Demonstrating... With Kids!

By Emily Kirsch, Intact Pennsylvania © 2012

Lindsey and Emily ~ International AIDS Conference 2012

Demonstrating...with kids?! YOU CAN DO THIS!

I admit the idea of demonstrating with even one small child in tow can seem incredibly daunting. My first Genital Integrity Awareness Week (GIAW 2011) I barely dipped my feet in the intactivism pool. My sons were three years and fourteen months old at the time and I was also five months pregnant with my third child. We arrived in D.C. for the march, carried a couple signs with us, and then left that same evening. I parked in a hotel’s parking garage along Independence Avenue, for about $20. Gas to DC and back from our home was less than that. We brought water and plenty of snacks so there was no need to source food in the city. We left shortly after noon, arrived in DC by 2pm (the kids got a good, long nap in the car), it was a 10 minute walk from our parking spot to the West Lawn of the Capitol, and we were back in the car by 9pm.

My second year attending GIAW in 2012 was a lot more involved than my first experience. I was a single mom, with a seven month old, a 2 year old and a 4 year old. I didn’t have the money to pay for a hotel room - only enough for travel expenses and our food. David Wilson, of Stop Infant Circumcision Society, generously offered us a bed in his hotel room, and the other people sharing the room were equally as kind. They were even fine with a mother and three little boys under the age of five staying with them for the whole week!

Kids' Dinner on the Lawn ~ Genital Integrity Awareness Week 2012

I brought an electric skillet (for cooking) and a cooler full of food. I made a big batch of hearty, protein-rich banana muffins for us to have as our breakfasts and to nibble on for snacks. I brought a couple dozen pre-cooked hard boiled eggs. Examples of food cooked in the hotel room in the electric skillet included: scrambled eggs, shrimp ratatouille, chicken and veggie stir fry, lemon and pepper chicken with leeks - we ate well that week! I brought plenty of fresh fruit as well - bananas and apples and oranges (easy to throw three of each fruit in a cooler bag every morning for a snack on the go). I also brought my cutting board and chef’s knife. I didn’t think to bring along a crockpot - I plan to do that this year!

Keep in my mind my car is a Honda Civic - and I had no problem fitting a week’s worth of clothes, food, and supplies in it. The logistics of spending the entire week, by myself, with my three children, in a big city... they're not as complicated as they appear. I babywear at home, so I naturally continued this while I was demonstrating. My seventh month old was used to spending the entire morning and afternoon wrapped on my chest or back, with breaks for milk and diaper checks. D.C. was the same. 

We’d wake up, eat our breakfast, get dressed, pack a bag (I’ll detail what to bring later), put baby in the wrap, put my 2 year old on my back, 4 year old in the stroller, and head out of the hotel. Sometimes, the 2 year old wanted to ride in the stroller until we got outside, and since 4 year olds make EXCELLENT elevator button pushers, I’d buckle the Ergo around my waist to have it ready, and out we’d go.
Emily and Baby ~ Men's Health Week 2012

Once outside, we’d get situated and walk the mile to the Capitol lawn. In late March the weather in DC is absolutely perfect - a long sleeve t-shirt, short sleeve t-shirt over that, a hoodie in case there’s a breeze, and hats for babies. A small blanket for over the lap of a stroller-riding child is also useful. I use cloth diapers, but when staying in a hotel room for a week by myself with all three boys, I gave up and bought a pack of hippie disposable diapers for the baby. I got a small pack of larger diapers to put on my older two boys at night. (Typically at home we have a pile of piddle pads and I didn’t mind the extra laundry. Not something I wanted to deal with while away for a week!) This was an extra cost for the week - $30 for all the diapers and two packs of disposable wipes (we use cloth everything at home).

The bag each day was packed with:
  • 4-5 bottles of water (which I brought and recycled whenever possible)
  • fruit (3 apples, 3 oranges, 3 bananas)
  • a protein-rich snack (veggies and hummus, crackers and nut butter, trail mix, cut-up cheese)
  • an extra change of clothes for each kid
  • half a day’s worth of diapers and wipes
  • a plastic bag for trash
I’d tuck my phone, metro card, and a little cash in a zippered pocket inside my diaper bag - no need to bring my whole wallet! We flipped our days around - sometimes I’d hang out on the Capitol lawn first, demonstrate while the kids ran around and played, or sit under a tree and nurse while having conversations with other demonstrators. The set-up of the West Lawn of the Capitol is such that kids can run freely and play while being enclosed by massive stone walls with only two sets of stairs for exit. We all kept an eye on the children as a group, enabling some to get into conversations or walk holding signs, still ensuring that all of the kids are ALWAYS safe and supervised. The police protection at the Capitol rivals that of anywhere else. We always feel very secure there!

Danelle and Colleen ~ Genital Integrity Awareness Week 2011

Some days we’d spend our morning sight-seeing, out at the zoo, at the many Smithsonian museums, at the Botanical Gardens, and one day I even met up with an old high school friend for coffee. Almost all of the attractions in D.C. are FREE. There is no admission to the zoo, museums, or Botanical Gardens. Museums and Gardens are a short walk from the Capitol, and so is the Washington Monument. The zoo is easily traveled to on the Metro and even that is just a few dollars for the trip. If we spent the morning demonstrating, we’d either sight-see in the afternoon or just hang out and relax at the hotel. I didn’t demonstrate every day - we did take a couple days off.

It might seem overwhelming, but once you make the push to get out and do it, you learn how easy it can be to demonstrate with kids. Be prepared, relax and go with the flow. Ask for help if you need it - intact advocates are kind and generous people - we’ll always help those in need!

Danelle, Emily, Lindsey and Kids ~ Genital Integrity Awareness Week 2012

~~~~

I Don't Want to Be An Intactivist


I don't want to be an Intactivist.

It is not fun.

I do not wish forge my friendships, or to join a community of people where the only thing we have in common is a fight against a socially acceptable, pointless, cruel crime against children.

This is not some fun club, with cool logos, banners and slogans. This is not a hobby. This is not a community. Yes, we do stand together to bring about awareness and fight for the basic human rights of those who cannot speak for themselves. But I'll be glad when we don't have to do this anymore. I'll be glad when I can pick friends with common interests and hobbies. I'll be glad when there is no need to say anything because little boys can finally enjoy the same basic human rights as little girls.

I don't want to be an Intactivist. 

I am Garrett Wolfe, and I am an Intactivist.


Until the violence ends. 

~~~~

We invite you to hear from more men here, and welcome your voice.


12 INTACT Days of Christmas


12 INTACT Days of Christmas!
Words by Danelle Frisbie

♪ ♫ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ ♪♫ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♬ ♪  ♬ ♪

On the First Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 

A Happy, Healthy INTACT Baby!

On the Second Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 

Two Info Packs
And a Happy, Healthy INTACT Baby!

On the Third Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 

Three Baby Expos,
Two Info Packs
And a Happy, Healthy INTACT Baby!

On the Fourth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 

Four Parents Listening,
Three Baby Expos,
Two Info Packs
And a Happy, Healthy INTACT Baby!

On the Fifth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 

Five Restoration Devices!
Four Parents Listening, 
Three Baby Expos,
Two Info Packs
And a Happy, Healthy INTACT Baby!

On the Sixth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 

Six Men Taking Down Morris,
Five Restoration Devices!
Four Parents Listening, 
Three Baby Expos,
Two Info Packs
And a Happy, Healthy INTACT Baby!

On the Seventh Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 

Seven GA Laws Passed,
Six Men Taking Down Morris,
Five Restoration Devices!
Four Parents Listening,
Three Baby Expos,
Two Info Packs
And a Happy, Healthy INTACT Baby!

On the Eighth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 

Eight AAP Changes,
Seven GA Laws Passed,
Six Men Taking Down Morris,
Five Restoration Devices!
Four Parents Listening,
Three Baby Expos, 
Two Info Packs
And a Happy, Healthy INTACT Baby! 

On the Ninth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 

Nine Stores to Card,
Eight AAP Changes,
Seven GA Laws Passed,
Six Men Taking Down Morris,
Five Restoration Devices!
Four Parents Listening,
Three Baby Expos,
Two Info Packs
And a Happy, Healthy INTACT Baby!

On the Tenth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 

Ten Foreskin-Friendly Docs,
Nine Stores to Card,
Eight AAP Changes,
Seven GA Laws Passed,
Six Men Taking Down Morris,
Five Restoration Devices!
Four Parents Listening,
Three Baby Expos,
Two Info Packs
And a Happy, Healthy INTACT Baby! 

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 

Eleven Demonstrators,
Ten Foreskin-Friendly Docs,
Nine Stores to Card, 
Eight AAP Changes,
Seven GA Laws Passed,
Six Men Taking Down Morris,
Five Restoration Devices!
Four Parents Listening,
Three Baby Expos,
Two Info Packs
And a Happy, Healthy INTACT Baby! 

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 

Twelve Sons Now Saved,
Eleven Demonstrators, 
Ten Foreskin-Friendly Docs,
Nine Stores to Card, 
Eight AAP Changes, 
Seven GA Laws Passed,
Six Men Taking Down Morris,
Five Restoration Devices!
Four Parents Listening,
Three Baby Expos,
Two Info Packs
And a Happy, Healthy INTACT Baby! 



♪ ♫ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ ♪♫ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ ♪ ♫ ♬ ♪  ♬ ♪



Bloodstained Men and Their Friends: 12.12.12 Berlin Performance


A group of German men, circumcised against their will at birth, along with several of their supportive intact friends, spent 12/12/12 demonstrating against the recent German ruling that legalizes the forced genital cutting of healthy baby boys. Dressed in white "bloodstained" jumpsuits at Brandenburg Gate, the men each turned, one by one, to face the audience as the cries of yet another baby being circumcised played over airwaves. Several of the men participating also spoke publicly at the event. Listening to each new scream of circumcision, as each man turns to face us, is a horrific, yet brutally powerful display of the realities of genital cutting in the 21st century.

Circumcision in Germany is rare except among babies born to Jewish and Muslim parents. The Children's Rights Campaign Against Forced Circumcision (Kinderrechtskampagne gegen Zwangsbeschneidung), one of the leading groups with this performance, reiterates Jewish filmmaker, Victor Schonfeld's, position: Jewish parents are under extreme social pressure to conform. They cannot resist this pressure alone. The main issue with the current debate in Germany is not a 'lack of love' or a failure to want the best for boys and men, but rather is due in great part to the lack of public education on the many consequences of circumcision, the risks involved, and this ill-informed social pressure. The Children's Rights Campaign and others hope to raise awareness and improve education toward this goal. The group formed after Baby Angelo bled to death following circumcision earlier this year.

Idea and direction: Katharina Micada in Berlin
Costumes: Richard Duncker in London



For further information about this protest and action in Germany, visit: www.pro-kinderrechte.de

"My Body Belongs to Me!" 

~~~~

12 Foreskin Friendly Facts for 12.12.12


Foreskin: 

Is Normal!

Exists on all mammals at birth (male and female alike). 

Protects!

Has between 20-70,000 nerve endings!

Houses and transfers those feel-good, mood-enhancing pheromones. 

Prevents callusing and drying of the glans (head) of the penis or clitoris. 

Prevents painful sex ~ and allows for normal sexual function. 

Is pleasurable for both men and women. 

Supplies a natural lube!

Is double-sided, double-layered, and rolls smoothly with subtle ridges for pleasure's sake.

Is fun!

And is NOT 'just skin.' 


For more on the foreskin, visit some of the fantastic resources in the SOS Library or check out a good book today


~~~~


From Indifference to Activism: An Advocate's Journey

By Danielle Avery © 2012

Sculpture representing the Infinite Love between a parent and child.
Available from Ten Thousand Villages.

I never knew much about circumcision or gave it any thought whatsoever until my second pregnancy. My first pregnancy I somehow just 'knew' I was having a daughter, so the topic never crossed my mind. At some point during my second pregnancy, before finding out the sex of our baby, I briefly researched routine infant circumcision. I only did this because I had realized that it was a topic of debate among parents, and didn’t understand why it was such a heated subject - I didn’t really understand what circumcision was. I got the impression that it was not a necessary procedure, so I wanted to do some investigating and find out for myself.

I did not delve much into the details - at this point, I just wanted to know for certain whether or not circumcision was even required. After doing a bit of research, I had learned enough to know that, as I suspected, it was completely unnecessary. I decided right then and there that if the child I was carrying were a baby boy, that alone would be reason enough for me not to do it. Why would anyone put their newborn child through a surgery that offered them no medical benefit? It made no sense.

Weeks later it was revealed via ultrasound that my second child is also a girl. So any thoughts I had on circumcision completely escaped my mind as I began to plan and prepare for the upcoming arrival of my second daughter.

In 2011, during my third pregnancy, I began to look into the subject for a second time - especially after finding out that we were expecting a boy this time! I revisited the topic because the idea of circumcision was still somewhat new to me - I didn’t want to do wrong and I had to be confident in my decision, whatever that would be.

I knew that routine infant circumcision would inevitably become a topic of discussion between my husband and I at some point during the pregnancy, and having learned that it is one subject that frequently turns into a debate, I was not looking forward to it at all. Prior to talking with my husband, I wanted to learn more about reasons not to circumcise, in addition to the one fact I already knew: it is not medically necessary.

When the discussion finally did take place, it didn’t go smoothly. He learned that I was very strongly against having this surgery done on our son and I learned that he (at that time, but not anymore!) was in favor of circumcising our son. At that time, he simply did not realize just how harmful circumcision is, both immediately to an infant, and long-term for an adult.

In an effort for us to both be on the same page, as a team, and as parents making an informed decision, I spent even more time educating myself on the risks of RIC, why it is harmful, how unnecessary it is, and what the long term and short term effects of it are. My goal was to find as much information as I could to share with him. It hurt that we were not in agreement.

The more I learned about this horrific procedure, the more solidified I became in my decision that I would NEVER consent to having our infant son put through such a nightmare. I remember my pregnant self sitting at the computer bawling when I learned exactly what violence newborn baby boys in our country are subjected to every day. It was then that I learned about the procedure itself, and the inadequate (or complete absence of) pain management. Just the thought of this is heartbreaking to me. This disagreement was a very emotional struggle for me because I strongly felt the need to protect our soon to be born infant son from unnecessary surgery and at the same time, to help my husband understand the magnitude of harm that would result from subjecting a newborn to such trauma.

Months later, we had a healthy baby boy, who we kept intact. Despite having made the right decision for my son in protecting him from mutilation, the horror of what I had learned about routine infant circumcision (RIC) was still haunting me, and it did for months. I could not simply forget what I now knew. I wondered how many other parents would take the time to adequately research RIC before making this huge decision for their sons. I wondered if they, too, knew the truths of this painful, unethical surgery, or whether they believed the myths.

I felt that I needed to do something. I could not stand the thought of babies being subjected to such harm. My baby was safe, but what about others? Would their parents protect them, too? Or would they not know any better and be deceived? I then decided that I would do something. I wanted to help share pro-intact information with parents so that they, too, could make an educated decision and protect their babies from harm. I thought of how extremely grateful I felt for those who take the time in making accurate, pro-intact information available for expecting parents to easily find. Knowing what I know now, I am certain that I would not have gotten such honest information from the doctor because so many in the U.S. profit immensely from this procedure and are appallingly uneducated about proper intact care. This made me thankful to have done my research independently as opposed to solely asking a medical professional, who may have given me a very biased and potentially harmful answer. I thought that by becoming an advocate, this could be my way of giving back, of paying it forward, of helping other parents to protect their babies as well. After all, had I remained uninformed, or had I been misinformed, this could very well have been done to my own son and I could not have forgiven myself had I allowed it to happen due to a lack of education on my part.

I started with ordering info cards through Saving Our Sons and carding new baby items at Target and any place that sold baby items. Then I decided I had to do more. I contacted The Intact Network and volunteered to help. I was offered the responsibility of Co-Directing Intact Pennsylvania, which I eagerly accepted. I participated in several small, local protests outside hospitals that routinely circumcise healthy newborn babies - something I had never in my life done before. I was definitely stepping outside my comfort zone! As a new activist and member of the network, I suggested that we organize a carding event at a local maternity and baby expo. At that event, we gave away hundreds of informational cards - many directly into the hands of expecting mothers! There were countless pregnant women there and I hope that the information we shared was helpful to them.

Around this same time, I wrote a letter that I sent via e-mail to the task force members of the AAP’s updated circumcision policy, making them aware of the injustice against newborn babies that would result from their unethical statement. In this letter, I asked that they withdraw their new statement, and in its place, create a new one with accurate, unbiased information acknowledging the risks of RIC, the benefits of keeping babies intact, and that it include proper intact care (i.e. leave the foreskin alone!).

I feel it is also relevant to my story to add that there are a few people in my life who had the courage to approach me with this difficult topic during my pregnancy. Unknown to them, I had already done my research on circumcision - yet I am still grateful that they cared enough to step forward and mention to me the idea of keeping my baby whole. I know that could not have been easy - I myself am still learning, mostly through being around other pro-intact baby-saving advocates, how to broach this subject in such a way as to educate gently, without seeming judgmental, and without leaving the impression of over stepping bounds.

I have to say that it is very encouraging to see an increasing number of activists every day and gives me hope that one day MGM in North America will end. I am extremely grateful to be just a small part of this movement which I believe to be immensely important. I wish to see our country offer our boys the same protection that we offer our girls. All babies deserve to be protected equally, regardless of their sex, the culture they are born into, or the religion of their parents.


Danielle lives with her husband and children in Pennsylvania. She mothers her three little ones, ages 4, 2, and 1, and is a recent graduate of UMUC. Danielle works closely with other advocates, Co-Directing Intact Pennsylvania in an effort to raise awareness about the facts of circumcision and to share intact information with new and expecting parents across the state. 


~~~~

My Biblical Journey to Intactivism

By Vivian Jones © 2012


When we had our first son, we did not actually give a whole lot of thought to circumcision. I researched what I could find and what stood out to me was: Not Necessary. That seemed simple enough to me. ‘Not necessary’ was pretty much all the information I needed. I read that circumcision was 'primarily cosmetic.' This also disturbed me. Why should I have a say in how his genitals look?!

I shared with my husband that I’d found circumcision was not necessary. Being the awesome man he is, that was enough for him. Since then I have learned that many fathers who were circumcised at birth feel threatened or insecure at the idea of their son being different. To some men it may feel like an admission that something is somehow wrong with them and that idea is uncomfortable and potentially brings up other underlying issues. I’m very blessed to have a man who does not think this way. Neither of us wanted to do something to our son that would cause physical pain and risk complications if it wasn’t medically necessary. He agreed with me that if a surgery is not necessary for our newborn, why would we do it?!

Our first son was born and we were very pleased to leave his little body as perfect as it was when he arrived. We had no problems whatsoever, and caring for him was a breeze. There is absolutely nothing extra to do when boys are little because the foreskin is literally fused with the glans of the penis so it cannot (and should not) be pulled back for any reason. Cleaning it is as simple as washing his little hands! Only clean what is seen. Nothing more. It naturally takes care of itself! God’s design is truly perfect and works beautifully and easily! No disassembly required. Definitely no more complicated than bathing our daughters. Just sitting him in the bath and letting him splash and kick (as you would allow any baby) was enough to keep him clean, healthy and happy. And we avoided having to care for a recovering newborn with an open, painful surgical wound sitting in a diaper during those crucial first days and weeks. Being a newborn is traumatic enough without having an excruciating, unncessary surgery to deal with on top of everything else. Seemed like a no-brainer to me!

But even at this time I thought circumcision was still a personal parental decision for our babies. A few friends and family members said, “Well hey - God required it of Abraham, so it must not be bad. In fact, it may be good! Why would God require it if it weren’t somehow beneficial?”

This argument seemed valid to me and I had no answer for it.

After thinking about it and seeing how normal and healthy my intact little boy was, it seemed more and more wrong that baby boys are often routinely circumcised as newborns without much of a second thought. It even seemed like a lot of people do it just because 'it’s what you do' not knowing that there’s any other option. Why is the cutting off part of a baby's genitals not considered a bigger deal? Why is it so common and accepted in the United States? In any other situation, it would be considered criminal. It deeply disturbed me. The idea that God required circumcision as a sign of the Covenant in the Old Testament continued to confuse me. The more I knew about circumcision, the more I questioned why.

I started digging deeper. What was the deal with Biblical circumcision in the Old Testament? That’s when I learned the shocking truth. Biblical circumcision is completely different from what modern circumcision is. They are not even remotely comparable. The circumcision that God ordained in the Old Testament as a sign of the covenant was quite simply a 'clip' of the skin meant to shed a few drops of blood as a sign of the Covenant. Very little was actually removed. It left the majority of the foreskin intact and fully functional. Circumcision as it is done today was completely brought about by man. Not God. Had it been done in Biblical times the way it is today, babies would have died of blood loss and infection. They didn’t have the surgical tools and clamps and medicines that have made modern circumcision possible. There are historical and archaeological artifacts on this ritual that can be found in many reference books of ancient culture. This should be common knowledge.

To quote my favorite article on this topic:
God never ordained that the foreskin or any other part of the human body should be amputated (i.e. his creation destroyed), unless it became diseased. Our modern invention of foreskin amputation (modern circumcision) took place in Victorian times when several doctors and psychiatrists came up with the idea in hopes of discouraging self-stimulation. It didn't work, but the practice soon became ingrained as ‘tradition.’ And there are few things so safely guarded as tradition.
After this discovery, I became livid that such a tradition is so misunderstood, falsely protected by religion, and still so common in this day and age. Prior to this discovery I hesitated to compare male circumcision to female circumcision. Prior to this discovery I hesitated to call it 'genital mutilation.' Prior to this discovery, I hesitated to call circumcision a human rights issue. Now that I know the truth? There is NO MORE hesitation.

I also learned that because the foreskin of an infant is fused to the glans of the penis, to remove it from a newborn requires being forcibly ripped away - very similarly to how a fingernail would be ripped off your nail bed. Sounds painful, right? Yet this is traditionally and routinely subjected upon our smallest and most defenseless - newborn babies! And it’s being done to their GENITALS. Horrifying. Not only that, but the foreskin has purpose and function. It is a blessing and a gift from God. His creation is perfect and beautiful. Why would I rob my sons (and their potential future wives!) of a healthy and vital body part?

Once I understood the invention of modern circumcision was merely to curtail sexual pleasure and that it was completely different from the sign of God’s covenant in the Old Testament, I started seeing it for what it really is. A human rights violation. Genital mutilation. Barbaric. Abuse. And yes, even comparable to female circumcision. It’s alarming to say the least to look at all the claimed 'benefits' and arguments made for female circumcision because they are eerily similar to the claimed 'benefits' and arguments made for male circumcision.

After all I’ve learned about circumcision historically and Biblically, in my mind I can no longer tolerate this topic as 'controversial.' The cutting of a newborn’s genitals (regardless of sex) should be the LEAST controversial thing in the world. It simply should not happen.

Related Information:

Georgetown lecture by Dr. Ryan McAllister, Ph.D. "Child Circumcision: An Elephant in the Hospital"



Snippity Snip - Or is Circumcision That Simple?

Circumcision Information Resource Pages: Information for Parents

Faith Considerations on Circumcision

Are You Fully Informed?

Vivian Jones is a homebirth mom to 6 little ones and wife to a man she says is "the most supportive, intelligent, and loving man who adores his children." Over the years that as she has gained experience as a mother, she has grown to be more of an advocate for breastfeeding, co-sleeping, cloth-diapering, milk-sharing, natural childbirth, natural family living and genital autonomy. 

~~~~

Believing Circumcision Prevents HIV, Malawi Men Go on 'Sex Spree'

By Danelle Frisbie

Adult man reads about the 'benefits' of circumcision while undergoing the surgery with local anesthesia.
Photo by Amnon Gutman.

According to news out of Malawi, men who undergo circumcision are buying into the myth that they are now protected from HIV. As a result, many of the local men in Mangochi have gone on 'sex sprees,' participating in sexual intercourse with multiple partners, without condoms, all the while claiming they are now immune to HIV. 

The Malawi Voice reports that Dickens Mahwayo of Given Secrets Consultants detests the misinformation being given to men across Malawi. This past weekend at the College of Medicine (COM) Research Conference, Mahwayo told colleagues that he has found most men believe circumcision to be a license to have unprotected sex with anyone they choose. "What is most saddening is that most circumcised men are now engaging in unprotected sex, claiming they are immune to HIV." 

Mahwayo's research demonstrates that the vast majority, 74% of men, state that they no longer use any form of protection after being circumcised. In addition, 58% of female sex workers do not require their male partners to use condoms if they have been circumcised. 

Compounding the problem already in epidemic proportions is that circumcised men now pay significantly less for services from sex workers. "Circumcised men are now charged peanuts for sex compared to [intact] men," stated Mahwayo. Believed to be 'less of a risk' and easier to deal with, men who have undergone circumcision are given a break on cost. This spurs more men to sign up for circumcision under the guise that it will equal more sex, without any risk. 

The rate of intercourse with multiple partners is increasing, as is the rate of intercourse without any form of protection. This false sense of 'HIV prevention' that current campaigns to cut in Africa pose are bringing about greater rates of the virus now spreading at an alarming rate due to these cultural myths and practices. 

~~~~

Related reading can be found at AIDSCirc.org and in resources linked at the end of this article




HBO "Girls" Star, Jemima Kirke, Says NO to Circumcision

By Danelle Frisbie


HBO Girls star, Jemima Kirke, is expected to welcome her second child into the world this November - and be it a girl or boy, her baby will remain intact.

In an interview appearing in New York Magazine's November 5th issue, Kirke chats candidly with friend and former roommate, Jane Moseley. The baby topic inevitably comes up - Kirke and her husband, Michael Mosberg, decided to wait to find out the sex of their baby until the big day.

During the interview, a copy of Brooklyn Family is open on the kitchen table to an article that has a heavily myth-based, pro-cutting slant titled, "Circumcision: Small Cut, Big Decision." Kirke says the magazine is not hers and Moseley poses the question: If baby is a boy, will Kirke circumcise?

Kirke has obviously thought about this subject before and like most of her London-born peers quickly says, "No!" She continues, "I don’t like the idea of mutilating a baby. And that’s what it is. Let’s just call a spade a spade."

Moseley doesn't appear to be entirely convinced, "There’s far worse that could happen..."

"Not that I could choose to do," concludes Kirke. And how right she is.

So come November, whether big sister, Rafaella, welcomes a sister or brother to the family, one thing is certain: this baby is in protected hands.


For further resources on intact care and circumcision see: Are You Fully Informed? 
Join in the conversation on Facebook.

~~~~

Circumcision from an Orgonomic Perspective

By Richard Schwartzman, D.O. and Rebecca Schwartzman, B.A.
Published in the Journal of Orgonomy, Vol. 31 No. 1
Learn more at The American College of OrgonomyThe Institute for Orgonomic Science and Schwartzman's blog.

Wilhelm Reich, Jewish Austrian-American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst; Father of Orgonomics

All of nature's processes are governed by a single energy; orgone energy. This energy permeates the cosmos and courses through all living things. The emotional and physical health of human beings depends upon whether this energy flows freely in the body or whether it is blocked. When the energy is unimpeded, individuals feel alive, are able to relate well with others, and function well in their work. When it is blocked, they feel dissatisfied and every aspect of functioning suffers. From birth, and quite possibly before, humans respond to traumatic events by physically contracting, especially in their musculature. When muscular tension becomes chronic, it is known as "armoring," and its presence prevents the natural flow of orgone energy through the body. Armoring forms as a consequence of early, painful experiences of infancy and childhood. Feelings and memories are held in the armor and, as such, the unconscious resides not in the "mind" but rather in the whole human being. Thus, mind and body are united with orgone energy functioning as the common principle.

From Reich's discovery of armoring we know that even the earliest emotional experiences are biophysically held in the body as chronic muscular contractions. Adults cannot remember back to their earliest days of life, but initial feelings and experiences remain locked within them, laying the foundation for neurosis with all its untoward consequences. Medical orgone therapy seeks to reestablish the free flow of orgone energy by relieving armoring, and in so doing it brings about the expression of long-buried feelings and emotions.

Prevailing opinion holds that the human condition is almost entirely the result of either heredity or social factors. However, life's first experiences shape character most, and lay the foundation for either healthy functioning or chronic discontent. Birth and the first few days of life are the most important and decisive period of development, and the earliest traumas produce the most severe damage. This is because the newborn has not developed any means to defend against shock and injury. The trauma of circumcision produces a severe biophysical contraction, concentrated at the site of the injury. With no mechanism yet developed to defend against the excruciating pain, the infant can only scream and then withdraw into himself.

Adults, during the course of medical orgone therapy, regularly recall past traumas as armoring is released. As impossible as this may seem, sometimes a patient will relive his circumcision. It is a horrendous experience for the patient and very disturbing for the physician. If individuals could see a circumcision being relived, with all its pain and terror, there would be no question that even the earliest infantile experiences remain alive in the adult and are not at all "forgotten."


The location of armoring, the site where the flow of energy is predominantly blocked, determines the type and degree of neurosis that will develop. Thus, armoring that occurs as a result of circumcision has its own particular lasting aftereffects. The severe trauma of circumcision increases pelvic armoring and serves to block the flow of feeling into the genital; therefore the full energetic discharge that should normally accompany orgasm becomes inhibited. Dr. Elsworth Baker tells us that castration anxiety is produced originally "through the threat of castration, either with words and implications, or by circumcision."(1) In the adult, castration anxiety manifests itself as a fear of natural sexual relations, and such individuals are always orgastically impotent-they lack the capacity for complete surrender to the involuntary contractions that occur with orgasm and complete discharge of sexual excitation. Because of pelvic armoring and castration anxiety, which increases the holding in this area, one would expect circumcised men to be more likely to engage in pregenital forms of sex. Indeed, a recent study of the effects of circumcision found a relationship between circumcision and sexual activity (2). Specifically, circumcised men were shown to engage in a more elaborate set of sexual practices, particularly masturbation and oral and anal sex. The authors of the study hypothesized that this behavior may be due to reduced sensitivity of the penis. (1) While reduced sensitivity exists, from what we know of the effects of armoring, and specifically castration anxiety, it can be speculated that those who have been genitally traumatized prefer less threatening outlets for their sexual drive.

The American Academy of Pediatrics determined in 1971 that there was no valid medical reason for routine circumcision (4). However, physicians ignored this report and continued to advocate the procedure for health reasons. (2) What are the real roots of this barbaric practice? What is at work in man's structure that permits this brutalization of helpless infants? Reich has provided us with answers by elucidating what he called the "emotional plague."

Most people are rigidly armored and as such are incapable of achieving a state of natural, healthy functioning. However, at their core, they long for freedom and release from this straitjacket of armoring (5). People fear and hate what they long for most but cannot have. Reich tells us that there is "[a] terror that strikes the armored human being when he faces any kind of living expression [and this] is responsible for the systematic armoring of newborn generations."(6) Reich called this reaction "plague behavior" and it has become organized in many of our social institutions.

One can recognize the emotional plague individual by the following characteristics:
  • He is always genitally frustrated and his impulses, in particular, are sadistic.
  • He imposes his way of thinking and living on others.
  • His behavior is exceedingly well rationalized.
  • The real motive for the behavior is never the stated motive.
  • He seriously and honestly believes in the stated goal.
  • Touching upon his hidden motives always produces anxiety and anger and he strongly defends his thinking and actions.

Circumcision is a classic example of a practice rooted in the emotional plague. It fulfills every requirement of plague behavior. The very act of cutting the newborn's penis speaks to the genital frustration and sadistic impulses at work. Ideas about circumcision are imposed on others by our culture, and those who defy the practice are reproached. (You who are not circumcised are "dirty," you who are not circumcised look "ugly," you who are not circumcised shall not enter into a covenant with God.) The reasons for circumcision (health, hygiene, and religious devotion) are very well-rationalized. The real motive for advocating circumcision, the desire to kill life in newborns, is never stated. Those who advocate the practice seriously and honestly believe in their stated objectives, but if their hidden motives are touched upon anxiety and anger always appear.

Thus, it is the emotional plague in man that rationalizes genital mutilation with pseudo-hygienic pretexts; drives him to strap down helpless newborns and cut away a third of the skin of the penis, with its concentration of sensitive nerves; and allows him to say and believe that the screaming infant feels no pain or just a little discomfort. Circumcision, more than any other invention of armoring man, demonstrates our deep seated hatred of sexuality and our need to destroy what we fear most.


The emotional plague will continue to influence human behavior and therefore circumcisions will continue to be performed. Circumcision will remain a practice of cultures so long as there are love-starved individuals. Parents will continue to demand that their sons be circumcised and rationalize their conduct. Physicians will continue to scare parents with threats that their boy will develop cancer of the penis and suffer from urinary tract infections. (3) All this will be done with good intention. Reich tells us that the emotional plague "... [has] to give way when confronted, clearly and uncompromisingly, with rational thinking and with the natural feeling for life." For this reason, education and appeals to spare defenseless infants from a brutal assault will slowly bring about change.

Some parents may recognize that circumcision is damaging, and that the remote possibility of health consequences of an intact foreskin does not warrant its amputation. Yet despite this understanding, these parents may still be reluctant to leave their child intact. They fear that later in life their boy will suffer social disapproval because he was not circumcised. Parents are also concerned for themselves; what will friends and family think and say when they discover the new baby is not circumcised? These are legitimate concerns, but they need to be put into perspective.

Reich tells us:
If the rigid armoring of the human animal is the basic common principle of all his emotional misery; if it is this armoring which puts him, alone among biological species, beyond the pale of natural functioning, then it follows logically that prevention of rigid armoring is the main and central goat of preventive mental hygiene. (7) 
In light of this, it should be the goal of parents, above all other considerations, to prevent armoring in their children wherever possible. Children should not be adapted to a neurotic world by fostering the development of a rigid character. A child who grows up relatively free from armor will understand that it is society that has the problem, not he. Because of this he will be able to confront society's neurotic reactions. We must learn from children instead of "forcing upon them our own cockeyed ideas and malicious practices, which have been shown in every new generation to be damaging and ridiculous."(8) 
There is a simple solution for parents who have doubts about whether to circumcise: Let the child decide for himself. If he feels at some point that social or religious pressures warrant the operation, he can elect to undergo the procedure fully informed and with a developed ego. No lasting armoring will result. "LET THE CHILDREN THEMSELVES DECIDE THEIR OWN FUTURE. Our task is to protect their natural powers to do so."(9)

Footnotes

1. Moses Maimonides, the foremost intellectual figure of medieval Judaim, wrote that one purpose of the commandment to circumcise was to diminish sexual passion. Rabbi Elie Munk, in his commentary on Maimonides, states: "Thus scarcely having entered the world, the Jew is put onto the road of self control. It is the first of a long series of steps, religious and moral, all permeated with a moral purity which envelops him in an atmosphere of chastity and human dignity and prevents him from falling to the level of an animal."(3)

2. It is interesting to note here that female genital mutilation (FGM), which is practiced in Africa, the Persian Gulf, and the southern Arabian Peninsula, is also defended with rationalizations of better health, improved aesthetics, and appeals to religion and tradition. When we hear of FGM practiced in another culture we are appalled. But when circumcision which has so much in common with FGM is performed in our hospitals, with the rationalizations we give to it, the practice is accepted with hardly a second thought.

3. Some studies show that urinary tract infections are slightly more frequent in the intact newborn, but they often resolve spontaneously, without adverse long-term effects, or can be readily treated with antibiotics. A possible explanation as to why the intact child has a slightly increased incidence of urinary tract infection may be found in the over-attention paid to 'cleanliness.' Retraction of the foreskin to clean the penis (which should not be done in boys) causes or contributes to urinary tract infection. Regardless of what might account for the slight potential risk of infection, the danger does not warrant amputation of the foreskin as a preventative measure.

References

1. Baker, E. Man In The Trap. New York: Macmillan, 1967, p. 73.

2. Laumann, E., Masi, C., Zuckerman, E. et al. "Circumcision in the United States. Prevalence, Prophylactic Effects, and Sexual Practices," JAMA, 277(13):1052-7, April 2, 1997.

3. Munk, E. Call to the Torah. New York: Feldheim Publishers, 1969.

4. American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Fetus and Newborn, "Standards and Recommendations for Hospital Care of Newborn Infants," 5th ed. Evanston, IL: kAP, 71, 1971.

5. Reich, W. Children of the Future. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1983, P. 18.

6. Reich, W. p. 18.

7. Reich, W. p. 16.

8. Reich, W. p. 20.

9. Reich, W. p. 20.

Related






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Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne of One Direction: "I am NOT circumcised."



In this B105 (AUS) interview, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne, members of the hugely popular band out of London, One Direction, state matter of factly that they do indeed still have all that they were born with. Their influence on the next generation of young adults is great, and they stand in a position to both influence future mothers-to-be on the circumcision decision, and normalize the intact male in U.S. pop culture as well.

Still think being intact will hurt your son's social status?



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Painful Sex: How 8 Months of Foreskin Restoration Makes it Better!

By E. Doherty © 2012


There is a lot of information and support that exists today regarding foreskin restoration once you start looking for it. My husband's path to choosing restoration was a winding one.

I started asking questions after my husband and I had been together for about a year and sex was a mix of pleasure and pain for me -- always. My husband, being the only person I have ever been intimate with, I assumed the problem was mine. I went to the gynecologist and was told to "use lube and take it easy" as there was nothing physically wrong with me. My husband and I searched the internet looking for answers, but nothing seemed to help. Embarrassed and defeated, I gave up looking and figured this was just the way sex would be, forever.

Years later and pregnant, I began researching circumcision and began to make the connection between my lack of satisfaction and his lack of foreskin. Long story short, and without a full on anatomy lesson, without the slack skin and rich nerves, and callused over after many years (rubbing on boxers, etc.), my husband had to be a very vigorous lover in order for me to feel pleasure, but this created a fair amount of friction as well and therefore pain. Making love was vigorous and brief and often unsatisfying for us both. We both felt inadequate -- me for my lack of being able to enjoy sex, and him for his lack of being able to bring me pleasure.

When we came to the point of researching foreskin restoration, my husband feared that increasing sensitivity to the glans (head) of his penis would make him orgasm even more quickly (one of the very common reasons men choose to restore is lack of sensitivity). However, what we have found is that once the skin slackened, he no longer needs to thrust so vigorously to stimulate me, as the slipping of his skin (mimics ribbing, but has a more smooth, fluid feeling that is more of a gentle, sensual massage) increased my pleasure and as a result, he is now able to be a far more tender lover. When we choose to have more vigorous sex, the slackened skin accommodates this as well without causing me the pain that used to always come with it. It does seem that using a condom masks the early progress (i.e. sex with a condom does not seem to afford the same benefits of restoration for me or us as a couple at this point).

My husband choose to use the CAT II Q, and within a few months, sex became more comfortable for me, and even pleasurable for the first time. The first month or so of restoration was quite difficult for my husband, and he would become frustrated if the device popped off -- as it often did in the first few weeks. As the skin slackened, this has become less problematic. The first few weeks also did make the shaft skin quite tender, and using medical tape helped both the slipping off and tenderness. It helped the first few days to wear the tugger without underwear, with athletic shorts on, so it did not overly tug the skin to one side. Yes, it stuck straight out, but it was temporary, and far more comfortable in the privacy of our home.

My husband does not tug full time. Rather, he wears the device after work until just before bed, as his job requires a fair amount of physical activity. He has been restoring for about 8 months now and has a fair amount of slack. (He did not have to be fully restored for us both to begin to reap the benefits!) He has not yet committed to going 'all the way' (having a restored 'foreskin' that covers the glans completely) but as long as he is comfortable with the process, and is happy with the results, we are in no rush to stop.

He now has wearing the tugger down to a science and it no longer bothers him to wear it regularly. For those new to considering restoration for yourself, be reassured that within a few weeks, he was able to wear the device publicly without it being at all noticeable under his shorts. It helped him to check his reflection in a mirror before heading out, because from my husband's vantage point it always looked more prominent than it did to anyone else. Needless to say, we are both very happy to have found restoration and the options available today!

End Note: With all the restoration equipment options today, a lot of people ask about the particular item my husband chose. The device he opted for is the CAT II Q, specifically. He researched them all and is very happy with his choice. He feels it is a very well thought out and effective method to restoration.

Related Reading:

Foreskin Restoration (Saving Our Sons)

Beginner's Guide to Foreskin Restoration (Restoring Tally)

RestoringForeskin.org

NORM.org (National Organization of Restoring Men)

Foreskin Restoration (CIRP)

Foreskin Restoration (Circumstitions)

Foreskin-Restoration.net (Forum)

SexAsNatureIntendedIt.com

Sex As Nature Intended It (Kindle book)

The Joy of Uncircumcising (book)

Hello Orgasm! How Foreskin Restoration Improved Our Sex Life

Tugging Foreskin: A Painful Sex Turn-Around

CIRCUMserum: Renewal Ointment for Circumcised Men

Partners of Restoring Men (Facebook group exclusively for women with male partners who are restoring or have restored)

Women Affected by Male Circumcision (Facebook page)

Male Circumcision & Women's Sexual Health (Resource page)

To share your story of foreskin restoration, or how circumcision has impacted you, write to SavingSons@gmail.com or find us on Facebook at Saving Our Sons.

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Circumcision: A Son's Forgiveness

By Laura May


In June of 2000 I became a mother for the first time. At the small age of 18. However I knew then like I know now, that this was going to be the most important job I will ever do. I have dedicated the last 12 years since then to my children. When my daughter turned one I remember a lot of people asking me, “Are you going to get her ears pierced?” I thought about it for a moment, then came to the conclusion, what if she doesn't want them pierced? She cannot tell me yes or no. This isn't my body, it is hers. So I stood my ground and just said no, that will be up to her when she is older.

In November of 2004 I became a proud mother once again - this time to a baby boy. He was perfect and beautiful. It was a rough start for him with breathing issues and he spent some time in the NICU. I hated to be away from him and leave the hospital before he did, but I remained as close to him as possible. I remember the fateful day before he was released when hospital staff asked me, “Do you want to have him circumcised?” I said yes, of course. I figured this is what you do - this is what all good mothers do for their babies. Even a part of me thought, this is what I have to do.

Why didn't I stop and think? Why didn’t I protect him? Why didn’t I simply say no? I was smart enough to know that my daughter's ears were her own... why didn’t this apply for my son? If just one person had told me the truth, things would have been a lot different. I remember when they brought my baby boy back to me, something was different. I could never put my finger on it, but he was different. Even the bond between him and I was different.

I felt as if I failed him, and to this day I still feel that way. To make matters worse, it was a botched circumcision. However, I know that I cannot go back. I cannot fix it. I cannot make it up to him. But what I can do is educate myself. So I began to read and read and read.

In July of 2008 I once again gave birth to a baby boy. He was healthy and perfect. The day before I left the hospital a woman saw me in the hallway with him and said to me, “How did he do after his little surgery?” I looked at her completely confused. I said, “I’m sorry?” She said, “ You know... his circumcision.” Then it dawned on me. And I began to grin and replied, "Oh, he won't be getting that done.” She looked at me with complete surprise. I smiled and walked away. While I was there the nurse asked three or four more times if he was going to be circumcised. Each time I happily replied, “No thank you.” We took our whole boy home the next day.

There did come a day when my youngest noticed the difference between the two of them and pointed it out. He was two and his brother was six. My oldest looked at me and said, “Yeah mommy, why do we look different?” I knew the time had come when I would have to tell my oldest just how sorry I was. I said to him, "When mommy had you, I had you circumcised.” Naturally he asked, “What is that?” So I told him, honestly. He then said to me, “Didn't that hurt me?” I got on my knees with tears in my eyes and said to him, “Yes, and I am so sorry I let anyone hurt you.” He then put his arms around me and said, “It’s ok mommy, I’m glad you didn't let anyone do that to my brother. I don’t want him to hurt.” Of course I fell to pieces at that moment. I said to my oldest, “I wish that I had known better when I had you, or I would have never let it happen to you either.” He looked me in the eyes and said, “ I know Mommy, thank you for not letting anyone do it to him. I’m glad!”

In the 12 years that I have been a mother I know that they have taught me more then I could ever teach them. About love, about life, about forgiveness. I still struggle with the guilt that I have from my first boy. I still try to cope with it. Every time I hear of a friend or family member having a baby boy, I tell them about my experience. I am unsure if it has ever touched someone or made them think, but I will keep sharing. Maybe one day this story will save one more perfect baby boy.

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Circumcision and intact care information at Are You Fully Informed?

To share your story, write to SavingSons@gmail.com 

Join in the Saving Our Sons conversation.


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The Cut

© Connie Yeager

My son was cut today
I did not question why
I did not understand
What was happening to my guy. 

My son was cut today
They took you from my arms
I trusted the doctor
That did you bodily harm. 

My son was cut today
I did not get to see
The tears or hear him crying
Out for his mommy. 

I am sorry, my son,
That I let you go
I hope some day you forgive me
For not being whole. 

Please, before you make
A decision based on lies
Get informed of the facts
If only had I... 


~Connie Yeager


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Read from more parents whose sons were circumcised.

Circumcision and intact care information at Are You Fully Informed?

Join in the Saving Our Sons conversation.


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