The aesthetic and sensory qualities of the foreskin

Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 214, Issue 12: Page 2194, 21 December 1970.


To the Editor.---I was most gratified by Captain Preston on neonatal circumcision. The study is noteworthy both for its scientific objectivity and for the deeply human concern expressed by the author.

In the 19 years since my graduation from medical school and subsequent arrival in the United States, I have continued to be shocked at the arbitrariness of the thoughtless mutilation of so many boys. The medical demerits of the procedure are well outlined in Captain Preston's article. As a member of a civilized community, I should like to bringup for consideration two additional points.

The aesthetic pleasure commonly associated with the visual contemplation of the healthy and intact human body is seriously damaged in the case of a circumcised male. Many sensitive individuals, especially those unaccustomed to it, tend to view the circumcised penis with the same feeling of horror induced by the amputee without a nose or an ear.

The sensory pleasure induced by tactile stimulation of the foreskin is almost totally lost after its surgical removal. The surface of the exposed glans, as we know, has no capacity to receive and transmit any fine sensations of touch, heat, etc. Consequently, the fundamental biological sexual act becomes, for the circumcised male, simply a satisfaction of an urge and not the refined sensory experience that it was meant to be.

In the United States only the children of very well educated parents escape neonatal circumcision. Let us hope that further enlightenment of parents and doctors will spare many more boys the ordeal of this amputation.

C. J. FALLIERS, MD, Denver


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