if most boys in this country are able to be circumcised at birth for no cost to them or their parents (or a very low cost) or even later (before age 21 or the insurance cuts off from mom and dad) then supporting them would mean assisting them financially.  Using the ‘it’s a cosmetic procedure so he’d have to pay for it, just like my daughter would have to pay for a boob job’ is disingenuous.  Infant girls aren’t routinely offered boob jobs at birth.  I find it noble to offer that boy the choice, but by refusing to help him pay for it because you don’t want him to have it done, you’re not really offering him a choice.  By lecturing him and telling him he couldn’t possibly know what he wants to do with his body because you read online that fucking with a foreskin is so very much better, you’re not respecting his right and ability to make the right choice for his own genitals.  Would I prefer to see the normalization of circumcision go away so that it’s not a question of being fair and offering him the same choice when he’s older as you’re offered when he’s an infant?  Absolutely.  However, since socially and medically we are offered that choice and especially depending on where he lives or how he enjoys his genitals, he may legitimately want to be circumcised, and I think it’s important to respect HIS choice about HIS body by supporting that choice.  Until the normalization of circumcision is gone, I think we owe that to our sons.  After all, the point of intactivism wasn’t supposed to be fighting all circumcision, just Routine Infant Circumcision.  I find that this point often gets lost.  Routine Infant Circumcision is the unnecessary, routine circumcision of boys for no medical or religious reasons. 

Over and over, the BJUI study about fine-touch threshold sensitivity is posted to somehow ‘prove’ that intact men are more sexually sensitive.  The point of the study measured the minimum amount of pressure a man could detect on his penis.  It said nothing about sexual sensitivity.  It was the point (measured in micrograms and centigrams…roughly 1/100th of a paper clip and 1/10th of a paperclip) at which touch could be detected.  That was all.  The difference in touch detection between circumcised and intact men was in centigrams.  Studies about sexual sensitivity are very far from all in perfect agreement.  Self-reported sexual satisfaction is all over the board, intact or not.  Men who were circumcised as adults sometimes report loss of sexual satisfaction, no change or improved sexual satisfaction.  Just like all people, all genitals are different.  There is no guarantee that a man would be sexually happier intact.  Or circumcised.  It really depends on the man.  That’s one of the reasons I feel circumcision at birth is so pointless, everybody is unique and individual, and a one-size-fits-all approach to circumcision doesn’t really make sense.  Let him decide as an adult.  However, actually legitimately let him decide.

Being circumcised does not cripple a man.  Yes, it causes obvious harm, through a wound to the body.  A properly performed circumcision without complications does not in-and-of-itself appear to drastically alter the sex life.  Comparisons are made all the time to Orchestras without String sections and Colorblindness, but this is all conjecture on the part of intactivists.  We cannot make sweeping generalizations about every persons genitals.  Roughly 25% of women can have a vaginal orgasm.  We’re all built roughly the same, so why is it that I cannot have a vaginal orgasm, even though I have those same nerves and tissues?  Just because the nerves and tissue is in place does not mean that everyone is going to experience those things the same.  To claim that all: l”Intact males can be more tender, gentle, relaxed, and loving during sex because the slightest and subtlest gesture or motion evokes deeply satisfying sensations. Circumcised males have to work harder just to feel sensations. This is an unhealthy situation for both the male and his partner.” is disingenuous.  A man’s ability as a sexual partner is very much individual, not based on circumcision status.  Having had both circumcised and intact partners, I’m very very well aware of that.

I’d love to hear back from you.  Prove me wrong.  I’m very willing to admit when I’m wrong.  Ok, not very, but I am willing.  After all, I used to be an intactivist, until I discovered that most of my ‘knowledge’ about the intact penis and circumcision is wrong.  I’m not pro-circ by any stretch,  I am anti-circumcision for sure.  However, I am also very against lying to try to change someone’s mind.  IMO it’s wrong.

I Am Against RIC

There is a difference between being anti-intactivism and pro-circumcision.  I’m not even necessarily against intactivism, I’m simply against the current incarnation that embraces lying, bullying and threatening/silencing the opposition.

The Theme Of Violence – Edited to Add Link (check it out)

Recently, the number of violent threats by intactivists has escalated.  I guess the question is, why?  There’s always been a low undertone of menace with some intactivists, but lately they seem downright supported.  People threatening a woman who posted a photo and left her FB page (unwisely) public, and sending her threatening text messages, even attempting to get her fired from her job.  Another woman threatened my friend on Facebook, threatening to ‘strap her down and cut off her clitoris’ (luckily my friend got a screen cap of that, before the person blocked her.  She sent it to me, it’s quite charming, really).  I’ve seen assault, threats of battery, rape and even murder.  Usually it’s been easy to dismiss these people as fringe-nutters, but this behavior is becoming more and more acceptable (or at least less and less condemned) in the intactivist community.

My blog is unpopular with intactivists because I point out the flaws in their arguments.  They don’t like that, not at all.  Thankfully, I haven’t been threatened over this blog – yet.  My question is, and it has yet to be answered…is it ok to lie and bully ‘for the cause’?  Is it ok to post links/studies you haven’t read, that you only assume say what you think they say (because you’ve seen them posted over and over and ‘summarized’ over and over by your intactivist buddies/cohorts)?  Is it ok to threaten with physical violence, or to stalk and harass someone?  To send multitudes of text messages, or attempt to get them fired?  Is it ok (same friend who was threatened) to follow someone around the internet and report them every time they post something as a troll?  Because you don’t like what they have to say?

If your argument against circumcision is that rock solid…why resort to these tactics?  The opposition has every bit as much right to voice their opinion as you do.

Intactivist community, stand up and say that this is not ok.  Have some integrity.


(Authors Note: I edited the title of this post.  It was meant to draw attention, and I’ll admit it…after seeing that screen cap I got pretty pissed.  But I think it’s important not to use that kind of discourse. )