Apologia: The Fullness of Christian Truth

``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D


Biblical Circumcision: Brit Milah

The intact penis. The prepuce and glans are "fused" together in the vast majority of boys and will separate on its own at the right time. One may expect 50 percent of ten-year-old boys, 90 percent of 16-year-old boys, and 98-99 percent of 18 year-old males to have fully retractable foreskin. Generally, only those whose foreskins have not retracted by the time of marriage require medical intervention.

The loose edge of the foreskin is pulled down and just the tip is removed.

The end result. You can see that most of the foreskin is intact and that the penis would not lose its sensitivity, the protective benefits of the foreskin, the natural lubrication for the marital act that comes from having a mucoid lining of the inner prepuce, etc.

Pharisaic (since ca. A.D. 140) and
Modern Western Circumcision: Brit Peri'ah

The foreskin is forcibly retracted and a Plastibell or Gomco Clamp is shoved between it and the glans, tearing tissue in its way. A mohel would do this by using his fingernails to tear back the foreskin. All flesh from the base of the glans (the arrows)  on up to the tip is removed. No anesthesia is used.

The end result. The entire glans is exposed. The penis loses sensitivity and its flesh becomes thickened and scarred. Gone are the ridged bands of highly specialized nerve endings (Meissner's corpuscles) and the frenulum, which should be where the horizontal dotted lines in the drawing indicate. The amount of flesh lost in the adult penis would cover a 3X5 index card.

The foreskin that once would act to help the penis glide in the wife's vagina, the natural lubrication qualities of the mucous lining of the inner prepuce, are gone.  The loss of the natural gliding action results in a loss of pleasure for the wife as well as the husband: the circumcized penis rubs directly against vaginal walls and opening, resulting in chafing, abrasions, etc. Read  "The effect of male circumcision on the sexual enjoyment of the
female partner
" in pdf format.

The diagrams above come from Circumcision, Volume 1, Number 1, June, 1996, http://faculty.washington.edu/gcd/CIRCUMCISION/v1n1.html#article1, in an article by George C. Denniston, M.D. M.P.H.


Newborns: Care of the Uncircumcised Penis
Guidelines for Parents
American Academy of Pediatrics

At birth, the penis consists of a cylindrical shaft with a rounded end called the glans. The shaft and glans are separated by a groove called the sulcus. The entire penis - shaft and glans - is covered by a continuous layer of skin. The section of the penile skin that covers the glans is called the foreskin or prepuce. The foreskin consists of two layers, the outer foreskin and an inner lining similar to a mucous membrane.

Before birth, the foreskin and glans develop as one tissue. The foreskin is firmly attached - really fused - to the glans. Over time, this fusion of the inner surface of the prepuce with the glans skin begins to separate by shedding the cells from the surface of each layer. Epithelial layers of the glans and the inner foreskin lining are regularly replaced, not only in infancy but throughout life. The discarded cells accumulate as whitish, cheesy "pearls" which gradually work their way out via the tip of the foreskin.

Eventually, sometimes as long as 5, 10, or more years after birth, full separation occurs and the foreskin may then be pushed back away from the glans toward the abdomen. This is called foreskin retraction. The foreskin may retract spontaneously with erections which occur normally from birth on and even occur in fetal life. Also, all children "discover" their genitals as they become more aware of their bodies and may retract the foreskin themselves. If the foreskin does not seem to retract easily early in life, it is important to realize that this is not abnormal and that it should eventually do so.

Infant Smegma: Skin cells from the glans of the penis and the inner foreskin are shed throughout life. This is especially true in childhood; natural skin shedding serves to separate the foreskin from the glans. Since this shedding takes place in a relatively closed space - with the foreskin covering the glans - the shed skin cells cannot escape in the usual manner. They escape by working their way to the tip of the foreskin. These escaping discarded skin cells constitute infant smegma, which may appear as white "pearls" under the skin.

Adult Smegma: Specialized sebaceous glands - Tyson's Glands - which are located on the glans under the foreskin, are largely inactive in childhood. At puberty, Tyson's Glands produce an oily substance, which, when mixed with shed skin cells, constitute adult smegma. Adult smegma serves a protective, lubricating function for the glans.

Foreskin Hygiene: The foreskin is easy to care for. The infant should be bathed or sponged frequently, and all parts should be washed including the genitals. The uncircumcised penis is easy to keep clean. No special care is required! No attempt should be made to forceably retract the foreskin. No manipulation is necessary. There is no need for special cleansing with Q­tips, irrigation, or antiseptics; soap and water externally will suffice [Ed. Intact boys should avoid harsh detergents, bubble baths, etc., just as should girls do, in order to prevent urinary tract infections. Mild soap and water are all that's needed.]

Foreskin Retraction: As noted, the foreskin and glans develop as one tissue. Separation will evolve over time. It should not be forced. When will separation occur? Each child is different. Separation may occur before birth; this is rare. It may take a few days, weeks, months, or even years. This is normal. Although many foreskins will retract by age 5, there is no need for concern even after a longer period. Some boys do not attain full retractability of the foreskin until adolescence.

Hygiene of the Fully Retracted Foreskin: For the first few years, an occasional retraction with cleansing beneath is sufficient.

Penile hygiene will later become a part of a child's total body hygiene, including hair shampooing, cleansing the folds of the ear, and brushing teeth. At puberty, the male should be taught the importance of retracting the foreskin and cleaning beneath during his daily bath.

Summary: Care of the uncircumcised boy is quite easy. "Leave it alone" is good advice. External washing and rinsing on a daily basis is all that is required. Do not retract the foreskin in an infant, as it is almost always attached to the glans. Forcing the foreskin back may harm the penis, causing pain, bleeding, and possibly adhesions. The natural separation of the foreskin from the glans may take many years. After puberty, the adult male learns to retract the foreskin and cleanse under it on a daily basis.

Copyright © 1990. American Academy of Pediatrics

Please read more about this very important topic! There is no site I want to link to in particular as many of them are a bit graphic and some speak casually of things I don't want to endorse, but use Google and your own judgement -- and note that Michelangelo's statue of David is uncircumcised, so there go the "aesthetic" excuses for this surgery! (And as to the hygiene excuse: women with large breasts, and heavy people with lots of skin folds can get rashes where body parts meet. Should we cut all those body parts offf as well?)