It’s rape and sexual abuse. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines rape as follows:

An unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against a person’s will or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent because of mental illness, mental deficiency, intoxication, unconsciousness, or deception.

It’s time we stop mincing words and normalizing circumcision and finally call it out for what it is. Being tied down and having the tip of your penis cut off is genital mutilation and rape. That this barbaric act is normalized and performed as a routine procedure is indicative of just how completely asleep our culture is. Circumcision is an assault on men and men’s sexuality and its impact is far reaching.

One of my Mentors, Kim Anami, outright calls circumcision sexual abuse and likens people’s acceptance of it as a form of Stockholm Syndrome. Most of the millions of American men who underwent circumcision as infants can’t remember their rape trauma and suffer from undiagnosed PTSD and an offshoot of Stockholm syndrome (a condition which causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors during captivity) by justifying and minimizing the procedure and perpetuating the abuse on their offspring.

It takes tremendous courage to acknowledge and accept that you were raped and mutilated and had the most sensitive and pleasurable part of your penis removed. Refusing to trivialize genital mutilation and rape is the first step. The next is doing the inner work to heal the unresolved trauma. Additionally, most parents who had their son(s) circumcised did it because they thought it was necessary and were simply following tradition or the counsel of their doctor. They also need to process the shame, remorse, grief and anger that come from recognizing the consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, most people would rather choose to bury their heads in the sand than to let what they did sink in and atone for their mistakes.

I believe that it’s essentially the job of the mother to protect her child. Circumcision creates a loss of trust and deep fear in men toward the feminine. How could it not? If you’re a mother who circumcised her son I urge you to take responsibility and at the very least apologize for your ignorance. Take it a step further and make a difference for the future by starting a support group. Start somewhere. Perhaps we’d have fewer pedophiles, sociopaths, misogynists and rapists in our midst if over half of all American boys weren’t routinely pulled from their mother’s groin, strapped down, mutilated and tortured as a welcome to the world.

Circumcision is a violation of human rights. Everyone has the right to have autonomy over their own body. It’s a child’s right (male, female and intersex) to remain whole and intact. Over 77% of males born in the US in 2018 were circumcised and denied this basic fundamental human right. Marilyn Milos, the founder and director of Genital Autonomy America, formerly known as the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Center (NOCIRC) said, “My freedom ends where your body begins,” and I couldn’t agree more. Religious ritual circumcision should be not be performed until a boy reaches adulthood and can make that choice for himself. All Canadian provinces have dropped insurance coverage for circumcision; isn’t it time we demand the same? Isn’t it time we set up a support system for the millions of mutilated American men out there? A man’s right to remain intact is equal to a women’s right to choose. Imagine if men started their own version of #me too; would they be supported and taken seriously?

It’s against the Hippocratic oath and a blatant disregard of the promise to, Do No Harm. Just because circumcision is the oldest surgery known to humanity doesn’t change the facts that it’s rape and sexual abuse. Infant circumcision is medically unnecessary and unlawful, and any doctor performing it should be sent to jail. A healthy baby doesn’t come out needing to be fixed.

During the American Victorian Era routine circumcision was touted as a preventative or cure for masturbation. The procedure became common between 1870 and 1920 and spread to all English-speaking countries. Dr. Kellogg recommended:

“A remedy for masturbation which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment. In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement.”

Over 100 years have passed and we are still in the clutches of the puritanical era. The United States is now the only English-speaking country that continues to practice routine circumcision on a majority of newborn boys for non-religious reasons.

It greatly reduces pleasure. The foreskin contains over half of the nerves of the penis and protects the head of the penis (the glans) keeping it moist and sensitive. Further pleasure is lost as the glans is reduced in sensitivity as the skin hardens from constant exposure. A 2007 study found that the five most sensitive parts of the penis are removed by circumcision creating a 75 % loss of fine touch sensation in the circumcised male compared to the intact male. Tragically, many circumcised men tend to trivialize their abuse because they have no way of ever knowing the extraordinary amount of pleasure that was stolen from them.

“Morris Sorrells of National Organization of Circumcision Information Resources Center and colleagues created a “penile sensitivity map” by measuring the sensitivity of 19 locations on the penises of 159 male volunteers. Of the participants, 91 were circumcised as infants and none had histories of penile or sexual dysfunction.”

 

For circumcised penises, the most sensitive region was the circumcision scar on the underside of the penis, the researchers found. For uncircumcised penises, the areas most receptive to pressure were five regions normally removed during circumcision—all of which were more sensitive than the most sensitive part of the circumcised penis.”

The foreskin serves a purpose. At birth, the foreskin is attached to the glans by a layer of cells to keep out contaminants. Over the next 5 to 10 years, the foreskin will naturally separate from the head of the penis. During circumcision the foreskin is forcefully separated from the glans. The doctor inserts a probe between the glans and the foreskin and scrapes all the way around the glans. Studies have shown this to be the most painful part of the procedure. Parents in one recent U.S. study reported varying levels of pain up to six weeks after the circumcision in more than two-thirds of newborn boys. Moreover, doctors are not required by law to track or report the number of botched circumcisions which are alarmingly common. It could take decades before anyone realizes how severe the damage was and by that time men are usually too embarrassed to come forward.

The erogenous tissue of the foreskin contains 20,000 nerve endings known as Meissner’s corpuscles, a specific kind of nerve ending that respond to light touch making it the most highly sensitive, functioning part of the male anatomy. In comparison, the clitoris has 8000 nerve endings. The foreskin is also a retractable sleeve. The penis is meant to have moving parts. The gliding motion of foreskin during sex and the rolling of the foreskin back and forth during masturbation provides additional pleasure for the man. And just like a woman’s labia can be suckled and tugged, similar pleasurable sensations are had with the foreskin.

The bottom line is that men should have the chance to decide for themselves whether something as significant and personal as an irreversible surgery that forever changes their ability to experience sexual pleasure is what they really want, when they reach an age of understanding.

And please note that I strongly advise for anyone who has endured serious sexual trauma, which circumcision is, to be seeing a trauma specialist. I suggest finding a professional that employs psychotherapeutic alternatives like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or Somatic Experiencing which use the body to process the trauma.

*These free visualizations are meant to be used as an adjunct to your recovery and not a replacement for professional support. I am a holistic health and sex coach, not a trained trauma specialist.

References:

This blog reflects the sentiment of my mentor, Kim Anami who brought the full impact of male genital mutilation to my attention and stirred in me an overwhelming desire to speak out. The connection between circumcision and Stockholm Syndrome as well the reference relating circumcision to rape all originated from her. 

Please listen to her excellent podcast on this topic, in which she interviews American Circumcision film director Brendon Marotta to discuss the facts of what this barbaric practice really does to men and how can they heal from it: Circumvent the Circumcision with Kim Anami  

And check out her salons at kimanami.com

Resources:

American Circumcision, The Documentary

Norm: The National Organization for Restoring Men

Can-Fap Canadian Foreskin Restoration Awareness Project

National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC)

Intactamerica.org

EMDR therapy

Emotional Freedom Technique: Tapping for Trauma and Abuse 

Controversial Rites of Ultra-orthodox Rabbis

5 Most Sensitive Areas Removed During Circumcision

Anatomy of the Foreskin