CIRCUMCISION: A SILENT EPIDEMIC OF TRAUMA
A few weeks ago I interviewed @bdmarotta for the show. It was one of my most well-received episodes so far, and I was personally impressed with Brendon. We discussed circumcision and the “intactivist” movement to ban and prevent the practice from continuing under the thesis that it is harmful and a violation of human rights as a form of genital mutilation. Intactivism is a growing movement in America — the only modern country that continues the practice of circumcision — and naturally circumcision rates are declining. One of the biggest factors is access to information online for expecting-parents.
Often times an OB-GYN or another medical professional will try to talk to expecting mothers about circumcising their sons. In today’s day and age this will prompt most mothers to google search the procedure. What they find is not very fun.
Jordan discusses his own journey down this rabbit hole on the show this week. One of the first major discoveries he made was that circumcision is not “medically” beneficial and can cause physical and emotional trauma in young boys (and the adult men they become) So why is circumcision even done? Before the procedure was done by American Doctors under the banner of “health benefits,” it was done through history for one central reason:
In the Old Testament, Abraham formed a covenant with God ensuring all Jewish boys are to be circumcised.
(SOURCE: https://bbc.in/3swc8e0 )
This has continued in various forms through the modern day. Even in America in the late 1800s and early 1900s male masturbation was seen as both sinful and a way to contract health problems. The foreskin, being the most pleasurable part of the male genitalia, was cut off of young babies in an attempt to prevent them from feeling sexual pleasure during masturbation.
FROM WIKIPEDIA: https://bit.ly/3vW7Y1n
The original reason for the removal of the foreskin was to control ‘masturbatory insanity’ — the mental disorders people believed were caused by ‘self-abuse.’” “Self-abuse” was a term used to describe masturbation”
The re-frame of circumcision as “medically beneficial” rises out of the original classification of male sexuality as diseased and sinful. It was a PR move done by institutions during the sexual revolution to entice “sexually liberated” mothers to continue having their sons cut.
Circumcision can cause trauma. This is a fact. Many apologists will say “but the baby doesn’t remember it!” as a way to justify the intense physical pain felt by an infant in his first day of life. On that point alone, “he doesn’t remember” should not be an acceptable argument. However, it is also an unacceptable argument because it happens to be incorrect.
With ongoing work into subjects like sexual abuse and the effect of warfare on soldiers, we’ve discovered the science of Trauma and PTSD. Trauma can be one hell of a thing that rewires our brains, changes behaviors and causes mood disorders. And one thing we’ve discovered about trauma is that it is stored in the body
Here is an excellent article I found explaining this process for the layman → https://bit.ly/3cW2I4Y
From the article:
“ · Hippocampus shrinks — (this is the centre for emotion and memory)
· Amygdala function increases — (the centre for creativity and rumination)
· Prefrontal/ anterior cingulate function decreases — (the centre for more complex functions like planning and self-development)
Early evidence of cellular memory shows that it’s not just our brain, but our body’s cells that hold an imprint of past traumatic events. “ (endquote)
The argument “the baby wont remember it” is also a false argument. Jordan Arel has pointed out to me that there is significant research indicating that ego-association with traumatic incident is enough to induce PTSD symptoms. This creates a second trauma around the original event. One physically embeded in the moment, and a mental/identification feedback loop developed later on upon realization of the original event’s occurence.
It seems almost foolish that more research has not been done by psychology or neuroscience departments into measurable differences in PTSD symptoms, behavioral/mood disorder differences, pain tolerance, and other such things in intact men versus circumcised men. I would be willing to bet good money that circumcised boys and adult men both have higher incidences of mental health issues.
A very unsettling thing is the fact that trauma — especially childhood trauma — can lead to adverse life outcomes (suicide, criminality, lower income/career prospects, loneliness/worse social prospects, addictions, etc).
In this way the medical system is breaking people to become their future patients.
Circumcision is undoubtedly an uncomfortable thing for most people to speak about. This is because it’s everything we hate to talk about wrapped up in one. It’s a religious issue for many people, an issue of trauma for others, a sexual tabboo, a beauty/sexual standard, a male-insecurity thing, and a source of family baggage for almost everybody in America.
But, we all know circumcised men. I feel it is an obligation we have to the people in our lives, and to ourselves, to investigate this procedure further.