60 Minutes segment raises concerns that male circumcision is child sexual abuse

zscreaming babyThe Nine Network’s ‘60 Minutes’ program has tackled the issue of routine infant circumcision again (Sunday March 3rd, 2013). Participants in the segment included former Tasmanian Commissioner for Children, Paul Mason, who made the point that circumcision ‘is child abuse, it’s sexual abuse’ and Elwyn Moir, who highlighted the negative impacts that being subjected to genital cutting as an infant have had on his (and many other men’s) life. Presenting a pro-circumcision opinion (which directly contradicted the stance of Australia’s peak medical bodies) was Brian Morris. 60 Minutes has aired several segments on this issue in the past. Do you think that this latest installment sufficiently took into account the mounting evidence against infant circumcision as an ethical ‘surgical’ procedure?

Click on the link below to see a preview of the segment:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_AHvKiKas8

Should Australians have the right to decide which parts of their genitals they keep?

Here is an outrageous idea. Or, at least, an idea that may seem foreign to many Australians. I believe that I should have the right to choose which parts of my genitals I keep and which parts I want to have sliced off and thrown into the medical waste bin.Circumcision consent

But it seems that many Australians don’t agree with me. Or that is what it seems when they support the act of pinning down an infant boy and cutting off part of his penis. Most call it circumcision, but I prefer to avoid this euphemism and call it what it really is: genital cutting, partial penis amputation, or even (brace yourselves) genital mutilation. ‘Oh no’ I hear you gasp. ‘It’s only mutilation if we do it to a girl, right? Even if its a tiny symbolic nick. If we cut off 30-50% of the penile skin, surely that can’t be called mutilation. And besides, we do it in Australia, and the Government pays for it through Medicare, so it can’t be mutilation. Can it?’

But what about the medical benefits? You can put forward an argument for amputating any body part based on the medical benefits of doing so. You could amputate a baby’s big toe to reduce the risk of ingrown toenails, or cut off their ears to reduce skin cancer. I challenge you to suggest one body part where there wouldn’t be a benefit in chopping it off (please suggest a body part as a comment below if you are up for the challenge). But with all these other body parts, the use of that part is considered, and medical ethics and plain old common sense prevail. The penis seems to be exempt from all of these concepts.

And by the way, even if there was any truth to these so-called medical benefits, most of them are related to sexually transmissible diseases, and I didn’t have sex when I was a baby. In fact I didn’t have my first serious sexual encounter unti l was 20. And my partner in this encounter has been my only partner and now wife for the last 12 years. I was hardly at risk of HIV or other STD’s which the pro-cutting crowd try desperately to prove are more prevalent in men who have all of their genitals. Besides, at the age of 20, even if I had decided to lead an ‘at risk’ lifestyle, I could have decided to either get myself circumcised for a marginal reduced risk at best, or wear a condom.

But getting back to my ‘outrageous’ statement. I wasn’t wasn’t given the right to choose for myself. And it seems that most Australians think that’s OK. Otherwise, like me they would be joining the intactivist movement and lobbying government to bring an end to the practice. But the most important thing they could do would be to simply stop cutting their babies. Most have, with rates now less than 1 in 5 and shrinking every year. But it seems that many who wouldn’t circumcise their own children will still support parents who decide to do it to theirs.

Maybe I am wrong. In this age of gender equality, self-determination and the growth of the human rights movement, perhaps Australians do support the concept of genital autonomy. Where do you stand?

Image courtesy of Jeroen van Oostrom / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ryan Fitzgerald wins the inaugural ‘Australian Circumcision Stupidity’ award

In 2009, Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald, now half of the popular ‘Fitzy and Wippa’ team on Sydney’s Nova FM radio station, decided to circumcise his baby boy. Obviously we are against the forced circumcision of children where there is no medical need, but we don’t usually single out the parents who have made this decision for ridicule. Often the decision is made under pressure from family members and doctors, or due to a lack of research and understanding of just how damaging this procedure is. However, while inflicting unneccessary and damaging cosmetic surgery on his defenceless son was bad enough, Ryan’s actions in the days following the operation took the abuse to a whole new level, and so has earnt him our inaugural Australian Circumcision Stupidity award.

Holding down a perfecty healthy newborn and slicing off the most intimate and sensitive part of his body is bad enough. But in a feeble attempt at ‘entertainment’ Ryan took his son’s amputated foreskin into the radio station and passed it around to his then co-presenters, Julian ‘Jules’ Schiller and Claire Murphy, to get their reactions on air.

To see what happened check out the clip below:

On two occasions Ryan seems to gloat about just how much tissue has been removed from his baby. On one of these occasions he quips “That’s a fair bit of skin, hey?” Yes, it is a lot of skin. But what he may fail to realise is that this is only the amount of skin (and other specialised tissue) that is lost to the baby. When his baby grows into a fully developed man he will be missing up to 15 square inches of highly sensitive and functional genital tissue, which is about the size of the palm of your hand.

Ryan’s colleagues appear to be slightly less enthusiastic about the stunt, with Claire commenting “That’s the whole top of a willy. It’s not what I was expecting.” I’m not sure what she was expecting to see. If you cut off the end of someone’s penis, that is exactly what you will get. Perhaps this was a realisation for Claire of the harsh reality of this procedure. It is something that was so readily accepted by our culture until recently that it is difficult to fully comprehend what we have been doing, until coming face to face with the raw results.

The saddest side to this is that this boy will one day grow up and may find this video when looking through his father’s career. How will he feel when he sees that the most intimate part of his body not only taken from him, but then trivialised and disrespected in such a public way by someone who should have protected him?

For this shameful act, Ryan not only takes home the award but also a copy of the book ‘The Joy of Uncircumcising‘, in which he can learn about the functions of the foreskin, and how restoring his own foreskin could improve his sexual experiences. In fact, through reading this book and sharing his experience, Ryan has a chance to redeem himself. We all know people make mistakes. The growing movement against forced infant circumcision is well represented by parents who did not know the truth at the time they made the decision to circumcise their sons. If Ryan takes on the techniques outlined in this book (or more modern techniques from restoration forums) for a period of two months, and then shares his experience with his listeners, in Lance Armstrong style we will re-write history strike his name from the record books.

Who knows, like many men who have restored their foreskins and now understand what they were missing, Ryan too may join us in becoming an Intactivist and help protect the rights of future generations of baby boys.

Circumcision and foreskin restoration hit the mainstream media in Australia

The related issues of male circumcision and foreskin restoration have hit the headlines in mainstream Australian media outlets today (October 2nd, 2012). Multicultural public broadcaster SBS will use its current affairs program ‘Insight’ as the venue for an open forum on circumcision tonight at 8.30pm. In addition, News Limited’s online opinion page ‘The Punch’ today published a new testimonial from an Australian man, which once again highlights the impact that infant circumcision has on men once they reach adulthood, as well as the role that the ‘tried and true’ process of foreskin restoration can play in helping those affected to reverse some of the damage.

Click the link below to read the complete article:

‘I was circumcised and I want my foreskin back!’

Despair, embarrassment, grief and survival: A personal account of the impact of infant circumcision

In this extremely personal post, an Australian man talks about the impact that circumcision has had on his life. He wishes to remain anonymous but he hopes that sharing his story will have two main impacts. He hopes that expectant parents who read his story will think long and hard before they subject any male offspring to genital cutting. He also hopes that adolescent and adult males who have been negatively affected by circumcision will read his story and be reassured that they are not alone in their experience.

Here is ‘Richard’s’ story:

The first time I ever saw an intact (uncircumcised) penis was in the change rooms at Primary School. I remember thinking ‘that’s weird, I don’t look like that’. I had no idea why he looked different, I just thought that maybe he looked different because he was from England. All the Australian boys looked the same as I did. I didn’t really think much more about it until I was around 8 or 9 when, for reasons unknown, I asked my mother what circumcision meant. I think the word ‘circumcision’ got mentioned on television. She didn’t really explain it very well. All she said was, ‘you know what Chris (the intact boy who lived next door) looks like…that’s because he hasn’t been circumcised’. I didn’t really think very much about it at the time. Shortly after that, I remember my father saying to me ‘you are circumcised, just like your dad’. I said to him ‘why daddy?’ and his response was ‘oh, just because it is nice and neat’. Once again, I didn’t really think that much about it at the time but my world was about to come crashing down around me.

Like most of us, my sexual awareness really kicked in around the time that I reached puberty. I had been having something resembling sexual relations with another boy since we were around six years old. I remember him saying to me ‘we are poofs you know’. I had heard the word ‘poof’ before and knew what it meant but that was the first time I had considered the idea that the word ‘poof’ applied to me. Having sexual contact with another boy seemed like the most natural thing in the world to me and I couldn’t reconcile my identity (or behaviour) with the negative connotations which I knew that the word ‘poof’ was associated with.

At around this time I became racked with guilt and confusion…but much worse was to come. Not long after all of that , for whatever reason, I really inspected my penis for the first time and the grim reality hit me instantly. I suddenly realised what had happened to me. I suddenly realised what circumcision really meant. I had a dark band of scar tissue that went all the way around the shaft of my penis and there was also a ‘gap’: a second band of much lighter ‘depressed’ scar tissue. I was instantly devastated, instantly enraged and my whole outlook on the world suddenly changed. Many years later (thanks to the internet) I discovered that the second band of ‘depressed’ scar tissue had been caused by an ‘improper closure’. The wound had not been stitched together tightly enough and had to be re-sutured. I almost certainly suffered severe blood loss and I probably went into shock.

Almost overnight, my whole personality changed. I became extremely depressed and I became anti-social. Looking back at it now, I think that I had something akin to a mental break-down. I became increasingly dependant on alcohol and cannabis, in order to maintain something that resembled happiness. I had been an outstanding student in Primary School but over the next couple of years my academic results went badly downhill, to the point where I began failing subjects. I became an introvert. My childhood friends fell by the wayside and the small group of friends that I had made at High School couldn’t understand why it appeared that I was sabotaging myself so badly. I remember one of them saying to me, ‘you are smart, you are funny and you are a good-looking guy, so why are you behaving like such a twat?’

There was no way that I could provide an honest response to that question at the time.

My faith and trust in my fellow human beings had evaporated. I had become wracked with despair, embarrassment and grief and I hated myself. Instead of going on to complete High School and studying law at university, as I had always intended to do, I dropped out and became a full-on ‘party animal’. I took loads of drugs. I didn’t recognise it at the time but I had gone into self-preservation mode. I tried to ‘do the right thing’ and stay employed but I couldn’t. I had developed a severe anxiety disorder. I couldn’t even do the basic things in life properly. I couldn’t feed myself properly. I couldn’t keep my clothes or my house clean. I actually couldn’t do anything properly.

During those dark years, my negative self-image also resulted in me avoiding having sex, even though I really desired it. I suppose my homosexuality complicated the situation at the time. I feared that any male partner would see my penis and reject me. Eventually, a guy came along who I really liked. We had built up a good friendship and so I thought I could trust him. I was wrong. When we got naked I noticed that he had an intact (and I must add rather large) penis. When he saw my penis his behaviour changed immediately. He kept staring at it and wouldn’t touch it. At that point, I put my clothes back on and walked home. After that experience, I didn’t even attempt to have sex for over ten years and when I eventually did so, I felt the need to be in absolute control of the situation…in order to avoid a repeat of my previous humiliation.

The good news is this: my quality of life has improved somewhat over the last few years. To some extent, distraction ended up being a positive factor. At the age of thirty I finally made it to university and completed an Honours Degree in International Relations. That achievement (and the recognition from others that it created) has helped me realise that there is more to my existence and my identity than just my status as a circumcised man.

On a different level, the internet has been a great resource for me. All of a sudden and ‘out of the blue’, I realised that I was not alone. I discovered that there is an international ‘brotherhood’ of circumcised men whose life experiences have been as traumatic as my own. I also discovered that there are a large number of intact men (and also some women) who empathise with me and respect me for who I am. These people do not judge. These people inspire. These people are my friends. I no longer perceive myself as being just a victim. I now perceive myself as being a survivor.

So here I am: a 50 year old man who feels that he has been through hell (which is pretty weird considering that I am an atheist) and lived to tell the story. I now believe that my quality of life will continue to improve, even if it means sometimes taking two steps forward and one step back. I no longer judge myself in the way that I once did. In the end though, I know that I will always have to live with the burden of something that occurred in only a short few minutes of my life and which was imposed upon me without my consent.

Anyone who reads this post will probably sense that I retain some self pity. They are right…but I now use at least some of my emotional energy help to prevent as many boys as possible from experiencing problems similar to my own, as a result of their being circumcised as an infant.

I work for progress and I live in hope.

Meet the ‘Circumcision Academy of Australia’

In 2010, an organisation calling itself the ‘Circumcision Foundation of Australia’ (CFA) was established, with the sole aim of reversing the dramatic decline in the number of neonatal circumcisions that are performed in Australia. For reasons unknown, in the middle of 2014, the CFA re-branded itself as the ‘Circumcision Academy of Australia’ (CAA). The CAA presents itself as being a group of credible, well educated ‘public health advocates’ but its stance puts it severely at odds with conventional wisdom on this issue. In fact, as The Age has previously reported, ‘no authoritative health policy maker in any jurisdiction with a frequency of relevant health conditions as low as that in Australia recommends circumcision as a public health measure’. Anyone who takes a closer look at the activities and associations of the CAA’s members will therefore surely ask themselves the following question: ‘What are the real motivations of the Circumcision Academy of Australia?’

In the interests of transparency and public awareness, Intactivists of Australasia have compiled the following dossier on the key members of the CAA.

BRIAN J MORRIS:

Morris was a founding member of ‘The Gilgal Society’, a UK based pro-circumcision organisation. Until 2012, the Gilgal Society was led by Vernon Quaintance, who was found guilty of possessing child pornography in 2012 and who is currently facing more similar charges. As of today, Morris’s personal pro-circumcision website still contains a link to ‘a list of possible circumcisers’. That document originally contained the Gilgal Society logo but in the aftermath of Quaintance’s arrest Morris removed any reference to Gilgal in that (and other) downloadable documents. Morris also had a poem written by Quaintance in the ‘circumcision humour’ section of his site. The same page also featured a photo of a young boy with his penis trapped inside a mobile phone. Possibly as a result of personal embarrassment created by Intactivists of Australasia, Morris has since removed the ‘circumcision humour’ page from his website.

In December 2011, Morris was directed by his previous employer (University of Sydney) to remove his site from their servers. Morris subsequently moved that site to another server but, curiously, a ‘whois’ search revealed that the CFA website was being hosted by University of Sydney servers.

Morris is clearly very sensitive about any criticism of his long-standing advocacy in favour of circumcision. When the international whistleblower organisation ‘Circleaks’ published details of his activities, Morris attempted to suppress it by creating a user account, which he subsequently used to delete the entire contents of the page. That attempt failed and the information revealed by Circleaks remains publicly available.

Given all of the above, it appears valid to ask the following question: Is Morris’s stance on circumcision based on ‘public health advocacy’, or is it based on something else?

TERENCE RUSSELL:

Russell is the President of the CAA. He is also the principal operator of ‘Circumcision Australia’, a small group of Doctors based in Brisbane and Melbourne who proudly claim that they have performed ‘over 30,500 circumcisions’ in the last 20 years. Russell himself has been performing circumcisions for more than 35 years. As such, Russell clearly has a significant financial vested interest in the promotion of circumcision.

In 2004, Russell was reprimanded, ordered to repay $4,488.88 and to undergo counseling by the Professional Services Review (PSR), an independent Commonwealth body established to ‘protect the integrity of the Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits schemes’. The PSR found that Russell ‘opportunistically diagnosed tongue-tie’ in patients referred to him for circumcisions. It found that 90% of such procedures performed by him (for which a Medicare rebate was claimed) were ‘inappropriate’ on the grounds that there were ‘no clinical indications for the services’ rendered.

Given all of the above, it appears valid to ask the following question: Is Russell’s stance on circumcision based on ‘public health advocacy’, or is it based on something else?

ALEX WODAK:

Wodak has regularly relied upon heavily criticised studies on HIV/AIDS in Africa to support his view that circumcision should be used as a frontline defense against the disease in Australia. His views on this matter lie in stark contrast with those of Australia’s peak medical body, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, which has stated that it ‘does not believe the African data can be directly extrapolated to the Australian or New Zealand circumstance’. In addition to that, Wodak, of all peope, would surely be aware of the fact that the decline in the number of HIV infections being reported in Australia since the 1980’s has occurred concurrently with a steep decline in the number of infant circumcisions being performed.

A Google search reveals that Wodak has made many statements extolling the virtues of circumcision but only one quote could be found in which he promotes the use of condoms (and he mentions circumcision in that statement too). This appears somewhat bizarre, given that the effectiveness of condoms in the prevention of HIV/AIDS is not in dispute, whereas the effectiveness of circumcision remains a matter of great controversy.

Wodak has not made his religious or cultural background public. He is, of course, under no obligation to do so (and nor should he be). It is known however that Australia’s Jewish community claims Wodak as one of their own and that he has participated in at least one public forum hosted by Melbourne’s Jewish community.

Given all of the above, it appears valid to ask the following question: Is Wodak’s stance on circumcision based on ‘public health advocacy’, or is it based on something else?

ANTHONY DILLEY:

In January 2011, The Herald Sun reported that Dilley performs ‘up to 40 circumcisions a week’. Respondents in online forums (including the ‘Huggies’ website) have claimed that Dilley receives a fee of up to $600 for each circumcision that he performs.

Dilley clearly derives a significant amount of income from a business model which is heavily reliant upon his ability to entice customers (parents) who will pay him to circumcise their sons. As such, Dilley  has a significant financial vested interest in the promotion of circumcision. Interestingly, a previous visit to Dilley’s website confirmed that he, like Terence Russell, has had a particular interest in performing tongue-tie surgeries.

Given all of the above, it appears valid to ask the following question: Is Dilley’s stance on circumcision based on ‘public health advocacy’, or is it based on something else?

MICHAEL LOWY:

The independent Australian whistleblower organisation ‘Crikey’ has Lowy on its ‘Register of Influence’, which seeks to ‘identify some of the associations between key opinion leaders and industry marketing or disease-awareness campaigns’. Lowy, who is a ‘sexual health physician’ is also a board member of ‘Impotence Australia’, an organisation which receives its funding from the makers of the three most popular anti-impotence drugs (Viagra, Levitra and Cialis). Recent studies have been published which indicate a probable link between circumcision and impotence.

Crikey does not allege any impropriety by Lowy. It invites those listed on the register to provide a response. Thus far, Lowy has declined to do so. Given the above, it would  appear to be valid to ask the following question: Is Lowy’s stance on circumcision based on ‘public health advocacy, or is it based on something else?’

ROBIN J WILLCOURT:

In 1999, Willcourt was found guilty of disorderly conduct, whilst practicing as a Gynecologist/Obstetrician in the USA. The Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) subsequently found that the offense constituted ‘a crime involving moral turpitude’ and ordered him to pay $4,055.35 ‘for costs involved in the investigation and prosecution of the case against him’. It also required him to perform 20 hours of ‘uncompensated public service’. The exact details of the offence committed by Willcourt are not known however, during its deliberations, one of the members of the NBME said the following about Willcourt’s explanation of the incident: ‘just imagine you’re there in the bushes and you’re taking a leak and somebody comes up behind you and starts talking dirty and you produce an erect penis. I don’t think I buy that. I think that is inconsistent physiologically. That’s one of the biggest holes I see in this case.’ Another said ‘I have a very difficult time believing this sequence of events and his explanation for it’.

ADRIAN MINDEL:

Like Lowy, Mindel is named on Crikey’s ‘Register of Influence’. Mindel is a Professor of Sexual Health Medicine at the University of Sydney. He is also a board member of the ‘The Australian Herpes Management Forum’, which receives funding from several large drug companies, principally Novartis. As with Lowy, Mindel has declined to respond to Crikey’s listing on the register.

Given the above, it appears valid to ask the following question: Is Mindel’s stance on circumcision based on ‘public health advocacy, or something else?

KAREN A DUGGAN

Duggan is a Sydney based Nephrologist (renal specialist). She is listed as a co-author of the CAA’s defining document, ‘Infant male circumcision: An evidence based policy statement’.

In its discussion of urinary tract infections (UTI’s) and renal disease, the CAA document claimed that a UK study had found that ‘cumulative prevalence (of UTI’s) to age 16 was 3.6% in uncircumcised boys’, however the article in question actually made no reference at all to the circumcision status of the boys included in its study. The CAA document also claimed that circumcision ‘protects against recurrence’ of UTI’s. It cited an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) as supporting evidence for that claim, however the JAMA article stated quite clearly that ‘the lack of circumcision documentation in 47% of male children limited our ability to accurately assess risk based on this important factor’.

Given all of the evidence provided above, it appears valid to ask the following question: Is the CAA’s promotion of routine circumcision of male minors in Australia based on ‘public health advocacy’, or is it based on something else? Thus far, Intactivists of Australasia have not sighted any response from the members of CAA which satisfies our curiosity about their stance on this important human rights issue. If you are similarly unconvinced about the motivations of the CAA please click this link to support our petition which opposes the questionable agenda of the CAA.

Channel Ten set to open a ‘Can of Worms’ about circumcision

Child holding wormsChannel Ten’s popular ‘dilemma’ program ‘Can of Worms’ will return to our television screens on Monday, August 20th, with a new host, former panelist on ‘The Circle’,  Chrissie Swan. One of the questions it will ask its panel and studio audience is ‘Should circumcision be banned?’.

In the lead-up to the show’s re-launch, Ten posted this question on the  ‘Can of Worms’  Facebook page and received more than 550 responses. There were many well informed contributions to the debate but, sadly, there were also many other responses which provided clear evidence that much more public education is required on this issue.

Some of the respondents referred to alleged ‘health problems’ that might occur as a result of not having a boy circumcised, however no ‘peak’ medical authority in the world recommends the practice as a valid means of mitigating such concerns. Others spoke of the need for ‘parental rights’ to be paramount in such a discussion. They appeared to be oblivious of the need for infants (who are, of course, unable to consent) to be protected from life-long damage being inflicted upon them as a consequence of the ill-informed beliefs (or religious convictions) of their legal guardians, and/or their medical practitioners.

Hopefully, when the relevant episode of ‘Can of Worms’ goes to air, Channel Ten will provide its viewers with every opportunity to have their say and, more importantly, to educate themselves about this important human rights issue.

Image courtesy of dspruitt / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Want better, longer lasting sex? Advanced Medical Institute (AMI) vs foreskin restoration

Advanced Medical Institute (AMI) billboardMany of us would have seen those bright yellow billboards across the cities of Australia with confronting and sometimes contoversial messages including ‘want longer lasting sex?’, ‘want more sex?’ and more recently ‘oral strip: to last longer making love‘.

This latest advertising campaign appears to be an amalgamation of previous campaigns, and claims to help with both premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. According to the webiste of company behind the advertising, Advanced Medical Institute (AMI), “The new Oral strip technology for treatment developed by AMI is the World’s first for the treatment of Premature Ejaculation and Erectile Dysfunction (sexual dysfunction) in man.”

Can AMI actually deliver on those claims? Recent history would suggest that potential customers should take caution. In 2003 the ACCC prosecuted AMI over previous campaigns, and the NSW Office of Fair Trading has investigated numerous complaints against AMI over alleged unconscionable contracts and undeliverable guarantees. The late Ian ‘Turps’ Turpie, once an ambassador for the company’s nasal spray, also admitted that it didn’t cure his impotence.

Rather that putting their faith in oral strips and nasal sprays, perhaps Australian men should be asking a confronting question of their own: Could their circumcision be a contributing factor in premature ejaculation and other sexual dysfunction issues? And if circumcision is a factor, is there anything that can be done by circumcised men to reverse the damage?

The first thing to note is that is that circumcision significantly alters the form of the penis. Most estimates on how much skin is lost range between 10 to 15 square inches. In addition, what is lost is not just skin, but a complex set of structures including the frenulum, ridged band, frenal band, mucosal skin and other specialised nerves and structures. As most engineers will tell you, you can’t alter form without altering function, so with so many structures lost to circumcision, there is no doubt that the function of the penis is severly altered.

The most significant function of the foreskin, and the most relevant to premature ejaculation, is what is known as the ‘gliding’ or ‘rolling’ action. Without a foreskin, during sexual activity the foreskin will not ‘roll’ over the glans (head) of the penis in the way that it does on an intact penis. This results in an unnatural friction on the glans and can trigger ejaculation.

While premature ejaculation can be an issue for younger men, the opposite problem is more frequent in older men. A Danish study released in June 2011 concluded that male circumcision was “associated with frequent orgasm difficulties in Danish men and with a range of frequent sexual difficulties in women, notably orgasm difficulties, dyspareunia and a sense of incomplete sexual needs fulfilment.”

So if circumcision is a possible cause of these problems, is their anything that circumcised men can do? While there is nothing that can bring back all of the complex structures that are lost to circumcision, many Australian men are undertaking foreskin restoration to undo some of the damage. The restoration process is a non-surgical method which grows additional skin from what remains of the foreskin. There are many tools and methods, but each method involves tensioning the remaining skin which encourages the growth of new skin, to eventually cover the glans of the penis, recovering much of the function and appearance of an intact man.

The result is that many of the younger men who have undertaken foreskin restoration will say that the re-grown skin reduces the direct stimulation of their glans and allows them to last longer. For those with the opposite problem, the coverage regains the sensitivity of the glans, which had previously been de-sensitised from decades of friction against clothing.

Advanced Medical Institute has recently moved to also target females, by claiming that they can help with a range of sexual dysfunction issues for Australian females. The negative effects of male circumcision on female partners has already been documented in a study by Australian authors published in the Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association and in the website sex as nature intended it. Again it is mainly the lack of the gliding or rolling action in a circumcised penis that is to blame, causing too much friction. Female partners of restored men will often say that there has been an improvement in both comfort and pleasure.

The impact of circumcision on sexual function will always be a topic of debate. But for circumcised men, when comparing the options of using an oral strip or nasal spray with minimal amounts of an active ingredient, or restoring part of the penis that should naturally have been there, I know which option I think would be more likely to get results.

Australian women discover foreskins not ‘useless’ after all

Foreskin facecream for Australian womenWhile most of the younger generations of Australian women understand how useful foreskins are from enjoying them on their intact partners, it appears that older generations may have finally found a use for them as well.

But while the traditional benefits of being with an intact partner, such as having a more comfortable and enjoyable sexual experience,  are now well known, this new less conventional ‘use’ comes in the form of a cosmetic face cream.

The irony is that many of these older women who may have been conditioned by society, or convinced by their doctors in the past to believe that ‘foreskins are gross and useless’ are now smearing their faces with a product that is apparently ‘engineered’ from infant foreskin.

When the Australian retailer of SkinMedica products, Advanced Skin Technology, was challenged on the use of foreskins in its products, it was quick to clarify on its Facebook page that its products do not contain actual human tissue. But they were silent when questioned further on what the key ingredient was actually derived from.

We are left to rely on the extensive information on various human rights and anti-circumcision (or pro-intact) websites, where there are claims of a lucrative trade in infant foreskins to supply bio-engineering and cosmetics companies. Looking specifically at the SkinMedica products it appears that foreskins are not being continually harvested for their products, although it is clear that at least one infant’s foreskin was used as part of the creation process.

According to SkinMedica’s webiste, their “TNS Recovery Complex” product contains “Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media”, or their own trademarked version of this called “Tissue Nutrient Solution (TNS)”.  This ingredient has been promoted as a “physiologically balanced, naturally secreted and stabilized growth factor blend that helps improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and overall skin tone and texture”.

Oprah Winfrey, when promoting this product, has described the ingredient as being “engineered from human foreskin”. Dr. Pat Wexler, a cosmetic dermatologist, also confirmed on the Oprah Winfrey show that a baby foreskin was used in the creation process.

I’m no scientist, but to me the difference between a product that contains actual human foreskin tissue and one that contains something that was “engineered” from human foreskin tissue is minimal. And considering that the original owner of the foreskin would not have consented to its removal and use in this way, from a human rights perspective they are one and the same.

To buy the products would not only endorse the forced circumcision of baby boys, but would also support the concept that it is OK to sacrifice the bodily integrity of another individual for the purpose of personal vanity. The Australian sales figures will show if older Australian women feel the same way, or if they are finally ready to embrace the idea that foreskins really are useful, albeit for this unintended purpose. We can only hope that they now understand that the real use and value of a foreskin is to the person it is attached to.

Further reading:
Foreskin Facecream
The Foreskin in Oprah’s Facecream

If only I had ‘meowed’ when I was born: how cats are protected more than boys in Australia

Cat declawing and circumcision in AustraliaIn Australia, the declawing of cats has never been common. In at least some States specific legislation exists that prohibits declawing unless there are exceptional circumcstances (for example, the NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (General) Regulation 1996). While specific legislation for other States is difficult to find, the Australian Veterinary Association  has effectively banned the procedure under its policy of only performing surgical procedures for legitimate medical reasons:

“Surgical alteration to the natural state of an animal is acceptable only if it is necessary for the health and welfare of the animal concerned. Performance of any surgical procedure for other than legitimate medical reasons is unacceptable.”

So the Vetinary Association ‘gets’ that “surgical alteration to the natural state of an animal” is unacceptabe, except for legitimate medical reasons.  But while surgical alteration to kittens has been banned, apparently non-medical surgical alteration to human baby boys is perfectly OK.

The key to understanding this situation is in the first sentence of this post. It appears that the Government and other organisations will act to stop abuse and cruelty where it is uncommon, such as declawing and female circumcision. But these groups will look the other way if the cruelty and abuse is common and part of our culture, like male infant circumcision.

Below are some the snippets of some of the news releases and other webpages on this subject. The parallels to infant circumcision are remarkable, yet the cats are given more protection under the law. I’ve added a few comments in red:

One of the proponents of the laws is http://www.straypetadvocacy.org. Their byline is: To Speak for Those Who Have No Voice. (Day-old infants don’t say much either…)

They say: “The U.S. and Canada are the only countries where declawing is commonplace. In many countries declawing is illegal or is considered inhumane, and you would be hard-pressed to find a veterinarian who would agree to do the operation. In the U.S., it’s quite easy to declaw preemptively, i.e., even in the absence of any scratching problem. We’ve turned medically unnecessary amputation, done for the convenience of the human, into something routine.” (Gee, that all has a familiar ring…..)

A popular cat website in Australia says: “Occasionally there are medical reasons in which it will be of benefit to the cat to declaw but these are few and far between.” (Amputate only if there is a medical reason? Cat owners have put more thought into this than many parents…)

This site continues to state: “I like to think that cat owners would accept their cats behavior warts & all & would hope that people consider that cats come with claws prior to adopting them.” (Just as baby boys come with foreskins….)

The California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and Cat Fanciers’ Association do not want the procedures prohibited by law. The VMA objection is that “the choice to have the procedure is a private matter between a client and veterinarian.” (Or maybe your support is because your members need to make a decent living, just as Doctors don’t get paid when they just leave it alone…)

Declawing is now banned in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, San Francisco, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica. The West Hollywood ban was recently upheld by an Californian appeals court in a challenge by the CVMA. (Way to go your Honour!! Thanks for protecting all those innocent little kittens…)

This cruel procedure is also illegal in 25 nations, including the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Brazil, Norway and Germany. Anti-Declaw advocates (often called “Pro-Claw”) have been crusading for many years for similar bans in the United States. They believe that cats’ claws are there for a purpose (sort of like a foreskin?), and that to deprive them of their basic form of defense, as well as their necessary tools for exercise and mobility is cruel and inhumane. Although consumer education has made slow progress, they believe anti-declaw laws are necessary. (Let’s see, first educate the owners (and parents), but when that fails, just work to get it outlawed. Sounds like a plan.)

It is commonly performed using a guillotine-type blade, and is always done under general anesthesia. Because of associated post-operative pain, pain control medication is often prescribed for the recuperating cat. (Well, how sweet is that… The cats ALWAYS get anesthesia, and pain meds for post-op. We sure don’t want Snowball in any pain now, do we…)

How is it that advocates for the rights of the cat can get laws passed on such issues, yet we’ve got the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner and the Australian Government who think that our boys don’t deserve the same protection?

Well, you’ll have to excuse me now. I’m going to go shred the side of my sofa with what’s left of my penis.

(Thanks to a member of a related site for the original idea and much of the content for this post, used here with his permission.)