Monday, January 10, 2011

Is the Body Dirty or Functional?

This is a guest post. Visit her blog: http://talkbirth.com/?p=149

When I was pregnant with my son, I talked to my mother about the home birth I was planning. I was lucky that she was supportive (even if she didn’t understand). Then she asked, “If you are having him at home, who does the circumcision?” JUST LIKE THAT! I was appalled at my mother’s uninformed, automatic response thinking that my son’s foreskin was a birth defect that needed to be removed.

When talking to my mother-in-law about our choice to keep our son intact, her response was, “How do you clean it?” Again, I was stunned. My husband even flat out asked her once, “Why did you circumcise me?” Her response? “Uhhh, uhhhh”, (uncomfortable silence), “I don’t know. That’s what they said to do. They said it was cleaner.” Our culture is so locked into the mindset of not only the thought that all of our boys are born defective, but also with being so fearful about keeping a body part clean that we just chop it off to avoid it.

Ok, if that’s the case, let’s start chopping off ears at birth. Maybe it will help with all of those pesky newborn ear infections. Or how about breasts on our baby girls? That way if breast cancer runs in her family, she can avoid it. Lets look at the way a human baby is naturally born, find things we don’t like aesthetically, and change them. Botox for babies anyone?

So America: intact (uncircumcised) penises are dirty, huh? Let me ask you why. Why would nature create something for ALL MEN to be born with if it is a defect? Wouldn’t evolution have taken care of that by now? Did men hundreds of years ago never produce smegma, and  suddenly started to in the 1800s, so we had to chop off their foreskins?

I think we should actually talk about this smegma stuff for a little bit here, since I know you’re going to ask, “Yeah, what about smegma? I hear its gross, causes infections, and smells.” Well, guess what? I MAKE SMEGMA TOO! And I’m a….GIRL! Yep, we girls make that stuff too. You know that cheesy white stuff you sometimes see in the folds of your labia? SMEGMA! Have you had a difficult time cleaning this your whole life? Nope, I personally just rinse between the folds in the shower regularly. No need to chop my labia majora off!

I’ve been trusted that I know what to do with my vulva, and find it rather insulting towards men to assume that they can’t do the same with their foreskins. If my vag starts to smell, that’s my own fault for not keeping up with my hygiene. Any man, circumcised or not, can start to stink if he doesn’t take care of himself. Just like a woman would clean between her folds, so would a man. All of that cutting for nothing!

And now that I’m on the topic of hygiene, smells, genital droppings, etc., let’s talk about more ways a woman can potentially get “dirtier” down there then a man. The vagina secretes mucus throughout the month. The thickness or how watery it is depends on where a woman is in her menstrual cycle. Some women produce more mucus than others. I personally fall on the side of the more slippery vagina (I drip a lot).

This stuff can land in your underwear and tangle up in your pubic hair! And speaking of pubic hair—women have pubes right on the labia majora, which touches the part of her undies where the mucus accumulates. So unless she regularly shaves or waxes, you have to deal with it drying up and binding to your crotch hair (if you’re a “big dripper” like me).

Men don’t grow pubes on their shaft! (Although circumcision can cause this as an injury). The bulk of it is up towards their belly—so I don’t think they have as much of a challenge with the smegma wars as women might. So, do we give electrolysis to all baby girls at birth then? This will prevent them from growing pubic hair in adolescence, leaving no worry of dealing with getting a pubic hair super glued to her panties later on! Or how about we just surgically remove the cervix to prevent the mucus in the first place?

Moving onto the next liquid—blood! Hello, most women BLEED out of their vaginas. EVERY MONTH! Talk about a mess (really though, it's not a big deal)! Should we consider altering this at birth as well to avoid the “messy” monthly Aunt Flo’s visit to our reproductive systems? All of this blood, smegma, and mucus is natural, and easy to keep clean if you have access to running water.

Back to penises. Did you know that the glans (head) of the penis is meant to be an INTERNAL organ and a mucous membrane? If you are unclear of what a mucous membrane is, here is the definition: “A layer of epithelial tissue which lines an area on the body which comes into contact with air.” It is also important to note the following: “They line cavities that are exposed to the external environment and internal organs.” “The secreted mucus traps the pathogens in the body, preventing any further activities of diseases.”

Simply, this means that the prepuce (foreskin) is meant to COVER AND PROTECT the glans of the penis! It is supposed to keep out air and debris, and the glans is supposed to be moist, supple, and shiny. Imagine your eyeballs without eyelids, or your gums without your lips (both of these also being mucous membranes of the human body).

If we routinely removed eyelids at birth, our eyeballs would dry out, and our vision would deteriorate sooner. If we removed our lips, our tongues and gums would dry up affecting taste and overall oral health. If we remove the foreskin, we have a glans that will turn from a moist mucous membrane into a dry, external body part. This changes the entire anatomy of the skin, which over the years often leads to friction, dryness, loss of sensation, keratinization, and callousing.

The mucus that is generated by the foreskin is just like that of the clitoral hood (also a mucous membrane). It is SUPPOSED to be slippery down there, not dry! So no, those “drippings” secreted by intact men are not dirty or gross! It also creates lubrication for sex, the way mucus from a woman does! This “gross” stuff is functional!

Here is where we dive into intercourse and foreskin. Sex is meant to be mucous membrane to mucous membrane grinding. Naturally wet to naturally wet. We aren’t supposed to be relying on all of this KY Jelly, Liquid Silk, Astroglide, or whatever brand of lube you prefer. 

Natural feel? Natural like? It's a replacement for the real thing.

When an intact man thrusts inside a vagina, the gliding foreskin is not only extremely pleasurable for a woman internally, but it continues to collect and retain all of her natural lubrication she has produced from sexual excitement. Without the foreskin, every time the penis pulls out, it takes the natural lubrication with it, exposing it to outside air, and it all evaporates.

This often leads to “dry sex”—excessive friction, a burning feeling inside the vagina, soreness from sex, and a numbness to everything that felt good at the start (for the man and woman). Then you’ve gotta stop what you’re doing to pump artificial moisture from a bottle (which is generally filled with chemicals), and have it shoved in your vagina, at which point you might be totally over it anyway. Now I wonder why many women in America cannot reach orgasm from vaginal intercourse!

To finish off (no pun intended), I want to make something clear. Just because you are circumcised, it doesn’t mean you and your partner cannot enjoy sex. Many men are choosing to restore their foreskin—and I have yet to talk to a man who said every minute of tugging hasn’t been completely worth it—for them and their partners. So if you think that NOT cutting your son is going to create resentment from him later, think of all of the thousands of men every year in America who are now manipulating their penises to regenerate their foreskin that they never had any say over!

Really though, does the fact that most men can still get sexual pleasure after being cut make it ok to keep circumcising innocent babies? And for the record, some men are NOT enjoying sex post-circumcision. Either the circumcision was botched so badly that they needed further amputation, or they were cut so tightly that erections are painful, or the doctor screwed it up so badly that they surgically transitioned the baby into a girl to “make something out of it”, or worse—they died from the procedure. Yes, about 200 babies a year die from this in America, so why aren’t we putting out an infant recall on this “product”?

I’m sick of the lack of education going on about this topic. I’m tired of ignoring the sexual aspect of how circumcision not only affects men, but also women. And I’m tired of people calling an intact penis “ugly”, so choosing to just butcher it to “look like daddy” or “look like America” (or were they all doped up when this all began in the 1800s on some added pro-circ ingredient in Kellogg’s Corn Flakes in the past—yes, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, was one of the BIGGEST influences in our country on circumcision saying it would cure masturbation).

Wake up! THIS IS THE WAY A PENIS IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK! I’d be pretty pissed off if someone took a knife to my vulva against my will just because they wanted it to look like another person's. And is it really about how it LOOKS, or how it FEELS? Oh, guess what? Most countries do not circumcise. Do we hear about all of these infected penises falling off outside of America? Its time to get real. Raise the intact American flags guys (yes, I mean your penises)."

~H.L.

1 comment:

  1. wonderful comparisons - it seems so obvious to most intactivists, but I guess in a culture that is disturbed by any bodily functions whatsoever, we shouldn't be surprised that the general public doesn't think critically about what doctors tell them to do with their genitals.

    I have an awful fear that my mom is going to find out how much I am against circumcision. I have four brothers, all cut. I do not want that subject to come up with her. I mean, it's done, she can't take it back even if I were to convince her, and it's not as if she's out advertising for circumcision. And most of all, I feel like the only thing that would be accomplished is that she would feel attacked and judged for something that really wasn't her fault.

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