Argument: The natural penis is clean and requires no special care

Issue Report: Infant male circumcision


Mary G. Ray. “The Circumcision Decision: An Overview”. Mothers Against Circumcision. 1998 – There are many benefits to keeping the foreskin intact. Typically, American doctors have limited knowledge in these areas. Many are totally unaware that the foreskin actually requires no special care.

People mistakenly believe the circumcised penis is cleaner. The myth that the penis with a foreskin is difficult to clean is exactly that — a myth. Cleaning is so simple, it’s amazing that people fret so much about it. The big hoopla over hygiene is pure and unnecessary paranoia. See also: Smegma Beneficial Not Bad

Mary G. Ray. “Contrary to Popular Myth Cleaning is Easy”. Mothers Against Circumcision. 1997 – During infancy and early childhood, only the outside of the intact penis needs to be rinsed with warm water. The foreskin should not be retracted during cleaning. It’s that simple. There is much unnecessary anxiety over the issue of hygiene. It is not at all difficult to maintain proper hygiene. “…health professionals generally agree that uncircumcised boys do not have any special hygienic problems.” Concern for proper hygiene is over emphasized, and so the needless practice of routine circumcision continues.

Mothers Against Circumcision – “Circumcision does not guarantee a problem free penis. In fact, in many cases it is the very thing that initiates numerous problems. Careful cleaning must be performed. Infections of the raw wound are common […] Repeated infections can result in meatal stenosis (a narrowing of the urinary opening) which may require surgery. Meticulous care is needed in order to avoid the formation of an adhesion (scar tissue). This can result in a disfigurement and corrective surgery may be necessary.”

Paul M. Fleiss, MD. “The Case Against Circumcision”. Mothering. Winter 1997 – “Circumcision is unhygienic and unhealthy: One of the most common myths about circumcision is that it makes the penis cleaner and easier to take care of. This is not true. Eyes without eyelids would not be cleaner; neither would a penis without its foreskin. The artificially externalized glans and meatus of the circumcised penis are constantly exposed to abrasion and dirt, making the circumcised penis, in fact, more unclean. The loss of the protective foreskin leaves the urinary tract vulnerable to invasion by bacterial and viral pathogens.

The circumcision wound is larger than most people imagine. It is not just the circular point of union between the outer and inner layers of the remaining skin. Before a baby is circumcised, his foreskin must be torn from his glans, literally skinning it alive. This creates a large open area of raw, bleeding flesh, covered at best with a layer of undeveloped proto-mucosa. Germs can easily enter the damaged tissue and bloodstream through the raw glans and, even more easily, through the incision itself.

Even after the wound has healed, the externalized glans and meatus are still forced into constant unnatural contact with urine, feces, chemically treated diapers, and other contaminants.

Female partners of circumcised men do not report a lower rate of cervical cancer,40 nor does circumcision prevent penile cancer.41 A recent study shows that the penile cancer rate is higher in the US than in Denmark, where circumcision, except among Middle-Eastern immigrant workers, is almost unheard of.42 Indeed, researchers should investigate the possibility that circumcision has actually increased the rate of these diseases.

Circumcision does not prevent acquisition or transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In fact, the US has both the highest percentage of sexually active circumcised males in the Western world and the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS. Rigorously controlled prospective studies show that circumcised American men are at a greater risk for bacterial and viral STDs, especially gonorrhea,43 nongonoccal urethritis,44 human papilloma virus,45 herpes simplex virus type 2,46 and chlamydia.”