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Got sand in your…?

Do not search for information on getting sand in your genitals. It’s a morass of nonsense out there, with all kinds of bizarre pop culture notions. Most of it seems to be about getting sand in your vagina, which is treated as slogan to mock and trivialize women’s problems, but getting sand under your foreskin…oh, my. That’s no joke. That’s a very serious problem that must be dealt with surgically.

Remember Brian Morris, the Australian circumcision fanatic? One of his talking points is that getting sand in your penis is a major problem for uncircumcised men, and that in particular entire armies have been devastated in the desert by grains of sand getting caught up there, or laid flat in the jungles by all the damp rot and unhygienic conditions. He paints a grisly picture of the uncircumcised penis, and claims that it’s standard military policy to make sure you don’t have one of those dangerous folds of skin. How can you possibly fight if you’ve got a tiny, hideous bit of flesh attached to your penis?

I really had no idea. I may be a flabby old college professor, but apparently because I was born in America in the 1950s, when every boy baby was given cosmetic surgery practically as soon as they were born, I can whip the ass of every anteater boy out there. Good to know.

Morris is rather insistent. He claims that circumcision is a serious medical issue for the military.

In attempting to ridicule the notion that circumcision arose in the Middle East to solve problems caused by ‘sand and dust’, Vernon cites an article by Robert Darby, an anti-circ activist. Darby’s claims stemming from ‘medical records’ ‘he analyzed’ are false. Infections, initiated by the aggravation of dirt and sand, are not uncommon under desert conditions, and have even crippled whole armies of uncircumcised soldiers. It is difficult to achieve sanitation during prolonged battle. To contradict Darby, and thus Vernon, a US Army report by General Patton stated that in World War II 150,000 soldiers were hospitalised for foreskin problems due to inadequate hygiene. To quote: “Time and money could have been saved had prophylactic circumcision been performed before the men were shipped overseas” and “Because keeping the foreskin clean was very difficult in the field, many soldiers with only a minimal tendency toward phimosis were likely to develop balanoposthitis”. The story was similar in Iraq during ‘Desert Storm’ in the early 1990s. In the Vietnam War men requested circumcision to avoid “jungle rot”.

Well, if General George Patton thought it was a serious problem, it must be so. “Old Blood and Guts” wouldn’t be put off by trivia.

Except, well, it turns out that Brian Morris is rather sloppy with the facts.

Attempting to refute my argument he cites “a US Army report by General Patton”, and lists a series of pages that are supposed to back up his claim. But when you actually check those pages you find that they have nothing to do with sand under the foreskin and fail to provide any support for the argument that Morris wishes to make. For a start he gets the details of the book wrong. It is not a “report by General Patton”, but a multi-author volume in the official history of U.S. medical services in World War 2, edited by John F. Patton MD. Secondly, there are only two occurrences of the word sand in the entire volume, neither of which has anything to do with foreskins or circumcision. The volume scarcely deals with the Middle Eastern or North African (desert) combat theatres, but mostly with the South-East Asian and Pacific theatres, characterized by dense jungles and wet, humid conditions that posed many intractable health problems, affecting many parts of the body, not just the penis. But in those conditions sand and dust were not an issue. There is not the slightest support for his hyperbolic claim that “Infections, initiated by the aggravation of dirt and sand, are not uncommon under desert conditions, and have even crippled whole armies of uncircumcised soldiers.”

I’m sure you uncircumcised men are quite pleased to hear this. You don’t need to get the tip lopped off in order to go kill people in the Middle East. And I’ve lost my last possible advantage in a bar fight.

Comments

  1. davidchapman says

    PZ Myers

    “Old Blood and Guts” wouldn’t be put off by trivia.

    I’m glad General Patton wasn’t involved after all. If we had to start calling him
    “Old Blood and Foreskins,” well, it doesn’t have the same ring to it does it?

  2. blf says

    This fruitcake confused General George Patton with John Patton, M.D. ? Even by the absurdly low standards of reading comprehension which seem to be prevalent in wingnutgrad, that mistake takes either a serious amount of lead-tainted moonshine or fetid batshite stooopidity to make.

    Not to mention confusing jungle conditions in southeast Asia with arid desert conditions in northern Africa. I would like to think even flatearthers would understand that difference.

  3. AsqJames says

    I have a foreskin. On occasion sand or other dirt has gotten under it. If you want to imagine how debilitating and potentially life-threatening this can be, the nearest analogy I can think of is it’s a bit like getting an eyelash under your eyelid…only much less painful (in fact it’s barely noticeable) and with no deterioration of your visual acuity.

    In conclusion, all soldiers should have their eyelids removed upon enlisting.

  4. playonwords says

    Anecdotal evidence and not about sand.

    A mate of mine told me about his most embarrassing trip to the doctor. He and his best beloved went off to indulge in some outdoor hanky-panky. It was autumn and it started to rain but “luckily” there were barns full of straw so they decided to decided to try that.

    They had barely started the deed when John realised his mistake – it was oat straw and some of the seeds were still amongst the stalks. One of them got under his foreskin and embedded itself as John became tumescent. At which point the spikes embedded themselves.

    John’s partner laughed himself silly as he helped John back to the car and “helpfully” pointed out the benefits of circumcision. The doctor was able to extract the offending seed with some stretching and a pair of forceps not helped by John’s reaction to being – um – man handled.

  5. vaiyt says

    One of his talking points is that getting sand in your penis is a major problem for uncircumcised men,

    That might come as a surprise to about 120 million of my neighbors or so, almost all of them uncircumcised. No news of sand-in-foreskin epidemics despite the people going to the beach year round.

  6. robertfoster says

    I served 6 years as a Navy Corpsman, 18 months of that with the Marines. I saw plenty of cases of STDs, but never once did I see a Gyrene put out of action because he got grit under his hood. There’s an old army saying of “shit, shower, shave and shine” and I like to think by shine this means clean out the smegma. Could be wrong about that, though.

  7. kestrel says

    Imagine! All those wars that were not fought for thousands of years, because the sand under the foreskin stopped them! They could put up with poor food, lack of proper clothing, inadequate weapons, malaria, dengue fever etc. but boy, it was the grain of sand that stopped the whole army! That’s why there’s that old saying about the grain of sand losing the entire battle! [/sarcasm]

    Oh wait. That was the nail for the shoe of a horse.

    Good grief. As if that would have stopped all the wars over the centuries. Although it would be OK with me if it did… According to my partner, the only issue with a foreskin is it makes a foley more difficult to insert (a foley is a type of catheter) and can occasionally be a source of infection under those exact circumstances. But inserting a foley can also occasionally be a source of infection for circumcised men as well.

  8. plainenglish says

    Dammit, Myers, I’m trying to get ready for work and my-stuff is all uncomfortable now… dammit! All panted up and bothery after your dawn musings… and now I have to go off into the world having remembered my dismemberment! They snipped my dick for Jeebus, I think, something about cleanliness in a filthy world or some such boo-boo. But then, you know, I never have to use that gawdawful smegma word or even think it in the shower…. Now suffer your smegma, robertfoster … Get back into the shower! I think Patton probably said something about soldiers and showers once….

  9. AsqJames says

    @robertfoster,

    I saw plenty of cases of STDs, but never once did I see a Gyrene put out of action because he got grit under his hood.

    What about eye infections? I need some evidence to back up my campaign to remove soldiers’ eye lids.

    Actually, never mind. Just found a paper by a certain G Schwarzkopf M.D. It’s on ear infections in submariners, but I think I can make it fit. I’ve got Stormin’ Norman on my side now!

  10. gussnarp says

    Men were requesting circumcisions in Vietnam to prevent “jungle rot”?

    Apparently he doesn’t know what jungle rot is…

    Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_ulcer):

    Ulcers occur on exposed parts of the body, primarily on anterolateral aspect of the lower limbs and may erode muscles and tendons, and sometimes, the bones.

    It seems to me that the glans under a foreskin is the least exposed part of the body.

    Or perhaps he means “crotch rot”, a fungal infection of the groin, not the penis. Something soldiers and athletes all over and regardless of circumcision can be susceptible to, often largely due to prolonged humid conditions and exposure to other people’s fungi.

    I remain convinced that this man is not only ignorant, but also willfully dishonest.

  11. gussnarp says

    @playonwords – As an uncircumcised man, I can’t even figure out what your mate could possibly have been doing to get himself in that condition.

    And in general to the sand argument, sand doesn’t crawl up under the foreskin. Things generally don’t go in unless you put them there.

  12. says

    It’s almost like Europe doesn’t exist. You know, this whole area with million of people, readily available advanced medicine, and a long history of war – and yet where somehow most men are uncircumcised.

  13. ebotebo says

    I prefer to think of it in a more clinical manner, rather than smegma,, I always referred to it as dick cheese!

  14. azhael says

    I think this guy grew up with stories about The Foreskin before bed instead of the Bogeyman. Years of terrible nightmares involving a giant foreskin that eats people have to be the explanation for such an irrational fear of a bit of skin. Either that or he was beaten as a child with a whip made of chained foreskins.

  15. Al Dente says

    playonwords @4

    They had barely started the deed when John realised his mistake – it was oat straw and some of the seeds were still amongst the stalks. One of them got under his foreskin and embedded itself as John became tumescent.

    Is this the origin of the expression: dick weed?

  16. playonwords says

    @ 12 gussnarp

    I did say it was anecdotal and I’m afraid I did not ask the details but at the time I assumed that there may have been some horseplay that I was not told about. OTOH he could have been lying, who cares it is a funny story especially as both oats and barley seem to get caught in the crevices of human anatomy – like ears.

  17. Frenzie says

    @12, gussnarp

    And in general to the sand argument, sand doesn’t crawl up under the foreskin. Things generally don’t go in unless you put them there.

    I don’t think it does so much on the beach. However, it does creep in a little while swimming in the sea, because a lot of sand is whirling around in the water. This is not, of course, a health issue. It’ll probably creep out by itself, or if you want to speed it up you can pull back your foreskin and wipe it off, take a shower, or you use your own pee, as I said in the previous topic:

    So if you want to give [the underside of your foreskin] a rinse for some reason, preferably a better one than some misguided notion about having to wash it daily, hold your foreskin closed between two fingers and let your innate shower do its job.

    The part of your penis that would be affected by circumcision is arguably the easiest part of your body to keep clean. It does most of the work by itself, and it has a built-in liquid supply to boot. Circumcision could only ever make cleaning your penis harder. Especially so, one might argue, in deserts lacking proper bathing facilities.

  18. Gerry Delonzo says

    As someone who was once uncircumsized and then, due to an unfortunate event (actually caused by not being uncircumsized) had to get circumsized, I would STRONGLY recommend that infant boys be circumsized. Cleaning is far, far easier, and I wish my parents had made the decision to have a physician circumsize me as an infant as opposed being circumsized as an adult. That said, I am very glad to be circumsized now, since all of the effects have been positive with no negatives.

  19. says

    Gerry Delonzo:

    As someone who was once uncircumsized and then, due to an unfortunate event (actually caused by not being uncircumsized) had to get circumsized, I would STRONGLY recommend that infant boys be circumsized.

    I’m sorry you had to deal with your unfortunate event.
    In your case, circumcision sounds like it was necessary. Can that necessity be projected onto all infant boys? What are the medical reasons for circumcising all infant boys? Is it possible your experiences have biased you in favor of male circumcision?

    New scientific evidence shows the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks of the procedure, but the benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all newborn boys, according to an updated policy statement published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The revised policy, like the previous one from the AAP, says the decision whether or not to circumcise should be left to the parents in consultation with their child’s doctor.

    http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/New-Benefits-Point-to-Greater-Benefits-of-Infant-Circumcision-But-Final-Say-is-Still-Up-to-parents-Says-AAP.aspx#sthash.VWznMxJh.dpuf

  20. alexanderjohannesen says

    And … sand? I live on the beach in Australia, and yet we mostly fear blue-ringed octopus, sharks, stingers, blue bottles, moree eels, and other things that can kill or maim or pacify you. Now we should be far more worried about that stuff we’ve gotten up there for years. Who knew?

  21. gussnarp says

    @Frenzie

    However, it does creep in a little while swimming in the sea, because a lot of sand is whirling around in the water.

    I know everyone’s different and all, but I seriously don’t know what you people are doing with your penises. Or maybe I’m weird. But in decades of living near the beach and swimming regularly, this has never happened to me.

    @playonwords – I’m just amused at the whole thing. I suppose it’s possible and if I work hard enough, I can imagine a scenario…. But still, as above, I just don’t know what the hell everybody else is doing with their penises! ;-)

    @Gerry Delonzo – I’m sorry that happened to you, but for most uncircumcised men cleanliness is so completely trivial that there simply can’t be such an improvement. I don’t know what your issue was or how it affected your hygiene practice, but it just has nothing to do with the vast majority of men.

  22. Gerry Delonzo says

    “New scientific evidence shows the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks of the procedure”

    If you want to deny the benefits to your male children, then more power to you. I am fine with that. The AAP makes it clear that the benefits outweigh the risks. Forget my personal experience (although it is highly illustrative of the “risks”) and give some weight to experts. Or not, if you really have an axe to grind with authority.

  23. Gregory Greenwood says

    Gerry Delonzo @ 22;

    The medical evidence that supports circumcision is inconclusive at best. Even if we put that to one side, there is also a legitimate question of bodily autonomy here – there are substantial ethical concerns about performing a surgical procedure on a child that is too young to consent or even understand the procedure, especially given the problematic social component of ritualisation that surrounds the practice in many communities and societies.

    The better option is to povide access to circumcision to those adults who freely make an informed choice to undertake the operation, which can easily be done without applying any pressure to promote lopping pieces off children. If nothing else, a man who wasn’t circumcised as a child can have the procedure performed as an adult with little difficulty. While there will be pain and inconvenience, these are far from insurmountable obstacles. If, however, a person is circumcised as a child, then it would be exceptionally difficult to reverse the procedure in any meaningful way in later life.

    Why not leave such a significant decision about the potential surgical modification of a person’s body in that person’s own hands, and no one elses?

  24. says

    Gerry:

    If you want to deny the benefits to your male children, then more power to you. I am fine with that. The AAP makes it clear that the benefits outweigh the risks. Forget my personal experience (although it is highly illustrative of the “risks”) and give some weight to experts. Or not, if you really have an axe to grind with authority.

    I don’t have children.
    I don’t have an axe to grind with authority.
    I accept that there are benefits and that those benefits outweigh the risks. However, the AAP said

    New scientific evidence shows the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks of the procedure, but the benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all newborn boys, according to an updated policy statement published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

    (bolding mine)

    They don’t recommend routine circumcision.
    Also, I’m not discounting your personal experience. I’m sympathetic to that. I just don’t think you should use your experience to make a broad statement about circumcising all infant boys.
    If I were the parent of a newborn, I’d like to think I’d ask “is it medically necessary to circumcise my infant son?” as well as “can the benefits of circumcision be achieved without circumcision?”

  25. says

    Speaking of those benefits:

    Specific benefits from male circumcision were identified for
    the prevention of urinary tract infections, acquisition of HIV, transmission
    of some sexually transmitted infections, and penile cancer

    Are there alternate methods for achieving these benefits?

  26. Gerry Delonzo says

    “If, however, a person is circumcised as a child, then it would be exceptionally difficult to reverse the procedure in any meaningful way in later life.”

    But no one ever wants to do this because of the benefits to circumcision.

  27. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Gerry:

    “No one” is a pretty inclusive category. Might you be a teensy bit over broad in that statement?

  28. says

    Gerry:

    But no one ever wants to do this because of the benefits to circumcision

    No one?

    Foreskin restoration can be attempted for several reasons, among them being a desire to create the appearance of a natural foreskin (prepuce) covering the glans, or to increase sexual sensitivity of the glans and the interior of the restored foreskin, or to reduce discomfort due to exposure of sensitive areas during everyday activities. Foreskin restoration techniques are most commonly undertaken by men who have been circumcised or who have sustained an injury, but are also used by men who desire a longer foreskin and by men who have phimosis.

    There *are* men who want to reverse their circumcisions. I suspect you’re projecting your preferences onto others.
    Again, in your case, circumcision was deemed necessary. That doesn’t mean that it is necessary for all other infant boys.

  29. Anathema says

    @ Gerry (#30),

    One of the reasons my father was so adamant about making sure that my little brother was not circumcised was that he regrets having been circumcised as an infant.

    It is interesting to learn that my father does not exist.

  30. =8)-DX says

    As a foreskin-haver, I have to say:

    Sand in your foreskin, that can easily be washed or peed out (what were you doing, btw?) vs. sand and pebbles rasping against the exposed head of your circumcised penis.

    AAARGH, NO!!

  31. Rob Grigjanis says

    Gerry Delonzo @22:

    As someone who was once uncircumsized and then, due to an unfortunate event (actually caused by not being uncircumsized) had to get circumsized, I would STRONGLY recommend that infant boys be circumsized.

    Anecdata? Super. As someone who was hit by an idiot’s car door opening in front of me, I would STRONGLY recommend not riding a bike.

    Cleaning is far, far easier…

    Yeah, pulling it back is fucking hard.

  32. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    A quick check of the many groups and methods dedicated to foreskin restoration disproves your claim @ #30, Gerry Delonzo.

    And regardless, not only does the AAP stand against routine infant circumcision, bodily integrity and aytonomy are issues.

  33. opposablethumbs says

    Gerry,

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that globally 30% of males aged 15 and over are circumcised, with almost 70% of these being Muslim.

    (less than 2 seconds to find on wiki). The great majority of men (70% worldwide) are not circumcised … and oddly enough this isn’t a worldwide health problem.

    I’m sorry you had a medical emergency and I’m glad you’re happy with the outcome; but all that has absolutely nothing to do with routinely having a surgical procedure carried out on infants long, long before they are old enough to decide for themselves whether they need or want it done.

    You might like to look at the incidence of the various conditions against which circumcision supposedly helps protect, in the US as compared with Canada, Europe, Latin America and the whole of Asia (you can also compare, say, China and India with the island nations of South-East Asia where circumcision is common).

  34. azhael says

    Some individuals develop appendicitis which is a far more serious condition than any foreskin related situation…and yet we still don´t routinely take the appendix off of newborns. Your individual case is not representative of the general male population. By the way, nobody is arguing against circumsicion when it is medically necessary, it´s when it´s not that it is a problem, which is most of the time.

    But no one ever wants to do this because of the benefits to circumcision.

    Other have already provided evidence that shows this is flatly false. However i also wanted to point out the sheer stupidity of that sentence. In order to recognize “the benefits” you need to have experienced the state of having a foreskin as a conscious individual with a functional one (so, you know, several years old, at least). If an individual is circumsized as an infant, he couldn´t possibly be able to recognize any benefits because he has nothing to compare his experience of a circumsized penis with. For all that individual knows, having a foreskin could be fucking amazing.
    Someone with a foreskin can however get a glimpse of what it is like not to have one by the incredible feat of retracting it and outside of sexual contexts when the penis is erect and lubricated, my experience tells me that not having a foreskin sucks….
    These benefits you speak of wouldn´t possibly come from your personal experience having medical issues with your foreskin, would they? Because other than “i no longer have medical issues due to my foreskin” i fail to see how having a dry, insensitive exposed glans can possibly be considered a benefit when compared to a functional, non-medically problematic, glans protecting, self-cleaning, foreskin covered one. Obviously in your case having a foreskin was much worse than not having one…but once again, your case is not representative…

    But you know…if you want to deny your kids the benefits of having a foreskin….more power to you….

  35. says

    Well, my husband had some repeated problems with his penis during puberty so circumcision was discussed as a treatment should the problem reoccur. Gerry might not believe this, but to this day he is very happy that antibiotics did their job and he still has his foreskin.

  36. Gregory Greenwood says

    Gerry Delonzo @ 30;

    But no one ever wants to do this because of the benefits to circumcision.

    Other commenters have already pointed out that this assertion is inaccurate. I notice that you still haven’t addressed the most important point from my post @ 27 – that of consent and bodily autonomy. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on how blanket circumcision of children can be reconciled with these well established principles.

    So I ask you again; why not leave such a significant decision about the potential surgical modification of a person’s body in that person’s own hands, and no one elses?

  37. gussnarp says

    @Gerry Delonzo @ 30:

    But no one ever wants to do this because of the benefits to circumcision.

    To the chorus of those saying this is flat our wrong, I’d like to add that there aren’t many people who do it not because of any benefits, but because it’s really difficult or it just never occurred to them. One way or another I expect most men are satisfied enough with their foreskin possession or lack that they’re not going to go through extensive procedures to change it. Most of us just want our penises left well enough alone outside of sexual encounters.

    But if the benefits are so great, the real question is, barring any specific medical indication, how many adult men get circumcised just for the sake of hygiene or STD risk reduction?

  38. gussnarp says

    One other thing, it’s pretty interesting that the AAP is saying both that the benefits outweigh the risks and that routine circumcision is not recommended. It’s like they’re having their cake and eating it, too. It’s further interesting that they are not in agreement with their European colleagues on this issue. This all suggests that there’s a lot of cultural bias tied up in their statement.

    Some of those biases are plain to see. For example, no longer having a foreskin is not considered a risk. The fact is that’s something that ought to be weighed against any potential benefit.

    Also, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to consider any of the STI risks in the equation. We don’t vaccinate infants for HPV, we wait until the kids are older, because young children having sex is, thankfully, extremely rare. There’s no need to circumcise an infant to prevent STIs, just circumcise a twelve year old who can consent instead. I mean, unless you’re afraid 12 year olds won’t consent. It actually makes more sense to give the HPV vaccine earlier than to routinely circumcise infants. Not only that, but reducing the risk of STI isn’t all that useful. With widespread HPV vaccination we can get dramatic results. With good sex ed and condom use we can get better results than we get by circumcising. A life spent having unsafe sex is likely to lead to STI, regardless of foreskin status. Otherwise we’d have nearly eliminated STIs in the U.S. And we should also consider the fact that if we start telling people that the reason you get circumcised is to prevent STIs, we’re going to have a not insignificant number of people who think their bare glans makes them immune to STIs who will then engage in riskier behaviors.

    There’s also something to be said of the very fact that enormous amounts of effort have been expended in research to justify a surgical procedure on infants that was already going on with no medical justification whatsoever for decades and that research has returned unconvincing results. Why did the medical community go through all that research instead of just stopping the practice, considering they were doing it for purely religious and later cosmetic reasons?

  39. David Marjanović says

    the aggravation of dirt and sand

    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    I know everyone’s different and all, but I seriously don’t know what you people are doing with your penises. Or maybe I’m weird.

    Seconded.

    sand and pebbles rasping against the exposed head of your circumcised penis

    As I have learned on Pharyngula, the glans on a circumcised penis keratinizes, meaning it becomes remarkably insensitive.

    One other thing, it’s pretty interesting that the AAP is saying both that the benefits outweigh the risks and that routine circumcision is not recommended. It’s like they’re having their cake and eating it, too. It’s further interesting that they are not in agreement with their European colleagues on this issue. This all suggests that there’s a lot of cultural bias tied up in their statement.

    All seconded.

  40. says

    To contradict Darby, and thus Vernon, a US Army report by General Patton stated that in World War II 150,000 soldiers were hospitalised for foreskin problems due to inadequate hygiene.

    “Because when you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend’s dick, you’ll know what to do.”

  41. skaduskitai says

    As a normal european with a foreskin I just don’t get what this lunatic is talking about. In just what fantasyland does this person live? And it’s just idiotic; “Oh no! A grain of sand against the tip of my penis might cause a deadly infection, better make sure to cut off the very skin designed to protect it from coming into contact with those deadly things” (unless you hump a beach). Ridiculous!

  42. davidchapman says

    Similarly with regard to circumcision, one of the reasons for it is, in my opinion, the wish to bring about a decrease in sexual intercourse and a weakening of the organ in question, so that this activity be diminished and the organ be in as quiet a state as possible. It has been thought that circumcision perfects what is defective congenitally. This gave the possibility to everyone to raise an objection and to say: How can natural things be defective so that they need to be perfected from outside, all the more because we know how useful the foreskin is for that member? In fact this commandment has not been prescribed with a view to perfecting what is defective congenitally, but to perfecting what is defective morally. The bodily pain caused to that member is the real purpose of circumcision. None of the activities necessary for the preservation of the individual is harmed thereby, nor is procreation rendered impossible, but violent concupiscence and lust that goes beyond what is needed are diminished. The fact that circumcision weakens the faculty of sexual excitement and sometimes perhaps diminishes the pleasure is indubitable. For if at birth this member has been made to bleed and has had its covering taken away from it, it must indubitably be weakened. The Sages, may their memory be blessed, have explicitly stated: It is hard for a woman with whom an uncircumcised man has had sexual intercourse to separate from him. In my opinion this is the strongest of the reasons for circumcision.

    Moses Maimonides (1135-1204); A Guide For The Perplexed.