San Anselmo, CA/USA 02-Mar-2017 - A new survey of men circumcised at birth documents wide-ranging adverse adult outcomes and reveals considerable dissatisfaction and resentment about the genital modification.
The International Journal of Human Rights published the findings this week in an article titled "Long-term adverse outcomes from neonatal circumcision reported in a survey of 1,008 men: an overview of health and human rights implications". The article was published at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13642987.2016.1260007
Most respondents were from the United States and were circumcised by physicians. Others were from Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Germany, Israel, and South Africa. According to Genital Autonomy America, the World Health Organization estimates over two-thirds of the world's men are genitally intact ( not circumcised ).
The survey was conducted in 2011 by independent researcher Tim Hammond and Texas urologist Adrienne Carmack, MD. The 44-question online survey explored physical, sexual, emotional, and self-esteem harm, as well as circumcision's impact on interpersonal relationships, compensatory behaviors, and foreskin restoration.
Documented adverse outcomes include:
* meatal stenosis ( narrowing of the urinary opening )
* prominent scarring
* penile head keratinization
* painful erections
* skin bridges
* sensory deprivation
* premature or delayed ejaculation
* erectile dysfunction
* feelings of mutilation
* negative self-esteem
* medical mistrust
* and parental or religious alienation.
Among survey respondents, 58% self-identified as heterosexual 24% as gay, and 18% as either bisexual, fluid or questioning. Hammond believes self-esteem and emotional consequences may be more common among neonatally circumcised gay men. "We gay men tend to be better educated about genital anatomy and foreskin benefits. Because of our diverse intimate experiences, we may also be more capable of identifying physical damage and functional differences between circumcised and intact penises, which can contribute to greater feelings of loss or mutilation and related emotional health issues." He urges more investigation into long-term harm, especially among neonatally circumcised gay men.
According to Hammond, "Both medicine and religion have tried to control our sexuality and make us more socially acceptable. Those institutions still try "normalize" intact males to be more socially acceptable through genital cutting." He says that circumcision ( male and female ) was first used in the U.S. in the mid-1800s as a way to cure and prevent masturbation.
"It's ironic that the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that newborn circumcision has no effect on penile sensitivity because 150 years ago doctors began cutting off foreskins specifically to reduce sexual pleasure."
The American Academy of Pediatrics stated in 2012 that circumcision's "benefits outweigh risks" yet admitted "the risks are unknown" and declined to recommend routine infant circumcision. Many survey respondents, however, assert the medically unnecessary and irreversible genital surgery violated their right to bodily integrity, declaring such an intensely personal decision should be left to the individual who must live with the consequences when old enough to understand the risks and provide his consent.
A 2012 United Nations Secretary-General report "Violating Children's Rights: Harmful practices based on tradition, culture, religion or superstition" identified female genital mutilation, infant male circumcision, and intersex genital surgeries as violating children's rights to bodily integrity and autonomy under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The U.S. remains the only nation not to have ratified the Convention.
"I see a multitude of physical anomalies among circumcised boys and men in my urologic practice" said Carmack. Hammond notes, "The medical community has never researched long-term adverse consequences of infant circumcision. Such investigation is long overdue." Both authors stress that adult outcomes from infant circumcision are highly individualistic and are unpredictable when imposed on newborns.
Genital Autonomy America is a non-profit organization advocating for the rights of all children, male, female and intersex, to bodily integrity ( www.gaamerica.org ).