Experts have been unable to understand the origin of the practice of routine male circumcision. Most of the literature shows no awareness of phimosis - its frequency - or the sexual and erectile problems which can be cured by circumcision. If routine circumcision had been introduced for this most obvious reason of eliminating difficult foreskins; then the importance of an alternative modern method, suitable to our culture's attitudes in this day and age, would be clear.

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for psychologists who interpret sexual effects from phimosis as a delusion


The development of the ancient practice of partial circumcision is shrouded in mystery, (Please note, the author does not discuss any value for the routine modern full circumcision).. Experts in anthropology and more recently psychology have been unable to establish the origin of the practice of routine male circumcision.

The anthropological and psychological theories on the origins of the practice of routine male circumcision, discuss if this began as a manifestation of cultural requirements (e.g. hygiene, initiation, fertility, tribal mark, sacrifice, sexual advantages); or the expression of unconscious tendencies (e.g. castration complex, menstruation envy, regression).

The modern anthropologist regards circumcision as an unsolvable mystery. Modern theories assume that the practice was based on a number of combined factors.

Phimosis was refuted because a) the natural peoples did not appreciate the association between the penis, semen and fertility (anthropologists assumed that the problem with phimosis is that it hinders semen emission) and b) phimosis is thought to be a rarity, however this opinion was established previous to any statistical studies.

Modern writers never mention phimosis. Since 1960 any discussion of phimosis as origin for circumcision has vanished from the books.

Phimosis was last discussed by Ploss (1884) and Bryk (1931). Anthropological studies, lists fully all relevant texts including the original Ploss; and Bryk's full discussion.

Ploss was largely misinterpreted. He claimed phimosis to be the origin of routine male circumcision, he did not claim fertility to be of any great relevance apart from among fairly advanced lierate cultures.

Bryk thought phimosis was far too great a rarity to be considered as originating factor. However neither he nor any other anthropologist ever refers to a statistical study. In 1931 there were no statistical studies.

A clear understanding of the statistics is important to this subject because at present the main reason anthropologists dismiss phimosis as the origin, is because they believe it is a rarity.

I discuss all the available statistical reports. These show between 2.4% and 14%,. however most show that in careful spot checks at least 8% young men have problems of retraction in the non-erect state. This figure does not assess the frequency of erectile problems, infections, or frenulum breve. In addition, this figure is given for only one point of time in life, it does not represent how many men have problems with phimosis during their entire lives.

However even a scientifically measured 10% can only give a basic idea on the actual frequency. The practice originated among the hunting peoples. Hunting peoples lived in tribal groups of a size which are renowned for their unreliable statistical fluctuations. With a basic measurement of 10% at one time in life, in a small family group we would expect the frequency to periodically vary between 0% and 100%.

When we consider that different forms of phimosis can become problematic in childhood adulthood or old age, we see how males could have problems with a form of phimosis, in 3 or 4 generations of the same family group simultaneously.

I suggest the first routine steps were taken during one of the periods of high frequency.

The full extent of the effects of these conditions have only recently come to light, largely due to the anonymity of Internet where adult men have been able to record their experiences openly for the first time.

A man who had personal experience of the problems involved with phimosis has motives for introducing the practice, which no anthropologist has ever discussed.

I suggest routine partial circumcision was originally introduced by men who had personal experience of foreskin problems.

There are numerous individual degrees and combinations of foreskin conditions, each causing specific physical effects during erection. The mysterious appearance of a secondary phimosis occurring throughout adulthood, the almost invisible relative phimosis and the apparent infant phimosis - all add to the symptomatic complexity.

Some conditions are merely irritating others are painful, some typically result in inflammations and disease, some cause problems by urination, others during masturbation; some during penetration, others during intercourse and still others for several days after intercourse.

We are considering a large variety of difficulties influencing various different areas of health and sexual activity.

In pre-literate times it would not have been possible to start understanding and classifying all these problematic conditions, the symptoms would have been totally mystifying, but contrary to the confusion and complications, the cure would have been simple and obvious and for a people who required practical answers, the best reasoning would have been done with a sharp knife.

I suggest routine circumcision was originally introduced as an all cure as a practical and simple solution to, and prevention of, a number of confusing and chaotic problems.

A further section examines the various reasons why among some peoples the practice became established - the oldest living surgical tradition - and thus heralded the beginnings of the surgical practice in Western medicine.

If routine circumcision had initially been introduced for this most obvious reason of eliminating difficult foreskins; it would underline the importance of a modern alternative form of prevention.

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The Origins of the Practice of Routine Male Circumcision

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