Monthly Archives: August 2014
I’ve heard time and again that Brian Morris, an Australian professor who has been promoting circumcision for years, is a pedophile. Or a circumfetishest. Or both.
For those of you unaware, a circumfetishest is a person who is sexually aroused by the act of circumcision. Many intactivists don’t even know what the term means, and use it to describe anyone who supports circumcision or parental choice (along with terms like cutter). Many fetishists (of any stripe) will trade photos, stories or videos of whatever the subject of their particular fetish is. This includes circumcision. I don’t support any fetish that involves children. Even if it only involves them in story.
Erotic literature has some pretty obvious tells. Things that make it clear that it’s erotic literature. A story entitled “Darren”, which was not written by Brian Morris as far as I’ve seen, has been given as “proof” that doctors (or Brian Morris specifically) masturbate or are aroused during circumcision. The story is just that. A story. A disgusting story, that makes me sick, but a story. It has nothing to do with parents choosing to circumcise. Most parents are doing the best they can, and have no ill or foul intent toward their children.
The Gilgal Society is another “example” given of Brian Morris and his supposedly bad intentions toward children. The owner Vernon Quantaince was recently arrested for and convicted of molesting 5 children and apparently had accumulated quite a lot of child pornography. They use the fact that he appropriately distanced himself after finding out Vernon’s disgusting crimes as “proof” of involvement.
If intactivists, any of you, have proof that Brian Morris is doing something wrong, you absolutely must step forward with it. Sitting on evidence of a sexual crime against children is just as bad as perpetrating one.
But if, on the other hand, you’re just repeating lies and innuendo you’ve heard, you are doing nothing but slandering and libeling a man who is, like you, trying to help people as he believes is how he should.
I have no interest in supporting someone who wants to hurt children. But I’ve also seen no evidence that he does. So if you have it , here’s your chance.
The fact that I, myself, have been told that I’m a circumcised man (I’m not), with circumcised children (I don’t have any circumcised children), that I’m a circumfetishest, that I’m a child rapist, that I should be forcibly circumcised, that I should be killed, or raped, or tortured…well, those things certainly don’t help my skepticism of these claims.
But here’s your chance to prove your claims.
I need to note that I am not speaking of every intactivist, though I lament the lack of designation between the extreme type and the intellectually honest ones. Suffice it to say, if you don’t engage in the bahviors described, I’m not speaking of you.
Generally most people know that anything they post online is not really private. Your friends may screen shot it, or if it’s in a private group, your enemies.
What you need to know is that you do have some control. Anything posted by you PUBLICLY is allowed to be shared by Facebook. If it’s not posted publicly, it’s allowed for others to screen shot your post as long as your name is blocked or partially blocked. It’s not allowed to make a meme with your pictures. So if that’s been done with your child, you may report it Facebook can be somewhat arbitrary about what they allow or don’t allow, but those are the general rules.
I’ve seen too many outraged mothers first demand the removal of their child’s picture, or their status removed from a page. Many end up begging. Others deactivate their Facebook.
You need to know that these people, these intactivists…Some may genuinely care about babies. But above all else they care about capitulation and surrender. They care about being special and different. And they will carry out their mission with an almost fetishistic zeal. Anyone who would harass a mother and use her children this way doesn’t care about anything but the almighty cause they’ve been enslaved by. Any parent who would use their own child(ren) to try to guilt or manipulate others into not circumcising doesn’t care about anything but the almighty cause they’ve been enslaved by. They will sacrifice anything and everything at the altar of the Foreskin.
These people make their own husbands, partners and children feel mutilated and inadequate. They tell them they’re less than, deformed and mutilated. They mock them, with insulting pictures and terms. They use sloppy Scholarship to claim they’re impotent (actually increased Viagra sales has to do with recreational use and the simple fact that we can afford to buy it…not to mention American overall propensity toward pharmaceuticals).
Anyone who would treat the men in their lives that way certainly doesn’t care about the men in yours. Anyone who would treat their children that way certainly doesn’t care about yours.
Is there anything you can do about it? Sort of. Don’t publish any public pictures of your children on Facebook. You can make everything but your profile and cover photos private. Don’t use them as a way to showcase your family to strangers. Make your groups, likes and every setting possible set to “Friends only”. And don’t talk about your child’s circumcision. Not because you should be ashamed, but because you will be harassed. There are people and groups and pages on Facebook who devote their time to finding any mention of circumcision and mocking or showcasing the person who did it. I don’t have a complete list on hand but the people and pages I see commonly do this will be listed below. Finally, anything that you hashtag (#) will be made public.
Is there anything you can do after you’ve had your photo or status shared by one of these people or groups? Not much. Unless you’re tagged or they use your photo to make a meme, screen cap without blocking your identity or the Facebook algorithm Goda are on your side, nothing will be done. If they use a picture from somewhere other than Facebook where you don’t agree to give rights to the website, they may be committing a copyright or DMCA violation. If that’s the case, and you have the resources, you could talk to an attorney and file a lawsuit. But they won’t remove your photo if you ask or demand. They want you to post on their website. They enjoy it. There’s nothing that feels better to them.than a whole bunch of them at once, ganging up on one or two people.
You can also post it here. The comments are moderated, so I will keep your information private. A screen cap of your information shared will suffice, which I will edit out, and change your name, to protect you. I will not share any names or stories that are not true or that I can not validate. Anyone who doesn’t believe they’re true wouldn’t believe me no matter what I do, but I am true to my word.
I don’t care what silly justifications make this ok in intactivists’ minds. All I know is that it has been threatened before that a database of this information is being collected for a website. All I know is that parents who didn’t even know this debate existed before their trial by fire are being stalked and harassed. Even if you believe circumcision is wrong, surely you realize that not everyone even knows there’s a debate on the topic? If you truly have a goal to save children, don’t exploit them. There’s no salvation in that.
By Stephen Moreton, PhD. From The Journal Of Medical Ethics. Rebuttal.
Whilst it is right and proper that the circumcision issue be debated, it is disturbing that many of those who oppose circumcision rely heavily upon selective literature citations, untested speculations about foreskin function, fear-mongering aimed at making circumcised males feel they have been sexually damaged, and denialism about the proven benefits of the procedure, while ignoring published criticisms of their arguments. Predictably all these academic sins are committed by circumcision opponents in the current issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics. Rather than rebut each author in turn, which would be tedious, I will concentrate on just one, the article by David Lang, “Circumcision, sexual dysfunction and the child’s best interests: why the anatomical details matter”1. Most of the usual academic sins are repeated in his opinion piece, making it a good example of anti-circumcision polemic.
Part of the reason Lang’s piece is so bad is his use of popular, non- peer-reviewed, or biased sources. Lang is heavily reliant on an opinion- piece by Fleiss in a popular magazine called “Mothering: the Magazine of Natural Family Living”2. To anyone familiar with popular but unscientific views, the word “natural” always sets alarm bells ringing, as it is so often associated with the appeal to nature fallacy. Lang’s reference list also reads like a “Who’s Who” of the anti-circumcision movement: Fleiss, Cold, Taylor, Bollinger, Van Howe, Darby, Svoboda … all well known to be passionately anti-circumcision and therefore, it may be argued, not impartial, and some of whom have clocked up impressive tallies of rebuttals and critiques in the medical literature.
Proceeding now to the technical points, citing Fleiss2 Lang tells us that the foreskin contains “more than 20000 nerve endings”. Fleiss gives no experimental data in support of this, but instead refers to an old paper3 which does not give the 20000 figure, directly. It has to be inferred by extrapolation, and exaggeration, from a single square centimetre of a single foreskin which contained 212 nerve endings. It is not clear where on the foreskin the sample came, which is important as the distribution of nerve endings may vary. Nor is it stated how old the donor was, which matters as nerve ending density may decline with age. It includes nerve endings of any kind, including temperature receptors, but there were only two of the touch receptors (Meissner’s corpuscles) that circumcision opponents harp on about. There is no indication of how typical this particular sample was, nor any comparison with other body parts to provide a control. And to arrive at 20000 one has to multiply by 94.3 square centimetres, which is a very generous foreskin, even assuming both inner and outer surfaces are being counted. None of this mattered for the purposes of the original study, but Fleiss’ extrapolation is absurd and, without a control, worthless.
Copying another of Fleiss’s errors, Lang complains about, “desensitisation of the glans … due to successive layers of keratinisation from constant exposure and abrasion”. As before this is not backed up by peer-reviewed science. Like the oft-repeated 20000 figure, it is an urban myth. What scant evidence there is indicates no difference between circumcised and uncircumcised members4.
Continuing with his theme of copying uncritically from Fleiss, Lang lectures about drying of the glans and interruption of “the normal circulation of blood”. Without wishing to sound facetious one may retort, “So what?” In the absence of evidence that these things matter, they are irrelevant, although it could be argued that drying creates an environment less conducive to pathogens.
The doctrine of the gliding motion is next. Circumcision immobilises the remaining skin and thereby “destroys the mechanism by which the glans is normally stimulated”, Lang parrots Fleiss. It may be countered that circumcision enhances the actual mechanism by which the glans is stimulated – direct contact with the vaginal wall. Many men do find their foreskins gliding back and forth during coitus, but others have short foreskins that retract behind the glans upon erection. Where is the research indicating how many men experience gliding, what they (and their partners) think about it, and whether the greater contact with the vaginal wall experienced by a bare glans compensates for its loss? What would a condom do to it?
Finally breaking from echoing Fleiss, Lang begins copying unquestioningly from Cold & Taylor5. Meatal stenosis, we are told, occurs in “in 5-10% of circumcised males” citing these two circumcision opponents, but theirs’ is a secondary source, which in turn cites five others. The first is an author (Van Howe) whose later more detailed study on this topic was discredited6. Three others were studies of children circumcised because of foreskin pathology, which may be associated with meatal stenosis. The remaining study found an 8 % incidence but had no control.
Some recent studies find dramatically lower figures. 0.55 % and 0.9 % in Iran7,8 and 0.01 % for English boys9. Another Iranian study found 6.6 %, but none at all when petroleum jelly was applied for 6 months post- op10. Meatal stenosis has long been regarded as subjective and tricky to define and diagnose consistently, with differences of opinion even as to its significance11.
“The prepuce is primary, erogenous tissue necessary for normal sexual function. The complex interaction between the protopathic sensitivity of the corpuscular receptor-deficient glans penis and the corpuscular receptor rich ridged band of the male prepuce is required for normal copulatory behavior” Lang cuts and pastes from Cold & Taylor. But others dismiss this as unproven speculation12. Although the sample size was small, when men were asked to rank the different parts of their penis with respect to sexual sensation, the glans was first, the prepuce last13. Sexual sensation is mediated by genital corpuscles, which are absent from the prepuce14.
In the recent African HIV prevention trials, thousands of men were circumcised and compared to controls. These studies included sexual function. In the Ugandan trial, 98 – 99 % of both the intervention and the control groups reported satisfaction with their sexual function after two years15. In the Kenyan trial, 64 % of men found that sensitivity improved after circumcision, and 54.5 % reported greater ease of achieving orgasm16. The most recent meta-analysis on the subject found that circumcision has no adverse effect on male sexual function17. Circumcision opponents greatly overstate the alleged erogenous merits of the foreskin.
Lang switches to a study by two other prominent, anti-circumcision figures, Bollinger & Van Howe18 to claim that “circumcised men are 4.5 times more likely to use an erectile dysfunction drug than intact men.” Unfortunately, Lang ignores the subsequent criticism of this study19. Its self-selected sample was recruited through advertisements on two websites with strongly anti-circumcision content. It is hard to imagine a more effective way of ensuring a biased sample, short of advertising specifically for circumcision opponents. Indeed the loaded title of the advertisement, “Male circumcision trauma survey” comes close to doing exactly that. In their reply, Bollinger & Van Howe concede the potential for bias, and that their results are “unconfirmed”20.
When Lang gets to his next point, “18% of adult American men (of whom approximately three-fourths are circumcised) have erectile dysfunction” he finally cites a credible source21. But it is a source that linked erectile dysfunction to cardiovascular problems, diabetes, lack of exercise and age, not to circumcision. The aforementioned meta-analysis found no association between circumcision and erectile dysfunction17.
Lang concludes his section on the alleged harm of circumcision with an extraordinary combination of speculation and barrel-scraping. The USA, he tells us, “accounts for 46% of Viagra sales” and, whilst conceding that this “could be explained by any number of factors unrelated to circumcision”, speculates that this is due to truncation of the perineal nerve.
In the absence of any credible evidence that circumcision causes erectile dysfunction, speculations about the perineal nerve are moot. And the popularity of Viagra, which can be a recreational drug, in the wealthiest country on earth, with a high consumption of all manner of pharmaceuticals, can indeed be explained without recourse to baseless fear -mongering about circumcision.
Done properly, circumcision does not damage sexual function. But misleading claims put about by its opponents do damage the self-esteem of circumcised males by needlessly making them feel they are damaged, and are missing an important part of their anatomy. And they distress parents by deceiving them into believing they have harmed their sons. This is certainly an effective way to draw angry and motivated new recruits into the anti-circumcision movement, and into “surveys” on “circumcision trauma”, but it is misleading and unethical.
Whether or not to circumcise should be decided on quality peer- reviewed evidence that withstands scrutiny. Not urban myths, untested speculations, and discredited “surveys” on biased samples by biased authors. But that is all Lang offers us. It is ironic that the title of Lang’s opinion piece should state that “the anatomical details matter” and he then proceeds to get them wrong, or to exaggerate their importance. His details do not matter. The facts do, and they do not support the anti- circumcision crusaders’ claims about impairment of sexual function.
1. Lang, D.P. “Circumcision, sexual dysfunction and the child’s best interests: why the anatomical details matter”. J Med Ethics, 2013;39:429- 31.
2. Fleiss, P. The case against circumcision. Mothering: the Magazine of Natural Family Living. 1997;Winter:36-45.
3. Bazett, H.C., McGlone, B., Williams, R.G., Lufkin, H.M., Depth, Distribution and Probable Identification in the Prepuce of Sensory End- Organs Concerned in Sensations of Temperature and Touch; Thermometric Conductivity. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, 1932;27:489-517.
4. Szabo, R., Short,R.V., How does male circumcision protect against HIV infection? BMJ, 2000;320:1592-4.
5. Cold, C.J., Taylor, C.R. The prepuce. Br J Urol., 1999;83:34-44.
6. Schoen, E.J. Letter to the editor. Clin Ped., 2007;46(1):86.
7. Simforoosh, N., Tabibi, A., Khalili, S.A.R., Soltani, M.H., Afjehi, A., Aalami, F., Bodoohi, H. Neonatal circumcision reduces the incidence of asymptomatic urinary tract infection: a large prospective study with long-term follow up using Plastibell. J Ped Urol., 2012;8:320- 3.
8. Yegane, R-A., Salehi, N-A., Koshdel, J-A. Late complications of circumcision in Iran. Pediatr Surg Int., 2006;22:442-5.
9. Cathcart, P., Nuttall, M., Meulen, J., Emberton, M., Kenny, S.E. Trends in paediatric circumcision and its complications in England between 1997 and 2003. Brit J Surg. 2006;93:885-90.
10. Bazmamoun, H., Ghorbanpour, M., Mousavi-Bahar, S.H., Lubrication of circumcision site for prevention of meatal stenosis in children younger than 2 years old. Urol J., 2008;5(4):233-6.
11. Belman, A.B., Filmer, B.B., Immergut, M.A., Schoenberg, H.W. Pediatrics, 1978;61:778-80
12. Alanis, M.C., Lucidi, R.S., Neonatal circumcision: A review of the world’s oldest and most controversial operation. Obstet Gynecol Surv., 2004;59(5):379-95.
13. Schober, J.M., Meyer-Bahlburg, H.F., Dolezal,C. Self-ratings of genital anatomy, sexual sensitivity and function in men using the ‘Self- assessment of genital anatomy and sexual function, Male’ questionnaire. BJU Int., 2009;103:1096-1103.
14. Rhodin, J.A.G. Histology. 1974. Oxford University Press, London.
15. Kigozi, G., Watya, S., Polis, C.B., Buwembo, D., Kiggundu, V., Wawer, M.J., Serwadda, D., Nalugoda, F., N., Bacon, M.C., Ssempijja, V., Makumbi, F., Gray, R.H., The effect of male circumcision on sexual satisfaction and function, results from a randomized trial of male circumcision for human immunodeficiency virus prevention, Rakia, Uganda. BJU Int., 2008;101:65-70.
16. Krieger, J.N., Mehta S.D., Bailey R.C., Agot, K., Ndinya-Achola, J.O., Parker, C., Moses, S. Adult male circumcision: Effects on sexual function and sexual satisfaction in Kisumu, Kenya. J Sex Med., 2008;5:2610 -22.
17. Tian, Y., Liu, W., Wang, J.Z., Wazir, R., Yue, X. & Wang,K.J. Effects of circumcision on male sexual functions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Asian J Androl., 2013; in press.
18. Bollinger, D., Van Howe, R.S. Alexythmia and circumcision trauma: a preliminary investigation. Int J Men’s Health, 2011;10:184-95.
19. Morris, B.J., Waskett, J.H., Claims that circumcision increases alexithymia and erectile dysfunction are unfounded: a critique of Bollinger and Van Howe’s “Alexithymia and circumcision trauma: a preliminary investigation”. Int J Men’s Health. 2012;11:177-81.
20. Bollinger, D., Van Howe, R.S. Preliminary results are preliminary, not “unfounded”: reply to Morris and Waskett. Int J Men’s Health. 2012;11:181-4.
21. Selvin, E., Burnett, A.L., Platz, E.A. Prevalence and risk factors for erectile dysfunction in the US. Amer J Med., 2007;120:151-7.
I’ve quoted you from a Facebook comment you made. While I disagree that “cutters” (which I am being lumped in with by many despite not having any circumcised children) are liars that I’m aware of, I do think we are somewhat wanting a similar goal.
What I really want is respect, honesty and critical thinking from everyone making this decision or discussing this topic. Please keep in mind before anyone posts that I’ve not been respectful that I had my space invaded, nobody would be honest about from where, and was expected to deal with hundreds of disrespectful comments that entirely ignored a real and dire issue.
I don’t believe that they’re saving boys, because everything but the philosophical arguments are flawed, with poor or non existent data. I’d go so far to say that it’s not just wrong to lie about who you are but also to make up facts to try to prove your case. Why lie if your stance is so strong? Why make up false names and stories? In any event I totally respect you standing up to what used to be your friends, and if they had any integrity, would have listened to you.
You’re at least trying to do this right, Naji. It’s unfortunate that we are on such separate sides of this debate. I do respect you more than you probably realize, and I hope you continue to shine the light of integrity. I’d also ask that you reexamine your views of us “cutters”. You’ve been fed more lies by your ex cohorts than just their names and backgrounds.
This is from the same thread where I got H admitting she has multiple profiles. You can find the thread here:
You’ll notice a lot of the same names that have commented here, cementing my points for me. If you don’t want to be painted with the same brush, i wouldn’t stand so close together, guys.
“Brother K, I unfriended you. I did so because you support liars who are more concerned with their own egos than doing what is right for the cause.
Everyone who is talking about fake names is missing the point entirely. The point is, Christian Wimmer didn’t just use a fake name, he pretended to be something he is not and used that to attack people. Of all people, Brother K, I would think YOU would be against presenting ourselves as something we are not. Cutters lie. Cutters deceive people. Cutters tell people they are doctors or sex therapists or that they are “cut and fine”.
Intactivism is about truth, honestly and integrity. It’s about being who we are and being proud of it, and using what we are, what we know and who we are to fight against those who would lie and manipulate to get their way. There is nothing stronger than the truth and when you act to deceive you throw the entire movement into scrutiny and make the entire group look like a bunch of liars and fakes.
I fully admit this is not my real name. I have a pseudonym for all the same reasons as everyone else, mostly personal safety. But, I assure you that the person you see right here, right now, is the real me. I have never and will never lie about who I am, what I’ve experienced or what I represent.
Your lie may save one baby but there will be 5 lost when the people find out that you lied and refuse to listen to any other intactivist because, obviously, we are all liars and fakes. It’s about the big picture and I refuse to represent lies.” – Naji
Previously, there was a post with this title written by the old Paper Airplane. That post is well intentioned, but slightly off, in my opinion. Not necessarily the reasons given but the why. Perhaps it’s because the new Paper Airplane is less against circumcision than the old.
In any case, I’ve decided to visit the issue, and list the reasons I find compelling not to circumcise.
Parental Choice – I’m a firm believer in this concept over any other. I’m not pro-circumcision, though I’ve obviously been painted as such by the intactivists here. I am seriously pro – parent, however. It’s interesting that this may be accepted as a reason not to circumcise, but not as a reason to circumcise. The fact is, children can’t consent. To anything. That’s why parents can. Parents consent to any number of things that may permanently alter or even end their child’s life. Homebirth, not vaccinating, driving in a car or even having children at all, if you have a harmful genetic condition. You may not agree with that as a reason to circumcise, but it is a fact that it is a legal choice with potential health benefits and cultural and religious benefits.
Culture – if your culture doesn’t circumcise, this is a perfectly valid reason not to.
Religion – if you’re a Christian, for example, it is unnecessary to circumcise your child.
Philosophical Reasons – if you’re philosophically opposed to circumcision, this is a perfectly valid reason not to circumcise your child.
Aesthetic Preference – if you prefer an uncircumcised penis aesthetically, that’s a compelling personal reason not to.
Health Reasons – obviously if your child has hypospadius or other health reasons that contraindicated circumcision, that’s a very compelling reason not to.
I find those reasons compelling reasons. Very much. However, none of those are compelling reasons to harass, belittle, threaten, stalk or harm another person. No matter how little you believe the health reasons are valid reasons to circumcise, or how much of an atheist you are, or how firmly you believe it’s a human rights violation…those are not good reasons to behave so inappropriately.
I take no issue with being anti-circ. That and intactivism are different things. One view compels the belief that you have the right to make a decision for someone else’s family. One view compels the embrace of people making violent threats or pederasty or pedophilia. One view disregards boundaries completely. And one view totally obliterates any chance to meaningfully change the conversation around this topic.
If your intent is to create an us versus them environment and discard dialogue in favor of monologue, then intactivism is for you.