“Can 20,000 nerve endings be amputated without loss of sensitivity?” asks ICGI director Dan Bollinger. “Circumcision advocates want parents and circumcised men to believe the truncated penis has not lost sensitivity. Genital integrity advocates such as ourselves want men to experience the full range of sexual pleasure possible. Studies have been published that demonstrate from no apparent sensitivity loss to significant sensitivity loss. They cannot both be true.”
For instance, the recent Payne et al. study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine says penile sensitivity is no different between intact and circumcised men. This is the opposite of the Penile Touch-Test Sensitivity Evaluation study by Sorrells et al. published in the British Journal of Urology International, saying intact men have four times the penile sensitivity of circumcised men. Sorrells says circumcision removes the most sensitive parts of the penis, while Payne chose to ignore the hyper-sensitive foreskin altogether, as well as failing to reference the earlier Sorrells study.
Both studies employed the same testing method using a standard monofilament skin sensitivity measuring device. The Sorrells study tested 161 men at 17 locations (2157 tests) along the penis, including the circumcision scar, and inner and outer parts of the foreskin. The Payne study tested 20 men at 2 locations (40 tests), but inexplicably did not measure foreskin sensitivity.
The foreskin has long been identified as the most sensitive portion of the penis, and Payne admitted that, “it is possible that the uncircumcised penis is more sensitive due to the presence of additional sensory receptors on the prepuce and frenulum.” And, yet, omitted testing any part of the foreskin because, “this cannot be compared with the absence of such structures in the circumcised penis.” Their circumcision-centric perspective defies common sense, which says the sensitivity of the lost foreskin in circumcised men is simply nonexistent, and should have been recorded as zero, and then test the foreskin’s sensitivity in intact men. What Payne did was side-step this thorn in their hypothesis by ignoring it altogether. Ignorance may be bliss, but it isn’t science.
“The difference in the findings in these two studies indicates the need to include the foreskin as an integral part of the penis when testing penile sensitivity,” says Bollinger. “Selective testing should be declared ‘junk science’ and remain unpublished.”
And finally, one blog where I did
On September 30, 1996, a law was passed that would prohibit any form of female genital cutting on non-consenting minors. Even the mildest form of female genital cutting is condemned as "female genital mutilation," and it is prohibited under federal law, without exception for religious rituals. The law, of course, allows for medically indicated procedures, and would not criminalize a doctor if the procedure were medically or clinically warranted.
Last year, the AAP tried to endorse a "ritual nick" in girls, under the pretext that doing so might dissuade parents from taking their daughters abroad to other countries to have more severe forms of female genital cutting performed. The AAP admitted that the proposed "ritual nick" would dwarf in comparison with male infant circumcision. May 2010 would not end before there was a world outcry, and an embarrassed AAP was forced to retract their statement. The message was clear; under absolutely no circumstances were medical professionals ever to come near a girl's vulva with a knife, not even for a "ritual nick."
The establishment of such a law would seem like a noble gesture, were it not for a glaringly obvious inconsistency; the federal ban on female genital cutting (AKA female genital mutilation) protects members of only one sex against the needless cutting of their genitals, defying the 14th amendment, which says that citizens shall not be deprived of the equal protection of the law. While "religious freedom" and "parental choice" would never be enough to justify the slightest "ritual nick" in girls, for whatever reason, these are acceptable alibis for the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting boys.
To human rights activists who see the genital cutting of healthy, non-consenting individuals of either sex as mutilation, also known as "intactivists," it seemed only logical that such a law which offered protection to only one sex ought to be challenged. If neither "religious freedom" nor "parental choice" are enough to justify the slightest "ritual nick" in girls, then it only follows that the same applies to boys. A law that views the genital cutting of one sex as "mutilation" regardless of "religious importance" but not the other is not only sexist, bigoted and self-serving in nature, but also unconstitutional. Boys deserve the same protection under the law.