DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE EFFECTS OF CIRCUMCISION?

This is the fourth in a series of informational essays by Marilyn Milos, RN, founder of the National Organization of Circumcision Resource Centers and a pioneer in the movement to end the forced circumcision of boys in the United States. Marilyn is also a member of Intact America's Steering Committee. If you have a question you'd like Marilyn to address, send us an email!

Infant circumcision is a primal wound that:

  • Interferes with the maternal/infant bond.
  • Disrupts breastfeeding.
  • Disturbs the baby's (and mother's) normal sleep patterns.
  • Hurts the baby, even if/when analgesia is used.
  • Leaves physical scars, including the scar on the remnant foreskin and damaged head of the penis.
  • Leaves psychological scars (including adverse response to pain from later procedures).
  • Undermines the baby's first developmental task of establishing trust.

Male circumcision also affects the adult man's sexual partners:

  • The gliding mechanism of the foreskin allows for ease of intromission (insertion). But, when a dry, calloused glans comes in contact with the sensitive mucosal tissue of the partner, it causes chafing and painful intercourse.
  • With every withdrawal stroke during intercourse, the corona (widest part) of the glans scrapes lubrication out of the vagina, adding to the problem of chafing.
  • The movements a circumcised male needs to ejaculate — long strokes to stimulate whatever is left of the remaining specialized sensitive tissue of the penis — are not compatible with the movements a woman needs to reach orgasm — short strokes that keep the man's body in contact with hers.

—Marilyn Milos, RN

For more information about the foreskin, please download our Foreskin Facts information sheet and share it with your friends, doctors, and anyone you know who may have a baby on the way or is thinking about becoming a parent.