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6 Things You Need to Know About The Intact Penis

6 Things You Need to Know About The Intact Penis

Circumcision, the surgical procedure involving the removal of the foreskin covering the tip of the penis, has deep historical roots spanning millennia. It is intertwined with cultural, religious, and medical practices worldwide. Conversely, the decision to remain intact, preserving the foreskin, presents a range of benefits and considerations that are often overshadowed by the prevalence of circumcision and the spread of misinformation by the medical establishment. This article will explain the advantages and critical aspects of being intact, fostering a platform for informed decision-making and comprehensive understanding.

Must-know Information About The Intact Penis

1) Exploring the Intact Penis in Depth

Understanding the anatomy of the intact penis reveals the importance of the foreskin. This natural covering offers lubrication and is crucial in maintaining sensitivity and protecting against external irritants and infections. The foreskin’s presence significantly contributes to sexual sensitivity due to the dense concentration of nerve endings within its structure. 

The foreskin on an intact penis plays several roles:

  • It serves as a protective sheath for the glans, shielding it from irritation and contaminants.
  • Provides erogenous nerve endings that contribute to sexual pleasure.
  • Offers natural lubrication and facilitates the gliding motion during sexual activities.
  • Helps maintain the moisture of the glans, keeping it sensitive and protected.
  • In infants, it’s fused to the glans, protecting it from direct exposure to urine and feces.

2) Tracing the Historical and Cultural Significance

The practice of circumcision is deeply embedded in cultural and religious contexts, with various communities viewing it as a symbolic rite, a religious mandate, or a hygiene practice. However, evolving perspectives within the medical field have sparked debates regarding the purported health advantages of circumcision (which have been disproven upon further research) versus the ethical consideration of bodily autonomy. These debates underscore the importance of recognizing and respecting cultural beliefs and narratives that shape perceptions surrounding circumcision and the identity associated with being intact. By exploring the historical and cultural significance in greater detail, we gain a deeper understanding of the multifaceted layers that contribute to the ongoing discourse surrounding male circumcision practices worldwide.

Ancient Egyptians were among the earliest known practitioners of circumcision, possibly for reasons related to hygiene, religious beliefs, or social identity. This tradition persists today in diverse cultures and religions, such as Judaism and Islam, each with unique historical and cultural importance.

In addition, the impact of circumcision on sexual function and pleasure has been a topic of interest in recent studies. Research shows that the presence of the foreskin enhances sexual experiences for males due to the unique sensations it provides during intimacy. This aspect adds another dimension to the conversation surrounding circumcision and underscores the need for a comprehensive examination of the factors influencing individual choices regarding genital modifications.

3) Medical Perspectives on Circumcision

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that it is not medically necessary to circumcise.

When considering circumcision, proponents often highlight the supposed medical benefits, such as the reduced risks of urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and certain sexually transmitted infections. These reported advantages are statistically insignificant, with the proven disadvantages, dangers, and traumas caused by circumcision easily outweighing them. Critics of circumcision and fellow intactivists demand the necessity for more conclusive evidence to support the routine practice of circumcision. Concerns are raised regarding the risks and long-term effects, such as diminished sensitivity and the psychological impact on individuals undergoing the procedure.

Click here to learn more about how circumcision injuries are underreported

Noteworthy health organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization advocate for a balanced approach, encouraging individuals to thoroughly evaluate the benefits against the risks and cultural considerations before opting for circumcision.

The medical establishment’s promotion of circumcision has been influenced by various factors over the years, including historical medical theories, cultural practices, and financial incentives. Some critics argue that the perpetuation of circumcision by healthcare providers may not always be driven by clear medical necessity but rather by tradition, societal norms, or potential revenue.

This Penis Business, by Georganne Chapin

4) Benefits of Being Intact

In contrast to circumcision, maintaining natural sensitivity by remaining intact offers real, unique, proven advantages. Intact individuals avoid potential risks associated with circumcision, like the risk of infection and complications during the healing process. Furthermore, choosing not to undergo circumcision respects the principle of bodily autonomy, empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their own bodies. In addressing misconceptions surrounding hygiene and sexual performance in intact individuals, it is crucial to emphasize that proper hygiene practices can effectively address any concerns that may arise.

Benefits of being intact include:

  • Natural protection of the glans, maintaining its sensitivity.
  • Presence of erogenous tissue contributing to sexual pleasure.
  • Natural lubrication during sexual activity.
  • Avoidance of potential surgical risks and complications.
  • Preservation of the foreskin’s immunological functions.

Click here to learn more about how to keep your son intact

5) Caring for an Intact Penis

While hygiene is paramount for overall health, ensuring proper care for an intact penis is of utmost importance. Regular and gentle cleansing beneath the foreskin is essential to prevent the buildup of smegma, a natural secretion that, when neglected, can result in irritation and discomfort. Educating parents and individuals about the significance of gentle retraction and thorough cleaning techniques is critical to promoting optimal health outcomes and reducing the risks associated with inadequate hygiene practices. By raising awareness and fostering understanding of these care practices, individuals can effectively uphold good genital hygiene, improving their overall well-being and quality of life.

Caring for an intact penis involves simple steps that ensure cleanliness and avoid potential issues:

  • Wash gently with water, avoiding forceful retraction of the foreskin.
  • Clean the visible parts without using harsh soaps inside the foreskin.
  • Allow the foreskin to retract naturally over time, without forcing it.
  • After natural retraction, rinse under the foreskin during regular bathing.
  • Dry the penis gently after washing to prevent moisture buildup.

6) Ethical and Human Rights Considerations

The decision to perform circumcision for non-medical motives is an ethical and human rights violation concerning the child’s entitlement to bodily integrity and self-governance. 

Male circumcision, particularly when performed on non-consenting infants, arguing that it may infringe upon an individual’s right to bodily integrity and autonomy.

Across various societies, circumcision holds a deep-rooted cultural significance and historical context. However, opponents and intactivist organizations much like our own, stress the importance of upholding personal autonomy and bodily integrity. These deliberations advocate for delaying irreversible choices until the individual can actively engage in the decision-making process, thereby nurturing a culture of respecting personal autonomy and prioritizing well-informed consent.

The decision between opting for circumcision or remaining intact is a life-altering one, influenced by an array of factors such as cultural traditions, societal conditioning, religious pressures, and medical misinformation. Our hope is that you fully comprehend the impact of the physiological, psychological, and ethical aspects associated with the decision to circumcise or protect the intact penis. By promoting transparent discussions and facilitating informed decision-making, individuals and parents can navigate this intricate subject matter while upholding principles of health, personal well-being, and autonomy. For those seeking additional insights and support, a plethora of resources are accessible through health institutions and advocacy organizations devoted to furnishing comprehensive details on this specific topic.

Click here to learn more about intactivism.

At Intact America, we emphasize that there’s no medical justification for routine circumcision. Circumcision permanently changes a boy’s genitals, removing protective tissue, and exposing him to risks without meaningful benefits. Care for an intact penis is straightforward, requiring no special treatment. It’s important for parents to consider these points, as circumcision is irreversible and often life-altering. For more detailed information, read further on our website and consider joining the intactivist movement.

People Also Ask These Questions About The Intact Penis

Is circumcision necessary for hygiene?

No, proper hygiene for an intact penis is simple and does not require circumcision. Gentle washing is more than sufficient.

Does circumcision prevent diseases?

Claims that circumcision prevents diseases are often overstated. While it is true that circumcision has been associated with a reduced risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), the severity of the risks, dangers, and long-term traumas far outweigh the statistically insignificant (purported) benefits. UTIs and STDs can still occur in individuals regardless of their circumcision status. It’s important to consider all aspects and consult healthcare professionals for comprehensive advice on sexual health.

Is caring for an intact penis difficult?

No, it requires no special care beyond normal hygiene practices. It is important to emphasize not forcibly retracting the foreskin in young boys, as this can cause injury and lead to issues in the future. Gentle cleaning with water is usually sufficient to maintain good hygiene.

Does circumcision offer any medical benefits?

The purported medical benefits of circumcision have been a topic of debate within the medical community. The discussion concerns whether these claimed benefits genuinely outweigh the risks and loss of protective and erogenous tissue. Numerous studies and opinions contribute to this ongoing dialogue, highlighting the complexity of the issue and the importance of informed decision-making in matters related to circumcision.

Can circumcision impact sexual pleasure?

Yes, the foreskin is a highly sensitive part of the male anatomy and contains numerous nerve endings that play a crucial role in sexual pleasure. These nerve endings, which are rich in sensory receptors, contribute significantly to the overall experience of intimacy and pleasure during sexual activities. During circumcision, the removal of the foreskin results in the loss of these nerve endings, potentially impacting sexual sensations and experiences for individuals later in life.

What Do The Eyelids, Lips, Fingertips & The Intact Penis Have in Common?

What Do The Eyelids, Lips, Fingertips & The Intact Penis Have in Common?

Take a moment to imagine the gentle flutter of eyelids in the soft, warm morning light as the sunlight filters through. Picture the tender press of soft lips in a loving kiss, a moment filled with warmth and affection.

Visualize the skillful dance of nimble fingertips on a keyboard, effortlessly gliding across the keys, creating a symphony of words and ideas.

Now, consider the natural function of the intact penis, a marvel of nature’s design, with its intricate network of blood vessels and sensitive nerve endings, providing pleasure and serving an essential role in reproduction. These body parts, seemingly distinct in purpose, are interconnected through fascinating physiological characteristics of sensitivity, protection, and intricate structural complexity.

In this article, you will discover:

  • The remarkable sensitivity shared by these body parts and their importance.
  • How they play a protective role in human physiology.
  • The unique structural adaptations that enhance their functions.

Let us explore the shared attributes of these body parts and uncover the significance behind their similarities.

1) Exquisite Sensitivity: A Symphony of Nerve Endings

One of the major similarities among these body parts is their concentration of nerve endings, giving them an extraordinary sensitivity to touch. This sensitivity is critically essential. For instance, the fingertips, with their abundance of nerve endings, enable us to manipulate objects and discern textures with finesse, facilitating skills ranging from typing to tactile recognition. 

Moreover, the lips and foreskin, exquisitely sensitive, contribute to an array of intimate sensations, heightening sexual pleasure and forging deeper emotional bonds. Meanwhile, the vigilant reflexes of the eyelids protect our eyes, reacting swiftly to the faintest hint of potential harm, ensuring their safety and well-being.

The eyelids, lips, fingertips, and intact penis are all covered in Meissner’s corpuscles, which are specialized nerve endings that serve as the gatekeepers of touch, allowing us to discern the gentlest caress or the slightest variation in texture. These microscopic sensors heighten the sensitivity of the fingertips, lips, and other touch-sensitive regions while enriching our tactile interaction with the world.

“The ridged band on the male foreskin (removed during circumcision) contains thousands of Meissner’s corpuscules, special light-touch nerve endings, located in glabrous (hairless) skin in other areas of the body, including the eyelids, lips, fingertips, and palm of the hand. During sex or masturbation, these nerve endings give a man feedback about where he is in the ejaculatory process. The frenulum (“little bridle”), the structure on the underside of the penis that keeps the foreskin in place (much as the frenulum under your tongue keeps it from flopping around inside your mouth) also contains Meissner’s corpuscules.” 

— Georganne Chapin, Founding Executive Director of Intact America and author of “This Penis Business

This Penis Business, by Georganne Chapin

2) Guardians of the Body: A Protective Role

Beyond their sensitivity, each delicate area fulfills a vital protective function. The eyelids function as stalwart shields for our precious eyes, shielding them from harmful debris and excessive light that could cause damage. As guardians of the gateway to our digestive system, the lips possess temperature and texture sensitivity, preventing harm before it can breach our bodies. 

Fingertips, despite their sensitivity, possess a resilient layer of skin that shields us from physical injury, allowing us to explore and interact with the world fearlessly. Likewise, the foreskin assumes a pivotal role in safeguarding the glans penis, preserving its sensitivity, cleanliness, and overall integrity, and ensuring optimal sexual function and well-being.

3) Unparalleled Structure: Adaptations for Excellence

In addition to their sensitivity and protective functions, these body parts showcase unique structural adaptations that enhance their capabilities. The eyelids can blink reflexively, an indispensable response to potential eye damage, ensuring our delicate ocular organs’ continuous and uninterrupted protection. The lips exhibit astonishing flexibility, essential for speech and nourishment consumption; their movements can express many emotions, fostering effective communication and connection with others. Fingertips, distinguished by their distinctive fingerprints, enhance our grip and tactile interaction with the world, allowing us to navigate objects and surfaces with precision and skill. As for the foreskin, its retractability supports optimal hygiene and sexual function.

4) Abundant in Blood Vessels: The Essence of Life

These regions, whether the fingertips tingling with sensation or the lips feeling the warmth of a smile, share a trait of being abundantly supplied with intricate networks of blood vessels. This rich vascular bed enhances its sensitivity to the world around us. It plays a pivotal role in maintaining our body’s equilibrium by regulating temperature and aiding in healing. These vessels also allow for swift adaptation to the changing environment, unveiling the body’s awe-inspiring capacity for defense and rejuvenation.

5) Mucous Membranes: The Barrier Against Pathogens

Except for the fingertips, these body parts are distinguished by mucous membranes, delicate linings that stand as the body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens. These moisture-rich barriers, distinct from the protective outer skin layer, act as vigilant shields, fortifying the body’s immune system against external threats. From the tender inner surfaces of the eyelids to the supple texture of the lips and the protective folds of the inner foreskin, mucous membranes envelop these regions, underscoring their indispensable role in shielding the body from harm.

Exploring the connections between the eyelids, lips, fingertips, and intact penis reveals their shared attributes of sensitivity, protective functions, unique structures, rich vascularization, and the presence of mucous membranes. Our bodies showcase marvels of natural design, with each part playing a critical role in our interactions and connections with the world.

Recognizing these similarities deepens our admiration for the human body’s complexity and emphasizes the importance of preserving its natural state and functions. The foreskin, akin to the eyelids, lips, and fingertips, is a vital component of this beautifully complex system, serving to protect, sense, and engage with the environment uniquely.

Why Intactivism Matters

As a pioneer in advocating for all individuals’ bodily autonomy and integrity, Intact America urges you to support our mission to protect and honor the natural human form. Understanding the significance of each body part in our health, sensation, and well-being empowers us to make informed choices that uphold our body’s natural design.

Join forces with Intact America

Embrace the body’s natural design and champion efforts to preserve bodily integrity. Whether you seek information, wish to contribute, or aim to participate, explore Intact America’s website today. Let’s unite to raise awareness and champion a world where every individual’s bodily autonomy and human rights are respected and fiercely defended.

Join Intact America in our mission.

 

Keeping Your Son’s Penis Intact: A Guide for Parents

Keeping Your Son’s Penis Intact: A Guide for Parents

Discussions of whether or not to keep your son’s penis intact have been gaining increasing momentum. With the intactivist movement calling for a comprehensive understanding of the dangers and consequences of circumcision, what was once regarded as a customary minor medical procedure has become controversial, with passionate discussions about the physical, emotional, psychological, and ethical issues surrounding the practice. Intact America can provide a forum for you to learn about how to protect your son’s right to bodily autonomy and keep him intact and natural. 

Medical Perspective on Circumcision

In recent years, the medical perspective on circumcision has undergone a remarkable transformation. Once touted for its purported health benefits, now debunked, challenges to the efficacy of circumcision have caused medical experts to offer a more nuanced view. The American Academy of Pediatrics, for example, no longer promotes this unnecessary surgery on infants as a given, handing over the responsibility of the decision to parents. However, there is still a lack of focus on the importance of carefully weighing the risks and ethical considerations of circumcision. It is essential to recognize the extreme dangers and complications that accompany any surgical procedure as opposed to buying into the social, cultural, and medical conditioning that has convinced the public that this elective surgery is essential.

Moreover, the impact of circumcision on sexual sensitivity and function later in life has become a focal point of contemporary discussions. As parents navigate this decision, it is crucial to understand the evolving medical landscape, which now emphasizes individual choice and comprehensive, informed consent. Since comprehensive information is not always available in your doctor’s office before birth and consent forms provided by hospitals vary in the information given to parents, it is essential to inform yourself. Intact America’s goal is to ensure that parents are empowered to make informed decisions for their sons while advocating for awareness and understanding within our society.

Psychological and Ethical Considerations of Circumcision

As individuals who were circumcised as infants grow older and become more aware of the procedure, they may grapple with complex emotions. The alteration of one’s body without personal consent can sometimes evoke feelings of violation, loss, or resentment. These emotional aspects highlight the need for parents to engage in open and empathetic discussions with their children about choices regarding their bodies. As Marilyn Milos pointed out in her memoir Please Don’t Cut the Baby!What I learned from the men who shared their experiences with me was that every man who has a scar on his penis also has a scar on his psyche.” 

The ethical debate surrounding circumcision centers on the concept of informed consent. Infants cannot provide informed consent for medical procedures, raising ethical concerns about performing circumcision on those unable to express their preferences. This ethical dilemma has sparked discussions about whether circumcision should be postponed until individuals can make informed decisions about their bodies, which gives parents and our society the right to make irreversible choices for children before they can fully comprehend the full spectrum of implications for their bodies. Thus, the ethical considerations surrounding circumcision emphasize the importance of respecting bodily autonomy and making decisions that prioritize an individual’s right to self-determination.

Caring for an Intact Penis

Caring for an intact penis is a straightforward and essential aspect of maintaining good genital health. Unlike circumcision, which may involve specific post-operative care, an intact penis requires no special maintenance during infancy or childhood. The primary rule for basic hygiene is to gently clean the external area of the penis, known as the glans, with warm water and mild soap during a child’s bath. There is no need to retract the foreskin forcefully, as it naturally separates from the glans over time. Forcing retraction can cause pain, injury, and potential scarring. As children mature, they can be taught to retract and clean under the foreskin themselves once it separates naturally, typically by adolescence. This simple hygiene routine helps prevent irritation and infection while maintaining the penis’s natural function.

It’s important to address common misconceptions and myths surrounding intact penises. One prevalent misconception is that an intact penis is inherently less hygienic than a circumcised one. In reality, proper hygiene for an intact penis is easy to achieve with regular washing, and there is no increased risk of infection or odor. Another myth is that circumcision is necessary to prevent certain medical conditions, like urinary tract infections. Medical organizations, however, stress that these risks are relatively low and can be mitigated with good hygiene practices. Understanding these misconceptions is crucial for parents and individuals alike to make an informed decision regarding the care of intact penises.

Legal and Human Rights Perspective on Circumcision

The legal status of circumcision varies significantly across countries. While some nations have stringent laws governing circumcision, others prioritize individual choice. In certain countries, circumcision is performed for medical or religious reasons, while in others, it is subject to specific circumstances or parental consent. As awareness grows about bodily autonomy and informed decision-making, many countries are moving towards stricter regulations on non-consensual circumcision. This shift reflects a deeper understanding of and respect for individual rights. Advocates are working tirelessly to raise awareness and promote informed choices regarding circumcision. The legal landscape surrounding circumcision is complex, and it is important to stay informed about the various cultural, medical, and legal aspects involved. 

While some individuals have taken legal action against hospitals, healthcare providers, or individuals involved in circumcisions, the outcomes have been mixed. Here are a few notable cases:

  • David J. Llewellyn v. Greater Baltimore Medical Center: In 2006, a Maryland man filed a lawsuit against the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and a doctor for circumcising him as a baby without his parents’ consent. The case alleged that the circumcision was performed negligently, and the plaintiff sought damages. The lawsuit was initially dismissed, but the Maryland Court of Special Appeals later revived it. Ultimately, the case settled out of court in 2012, with the terms remaining confidential.
  • Doctor Accused of Wrongful Circumcision in Florida: In 2018, a Florida family sued a doctor and his practice for performing a circumcision on their son without proper consent. The family alleged negligence and emotional distress. The case resulted in a confidential settlement.
  • Maimonides Medical Center Circumcision Controversy: In 2013, a controversy arose at Maimonides Medical Center in New York when it was revealed that some infants had contracted herpes following circumcisions. The practice involved a specific form of Jewish ritual circumcision called metzitzah b’peh. This led to a public health debate and discussions about regulating the practice more closely, but it did not result in a legal case.

From a human rights standpoint, the circumcision of infants and children brings forth significant ethical considerations. Human rights organizations strongly emphasize the principle of bodily autonomy, asserting that individuals should have the right to decide about their bodies when they can give informed consent. This perspective calls into question the practice of circumcising infants who are unable to provide such consent and brings attention to the ethical concerns surrounding the procedure. While we value and respect cultural and religious traditions, it is important to strike a balance with an individual’s fundamental human rights, including the right to choose what happens to their own body. 

Birth Plan Checklist (Specify “Do Not Circumcise”)

Medical professionals undoubtedly have a critical role in childbirth, but it is equally important for parents to actively engage in discussions about circumcision and assert their preferences directly. Relying solely on trust in healthcare providers can sometimes lead to misunderstandings or assumptions. Open and respectful communication is the key to ensuring that the medical team acknowledges the parents’ decision not to circumcise their child. This dialogue also presents an opportunity to address any queries or concerns, fostering a collaborative and well-informed approach to care.

When crafting a birth plan, expecting parents have a unique opportunity to express their preferences and desires for their child’s birth and care. For those who opt not to proceed with circumcision, it is crucial to explicitly state “Do Not Circumcise” in the birth plan. This direct and unequivocal communication with healthcare providers ensures that the medical team fully documents and comprehends the decision. A meticulously structured birth plan empowers parents to be staunch advocates for their child’s rights and choices right from the moment of birth, underscoring their unwavering commitment to upholding the child’s bodily autonomy.

Key Authority Figures and Forces Pressuring Circumcision

Navigating the social and cultural pressures surrounding the decision of circumcision can pose a significant challenge for parents. In specific communities or cultural traditions, circumcision is profoundly ingrained and regarded as a rite of passage or cultural norm. These expectations can exert considerable pressure on parents to conform to established practices. However, parents must remember that their decisions must prioritize the well-being and autonomy of their child. It is perfectly acceptable for parents to make choices that align with their values, beliefs, and desire to keep their son intact, above all else.

Having effective strategies for engaging in conversations about the circumcision decision is crucial for maintaining open and respectful dialogue with family members, friends, and healthcare providers. Providing educational resources and credible information can help dispel misconceptions and foster informed discussions. Encouraging open communication with healthcare providers is also paramount, including giving them a copy of your birthing preferences, such as clearly stating that your son will remain intact. Ultimately, navigating social and cultural pressures requires balancing respecting tradition and making decisions that prioritize the child’s best interests.

Key authority figures and forces that may exert pressure or influence regarding circumcision include:

Medical Professionals:

  • Pediatricians: Pediatricians often provide information about circumcision and may recommend it based on their medical expertise.
  • Obstetricians: Obstetricians may discuss circumcision options with parents during pregnancy or childbirth.

Religious Leaders:

  • Rabbis: In Jewish communities, rabbis play a central role in promoting and performing circumcision (bris or brit milah) on male infants as a religious covenant.
  • Imams: In Islamic traditions, imams or religious leaders may advocate for male circumcision as a religious practice (sunnah).

Family and Cultural Expectations:

  • Grandparents: Older generations within a family may strongly advocate for circumcision based on cultural or traditional beliefs.
  • Cultural Norms: Communities with deep-rooted circumcision traditions may place significant cultural pressure on parents to conform.

Peer Influence:

  • Friends and Relatives: Circumcision choices made by friends or relatives who have circumcised their sons can influence parental decisions.

Circumcision Misconceptions:

  • Health Benefits Misconceptions: Parents may be influenced by misconceptions about circumcision, such as the belief that it reduces the risk of certain diseases or infections.

Medical Institutions:

  • Hospital Policies: Some hospitals may have policies that present circumcision as a routine procedure, potentially influencing parental decisions.

Media and Information Sources:

  • Internet and Social Media: Online sources and social media platforms can disseminate information and opinions about circumcision, impacting parents’ perceptions.

Protecting Your Son from Circumcision 

To protect your son from such pressures, prioritize open and respectful communication. Engage in sincere conversations with your family, expressing your reasons for choosing not to opt for circumcision and seeking their understanding and support. Education plays a crucial role in this regard; provide them with reliable information about the pros and cons of circumcision, emphasizing your unwavering dedication to your child’s well-being and autonomy.

When faced with cultural or religious pressures, seek guidance from community leaders or members who share your perspective or advocate for individual choice. You can connect with like-minded individuals facing similar pressures by joining support groups or organizations championing bodily autonomy. Lastly, ensure that your healthcare provider is fully aware of your decision by explicitly stating it in your birth plan and discussing it during prenatal visits. Choose a provider who respects your choices and prioritizes informed consent, and be prepared to seek a second opinion if necessary. Ultimately, protecting your son from circumcision pressure requires the establishment of a robust support system, staying well-informed, and advocating for your child’s rights and choices.

Parenthood is a remarkable journey filled with choices that shape your child’s well-being and autonomy. When it comes to circumcision, it’s a deeply personal decision that requires thoughtful consideration. Remember that you can prioritize your child’s welfare despite cultural, medical, and societal pressures.

Seek knowledge, engage in open dialogue, and advocate for your child’s rights. The discourse around circumcision highlights the importance of individual choice, informed consent, and respecting bodily autonomy. By staying informed and standing up for your beliefs, you can protect your son and keep his body whole and his penis in its natural state. 

To learn more and join the conversation for change, explore the resources provided by Intact America, an organization dedicated to protecting children’s rights to make decisions about their bodies.

Forcible Foreskin Retraction: When Intact Do Not Retract!

Forcible Foreskin Retraction: When Intact Do Not Retract!

Forcible foreskin retraction, which is the practice of pulling back a child’s foreskin to any degree, is an issue in the United States. At Intact America, most of the complaints we have received about this practice come from parents of boys who have suffered from the irreversible harm caused by forcible foreskin retraction. Regrettably, these incidents often take place during regular check-ups for infants and children. Countless more incidents go unreported because many parents are not informed about the negative effects and long-term damage caused by forced foreskin retraction. Many of these attacks against the natural penis occur without warning, without a parent’s consent, and during routine well-baby visits and pediatric appointments. Some of the most horrific incidents of forcible foreskin retraction have happened when a parent has brought their child into an emergency room for a completely unrelated accident or illness.

“Early one morning, I received a phone call from a distraught mother, who had brought her intact 2-year-old son into the ER with a 104-degree temperature because she suspected he had COVID-19. The nurse opened his diaper and began messing with his penis. The mother realized she was trying to retract his foreskin and told her to stop. The nurse ignored her and continued to yank on the tender skin. The mother’s instincts proved correct on both fronts. Her son did have COVID-19 and the nurse had done considerable damage to her child. Heartbreakingly, the mother told her on the way home he was pointing to his diaper and crying ‘mommy, owee, owee.'”

– Georganne Chapin, Founding Executive Director of Intact America and Author of This Penis Business (Lucid House Publishing, 2024)

An intact baby’s foreskin naturally adheres to the penis, will retract in time with no force, and requires no treatment. This is called “physiological phimosis.” Although it is common for parents and even healthcare providers to be concerned about a tight foreskin, it is normal in babies and young boys. Foreskins will retract naturally, and almost all do so by the age of 17 (1). It is the natural covering of the highly sensitive head of the penis.

When the skin is forcibly retracted, “pathological phimosis” can occur, which can lead to bleeding, scarring, and psychological trauma for the child and parent. Because American culture has been underexposed to intact penises with foreskins, even healthcare providers sometimes do not know that a non-retractable foreskin is natural and normal in childhood, and they often force retraction, leading to pathological phimosis issues.

Is there a difference between forced retraction, foreskin retraction, and forcible retraction?

The answer is no. Forcing the foreskin of the penis to retract abruptly or excessively—separating the foreskin from the glans or head of the penis to expose it—goes against the natural development and anatomical state of the foreskin and can cause several complications.

Why is it done?  Pure ignorance.

By whom?  Parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers, including doctors and nurses. Many healthcare professionals are foreskin phobic and even medical textbooks often fail to show an intact penis.

Solution?  Know the anatomical function of the foreskin and its characteristics, and inform everyone not to retract their baby’s foreskin.

newborn baby crying after circumcision

Risks of Forcible Foreskin Retraction

1. Pain and Discomfort: Forcing the retraction of the foreskin can cause the foreskin’s delicate tissues to tear or become irritated, leading to inflammation, pain, and possible injury.

2. Infection: The foreskin provides natural protection to the penis from harmful bacteria and pathogens. When it is forcefully retracted, this natural protection is compromised, making the penis more vulnerable to inflammation, and urinary tract infections.

3. Balanitis (inflammation of the head of the penis): The balano-preputial lamina is a protective membrane that may be attached to the foreskin at birth acting like a “male hymen” to keep the sensitive area clean and safe. This will gradually recede and disappear.

4. Scarring and adhesions: Retracting the foreskin forcefully may result in scarring and adhesions that cause discomfort, limit movement, and make it hard for the foreskin to naturally retract later on.

5. Psychological impact: The experience of having the foreskin forcibly retracted is the same as any reaction to an aggressive assault on the body: fear, shock, and pain.

Why Is Forced Foreskin Retraction Still Happening?

“If we look at a penis with its prepuce intact and discard the myths we’ve been told (e.g. the foreskin is “dirty” and “extra skin”), we see that it is an integral part of the penis…The foreskin functions throughout a male’s life to protect the glans (head of the penis) from abrasion and other damage. Once the foreskin becomes retractable, its loose skin provides mobility and stretches to accommodate a full erection. Finally, an intact penis is a bit longer and chubbier than a circumcised penis.”

– Georganne Chapin, Founding Executive Director of Intact America and Author of This Penis Business

1. Lack of education: Insufficient education about normal foreskin development and care has resulted in misguided practices among parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers. This is a culture-wide problem in the United States due to unfamiliarity with the natural intact penis.

2. Cultural and social influences: The beliefs and norms of a culture or society regarding hygiene, cleanliness, and the appearance of the genitals have contributed to forcible retraction. The presence, particularly, of “smegma,” a harmless combination of oils, skin cells, sweat, and other fluids that can accumulate around the penis, and which can have a foul odor, can freak out parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers. The best way to prevent and treat it is to wash the area with warm water and to teach the child to do the same, from the base out, like washing a finger.

3. Outdated or inaccurate information: Outdated or inaccurate information about foreskin care and hygiene can still be a problem despite the progress made in medical knowledge and understanding. Some outdated medical literature and cultural beliefs may suggest forced retraction as necessary or helpful, contributing to its practice in areas with limited access to up-to-date information.

Important Definition: IATROGENESIS

Caused by the medical system, iatrogenesis refers to any effect on a person resulting from any activity of one or more persons acting as healthcare professionals or promoting products or services as beneficial to health that does not support the goal of the person affected.

How You Can Prevent Forcible Foreskin Retraction

1. Gentle cleaning practices: Gently clean the external area with soap and water to keep the genital area hygienic in infants and young children. During regular bathing, clean the outside of the foreskin with warm water without trying to retract it.

2. Allow natural development: Let the foreskin develop naturally. As a child grows, the foreskin will become retractable on its own. Allow the foreskin to separate from the glans and become retractable at its own pace.

3. Promote body autonomy and consent: Teach children about their bodies and stress the significance of consent. Encourage them to communicate any discomfort or concerns with how someone has touched them, and make sure they understand that their bodies belong to them.

4. Education and awareness: Spread the truth to parents, caregivers, and health professionals. Refer them to intactamerica.org and other websites with accurate information regarding the physiology of the intact foreskin and forced retraction. SPEAK!

Why Is Forced Foreskin Retraction a Human Rights Issue?

In the Spring of 2018, Intact America conducted a national survey of parents of children under the age of seven and found that 43 percent of intact boys had experienced the painful and unnecessary forced retraction of their foreskins, most of them at the hands of physicians.

A 2017 brochure published by HealthyChildren, a program of the AAP, states unequivocally:

“… foreskin retraction should never be forced. Until the foreskin fully separates, do not try to pull it back. Forcing the foreskin to retract before it is ready can cause severe pain, bleeding, and tears in the skin.”

Unfortunately, messing with a boy’s foreskin can also cause infection and scarring, leading too often to doctors suggesting circumcision as a remedy for a problem they created.

As more and more boys are kept intact, it’s critically important that parents, childcare workers, and medical professionals understand that a boy’s foreskin will naturally separate over time (the age of retraction varies considerably) and that only the boy himself should touch his foreskin. Whether in the “service” of medicine or not, we believe any other approach should be considered an unnecessary and willful assault and violation of a child’s human rights.

Notes

1. See this free article in the National Library of Medicine Archives, an elegant cohort study published in 1968 by a Jakob Øster, a Danish medical officer, who conducted a longitudinal study with nearly 10,000 observations. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2019851/?page=1Oster. In addition, Marilyn Fayre Milos and Donna Macris addressed this issue in their journal article “Circumcision: A Medical or a Human Rights Issue” in the Journal of Nurse-Midwifery (37, 2:87S-96S) March/April 1992,

https://www.cirp.org/library/ethics/milos-macris/.