Is Male Circumcision Barbaric?

March 1st, 2018 | S.P.
male circumcision

Now before you choose to hammer me into the wood like a crooked nail for being anti-semitic, be forewarned that your insults will have no effect and will only provoke me to double-down on the most honest thing we can do in a free society: ask questions. To ask such questions does not make one anti-semitic or Jewphobic, only inquisitive.

The question of whether it is appropriate or even barbaric to slice off a piece of a boy's manhood, against his will, fits quite well in the context of a debate being readily had in Canada at the moment. That debate is about the barbaric and heinous act of female genital mutilation. For the sake of balance and equal scrutiny, perhaps an examination of this ancient religious practice is in order.

For the liberals and libertarians, who enjoy free sex and depravity, let us start with some science from the Danes, as published by The Independent:

Some 5,000 sexually active men and women were surveyed about their experiences and possible problems with their sex lives. With a specific focus on circumcised men and their women, the results are startling.

Circumcised men are three times as likely to experience a frequent inability to reach an orgasm,” says one of the researchers, Associate Professor Morten Frisch from Danish research enterprise SSI.

Research into the effects on women is unique.

This is one of only a few studies of the sexual consequences of male circumcision, and in one area in particular it is groundbreaking:

Previous studies into male circumcision have looked at the effects it has on the men. But scientists have never really studied the effects this has on the women’s sex lives,” says Frisch.

It appears that women with circumcised men are twice as likely to be sexually frustrated. They experience a three-fold risk of frequent difficulties in achieving orgasm, and an eight-fold risk of feeling pain during intercourse – also known as dyspareunia.”

Now that we've gotten that out of the way for any of our libertine friends who may be reading this, let us get into the morality of it all.

The morality of it.

Morality. Morality. Morality.


Good. Now that liberals have lost interest, let us look at the moral arguments against slicing off a boy's manhood at a young age. There are more to the concerns with male circumcision than having a dysfunctional pecker.  

The comparison of male and female circumcision is often in and of itself considered morally unequal, but the discussion about consent and morality is one that must be had. In an essay by children's rights advocate, Brian Earp, the differences are reconciled:

The truth is: I study childhood genital surgeries. Female, male and intersex genital surgeries, specifically, and I make similar arguments about each one. As a general rule, I think that healthy children – whatever their sex or gender – should be free from having parts of their most intimate sexual organs removed before they can understand what’s at stake in such a procedure. There are a number of reasons I’ve come to hold this view, but in some ways it’s pretty simple. ‘Private parts’ are private. They’re personal. Barring some serious disease to treat or physical malfunction to address (for which surgery is the most conservative option), they should probably be left alone.

Consent should become an ethical and moral obstacle in any such surgical procedure. Like many female circumcisions, male circumcisions are performed before a young boy can consent to any such procedure—or understand the consequences or implications of such a procedure.

In many cases, however, FGM is performed on older girls, while male circumcision is done during infancy. In most Western countries, FGM is prohibited without the consent of the victim, but male circumcision does not require consent, as described by Earp:

The story is very different when it comes to male circumcision. In no jurisdiction is the practice prohibited, and in many it is not even restricted. In some countries, including in the United States, anyone, with any instrument, and any degree of medical training (including none) can attempt to perform a circumcision on a non-consenting child – sometimes with disastrous consequences. For a recent example, look up ‘Goodluck Caubergs’ on the internet; similar cases happen every year. As the bioethicist Dena Davis has pointed out, ‘States currently regulate the hygienic practices of those who cut our hair and our fingernails … so why not a baby’s genitals?’

A significant ethical and moral discrepancy separates FGM from male circumcision in the West. In countries like Canada, FGM is illegal. Male circumcision has yet to be questioned as ethical or morally acceptable in countries like Canada. Many may question whether male circumcision is indeed “mutilation”, but that question should vanish into irrelevancy under the notion that consent must be required for most any surgical procedures in Canada. The very same warriors who panic when parents pierce or tattoo their children and family pets are the ones willing to continue giving male circumcision a free pass.

The country of Iceland has planned to officially ban male circumcision and many other countries may soon follow. Both Jewish and Muslim leaders have condemned Iceland's attempts, while other nations like Germany and Finland have attempted to punish Muslim circumcisions. Jewish circumcisions done during infancy, however, have faced very few cases of prosecution or controversy in Europe.

The controversy in Iceland has unfolded like this, as described by The Guardian:

Muslim and Jewish leaders attacked the proposal, while Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the Catholic Church in the European Union, said the bill was a “dangerous attack” on religious freedom. “The criminalisation of circumcision is a very grave measure that raises deep concern.”

The Icelandic bill says the circumcision of young boys violates their rights and is incompatible with the United Nations convention on the rights of the child. It draws a parallel with female genital mutilation, already outlawed in most European countries.

The bill says circumcisions are performed without anaesthesia, and claims the procedure is often carried out “in homes that are not sterile, and not by doctors but by religious leaders. There is a high risk of infections under such conditions that may lead to death.”

Canada should not be following suit with most European countries on policy or law, but perhaps it may be time to have a discussion about ethics, morality and consent on the topic of male circumcision. FGM should always remain illegal, as it has, but why must we continue allowing Western liberalism to disregard the rights and freedoms of men and their bodies?