The Sexist

Could a CDC Circumcision Recommendation Inspire More Penis Ignorance?


The Centers for Disease Control is currently weighing whether to recommend the circumcision of boys and men in the United States. If the CDC finds that a circumcision recommendation would reduce the risk of HIV among American men, I think that's swell. Providing people with information to help protect themselves from disease is a wonderful thing. But a CDC recommendation would likely come with one major adverse side-effect. For women who already find uncircumcised penises disgusting, wrong, or unfuckable, the recommendation will also provide more fuel for their ignorance.

Women who shun uncircumcised penises has always struck me as short-sighted. These are the women who will glibly deem their sex partner's genitalia unacceptable if, several decades ago, his parents did not predict her sexual preferences and subject him to newborn penis surgery accordingly. Sound familiar? We're women. We know what it's like to be unfairly judged on impossible physical standards! And yet, even women who are well-informed about sex—women who like it, talk openly about it, and even get paid to write about it—are keeping the genital snubbing alive.

Yesterday, the Frisky's Annika Harris wrote: "Uncircumcised penises repulse and scare me, so my sons are getting cut whether it’s PC or not." And she writes for a sex blog.

On the Simple Life, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie laughed over catching sight of some uncircumcised dick at a nudist beach, with Richie calling uncircumcised penises "fucking disgusting." And they're Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie.

In circumcision documentary Partly Private, a woman on a Sex and the City bus tour announced that "Ninety-nine percent of women in America would be shocked if they got in bed with someone and they were like: Oh! Huh!" (Watch her genital superiority, above, at the 1:33 mark). And she was standing outside of a sex toy shop while paying homage to a television show almost exclusively devoted to having sex with men. Note that this woman doesn't just express her extreme dislike of uncircumcised penises—she attempts to justify her position by extending the disgust to her entire gender. In the Sex and the City's circumcision episode, incidentally, the girls' penis preferences were split about 50-50.

Whenever I've encountered women like this—women who find uncircumcised penises inherently gross—various medical statistics will doubtlessly be raised in defense of their penis discrimination. Uncircumcised penises, they'll say, have a higher risk of contracting HPV—plus, they look weird. Uncircumcised penises have a higher risk of contracting penile cancer—also, what the fuck do you do with it? Uncircumcised penises have a higher risk of spreading HIV—and none of my girlfriends would ever fuck an uncut guy. These women are interested in sexual health, but they're more interested in protecting their own prejudice against unmodified genitalia. When it comes down to it, it doesn't matter if the guy's clean of STDs—to these women, he will always be unclean.

Again, facts are great. And when the CDC gets around to making a recommendation, we'll all be better informed about just what the risks of circumcision are. But no matter what the HIV link to uncircumcised penises turns out to be, you will never be able to determine a man's status by examining his genitals. (And in some cases, you wouldn't notice the difference anyway). So if you're one of those women who dislikes uncircumcised penises because you consider them to be "unclean," you would be better served to reserve that reaction for penises that don't have condoms on them, or any sexual conduct initiated before you and your partner undergo fresh STD tests. No matter what style of penis you prefer, those two little accessories are a lot more likely to keep you safe than an irrational repulsion to unmodified dick.

  • msreason

    I am 100% against strongly encouraging parents to routinely circumcise their newborn boys.

    Here are my reasons:

    The circumcision rate has decreased in the United States to the lowest point since before WWII. More and more people are realizing that the United States being the only Westernized country with the majority of boys being circumcised for non-religious reasons is wrong in its thinking.

    The foreskin, which is a healthy body part that serves a major function in protecting the glans of newborns, belongs to the owner. Parents and doctors should only concern themselves in the VERY rare event that there is an anomaly necessitating the modification or removing of the foreskin. This is a civil rights issue. In our country, we have seen lawsuits filed against doctors and parents by young men who have been circumcised against their will. I believe there will be an increase in this activity. We have laws against modifying female genitalia, why not protect males as well? This is a double standard. The female genitalia is responsible for spreading and harboring disease, yet we protect females. "Circumcised" females would also be cleaner and lead to higher reductions in transferring disease.

    The foreskin protects the glans, keeping the skin of the glans soft and sensitive. This is a major plus during sexual activity, whether it be masturbation, intercourse or other activity. In addition, the female and male both benefit from the foreskin's gliding action leading to more pleasure for both parties.

    The foreskin has some 20,000 nerve receptors, providing more sexual satisfaction for the male.

    The removal of the foreskin often has adverse results. Many men say they feel robbed because they find a hardening of the skin on the glans leading to less sensitivity. Many men feel robbed because they did not have the choice to choose between having and not having a foreskin. Circumcision also leads to too much or too little skin being removed. Too much skin removed leads to painful erections. Too little removed leads to re-circumcisions and penile skin adhesions. Also, the instance of meatal stenosis is high. Cosmetically, a lot of circumcisions have glaring scarring that is there for the life of the male.

    The act of circumcising a newborn is painful. Even though there are guidelines strongly recommending proper anesthesia, many doctors use no anesthesia or use Emla Cream which is not recommended by the manufacturer or the AAP. Imagine, the pain of feces and urine stinging the open wound over the week to ten days it takes to fully heal.

    A study that was unveiled on the opening day of the CDC Convention in Atlanta showed very clearly that mass circumcision would not make a dent in the number of HIV/Aids cases in the United States. Almost all of the cases are derived from male-to-male sex and dirty needles.

    There is a belief that uncircumcised males suffer from an elevated level of urinary tract infections. Yes, there is a slight elevation compared to their circumcised counterparts, but still below the incidence of urinary tract infections in baby girls.

    There is a belief that uncircumcised males will get penis cancer. As you know, it is VERY rare to see penis cancer in an uncircumcised man.

    There is a belief that chlamydia is spread by uncircumcised males. It is a rampant disease with no relation to circumcision status.

    It is said there is a slight increase in cases of syphilis and gonorrhea instances in and transference from uncircumcised males to others. It is important to note that these are slight increases.
    As a country, we need to closely observe why in several European countries, circumcision rates are under 10% and HIV rates are also minuscule. I imagine it is because of more education of youth and adults so that protective actions are taken prior to sex. Unprotected sex is the problem, not the foreskin. The CDC's energies would be far better spent on massive education on how to have safe sex and about the need for abstinence if protection isn't used. Let's say the cost of circumcision is $300.00 and let's say that all insurance companies and all state Medicaid programs covered neonatal circumcision. In one year, a million circumcisions would cost $300,000,000. That is a lot of money that could be put into education and the availability of free condoms. And, because this program would not be aimed solely at circumcision (which would have only a slight positive effect of the spreading of disease) we would see a major downturn in all types of diseases and in children being born out of wedlock and in other non-planned pregnancies. We are talking about BILLIONS of dollars in benefit every year.

    Leave our foreskins alone. Appreciate all of the positive aspects of leaving little babies intact. Should a young man decide he wants a circumcision, then it becomes his choice. In writing a recommendation, clearly state the true statements regarding the minor benefits of circumcision, but instead of recommending universal circumcision of baby boys, stress what needs to be done in preventing contact between infected and unifected people and stress the need for medical screening of sexually active teens and adults to identify and treat STD's.

  • Nick

    I am uncut and born in the US in the early 1970s, so I am definitely in the minority, however none of the women I have been with have ever had anything but good things to say about my unit, even though most of them had never seen an uncirc'd one before...a few even said they liked mine better! I have never had an STD, probably because I almost always have used protection - so there!

    OK I'll stop bragging now, but anyway, it seems to me that this latest push for circumcision, first in Africa and now here, is another attempt by the medical and public health establishment to justify unnecessary intervention into a personal decision and somebody probably stands to make a lot of money out of this. The insurance charges between $300 and $600 per operation so thats $600 million - $1.2 billion into the pockets of insurance and hospitals (Obama, are you listening?). Then the foreskins are often sold as a source of cells for research labs and even for facial moisturizer.

    In Europe, hardly anyone is circumcised and they have a lower rate of STD infection than the US does. So the facts are being ignored in order to continue a procedure that was originally intended to prevent masturbation. Ridiculous!

  • Mark Lyndon

    In Europe, almost no-one circumcises unless they're Muslim or Jewish, and they have significantly lower rates of almost all STI's including HIV.

    Even in Africa, there are six countries where men are more likely to be HIV+ if they've been circumcised: Cameroon, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, and Swaziland. Eg in Malawi, the HIV rate is 13.2% among circumcised men, but only 9.5% among intact men. In Rwanda, the HIV rate is 3.5% among circumcised men, but only 2.1% among intact men. If circumcision really worked against AIDS, this just wouldn't happen. We now have people calling circumcision a "vaccine" or "invisible condom", and viewing circumcision as an alternative to condoms.

    The one study into male-to-female transmission showed a 50% higher rate in the group where the men had been circumcised btw.

    ABC (Abstinence, Being faithful, Condoms) is the way forward. Promoting genital surgery will cost lives, not save them.

  • kza

    I want my foreskin back.

  • moah

    These women hating foreskins are idiots raised in a society that has been systemically lying to them about the benefits of an outdated religious practice. Circumcision was introduces in US to prevent masturbation and then all sorts of reasons have been invented to justify the mutilation.

  • kza

    If masturbation felt any better I'd never leave the house. Thanks for the cut ma and pa.

  • Hugh7

    Brava, Amanda! A breath of fresh air! With only about 75% cut in the US, how is it possible for 99% to prefer cut? Is she saying 24% of women are having sex with penises they don't like? As someone said, a foreskin is a good airhead repellant.

    But you're assuming that the CDC itself will offer unprejudiced information, and so far that doesn't seem likely. At their meeting the other day, one speaker (from an outfit called Operation Abraham - guess what they do?) flashed a slide of an intact man painted to look like an elephant, on which he'd written "Yes, circumcise me, please!" - a sentiment the man himself would certainly have disagreed with.

    And here's the rub. The CDC has said that any recommendation would be "completely voluntary" - and who could disagree with that, if only they mean what commonsense says they should mean: that the only person who should be allowed to decide whether a man gets an integral, healthy, pleasureable part of his own body is the man on the other end, himself, when he's old enough to know what he would be missing.

    And kza, there's your answer: intact men ARE able to leave the house. In fact there's some suggestion that intact sex is less addictive because it's more satisfying.

  • Caroline

    Thanks for this article Amanda- my sentiment EXACTLY! If a woman rejects a guy because she's afraid of or doesn't like his genitals, imo, she is a waste of his time and he should keep walking!

  • Married to a Hoodie

    Being from North America (Canada) I do have a preference for the 'cut'. Which doesn't matter one whit now because I married a man who is uncut. And had our daughter been a boy I couldn't have put him through a circumcision for all of the reasons I became aware of when I was pregnant.

    We now live in the UK and of course here it's the norm to have a natural wang unless you have religious reasons. Any woman who rejects a guy because he has a little extra skin (and with some you can't even tell at 'certain times') is a fool. Especially if it's a big one. (sorry)

  • Mike Riggs

    These responses make me so happy. Uncut cocks FTW!

  • Jack

    Thank you Amanda,
    I am a natural guy born in the US in the 60s. I am so thankful my mom said NO. Like the other guy, it was surprising that women have been very much accepting of my member. One said she thought all were the same until mine and that it was different in a very very good way. I think the main thing that the EW crowd does not get is that it looks the same errect and feels the same with a condom on it. As such several women I was with in the 80s had no clue I was natural until I explained it. Anyway, these parts feel so good that even though sex is so important to me, if women really cared (and I know they don’t when they really find out what it is all about), I still would not chop off my parts, I would become celibate and pleasure myself all day.

    I think that the “debate” continues to miss the point that this surgery takes away the main male pleasure zones with over 20000 fine touch and stretch nerve endings amputated. The foreskin has several parts including the ridged band that is great for ones pleasure (that is why nutters like Kellogg wanted to chop em off, to curtail masturbation), and the ridged band directly contacts the vagina for very great pleasure all around. It helps give feedback, time orgasims and does not cause PE. One girlfriend said, "we can put to rest the myth about natural cumming too soon." And yes they don't get that a condom is not great, but it feels so much better when you have all of your natural penis. Can you imagine if the CDC was going to take color sight from babies and they were all color blind? That is how I feel when I hear this nonesense. Non of them have these pleasure zones.

    We must stop the obsession with mutilating baby genitals!!!!!!

  • thedrymock

    Maybe I just know really weird women, but I find that a lot of women claim that they don't like to look at penises at all, cut or uncut. It's something I've never understood, being a lady who likes to look at gentlemanbusiness of all kinds myself, and I suspect most of them are full of crap. So I wonder whether the popularly-expressed disgust at foreskins is just an escalated version of the popularly-expressed (but almost certainly exaggerated most of the time) disgust at looking at naked men -- for which, of course, I blame the patriarchy.

  • Joe

    I have to admit I also suffer from a form of physical disgust against the opposite sex, except in my case it's the artificial breasts. Give me natural, baby!!!

  • Restoring Tally

    The amount of ignorance of the foreskin is amazing. Unfortunately, I do not hold much hope for the CDC to allow scientific facts to get in the way of their decision. The CDC website focuses a lot on pro-circ information without presenting data from studies that contradict their published facts.

    Many men are finding out that they miss their foreskin. They, like me, are restoring their foreskin to regain what was taken from us at birth. See and to read stories of men who wish they had never been circumcised and are doing something about it.

  • J_

    I wish I had a foreskin. Instead, I have a ring of scar tissue that joins a mishmash of inner and outer skin, with painfully tight erections that can cause the skin to blister. I try not to look at it. I did not consent to this. I don't think my condition is that rare. It's just that men can't strike up a conversation about it. I just silently boil.

  • recursiveparadox

    It's mildly irrelevant now, considering I'm converting my materials to a vagina fairly soon, but I gotta say I was and still am intensely disgusted by the fact that my parents got me cut.

    Nonconsensual, unwanted, useless surgery that I have to live with for most of my life. And quite frankly it doesn't matter a damn that I'm getting genital surgery as part of my transition from male to female. I should be the one choosing what's done to my body. Not my damn parents.

    Also that's a bit less flesh to build the clitoris with, so yeah, thanks parents. Thanks a whole fucking lot. Assholes.