Cut/Uncut: Foreskin warfare in Germany



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Sigmund Freud

Freud advocated removal of the clitoris as a cure for "female hysteria". Who would dare saying he was mistaken? Karl Young did not

Nieobrzezany Pracie more than 5 years ago

thanks for comments

Thanks for the thoughtful comments everyone. Cleary this issue isn't resolved- among Germans or globally. Hopefully, however, both sides of the debate can take a deep breath before calling the other side fascists or barbarians.

And re: Albert Einstein, I agree, and wanted to point to this provocatice comic as an example of the sort of race-baiting that the anti-circumcision crowd can- but doesn't always- generate. German Muslims and Jews may have felt surprised to be suddenly characterized as violent barbarians for practicing a long-established tradition- like this comic book controversially portrays them.

You can really see from the comments how split reasonable people can be on this issue, which should already make it possible to tolerate a bit of difference and not cast the opposition as bloodthirsty monsters.

christina lee more than 8 years ago

Racist Comics

It should not take me, Albert Einstein to tell that the comics you used are racist, or to be precise, aryan supremacist in orientation.

White blond, blue-eyed guy saving innocent white women and babies from dark-skinned, blood-thirsty evil Jews (100% clear from the books linked at website)?

It is time you severed Mr. Ueberskin from this website. It's vile, racist propoganda.

Albert Einstein more than 8 years ago

The scandal in Germany is...

that Germans, having failed to colonize the world, now wish to colonize the body of the other. The idea of a penis not looking like a German penis sends them into sex panic. Of course they wish to protect the non-German from him or herself, so we must surrender our authority to them. Under threat, of course. Because the regulating of the bodies of others isn't violence, is it?

Happy Cut Man more than 8 years ago

Sauce for the goose....

"the right to circumcision" has never been in dispute. Any adult who wants or needs to be circumcised can be, at a time and place to suit him. What is rightly disputed is the right to genitally reduce another person without her or his consent. There is no such right for adults or girls (no matter how minor, surgical or pain-free, so don't drag the red herring of African female genital mutilation across the path) - why should boys have any less protection? Religion, tradition and antiquity give nobody a free pass to cut females, so why are they considered relevant here?

Hugh Intactive more than 8 years ago

bans & practices

I think it is important to keep in mind the when, where and how the circumcision is done. German people tend to see problems on principle; if the rest of the world subscribes to a certain practice this doesn't make it right automatically.

Yes, most American men are circumcised. I have also listened to an American man from a self-help/support group trying to regrow their foreskins. Circumcision is done in a hospital with appropriate instruments.
Yes, Muslim men are circumcised. I've heard people say a circumcised man pleasures the woman more since it takes him longer to ejaculate. By the way my husband is Muslim and circumcised, with anesthesia when he was three years old. His mother insisted that it would be done this way.
I have asked a Jewish friend about her view on our debate in Germany. She doesn't live in Germany but in Israel. She told me that her first son, who was circumcised the traditional way, screamed for two days while the family's guest were celebrating. She felt like shit and says her son has a trauma from it (she is a psychoanalyst). Consequently her second son was circumcised later and with anesthesia. And only because his parents didn't want his reputation to suffer in an all-circumcised religious environment. Social restraints are different but everywhere.

I think the discussion in Germany is too full of too many taboos that don't help anyone, least of all the yet to be circumcised boys. Also, religious practices are not there to stay forever but must be able to adapt to their times. Most modern states have enforced changes against churches or religion, not with them and mcuh less because of them.
Germany is, other than the US, a quite secular state, and maybe the question is also how much religion a democracy can take. See a much better discussion on this subject by the chief editor of Deutschlandfunk here:
Concerning aids prevention, we are in the lucky position to be able to use condoms in this country. Not all practices are necessary and the same in all places, see above.

Cora more than 8 years ago

The scandal in Germany is...

The scandal in Germany is that circumcision is now not only legalized for religious but any reasons. Even if done as a punishment the child is rightless to protect his body. The consent of the child must not be considered. Even if the child says "no" the parents may cut of his foreskin.

We are not allowed to tattoo or children, we are not allowed to pierce our children but we are allowed to cut a very sensitive part of his sexual organ without any and even for damnable reasons (e.g. prevent masturabation). This is clearly a violation of the german "Grundgesetz" and current evaluations show that at least 70% of the germans oppose this law. We clearly condemn FGM as a crime including those lighter forms of FGM which have minor impact on the child. This is a sexual double standard which is ashaming,

Rerun more than 8 years ago


circumcision helps prevent AIDS? The AIDS virus is transferred by blood, semen and saliva - it doesn't hide under the foreskin! Telling Africans that getting circumcised will prevent them catching or spreading AIDS is no different from letting them continue to believe that fucking a virgin cures AIDS!

If nature gave you a body part it's because it serves a function (yes, I know, except the appendix) A foreskin protects an incredibly sensitive part of the body. Not having one means you lose that sensitivity over time, and no doubt this is why certain religions want you to get rid of it - so sex becomes less attractive/interesting/stimulating so you don't want to do it, and instead spend your time thinking about how you can better serve a mythical being, sorry - your god.

Damaging a child FOR LIFE when there is no medical reason to do so is wrong, no matter what your Religion (which is, after all, a made-up concept) says. You should put your children before everything else in your life, including your beliefs. "What is BEST for my child?" is surely the only question and consideration.

OWA more than 8 years ago

Complete prick

I used to be a complete prick until I had my foreskin removed at the age of around 38 on health grounds. I would rather have gone through the healing process pre-puberty when I didn't have morning glories stretching the stitches, but I can say that, having survived all that, I much prefer not having the foreskin there. It's far cleaner. My view on this debate would be that religious reasons should NOT be taken into account and that the operation should ONLY be performed on health grounds on a minor (e.g. if it starts becoming clear that the foreskin is tight), or on whichever grounds and adult chooses (e.g. rugby players sometimes have it done to stop their foreskin being "grabbed" in a scrum), in which case they have it done free on health grounds or pay for it themselves for cosmetic or other reasons. I think it may be damaging for an adult to learn that such a decision was taken without his consent. I wouldn't like to find out that my parents allowed a doctor to perform the op without my say so. After the op, a part of you is gone forever. The only real reason to justify the decision to have a minor's foreskin removed could only be health. Like with the appendix, tonsils, etc.

Nickolas more than 8 years ago

a necessary debate

Although I do see that stakes and emotions are high in this debate, I still believe that this is not a crazy, pecularily German debate about the German self or whatever, but a necessary debate between universal, individual human rights (the right to bodily integrity and individual self-determination) and collective group rights to cultural self-determination (the right to practice your religion and to bring up your kids the way you see necessary)
Of course you will find elements of stereotyping on both sides of the debate (making it seem as if we have mainly two discussion partners: german racists and antisemites vs. violently archaic barbarians) .. and not surprisingly the hysteric voices are unproportionally represented in the media (also in this article), while the rational, balanced (aka boring) contributions are overheared in the various screaming matches ... that's how it is as you can also see in other debates about rights and identities, which are difficult and emotional and too often give center stage to the populists, unfortunately...but which are nevertheless important!

And to the comment before: It wouldn't be necessary to cut the baby's foreskin, to prevent HIV infection, much later in life. This can be done on adults or young men, who are able to consent with that procedure. And it is also done by trained medical professionals...

Francis more than 8 years ago

public health

This debate seems crazy when you consider the role circumcision is playing in public health campaigns against the spread of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Officials consider circumcision to be an effective and low-cost way of supplementing other prevention efforts to reduce transmission of HIV, and its use on both children and adults is being encouraged by a host of NGOs. In contrast, Germany wants to ban the practice? Given the state of the science, a ban seems little more than a cudgel wielded against religious / ethnic minorities.

rusty more than 8 years ago


“Jews and Muslims shouldn’t be lectured about their own religions or forced."

So let me get this straight: being forced to discuss the issue -- unacceptable
being forced to have a piece of your penis cut off -- acceptable

I also think it's hilarious that the American Academy of Pediatrics claims to be "pro-choice" when what they mean is "no choice in whether or not your genitals are mutilated."

The so-called "anti" circumcision people are the ones who are pro-choice. They aren't banning circumcision, they're just leaving it up to the individuals getting the procedure. How is giving children the opportunity make decisions about their own bodies a violation of the parents' rights? What other parts of a boy's body should parents be allowed to cut off at their own discretion? Earlobes? Nipples?

To treat autonomy over one's own body as an attack on religious freedom is so backwards it's hard to comprehend.

A Circumcised Jew Who Loves His Parents more than 8 years ago

Hornets nest

Sticking my hand in the hornets nest I know, but there's not such thing as a rational argument for allowing circumcision of minors.

I acknowledge that society should tolerate religious practice, but only as long as this does not damage minors or non-consenting adults. And in the case of circumcision the damage is very real and cannot be undone. Quite frankly, it's fairly trivial to circumcise an adult who desires to conform to the traditions of his religion whereas it's impossible or nearly so to regenerate the foreskin of one who was circumcised as an infant without getting a choice.

Silas Johansen more than 8 years ago

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