Circumcision: Male vs. Female

A viewer recently wrote to me with questions about male circumcision and why it is a widely practiced procedure and female circumcision is looked down upon as mutilation. I had contemplated doing an AMC video on You Tube about this, but the more I got into the questions, the more they were personal views. I would not want my personal views being taken as fact when they are merely opinions. So, that is when I decided to do a little mini editorial on the practices and post it on my website.

 The medical practice of “circumcision” is defined as the act of circumcising; surgical removal of the foreskin of males. It is pretty straightforward; however, it does have its religious roots. In fact, in the very first book of the Bible, circumcision was established as a national ordinance. For a man to be in compliance with this ordinance, he would need to be circumcised. In fact, Abraham was 99 years of age when he was circumsized at the same time Ishmael was, who was 13 at that time. Currently, circumcision is practiced as a religious rite of passage for the Jewish and the Muslim generally occuring at 8 days after birth. Circumcision went through a time where the medical knowledgebase thought that a circumcised penis was “cleaner” and therefore caused less problems for the male as he aged.

Male circumcision is a very controversial topic now as far as elective circumcision, meaning circumcision that is performed that is non-religious, non-ritualistic and not medically necessary. A lot of people will liken male circumcision as genital mutilation, the same as female circumcision or female genital cutting.

Now, what I think is important to remember when one starts to compare male and female circumcision, is most of the time anaesthesia is used for male circumcision, of course higher instances with pediatricians than other types of doctors. Its also important to note that a male, with a standard circumcision barring no outside issues happening with the procedure, is able to maintain a normal sex life and orgasm normally. His ability to perform sexually is not affected by the loss of the foreskin. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics did a study in 1999 that actually stated that circumcised males tend to have a more varied sex life and are less likely to suffer from some form of sexual dysfunction.

Now, all of this brings us to Female Genital Cutting, also called Female Circumcision and Female Genital Mutilation. The term used depends on who is using it. Obviously, a term like “mutilation” would be best used by an individual who is against the practice while “female circumcision” sounds a lot nicer and would be used by an individual for the procedure.

Now, there are three types of female genital cutting which pretty much are named in degree of how much tissue was removed. In all instances, however, the clitoris is either cut or removed completely thus severing the females ability to orgasm normally. The mildest form is where the clitoral hood (equal to the male foreskin) is removed and the clitoris is is either split or completely removed. The most severe is called a Type III and in this case, the entire labia regions as well as clitoral are removed from the female. The Type III, sadly, was the most widely practiced and was viewed as a social custom rather than religious.

The Type III ends in the female’s legs being tied together so she can heal, leaving them nothing more than a sheet of skin with a hole large enough to urinate or menstrate through. The scarier aspect of this is that her future husband has a right to perform a reverse infibulation on her by using a knife on her to open her body back up to allow intercourse. If a woman delivers a baby, she is then cut open again and afterwards, must live through having her legs tied together again in order to allow the wound to heal.

There are Type IV FGCs; however these tend to be practiced for more ritualistic ceremonies and burning/scaring of the genitals is involved or pricking the clitoris with needles. There is also the practice of ripping the vagina open. Type IV is not widely practice and is generally isolated to very specific ethnic groups.

So, we know the US is known for male circumcision for non-medical, non-religious reasons. Who practices female circumcision (I don’t even like calling it that since so much more goes on than in male circumcision). Right now, Female Genital Cutting is primarily practiced in African countries. The most prevelant country being Somalia.

One of the major concerns is that female genital cutting is a very severe practice as far as exposing the female to outside contaminants; however, it is often practiced without anesthetic and under less than adequate conditions and often by individuals such as midwives rather than a physician. Egypt has actually recently outlawed female circumcision after a 12 year old girl died from the procedure, which was being carried out by a female physician in a private clinic.

So – I guess this brings me to my opinions on the matter, not that they really “matter.”

While I view male circumcision as “normal” I have to view it as a procedure the male has no control over. Perhaps in 20 years that male will want to have a fully, in tact penis with foreskin. I don’t know. I do not think it is the parental right to decide that. However, I have children, one being a boy and yes, he is circumcised. I twas the decision of his dad to do it. I was against the circumcision but I left the final decision to his father.

My son, as he has grown up now to the age of “almost 8″ has never complained of pain or problems and even as a baby he would get erections, so I know he is capable. I am sure that barring any unforeseen circumstances, his circumcision will not hinder his sex life in any way.

For a girl who has undergone any of the type’s of female circumcision, her sex life will never be the same. Her genitals are modified in a way where she will be lucky to have feeling at all let alone the ability to have a clitoral orgasm, and that is only in type I cases where the clitoris may only be split, although in most cases, it is completely removed.

There is a difference. The reasons behind them are all driven by cultural and ethnic opinions and practices. I personally would vote that neither be practiced but individuals be educated about hygiene and anatomy. But if I were told tomorrow I had the power to make 1 go away completely from the Earth, I would vote for female circumcision to end completely as it is beyond a slight modification for cleanliness – these girls can die more often than not from this procedure.

-MC

 

About these ads

7 Comments

  1. D:

    That is all I can say on this topic, other than I know have a LOT more knowledge of the topic.

  2. “Now, what I think is important to remember when one starts to compare male and female circumcision, is most of the time anaesthesia is used for male circumcision, of course higher instances with pediatricians than other types of doctors.”

    This does not justify one mutilation is better than another. You don’t talk about the consequences of male circumcision for an adult but you do talk about the ones about the female one. To be fair and objective, you should also talk about the consequences of the first one, because it HAS.

    First of all, as I alredy said before, it produces a lack of natural lubrication of the glands of the penis, as it is not covered anymore. Second, the loss of sensibility due to the lack of the foreskin, making the prepuce touch directly with the underwear and making it less sensible due to the constant friction. This causes a diminution of pleasure and tact. You don’t know how much it hurts when the prepuce is in direct contact with the underwear. Try removing your fingernails, removing the foreskin is the same.

    “Its also important to note that a male, with a standard circumcision barring no outside issues happening with the procedure, is able to maintain a normal sex life and orgasm normally.”

    It depends on what you understand by a “normal” sex life. If you mean he’ll be able to have an erection and penetrate, yes, he will, but he won’t feel the same pleasure as before because his foreskin, which was a protection (just as fingernails) and made his prepuce to be sensible, is not there anymore.

    “His ability to perform sexually is not affected by the loss of the foreskin.”

    Yes it is. He’ll be able to have an erection, but do not confuse that with being able to perform sexually. He won’t feel the same never again, because the glands will get rough due to the contact with the underwear and therefore less sensible.

    “In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics did a study in 1999 that actually stated that circumcised males tend to have a more varied sex life”

    Of course. They must try new ways to reach orgasm because they probably can’t achieve it as quickly as before nor in the same ways they did it.

    “…and are less likely to suffer from some form of sexual dysfunction.”

    I wonder if pleasure loss is included in those “sexual dysfunctions”. It can cause a sexual dysfunction, indeed. And guess what pleasure loss causes.

    Well, if you cut your hair you will also be less likely to have lices. And if you take your teeth out you’ll also be less likely to have decays.

    “While I view male circumcision as “normal”

    Male circumcision is a mutilation just as female circumcision. Can you see a mutilation as something “normal”? What is “normal” for you? Things are there for a reason, also the foreskin. So if you think the clitoris has got a function, you should also be able to see that the foreskin has also got a function in a man’s body and that it isn’t something “useless” that can be removed just because no matter what and that nothing will happen. According to your logic, female circumcision, as a circumcision just as as the male one, is also “normal” (you don’t know how much I hate this word).

    “I do not think it is the parental right to decide that. However, I have children, one being a boy and yes, he is circumcised. I twas the decision of his dad to do it. I was against the circumcision but I left the final decision to his father”

    So if you think it’s not a parental decision, why did you leave him decide? It’s not your right to mutilate a part of your son’s body without his permission. He should be free to decide if he want’s to have a mutilated penis or not. It’s his body, it’s his choice. He should decide when he grows up.

    “My son, as he has grown up now to the age of “almost 8″ has never complained of pain or problems and even as a baby he would get erections, so I know he is capable.”

    Once again, you confuse being able to have an erection with being able to feel pleasure and, therefore, to have a fully pleasurable sex life. It’s NOT the same. He’ll probably never complain, as he has never had the opportunity to know how it feels like to have an intact penis with its foreskin. I’m sure girls who are circumcised at birth also never complain because they are just used to it, they don’t know what’s like to have your sexual organs intact because they’ve never had them.

    “For a girl who has undergone any of the type’s of female circumcision, her sex life will never be the same.”

    Of course not, as it won’t be the same for any boy who has suffered male circumcision. It’ll never be the same for any person who has suffered a mutilation of his/her sexual organs.

    “There is a difference.”

    There is no difference. A mutilation is a mutilation whoever it is practiced to, and nothing justifies it, unless it’s for medical reasons, which is not the case we’re talking about now.

    “if I were told tomorrow I had the power to make 1 go away completely from the Earth, I would vote for female circumcision to end completely as it is beyond a slight modification for cleanliness”

    Of course you would vote against female and not male circumcision if you could choose, as you allowed your son to suffer it and you did nothing to avoid it when you could’ve done it, so it is logic you wouldn’t vote against male circumcision. If you allowed it is only because you agree with it and you support it, or at least you don’t see it as something bad or harmful (as it is), as you already said. You can’t be impartial nor objective in this.

    By the way, male circumcision is also beyond a slight modification for cleanliness. You also haven’t said absolutely anything about the emotional consequences of male cincumcision (yes, there are; boys also have got feelings). Loss of pleasure, mutilation, emotional consequences (not being able to have a healthy and satisfactory sexual life, complex, exactly the same for female circumcision). Too many to make male circumcision justifiable in some way.

    It’s shameful how you judge the same mutilation and the same act depending on the sex of the person it is praxticed to. Try to get rid of your fingernails and let’s see how does it feel. You’ll also get used to it and you’ll also be able to have a “normal” life. You’ll still be able to pick up things just as a circumcised man will still be able to have an erection. A “normal” life.

    No one cares about what happens to boys and even some people, including you, justify a mutilation done to boys and complain about the same mutilation and practice if it is done to girls.

    And this has only got one name: DISCRIMINATION and, why not, SEXISM.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexism#Sexism_against_females

  3. I am afraid that I must disagree with the original comment concerning the use of anaesthesia during male circumcision. Historically, anaesthesia was NOT used. The medical community long held to their belief that the nervous system of newborn infants was too undeveloped to feel pain. Only under the pressure of recent public criticism have they come to somewhat revise their position. Also, the fact that the majority accepts something as “normal” doesn’t mean it is true. My wife and I had a friend whose daughter had recently given birth to a baby boy. A few days afterward, she came over to our house and proudly announced that the baby had had his circumcision that morning. I silently wondered why she sounded proud of this. Then I asked why her daughter had had it done. She seemed confused or confounded by my question. Her only reason…………”because the doctor said so.” Upon asking my young niece the same question after the birth of her son, she said she thought it would look “cuter that way.” FYI………a physcian friend of ours ounce told me that it is the mother who most often signs the circumcision release (+80 percent). The father often is not even present.

    No matter what, we should not be removing the body parts of our children simply compelled by the notion that it will help protect them from some lurking evil far down the road.

    circumcision………it’s stupid……….it’s just plain wrong.

  4. I couldn’t agree more with jordinico. This article is misleading, factually erroneous, and sexist. I hope your son doesn’t have the frustration caused by lack of sensation from to circumcision that I and millions of other men have suffered.

  5. Of *course* men always have it as bad as women, and saying anything else is sexist. These arguments aren’t about stopping horrors perpetrated against children, or making people more equal and respected. They’re about making sure nobody gets to state the obvious, that women get the s**t end of the stick, and sometimes are tortured and mutilated for the crime of having sex organs. It’s not that circumcision should happen to baby boys (though it’s less extreme surgery for infants than for adults) — it’s that people latch onto it as something that should cause just as much outrage as female genital mutilation IN ORDER TO DISTRACT from the fact that FGM is practiced specifically to control and diminish girls. That observation isn’t PC in the world of What About the Menz.

    Pie on a pogo stick, guys: yes, you have a fine cause. Go forth and preach. I’m ag’in’ infant circumcision, it’s a more widespread issue in the US than FGM is, and I’ll speak up about it. But *please*. If you cut off my glans, sewed the remaining penis up into my scrotum, and left a tiny hole for me to pee out of — and if my wife then had the right to cut the scrotum open in order to use my penis for babymaking — then you’d have a point.

  6. We do have a point, the glans is not the seat of male sensitivity- the foreskin is.

    http://www.foregen.org/learn-more/regaining-sexual-function/

    The idea that this is ‘whataboutery’ or ‘distraction’ is fucking offensive, as standard male circumcision is on par with FGM at the outset (loss of sensitivity, risk of death, control mechanism).

    There are EXTREME forms of FGM that are NOT the norm, these are what you reference as they are (rightly) the poster child for prevention of FGM – they are AS COMMON as the EXTREME forms of MGM that exist.

    ALL genital mutilation must end, this is NOT an issue to be used as ammo for some fucking gender war. If you get right down to it, gender, sex, sexuality should end as well, as should ‘gendered’ language. Post labelling society ftw.

    I appreciate that women have had it worse, but splintering off and insisting on dealing with FGM as separate from MGM you will only perpetuate the issue. If nothing else, the UN is pushing forward plans to mutilate millions of men in Africa – do you SERIOUSLY believe this won’t result in an increase in FGM?

    /rant, now I’ll get back to speaking in ALL-CAPS at pro-circ bastards.


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.