s/o "Benefits" of the foreskin - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 10-08-2013, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd said I'd do a s/o of another thread here: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1390481/how-do-your-uncircumcised-and-circumcised-sons-relate-to-each-other-and-dad  I said that I didn't think that the foreskin had benefits, but was normal, much like I don't think breastfeeding has benefits, it's normal & not breastfeeding has consequences.  In the link, I'd brought up an article written many years ago about how in talking about breastfeeding, when we talk about it as being "best," we're doing a disservice to it because it's not best, it's normal.  I feel the same way about intactness.

 

I've looked up both the words benefit & advantageous in the dictionary.  Here's the entries from dictionary.com:

 

ben·e·fit

  [ben-uh-fit]  Show IPA noun, verb, ben·e·fit·ed or ben·e·fit·ted, ben·e·fit·ing orben·e·fit·ting.
noun
1.
something that is advantageous or good; an advantage: He explained the benefits of public ownership ofthe postal system.
2.
a payment or gift, as one made to help someone or given by a benefit societyinsurance company, orpublic agency: The company offers its employees a pension plan, free health insurance, and other benefits.
3.
a theatrical performance or other public entertainment to raise money for a charitable organization orcause.
4.
Archaic. an act of kindness; good deed; benefaction.
verb (used with object)
5.
to do good to; be of service to: a health program to benefit everyone.
verb (used without object)
6.
to derive benefit or advantage; profit; make improvement: He has never benefited from all thatexperience.
 

ad·van·ta·geous

  [ad-vuhn-tey-juhs]  Show IPA
adjective
providing an advantagefurnishing convenience or opportunity; favorable; profitable; useful; beneficial: anadvantageous position; an advantageous treaty.
 
Even after reading the definitions, I don't think the foreskin has benefits.  I think we may benefit from it being there, but I think that benefit is normal, physiological function.
 
What do you think?   
 
Sus

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#2 of 8 Old 10-18-2013, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone?

 

Sus


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#3 of 8 Old 10-22-2013, 05:01 PM
 
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Well, I think the foreskin has huge benefits.  And having a foreskin has many advantages.  And my wife feels the same way.  But we are in a somewhat unique situation.  I was circumcised and an infant.  Now I have mostly restored my foreskin.  My wife and I have experienced very concrete benefits and advantages, including:

 

Dramatically improved sexual feelings for both of us

 

Dramatically improved sexual functioning for both of us

 

A greater variety of sexual activities that we can enjoy

 

For me, it is hard to envision how amputating 50% of the skin from the penis could be neutral.  I am curious how you are thinking about this, because it seems so obvious to me.  When you say

 

" I think we may benefit from it being there, but I think that benefit is normal, physiological function."

 

I think I must be missing something about how you are thinking about this.  If we benefit from something being there, is that not the same as saying that thing has benefits?

 

If I remove something, so that normal physiological functioning is impaired, is that not the same as saying that there is benefit to leaving that thing there?  That there are advantages to being intact?

 

Regards

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#4 of 8 Old 10-22-2013, 06:10 PM
 
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Greg B, you grossly misunderstand what the OP is saying. She isn't saying being circumcised is neutral. She's just playing with who you state a statistic.

 

This is a semantic question, and we've been over it with breastfeeding. You can say the same information two ways:

 

1--"Children with who breastfeed have a lower risk of cancer than those that are fed formula."

This is stressing the benefits of breastfeeding.

 

2--"Children who eat formula are more likely to develop cancer than those who breastfeed."

This is the exact same fact, but this time framed as a consequence of formula.

 

You can pull the same grammar magic with circumcision:

 

1--"Intact males are less likely to develop erectile disfunction than those who are circumcised." (Benefits of foreskin.)

 

2--"Circumcised males are more likely to develop erectile disfunction than those who are intact." (Consequences of circumcision.)

 

Honestly, I'm not sure if it's important how you say it.

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#5 of 8 Old 10-22-2013, 10:04 PM
 
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and this is why it is a frustrating conversation to have.

we who post to this tread are all "anti-circumcision" -- why is it even necessary to debate amongst ourselves, each drawing from their own personal experience, whether we describe it as "foreskin has benefits" vs. "foreskin is normal and therefore *not* beneficial" in the technical definition of beneficial ? 

as i see it: circumcision is accepted as "normal" in our culture. that's why this forum exists, to help educate more and more parents and parents-to-be about the reasons why they should NOT circumcise. (if circumcision was not so "commonplace" in the USA, this forum would not be necessary, it would not exist.) so, in a culture in which circumcision is commonly regarded as normal, foreskin does have benefits, which is no small consideration to the conscientious parent-to-be who wants the best for their son. perhaps in a culture in which circumcision is not regarded as normal, no extra benefits of foreskin are noted.

Greg B offers a great perspective that i think argues in favor of the notion of "benefits."

those of us with open mind, enlightenment and conscience AND a circumcised partner can also somewhat appreciate the notion of "benefits" of foreskin -- benefits i myself did not and will not enjoy (as my partner is not restoring foreskin. i have no idea what sex with a foreskin actually feels like. but from the descriptions i've read, it sounds good.)

i want my son and his future partner(s) to experience the benefits of having a foreskin, and that's why i made sure he got to keep his foreskin. and yes, there were men, including my partner and the OB making the rounds at the hospital the day after his birth, who were eager to take his foreskin away from him. i protected him from getting circumcised, and this will benefit him for all of his life. 

i'm sorry, but that is more important than any dictionary definition of the meaning of a word.

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#6 of 8 Old 10-23-2013, 03:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelleZB View Post

Greg B, you grossly misunderstand what the OP is saying...

Thanks for that insight.

Sounds like an easily misunderstood point to make. I do not think I understand why this point is important to make, especially at the potential cost of people misunderstanding and taking away the wrong message....

Regards
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#7 of 8 Old 10-23-2013, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelleZB View Post
 

Greg B, you grossly misunderstand what the OP is saying. She isn't saying being circumcised is neutral. She's just playing with who you state a statistic.

 

This is a semantic question, and we've been over it with breastfeeding. You can say the same information two ways:

 

1--"Children with who breastfeed have a lower risk of cancer than those that are fed formula."

This is stressing the benefits of breastfeeding.

 

2--"Children who eat formula are more likely to develop cancer than those who breastfeed."

This is the exact same fact, but this time framed as a consequence of formula.

 

You can pull the same grammar magic with circumcision:

 

1--"Intact males are less likely to develop erectile disfunction than those who are circumcised." (Benefits of foreskin.)

 

2--"Circumcised males are more likely to develop erectile disfunction than those who are intact." (Consequences of circumcision.)

 

Honestly, I'm not sure if it's important how you say it.

Michelle nailed it.  Thank you, for taking the time to write this out.

 

Maybe it's not important.  Maybe it is.  I just wanted to know what other people thought & why they had the thoughts they did.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post
 

and this is why it is a frustrating conversation to have.

we who post to this tread are all "anti-circumcision" -- why is it even necessary to debate amongst ourselves, each drawing from their own personal experience, whether we describe it as "foreskin has benefits" vs. "foreskin is normal and therefore *not* beneficial" in the technical definition of beneficial ? 

as i see it: circumcision is accepted as "normal" in our culture. that's why this forum exists, to help educate more and more parents and parents-to-be about the reasons why they should NOT circumcise. (if circumcision was not so "commonplace" in the USA, this forum would not be necessary, it would not exist.) so, in a culture in which circumcision is commonly regarded as normal, foreskin does have benefits, which is no small consideration to the conscientious parent-to-be who wants the best for their son. perhaps in a culture in which circumcision is not regarded as normal, no extra benefits of foreskin are noted.

Greg B offers a great perspective that i think argues in favor of the notion of "benefits."

those of us with open mind, enlightenment and conscience AND a circumcised partner can also somewhat appreciate the notion of "benefits" of foreskin -- benefits i myself did not and will not enjoy (as my partner is not restoring foreskin. i have no idea what sex with a foreskin actually feels like. but from the descriptions i've read, it sounds good.)

i want my son and his future partner(s) to experience the benefits of having a foreskin, and that's why i made sure he got to keep his foreskin. and yes, there were men, including my partner and the OB making the rounds at the hospital the day after his birth, who were eager to take his foreskin away from him. i protected him from getting circumcised, and this will benefit him for all of his life. 

i'm sorry, but that is more important than any dictionary definition of the meaning of a word.

Um, I didn't say I wanted to debate anything.  I wouldn't want to take an intactivsts time away from possibly educating someone.  I was just curious.  But I will go back & read my OP to see if I put anything in there that was misleading.  Just re-read it; no debating requested. :wink

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg B View Post


Thanks for that insight.

Sounds like an easily misunderstood point to make. I do not think I understand why this point is important to make, especially at the potential cost of people misunderstanding and taking away the wrong message....

Regards

I think it has value for the same reason that talking about breastfeeding from a normal standpoint is important.  If you believe that "breast is best," then artificial milk is a-okay & if you choose not to bf, well it's okay because no one can work that hard at everything.  I'm generalizing to make a point.  If you think that having a foreskin isn't necessary & well, it won't matter if you allow someone to cut it off, then why go to the "trouble," to allow your child to keep it (especially if you have to fight dad-to-be, you think it requires all kinds of care, you'll have others caring for your baby & how will you educate them, etc.)?

 

Oh, and I think you could say it has benefits like you did in your first reply since you were circumcised but then restored because now you are benefiting from something you did not before.  Does this make sense? 

 

Have I been any more clear or confused things further?

 

Thanks for the dialogue.

 

Sus


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#8 of 8 Old 10-24-2013, 03:55 AM
 
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I think it has value for the same reason that talking about breastfeeding from a normal standpoint is important.  If you believe that "breast is best," then artificial milk is a-okay & if you choose not to bf, well it's okay because no one can work that hard at everything.  I'm generalizing to make a point.  If you think that having a foreskin isn't necessary & well, it won't matter if you allow someone to cut it off, then why go to the "trouble," to allow your child to keep it (especially if you have to fight dad-to-be, you think it requires all kinds of care, you'll have others caring for your baby & how will you educate them, etc.)?

Oh, and I think you could say it has benefits like you did in your first reply since you were circumcised but then restored because now you are benefiting from something you did not before.  Does this make sense? 

Have I been any more clear or confused things further?

Thanks for the dialogue.

Sus

Hmmm... I guess for me, you are using the words in odd ways. I totally agree that having a foreskin is normal. Most men who have learforeskins prefer the word "intact", rather than uncircumcised, for that very reason. So I agree that we should try and emphaisze that having a foreskin is normal, and should be the default condition.

But I have trouble with your concept that saying it has no advantages or benefits is a good way to express that. Perhaps a different analogy would help...

Consider testicles. In the not too distant past, some male chidren were castrated before puberty to preserve their wonderful voices. They were called castrati. This had several advantages, including superior voice for singing, no hair loss, etc. But it came at the cost of never being able to have children. Now I will agree that having testicles is the normal condition. Being castrated is not, it is not normal and requires amputation. But there is a clear and easy to see, for me anyway, advantage and benefit to keeping my balls.

Similarly with foreskins. I see clear and easy to understand and document benefits and advantages to keeping the default, normal condition, ie staying intact.

Putting it in terms of consequences does not change the fact that there are advantages, though I do agree that it sometimes is better to give the statement in terms of consequences, rather than benefits, depending upon what you want to emphasize. There has been good research that how you state something makes a big difference. Stating it in terms of what is lost can be quite different than stating it in terms of what is preserved...in how people will make decisions.

But I think the way you state is is very important. Saying things like "...I didn't think that the foreskin had benefits..." and "...we're doing a disservice to it because it's not best, it's normal." will, I think, cause peple to miss your point that how we talk about things is important. I would stay away from saying that, and keep to the way MichelleZB phrased it. Otherwise, you will find yourself in a debate over whether the foreskin has benefits, instead of how to think about them.

Regards
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