Busting Myths About Circumcision

Brace yourself. I’m going to do one more post about circumcision. I promise this will be the last time I bring up this topic, at least for a while. As I said in my little personal side-note on the subject, I don’t enjoy talking about this. No man does. That’s why it’s taboo. However, like all taboos, it’s something worth confronting.

We already know there are all sorts of crazy myths and taboos about sex. It’s such an uncomfortable, awkward, complex topic that too many people insist on making more complex than it needs to be. I’ve already done a post about busting the most popular myths about sex. Now, I intend to do the same with circumcision.

Unlike some of the other sexual myths, circumcision is one of those taboos that disproportionally affects Americans more than most other western countries. According to the World Health Organization, only about a third of the global male population over the age of 15 is circumcised whereas the prevalence in America is around 79 percent. Even if you suck at math, you know that’s not a trivial difference.

While it’s true that circumcision has cultural roots that go back centuries, the reasons for those traditions aren’t the same here in the USA. In Bronze Age times, circumcision was primarily a religious rite and a cultural practice. Their reasons may have been practical on some levels. This is an era where rubbing goat shit on your face probably counted as makeup so there may have been some hygienic benefits.

It actually goes beyond that. Back in these times, tribes of people did all sorts of things to identify themselves as part of a certain tribe. It’s easy enough for someone to just join a group by drinking a shot glass full of wasabi, but for someone to snip off part of their dick? That takes dedication. That shows that someone isn’t just a member of a tribe. They’re committed.

Fast forward to the 19th and 20th century and we don’t need those kinds of tribal practices anymore. We have Facebook accounts, Twitter feeds, and social security numbers to identify ourselves and our groups. There’s no need to mutilate part of your dick. However, we still do it, thanks in no small part to the efforts of anti-masturbation crusaders like John Harvey Kellogg. Even after Mr. Kellogg’s bullshit fears about masturbation were debunked, we still do it.

People still give reasons for it. They even claim to back these reasons up with science. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good science. So as a public service, I’d like to list some of these myths and why they’re bullshit. This is a list compiled by the fine folks of the India Times. Feel free to reject, accept, or verify them as you see fit.

Common Male Circumcision Myths Debunked

Myth #1: Circumcision is an effective way to prevent HIV

Fact: The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) states that “Male circumcision should be recognised as an additional, important strategy for prevention of heterosexually acquired HIV in men…(but) should never replace known methods of HIV prevention.” However, this does not provide any kind of protective benefit to the female partner involved and instead puts her at risk of contracting HIV.

Myth #2: Circumcision prevents penile cancer

Fact: No clear evidence has been concluded to state that circumcision completely prevents penile cancer. However, it is worth noting that the penile cancer rate is much lower among circumcised men than uncircumcised men.

Myth #3: Infants do not feel pain during circumcision

Fact: Many doctors do not believe in the use of anesthetic during circumcision. But circumcision is quite painful for the infant just like in any other older child or adult. Even the analgesic used during this procedure only decrease the pain and does not eliminate it completely. The baby will feel discomfort for about seven to ten days.

Myth #4: Circumcision is a perfectly harmless procedure

Fact: Circumcision is painful and can cause infections, hemorrhage, scarring, urinary problems, etc.

Myth #5: Circumcision can completely prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Fact: There was one study conducted back in 1985 that stated that circumcised babies were immune to UTI. However, further studies conducted since then found no such backing that circumcision completely prevented the risk of urinary tract infections.

Still not convinced? Well, as I’ve said before, I know this is a touchy subject. It’s difficult to talk about. As with most things though, it can be made easier through the use of crude humor. So if you’re not interested in reading articles about circumcision, here’s a funny little video from the folks at College Humor that should explain/debunk circumcision just as well. If you have a weak stomach, but a good sense of humor, then you should be okay.


Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights

5 responses to “Busting Myths About Circumcision

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