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Ask Marilyn—Is a second circumcision advisable?

The penis advice columnDear Marilyn,

The doctor cut off only a little bit of foreskin—way less than I’ve noticed in other circumcised babies his age (4 months)—when she circumcised my son. Should I take him for a second circumcision? Should I do it now or wait until he is older? How old?


Dear Sophia, 

Many doctors are beginning to understand that the extreme removal of foreskin tissue also removes the ability to have a normal, full erection. Without that tissue, men suffer from tight and painful erections. The foreskin is meant to cover and protect the glans (head of the penis) and the urinary meatus (opening). The tissue at the opening of the foreskin contains thousands of nerve endings that provide a male with the ability to ride the wave to orgasm the same way women do. These are cut off with circumcision. This is what doctors should tell parents as part of an “informed” consent, but they often do not understand the protective, immunological, sensitive, and sexual benefits of the foreskin because they themselves are likely circumcised or their spouse is. Hopefully your son’s remaining foreskin will protect enough of his glans to maintain its sensitivity. Many circumcised males are using stretching techniques to re-cover the glans to regain sensitivity and, when your son grows up, should he want to do that, he’ll have a head start.




  • David Biviano

    Reply September 5, 2022 4:37 pm

    I love the way you sensitively educate and advise without criticizing the original circumcision. Hopefully, this baby boy will be spared another genital cutting.

  • restoredguy

    Reply September 5, 2022 5:53 pm

    I can remember, when I was younger, being jealous at finding out that some other guys *didn’t* have tight skin when they got erections. Then I found out that others had tight enough skin to cause painful erections. This is a source of frustration that nobody needs during his teenage or even adult years. Skin is supposed to be there.

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Marilyn Fayre Milos, multiple award winner for her humanitarian work to end routine infant circumcision in the United States and advocating for the rights of infants and children to genital autonomy, has written a warm and compelling memoir of her path to becoming “the founding mother of the intactivist movement.” Needing to support her family as a single mother in the early sixties, Milos taught banjo—having learned to play from Jerry Garcia (later of The Grateful Dead)—and worked as an assistant to comedian and social critic Lenny Bruce, typing out the content of his shows and transcribing court proceedings of his trials for obscenity. After Lenny’s death, she found her voice as an activist as part of the counterculture revolution, living in Haight Ashbury in San Francisco during the 1967 Summer of Love, and honed her organizational skills by creating an alternative education open classroom (still operating) in Marin County. 

After witnessing the pain and trauma of the circumcision of a newborn baby boy when she was a nursing student at Marin College, Milos learned everything she could about why infants were subjected to such brutal surgery. The more she read and discovered, the more convinced she became that circumcision had no medical benefits. As a nurse on the obstetrical unit at Marin General Hospital, she committed to making sure parents understood what circumcision entailed before signing a consent form. Considered an agitator and forced to resign in 1985, she co-founded NOCIRC (National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers) and began organizing international symposia on circumcision, genital autonomy, and human rights. Milos edited and published the proceedings from the above-mentioned symposia and has written numerous articles in her quest to end circumcision and protect children’s bodily integrity. She currently serves on the board of directors of Intact America.


Georganne Chapin is a healthcare expert, attorney, social justice advocate, and founding executive director of Intact America, the nation’s most influential organization opposing the U.S. medical industry’s penchant for surgically altering the genitals of male children (“circumcision”). Under her leadership, Intact America has definitively documented tactics used by U.S. doctors and healthcare facilities to pathologize the male foreskin, pressure parents into circumcising their sons, and forcibly retract the foreskins of intact boys, creating potentially lifelong, iatrogenic harm. 

Chapin holds a BA in Anthropology from Barnard College, and a Master’s degree in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. For 25 years, she served as president and chief executive officer of Hudson Health Plan, a nonprofit Medicaid insurer in New York’s Hudson Valley. Mid-career, she enrolled in an evening law program, where she explored the legal and ethical issues underlying routine male circumcision, a subject that had interested her since witnessing the aftermath of the surgery conducted on her younger brother. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Pace University School of Law in 2003, and was subsequently admitted to the New York Bar. As an adjunct professor, she taught Bioethics and Medicaid and Disability Law at Pace, and Bioethics in Dominican College’s doctoral program for advanced practice nurses.

In 2004, Chapin founded the nonprofit Hudson Center for Health Equity and Quality, a company that designs software and provides consulting services designed to reduce administrative complexities, streamline and integrate data collection and reporting, and enhance access to care for those in need. In 2008, she co-founded Intact America.

Chapin has published many articles and op-ed essays, and has been interviewed on local, national and international television, radio and podcasts about ways the U.S. healthcare system prioritizes profits over people’s basic needs. She cites routine (nontherapeutic) infant circumcision as a prime example of a practice that wastes money and harms boys and the men they will become. This Penis Business: A Memoir is her first book.