Male Circumcision: Mothers, Don’t Mutilate Your Boys

Betty Dodson's picture
Fri, 01/16/2009 - 10:25
Submitted by Betty Dodson

What do American men have in common with Middle Eastern and Tribal African men? All three societies routinely perform circumcision on boys while the rest of the world does not. In the United States, we circumcise babies within the first few days or week. Muslims do it to young boys who are between 12 and 15 while African boys are between 6 to 10 years of age. In all three instances circumcision is performed without anesthesia!

Perhaps Muslims circumcise boys late to insure they will become angry young men willing to sacrifice their life for Allah. In Africa it's a rite of passage into manhood, a warrior who now can kill animals and other men. The fact that the AMA does not support circumcision citing there is no health benefit, I suspect it's the same for Americans: circumcision prepares our young men to go to war. After all, War Inc. has been America's number one industry ever since 1914 following WWI.

The Jews maintain the tradition of circumcision because some second century rabbis thought it was a good idea; a perfect example of religious ignorance. But why do Protestants, Catholics or Atheists do it? The most common reason mothers give is, "I want my son to look like his father." Or, "I don't want him to look different from other boys in the locker room." So this barbaric, horrific procedure continues without rhyme or reason other than those few who have the courage to say "No" and dare to be different. That was my mother, Bess Dodson. She refused to circumcise her baby boys and she had four sons. Daddy was not circumcised, but Mother later told me that even if he had been, she still would never let them do that to her babies. It made no sense because she believed they were fine just like Nature intended. That was Mother! She always relied upon "plain old horse sense," as she called it.

Over the decades of listening to a multitude of people's sex problems, I've often been asked for my opinion on circumcision. Consistently I have been against it for many reasons mainly because I believed it was meant to curb male masturbation. Like Mother, I too believe our bodies are perfectly designed by Nature. However, I never made a big issue out of my stand against circumcision in deference to all the men who'd been cut. Thanks to an active sex life during the two liberated decades of the sixties and seventies, I knew more American men were cut than not, so why make a big issue of it? However, I did comment regularly that circumcision was a barbaric procedure that was an attack on the male sex organ in the name of cleanliness or holiness. I would never recommend or support it.

In the early eighties, I spent several weeks in Amsterdam running workshops. At one point, I remember thinking how sweet and gentle most Dutch men were. More like my brothers and the boys I'd dated back in High School in Wichita. Looking back I wondered how many of them had been circumcised. European countries do not perform circumcision routinely like we do here in America. When I moved to New York in the fifties, most of my lovers were Jewish and they were all circumcised. My former husband was circumcised and he ended up with a small hole about three inches above the cut line where a bit of skin got snipped off by accident. He had to remove the dried mucous from it regularly like squeezing a pimple. He was also a premature ejaculator who claimed he rarely masturbated as a child and never as an adult.

Also during the eighties, more truth about circumcision emerged and many gay men begin to rebel against this form of genital mutilation. Some of the guys were restoring their foreskins by stretching the remaining skin. About the same time, feminists were raging against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Muslim and African countries. Instinctively I would ask, "What about Male Genital Mutilation with circumcision?" Women were adamant about it not being the same thing. Men could still ejaculate with their cut dicks which fulfilled the role of procreation.

I didn't make the connection on how circumcision changed the act of intercourse until my recent correspondence with Dr. Rob, an American studying in Moscow. He rekindled my interest in the subject when he sent a video clip of a baby having the procedure done. I'm still reeling from the images. It's one thing to imagine what this is like. It's altogether different to actually see it performed. Truth is I'm a tough old broad, but I broke down and cried like a sissy girl. Any person who watches this video would never, ever allow their baby boy to be circumcised. There are no words to describe the horror I witnessed with my own eyes.

The method practiced in most hospitals today use a Gomco or Mogen clamp that slowly crushes the skin and seals the vessels resulting in an almost bloodless procedure. However, the baby experiences severe pain for up to twenty minutes as the clamp slowly mashes sensitive nerve endings. The foreskin is similar to a girl's clitoris; both are heavily endowed with thousands of nerve endings. I saw a happy little baby boy laid down inside a cold plastic mold imitating an infant's shape. Then his little legs are straightened out and strapped down along with his arms whereupon Baby naturally begins to cry. Unbelievably, the father is standing by. He asks the doctor if he can give his son a pacifier to suck.

While Baby is temporarily calmed, the doctor swabs the area with a soft applicator covered with antiseptic. It obviously feels good because Baby's penis becomes partially erect. Then the pain and screams come as his sweet little penis is put into the Gomco. The doc pulls the foreskin out with a cold metal clamp and thrusts a probe inside the foreskin and circles the shaft to separate the skin from the penis. The cries are now horrendous as Baby struggles against his bondage. Just try to imagine your clitoral hood being stretched out and then a sharp instrument inserted to separate the hood from the clitoral glans. The father mentions at one point that his baby is really upset. The doc assures him he's fine and he won't remember any of it.

I believe heterosexuality is at war with itself because of circumcision. First Baby feels pleasurable sensations that are abruptly followed by a barbaric torturous treatment that reduces his penis to a bloody stump! Is it any wonder why these men hate women or they don't trust anyone? Research has shown that the pain of circumcision is present in personal memories. When I Googled "against circumcision" some 300,000 sources appeared beginning with Mothers against Circumcision, Catholics, Protestants, Doctors and even Rabbi's who don't support it. Any nurse who has witnessed one is absolutely against it after seeing a baby suffer first hand. At least the Jewish-style circumcision uses a finely honed blade of surgical steel. In Africa it's a bit of glass or an old razor blade. My friend Rob in Moscow said he was haunted by the memory of the white searing pain until he was eight years old. He is now restoring his foreskin by stretching what's left. While other men are doing this, all those thousands of nerve endings have been lost for good.

In the sixties I was dating a man who was not circumcised. Grant practically worshipped women's genitals and loved all forms of sex. When we decided to date other people, the first thing I discovered was how difficult it was for me to have an orgasm with casual sex (research has shown that women are more likely to orgasm with a genitally intact partner). Meanwhile I figured he was coming all over the place. My conclusion at the time was while he could "run the fuck" I was limited to each man's technique. During that time, I was reading Wilhelm Reich who talked about the angry man who penetrated a woman's vagina using his penis like a weapon. I eventually named this the "Hard Fuck" where a guy would bang away. The first man I came with outside my primary relationship was uncircumcised. Unfortunately none of this registered at the time. I've only recently made the connection between the hard fuck and circumcision where a man struggles to get adequate stimulation during intercourse.

Later on when Grant I entered the sexual revolution and attended sex parties together, I quickly learned never to end up on my back and let a stranger fuck me. I always got on top so I could control the depth of penetration. I'd also stimulate my clitoris at the same time and I always added additional lubrication. Now that I understand how circumcision plays out in men's lives, my ride ‘em Cowgirl stance made sense. Circumcised men have lost so much sensation in the head of their penis that they masturbate with a heavy hand and fast rhythm which naturally translates into a hard and fast friction fuck!

Better than my Ph.D in sexology was having lots of sexual experiences with many different people. After I viewed the video sent by Dr. Rob in Moscow, I saw the difference in sexual penetration and thrusting of the natural man versus a circumcised man. As a result of this, I thought back over some of my boyfriends. My Spanish Doctor was not circumcised and I always came with him from intercourse in my twenties. Victor was a circumcised Jew with a nice fat dick and I could come with him if I got on top. Then I remembered Ira whose edge of his glans looked like a serrated kitchen knife. When I asked about his butchered penis, he said it was from a bad circumcision. Although I was crazy about him, my insides were sore after our first hard fuck so on the third date, I told him we were sexually incompatible and stopped seeing him.

Mother said she always came from intercourse with my uncircumcised father. She often commented on what good control he had and said they were a perfect fit. One site showed the difference between a natural foreskin that bunched up and pressed against a woman's clitoris during penetration; nerve bundles gently kissing other nerve bundles with a smooth gliding motion. It was Mother Nature's clitoral stimulator. Uncircumcised glans are moist and they look like satin while exposed glans have a different rougher texture that's always dry.

I'm amazed it's taken me all this time to understand heterosexual intercourse with and without a foreskin. My sexlife with Eric Amaranth, who is circumcised, was good in part because I requested a slow fuck with lots of extra lubrication. I'm proud of his capacity for care as well as passion during sex. I also realize why my life's work has been centered on liberating masturbation. It's one sure way that women can have orgasms. Given the physical and psychological damage done to American men with this unholy procedure, I'd say vibrators have saved the day for us gals. Once circumcision is ended for good, it will be a big step toward ending the war between the sexes, healing erectile dysfunction (ED) along with ending premature ejaculation. It will also create a healing for all the pre-orgasmic women that rarely or never can orgasm from those hard friction fucks.

It's no wonder men hate women consciously or subconsciously. Look at what mothers have allowed a doctor to do to them. First Baby feels pleasure with soft touches that get him partially erect. It feels good until the Doc applies a cold hard metal clamp. The searing pain that follows lasts twenty minutes or more like a sustained torture. May I suggest we consider the similarities between American men and their Islamic brothers or a primitive African tribe? The one thing they have in common is their puritanical and ignorant approach to male sexuality. We must end the barbaric practice of circumcision now! It's up to Mothers to take a stand and protect their baby boys. He can look different from Daddy and eventually know the truth: daddy was a victim of male genital mutilation (MGM) which is no longer practiced in a sexually enlightened society.

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circ = body modification

Marias Chaos's picture
Sun, 06/19/2011 - 18:03

I got a chuckle the other day when I checking out a dating site...it said

Tattoos-none

Piercing’s- none

Body mod's-Circumcision

He is right!

for the beauty of it

Sat, 06/25/2011 - 11:14
soapberryusa (not verified)

Circumcision makes one's dick look better.  How hard is that to understand.  It has such an aesthetic balance. Men who are against circumcision have bigger problems than the worry over foreskin.  I have noticed in porn some women are choosing circumcision on their labia where there is excess skin in that area. It is all for beauty for those who understand that concept - balance - The "Golden Ratio" that which exists in all forms of nature. This is basic stuff.  Having  excess foreskin is like having a booger hanging from your nose. 

5 of 6

Sat, 06/25/2011 - 11:44
soapberryusa (not verified)

You must take into account the visual appeal of the dick when considering circumcision.  In a small inpromptu  survey 5 of 6 girls said they had rather have a good-looking dick instead of a big one.  So good-looking dicks take precedence.  Any woman that does not like good-looking dicks over any other issues (about dicks) is obviously mentally ill and her opinion does not count. All you need is a good-looking dick plus being a nice sensitive cool person

Says YOU Soapberry

Marias Chaos's picture
Sat, 06/25/2011 - 16:20

I like to consider how it feels to be rammed by
an uncut cock….it feels better...especially anally. That's my opinion! And some
men have more foreskin than others…either way pull it back and they all look
magnificent! MY OPINION

coincidence

Sat, 06/25/2011 - 16:32
soapberryusa (not verified)

That doesn't make any sense.  Circumcision is nothing.  You have been brain-washed by the crazies.

Ms. Chaotic

Sat, 06/25/2011 - 16:39
soapberryusa (not verified)

You have no clue about cool it seems.  Like I said this is basic stuff you should be up to speed on this.  NO they do not look magnificent.  They look deformed.  I think this was started by a bunch of gay guys back in the 80's. Fuckin' whiners.  That is why they started having circumcision in the first place for visionary coolness.

Bogus

Sat, 06/25/2011 - 17:39
soapberryusa (not verified)

That is bogus. 

some mouth Chaotic

Sat, 06/25/2011 - 17:44
soapberryusa (not verified)

You got some mouth.  What kind of talk is that - "rammed by an uncut cock."  You need to repent and save youself. Where is your couth?  Get a grip!

That's what they say

Marias Chaos's picture
Sat, 06/25/2011 - 18:02

"You got some mouth!"

That's what they say :)

Actuallymy men use proper grammar
"You've got some mouth!"

Looks better

Sat, 06/25/2011 - 23:56
soapberryusa (not verified)

It does provide a benefit to a man, it makes his dick look better.  Is this a hard concept for you?

How you talk!

Mon, 07/04/2011 - 10:25

I wish that I had my foreskin.  It is a barbaric practice.  I went to a bris many years ago and almost passed out.  Leave the skin.

What a load

Mon, 07/04/2011 - 10:54
soapberryusa (not verified)

A tempest in a teapot.  That what anti-circumcision is all about.  Just something to bitch about. I was circumcised and I didn't feel a thing.  I wouldn't want forskin on myself it doesn't look too cool.  Women circumcision is just labia reduction not clitoral removal as my definition. This is basic stuff. People should know this.  Too much extra labia forskin gets in the way plus it doesn't look so good.  Basic stuff.  We are now in the midst of the soapbox generation. "The vision is the function."

your opinion

Marias Chaos's picture
Mon, 07/04/2011 - 11:00

It looks better TO YOU.

To Soapberryusa:

Mon, 12/19/2011 - 06:55
Anonymously Cut (not verified)

"Circumcision makes one's dick look better.  How hard is that to understand.  It has such an aesthetic balance. ... It is all for beauty for those who understand that concept - balance - The "Golden Ratio" that which exists in all forms of nature. This is basic stuff.  Having  excess foreskin is like having a booger hanging from your nose." -  Soapberryusa

I may very well have a booger hanging from my nose, but that doesn't give you the right to reach over and pull it out for me.  Thanks, but no thanks.  I would have preferred to keep my booger right where it was dangling. 

Congratulations on the fact that you got a choice, but just because you made the choice to get cut doesn't give you the right to enforce it on others.  To be frank, no one really gives a damn whether you like the look or not.  Since you're obviously a man, and clearly not gay from your various remarks, I'm not sure what really qualifies you to discuss the aesthetic looks of other mens penises.

But hey!  I was cut against my will as an infant child.  Maybe since you like the look of my penis so much, you wouldn't mind stroking it a bit or putting it in your mouth?  It follows the Golden Ratio, after all, and this seems very important to you.

...or perhaps, you're pro-circumcision stance is merely your attempt to justify your choice to both yourself and others?  Either way, it doesn't really matter.  If it isn't your penis, it isn't your choice.

Bogus

Mon, 12/19/2011 - 10:07
Doug (not verified)

The slant against circumcision is bogus.  Doesn't make any sense.  Much to do about nothing. And too as much as women are into VANITY you would think they would prefer a circumcised penis considering it looks much better but then again it never has been established that women are profound or without the vagaries and vicissitudes of illogic.  But then again, usually at some point in a woman’s life when she finds a pit she jumps in.  And on it goes.

"[= 14px; line-height:

Mon, 12/19/2011 - 17:18
Elin A (not verified)

"[= 14px; line-height: 22px]The crusades was a religious war, in which everyone's egos were involved, not so much their penises (although that depends on how you see those connected or not)."[/]
[= 14px; line-height: 22px]The crusades was not "a" war, but several...[/]
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[/]

Sat, you are unbelievable! A

Mon, 12/19/2011 - 17:30
Elin A (not verified)

Sat, you are unbelievable! A circumcised penis is no more appealing than an uncircumsiced one. It's just one of those ideals that have been cemented due to tradition. And it's time we reversed that tradition. When more people chose not to circumcise their babies, preferences will start to change.
And Soapberryusa... I'm sad it has to be pointed out, but looks don't go before removing extremely sensitive, sexually significant as well as protective tissue. 
And a woman who doesn't like a "good looking dick" is mentally ill?? So if I like a natural, unmutilated penis i have a mental illness? Not only does such an accusation have no basis in reality, but it is highly offensive!
And no, one doesn't have to have a "good looking" penis. One can be very loved and desired regardless.
I believe you suffer from what I like to call MTV brain death. Grow up.

I was circumcised and I wish I wasn't

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 16:47
Dave Saving (not verified)

I wish I had the choice.

Our child

Sun, 05/06/2012 - 02:14

We did not want our boy circumcised.  At the hospital we were asked a grand total of five times "Did you want us to perform the circumcision?".  It was maddening.  We had to say no five times.
Clearly,  the doctor actually makes good coin doing circumcisions,  and regrets the lost income.
So,  its NOT about health/hygiene/body  issues or whatever else crap they want to tell you.
When the boy had some pain because he got too much soap under the hood,  we took him to the GP.  Again,  they argued the advantages of circumcision.  Its like you're dealing with robots.

leave the lads intact

BorderReiver's picture
Sun, 05/06/2012 - 06:56

Kudos to DanielWidders and his son's mother for sticking to their guns and principles against the medical establishment.
Bottom line is, that no one, not even parents, have the right to make a body modification decision for someone else. 

*************

In reading through the posts here, someone who has been totally brainwashed by the medical community, has made that old worn out statement that circ helps prevent the spread of HIV/Aids.

Using the premise that the cock-head covered by it's natural foreskin is a breeding ground for bugs.  Warm, moist, etc., etc.

Well, excuse me all to hell,  but every vulva I've seen, (and there have been a few), have a whole lot more surface area which is likewise warm and moist, than any penis has.

When is the money-hungry warped medical community going to stop blaming peni for the spread of STDs, as an excuse to circumcise.

The reasons we are given to promote circumcision are phallus-ies.

 

Tim in Idaho

 

I saw it when I was young...

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 22:54
Chris ester (not verified)

When I was a teenager, some 25 years ago, there was some talk show that was discussing circumcision and the fact that it was unnecessary.  The show then broadcast a video of a circumcision procedure.  I am not a squeamish person, but I nearly threw up. 
The guests on the show (a medical doctor and a nurse) proceeded to quote statistics about children losing penises and even dieing from this horrible practice every year in the U.S. 
The nurse was crusading to get this practice stopped by traveling around the country and showing the video.
Flash forward some 10 years and I had my first child, a boy, and when the doctor asked about a circumcision, I answered that my son would go through life with all of his parts, that I saw no reason to have him mutilated for the sake of penile fashion.  The doctor then surprised me by saying, "Oh good! I hate doing that procedure."
Why on Earth would a doctor not advise against this horrible procedure? 
I think that every parent should have to watch a video of a circumcision and be told the statistics before they are able to sign the consent.  That way they can be truly informed. 
I will never forget that poor baby's cries...  But it saved my son!

Thoughts on circumcision.

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 20:43
Artsie (not verified)

I am an intact man and I have some thoughts on the subject. My first thought is how those who oppose female circumcision can also support male circumcision by saying that the male kind is done in a hospital and also provides health benefits that female kind does not. Personally I bealive that certain powers that be are promoting the idea that male circumcision is a cure for HIV/ aids as a way to keep the practice a dominate one. Plus in your article you did not discuss Americas attitude towards intact penises. In mainstream media male circumcision is always seems like it has to happen for the child to be normal or many cases if there is an intact male character he always seems to be the but of jokes for having a foreskin. And my last thought is that if we stamp out male circumcision that female circumcision will follow. And lastly the slang term for an intact penis is an anteater, after all it looks like one. If you find anteaters cute.

let's be for facts and against derision

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 11:50

Well, normally when a conversation has been going this long, I am
inclined to say that everything has already been said, even if not
everyone has said it.

In this case, however, sweeping claims are flying back and forth.
What is badly needed is a disciplined review of what we know, and of
what we don't know.

Let's begin at the beginning.  The elective modification of an child's
body violates the child's rights.  A child, like any other person, is
the exclusive owner of his own body.  Parents are not owners of their
child, and may not irreversibly impose their own preferences on him,
even if those preferences have religious origin.  If parents seek to
make an irreversible change to their child, they must show through
evidence that doing so is the best way to protect him from a danger
that is not simply remote or hypothetical, but in fact is immediate
and actual.  Otherwise, they may not make the change.  That the child
is not capable of choosing the change himself does not mean parents
may choose for him.  It rather means that the change may not be made.

So is circumcision a justified change?  Is having foreskin dangerous,
or is it even harmful?  Is it necessary, or it is even beneficial?
Both sides toss around various assertions.  Most notably, proponents
of circumcision claim that it reduces the risk of bacterial infection,
while opponents claim that it reduces sexual pleasure.  In actual
fact, none of these claims have been reliably established.  The only
relevant, well-established fact is that circumcized men are less
likely to acquire HIV from vaginal intercourse than their
uncircumsized counterparts.  Although only recently discovered, this
fact has been affirmed by both the World Health Organization and the
Centers for Disease Control.

(Betty references a study that concludes that female pleasure is
greater with an uncircumsized partner, but for this report the
researchers surveyed only 35 participants, and as far as I can
determine, this study is the only of its kind.  The conclusions have
not been reliably established and do not represent a consensus among
scientists.)

If not removing foreskin has not been shown to be harmful, what then
is the function of the foreskin?  No single, necessary function has
been identified.  But neither does it appear that the foreskin is
useless.  To be sure, some anatomical structures are useless, and even
harmful.  Wisdom teeth certainly are both.  Useless structures,
however, are generally vistigial from our evolutionary past, when our
biology and environment were different from how they are today.  In
contrast, structures that have never had any survival benefit do not
evolve in the first place.  Foreskin is not thought to be vistigial.
It must have a useful function, even if so far none has been
compellingly demonstrated.

What about the costs of suffering and trauma inflicted on the infant
by the procedure?  Historically, doctors believed that infants were
not capable of experiencing pain, and performed procedures and
operations of all kinds on babies without anesthetic.  This belief is
now known to be false, and anesthetics are recommended for infant
circumcision as well as for other operations.  Unfortantely, most of
the data available on the painful and traumatic effects of
circumcision correspond to cases were no anesthetic was used, so they
cannot inform our understanding of cases were anesthetic is used as
recommended.  Some individuals also report having memory of being
circumsized as infants (Betty offers a study), but these reports are
entirely anecdotal and are not considered reliable.

Although evidence for either costs or benefits of circumcision is
thin, a vast assortment of literature seeks to guide parents in making
a decision about whether to have their infant boys circumsized.
Almost all of the literature, however, presents the question as a
medical decision.  It is not.  Correctly presented, the question
concerns the rights of the child.  As we have seen, medicine has so
far failed to identify a reason why having foreskin presents a danger
to an infant that is not remote or hypothetical, but immediate an
actual.  Further, removal of foreskin is permanent.  Consequently--and
this is truly the essential point--parents cannot presume to have the
right to make this choice for the infant.  HIV acquisition through
sexual activity has no relevance to an infant.  Removing foreskin may
be preferred by any individual, but that choice may be made only by
the individual himself at a time when he has reached adulthood.

It is certainly true that recovery time for the procedure is
substantially longer in adults than in infants, but this difference is
a small price for preserving human rights.

What about Betty's original article, the post that launched a thousand
responses?  Mainly she is giving us personal experiences, outlandish
speculation, and inflamatory accusations.  She says she has met some
Dutch men who are gentle, and she implies that their manner is
attributable to them not having been circumsized.  What?  She suggests
that the procedure in Muslim boys makes them want to be martyrs.  Duh?
She says "any nurse who has witnessed [a circumcision precedure] is
absolutely against it".  How does she know?  She says "our bodies are
perfectly designed by Nature".  Then why were my wisdom teeth pulled?
She says "heterosexuality is at war with itself because of
circumcision."  What does this even mean?  She says circumcised men
"hate women and don't trust anyone".  What is her problem?  She says
circumcision is linked to erectile disfunction.  Where is the
citation?  She says the practice makes "men hate women consciously or
subconsciously".  How can one hate subconsciously?  Which men hate
women?  How many?  Where are they?

A few good ideas may appear at various points in Betty's article, but
they are lost in an vast ocean of abject nonsense and disguisting
derision.

Well Saltandpepper, you nailed me! I confess I was overly

Betty Dodson's picture
Thu, 04/10/2014 - 12:05

emotional in that essay. However, I do know and it can be proved in some book somewhere that we do know FOR SURE that the foreskin does have many, many, many functioning nerve endings. An intackt man will ubricate when he's excited. I've experienced it personally.
Nope I'm not going to cite any scientific literature. Don't have time. It's an unecessary surgical procedure PERIOD. You gave the perfect reason for not doing this and I quote:
"Correctly presented, the question concerns the rights of the child.  As we have seen, medicine has so far failed to identify a reason why having foreskin presents a danger to an infant that is not remote or hypothetical, but immediate and actual.  Further, removal of foreskin is permanent.  Consequently--and this is truly the essential point--parents cannot presume to have the right to make this choice for the infant."

That the foreskin is highly

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 20:47

That the foreskin is highly innervated is beyond doubt.  What are the consequences of not having it for an individual and for his partners is much harder to understand.

You are one among many women who testify to the importance of the foreskin, but if we wish to understand the full breath of human experience, then we must adopt a more rigorous tone.

the belief in experiment not experience

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 12:23
Anonymous5 (not verified)

First of all, it's breadth not breath. Second, you are discounting women's experience. At my age, I am getting more than a bit sick of (?) discounting women's experience. Wendell Berry speaks of the emphasis on experiment (code word in this case, rigorous) and the neglect of experience in our technological and alienated culture. When 75 percent of a man's penile nerve endings are removed, this is bound to affect his sexual experience (yes, Patrick, it may still be a good experience), and -- based on the reporting of women who actually enjoy sex -- it seems to affect their female partners' experience as well.

noone discounts experience, but...

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 22:06

There are several ideas at play, among which are experience, experiment, fact, and assumption. Experience is any information self-reported by individuals. Experiment (or more generally, scientific study) is effort, involving a high level of specific kinds of control, designed to collect reliable evidence. Facts are assertions that are supported by the preponderance of evidence. Assumptions are ideas that appear well-conceived, but that may not have been confirmed by evidence to a degree such that they become facts.

Evidence collected from experiments is the most reliable kind. Because of the way good experiments are designed, only they can correct for problems intrinsic to general human observation. The prevalence of observer bias and the difficulty of separating cause from coincidence are only a few of many such problems.

Experience and experiment are not incompatible. A good experiment may well rely on subjects giving their experiences. While the domain of experiments that can rely on experience to good effect is narrow, experiments seeking information about individuals' pleasure certainly fall into this domain.  The purpose of these experiments is not to tell the individual what he does feel or should feel, but rather to understand the similarities and differences of experience among the group, and to help predict what someone might experience under new circumstances.  These questions can be addressed in other ways, but to limited utility. The reason why other means are generally ineffective is, as discussed above, that they are subject to the shortcomings of human observation. The most reliable evidence, therefore, be it experiential or otherwise, always comes from experiment.

I never sought to discount the importance of experience of women or of anyone else.  Certainly, if you are a women who has found more pleasure with uncircumcised partners, then noone is claiming that you are deceived (though that of course is possible).  But you must realize that you are talking about yourself, not about others.  Indeed, I affirmed an interest in better understanding "human experience".  I said that to understand experience in the whole range of humanity, we need to study it in the context of experiment. I indeed used the term "rigorous", which gives a very effective way to describe good experiment.

For many reasons, the reports made by some women do not imply anything about humanity in general. Maybe these reports do reflect a substantial effect throughout humanity. Then again, maybe they don't. Maybe women who notice a difference are talking about it, and those that notice nothing are remaining silent, so the former experience is gaining unwarranted weight in the conversation. Maybe women who have access to information and speak openly about their experience perceive that the difference is greater than it is, because they have been told they should expect a difference. Or maybe both of these effects are negligible. If we want to know, we have to eliminate these confusing variables by turning to experiment.

That the loss of foreskin as a rule affects an individual's pleasure or his partner's is an assumption, because it has not been confirmed by reliable evidence. It may well be a good assumption, if, as some claim, logical deduction speaks in its favor.  But whether it is a correct assumption remains to be seen.  Attempts to verify the assumption experimentally have so far failed.  We must take note of this failure when we propagate the idea.

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