G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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I have a post up at GMP about circumcision and the Association of American Pediatrics’ switch towards favoring neonatal circumcision. After holding a neutral stance since 1999, the AAP was compelled to move by research coming out of Africa which showed that circumcision cut HIV/AIDS transmission rates by up to 60%.
As a Danish researcher, Dr. Morten Frisch, told me (whose research I came by through Razib Khan’s blog), what applies to Africa does not apply to the West.
From there I briefly explore the origins of circumcision through human history and up through Judaism and then to the Anglo Saxon world. I came across some interesting evolutionary biology research conducted by Christopher Wilson who finds a link between male genital mutilation and polygyny. It’s the same story – mate-guarding due to uncertain paternity. From that basic desire to control “destructive” male behavior and sexuality, the Anglo-Saxon world adopted the practice during the hysteria over masturbation during the 19th century.
Frisch found in his research that circumcised men are more likely to have functionary sexual issues i.e. achieving orgasm, sexual fulfillment. He finds the same for the female partners of circumcised men. Wilson believes that circumcising males screws with sexual mechanics. Though some societies mutilate males by crushing a testicle or incising the base of their penis to limit semen flow, the foreskin circumcision may serve the same purpose of limiting the sexual potency of young novel suitors. We wouldn’t now think of circumcision in this way and we wouldn’t notice it’s effects in society. Wilson doesn’t make any “masculist” judgements on this, but one would think that the systemic snipping of the male penis would have some sort of reverberating social and cultural effects.