"To make an informed choice, parents of all male infants
should be given accurate and unbiased information."
Circumcision Policy Statement
American Academy of Pediatrics
March 1, 1999
When a baby boy’s normal intact penis is circumcised, this is what is lost -- forever:
*1. 50% (sometimes more) of the mobile skin system of the penis. when unfolded and spread out flat, the average foreskin would measure about 5 square inches. This highly specialized tissue normally covers the glans and protects it from abrasion, drying, callusing (keratinization), and contaminants of all kinds. The effect of glans keratinization on human sexuality has never been studied.
*2. The frenar band of soft ridges -- the primary erogenous zone of the male body. Loss of this delicate belt of densely innervated, sexually responsive tissue reduces the fullness and intensity of sexual response.
*3. The "gliding action" -- feature,s of the normal, natural, intact penis. This non-abrasive gliding of the penis in and out of itself within the vagina facilitates smooth, comfortable, pleasurable intercourse for both partners. Without this gliding action, the corona of the circumcised penis can function as a one-way valve, scraping vaginal lubricants out into the drying air and making artificial lubricants essential for comfortable intercourse.
*4. Thousands of coiled fine-touch receptors called the Meissner’s corpuscles -- the most important sensory component of the foreskin. Also lost are branches of the dorsal nerve and between 10,000 and 20,000 specialized erotogenic nerve endings of several types, which can feel slight motion and stretch, subtle changes in temperature, and fine gradations in texture.
*5. The frenulum, the highly erogenous V-shaped web-like tethering structure on the underside of the glans; frequently amputated along with the foreskin, or severed, either of which destroys its function and potential for pleasure.
6. Approximately half of the temperature-sensitive smooth muscle sheath called the dartos fascia.
7. The immunological defense system of the soft mucosa, which produces plasma cells, which secrete immunoglobulin antibodies, and antibacterial and antiviral proteins such as the pathogen-killing enzyme lysozyme.
8. Lymphatic vessels, the loss of which reduces the lymph flow within that part of the body’s immune system.
9. Estrogen receptors -- the purpose of which is not yet fully understood and needs further study.
*10. The apocrine glands of the inner foreskin, which produce pheromones -- nature’s powerful, silent, invisible behavioral signals to potential sexual partners. The effect of their absence on human sexuality has never been studied.
*11. Sebaceous glands, which lubricate and moisturize the foreskin and glans, normally a protected internal organ -- like the tongue or vagina.
12. Specialized epithelial Langerhans cells, a component of the immune system in a whole penis.
13. The pink to red to dark purple natural coloration of the glans. The connective tissue which protectively fuses the foreskin and glans together while the penis develops is ripped apart during circumcision, wounding the glans and the foreskin remnant, leaving them raw and subject to infection, scarring, pitting, shrinkage, and eventual discoloration.
*14. Some of the penis length and penis circumference because its double-layered wrapping of loose and usually overhanging foreskin is now missing, making the circumcised penis truncated and thinner than a full-sized intact penis.
*15. Several feet of blood vessels, including the frenular artery and branches of the dorsal artery. The loss of this rich vascularization interrupts normal blood flow to the shaft and glans of the penis, damaging the natural function of the penis and altering its development.
16. Every year boys lose their entire penises from circumcision accidents and infections. They are then "sexually reassigned" by castration and "transgender surgery," and expected to live their lives as "females."
17. Every year many boys lose their lives from the complications of circumcision, a fact the profiteering billion-dollar-a-year circumcision industry in the U.S. obscures and ignores.
18. Delayed and diminished bonding with the mother and loss of innate sense of trust in human contact.
(*19. Although not yet proven scientifically, anecdotal evidence suggests that a penis without its foreskin lacks the capacity for the subtle "cross communication" that occurs only during contact between mucous membranes and that contributes to the experience of sexual pleasure. In other words, amputating a male's multi-functional foreskin is a neurological castration, which diminishes the intensity of the entire sexual experience for both the victimized male and his partner.)
* Loss of each of these items reduces sexual pleasure, gratification, and fulfillment.
1. "Baby bleeds to death after circumcision," Miami Herald, June 21, 1993.
2. "Boy in coma most of his 6 years dies," Associated Press, July 10, 1992.
3. "Circumcision that didn't heal kills boy," NewsNet5 - Cleveland, Ohio, October 20, 1998.
4. "Permanent foreshortening and disfigurement of the penis," Associated Press, November 30, 1995.
5. Agur, A. M. R. ed.,Grant's Atlas of Anatomy, Ninth Edition, Williams and Wilkins, 1991.
6. Ahmed, A. and Jones, A. W., "Apocrin Cystadenoma: A Report of Two Cases Occurring on the Prepuce," British Journal of Dermatology, 1969.
7. Bazett, H. C. et al., "Depth, Distribution and Probable Identification in the Prepuce of Sensory End-Organs Concerned in Sensations of Temperature and Touch; Thermometric Conductivity," Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 27 (1932): 489-517.
8. Bigelow, J., The Joy of Uncircumcising! Exploring Circumcision: History, Myths, Psychology, Restoration, Sexual Pleasure and Human Rights, 2nd Ed, Hourglass, 1995.
9. Bissada, N. K., "Post-circumcision carcinoma of the penis: II. Surgical management," Journal Surg Oncol 1988;37(2):80-3.
10. Boyd, B. R., Circumcision Exposed - Rethinking a Medical and Cultural Tradition, Crossing Press, 1998.
11. Bradley, S. J. et al, "Experiment of Nurture: Ablatio Penis at 2 Months, Sex Reassignment at 7 months, and a Psychosexual Follow-up in Young Adulthood," Pediatrics 1998.
12. Bullough, V. L. and Bullough, B. ed., "Circumcision: Male-Effects Upon Human Sexuality," Human Sexuality Encyclopedia,Garland, 1994.
13. Campbell, M. F., "The Male Genital Tract and the Female Urethra," in Urology vol. 2, 3rd ed. Saunders 1970.
14. Cansever, G., "Psychological effects of circumcision," Br J Med Psychol 1965; 38: 321-31.
15. Cleary, D. G. and Kohl, S., "Overwhelming infection with group B beta-hemolytic streptococcus associated with circumcision," Pediatrics, Vol 64, no 3, (September 1979), pp. 301-303.
16. Committee on Bioethics, "Informed Consent, Parental Permission, and Assent in Pediatric Practice," Pediatrics, 1995.
17. Cook, L. S. et al., "Clinical Presentation of Genital Warts among Circumcised and Uncircumcised Heterosexual Men Attending an Urban STD Clinic," Genitourinary Medicine 69 (1993): 262-264.
18. Diamond, M. and Sigmundson, H. K., "Sex Reassignment at Birth," Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 1997.
19. Dogiel, A. S., "Die Nervenendigungen in der Haut der äusseren Genitalorgane des Menschen," [Nerve endings in human genital mucosa] Archiv fur Mikroskopische Anatomie 41 (1893): 585-612.
20. Erickson, J. A., "Three Zones of Penile Skin," five photographs in Lander M. M., "The Human Prepuce," in Denniston, G. C. and Milos, M. F., eds., Sexual Mutilations: A Human Tragedy, Plenum Press (1997): 79-81.
22. Fleiss, P., "Where Is My Foreskin? The Case Against Circumcision," Mothering, Winter 1997.
23. Fleiss, P., Hodges, F. M., and Van Howe, R. S., "Immunological Functions of the Human Prepuce," Sexually Transmitted Infections, 1998.
24. Frisch, M. et al., "Falling Incidence of Penis Cancer in an Uncircumcised Population (Denmark 1943-90)," Brit Medical Journal 311 (1995): 1471.
25. Gearhart, J. P. and Rock, J. A., "Total Ablation of the Penis after Circumcision with Electrocautery: A Method of Management and Long-Term Followup," Journal of Urology 142 (1989): 799-801.
26. Gluckman, G. R. et al., "Newborn Penile Glans Amputation during Circumcision and Successful Reattachment," J of Urology 153 (1995): 778.
27. Goldman, R., "Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma," Vanguard Publications, 1997.
28. Harryman, G. L., Unpublished personal interviews with men who are non-surgically restoring their foreskins -- more than 50 men and many of their partners (wives and lovers), 1998 - 1999.
29. Hausmann, R. et al., "The Forensic Value of the Immunohistochemical Detection of Oestrogen Receptors in Vaginal Epithelium," International Journal of Legal Medicine 109 (1996): 10-30.
30. Hodges, F. A., "Short History of the Institutionalization of Involuntary Sexual Mutilation in the United States," in Denniston, G. C. and Milos, M. F., eds., Sexual Mutilations: A Human Tragedy, Plenum Press 1997.
31. Hyman, A. B. and Brownstein, M. H., "Tyson's 'Glands': Ectopic Sebaceous Glands and Papillomatosis Penis," Archives of Dermatology 1969.
32. Immerman, R. S. and Mackey, W.C., "A Proposed Relationship Between Circumcision and Neural Reorganization," J of Genetic Psych, 1998.
33. Kaplan, G. W., "Complications of Circumcision," Urologic Clinics of North America 10, 1983.
34. Kirkpatrick, B. V. and Eitzman, D. V., "Neonatal Septicemia after Circumcision," Clinical Pediatrics 13 (1974): 767-768.
35. Laumann, E. O. et al., "Circumcision in the United States: Prevalence, Prophylactic Effects, and Sexual Practice," JAMA 277, 1997.
36. Lee L.D., and Millar A.J.W. "Ruptured bladder following circumcision using Plasticbell device," British Journal of Urology 1990; 65: 216-17.
37. Lee-Huang, S, Huang P.L., Sun Y., et al "Lysozyme and RNases as anti-HIV components in beta-core preparations of human chorionic gonadotropin," Proc Natl Acad Sci (U S A) 1999 (Mar 16);96(6):2678-2681.
38. Lerner, B. L., "Amputation of the penis as a complication of circumcision," Med Rec Ann 1952; 46: 229-31.
39. Levitt, S. B., Smith R. B., Ship A.G,. "Iatrogenic microphallus secondary to circumcision," Urology 1976; 8: 472-4.
40. Llewellyn, D. J., "Legal Remedies for Penile Torts," Compleat Mother, Winter 1995.
41. Lupo, V., "Family gets $2.75 million in wrongful surgery suit," Lake Charles American Press, May 28, 1986.
42. Macris, D. and Milos, M. F. ed., "Syllabus of Abstracts of the Second International Symposium on Circumcision 30 April - 3 May 1991, San Francisco," NOCIRC Publication.
43. Marshall, R. E. et al., "Circumcision: II. Effects upon Mother-Infant Interaction," Early Human Development , 1982.
44. Milos, M. F., "Circumcision Nightmare," NOCIRC Newsletter 1988.
45. Milos, M. F., "NOCIRC Annual Report," Spring, 1999
46. Money, J. and Davison J., "Adult penile circumcision: erotosexual and cosmetic sequelae," The Journal of Sex Research, Vol 19 No. 3, Aug 1983.
47. Money, J., "Ablatio Penis: Normal Male Infant Sex-Reassigned as a Girl," Archives of Sexual Behavior, 1975.
48. Netter, F. H., Atlas of Human Anatomy, Second Edition, Novartis, 1997.
49. Nicoll, A. "Routine male neonatal circumcision and risk of infection with HIV-1 and other sexually transmitted diseases," Archives of Disease in Childhood (London) 1997;77(3):194-195.
50. O'Hara, K. and O'Hara, J., "The effect of male circumcision on the sexual enjoyment of the female partner," British Journal of Urology, 83, Supplement 1, (1999): 79-84.
51. Palmer, J. M. and Link, D., "Impotence following anesthesia for elective circumcision," JAMA 1979; 241:2635-6.
52. Patel, H., "The Problem of Routine Circumcision," Canadian Medical Association Journal 95, 1966.
53. Pearlman, C. K., "Reconstruction Following Iatrogenic Burn of the Penis," Journal of Pediatric Surgery 11 (1976): 121-122.
54. Persad, R. et al., "Clinical Presentation and Pathophysiology of Meatal Stenosis Following Circumcision," Brit Journal of Urology 75, 1995.
55. Pertot, S., "Sensitivity is the rising issue on circumcision," Australian Doctor, 25 November 1994
56. Prescott, J. W., "Genital Pain vs. Genital Pleasure: Why the One and Not the Other?" Truth Seeker 1 (1989): 14-21.
57. Ritter, T. J. and Denniston, G. C., Say No to Circumcision: 40 Compelling Reasons, 2nd ed. Hourglass, 1996.
58. Roberts, J. D., The Mystery Of Routine Infant Circumcision In The United States: Emotion Or Medicine?, Wesley Theological Seminary, November, 1991.
59. Scurlock, J. M. and Pemberton, P. J., "Neonatal Meningitis and Circumcision," Medical Journal of Australia 1 (1977): 332-334.
60. Seabrook, C., "$22.8 Million in botched circumcision?," Atlanta Constitution, March 12, 1991.
61. Smith, G. L. et al., "Circumcision as a Risk Factor for Urethritis in Racial Groups," American Journal of Public Health 77, 1987.
62. Stefan, H., "Reconstruction of the Penis Following Necrosis from Circumcision Used High Frequency Cutting Current," Sbornik Vedeckych Praci Lekarske Fakulty Karlovy Univerzity (Hradci Kralove) vol. 35, no. 5 (Suppl) 1992, pp. 449-454.
63. Strimling, B. S., "Partial Amputation of Glans Penis during Mogen Clamp Circumcision," Pediatrics 87 (1996): 906-907.
64. Taddio, A. et al., "Effect of Neonatal Circumcision on Pain Response during Subsequent Routine Vaccination," Lancet 349 (1997): 599-603.
65. Talarico, R. D. and Jasaitis, J. E., "Concealed Penis: A Complication of Neonatal Circumcision," Journal of Urology 110 (1973): 732-733.
66. Tan, H. L., "Foreskin Fallacies and Phimosis," Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore, 1985.
67. Tanne, J.H., "U.S. has epidemic of sexually transmitted disease," BMJ 1998;317:1616.
68. Taylor, J. R. et al., "The Prepuce: Specialized Mucosa of the Penis and Its Loss to Circumcision," British Journal of Urology 77 (1996): 291-295.
69. Wallerstein, E., "Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy," Springer Series: Focus on Men, vol. 1, Springer Publishing, 1980.
70. Wallerstein, E., Circumcision: Information Misinformation Disinformation, Nat Org of Circumcision Information Resource Centers.
71. Weiss, G. N. et al., "The Distribution and Density of Langerhans Cells in the Human Prepuce: Site of a Diminished Immune Response?" Israel Journal of Medical Sciences 1993.
72. Williams and Kapila, "Complications of Circumcision," British Journal of Surgery, Oct 1993.
73. Winkelmann, R. K., "The Cutaneous Innervation of Human Newborn Prepuce," Journal of Investigative Dermatology 26 (1956): 53-67.
74. Winkelmann, R. K., "The Erogenous Zones: Their Nerve Supply and Its Significance," Proceedings of the Staff Meetings of the Mayo Clinic, 1959.
Copies of most of the above references can be found at: