[Warning: parts of this post are a little TMI.]
Dr. +Jesse Bering
, with all the respect in the world for your educational background, I must say:How dare you
assume that marginal perceived benefits in adulthood in ANY WAY justify blanket circumcision of infant males. This is one hell of a logic stretch, and as a Ph.D., you should know better
Yes, Dr. Bering, I have seen friends waste away and die of AIDS. I'm gay, so I've seen the epidemic firsthand -- both the initial explosion in the 1980s, and now the complacency-driven uptick in the last decade. I don't wish it on anyone, not even my own female cousin, who died of AIDS-related complications while serving as a poster face for the HIV/AIDS denialism movement.
I am beyond suspicious of using perceived lower STD transmission rates for HIV and other infections as a justification for infant mutilation. Matter of fact, I'll quote the same "money quote" you did:"Systematic evaluation of English-language peer-reviewed literature from 1995 through 2010 indicates that preventive health benefits of elective circumcision of male newborns outweigh the risks of the procedure. Benefits include significant reductions in the risk of urinary tract infection in the first year of life and, subsequently, in the risk of heterosexual acquisition of HIV and the transmission of other sexually transmitted infections."
I'm not heterosexual, and neither are you, so why does this have any
relevance to me? Let's do a little thought experiment:
This lower likely risk of STD transmission is not because of specific types of bodily contact, as we know that some sexual practices common to non-heterosexual
contact (in particular, anal sex) are notably riskier than traditional heterosexual sex. That leaves exactly one very obvious -- pink-elephant-in-the-room obvious! -- contributing factor: lack of proper use of condoms. So how about we focus on teaching safer sexual practices, rather than mutilating an infant's body with lifetime repercussions?
Circumcision should be an option for males with the capability to understand and consent to the procedure. That doesn't imply that the procedure only be performed on "adult males"; certainly most teenage boys are perfectly capable of understanding the process. I would have been.
But I didn't get that choice or consent. Sure, it was a "quick, safe, minor procedure" when I was an infant, too, and the procedure has changed very little since then. However, I now have extremely tight shaft skin, and severe penile nerve damage, as a result. I have abnormal physical
trouble reaching orgasm -- success being on the order of once in every three to seven attempts, and it has been this way since I was a teenager. I have been physically damaged for life
because I was circumcised as an infant under the alleged health benefits touted at that time. I am living testament to the damage that blindly circumcising infants can cause.
Do you know to what kind of mental side effects that level of sexual frustration can contribute? I'm going to be on strong antidepressants for the rest of my life (even though those medications can complicate the problem by tweaking libido and serotonin factors). It's likely that I will eventually have to start medication for this condition directly to tweak the orgasm response threshold, via a compound such as cabergoline, that has its own side effects that I'm not particularly keen on experiencing.
Though heal scars from circumcision later in life can be more dramatically visible (I doubt the veracity of this common claim, considering modern phalloplasty techniques), a child who has at least passed puberty is more physically developed, and is much less likely to suffer accidental removal of too much skin and other tissue through circumcision. This makes the risks, in my mind, far
lower by moving circumcision to a later phase of life.
I continue to assert that infantile circumcision is a barbaric practice
that should be done only in cases of absolute medical necessity (such as overgrowth or inability to expose the glans) -- and even then, by only removing just enough skin
to ensure proper mechanical function. Any further bodily modifications should be done when the child can at least understand the risk trade-off of circumcision and make an informed choice about it.