CIN (Circumcision Information Network) 1:5

Journal  Circumcision Information Network, Volume 1, Issue 5. Wednesday, 6 July 1994.

Richard Angell

This weekly bulletin is a project of CIN, the Circumcision Information Network (formerly CIN CompuBulletin). The purpose of this weekly bulletin is to educate the public about and to protect children and other non-consenting persons from genital mutilation. Readers are encouraged to copy and redistribute it, and to contribute written material.
--Rich Angell, Editor.

     The natural, intact penis is composed of a shaft, a
sensitive tip or head called the glans, and a protective
sheath of skin called the foreskin or prepuce.  The prepuce
(like that of any other mammal, male or female) covers the
glans or clitoris except during erection.
     The glans of the male penis is an internal organ--like
the glans of the clitoris in females--which the foreskin covers
and protects, much like the eyelid covers and protects the eye.
The foreskin is laden with sensitive nerve endings that enhance
the sexual experience.
     At birth, it is normal for the foreskin to be attached
to the glans.  By age 6, 92% of intact boys are able to
retract their foreskin.  Complete separation of these two
structures is a natural process that may take up to eighteen
years.  If the foreskin is not retractable after that time,
this is a condition called phimosis.  Nothing needs to be
done about it unless there is a problem with discomfort or
infection.  Non-surgical techniques can be employed initially.
Conservative surgical techniques are available that will preserve
the foreskin intact.
     An important note:  Under no circumstances should a parent
or health care professional forcibly retract a childUs foreskin.
When he is old enough to retract his own foreskin, he can be
taught to wash the glans with water only.  Soap is not necessary
and might hurt him.  The foreskin should always be returned to
its position over the glans.  Premature retraction of the foreskin
can cause problems such as pain, infection, scarring and
acquired phimosis.  If your doctor tries to retract your sonUs
foreskin, intervene at once.  Explain to the doctor the proper
care of the foreskin.  If he or she objects, report that doctor
to his or her supervisor, facility administrator or state medical
authority, and look for a doctor who knows better.
     Infections of the foreskin are rare, but can occur as they
can in any other body organ such as the vagina, the ears, the toes
and so on.  If an infection of the foreskin is evident, find a
doctor who will use conservative medical treatment to preserve
genital integrity.  Surgical amputation of a body part should
always be the treatment of last resort.
     Remember that the foreskin is normal.  The proper care of
it is not only effortless but far easier than either oral, anal,
or feminin hygiene.
     During sexual intercourse, the foreskin acts as a moveable
self-lubricating sheath, sliding up and down the shaft inside the
vagina.  This enhances sexual pleasure and comfort for both partners.
The circumcised penis on the other hand, has no such advantage,
which may explain, in part, why many American men and women rely
on artificial lubricants during sexual activity.  Also, many
circumcised men and their partners complain of painful intercourse,
which may be due to the abrasion resulting from the absence of the
     The naturally internal glans of the penis is a somewhat moist
and sensitive mucosal structure.  Without the protection of the
foreskin, the glans forms extra layers of skin , in a lifelong
process called 'keratinization,' which protects it from the
outer environmental effects of clothing, temperature extremes, harmful
sun-rays, and so on.  Because newborn circumcision deprives the
male of the highly erogenous foreskin and begins the process
of keratinization early on, the progressive loss of penile sensitivity
is accelerated in the circumcised male and becomes noticeably
apparent to men in their thirties and beyond.  This makes it more
difficult to achieve sufficient stimulation to gain erection or
to reach orgasm.  Concern over further diminishment of sensitivity
may explain why many American men seem reluctant to use condoms for
sexual activity.
     The circumcised man usually does not complain about this loss
of sexual sensitivity, just as many circumcised women who know
nothing better usually do not complain about their loss.  Ignorance
about the benefits of naturally intact genitalia, and denial of
adverse effects from the violation of their genitals, are two of
the coping mechanisms that almost all survivors of childhood
genital mutilation share in common.
*On Sunday, 10 July at 14:00, there will be a seminar on routine
infant circumcision and its options at East Stroudsburg University
Lowr Dansbury Lounge.  The guest speaker will be Dr. Thomas J.
Ritter, noted surgeon and author of "Say No to Circumcision!"
Expectant parents, grandparents, physicians, child birth educators
and the merely curious are invited.  The cost is $5 per person and
limited advanced registration is required.  Call (717) 223-1337.
The southeastern Pennsylvania/greater Philadelphia area NOHARMM,
National Organization to Halt the Abuse and Routine Mutilation of
Males, has reserved a block of tickets.  For those interested
contact Jim at (610) 357-2792, or Al at (610) 489-6505. Arrangements
are also being made for those interested in car pooling.
*NOHARMM (National Organization to Halt the Abuse and Routine
Mutilation of Males) Field Organizer Barry Ellsworth reports:
"The NY Chapter of NOHARMM will have its first meeting on Tuesday,
12 July, at 19:30.  NOHARMM Founder Tim Hammond of San Francisco
will be be present, as well as NOCIRC-NY representative Richard
DeSeabra and I.  This will be a "get to know you" meeting, and we
will discuss targets and strategies for potential actions in our
area.  This meeting will take place at 874 Broadway at 18th St.
in Manhattan.  Ring buzzer, take elevator to 10th floor, and go
to rear of building.  RSVP (212) 505-1139."  Email:
*Duane Jorde of Hawaii:  "The Kalani Honua Cultural Center has
accepted my application to facilitate a workshop on 'Healing the
Wounds of Male Genital Mutilation.' If anyone is interested in
attending, this is going to happen at the Pacific Conference on
Men and Masculinity, 10-17 July on Hawaii Island (not far from
Kilauea volcano).  Call 1-800-800-6886.  &Tim Hammond (founder
of NOHARMM) will be on Oahu on 27 July to help facilitate a
showing of the film 'The Nurses of St. Vincent:  Saying "No" to
Circ.'"  This short film is a documentary on the two dozen nurses,
who as conscientious objectors have refused to participate in any
way in circumcision in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
*During the summer of 1993, a couple of rock D.J.s claimed that a
survey found that 70% of (American) women said that they were not
satisfied during intercourse with their husbands/lovers.  IsnUt
it interesting to note that a similar percentage of American men
are circumcised?  What would be the result of a similar survey in
Europe or other non-circumcising region?
*For additional information, call NOCIRC, the National Organization
of Circumcision Information Resource Centers national office in the
western U.S. at (415) 488-9883.  In Pennsylvania call (215) 357-2792.
In Louisiana call (504) 272-2794.  In the Chicago area call
(708) 441-8027.
*Jewish parents may obtain more specific information on
alternative bris from the following sources:  In Boston call
Ronald F. Goldman at the Circumcision Resource Center,
(617) 523-0088.  In California call  Helen Bryce at Alternative
Bris Support Group, (831) 475-3313.

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