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 DATE: January 4, 1999          CONTACT: Tim Hammond  415-826-9351



A three-year survey of American men identifies adverse physical, sexual and psychological effects from infant circumcision. The survey, A Preliminary Poll of Men Circumcised in Infancy or Childhood, appears in a supplement to the January issue of BJU International (British Journal of Urology).

Survey coordinator Tim Hammond said respondents noted prominent scarring (33%), pain and/or bleeding upon erection (16%), progressive sensitivity loss (61% ) and orgasmic difficulties (40%). Most were circumcised for social, not religious, reasons.

Respondents said they felt mutilated (60%), had low self-esteem or a sense of inferiority to intact (non-circumcised) men (50%), and reported that their circumcised condition impeded intimacy with their sexual partners (41%). Others reported that the unnatural dryness of their circumcised penis caused their wives to suffer vaginal dryness, pain and bleeding during sexual intercourse.

More than half of respondents had not sought help for their suffering because they thought no recourse was available, were embarrassed, feared ridicule, or mistrusted doctors. Numerous respondents reported using non-surgical ‘uncircumcision’ methods to restore their foreskin.

According to Hammond, "This is a self-selected population, better educated than most men about important foreskin functions and circumcision’s effects." He cautioned, "They may not represent the average man circumcised in childhood, but may be a vanguard," adding, "Consistently, body image surveys find that 20% of circumcised men are dissatisfied with this genital alteration imposed by their parents." Hammond urged randomized scientific study into circumcision’s long-term consequences.

Another article in the BJU International supplement describes the immunological functions of the inner lining of the male foreskin, which may offer men important protection from sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS. Other articles examine the ineffectiveness of pain relief for infant circumcision; the psychological, religious and tribal aspects of circumcision; and the legal, ethical and human rights considerations surrounding non-therapeutic circumcision of unconsenting children.

The United States is the only medically-advanced nation that continues to circumcise the majority of its male newborns (60%) for non-medical and non-religious reasons. Medical associations in Australia, Britain and Canada, where circumcision was once common, now discourage the practice. The American Academy of Pediatrics is expected to release an updated position statement on circumcision sometime in 1999. Since 1989, the Academy has maintained a neutral circumcision policy.

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National Organization to Halt the Abuse and Routine Mutilation of Males
 P.O. Box 460795 San Francisco, CA 94146-0795        Tel 415.826.9351  Fax 415.642.3700
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