|1 Dec 2001 @ 17:52, by Flemming Funch|
Not particularly a news item, but an ongoing issue. Circumcision is practiced in some cultures for religious reasons. But, particularly in the United States, it is practiced routinely, and for reasons that most people have forgotten. It was introduced in the Victorian era by a few doctors who wanted to stop young boys from masturbating. Later on other reasons were made up, and by now it is mainly happening out of inertia, and from parents figuring that what was good enough for the father is fitting for the son as well. Anyway, here is an article about the medical reason for avoiding circumcision. Foreskin is obviously there from nature's hand for a reason. Also, look at Mothers against Circumcision. Personally I find it a barbaric and violent tradition that has no place in a civilized society.
This is an excerpt from the article listed above.
What Are the Foreskin's Functions?
The foreskin has numerous protective, sensory, and sexual functions.
Protection: Just as the eyelids protect the eyes, the foreskin protects the glans and keeps its surface soft, moist, and sensitive. It also maintains optimal warmth, pH balance, and cleanliness. The glans itself contains no sebaceous glands-glands that produce the sebum, or oil, that moisturizes our skin. The foreskin produces the sebum that maintains proper health of the surface of the glans.
Immunological Defense: The mucous membranes that line all body orifices are the body's first line of immunological defense.
Glands in the foreskin produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins such as lysozyme. Lysozyme is also found in tears and mother's milk. Specialized epithelial Langerhans cells, an immune system component, abound in the foreskin's outer surface.
Plasma cells in the foreskin's mucosal lining secrete immunoglobulins, antibodies that defend against infection.
Erogenous Sensitivity: The foreskin is as sensitive as the fingertips or the lips of the mouth. It contains a richer variety and greater concentration of specialized nerve receptors than any other part of the penis. These specialized nerve endings can discern motion, subtle changes in temperature, and fine gradations of texture.
Coverage During Erection: As it becomes erect, the penile shaft becomes thicker and longer. The double-layered foreskin provides the skin necessary to accommodate the expanded organ and to allow the penile skin to glide freely, smoothly, and pleasurably over the shaft and glans.
Self-Stimulating Sexual Functions: The foreskin's double-layered sheath enables the penile shaft skin to glide back and forth over the penile shaft. The foreskin can normally be slipped all the way, or almost all the way, back to the base of the penis, and also slipped forward beyond the glans. This wide range of motion is the mechanism by which the penis and the orgasmic triggers in the foreskin, frenulum, and glans are stimulated.
Sexual Functions in Intercourse: One of the foreskin's functions is to facilitate smooth, gentle movement between the mucosal surfaces of the two partners during intercourse. The foreskin enables the penis to slip in and out of the vagina nonabrasively inside its own slick sheath of self-lubricating, movable skin. The female is thus stimulated by moving pressure rather than by friction only, as when the male's foreskin is missing.
The foreskin fosters intimacy between the two partners by enveloping the glans and maintaining it as an internal organ. The sexual experience is enhanced when the foreskin slips back to allow the male's internal organ, the glans, to meet the female's internal organ, the cervix-a moment of supreme intimacy and beauty.
The foreskin may have functions not yet recognized or understood. Scientists in Europe recently detected estrogen receptors in its basal epidermal cells. Researchers at the University of Manchester found that the human foreskin has apocrine glands. These specialized glands produce pheromones, nature's chemical messengers. Further studies are needed to fully understand these features of the foreskin and the role they play.