sex, culture and religion with greta christina

May 27, 2009

model

Not too long ago, I found myself reading a blog post which called for skepticism in sex. How skeptical do you have to be to advocate the scientific method in the bedroom? Well, according to Greta Christina, the author of the post and a full column on the subject, even when people see sex as something natural, healthy and very important in life, there’s still a tendency to inject a large dose of the supernatural into it. To find out a little more about spirituality in sex and the culture which embraces it, I asked Greta for some insights…

Q: What prompted you to write an article about acknowledging materialism in sexuality?

A: I’ve been in the sex-positive community, the community of people who write about sex or who are activists promoting sexual liberation and sexual civil rights for a long time and one of the things that I’ve been noticing in that community since I’ve been identifying myself as an atheist, is how much the community views sex in a very spiritual light. It’s not the same as a traditional religious attitude. The sex-positive community rejects the traditional religious view since it tends to be hostile towards sexuality. Instead they view it in a New Age way, with chakras and goddess worship and so on, and so I just wanted to write a piece which presented another view on sex. Something to say that you can be very positive about sex and embrace all the wonderful things in sexuality, but in a way that doesn’t frame it as a metaphysical experience.

Q: Why do you think so many people in this community view sex with a spiritual, New Age reverence?

A: First off, I want to preface this by saying that it’s just speculation on my part. I think it’s reasonably informed speculation though. There are basically three things going on. First is that the idea that spirituality is good and that the spiritual world is the more important world is very pervasive in our culture. It’s taught to us early in our childhoods and even when you reject the traditional version and embrace sexuality as something positive, it’s natural for people to create their own spirituality to frame sex as good.

The second thing is that the sex positive culture is overwhelmingly a progressive culture which tends to reject mainstream institutions. And we see this in the way that this community accepts alternative medicine despite the fact that conventional medicine has been very rigorously tested. But to them, science is The Man and they are pretty much throwing the baby out with the bathwater and embracing alternative medicine. They embrace intuition and feeling and personal experiences, values they want to uphold over “establishment” ideas.

The third thing has to do with the nature of sex. When sex is good, especially when it’s very, very good, I think it can feel a lot like what people describe as a spiritual experience. It transports you in an extraordinary way out of your normal experience. Again, even if we reject traditional religion, we tend to frame these experiences as metaphysical. But at the same time, they’re still physical experiences. We’re just shifting the way the brain is processing information. So I think that when people start embracing sex and sexuality as something positive, they tend to frame it in this mystical, spiritual way.

Q: What exactly do you mean by a sex-positive community? Is there a sex-negative community?

A: I would say that the Religious Right is a very sex-negative community which actively promotes the idea that sex is bad, sex is trivial, sex is something that has to be prescribed in a certain way and there’s a very small number of cases where you’re allowed to have it. And that can extend to any community where sex is seen as just a trivial thing that can only happen in certain cases. By contrast, sex-positive communities are people who through writing, through art and activism try to promote the idea that sex is an important part of our lives.

Q: How do you think religious communities reconcile their religious commandment to be fruitful and have sex with their attempts to control sexuality and inject legality into sex?

A: I think the answer they would give is that they don’t think sex is bad. On the contrary, they think sex is great and wonderful but God only wants you to have sex under these very specific circumstances. You have to get married, it has to be an opposite sex marriage, obviously, and you have to be willing to have children so birth control is out. But the reality is that they promote a lot of fear and hostility towards sex, telling women that men are just horny wolves and telling men that women are temptresses who will lead them astray. So what really ends up happening is that they promote a very mixed view of sex, that sex is bad and evil but then, when you’re married, it’s wonderful. And of course it doesn’t work that way.

You get couples having really bad sex and unhappy sex lives because there’s this barrier to talking about sex, getting information about it and absolutely no mention of female satisfaction. But then you also have a culture of teenagers not using birth control. They grow up thinking they’ll reject sex but since they have hormones as we all do, they end up having sex and they don’t use birth control. There are a lot of statistics which show that in states where right wing religion is very prominent, teen pregnancy is very prominent. So I think the upshot is very mixed messages and a very conflicted, messed up culture about sex.

Q: Imagine your ideal world in terms of sexual culture. What would it be like?

A: I thought about that a lot and the best metaphor I came up with for treating sex and sexual preferences is to treat them the way we treat music. Different people have different musical tastes. Some like opera, some like rap, some like country, some people like a wide variety of music. To some people, music just doesn’t matter a whole lot and to some people it’s central to their lives and we pretty much accept that. We might have our own negative opinions about certain musical types but we generally accept their right to enjoy their music as long as they’re not forcing others to listen to it against their will. And in fact we celebrate the diversity in music, that musical tastes change over time and that we have the right to choose the music we like for ourselves.

And I would like people to treat sex the same way. I would like to see people treat sex as something important in life and something that’s powerful and shouldn’t be trivialized. We should acknowledge the fact that it could potentially do some harm, but that basically, it’s a central part of life that we should accept, and that we should accept others’ sexualities even if they’re different from ours.

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  • Rational Thinker

    How do you think religious communities reconcile their religious commandment to be fruitful and have sex with their attempts to control sexuality and inject legality into sex?

    Well… the Jews/Muslims/Americans employ genital mutilation.

  • Greg Fish

    Whoa, wait… Circumcision is not a form of mutilation. It was traditionally done for hygienic reasons and there have actually been studies which found that circumcision lowers the rates of HIV infections since it reduces potential infection sites for virions. It also has nothing to do with controlling sexuality since it doesn’t inhibit the libido and has minimal effects on sensitivity.

    Of course, if you’re talking about female circumcision, it really is a form of mutilation that controls a woman’s sexuality. However, this practice has always been rejected by Jews, Christians and moderate Muslims. It’s really an ultra-conservative cultural tradition that’s glorified as a woman’s sign of commitment to monogamy.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Female “circumcision” varies widely, from a minor trimming of the clitoral hood to total clitorectomy, and from reasonably clean clinical conditions by medically trained personnel to gouging with a broken bottle by a drunken witch doctor.

    One key problem with human sexuality is that there is no optimal approach that works across the species. As (sfaik) the only mammalian species that does not have a clearly defined estrus (“heat”) cycle, and as one (far from unique) which is reproductively ready before physically/emotionally mature, we have a lot to work out as we go along.

  • Rational Thinker

    Circumcision is not a form of mutilation… Of course, if youre talking about female circumcision, it really is a form of mutilation>/b>

    70%-75% of the world’s men would disagree with you, because they are born and die with well functioning, whole penises, and they enjoy their foreskins.

    Most forms of female circumcision are benign and involve only a small prick of the clitoris, removal of the clitoral hood, or trimming of the labia. Given that these forms are obviously less invasive than male circumcision, I’m sure you would agree that it would be acceptable to allow them.

    Strangly, In the U.S. and in many western countries, even the slightest pin prick of a females genitalia is punished by fine and prison time as “female genital mutilation”. However, male circumcision removes what would become 15 square inches of erogenous tissue—over 20 thousand erogenous nerves, which is more than twice what the clitoris has (incidentally, the clitoris actually extends up into the body, so removing the externally visible portion doesn’t actually remove it entirely; vibrations during sex still reach it).

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a circumcised woman who was a Muslim and became a non-religious Dutch MP. She had her clitoris removed as a child and became the face of the movement against FGM, bringing international attention to the issue. She has this to say as a comparison between common FGM and male circumcision:

    I think male circumcision is worse than an incision of the girl her clitoris. With boys, a lot of skin is removed. Depending on how that is done (in Third World countries, for instance, where there’s poor hygiene, and where the people who carry it out don’t possess the necessary skills), the consequences can be worse for boys than for girls. With girls, a sharp object is pricked into he clitoris. It bleeds a little, and the whole family is satisfied and she is declared ‘pure’. Strictly speaking, that procedure is less dramatic than male circumcision.

    From Wikipedia (and the source given):

    A five-year study of 300 women and 100 men in Sudan found that “sexual desire, pleasure, and orgasm are experienced by the majority of women who have been subjected to this extreme sexual mutilation [Type III, the worst kind], in spite of their being culturally bound to hide these experiences.”

    Also, it’s the women of these female-circumcising cultures that are so adamant about perpetuating that practice under the pretext of cleanliness, purity, womanhood, and a better cosmetic appearance. Sound familiar?

    In Eastern Cape, South Africa, an average of 39 boys die every year from circumcision complications.

    in 1979, Robert Baker estimated that there are an average of 229 boys die every year in the U.S. due to circumcision (from bloodloss or resulting infections).

    Boys who are circumcised have a 12 times higher risk of contracting the frightening and deadly MRSA infection than boys who are left intact.

    Other lifelong complications occur at a not-insignificant rate, such as skin bridges, skin tunnels, skin tags, hair on the shaft, skin so tight it causes painful erections, skin so tight it tears on erection, scarring that causes a bending of the penis, misalignment of the shaft tissue, removal of the frenulum (it’s always diminished on the circumcised penis anyway), and that doesn’t even include the inherent complication of having lost tens of thousands of specialized nerves as well as the loss of the mechanical nature of the penis (the gliding action); according to the state of Kentucky, more than 3% of circumcised boys require another procedure to correct major complications. All of this can lead to psychological distress throughout life.

    So, either we have to agree that most female circumcision is just as OK as male circumcision, or we have to agree that both are forms of child mutilation.

    In fact, in 2006, Finland outlawed the circumcision of healthy boys. Consider what Finland’s Central Union for Child Welfare had to say in 2003:

    The Central Union for Child Welfare considers that circumcision of boys that violates the personal integrity of the boys is not acceptable unless it is done for medical reasons to treat an illness. The basis for the measures of a society must be an unconditional respect for the bodily integrity of an under-aged person.

    Circumcision intervenes in the sexual integrity of a male child causing a permanent change in organisms and has consequences pertaining to both health and quality of life.

    The circumcision of girls is rightly considered as inhuman mutilation of the genitals and is punished abuse. Also boys must be guaranteed a similar protection by law.

    According to the opinion of the Central Union for Child Welfare in Finland nobody has the right, on behalf of the child, to consent to operation, violating the bodily integrity of the child, if it is not done to treat an illness. According to the Child Welfare Act the child has a right to special protection. The Child Custody and Right of Access Act bans the subduing and humiliation of a child.

    [Male circumcision] has minimal effects on sensitivity.

    Circumcision removes what would become 15 square inches of tissue, which includes specialised tissue like the mucosal inner foreskin, the ridged band, a fully developed frenulum, and more than 20 thousand erogenous, fine-touch nerves that complement the coarse-touch nerves of the glans penis—-that’s more than twice the erogenous nerves the clitoris has to offer. Moreover, the foreskin creates a gliding sheath in which the shaft moves and with which the glans penis, the frenulum, the ridged band, and the inner foreskin are mechanically stimulated.

    It is simply irrational to believe that the removal of 15 square inches of highly innervated, erogenous tissue would not have any effect on sensitivity.

    There is no debate that circumcision destroys sexual ‘perception’. The only question is whether the remaining tissue (glans penis and what’s left of the inner foreskin—often nothing) is desensitized due to the conditions engendered by the amputation of the foreskin. While there is conflicting evidence as to the degree of further desensitizing, it is certainly the case that circumcision transforms the glans penis and remaining inner foreskin into fully external structures that are always exposed—something that is unnatural for these mucosal tissues. They suffer from drying-out, subtle lifelong abrasion (simple contact with clothes), and keratinization (a response that reduces the irritation of drying-out and abrasion, but also results in a reduction of pleasure; intact men, who find themselves to be too sensitive, are often instructed to retract their foreskins for intervals of time in order to dull their senses).

    In terms of just fine-touch sensitivity, this study suggests that a complete penis is statistically more sensitive. There are also plenty of anecdotal stories of men who say that circumcision reduced their sexual pleasure akin to removing colors from vision.

    Also, this study shows statistically that 6 out of 7 women prefer parterns who have a complete penis—they are able to enjoy sex more.

    It was traditionally done for hygienic reasons

    This is nonsense; there is evidence that it originated among the Egyptians out of superstition. It only became popular in the English speaking countries because of a superstitious/religious fear of sinful masturbation.

    For about a century now, people have been trying to provide a medical justification for circumcision—but nothing has been remotely satisfactory, which is why no medical institutional body in the world supports it beyond condoning it on cultural grounds.

    There have actually been studies which found that circumcision lowers the rates of HIV infections

    There is a study that shows female circumcision reduces the risk of HIV.

    Anyway, keep in mind that the HIV studies involve men making a decision for themselves; this does not lend support to neonatal or childhood circumcision without medical cause.

    STDs are not a matter of child care; therefore, even if this were true it should have no bearing on deciding to circumcise a child; most people start having sex nearly 2 decades after birth at the age of 17 years.

    Ever since the UN’s studies on HIV in third-world Africa, HIV/AIDS has replaced the ridiculous UTI scare-tactic for promoting circumcision. However, safe sexual practices are not only essential, but they are the only reliable and effective means for controlling and avoiding sexually transmitted diseases; even though the UN’s studies attempt to suggest that circumcision reduces the incidence of HIV infection, the UN still acknowledges that only sex education and sexually responsible behavior (such as using condoms) are effective solutions.

    In fact, one meta-study of those UN studies suggests that 72 circumcisions are necessary in order to prevent one case of HIV infection. In conclusion, the researches make a half-hearted endorsement of the procedure:

    Male circumcision is an effective strategy for reducing new male HIV infections. **Its impact on a population level will require consistently safe sexual practices to maintain the protective benefit.

    Even the authors of the original study say so:

    However, it must be emphasized that protection was only partial, and it is critical to promote the practice of safe sex

    (BTW, some variation of that article has been appearing since 2007; someone’s trying a little too hard in my opinion; also, I’ve heard that some of the researches are Jewish, so not exactly unbiased).

    Also, consider research that shows circumcision does not decrease the risk of contracting HIV for gay men. Then consider a study that shows many gay men engage in astonishingly unsafe sexual practices.

    Clearly behavior is the determining factor.

    Furthermore, the U.S. has the highest rate of circumcision among industrialized nations (not considering, say, Israel), and yet the U.S. HIV incidence rate is something like 3.5 times higher than that of the closest advanced industrialized nation.

    More to the point, these studies provide no biological theory—they are strictly statistical analyses (fraught with a number of confounding variables):

    Why circumcision may reduce the risk of infection is not entirely known. But researchers think cells in the foreskin of the penis may be susceptible to HPV and the herpes virus.

    In fact, a study of the U.S. military concludes:

    After adjustment for demographic and behavioral risk factors lack of circumcision was not found to be a risk factor for HIV (OR = 0.9; 95% CI: 0.51, 1.7) or STI (OR = 1.08; 95% CI 0.52, 2.26). The odds of HIV infection were 2.6 higher for irregular condom users, 5 times as high for those reporting STI, 6.2 times higher for those reporting anal sex, 2.8-3.2 times higher for those with 2-7+ partners, nearly 3 times higher for Blacks, and 3.5 times as high for men who were single or divorced/separated. Conclusions: Although there may be other medical or cultural reasons for male circumcision, it is not associated with HIV or STI prevention in this U. S. military population.

    In other words, behavior is what is important.

    Consider an Israeli report that devotes an entire page discussing the relationship between circumcision and cervical cancer (that is, HPV). They reference numerous studies that show no connection between circumcision and rates of cervical cancer. Their conclusion in this section is:

    Although the dispute over the association of circumcision and cervical cancer in various populations is still ongoing [23,24], there seems to be no hard evidence that circumcision prevents its occurence in Jewish women, and it is no longer considered to play a protective role.

    Their conclusion:

    While ritual circumcision is still practiced widely, today only a minority of Jewish women observes the laws of Niddah [sexual laws]. Sexual habits have also changed considerably, becoming far less stringent. In spite of these trends of the last four to five decades, the population-based incidence of of cervical cancer in Israeli Jewish women has not increased and remains very low… it seems that there may be indeed something in “race.”

    In other words, Jewish women are protected by culture and maybe even genes—but certainly not circumcision.

    Also, according to this:

    Circumcised men are more at risk from penile warts than uncircumcised men, and the risk of developing penile cancer is now almost equal in the two groups. Therefore, routine circumcision cannot be recommended to prevent penile cancer.

    Consider again that no medical institution in the world endorses neonatal circumcision beyond the notion that it may have benefits. In fact, none of the following medical societies or associations advocate infant circumcision (they point out that there are no prophylactic or therapeutic reasons that justify the surgery on healthy boys): American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, Pediatric Urologists Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, Canadian Pediatric Society, Canadian Medical Association, Australian Medical Societies (any), or European Medical Societies (any).

    Its really an ultra-conservative cultural tradition

    You’re absolutely correct!

    These days, ritual/routine male circumcision is pretty much the domain of religion (68% of circumcised men are Muslim), the U.S., and South Korea (since only the Korean War because of the American military). Why has it remained popular in America? There is strong evidence that an preponderance of Jewish medical professionals is to blame (this is strictly fact, not bigotry). Fortunately, it’s dying off in the Western United States—where a circumcised boy is in the minority by a wide margin in quite a few states. Consider these circumcision rates in 2004: Nevada (14%), California (21%), Arizona (25%), Washington (26%), Oregon (30%), Florida (39%).

  • John the Drunkard

    [Male] Circumcision is not a form of mutilation. It was traditionally done for hygienic reasons.

    On what planet?

    Abrahamic (and Egyptian) tradition makes no mention of hygiene for the simple reason that the concept was unknown. Modern circumcision–as promoted in the US–was intended to prevent masturbation. All hygienic claims are post-hoc rationalizations.

    And how is cutting normal tissue from the body of an infant NOT mutilation? Are there any other body parts granted this exemption?

  • Greg Fish

    It’s interesting how a post on sex and religion became a debate about circumcision. One thing I want to make clear is that female circumcision cases I had in mind where the most invasive ones, cases where the clitoris was removed with the direct intent of controlling a woman’s sexual pleasure. However, that doesn’t mean that women who underwent the procedure wouldn’t be able to orgasm or become aroused since their G spot could still be stimulated to achieve climax.

    In ancient times, there actually were some basic hygienic concepts though they weren’t labeled as such. Often times you would see common practices given a religious spin to enforce them, something which also happened with laws and cultural ideas. Somebody came up with the concept of male circumcision, a group of people started to think it was a good idea and you see it codified in the Bible as God telling the Hebrews that by such and such day a male child needs to have one. If they were done in the U.S. to prevent masturbation, the concept was an obvious failure. By the time you see any intentional self-stimulation, any trace of the procedure would’ve been long healed. Just ask a male adult film actor whether having a circumcision is a major hurdle in his trade.

    When it comes to STDs, behavior is obviously an enormous factor and you absolutely must practice safe sex to prevent infection no matter whether you’re circumcised or not. I mentioned those studies as more of a curiosity than a defense for the practice. But I do have a hard time trusting statistics from a site devoted to anti-circumcision data. It may be accurate but I would want to see independent studies rather than anecdotal data and citations from the 1970s. I also want to point out that when any surgical procedure is done in unhygienic conditions, there’s a high risk of infection or death and that’s not something that invalidates the procedure itself but rather points out the importance of a clean operating room.

    Now, I’m not going to advocate circumcision for all males but I’m honestly not prepared to call it a case of mutilation which ruins male sex lives.

  • Rational Thinker

    Its interesting how a post on sex and religion became a debate about circumcision.

    It’s not surprising, considering that circumcision is only prevalent because of religion.

    Publications in Britain (where circumcision took place mainly among the more wealthy) debunked the preventive nature of circumcision and clearly documented the normalcy and normal development of the foreskin, so the practice rapidly died off in the English speaking world outside of the U.S. beginning about 1949 (it was already unheard of elsewhere—not including Muslims and Jews).

    Why did circumcision remain rampant in the U.S.? Well, firstly, the U.S. has always had a strong puritanical/evangelical kind of “Judeo-Christianity” among a large number of its people. However, it turns out that the main reason is that there has been a preponderance of Jews in the medical profession (this is not meant to be bigoted, just factual), and they have worked very hard to spread the notion that circumcision is beneficial and without negative ramifications. Hiram S. Yellen and Aaron Goldstein invented the Gomco clamp in 1934-1935 and worked very tirelessly to promote it in the medical journals. This resulted in ‘routine’ male circumcision in the U.S.

    If they were done in the U.S. to prevent masturbation, the concept was an obvious failure. By the time you see any intentional self-stimulation, any trace of the procedure wouldve been long healed.

    It’s not about having a wounded penis, it’s about having a diminished penis; firstly, there is a loss of erogenous tissue and a resulting desensitization from constant exposure of the glans and remaining inner foreskin, all of which was meant to keep the penis from ‘making men horny’. Furthermore—and perhaps more importantly for the Victorians—circumcision reduces (if not eliminates) the mobility of the shaft tissue, thereby making auto-stimulation a little more inconvenient—some external lubrication such as lotion or spit is required for the circumcised penis (ever wonder why the ‘pre-semen’ drop is so small? It’s because it is meant to lubricate just the head of the penis so that the foreskin glide more easily back and forth across it; the foreskin makes the shaft tissue incredibly mobile).

    Just ask a male adult film actor whether having a circumcision is a major hurdle in his trade.

    You work with what you have, and a man in circumcising-culture wouldn’t know any better anyway.

    Besides, studies have been shown that the extreme mobility of the shaft tissue of a complete penis makes penetration quantitatively easier by something like a factor of 10. It certainly makes hand-jobs more enjoyable and less-abrasive, as the shaft tissue is what directly stimulates the erogenous organs by sliding down behind the head (up to more than 50% down the erect shaft!) and buck up over the head.

    You literally just grab the shaft skin and ‘pump’ away.

    One thing I want to make clear is that female circumcision cases I had in mind where the most invasive ones, cases where the clitoris was removed with the direct intent of controlling a womans sexual pleasure… Now, Im not going to advocate circumcision for all males but Im honestly not prepared to call it a case of mutilation which ruins male sex lives.

    I’ve already shown you a report that says that females’ sex lives are not ruined by female circumcision. Moreover, Jewish circumcision has always been regarded as a way to curb pleasure. Read what the ‘sages’ like Maimonides had to say on the issue. It’s clear that male circumcision has been regarded as a way to control sexual pleasure (he lists it as the most important reason).

    I also want to point out that when any surgical procedure is done in unhygienic conditions, theres a high risk of infection or death and thats not something that invalidates the procedure itself but rather points out the importance of a clean operating room.

    However, the problem of MRSA after circumcision is that it’s happening in even the best hospitals in the U.S. Read about Beth Israel in Boston. Healthy boys’ lives are being risked by an unnecessary surgical amputation of a large swath of their penises. It’s mindbogglingly insane!

    Also, read about the orthodox Jews who spread herpes to infants after sucking on the bloodied penis (no joke).

    In ancient times, there actually were some basic hygienic concepts though they werent labeled as such.

    There were many other peoples during that time that did not circumcise (basically all people), so hygiene is not a satisfactory reason. In fact, there is evidence that the Egyptians created circumcision for 2 possible reasons: (1) It was a way to mark their slaves, so the Jews responded by incorporating circumcision into their culture in the same way that black people took on the word ‘nigger’ as their own. (2) The Egyptians were trying to mimic the ‘eternal’ life of snakes by ‘shedding the skin’ of the penis.

    Similarly, other peoples who lived around the Jews at pigs, and trichinosis is apparently not as bad in that particular climate anyway, so these really are all just superstitious ideas.

    But I do have a hard time trusting statistics from a site devoted to anti-circumcision data. It may be accurate but I would want to see independent studies rather than anecdotal data and citations from the 1970s.

    I’m surprised to find this argument frequently; it doesn’t make any sense: Facts are facts; I would much rather read facts from a passionate person than from someone who has only casual experience with the issue.

    That said, the sources on those sites are journal-published and peer reviewed. The CIRP Library provides cross-referenced materials from journal-published and peer reviewed sources. Besides, most of the stuff I cited was recent. The oldest stuff was—if I recall–from the middle-to-late 1980s.

    The truth of the matter is that there are 2 groups of people: (1) Those who want to cut up healthy boys’ penises. (2) Those who do not want to cut up healthy boys’ penises.

    There is no middle ground, and given that group (1) wants to do something extraordinary, it is up to group (1) to provide extraordinary evidence in its favor. However, group (1) has been unable to provide anything even remotely persuasive over a century of modern medicine.

    Think of it like this. Vaccination requires injecting material derived from frightening viruses into little infants using a sharp needle that penetrates the skin. The claim that this is beneficial is extraordinary! and so it requires extraordinary evidence… Well, our understanding of the immune system and countless studies of vaccination have proved with scientifically incontrovertible evidence that vaccination is pretty much 100% effective with basically 0 complications (other than a little temporary pain from a pin-prick). Naturally, then, vaccination should be widespread.

    However, by 2009 circumcision still hasn’t been shown to provide any truly meaningful benefits (the AAP says as much itself)–after all, the supposed benefits can be achieved with much less invasive methods like showering and wearing condoms during sex. More importantly, it certainly is the case that circumcision alters the penis entirely and removes 20 thousand erogenous nerves, removes the protection of the head of the penis, and destroys the mechanical nature of the penis. Explicitly: The benefits are not-significant, and the complications are not-insignificant.

    In this light, circumcision is indeed very absurd.

    Now, Im not going to advocate circumcision for all males

    The problem is imposing circumcision on other people. A parent has no right to have his healthy son circumcised. This is a violation of human rights, dignity, respect, and personal liberty.

    If an adult wants to have himself circumcised, then so be it.

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