I am a circumcised male. (There I said it. Can we all stop being embarrassed now?)
I was told growing up that the purpose of circumcision was to ensure cleanliness. I fully planned on circumcising my own male children. But then I became an atheist, and I began to think about the issue outside of the context of religion.
And I did some research.
Some studies have found that uncircumcised men have up to four times more sensitivity than those that aren't. And there is very little medical evidence for a benefit, such as a lower rate of urinary infections in small boys -- even this is debated and the figure quoted the studies I saw found it to be less than one percent -- hardly statistically significant.
This got me thinking. Like so many practices originating from religious tradition (especially Judeo-Christian tradition) -- circumcision is about sex. It's about making sex less pleasurable for the man, based on the misguided reasoning that this will better enable a man to avoid sexual temptation (and after 4,000 years, I think we can conclude it doesn't work)..
It has the same basic purpose as that of female genital mutilation -- to decrease sexual pleasure with the aim of encouraging sexual purity.
Of course, circumcision isn't nearly as ghastly as what is done to young women in certain parts of the middle east -- but maybe that is why it continues to be practiced in the Western world -- that and the fact that men willingly inflict it upon their own male offspring...
As far as I can see, the only reason to continue this practice is a religious one, and it results in far more harm than good -- and originates from bronze-age, Jewish attitudes toward sexuality..
I think part of the reason no one talks about this issue is that most men do not want to stand up and say, "Hey, I wish I hadn't been circumcised." But I think that is an image issue, and an example of the abusers becoming abusers themselves-type of mentality -- they justify doing it to their children because it was done to them.
I think this is a religious practice that we should discontinue, and possibly make illegal as a form of child abuse.
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