Circumcision is one of the oldest known surgical procedures. In respect of males it has been widely practiced as a religious rite since ancient times. An initiatory rite of Judaism, male circumcision is also an obligation for Muslims. To them it signifies spiritual purification.
Although its origins are unknown, the earliest reliable evidence of the practice comes from ancient Egypt in the form of pictures dating from 4300 years ago. Cave paintings approximately 15,000 years old appear to show circumcised penises, but not the act of circumcision itself. By the time of the Roman colonisation of Egypt in 30 BC, the practice had acquired a ritual significance; only circumcised priests could perform certain religious rites.
Circumcision is no longer confined to societies with religious motivations; it is now gaining in popularity on account of its health and social benefits. In the United States, Canada, sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Australasia & the Pacific Islands, non-religious circumcision is performed routinely on boys from infancy to adolescence. Worldwide, approximately one in three men are circumcised. This makes male circumcision the most commonly performed surgical procedure on the planet.
Today parents are carefully weighing the pros and cons of circumcision before choosing what is best for their son. Many are asking questions such as:
What are the medical benefits?
What will happen if my son isn't circumcised?
Is it painful?
Can it be done after infancy?
Furthermore, and especially in the light of recent medical discoveries, many adult males who did not benefit from infant circumcision are considering having this procedure performed despite it being more difficult to do post-puberty. Naturally they too want to know more about it.
Take time to explore the many interesting and educational areas of this web site. It is updated frequently on the basis of postings made on the associated Inter-Circ
discussion group. The result is a wide variety of information including personal opinions, medical facts, statistics and recent medical news.
What is male circumcision?
At birth, boys usually have a sleeve of skin that covers the end of the penis. This is called the foreskin or prepuce. During circumcision the foreskin is removed so that the tip of the penis (the glans) and the opening through which the male urinates (the urethral meatus) are exposed. If circumcision is performed during infancy or childhood, it only takes a few minutes.
For Jewish families, a specially trained religious person called a Mohel does the circumcision as part of a ceremony called a Bris, held on the eighth day of life. Circumcision is also routinely performed on the sons of those of the Islamic faith, typically when a boy is between 5 and 10 years of age. In the United States non-religious circumcision is usually done by a doctor in the first few days of life; other countries also perform the procedure for non-religious reasons as a matter of social custom.
Circumcision can be performed on men and boys of all ages, using a wide variety of devices specially designed to make the task quick and accurate.
What is female circumcision?
The term female circumcision properly refers to a surgical procedure in which the hood of the female's clitoris (called the clitoral prepuce) is removed - and nothing more. However, the term is often confused in modern writings with more drastic, ritual procedures which remove the entire clitoris and infibulate the labia. Such activities are properly termed Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Although predominantly concerned with male circumcision, the CIRCLIST web site includes both a glossary of terms and diagrams relating to female sexual anatomy, along with illustrations showing female circumcision. Strictly by way of an ethnographic record, the more drastic procedures of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are also documented. LEGAL NOTE: It must be clearly understood that, in presenting information about FGM, the owner, editor, artist and volunteer helpers who administer this web site are not in any way seeking to aid, abet, counsel or procure Female Genital Mutilation.
WHAT’s NEW ?