Complications of circumcision
In fact the commandment for circumcision 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.
Moses Maimonides

The most commonly reported problems of circumcision are pain and blood loss. Accordingly, the local, transient and obvious effects of circumcision are the main concerns of the circumcision physicians. They look for ways to alleviate the patients’ pain and sufferings accompanying the operation. They want to make circumcision run as smoothly as a natural process. Obviously, they are full of good intentions as far as operation and its immediate problems are concerned. But they say nothing about the enduring effects of the erogenous deficit and emotional distress that circumcision is intended to cause. Intentionally or due to ignorance, by rendering circumcision painless physicians trick the potential patients into paying for suffering the long-term effects of the practice.

Circumcision is a courageous act that removes the most sensitive feminine part of the penis. It desensitizes and masculinizes men so they must be proud of it. Circumcision always leaves a scar but what man is the one without a scar? Besides, unhealed scars may offer more or less sharp pain-like sensations that may diversify sexual experience. Yet the penile adhesions and skin-bridges between the remaining foreskin and the glans that occur in about 15% of circumcisions really make penises unique.[i]

Complications primarily associated with circumcision are inflammation (meatitis) and constriction or narrowing (meatal stenosis) of the urethral opening of the penis.[ii][iii][iv] Phimosis against which circumcision is often recommended is actually a complication of circumcision. The situation is simpler with the post-circumcision carcinoma of the penis as it is clearly among the complications that are unique to circumcision. Other complications mentioned to occur infrequently are urinary retention, urinary tract infections, concealed (buried) penis, painful erection, urinary fistulas, cysts, lymphedema, ulceration of the glans, necrosis of all or part of the penis, hypospadias, erectile dysfunction and impotence. You can find more of them on the internet.[v][vi] All of these ill effects of circumcision are presented as caused by improper medical procedures, which seemingly dissociates them from circumcision.

The dissociation is very humane as it diverts the attention of the distressed away from their problem and redirects it toward more remediable factors such as surgeons’ expertise. In the end everybody knows that doctors may be self-proclaimed, бут not circumcision. According to this logic neither doctors nor their action can compromise the ancient practice. The bad doctors no less contribute to the welfare of the circumcision than the good ones. In practice the immediate complications of circumcision increase its value. As well as the price of the operation, of course. The incompetence of both surgeons and patients dignifies the medical profession. And the complications of circumcision pay off with new more expensive operations.

Some impious researchers claim that more than 100 boys die annually in the United States as a result of circumcision. So we might expect that the global toll is much heavier. However, God moves in a mysterious way and the victims of circumcision may be an important part of His plan. It is immoral and ungodly to comment these innocent deaths. We beg your excuses for mentioning them at all.[vii]

What goes with it? What sensations are cut off with the prepuce?
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.
Moses Maimonides

Skin is the largest sensory organ with many different receptors.[viii] Along with the foreskin at a proper circumcision a man bravely loses more than 3 feet of blood vessels, 240 feet of nerves, and more than 20,000 nerve endings.[1][ix] Generally, we associate skin sensitivity with the sense of touch. A closer examination reveals that the sense of touch is a complex sensation resulting from the combined action of many different receptors and their corresponding cortical areas.

The cutaneous receptors include 4 general types of mechanoreceptors, thermoreceptors, different types of free nerve endings (multifunctional), nociceptors (pain), bulboid corpuscles (cold, found in mucous membranes) and many types of chemoreceptors (smell and taste). Specialized receptors vary locally and can be triggered also by non-specific stimuli. The mechanism of activation of most of the receptors is not completely understood. Their exact role in skin sensitivity and feeling is even more unclear because the brain and emotions are still mysteries for science. In other words, the most reliable information about how the circumcision alters sexual perception is subjective as it comes from circumcised adults.

Prepuce is the most erogenous zone of the penis and of man’s body. It contains more touch receptors than all of the fingers. The frenulum[x] and ridged band[xi] that are lost with circumcision are especially rich in fine-sensitive tactile receptors (Meissner’s corpuscles).[xii] British researchers have found that circumcision reduces тхе sensitivity of the penis about four times.[xiii] 

Foreskin restoration improves the sexual life of circumcised men because the foreskin increases its mobility and the glans reduces its cutinisation and becomes more sensitive.[xiv] The restored foreskin, however, is far from offering an equivalent substitute to the lost sensitivity because the specialized cells of the receptors cannot regenerate. The frenulum and the rigged band are also unrestorable.

Phantom foreskin?

Removal of the foreskin along with its receptors deprives the neurons in its cortical sensory area of sensory input. Perhaps circumcision causes certain false sensations similar to those of the phantom limb pain phenomenon experienced by amputees.[xv] The phantom sensations may range from tingling and itching to burning and aching. However, the foreskin is not a complex organ so the phantom foreskin sensations must be mild and indistinct and may be interpreted as erotic. In any case the phantom sensations apparently produced by a missing body part are false. They are brain-generated. They show the inability of the neurons system to adjust to the new situation or to re-specialize. Even if phantom sensations are felt as sexually stimulating they are inadequate hence lead to frustration. The contribution of the phantom sensations to emotional health or to practical adequateness is doubtful. 

An extrasensory tentacle?
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.
Moses Maimonides

Some people assert that the mucous membranes of their genitalia can experience taste-like sensations. Others can feel electric fields or bioenergy from a distance. Different ESP phenomena including the so called finger-reading that is the ability of skin to sense images and colours show how little we know about perception. The multivalence sensitivity of the free nerve endings may be responsible for these fine sensitivities. But the other types of cutaneous receptors may also be involved. Most probably all of us have such extraordinary sensitivities without realizing them because we are equipped with the same receptors. The greater part of the action of somatosensory system is unconscious. It is possible that mucous membranes not only secret sex hormones[xvi] but are able to detect them. This only comes to show that we don’t know what we cut off along with the foreskin.[xvii]

Can you describe the electricity of a kiss by the pressure, vibrations, temperature and taste that accompany it? Maybe you could but the description would be unsatisfactory.

Even if the action of receptors was known the human feelings could not be reduced to it because perception forms in the brain.

  1. H. C. Bazett et al., “Depth, Distribution and Probable Identification in the Prepuce of Sensory End-Organs Concerned in Sensations of Temperature and Touch; Themometic Conductivity”, Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 27 (1932): 489-517 → Back
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