Thursday, April 05, 2007

Uncut men of New York: Your foreskin is in danger!

Let's say that earlier yesterday I had an interesting con- versation with someone that read somewhere that few people in Colombia, my home country, were circumcised. This in light of a report earlier this week from the World Health Organization and UNAIDS recommending that "countries with rampant AIDS epidemics should begin offering free or subsidized circumcisions in hopes of preventing millions of new infections and deaths" (according to the Washington Post).

The person, who shall remain anonymous, expressed interest in "discussing" whether it made sense to formulate campaigns in Colombia to make people aware of the HIV transmission risks for uncut men and encourage them to get circumcised or, pushing it a bit, whether there should be campaigns to get Colombian immigrants in the United States on the same path to circumcision.

Let's just say that I thought this person was kidding.

"But the research shows...!" the person said, and I knew it wasn't a joke.

Let's clear up some things: No, I am not circumcised. No, I don't have anything against people who are. No, I don't get why some fret so much about not having foreskin. And no, I don't get people who seek foreskin reconstruction either. In plain terms, dick is dick! Enjoy what you have and don't fret so much!

But it turns out that the person who made the comments is also indirectly related to the New York City Department of Health which now makes me wonder if he knew more than he was letting on: Today the New York Times reveals that "New York City Plans to Promote Circumcision."

Hm. All of a sudden it does not seem as random a conversation. Still, I am aghast that the NYC DOH would seek to promote invasive surgical interventions for adult males as an HIV/AIDS prevention strategy.

Yesterday I tried to argue that there were other variables such as country-specific hygiene practices and HIV prevention strategies that had to be taken into account. Colombia might have a high number of uncircumsized men but it lags behind some African and Asian countries in terms of HIV incidence.

But when it comes to public policy and HIV prevention sometimes a bad idea just captures the imagination and becomes, for lack of a better word, "fashionable" to fund. As with other bad ideas, this one will probably take a couple of years to run its course before a new hot topic arrives.

In the meantime, where are those other prevention dollars? No need to get rid of foreskins. Just fund programs that make men at risk - and particularly gay or bi men (whether uncircumcised or not) - feel that they are worth something which is at the core of a person's ability to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS.

UPDATE: Joe.My.God readers have left a few choice comments as well here.

8 comments:

Melvin Rosario said...

I'll be damned if I let whitey get any where near my foreskin!

It's been my personal experience that Americans are obsessed with circumcision! They are aghast to find that most of the world actually is not and their main argument has always been that "It's a question of hygiene," as if having foreskin prevented having a clean penis!

I'm reminded of that SEX AND THE CITY episode where Charlotte finds out the a perspective lover is uncircumcised! Her reaction is so typical white America that she refuses to have sex with the guy until he gets circumcised! Even after Samantha explained to her that most men in the world were not! ...

I don't know, maybe I digress, but I always find it so appalling that people in the US are constantly trying to shove circumcision down our throats! It pisses me off, as if that was the answer to everything.

Personally I feel sorry for the circumcised men who have never experienced the joys and pleasure of the foreskin and I'm never, ever joining their ranks! I love my foreskin and I hope my fellow Latino brothers love theirs enough to keep it.

To quote Charlton Heston: "FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!" and to quote Hillary Clinton: "It's a vast right wing conspiracy!"

(Sorry this turned into a mini post, but this always riles me up so much!)

Lito Sandoval said...

hmm well a lil too much info about you, Andres ha ha

i thought the U.S. was getting away from circumcision for awhile.

maybe circumcized men are obssesed because the non-circumcized say things like: "Personally I feel sorry for the circumcised men who have never experienced the joys and pleasure of the foreskin..."

There's also a fallacy (phallusy?) that all Latino men are unclipped. And those Latino men that are circumcized tend to be seen as "less Latino" as if culture was on the tip of their dicks.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why people in the USA are so hung up about circumcision - I am US-born (uncut) of Irish background and live in Canada where about half the men I see are uncut. No one here really seems to care one way or the other, and I have to wonder what the right-wing-conspiracy/medical lobby/Christian right have in common on this: is it hygiene, is it jealousy, or is it racist?

sergio said...

There was an interesting documentary on uncut men on british television which really put things in perspective. These are a few facts I recall which might help us all: 1) America remains the only country in the world that does not associate circumcision with religion beliefs. All arab, islamic and jewish countries consider it important to have boys circumcised simply because it's important part of their religion. Canada, the UK , the whole europe and of course, India, china and Australia have only a minority of men being circumcised; 2) Experts in medicine and hygiene explained clearly that there is no rationale in the hygiene argument. More or less they consider it nonsense. there is no way to assume that a clean penis needs circumcision. If that argument was valid it would give a great deal of support to the crazy action of cutting klitoris in women. Let's stop this crazy argument. I believe the average American does not have such crazy approaches in this subject. I simply can't accept that. Let's don't underestimate them that much.
3) The argument that uncut men try harder to satisfy a woman is still an exaggeration. There is nothing to try hard for , everything happens naturally. 4) The whole "sensitivity" issue that American mothers against circumcision promote on their website (www.mothersagainstcirc.org/) is another pseudoargument. Even though the penis is indeed more sensitive since its 'cover' is still there, that does not mean that women can feel that during sex. At the same time, that does not mean that uncut men "finish early", The whole thing is much more sophisticated than we believe it is. Normally,there is a circle and both groups have to experience it. Intensity might vary but not speed and higher intensity does not lead to higher pleasure so uncut men need to quit this argument also. In other words, pleasure is not any higher for uncut men and not any lower for their lovers. Both groups experience similar degree of pleasure unless they have some sort of mania with uncut or cut penises (some supporters of casual sex might agree here but it is unlikely that they would maintain the same opinion if they ever experienced emotions with someone who is cut or uncut or whatever).
4) Many men are proud of their foreskin simply because they believe they are "complete". It might be a “defensive” argument but this is something we just can't ignore because anatomically speaking they are correct; whoever creates us gave us an uncut penis. By cutting it of something is missing and this invites no questions. Whether this is a correct or not opinion it simply does not matter because it's an anatomic fact. What does matter, however, is whether you choose to have pride or shame about it because it is a very subjective thing.
5) Uncut men believe that cut men APPEAR to have bigger penis simply because their "package" shows better due to the circumcision which allowed the penis to be always "out" lol . Even though this is for laughing, there is some validity in it. Think about it and you will understand why...

Conclusion: Americans need indeed to stop perpetuate this argument of having a cut penis as important because it simply underestimates important American values and principles. Americans are not stupid and this is a stupid idea so they need to move on and open their minds to the truth and accept the fact that circumcision is just an American cultural custom and has nothing to do with hygiene, sexual ability, pleasure, superiority in satisfying women etc. Also, women (or gay men) need to stop focusing on penises so much and quit both: worshipping the uncut or expressing racist ideas for cut men (like the relevant episode “Sex and the city” which I personally consider a huge failure of the series).

As the blogger says, it’s just a penis for God’s sake!

Sergio

(to the blogger: this is the corrected comment. I was writing fast and needed to make some minor corrections lol).

zonadorada said...

I'm one of five brothers born here in the US and we are all intact(uncut).
My girlfrend is Latino and she has found more ways to play with my foreskin then I ever thought was possible.
Being intact seems to give us guys a lot more pleasure than altered guys.
Remember, don't fuck with Mother Nature.

Anonymous said...

I think it is disgusting that NYC would even consider this. Circumcision is a cosmetic surgery for people who have low self-esteem or a body mutilation fetish. How come they did not research areas with the LOWEST HIV/AIDS rates? In case you're curious, those areas are in Western Europe, particularly the Nordic countries (where the rate is half that of the US); that's right, in places where circumcision is rare and often considered a human rights violation.

Anonymous said...

I have to be honest and admit that I am bi and prefer a circumcised
penis - from the aesthetic point of view. Purely personal.
We're knowledgeable enough to know that a circumcised man is jsut as capable of being grubby as one who isn't. It's a matter of hygiene.
We now laugh at teh Victorian belief that it would discourage masturbation.
But more importantly what about the HIV issue and using circumcision as a preentive measure. Is it not odd that the United States where a large majority of males are circumcised -has a considerably higher HIV+ rate than the countries of Europe where circumcision is almosto unknown - except perhaps for the UK where the incidence is low.
I am concerned about the number of websites informing us that "tests" have shown circumcised men are less likely to contract the virus. HOW do you carry out such an experiment???
Furthermore, despite the proliferation of websites on this issue, if you check carefully there are many far more convincing reports that not only contradict this view - with interesting and convincing information - but state that the foreskin is actually a valuable defence AGAINST acquiring the virus!

Ted said...

Without trying to sound negative, I just don't understand the ignorance that is tolerated in the US over this.

Say you prefer an uncut penis becuase your Dad has one...becuase you are used to it seeing one...whaterver. But don't make up crap about it being cleaner or safer. If it was, why is the population of most other countries growing - who don't circumsize regularly? you'd think they'd all be dying off or at least not having sex and so having babies - if what the US propogates on the subject is true.

If there was no reason for the foreskin, it would have fallen off naturally as we evolved.

And if having a foreskin was 'dirty', why are American's or American doctors not lining up to circumisize women? Ah yes, becuase there is NO real medical evidence to show it is unclean.

Any body part can be 'unclean' if you don't wash! Geeesh.

This all started in the US with teh Puritans who thought it would prevent men from masterbating...you know the same people who burned women for being witches. Yes, that is who we should be following.

And what's up with the American religious right? Christian-based teachings don't promote circumsion. So why are they?

I just can't believe the ignorance that is tolerated in the US on this subject. Do we honestly think we're that much smarter than the rest of the world? Really?