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The first intensive exploration of the unrecognized psychological and social aspects of this increasingly controversial American cultural practice. Endorsed by dozens of professionals in psychology, psychiatry, child development, pediatrics, obstetrics, childbirth education, sociology and anthropology.

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And those who may have future children

Talk About Circumcision

Our tips can turn discomfort into power

"What's done to children, they will do to society."

Karl Menninger, psychiatrist

"Parents do not know what they are choosing, and physicians do not feel what they are doing."

Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., author

"In response to circumcision, the baby cries a helpless, panicky, breathless, high-pitched cry!...[or] lapses into a semi-coma. Both of these states...are abnormal states in the newborn."

Justin Call, M.D., pediatrician

"Doctors who circumcise are the most resistant to change. They will not admit that they made a critical mistake by amputating an important part of the penis."

Paul Fleiss, M.D., pediatrician

"In this case, the old dictum 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' seems to make good sense."

Eugene Robin, M.D., professor

"A whole life can be shaped by an old trauma, remembered or not."

Lenore Terr, M.D., child psychiatrist

"If we are to have real peace, we must begin with the children."

Mahatma Gandhi

"We are interconnected. When a baby boy's sexuality is not safe, no one's sexuality is safe."

Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., author

Functions of the Foreskin

The foreskin represents at least a third of the penile skin and increases sexual pleasure by sliding up and down on the shaft.

In order to appreciate the sexual functions of the foreskin, refer to Figures 5–9, which clarify what the foreskin is and how it works. Figures 5 and 6 show the difference between a circumcised and an intact (uncircumcised) penis in the relaxed or flaccid state. Note that the foreskin serves to cover the glans or head of the penis. Figure 7 shows this diagrammatically. Figure 8 shows the circumcised penis in the erect state. The shaft skin is taut. Figure 9 shows the intact (uncircumcised) penis before, during, and after erection. Note that the inner foreskin layer becomes exposed and the entire foreskin moves to loosely cover the penile shaft.

Fig. 5 Circumcised Penis in the Relaxed State

Fig. 6 Intact (Uncircumcised) Penis in the Relaxed State

Fig. 7 Inner and Outer Foreskin Layers

Fig. 8 Erectile Process in the Circumcised Penis

Fig. 9 Erectile Process in the Intact (Uncircumcised) Penis

Taylor, Lockwood, and Taylor studied the foreskin tissue at the Department of Pathology, Health Sciences Centre, University of Manitoba, Canada. They reported their results in the British Journal of Urology in an article titled “The Prepuce: Specialized Mucosa of the Penis and Its Loss to Circumcision.” Based on the examination of 22 adult foreskins obtained at autopsy, they found that the outer foreskin’s concentration of nerves is “impressive” and its “sensitivity to light touch and pain are similar to that of the skin of the penis as a whole.” The foreskin inner surface is different. It is mucous membrane similar to the inner surface of the mouth, also rich in nerves and blood vessels. Between the inner and outer layers of the foreskin is a unique structure they call a “ridged band” that contains “specialized nerve endings.” The researchers conclude that the foreskin has several kinds of nerves and “should be considered a structural and functional unit made up of more or less specialized parts. . . . The glans and penile shaft gain excellent if surrogate sensitivity from the prepuce.”

The foreskin represents at least a third of the penile skin. It protects the glans from abrasion and contact with clothes. The foreskin also increases sexual pleasure by sliding up and down on the shaft, stimulating the glans by alternately covering and exposing it. This can occur during masturbation or intercourse. Friction is minimized, and supplementary lubrication is not needed. Without the foreskin, the glans skin, which is normally moist mucous membrane, becomes dry and thickens considerably in response to continued exposure. This change reduces its sensitivity. 

"I asked an intact friend to tape back his foreskin, go about his daily business, and report back. He said the experiment only lasted 15 minutes. He couldn't stand the chafing. He said it was like touching the white of his eye with his finger."

In addition, the loss of a secretion called smegma of the inner foreskin layer removes natural lubrication. Oral-genital sexual activity is more common in the United States than in many other societies. Could the lack of natural lubrication of the penis due to circumcision be a reason?

References are available upon request.

© Circumcision Resource Center