Friday, November 11, 2016

On Circumcision

Written on November 11th, 2016

Edited on November 17th, 2016

     Twelfth century rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (also known as Maimonides, or the Rambam) admitted that the purpose of circumcision is to reduce sexual sensitivity and pleasure. Contrary to the American Medical Association (A.M.A.) 's prior position, circumcision has no proven medical benefits. Fortunately, however, the A.M.A. no longer recommends circumcising boys at birth.

     Circumcision does not reduce the risk of transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (S.T.D.s) as its proponents claim (to be precise, they only claim that it may). It actually unnecessarily opens the body up to infection by exposing unprotected areas to the elements; this increases the risk of contracting blood-borne illnesses. Evidence suggests that circumcision increases the risk of contracting syphilis, H.I.V. (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection rates are lower in countries where males are not routinely circumcised, and claims that circumcision may reduce the risk of contracting H.P.V. (Human Papilloma Virus) are dubious because there is no way to test males for H.P.V..

      Too many parents make the mistake of believing that circumcision promotes sexual health; and that the benefits of not having to clean as much of their children's genitals, outweighs the detriments associated with risk of contracting diseases (that is, if they're even aware of that risk).

     While circumcision reduces sensitivity, it also leaves scars that can recur and cause pain long into adulthood, including pain during sexual intercourse. Reduced sensitivity, coupled with pain and scarring, can cause sex to become less frequent. This can lead to emotional detachment from one's sexual partner(s), which can lead to difficulty sustaining sexual relationships.

     The removal of the foreskin at birth, occurring before informed consent is even possible, can result in feelings of incompleteness, and sexual and personal inadequacy. These feelings can lead to, and exacerbate, D.I.D. (Dissociative Identity Disorder) and gender dysphoria. When part of one's genitals are removed, one may experience feelings of separation and dissociation from the person who underwent the operation; this causes the feeling that the disfigurement actually happened to someone else, and the sense that one's current persona is distinct from the person they were born as.

     Additionally, botched circumcisions can leave boys with mutilated genitalia; the resulting incompleteness of the genitals and loss of correct function can cause boys to cease identifying as male altogether. Botched circumcisions can also cause massive blood loss, and cause problems that cannot be fully corrected for years.

     The ensuing frustration, and hindered ability to build healthy emotional relationships with people on a social level, can motivate aggressive behaviors. These feelings can even motivate rape; a person who has been deprived of their natural rights of bodily self-ownership and physical integrity, may be more likely to commit rape as an act of sexual self-empowerment.

     Circumcision is a barbaric, archaic ritual which has no medical merit, and creates more social and sexual health problems than it solves. The practice should be shunned by anyone who understands that an individual human being has rights to his entire body. Furthermore, circumcision should be considered genital mutilation, and even child sexual abuse. Therefore, in my opinion, doctors who perform such procedures should have medical malpractice suits brought against them.

     Circumcision performed upon people who have not yet reached the age of consent, should be prohibited. However, it would behoove circumcision opponents (so-called "intactivists", a portmanteau of "intact" and "activists") to include a religious exemption to such a legal prohibition, in order to avoid trampling upon the rights of religious communities (namely, Jews) who consider the practice to be part of a sacred covenant (called brit milah) which unites the genitals of the "patient" with the head of the mohel and G-d, symbolizing a completion of the Jewish Tree of Life (Etz haChayim).

     On a final note, claims that circumcision reduces the risk of contracting herpes, do not hold up well in light of the fact that a handful babies die each year after being infected with herpes by mohels performing the ritual metzitzah b'peh following circumcision.

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