An interview with psychologist and author, Dr. Ronald Goldman about the persistence of circumcision despite the lack of medical benefit. Ron draws our attention to the ways that in our culture, because the infant is voiceless and powerless, and will not have conscious memory for the event, we perpetuate the painful tradition of removing part of boys’ penises. He reports that the experience is traumatic for the baby, and painful, and is rarely done with any pain relief. He suggests that the practice persists (much as female genital mutilation persists in Africa) because of cultural ideas about cleanliness, attractiveness and conformity. He also notes that circumcised fathers are the most active proponents of the practice, largely because they do not want to feel the pain of what was taken from them. He describes the function of the intact foreskin, mostly in terms of enhancing the sexual pleasure of the man and hopes to open our eyes to the cost of this largely unquestioned cultural practice.
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