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The Harm of Circumcision

  • George C. DennistonEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

Advocates for circumcision employ the veneer of science in an attempt to conceal that they are apologists for the procedure rather than impartial researchers. Furthermore, unlike genuine scientists who would welcome all evidence about circumcision’s consequences, advocates ignore and actively work to suppress scientific evidence demonstrating the short-term and long-term negative sequelae of the surgical alteration of the penis. Consequently, the public is largely ignorant of the extent of the harm caused by circumcision. While the reality of immediate surgical error, such as injury to the glans, loss of the entire penis, gangrene, severe hemorrhage, and even death are grudgingly acknowledged, though downplayed as rare, advocates for circumcision refuse to acknowledge the large body of scientific research showing long-term and permanent negative sequelae to the penis and to sexual function caused by destruction and amputation of the prepuce. Moreover, in addition to the physical and sexological consequences, a body of research now documents that the surgery also has psychological and cultural consequences. This would naturally be expected when such a psychologically significant part of the body such as the penis is surgically altered. These deleterious physical, sexological, psychological, and cultural sequelae of circumcision not only affect the individual, but also affect human relationships and the ethics and mores of the afflicted society, as is demonstrated by the peculiar dynamics of societies that tolerate, encourage, or enforce circumcision.

Keywords

Circumcision Harm Sexology Ethics 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Family MedicineUniversity of WashingtonNordlandUSA

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