E. Winter Tashlin

Body Integrity vs. Bad Science [Picture Tells A Story]

Filed By E. Winter Tashlin | January 17, 2015 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: CDC, CDC guidelines, circumcision, consent, genital integrity, HIV, intactivism, PTAS


As was widely reported in the media, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been considering adopting an official position advocating for the involuntary circumcision of babies and youths, as well as for doctors to encourage the procedure for teens and young adults. Officially, this view, which breaks from that of every major medical organization in the world, and the findings of the U.S. Navy, is driven by studies showing the potential for male circumcision to "prevent" HIV and STI infection.

There are documented structural and epidemiological issues with those studies, which regardless only apply to one very particular (and heterosexual it's worth noting) transmission vector. Additionally, there is and should be concern that promoting foreskin removal to prevent HIV infection will discourage the use of safe sexual practices, which all studies confirm as being essential regardless of circumcision status. Not to mention that the height of the U.S. AIDS epidemic happened at what was also the point with the highest circumcision rate in American history.

Male circumcision has an extensive history as a cure desperately in search of a disease, and has throughout the last 150 years been promoted as the "cure" or solution to everything from epilepsy to cancer, UTIs to clubfoot. In every case it has eventually been determined that the medical benefits were overstated or outright spurious, but by that point another generation has had their genitals altered and a new condition or disease has become the thing that circumcision really prevented. In my own generation it was urinary tract infections that were a common justification for the circumcision of baby boys, despite UTIs being easy to treat, and the fact that rate of infection among boys whose genitals hadn't been cut was still significantly lower than that of baby girls.

But the practice of circumcision is a big money maker for the American medical industry, with neonatal foreskin tissue used in everything from cosmetics to skin grafts, and the surgeries themselves netting considerable money from insurance companies, the US government, and private payers. Plus, in a country where the majority of adult men are circumcised, changing course can be challenging. Asking circumcised men to consider the physical, sexual, and psychological benefits of the intact penis is tantamount to asking them to acknowledge that their own penises aren't everything that they once were, and that is legitimately difficult.

This topic is a soapbox of mine, something that long time readers or those who follow me on social media are already aware of. In a few weeks, I'm teaching my "Penile Anatomy for Play" class at the NELA Fetish Flea. Most people learn something new in that class, and often that new thing is about intact male anatomy. It isn't unusual to have attendees in the class for whom it is their first time even seeing an unmodified penis in the flesh

I fear that the policy makers at the CDC may have as little familiarity with, or regard for, the body part that they are considering robbing thousands of un-consenting boys of.

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.