Deeper Into Circumcision: An Invitation to Awareness


Dear Reader:

I once asked Marilyn Milos, RN, founder and director of NOCIRC, if there were some aspects of the circumcision issue that she would rather not be aware of. She said, "No -- I want to be aware of everything." It is to that mindset that Deeper Into Circumcision: An Invitation to Awareness is addressed.

Some of the ways circumcision can affect a child's life are so extreme -- so remote from the average person's experience and awareness -- that there is almost no way for the average person to become aware of them. One of the purposes of this book is to help inquiring minds find information that might otherwise be inaccessible to them.

One reader expressed concern about the "homosexual bias" in the "Sexually Explicit Adult Resources" section, afraid that perceiving the intact genitals rights movement as "primarily a homosexual effort" -- an unwarranted notion -- might make some fathers have their sons circumcised. What might seem like homosexual bias is simply a reflection of the fact that the homosexual press in this country, with its characteristic openness, has documented some of the darker, heavier aspects of the foreskin/circumcision controversy that the mainstream press has rarely acknowledged. The main reason babies -- including Jewish babies -- in this country are still being circumcised, I think, is that their mothers are unaware of the facts about the foreskin, circumcision, and how circumcision affects a child's life that would make them refuse absolutely -- ab-so-lute-ly -- to let anyone circumcise their babies, regardless how strongly the circumcised father or anyone else insisted on it. (I made that statement to a woman at the Third International Symposium on Circumcision, and she said, "I agree. I'm Jewish and my son is intact.") This book, as its title suggests, is an invitation to that awareness. In any case, most parents, surely, if such were the choice, would rather have an intact son whose foreskin was envied by males who were circumcised than a circumcised son who envied the foreskins of males who were intact. My heartfelt condolences to any child born to parents who would prefer otherwise.

Another reader, who said she kept her copy of Deeper Into Circumcision in a locked drawer, objected to the "sleaze and vulgarity." This is a reference book. Its purpose is to document, illuminate and help demystify as many facets, aspects and details of its long-tabooed subject as possible, regardless of the source or context. Those who prefer a more restricted, censored view are free to read the publications of U.S. medical organizations, or The New York Times. (The fact that one must go to sources other than those publications to get accurate, comprehensive information about an amputation performed on the sex organs of more than a million babies in this country every year, should itself be documented.) Facts are facts. Information is information. Whether or not it's "politically correct," "offensive," or in "good taste," is, in my view, irrelevent. What I want to know -- and what I assume the readers of this book want to know -- is: Is it true?

Deeper Into Circumcision is a guide -- not a catalog. As a convenience to the reader, however, I've included ordering information for those items I have ordering information for, and I've made every reasonable effort to make sure the information is accurate. It's up to the reader, however, to confirm the availability, address and price of anything he or she might want to order.

"\" before an entry means that the entry is not yet complete, has not yet been confirmed for accuracy, or needs some other kind of attention. I have included these entries on the assumption that most readers would rather have partial information about an entry -- if only to know that it exists -- than none at all.

">" before the name of an individual or organization at the end of an entry means that the item in that entry can be ordered from that individual or organization and that the address is listed either under "Organizations" or elsewhere in the section in which that entry is listed.

Items mentioned that are also listed as entries are printed in Bold Small Caps.

Notes to the reader are enclosed in [brackets].

Notes to myself are enclosed in {braces}.

Many of the items listed are current and readily available.

The only items available from me are those listed under "John A. Erickson" and those with ">" followed by my name after them.

Comprehensive bibliographies of the "standard literature" are included in several of the books listed.

If your public library doesn't have a book you want, it might be able to get it for you through inter-library loan.

Nothing in these pages is meant -- or should be construed -- as "medical advice." If you think you need medical advice, "see a doctor."

Inclusion in Deeper Into Circumcision means only that I am aware that the entry exists. It does not necessarily constitute a recommendation or endorsement.

New information becomes available almost daily, and a work like this is therefore continually in progress.

I welcome and appreciate comments, suggestions, additions, corrections and updates.

John A. Erickson
November 1998