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Dan Savage is vindicated, sorta. [Oct. 27th, 2005|09:31 am]
Just me.

Dan Savage long ago said that, cultural bias or not, he just prefered circumcision for his partners on aesthetic grounds. He got a bunch of mail from places his column didn't run (this was in the pre-being able to read it on the internet days) yelling at him for supporting "mutilation", etc. He did not relent, though he would later decline to have his infant son circumcised on the grounds that 1) circumcision seemed to be falling out of favor in the US and might no longer the norm by the time his son was an adult 2) His son could always choose to have it done later if he wanted, but couldn't unchose it 3) Since Dan's preference was based on selfish aesthetic pleasure rather than hygiene or religious tradition, and his son's was one of the few dicks in the world (besides his father's and brother's) he was SURE he'd never suck, the preference was moot.

now there's this: circumcision cuts the risk of HIV infection dramatically, which I guess is vindication/an excuse for those of us who have a cultural bias in favor of circumcision.

How about you?
Poll #599446 to cut or not to cut?

What do you think of circumcision for your male partners?

I don't sleep with men, so I don't really care.
I prefer it, with no guilt.
I prefer it but feel a little guilty about it because of cultural bias/injury issues.
I do not like it.
I don't care one way or another.

Also, the article contains the great phrase "phallic culture war", which I urge everyone to casually drop into a conversation before the month is over.

[User Picture]From: plymouth
2005-10-27 05:13 pm (UTC)
There was a point at which I was actively looking for an uncircumcized man to sleep with because I thought I'd never had one. Then my second boyfriend pointed out to me that HE was uncircumcized. Apparently I had been so clueless and inexperienced at the time I hadn't been able to tell the difference.

I think cut looks nicer but uncut is more fun to play with so really I like both. I do consider it mutilation though and would not inflict it on any theoretical progeny of mine.
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[User Picture]From: herbaliser
2005-10-27 06:25 pm (UTC)
yeah. but then I dated him for four years
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[User Picture]From: mactavish
2005-10-27 06:41 pm (UTC)
I still wouldn't do it to my son. I'd let him know about the risks and benefits when he was older -- pubescent, probably -- and let him choose if he wants.
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[User Picture]From: mad_eponine
2005-10-27 07:59 pm (UTC)
Argh! What a crappy crappy crappy article! First, it says absolutely nothing about how or why this may be true; one would think people might want to know. Secondly, the study was published in the PLoS, as in PUBLIC Library of Science... as in the full text of the article is free on-line. Finally, they can't even interpret statistics: that circumcision cuts the risk of HIV infection dramatically, by as much as 60 percent. No; the study only found that the infection rate among the treatment (circumsized) group was 60% lower than that of the control (uncircumsized) group.

So, being curious, I checked the original article to see whether it offered any new evidence on the biological/medical reasons for the lower rates. It cited other studies which stated "direct factors may be keratinization of the glans when not protected by the foreskin, short drying after sexual contact, reducing the life expectancy of HIV on the penis after sexual contact with an HIV-positive partner, reduction of the total surface of the skin of the penis, and reduction of target cells, which are numerous on the foreskin." That's still pretty cold comfort compared to the touted 60% miracle rate quoted by MSNBC's socially irresponsible reporting. Finally, the study itself "does not allow for identification of the mechanism(s) of the protective effect of MC on HIV acquisition."

As a result, I'm a bit dubious at the moment, especially considering the study was cut short (har har). I still think that social engineering which minimizes the prevalence of high-risk behaviors would be far more effective, though certainly harder to implement than some modern medical panaceae. "No, baby, I don't need a condom... I'm circumsized! And, furthermore, you can't get pregnant if you're standing up."

On a lighter note, I offer the following definition of keratin, from Merriam-Webster's online: "any of various sulfur-containing fibrous proteins that form the chemical basis of horny epidermal tissues (as hair and nails)".
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[User Picture]From: lara7
2005-10-27 08:57 pm (UTC)

horny epidermal tissues

"horny epidermal tissues" + "phallic culture war" = comedy gold.

ps: trivia tonight? Mrs. Lovely returns, if that's an incentive.
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[User Picture]From: tyrsalvia
2005-10-27 08:24 pm (UTC)
Given a guy I liked and the choice, I'd probably prefer uncut, but generally I pick based on personality, not prick.

It's not something I'd ever do to someone else, though since I don't plan on breeding, the point is moot.
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