The Anti-Circ Fallacy
I agree with the basic attitude that the foreskin is important with many valuable nerves, however much anti-circ. information covers up and mystifies foreskin problems – and the irony is that while there remains a mystery - parents will still have a reason to circumcise their infants.
Lets look at the statistics - to minimise any worry for foreskin problems anti circ resources often quote these as 1%. However they use only one source study for statistics - by Øster.
My interpretation of Øster and all the other source statistics (presented first in 1997) and then further researched on www.male-initiation.net/statistics.html were first presented in a Medical Journal in 2003 by Guy Cox.
Øster's study shows a decrease of phimosis over the years ... by a surface reading one cannot differentiate if phimosis decreases by itself or because of Øster's careful monitoring and education.
Guy Cox has his own slant on the subject (the 3% adhesions were only round the corona) and he doesnt draw my conclusions (see Chapter 4 Summary Solutions).
The main first point is, you cant just rely on one set of statistics and ignore all the others. Please see www.male-initiation.net/statistics.html
Paul M. Fleiss, MD,Where Is My Foreskin? The Case Against Circumcision
Anti circ sites tend to only be aware of one medical study which mentions the frenulum. They ignore 26 studies which present alternative ideas.
Mothering, Winter 1997 "On the underside of the glans, the foreskin's point of attachment
is advanced toward the meatus (urethral opening) and forms a bandlike
ligament called the frenulum. It is identical to the frenulum that
secures the tongue to the floor of the mouth. The foreskin's frenulum
holds it in place over the glans, and, in conjunction with the smooth
muscle fibres, helps return the retracted foreskin to its usual forward
position over the glans."
This leads to anti circers often saying things like:
“The frenulum naturally pulls the foreskin over the glans when the penis is non-erect. (There are other frenulum-like structures in other parts of the body which also help mechanical positioning: inside the upper lip, and under the tongue.) –“
My answer: If the frenulum pulls the foreskin over the glans when non-erect, it will certainly be a frenulum breve when erect. (The foreskin – like the tongue, - falls forward of its own accord with or without a frenulum.)
Again, the main first point is, you cant just rely on one study which mentions the frenulum and ignore all the others. Please see the Complete Frenulum Studies
The Phimotic Ring or Ridged Band
1996 the British Journal of Urology published a study by Taylor showing the nature and value of the "normal"
J.R. Taylor, et al
The prepuce: Specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision
British Journal of Urology (1996), 77, 291-295
Taylor describes:"a transversely-ridged band of mucosa 10-15 mm wide, lies against the true skin edge, forming the outer surface of the tip of the prepuce. In the dorsal midline. the `ridged band' lies above the level of the adjacent `smooth' mucosa and merges smoothly, on either side, with the frenulum of the prepuce. When magnified, the ridged mucosa has a pebbled or coral-like appearance. ... The remainder of the preputial lining between the `ridged band' and the glans is smooth and lax."
This study is the result of an examination of the foreskins of 22 corpses. It is a mixture of scientific fact and pure speculation. Taylor says "We postulate that the `ridged band' .. is
primarily sensory tissue." He never asked his 22 corpses if this band was sensitive. Information in over a hundred anti circumcision sites is based on this study.
makes no difference if this ridged band had millions of extra sensitive
cells, - a ring which is that tight as - e.g.
picture 3, hurts as it scrapes over the coronal ridge of the glans
- during erection it would either be unretractable or cause paraphimosis.
A second study from Taylor also talks about "ridged bands" although here, in the pictures he refers to a general appearance of ridging from the skin contours which form ridge like structures.
British Journal of Urology, Volume 83, Suppl. 1:
Pages 34-44, January 1999 http://www.cirp.org/CIRP/library/anatomy/cold-taylor/
There are no other studies on the ridged band. However there are a number of studies which refer to a phimotic ring. (Which are unmentioned by anti-circ. resources). I propose that Taylor`s ridged
band is in fact the phimotic ring.
Medical attention has been so blind to phimosis that the phimotic ring was first named in 1994. A collection of studies refering to this structure are collected under http://www.male-initiation.net/phimosis_studies.html (and its supplemenatry page). However the appearance of this band or ring has never been accurately described in the medical studies .
Consequently there has never been a professional comparison between the ridged band and the phimotic ring to see if they are perhaps the same structure.
A detailed description of the appearance of this phimotic ring has never been published excepting my personal account on Internet
I propose that Taylor`s "highly sensitive" ridged
band is in fact a phimotic ring.
Needless to say Taylor never asked the 22 corpses how this ridged band
felt, his histological analysis merely assumes it to be highly sensitive.
My personal experience is that this ridged ring
is in fact dead skin, and totally insensitive to being scratched with
a finger nail.
The question this study opens
up for me is: When rigor mortis sets in do all males develop phimosis?
(The tendency for a fibrous phimotic ring to develop in old age as
the skin shrinks and dries would tend to confirm this).
The Function of the Foreskin
There is much talk of the foreskins function. I would tend to agree with most of what is assumed about protection of the glans, and the sensory value and sensitivity. However to interpret frenulum breve and phimotic ring as valuable and useful parts of the forekins function is an unrealistic exaggeration.
Recently the anti circers started using a new word to describe their vision of the function of the foreskin - the "preputial sphincter" it is a beautiful name and appears to decieve by its beauty, it describes the foreskin as having the role of covering and encapsulating the glans.
An anti-circer wrote: "In reality, this "phimotic ring" is the preputial sphincter, a structure which is supposed to be present on all males. It's function is to hold the foreskin in the forward position, thus protecting the glans penis. ... The vast majority of boys who have phimosis, even into their late teens and early 20's do so quite happy with things as they are, and without any problems at all."
The anti-circumcision movement is over zealous in its passion to have a glans securely covered by a foreskin. The very conditions which cause sexual problems and pain and difficulty are being ignored and even praised.
Most boys with "phimosis" do not realise they have phimosis - and because of problems (eg by masturbation and first love) it must be treated early, and not be left till a man is 20 yrs. old ...(see Chapter 4 Summary Solutions)
All these anti-circ theories are based on selected studies they are speculation.
(I repeat : I would tend to agree with most of what is assumed about protection of the glans, and the sensory value and sensitivity of the foreskin. However to interpret frenulum breve and phimotic ring as valuable and useful parts of the forekins function is an unrealistic exaggeration.) - (To discuss any possible function of frenulum breve and phimotic ring one must see them in the context of evolution and the animal world).