Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Genital Mutilation "Boosts" Sex

Would you ever take vegetarian advice from a butcher? How about smoking advice from a tobacco company executive? Would you believe the butcher if he told you that "studies showed" that eating meat is "healthier" than eating vegetables? Would you believe a tobacco executive if he told you that his brand of cigarettes "improves breathing?"

Sound too good to be true? Well, here we have circumcision "researchers" that want to circumcise the whole of Africa that have come out with "studies" that say that circumcision actually "boost" sex. According to this iafrica article:

"Researchers at the University of Makerere in Uganda interviewed 316 men, average age 22, who had been circumcised between February and September 2009.

A month after the operation, 82.3 percent said they were very satisfied with the operation and 17.7 percent said they were satisfied.

A year after the operation, 220 of the volunteers said they were sexually active, of whom a quarter said they used condoms.

A total of 87.7 percent said they found it easier to reach an orgasm after being circumcised, and 92.3 percent said they experienced more sexual pleasure.

Nine out of 10 said they were happy with how their penis looked — and more than 95.4 percent said they believed their partner was also satisfied with its appearance.

The data was presented by researchers in a poster session at the four-day conference in Rome on scientific and medical aspects of the world's HIV/Aids pandemic.

It updates previous findings that circumcised men found greater sexual enjoyment, thus easing one of the mental barriers to the campaign."

There are quite a few problems with these "studies," beginning with the fact that they were written by the very people who want to see "mass circumcision campaigns" rolled out across Africa. How can we be sure they're not presenting cherry-picked data that shows only favorable results? But the biggest problem is that a year is too short to measure anything. Most men who are unhappy with their circumcisions were circumcised from birth; let's visit these men 20 or so years down the line, when keritinization has really set in. I doubt that we'll ever hear from these men again.

And what exactly do these "surveys" really mean? What does "satisfied" and "very satisfied" mean? How is "satisfaction" and "sexual pleasure" measured? Can we really trust self reports from men who were told that circumcision has all of these "benefits?" Can we really trust that "researchers" who want to "ease mental barriers" to circumcision are reporting everything accurately? Men can talk all they want, but the Sorrells study, which measures sensitivity on various points of the anatomically correct and iatrogenically deficient penises shows that there is a clear difference. Circumcision removes the most sensitive parts of the penis, and it results in significant desensitization. The foreskin is laden with thousands of nerves and a network of blood vessels. It boggles the mind how "researchers" want to show with "studies" that "less is more."

"Advocates call it "surgical vaccine," describing it as a cheap, effective form of prevention."

"Advocates" are smoking crack. Nothing could be less scientific. Circumcision could not even begin to behave anything like a vaccine. A "vaccine" means that men's immune systems have been strengthened against pathogens that cause disease. When HIV invades the body, it doesn't matter that part of the penis has been cut off. It is NOT cheap, it costs millions of dollars, and that's not factoring in complications. "Effective" is not the word. Real world data shows that circumcision is anything BUT.

"Male circumcision does not reduce the risk for women who have intercourse with an HIV-infected man.

Women do get an indirect, statistical advantage, though. The fewer men who are infected with HIV, the lesser the risk to women."

How any respectable source can manage to put these two sentences together, one right after the other, is absolutely mind boggling. These claims are based on the dubious premise that circumcision does indeed "reduce the risk" for HIV. They also seem to be counting on Africans never using condoms. Even assuming the claims were true, the bottom line is circumcision offers women zero protection. Condoms protect BOTH sexes from sexually transmitted HIV 95%. And somehow proliferating a weaker alternative to this is advantageous because...?

"The theory behind the effectiveness of circumcision is that the inner foreskin is an easy entry point for HIV. It is rich in so-called Langerhans cells, tissue that the Aids virus easily latches on to and penetrates."

One of many "theories" that has long since been debunked. The so-called RCTs, as of yet, lack a working hypothesis by the way. Scientists cannot demonstrably prove that circumcision actually reduces HIV transmission. The best they can ever do is present carefully chosen data and attribute a "lowered risk" to circumcision. (And of course, as we know, correlation always, always equals causation... ;-) )

But let's ask ourselves, what would our reaction be, would that "researchers" could "prove" using "scientific study" that female circumcision "reduced the risk of HIV transmission" in women? What if "studies" could "show" that female circumcision "reduced the risk of HIV transmission" by, oh, say, 60%? What would we think if the WHO ever approved of such "study?" Because there are actually "studies" that show a "lowered risk," here, here, and here.

Some may say that these "studies" are "not enough." To which I would have to ask, would there ever be enough "study" to legitimize female genital mutilation? What amount of "benefit" would ever convince you to circumcise your daughters at birth? What would you think if "scientists" took it upon themselves to run an experiment where 1000 women were circumcised just to see if it made a difference in HIV transmission? What would you think if the "researchers" stopped the studies early because they saw a "reduced risk," and then circumcised the control group because not doing so would be "unethical?" Would you not think it strange that these "researchers" basically made it impossible to follow up on their own "study?" What would you think if such a half-assed "study" were then used by the WHO to endorse "mass female circumcision campaigns?"

Some may say that female circumcision causes "harm." That it "destroys a woman's ability to orgasm." However, "studies show" that even women who have undergone infibulation, which is the worst kind of female genital cutting, are still able to orgasm. You can see studies here and here. A recent article in Africa came out addressing this same point here.

But here this blog posts originally came in; what if "studies" could show that female circumcision could actually "boost" sexuality? Would that change your mind? Would it "ease" your "mental barriers" to the idea of female circumcision?

Actually, "studies show" that female circumcision, nicely euphemised as "labiaplasty" here, can actually increase sexual satisfaction for both the woman and her partner.

From the above link:
- The study found an overall satisfaction rate of 97.2% for women undergoing labiaplasty and clitoral hood reduction
- An overall satisfaction rate of 83% in women having a vaginal tightening procedure (vaginoplasty/perineoplasty), and 91.2% for women combining both “outer” and “inner” work
- Sexual satisfaction with 92.8% of women having both experienced improvement in their sexual satisfaction
- The data also revealed that those women undergoing vaginal tightening (vaginoplasty) reported an estimated 82.2% overall improvement in their partner’s sexual satisfaction as well.

Since this information is provided by doctors who stand to gain from "labiaplasties," I'm sure the information they present is completely objective and unbiased. ;-)


  1. Every time I read about this I find it more and more unbelievable, more and more disgusting. I remember when they published the original study in New Scientist and I read it; then, I thought "Wow! That's so simple - snip a little bit off the end and we can solve the world's AIDS problem." Seriously, that's what I thought. Over the years of course, I've realised that yes, it is simple - too simple. That's why it doesn't work. Now, I've basically lost all faith in the credibility, objectivity and scientific ability of the 'experts' who come out with this stuff. At risk of sounding up-myself, I reckon I (with my two science A levels) could actually come up with something must better researched, studied and analysed then this bunch seem to be able to do. It is becoming increasingly clear to me that they are lacking the basic skills required for scientific enquiry. They can't even seem to reason logically. It is deeply disturbing. Whether driven by the lure of fame, fortune and recognition or simply by their own unconscious psychological issues and ingrained, culturally blinkered ideas, the fact is that they are ignoring ethics and facts to promote something that is neither effective nor morally justified. I just hope that Intact America, their supporters and the others can stop this before what will likely become one of the greatest human rights atrocities of the century (and it's only just begun) gets out of hand. Man, I despair sometimes.

    Anyways, rant over...

  2. Change 'microbes' to 'pathogens'.

  3. Labiaplasty can only increase sexual satisfaction if you have a pathological hatred of your body and presume everyone else does too! As you suggest, the logic is turned on its head...

    Re male circumcision causing an improvement in sex, when aidsmap reported a Krieger randomised study a few years back they noted that results were kind of weird...most enrolled in the trial found their pre-existing sexual problems got better (including those who were left intact). Aidsmap commented that "This unexplained finding may be due to men wishing to please investigators"...

    It says so much about the RCTs generally... America comes to town and picks a group of mainly unemployed black men to get them involved in the big new thing, pays them for participation and to recruit their friends. America said jump and Africa said, 'how high?'