Monday, August 31, 2009

The Latest Fight Over the Foreskin

via New York Times, by Roni Caryn Rabin

In the late 19th century, Victorian-era doctors described the male foreskin as a “source of serious mischief.”

Convinced that masturbation led to insanity, and that it was the sensitive, responsive foreskin that stimulated masturbation, surgeons started promoting therapeutic circumcision to cure young men of the “sin” of excessive indulgence and prevent its corollary, “masturbatory insanity,” a catchall phrase for various psychiatric and physical disorders that perplexed physicians.

Now, in the 21st century, the foreskin has been exonerated as far as masturbation and mental illness go. But public health experts are making a pretty strong scientific case that cells in the foreskin act as a magnet for H.I.V. and, as such, may increase a man’s risk of acquiring the virus from an infected woman if he is uncircumcised.

Read the rest.

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