Talk:Foreskin/Archive 1

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Text from Febuary 2003

Removed the following sentences because they're inflammatory and not NPOV:

Removal of the praepuce, for whatever reason, is called circumcision, and when done on infants and small children for cosmetic or cultural reasons is comparible to female genital mutilation, as it is done without the informed consent of the child and the effect is to limit their sexuality.
However, all intact men do have the benefit of a highly sensitive, mobile and enjoyable foreskin

Removed the following sentence because it's either inaccurate or disingenuous (see STD studies.)

No reproducible scientific study has ever proved a medical benefit to circumcision.

There's a place to make arguments about the merits of circumcision, but it's not here. Dachshund

Correct; these statements are neither NPOV nor in the proper context. --Eloquence 16:07 Feb 10, 2003 (UTC)

This text was moved from Talk:Prepuce. Graham87 13:31, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

Lack of TotallyDisputed tag

Why does this page not have the TotallyDisputed tag on it? It appears that there are still fights going on about it's content. In this case, it is important that casual viewers be alerted. Disputed does not mean that one or the other side is right, just that there is a dispute, and that seems clearly true. The history shows 50 changes in the last 20 days; that sure looks like a Dispute to me... I have added the tag, in the spirit of editing boldly. JesseW 04:42, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Other comments

Robert Brookes, can you explain why you reverted the changes? Most of the changes I made were small changes in wording, and many of the others simply involved moving paragraphs and sentences around. What specific changes do you think are incorrect, and why? ---thickslab 18:06, Sep 3, 2004 (UTC)

A picture of a penis is probably offensive to some people. I'd suggest removing it, replacing it with a drawing maybe. Tom 18:15, Sep 3, 2004 (UTC)

  • Tomf688, perhaps Robert Brookes can elaborate as to whether that was the issue (though he reverted the entire article rather than removing just the image). I've removed the picture.

---thickslab 18:19, Sep 3, 2004 (UTC)

Thick, you have it ass about face. You need to justify the changes you want to make. The onus lies with you. One needs to be vigilant in monitoring the subtle introduction of propaganda by those with an anti-circumcision agenda. Remember NPOV is what this is all about. - Robert Brookes 05:35, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I've reverted your reversion Robert since it looks like simple vandalism to me. It is not true that thickslab has to justify evert little edit he makes. You are are the one who is removing factual information. Why are you doing it?

As for the photo. Robert was reverting this page before it was added so I doubt that's this issue. Theresa Knott (Nate the Stork) 06:34, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I've removed the images of a circumcised penis, flaccid and erect, as being irrelevant to an article about the foreskin (just as pictures of the stump of a wrist would be irrelevant to an article about the hand). I have also edited the caption to the other pictures, since it is self-evident that a penis with a foreskin is "not circumcised". - Hugh7 Hugh7 23:06, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

"Smooth muscle fibres in the foreskin keep it close to the glans penis but render the foreskin highly elastic." let's start with this sentence. Why have you removed it? how is it POV? Theresa Knott (Nate the Stork) 06:39, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Robert, if I've introduced facts that you think are not NPOV, please let's discuss those, rather than simply reverting every change I've made, such as adding headings, correcting spelling, and moving sentences into a more logical order. If there's something I have introduced that you have an issue with, let's see if we can fix t. ---thickslab 14:18, Sep 4, 2004 (UTC)

Robert, please let me know which changes I made that you object to. Then I can redo the changes I made to spelling, re-ordering, re-wording, etc., and make them without the changes you disagree with. ---thickslab 17:34, Sep 4, 2004 (UTC)

  • You're trying to reason with someone who does not feel that he is constrained by the same obligations to reach consensus that you are. Reasoning with him appears to be an exercise in frustration--he gets to dictate what the article should say from the comfort of his seat as other Wikipedians do research and go to the ends of the earth for him. (I'll admit that my contempt for Robert's behavior is starting to grow now that I'm watching the circumcision debate more closely.) --[[User:Ardonik|Ardonik(talk)]] 17:59, Sep 4, 2004 (UTC)
        • Well actually doing research is for the article not for him. It's never a bad thing to have a well researched article. Theresa Knott (Nate the Stork) 22:17, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)
    • In any case, I've made changes to the wording, headings, sentence ordering, grammar, and spelling, and have tried to avoid adding anything that could be construed as POV in the slightlest. I've made one change in the "surgical modification" section, adding a sentence, and have tried to word it as NPOV as I can. ---thickslab 18:29, Sep 4, 2004 (UTC)

I'm writing a rfc on his behaviour as we speak. Perhaps you could come and certify it and add evidence to it. Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Robert Brookes Theresa Knott (Nate the Stork) 18:31, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

  • Theresa, I've added evidence, but I'm fairly new to Wikipedia so I don't feel comfortable certifying just yet. I'll see how he reacts to the latest edit I made, which is mostly just a rewording and rearrangement of the previous article. Let's hope he can then come up with specific objections. ---thickslab 18:52, Sep 4, 2004 (UTC)
    • Certified. ---thickslab 14:52, Sep 5, 2004 (UTC)

Hodges on foreskin aesthetics

The statement: "A long tapering foreskin was considered to be a mark of male beauty. <>" is dubious at best. Hodges is a commited anti-circumcision activist who lays claim to being a "circumcision historian". The statement is an entirely expected conclusion he reached as a result of his research. He is to the anti-circ movement as David Irving is to the Holocaust denialists. This rank speculation should be deleted. - Robert Brookes 06:49, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

If Hodges' conclusion is 'rank speculation' then Brookes' speculation about the Amazonian tribes, utterly unsupported by any evidence, is beyond belief. To object to evidence because of the opinions of the researcher and then to introduce speculation without any backup is quite inconsistent. This display of double standards is not helpful to a rational discussion. As for the comparison with David Irving, it is beneath contempt. Michael Glass 08:04, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It should also be noted that Hodges' article was published in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine. If the article was as unscholarly as Robert Brookes implies I doubt it would have been published in this journal. I believe that if Robert Brookes has any evidence that the article is unreliable he should state it.Michael Glass 23:43, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • The article is POV and biased. The man is a rabid foreskin promoter and people should be aware to take that into account before reading his stuff. - Robert Brookes 01:05, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It is not controversial at all that "A long tapering foreskin was considered to be a mark of male beauty"! That is how it is portrayed on hundreds of vessels, often with written statements about the beauty of the youth. It is portayed as long and tapering even when erect. The glans is exposed only on images of satyrs and the like. - Hugh7 22:57, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Of course the article has a point of view, just as you have. However, I think it is reasonable that the link remains so that readers can turn to the article if they want to, and make up their own minds. So far all you have said is that the author is biased. If you can show that the author's facts are wrong, please let us know. - Michael Glass 04:49, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

What should stated clearly is that Hodges is an anti-circumcision activist. I will insert such a disclaimer where ever his name appears. - Robert Brookes 17:26, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Hodges has also been caught lying[1]. His credibility is limited at best. - Jakew 21:56, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)"
  • That is disgraceful. I believe that the two of them should have their work expunged from Wikipedia. BTW this seems to be a trend with these foreskinners ... first we had Van Howe admit to "fuzzy math" and now this. It makes one think. - Robert the Bruce 16:00, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
It gets worse. Fleiss, Hodges, and Van Howe wrote a paper on "the immunological functions of the human prepuce", claiming to be a review paper. Not only did they base much of their argument on the existence of "Tyson's glands" (ignoring the fact that Taylor's paper - which they cited - found that they don't exist), they completely ignored the 5 or 6 papers which show that the presence of the foreskin is associated with an increase in pathogenic bacteria! Also, in a discussion piece he (Van Howe) "distorts, misquotes, and misrepresents the bulk of the literature he claims support his opinions" and even misconstrues his own published findings (on balanitis). (quoted from Professor Brian Morris I've discussed the absurdities of Van Howe's cost-utility elsewhere on these pages. It is becoming increasingly clear that certain anti-circumcision authors are engaging in a disinformation campaign. This amounts to little more than vandalism of medical knowledge. - Jakew 00:57, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • And to think that by continuing to include this disgraceful stuff on the website is aiding and abetting this disinformation campaign. I move that be given the gypsy's warning ... either they remove the trash from the website or be banned from Wikipedia as a source. - Robert the Bruce 01:38, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Perhaps we should just move anti-circ authors to a sub-page under Psychiatry... - Jakew 02:55, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Good idea. I have often wondered what floats their boats if it is not a Foreskin fetish then perhaps they would make suitable subjects for case study research. Its scary to think what may be found out. - Robert the Bruce 03:12, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

If there was any doubt in the past that Robert and Jake are pro-circumcision activists, there should be no doubt now. It is interesting Jake quotes Brian Morris who is also a pro-circumcision activist.

If we use Jake's or Robert's standard for including authors, all the references to articles by pro-circumcision activists Edgar Schoen or Thomas Wiswell would have to be deleted from Wikipedia.

In my opinion most people who oppose non-therapeutic circumcision of children do so because they feel cutting the genitals of a child without a valid medical indication is a violation of that child's basic human rights.

Neonatal circumcision is not medically necessary. That is not just my opinion; it is the opinion of professional medical organizations in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia summarizes current medical opinion on neonatal circumcision as follows:

"Infant male circumcision was once considered a preventive health measure and was therefore adopted extensively in Western countries. Current understanding of the benefits, risks and potential harm of this procedure, however, no longer supports this practice for prophylactic health benefit. Routine infant male circumcision performed on a healthy infant is now considered a non-therapeutic and medically unnecessary intervention."

-- DanBlackham 06:27, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC) have difficulty beleive me that any human anatomical picture be deleted because of a hmm cultural imperative.

  What  next  an  obese  person  should  not   encounter  pictures  of  food?


The sentence about evolutionary changes is pure speculation and is not supported by the reference.Michael Glass 08:25, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

  • Define speculation if you will because I see no substantiation of what is often claimed about the foreskin. You delete that then the other speculation must go. - Robert Brookes 01:05, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Robert, I gather that you do not accept what Cold and Taylor have discovered about the foreskin, but that is a separate matter to the following sentence:

This is seen by some as evidence of the evolutionary process dealing with the now redundant foreskin.

Who are those who see this as evidence of the evolutionary process? Where is the evidence that the foreskin can be described as 'redundant'? To establish this you will need to provide at least one reference. This might be your opinion, but the opinion of one does not translate into 'some'. - Michael Glass 04:40, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

No-one has posted any evidence here to back up the statement that I objected to. I shall therefore delete it as it is pure speculation. Michael Glass 12:48, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)


I think the designation "Note: This is an anti-circumcision site." to references to CIRP unfair. While it is true that CIRP is opposed to circumcision it is also true that CIRP is listed as a reference by the British Medical Journal. Both these facts should be mentioned or both should be removed. I would prefer that both facts should be drawn to the attention of the reader.Michael Glass 23:34, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

  • What exactly do you have against the truth? Cirp is anti-circumcision. So much so that it inserts comment into the articles on its web site to ensure that people get to interpret the article "correctly". It is quite disgraceful. - Robert Brookes 01:05, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Please look at what I proposed: putting your point in more neutral language and pointing out that CIRP is endorsed by the BMJ. As for CIRP's editorialising, it is clearly marked as such. Editorialising that I have noticed is usually sparse and directed towards ideas and concepts in articles that has since been superseded by later research. The critical reader is free to accept or reject the editorialising because it is so clearly marked. Michael Glass 02:14, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Concerning this recent revert, the language that was there before your revert was more informative, and still kept the spirit of your sentiment (namely, that the links were to anti-circumcision sites.) I don't understand why you made that revert--the language really was better. (I note that Theresa Knott reverted your revert soon after.) The seeds of compromise need to be watered and nurtured, not fried in hot oil for an afternoon snack! Why not rework instead of reverting if there's something specific that you object to? 20:26, Sep 6, 2004 (UTC)

Cirp and the BMJ

Well one again folks here is another calculated deceit from our anti-circumcision friends that needs to be exposed. It is claimed that is listed in the BMJ as a reference. Correct up to a point. Go read this: [2]. Yes it is there together with the yellow pages and train timetables. Nowhere does it claim that is endorsed by the BMJ. Lies and deceit like this should be exposed and the perpetrators (in this case Michael and Theresa) should receive official wikipedia censure. How does one arrange this? - Robert Brookes 01:42, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

  • Robert Brookes, Michael Glass did not claim that CIRP is "endorsed" by the BMJ. What he claimed is that it is listed as a reference, which is true. Your implication that he claimed that the BMJ "endorsed" CIRP is incorrect. ---thickslab 03:13, Sep 6, 2004 (UTC)
    • It is on a list together with train time tables and the online yellow pages. It is a shameless attempt to obtain respectability by association. - Robert Brookes 04:46, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)
      • Honestly, Robert, this is really getting annoying. Listed on that page: a link to NIH's Office of Alternative Medicine, the Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, the Royal Society of Medicine, the Royal College of Pathologists, the American government's Healfinder, the Royal College of Physicians' Continuing Medical Education site, King's College Medical School's Gulf War Illness Unit, a white paper on the NHS, Ethnic Medicine Guide, and a Pediatrics site. All those in addition to the link to a yellow pages site, a rail site, and a teletext site. Your statement that anyone claimed that the BMJ "endorsed" CIRP is still false, and it's still true that the site is listed as a reference. ---thickslab 12:18, Sep 7, 2004 (UTC)

Probably with every edition Mark Pallen provides a number of online resources. Throw-away filler stuff. To claim that The BMJ lists it as a resource is disengenous. These people are attempting to achieve respectability through association. What exactly is your problem? - Robert Brookes 16:23, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)

  • Fact: Mark Pallen is a professor of Microbiology at Birmingham University. Fact: The site is linked to from a BMJ site, with other medical sites. Despite what you have claimed, nobody here has said that the BMJ "endorses" CIRP, simply that BMJ lists it as a resource. I don't have a problem, and would appreciate that you don't take such a combative tone with me in the future. ---thickslab 17:07, Sep 7, 2004 (UTC)
    • So what are you saying here? That it is the professor of microbiology who says CIRP is a useful resource? So can I then remove the reference to BMJ? - Robert Brookes 16:25, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)
      • I'm saying that you've been misleading when you wrote that people claimed the BMJ "endorses" CIRP. I'm saying that your implication that Mark Pallen is simply another Internet yahoo who compiles lists is false (He's a microbiologist compiling the list on the BMJ site). I'm saying that your implication that he lists just "yellow pages and train timetables" is deliberately misleading. You may not remove the reference to the BMJ. -- thickslab 17:55, Sep 8, 2004 (UTC)

== "Circumcision is one of those subjects that crops up repeatedly in online medical discussion forums. For useful online information on the subject visit the circumcision information resource on" == [3]

Now perhaps we can agree that the British Medical Journal says that CIRP contains "useful online information" on circumcision.

Now perhaps Robert can have the elementary good manners to quit his offensive remarks. Michael Glass

  • Perhaps you will have the good manners not to shout. Now go see who wrote this. A Mark Pallen who if you look seems to like to produce online lists of websites. Essentially your desperate claims to respectability by association are appalling. It just happened to appear in a column by a Mark Pallen and certainly is only the opinion of Mark Pallen. I will amend the article accordingly. - Robert Brookes 16:23, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)

At last, a form of wording that approaches neutrality. Maybe the shouting worked. You said:

CIRP is an anti-circumcision site. CIRP was listed in the British Medical Journal by Mark Pallen (professor of Microbiology at Birmingham University)as a useful source of information about circumcision. This does not consitute an endorsement of CIRP by the BMJ.

I think the beginning should be changed to "CIRP is opposed to circumcision. It was listed...etc" This would be more neutral. I also think the final sentence should be checked with the British Medical Journal before we put any further claim about the status of the listing.

What do others think?Michael Glass 07:19, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Personally either beginning is fine by me. Also agree that contacting the BMJ is sensible. I do think we only need the one discliamer though. Putting it twice is overkill. Theresa Knott (Nate the Stork) 08:31, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Phimosis - a 'disorder'?

This is a matter of opinion, it assumes that the foreskin "needs" to be retracted. Although this may be a problem if it causes problems with the function of the penis, perfectly healthy people are often "diagnosed" with this problem and even told that they have to have a circumcision to "correct" the problem. It seems that the medical profession is obsessed with telling people how their bodies "should" work, they somehow develop an idea about how the somthing should work and then think that someone who doesn't fit into this "ideal" is somehow abnormal.

Unsigned comments make it hard for any semblance of a dialog to be maintained. 金 (Kim)

I had a friend whose foreskin would not retract. When he got an erection he suffered. Somewhat the same thing happens if you sprain your ankle and have to get your foot into a shoe that originally fit snuggly. As far as I know, doctors don't go around asking their patients, "Would you like a circumcision today?" And another thing, if the foreskin is too tight and the glans manages to slip through, then the foreskin acts like a big thick rubber band right around the penis below the glans -- like a tourniquet. 金 (Kim) 02:50, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I know of a number of men whose foreskins will not retract and that gives them no problem at all. It's only a problem if it's a problem, as in your friend's case. I know of at least two men who were offered circumcisions they didn't need, one because his penis was "too big". Paraphimosis (won't come forward) is a different issue. --Hugh7 10:54, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

It is listed in the International Classification of Diseases. Jakew 12:09, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

Penile cancer reference

In developing countries where infant circumcision is not routinely practised and genital hygiene is poor, penile cancer may comprise 10 to 20% of all malignancies, although it is rare in Western countries

This statement seems fairly meaningless unless it is put into some kind of context. It doesn't tell us the percentage of penile cancer among the whole population but only the percentage of malginancies that are cancerous. What percentage of people have malignancies in the first place?, and what is the exact definition of "malignancy" in this context? If only a tiny percentage of people had a malignancy then the cancer would comprise an even tinier proportion of that percentage, if the initial malignancy rate was high then the overall percentage of people with the disease would be much higher. --Cap 00:10, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I'm confused. Does malignancy always refer to cancer? perhaps it means 10-20percent of all cancers of any kind rather than 10-20% of diseases affecting the penis? either way we still need to know the percentage of the overall malignancy rate for the 10-20% figure to have any meaning. --Cap 00:19, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Yes I think it does.So the text means thT 10-20% of all cancers are penile in those areas. Theresa Knott (taketh no rest) 15:42, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I'm afraid that's untrue. The word malignancy refers to cancers that have "come unstuck", and travel to other portions of the body. Malignancy is associated with late-stage cancers and thus mortality. So, the statement does not say that penile cancer is more common, but that when it occurs it is more serious, which is what one would expect from a "developing country where...genital hygiene is poor", irrespective of the rate of circumcision. Cathal

"It is an uncontestable fact at this point that there are more deaths [in th US] from complications of circumcision than from cancer of the penis."

More dubious stuff

It was stated: "Unlike the skin on the rest of the body, which is attached to the underlying tissue, the foreskin and shaft skin are free to glide along the shaft of the penis, reducing friction, abrasion and loss of lubricating fluid during sexual intercourse or masturbation."

This statement is pure speculation and sadly indicates a lack of knowledge (and probably experience) of the heterosexual sex act. Natural vaginal lubrication is more than adequate for the purpose of sexual intercourse and the natural variations in penis size, shape and length (not to mention the variations in foreskins) and those of the vagina make this anti-circumcision statement totally ridiculous. It should be ammended to reflect reality or removed as Wikipedia is no place for such fantasy material to be posted. - Friends of Robert 15:10, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Please see [4] and respond to it.
Acegikmo1 19:00, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • Oh, that another survey of people recruited through an "announcement in an anti-circumcision new"sletter" like in the case of the O'Hara survey? The names and cites mentioned there read like a who's who of the anti-circumcision brigade. And you expect this to be taken seriously? Try this. [5]
Where do you get the idea that the people were recriuted from an "annouoncement in an anti-circumcision newsletter"? After examining the resutls of the O'Hara study, the authors of this piece in the New Zealand Medical Journal conducted an independent study themselves. Just because it supported O'Hara's findings doesn't mean you can simply dismiss it.
Acegikmo1 04:14, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • Why are you so desperate to believe the anti-circumcision propaganda? The authors of "this piece" are well known raving foreskin promoters. How they managed to get it published in the New Zealand Medical Journal would make interesting reading. O'Hara's survey was the one where they recruited people through an "announcement in an anti-circumcision newsletter" and we all know that Bigelow has made a lot of money out of foreskin restoration. This survey meets no standard of science. - Friends of Robert 07:05, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It's quite a double standard to to dismiss this reference because some of the cites are "anti-circumcision" and then accept a study posted on a Yahoo! Group right next to the 1981 Prepuce Restoration Seekers study which has been almost universally dismissed because of its small sample size (8 men) and outdaded prejudice against homosexuals.
Acegikmo1 04:14, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • Please don't try the double standard line on me, look in the mirror. That yahoo site was set up to host information not found elsewhere on the web other than in biased sites like CIRP. "Universally dismissed" by the anti-circumcision fraternity you should rather say. This is a good example of your (anti-circumcision types) propensity to exaggerate horribly. You should really try to reign in such urges as the rise. - Friends of Robert 07:05, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)
But more importantly, the study you linked to doesn't even relate to the issue at hand. The study seems to be from the 80s, while the NZMJ study is from 2003. The study you linked to did not relate to "friction, abrasion and loss of lubricating fluid during sexual intercourse". The NZMJ study did. In fact, the word "lubrication" is not mentioned once in the text of the study you linked to. Please either make a case that the statement in the article is not factual or remove the disputed tag.
Acegikmo1 04:14, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • The lubrication angle is another pure anti-circumcision lie. Anyone who is sexually active (heterosexually) thesedays will know that. Why? Because condom use does not allow for that stinky stuff (smegma) to mix in with the females juices. If this really was a problem then don't you think that condoms would come with more lube? Do you hear much moaning about the dryness of sex when a condom is used (even in non-circumcising countries)? Vaginal sex is different to anal sex you need to understand. You need to read up on vaginal dryness issues on womens web sites and not on anti-circumcision web sites. So drop this nonsense will you. - Friends of Robert 07:05, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Sadly, vaginal lubrication is often NOT enough to facilitate sexual intercourse, and that's why many women complain that sex is painful. The foreskin allows the penis to take on the lubricant role in cases where the vagina is in a less lubricated state. Anyone who says otherwise simply does not understand how the foreskin works.

As for the 'raving foreskin promoters' statement, I find it interesting that people who defend the body's natural state can be called 'raving promoters' as if such a philosophy is completely insane, and as if removal of body parts should be regarded as completely sane.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

"Raving" refers to how the position is presented, not what the position is. Nandesuka (talk) 00:07, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

We should find a study, or someone should study, the lube sales figures for the US vs. Europe. I'm quite sure they are much higher here, at least those are the anecdotal reports I've heard. If you think being circumcised has no impact on ease of insertion, then you've obviously never been penetrated by an intact penis. Gimmethoseshoes (talk) 13:43, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Also, what exactly does smegma have to do with natural female lubrication, during vaginal intercourse? The user "Friends of Robert", brought up the point above, but never explained what he meant. How could it be a problem? The way he uses the term "stinky stuff" and then clarifies it with "smegma" in parentheses following, and referring to this discussion as "nonsense, seems (at least to me) to a bit childish. I'd be best if we could have formal talk, rather than a "sarcasm and attacks on intelligence"-laden debate. I also dislike his hatred (at least implied) of anti-circ. "The lubrication angle is another pure anti-circumcision lie." That doesn't seem to be a lie, but that's another point. Mine is that he describes the lie as pure "anti-circumcision", instead of just as an opinion, or a misconception. Aren't we suppose to be "Be polite, Assume good faith, " and "Be welcoming"? We're above that. Let's have higher standards. We're here for knowledge. For common good. Let's not be petty, though we may have differences in opinion. (talk) 00:43, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Foreskin and evolution

This message was originally left on User talk:Friends of Robert. I have duplicated it here after adding a disputed statement tag. Acegikmo1 18:07, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)


I don't think it's unreasonable for me to ask you to provide evidence that evolutionary processes are causing the human foreskin to shrink.

You wrote, "The coverage of the glans by the foreskin in adults is a highly variable characteristic and is seen by some to be reducing".

That the foreskin has a variable length in humans is factual.

That the average foreskin length is decresing is not.

As an analogy, the size human eyebrows is variable. Some people have large eyebrows; some people have small eyebrows.

This does not mean, however, that the average eybrow size is reducing, any more than it means that the average eyebrow size is increasing.

Similarly, the variable length of the foreskin is not evidence that the foreskin is decreasing in size due to evolutionary processes any more than it means the foreskin is increasing in size.

Consider the following alteration of the text you inserted:

"The coverage of the glans by the foreskin in adults is a highly variable characteristic and is seen by some to be increasing in accordance with the theory that as the foreskin has become essential the evolutionary process of growth has begun."

Such an claim is equally baseless and I'm sure you would agree that it does not belong in an encyclopedia.

You have made it clear that you are interested in removing anti-circumcision speculation. I don't think that the best way to do that is to insert pro-circumcision speculation.

If there are specific parts of the foreskin article that you believe need to be edited heavily to remove speculation, please let me know (preferibly on the talk:foreskin page). I believe that the Wikipedia:Neutral point of view policy works both ways, and thus I will work with you to remove any baseless anti-circumcision claims as well.


Acegikmo1 18:02, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

  • It is noted that you have picked up on this one and seem totally unconcerned by the dubious stuff under the "Cultural views" heading. Why is that? Where is the substantiation for those claims? Are you just exposing your bias once again? If you were truly committed to rooting out "baseless" content from this encyclopedia would you not also be equally keen to remove that unsubstantiated garbage? - Friends of Robert 02:12, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

No one has provided a reliable source to support the following sentence.

Some advocates of circumcision propose that the foreskin is a vestigial organ and is decreasing in size as part of evolutionary processes.

Who proposes the foreskin is a vestigial organ? Who claims the foreskin is deceasing as part of the evolutionary process? Unless someone can provide a reliable source to support these claims, the above sentence should not be in the article. -- DanBlackham 06:13, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)

  • I suggest that you carefully consider the implecation of "raising the bar" in this manner. Half the foreskin friendly stuff if measured against that criterion would have to go on that basis. - Friends of Robert 17:53, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I will ask again. Who proposes the foreskin is a vestigial organ and who claims the foreskin is deceasing as part of the evolutionary process? Unless you or someone else can provide a reliable source to support these two claims, they should not be in the article. -- DanBlackham 06:58, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure if I should try to handle this hot potato, but I'll try. To both the advocates and detractors of circumcision, I suggest that it should be an individual's choice. That would suggest that one be of an age where one can make an informed decision, which is typically agreed to be 18 in most countries. No-one should say "yes" or "no", but the pros and cons of the undertaking should be represented.
As to the suggestion that the foreskin is unnessecary or vestigial: I have one, and I've found it to be very useful. It is true that they reduce friction, and it is true that they protect the mucous membrane of the glans and prevent friction. Foreskins are common among mammals in one form or another. Take a look at a male dog, and you will see that when not erect the mucous membrane is not open to the elements, being covered adequately by skin.
The foreskin evolved alongside the modern structure of the penis. During the time it took to form the human penis, evolution would have removed something that caused more problems than it solved, so I'm afraid the argument that it is redundant is not true.
In the end, if it is a person's choice as an adult to undergo the operation, then let them. But Wikipedia should not endorse an operation that, when one follows proper hygiene, is not normally (Excluding actual phymosis or related symptoms) required. -- Cathal

What Winkelman said

Quote from article: "The tip of the foreskin is the site of the mucocutaneous boundary, which Winklemann identified as a specific erogenous zone.[6]"
Can't find where Winkelman said this. It should be deleted. - Friends of Robert 01:03, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Quoting from Winkelmann's paper:

  1. "The specific type of erogenous zone found is found in the mucocutaneous regions of the body."
  2. "The mucocutaneous end-organs extend from the distal margin of the prepuce"

By (2) the end of the prepuce is a mucocutaneous region. By (1) the mucocutaneous regions of the body are specific erogenous zones. Therefore, the end of the foreskin is a specific erogenous zone.

The statement above seems to be a factual presentation of Winkelmann's findings. I don't see how it's not in accord with Winkelmann's writings, but I could be missing something. What part specifically do you dispute?

Acegikmo1 03:38, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Williamson & Williamson survey

The following sentence is Robert's interpretation of the Williamson & Williamson survey.

This would indicate that in this sample of a modern society the exposed glans is seen as "sexier" rather than obscene by the majority.

Because the sentence is Robert's personal interpretation of the survey it belongs on the Talk page, not in the article itself. -- DanBlackham 05:54, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)

But Taylor's speculation is good for any article? LOL - Friends of Robert 18:01, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)

In my opinion it is significant that the majority (78%) of the women who participated in the Williamson & Williamson survey had no sexual experience with uncircumcised men. That fact needs to be included in the article. -- DanBlackham 07:03, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Vestigal organ

Robert's original wording [7] was "The coverage of the glans by the foreskin in adults is a highly variable characteristic and seems to be reducing in accordance with the theory that as the foreskin has become redundant the evolutionary process of removal has begun."

In this edit I changed it to "Some advocates of circumcision propose that the foreskin is a vestigial organ and is decreasing in size as part of evolutionary processes."

The sentence was later modified but I have restored the form it had when I added it. However, I think it could use some elaboration. Robert, could you propose a better wording or perhaps some further explanation? Where did you originally hear this? Are there any circumcision-related groups or forums that hold this position?

Thanks, Acegikmo1 03:10, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I think it is sufficient for you to help Theresa get up to speed on this and other issues. Maybe you can offer to help her work through these and other issues she appears to have. That would be caring of you. No, I'm not interested in arguing the detail on this other to ensure that it is recorded that since biblical times the foreskin has reduced from a predominance of "ant eaters" to 50% having full glans coverage today. It is obviously due to evolution, what elese? I am more interested that you insist on including the rider "Some advocates of circumcision". I assume that applies to every view which is not openly anti-circumcision? Good! Then I assume I can count on your support for my wholesale insertion of like wording qualifying what anti-circumcision zealots think/say/believe/assert? Can I count on your evenhandedness in this regard or will you find find it impossible to betray the cause of foreskin promotion? - Robert the Bruce 03:25, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Thank you for responding Robert. I would like to get rid of the "Some advocates of circumcision" part of the sentence. That phrase was agreed to in a re-wording after some discussion at User talk:Friends of Robert, but if the belief extends beyond ciricumcision advocates, then I agree that we should remove it.
You stated, "it is recorded that since biblical times the foreskin has reduced from a predominance of "ant eaters" to 50% having full glans coverage today. It is obviously due to evolution, what elese?". I know of no scientific evidence that the average foreskin length was longer in Biblical times. This may be true; I've just never read/heared anything about it. Could you provide a reference?
You can count on my even-handedness regarding qualifying the unsubstantiated statements of anti-circumcision zealots. I think this is clear from what I wrote at Talk:Foreskin_restoration#Disputed_sections.

Acegikmo1 03:40, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • I am thrilled that we are getting down to requiing substantiation. Let me confirm this then ... if it can't be substantiated then it gets "left out" ... is that how it is supposed to be? We are going to be busy for the next few days and yes the articles are really going to get cleaned up. Can't wait. Please confirm you are setting a high standard for substantiation. - Robert the Bruce 06:29, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    • Yes Robert, I think we need a high standard for substantiation of statments in articles. If you remember, I suggested that some changed be made to the foreskin restoration article. There were some statements in that article that were not backed up by scientific evidence. I suggested on the talk page that we make it clear that these statements were made by foreskin restorers, but had not been confirmed by scientific evidence. For example, I wrote, "Saying that some men report improved sensitivity after foreskin restoration is accurate. However, since no studies have demonstrated this, we must be careful not to assert it as fact." So yes, Robert, I support the "insertion of like wording qualifying what anti-circumcision zealots think/say/believe/assert". Acegikmo1 07:18, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Robert has been asked repeatedly to provide a credible source to support his contention that "the foreskin is a vestigial organ and is decreasing in size as part of evolutionary processes." In my opinion the statement nothing more than pro-circumcision nonsense that would be more at home at alt.circumcision on Usenet than Wikipedia. To date Robert has not provided a credible reference to support his claim. Until he does the sentence should not be included in the article. -- DanBlackham 04:01, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Coming from an anti-circumcision activist that is rich. I am left wondering why you set standards for others that you are unable to maintain yourself? I fear your contributions are becoming seen as POV pushing and as the articles move towards NPOV your shrill protestations expose an emotional instability which has hitherto not been noticed. Are you a foreskin restorer? - Robert the Bruce 06:25, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Robert Brookes, friends of robert, and robert the bruce are all one and the same person. He always argues like this when his own speculation is challenged. I will not compromise with POV pushers. The statement saying the forskin has got shorter since biblical times should be very easy to deal with. It is either true or Robert made it up. If it's true Robert can provide a credible source. If robert made it up I am going to delete it altogether. Theresa Knott (Not the skater) 09:54, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • Wonderful Theresa! Let this be known from this day onwards as Theresa's law. I like it. Produce a credible source or it gets deleted. Now I guess the test will be when your buddies begin to squeal. What will happen then? Will you suddenly widen your basis of what consititues "a credible source"? I can't wait. - Robert the Bruce 10:40, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)
They are not my buddies, as for 'credible' well the first step is clearly providing a source at all. Theresa Knott (Not the skater) 10:54, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • I have to agree with Theresa. If Robert is using more than one ID, then Robert is relinquishing his right to a fair say in this discussion. Perhaps the Wikipedia records (Not including any said after this, of course) could offer the IP addresses of the three usernames, to clear the issue up somewhat? A mod (What's the wiki equivalent?) would have to do this, I imagine. - Cathal
  • Not your buddies? You could have fooled me, but the way you have been protecting the Wally is a bit of a give away I'm afraid. As to "credible". Yes I thought you spoke too soon. Care to define "credible", so we can all know what to expect from you somewhere down the line? I am sure this is where you suddenly develop a headache or are suddenly need elsewhere? - Robert the Bruce 11:35, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The definition of credible is naturally a difficult one. Certainly not providing a reference at all is clearly not providing a credible one. I think we can all agree that any reference is more credible than none. Generally an article in a peer reviewed jounal can be considered credible. A published book by an expert in the field, an article in a respected newspaper (not a tabloid) would probably be considered credible. A well respected TV program such as the BBC'c Horizon for example is also usually considered credible. Theresa Knott (Not the skater) 12:59, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Good. We now have the makings of what we shall term "Theresa's Law". But somehow I don't have a good warm and fuzzy feeling that you will be consistent in what you consider to be credible. - Robert the Bruce 03:58, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
What 'you term as my law. There's no we about it. Theresa Knott (Not the skater) 07:58, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Sorry Theresa, that was the "royal" we. But I do dearly wish that you prove to be consistent on this issue. I appreciate it will be difficult but you need to see it as a test of your integrity. I'm holding thumbs for you. - Robert the Bruce 17:06, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

First, I have never seen any suggestion anywhere that foreskin size was historically greater than it is today. Certainly that penis size in general varies between races, but actually nothing specifically about foreskins, never mind historically. Second, that any such change might be a result of natural selection. Changes in characteristics do occur due to outside influences, yes that is natural selection. But natural selection is a process which relies on the existence of random variations within a population. That inevitably means that in the complete absence of outside pressures either way, it is likely that any particular characteristic would just vary by chance. 08:57, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Recent reverts 1

I'm curious about the recent reversion by Jakew. Thickslab's edits seemed fine to me. Exploding Boy 20:01, Nov 15, 2004 (UTC)

Problem 1: A subjective an unsubstantiated claim about sensitivity (the very fact that claims regarding the number of nerve endings vary so wildly indicates that nobody actually has the slightest idea). Problem 2: Lengthy diversion in 'cultural views', distracting from the main theme - perhaps this could be summarised instead? Problem 3: Inclusion of a non-scientific study (O'Hara's) that polled anti-circumcision activists. This is a little like quizzing employees of the Vatican and concluding that everyone on the planet is Christian: in a word, tripe. - Jakew 20:42, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

It was not a "diversion," since it was there before you showed up to edit the page. - thickslab 21:01, Nov 15, 2004 (UTC)

Sorry, I should have expressed myself better. It was not a diversion chronologically, but a diversion from the subject. Sorry for the ambiguity. - Jakew 21:10, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I've changed some of the wording, added links documenting some of the claims, removed the links to the two studies (both of which I think can reasonably be considered questionable) and removed the nerve ending claims. - thickslab 12:49, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)

I've reverted your deletion. Those paragraphs are clearly relevant to "cultural views" of the foreskin. They are not irrelevant. Please do not delete them again. - thickslab 12:49, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)

Personally, Thickslab's versions look fine to me. However, both Thickslab and Jakew have been reverting a lot on this page; both of you seem to be fast approaching the 3 reverts maximum if you've not already exceeded it. I suggest you hash out your disputes on this page rather than in an edit war. Exploding Boy 16:22, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)

Jakew has never explained what exactly is wrong with the edits aside from "they're diversions" and they're "not concise." Those sentences are completely relevant to the heading they're under, and they're supported with links. Jakew needs to clearly state exactly what is wrong with those sentences and not just use vague words like "concise" and "diversions." If he can state exactly what is wrong with those paragraphs and how to fix it, I'll work towards that. But as it stands, his reversions are simply and plainly just vandalism by a pro-circumcision activist. -- thickslab 16:26, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)

Jakew and Robert have no interest except to trash this article. I am certainly open to including their POV, but not appreciative of their repeated and biased edits. Including and glorifying circumcision in this article makes about as much sense as repeating mastectomy over and over in the breast article. That extreme is about as far from encyclopedia definitions as one can get. DanP 18:38, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I am completely willing to work with Jakew/Robert to work on this article. I am trying to show good faith by asking them to state their specific objections, and help me come up with wordig that we all can agree with. I await their response. -- thickslab 18:42, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)

Robert, what is not acceptable about the studies that Robert Blair linked to? What sources would be acceptable to you? -- thickslab 03:06, Nov 19, 2004 (UTC)

Robert, there are many veterinary sources which indicate protection offered by foreskin, and in no way is glans injury presented as the only environmental threat. This article is not limited to humans, and anything about excision of the foreskin should be part of the cultural or human-specific section. I think that is fair and NPOV, unless the information is not so specialized. DanP 18:38, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Stating this as fact "[that circumcision is a] vicious and invasive procedure inflicted upon infants in the US." is an obvious and gross violation of NPOV. Saying that is "NPOVing" is misleading in the least. --mav 18:45, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Welcome to the circumcision debate. You may not be aware but there has been a "call to arms" among anti-circumcision zealots to ensure their POV is maintained in the circumcision related articles on wikipedia. As such you will notice a flurry of such activity now and in the future especually from a number of anonymous users. Most of these people are true believers so I suggest you learn to live with their activities, they will be around for a while. - Robert the Bruce 01:45, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • My apologies. I did not leave that in deliberately. I'll try to be more careful. DanP 18:51, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Thanks for providing the foresight into what you really believe Dan. It helps to understand exactly where you are coming from. - Robert the Bruce 01:46, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Recent reverts 2

Robert the Bruce: Exactly how is it non-NPOV to describe the foreskin as innervated (ie: as containing nerves)? Please explain your repeated reverts of this description. Exploding Boy 16:33, Nov 23, 2004 (UTC)

Censoring the fact that a male's foreskin has a high concentration of specialized nerves is a way to influence the ethical debate over circumcision of children. When people learn that a male's foreskin has a high concentration of specialized nerves many of them start to question the ethics and morality of circumcising children, especially when they learn there is no medical indication of neonatal circumcision. -- DanBlackham 05:27, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • These nerve endings are specialised for what purpose? - Robert the Bruce 16:25, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Does it make a difference? I could understand editing the sentence if it claimed, without trustworthy references, that "these nerves are specialized for sexual pleasure," but the fact is that the foreskin does contain nerves, that they are removed with circumcision, and that they do not grow back with foreskin restoration. So what's your rationale? Exploding Boy 16:40, Nov 24, 2004 (UTC)

  • Of course it matters. It is the innuendo of a sexual function of these "specialised" nerves that some seek to insert in the sentence. The fact that this "skin" is enervated is a no brainer. - Robert the Bruce 03:39, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • "The foreskin is extremely sensitive. It is filled with nerve endings called stretch receptors that fire when they are stretched, rolled, or massaged." anti-circumcision site
  • "microscopic examination reveals that the foreskin is more than just penile skin necessary for a natural erection; it is specialized tissue [especially the "ridged bands" described in research by Taylor], richly supplied with blood vessels, highly innervated, and uniquely endowed with stretch receptors. These attributes of the foreskin contribute significantly to the sexual response of the intact male. The complex tissue of the foreskin responds to stimulation during sexual activity. Stretching of the foreskin over the glans penis activates preputial nerve endings, enhances sexual excitability, and contributes to the male ejaculatory reflex." anti-circumcision site
  • "Skin and mucosa sufficient to cover the penile shaft was frequently missing from the circumcised penis. Missing tissue included a band of ridged mucosa located at the junction of true penile skin with smooth preputial mucosa. This ridged band contains more Meissner's corpuscles than does the smooth mucosa and exhibits features of specialized sensory mucosa . . . The prepuce provides a large and important platform for several nerves and nerve endings. The innervation of the outer skin of the prepuce is impressive [16]; its sensitivity to light touch and pain are similar to that of the skin of the penis as a whole. The glans, by contrast, is insensitive to light touch, heat, cold [17] and, as far as the authors are aware, to pin-prick." published in BRITISH JOURNAL OF UROLOGY by J.R. Taylor, A.P. Lockwood and A.J. Taylor

There are literally hunderds of sources online, pro- and anti-circumcision as well as neutral that describe the nerves of the foreskin. Some claim that they are specialized for sexual pleasure, but even those that do not agree that the foreskin is very sensitive. It seems quite reasonable to add the information to the article. Purposely leaving it out is as non-neutral as you claim putting it in uncited is. Exploding Boy 16:58, Nov 25, 2004 (UTC)

Each and every one of the sources you cite is strongly anti-circumcision. The first two are not credible (since they are merely activist web sites). The third is more credible, since at least it was published in a peer-reviewed journal. However, there are no comparative studies to suggest that the foreskin is any more innervated than any other part. Wouldn't you think it a bit strange if in a hypothetical article on "the thumb" it said that "the thumb is an innervated digit..."? - Jakew 17:27, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Nonsense. The first two are anti-circumcision and I clearly identified them as such. However, they cite credible medical evidence. The third is from a respected medical journal (and frankly, that should be quite enough). "Comparative studies" are really not needed. We don't need to show that the foreskin is "more innervated" than any other area, we only need to show that it contains nerves and that they are likely specialized. Please read my previous comments carefully before you respond. Exploding Boy 17:34, Nov 25, 2004 (UTC)

The first two are, as we both agree, anti-circumcision. Furthermore, they are unscientific activist sites. I don't object to citing credible evidence directly, but we shouldn't cite activist's interpretation of them. Obviously, the foreskin does contain nerves, but there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that they are specialised. Taylor merely found that part of the foreskin contained more Meissner's corpuscles than elsewhere (in the foreskin). What possible reason is there to believe that these are somehow different to any other Meissner's corpuscles? - Jakew 18:49, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

  • Good question! But do not for one moment think that it will stop the attempts to insert that innuendo into Wikipedia articles. It is very sad. - Robert the Bruce 07:20, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I don't understand why my Nov 30 edit was termed POV. There was already a statement about the American Academy of Pediatrics' stance, which provided only the US policy. I just added the Canadian Paediatric Society policy, which said that the benefits and harms are so evenly balanced that they don't make a recommendation. That seems pretty neutral to me. Otherwise, you just have a statement about cultures being for or against, without any citation. If there's going to be a statement about the reasons cultures are for or against, it should be supported by evidence. Otherwise, the entire statement about reasons and cultural differences should be moved to another article. --Westendgirl 08:22, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

  • The article is about the foreskin. Stuff for or against Circumcision should be in that article. - Robert the Bruce 01:18, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)
There are many references to circumcision in the current version of the article. Unless all references to circumcision are deleted from the article, the quotes from professional medical organizations are appropriate and should be included. There has been a broad consensus in the medical community for several decades that neonatal circumcision is not medically necessary. That fact should be included in the article if a discussion of circumcision for cultural or religious reasons is included. In my opinion short quotes on circumcision from national medical organizations in the United States, Canada, and/or Australia are appropriate. -- DanBlackham 10:26, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Poor scholarship

I object to these POV claims of "inaccuracy", "poor scholarship", etc. Opinions may differ. Also, that issue is unrelated to whether or not an author is correct in a particular article, or whether a point is relevant or proof that the Wikipedia-reader needs slanted "guidance". Indeed, the doctors who advocate male mutilation make obvious writing mistakes too. That does not exclude their work from Wikipedia, nor does it merit one-sided 'Warning labels'. If this article is to tell both sides of opinions on circumcision, it should do so without slanting it or making one side carry stigma and the other go unscathed. Ideally, this article should have only a passing mention of circumcision, since the foreskin exists among much of the animal kingdom, and circumcision is hardly the only treatment among humans. Are thoughts on consensus-building here? DanP 15:23, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

You may object all you like, but when one reference is cited in support of a statement, and that is disputed by another, any true scholar would at the very least mention the fact. Perhaps it's inappropriate to have circumcision-related links here? - Jakew 15:46, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Agreed. By why is that relevant to the foreskin article? Is every typo, omission, change of opinion, point-of-view, or conflicting statement in a linked article need to be highlighted in this article? Indeed, this would be a busy place if that's the standard. To answer your question, actually yes, I think so, but I disagree that the links are purely circumcision-related simply by association with those who oppose circumcision. I'm sure we disagree on that, but I do think there is too much emphasis on circumcision and the human foreskin, since more than only human males have them. Any thoughts? DanP 00:52, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)
The articles are related to circumcision, since they describe (accurately or not) what is removed. It's reasonable to assume that a person with anti-circumcision views would want to make the prepuce appear to be more valuable. Suggestions: 1) Let's try to replace the first link with a neutral link (can we find something like Gray's Anatomy online?). 2) Let's remove the second, and refer to it in the next with a parenthetical comment briefly noting that the authors' integrity has been questioned). 3) Let's replace the third article with Taylor's original paper, which is more descriptive, and less of a sales pitch than Cold and Taylor's paper. Your thoughts? -Jakew 14:29, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Forget for a moment that you'd never say "a person with pro-mutilation views would want to make the prepuce appear to be less valuable". Can we also include parenthetical comment's on which author's views have been applauded and consider accurate by various Wikipedia members? I just don't believe this is appropriate behavior, as we can provide diverse links and the reader can decide on their own without warning labels as stigma on either side. Why not leave the "warning labels" out and have three links: one "valuing" the human prepuce, one "degrading" it, and one on the foreskins of bulls? NPOV is supposed to include varied sides, and not advocate intermediate viewpoints either. DanP 18:12, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Vet first (i.e., after the "preface") section

I changed a couple of assertions that imply cause and purpose. Saying something has a purpose implies to many people that there is purposive behavior involved. "The purpose of rain was to put out the forest fire," implies that God or perhaps somebody with the power to seed clouds caused a rain with the intent of putting out the forest fire. "The function of the rain..." just says that one thing happened for whatever reason and that it has a certain result. That's why I changed "The purpose of the foreskin..." to "The function of the foreskin..."

Manually retracting the foreskin, rather than letting the process occur naturally and gradually, does not in itself cause infection. The problem is that doing so creates a conditon in which infection becomes much more likely. In a sterile environment, cutting your skin will not result in an infection. Putting septic material into any break in the skin will give germs a way beyond the skin barrier, and the body will have to try to fight off infection. That's why I made the second change. BTW, asserting that manually retracting the foreskin causes infection is tantamount to asserting that circumcision (the most radical form of manually retracting the foreskin) causes infection, when all it does in this regard is to greatly increase the likelihood of infection. That's why antiseptic precautions should be taken when circumcision is performed. 金 (Kim) 19:07, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I think that your changes improve the article, Kim. We should still deal with the confusing (to the layperson) term "ammoniacal", though. Any ideas? - Jakew 19:20, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

That part is easy. I'll do it in a while.

Done. 金 (Kim) 19:36, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I just tried to fix the part on "meatal stenosis", thinking I could guess what it meant. When I checked the definition I discovered that "meatal stenosis" doesn't refer to any condition of the skin covered by the foreskin, but to what is colloquiallly called the "piss hole." I will have to try to track down the original source of the assertion to see whether it's "meatal stenosis" being used inappropriately, or whether there is an indirect line of causation wherein either irritation to the meatus causes a constriction of the urethra or wherein the foreskin actually is tightly enough adhered to the foreskin that urine can get out but then cannot get back in again (at least in any volume), so that the urethral opening is not assaulted by high ammonia concentrations due to contact with urine that has been in long-term contact with the open atmosphere. Maybe the person who made the original entry will fix it. I am supposed to be working right now. :-( 金 (Kim) 19:30, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I found this site: It seems that the medical community knows that narrowing occurs, but isn't positive whether it's due to interference with blood flow or due to the exposed tip of the penis rubbing against wet diapers. 金 (Kim) 20:11, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The Totally Disputed Tag

The "tag" has been at the head of this article for a long time now. Having read through the article a couple of times looking for things that might seem POV, I am left wondering why the tag is still up. What are the remaining issues in dispute? 金 (Kim) 04:19, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)


I've removed "meatal stenosis" from the discussion, since it is not a condition of the foreskin. There is little consensus on whether retraction may cause meatitis/meatal stenosis. Indeed, there may not be a connection - it's often impossible to diagnose these conditions when the foreskin is present[8]. - Jakew 20:05, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I agree that it's not relevant here. But please include it in the glans, penis, or some related article. Please don't just remove it without relocating it to an appropriate article. You also indicated "one study" with regard to the retraction stats, which, in other articles, you said was a term with connotations. DanP 23:24, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I don't object to it (meatal stenosis) being included in a more appropriate place. Wouldn't an article on the urinary meatus be the obvious place? I objected to "one study" previously because it implied that other studies had different findings (when in fact there were no other studies). In this case, there are quite a few studies, showing a variety of results. I've investigated this, and found that the figures cited were taken from CIRP's reinterpretation of Oster's data (it's actually wrong, so I've removed it altogether). - Jakew 00:00, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I'm not going to play your game Jake. The dozen or so men said to be inspected by pro-mutilation researchers are stated in Wikipedia. No objection there. But strange that no basis of measurement is stated, and I can post research to the contrary, if you wish. But no doubt it would be deleted by you or Robert. Never mind that every mucosal surface in the human body seems to keritinize with age and exposure to air, we'll leave it in here that the glans penis is exempt from dryness, abrasions, etc. because of one inspection of a tiny subset of mankind. So on your principle, may I attach "one study" to any circumcision advocacy research (aka. so-called HIV receptors) which has counterparts on the genital integrity side? Is it uniqueness of the material, or uniqueness of the result that you are using to make this distinction as to whether "one study" has connotation? DanP 00:49, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Without a concrete example, it's a little hard to interpret your words, DanP. I'm assuming that you're talking about Szabo and Short's research into keratinisation. If you have details of a histological study (as opposed to mere opinion pieces) which found a difference, I'd be very interested. The same goes for HIV receptors. In answer to your question, I would suggest that if a) more than one study has investigated an issue, and b) there have been different results, then it is reasonable when describing one of them to say "one study". - Jakew 12:18, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The reasoning given above seems foggy to me. If we were going to have an article on flak jackets we would want to include not only their components, their tailoring, whether they are zippered or closed by buttons, but also (and I suspect primarily) readers would want to know what function a flak jacket is supposed to preform and what kinds of things can impair its function. In an earlier form of this article the meaning of the term wasn't even explained. Parents contemplating having their infant males circumcised should have access to the information that meatal stenosis appears to be more likely in the cases of circumcised children. Since it is an easily treatable condition, and since it doesn't always occur in circumcised boys, all the information would suggest to parents is that if they do decide to have their boy circumcised they should keep an eye out for the condition. And it wouldn't hurt the parents of non-circumcised baby boys to know that sometimes children can have this problem so it would not be a good idea to simply ignore mild problems with urination. 金 (Kim)

If I recall correctly, the HIV connection occurs because as part of its protective function the inner surface of the foreskin is an innerface for certain phage cells. These cells emerge, clean up organic matter that doesn't belong in the space between the penis and the foreskin, and then go back within the body. Ordinarily that is a good thing because these phages can snack on pathogens, thus preventing infection. Unfortunately, in the case of HIV these cells become the prey, and they return as Trojan horses to the inside of the body. (This information was published in Science News during the summer of 1990 if I remember correctly.) Just the fact that the skin of the foreskin is permeable in this way is worth including in this article. 金 (Kim) 01:09, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I agree with your reasoning on the specifics. But circumcision, phage cells, etc. are slightly off-topic of a simple organ description. This issues might be better addressed in their respective articles. As to permeability of the foreskin, the circumcision advocates would hardly say similar things about other permeable membranes. And including such information, say in the anus article, and commenting how risky it is for men to have anuses (or anal sex) right in the anus article would hardly have merit. So that is my only concern here, and maybe there is an easy compromise? DanP 00:02, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Link description

Robert the Blair: please explain how constitutes a "foreskin fetish" site. Exploding Boy 18:10, Jan 22, 2005 (UTC)

  • That is self evident. Check it out yourself. - Robert the Bruce 18:30, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I have checked it obviously, that's why I ask. How exactly does this qualify as a "foreskin fetish" site? Please be specific. Exploding Boy 21:31, Jan 22, 2005 (UTC) Quite frankly, this article has become ridiculous. It's a mess of non-neutrality and factual dubiousness supported by questionable sources which, if they are as they're labeled, shouldn't have any part in a Wikipedia article. Exploding Boy 21:34, Jan 22, 2005 (UTC)


I have removed some portions attributed to O'Hara (she never claimed the glans was the male clitoris - that was some other author). The survey info is entirely irrelavant (O'Hara and otherwise) since this encyclopedia article refers to the male anatomy, not some trivia game about women's minds. When there are survey's on "men's breast preferences" in the breast article, then fine. But until then keep it scientific please. DanP 01:02, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC) Dan, what part of the following email don't you understand:

From:  Kristen O'Hara
Date:  Sun Sep 28, 2003  9:50 am 
Instead, more accurately, the supreme
erotic tissue of the penis is located
interiorly beneath the glans. It is
commonly identified in medical textbooks as
tip of the corpora cavernosa; however, it's true
scientific name is the Lowndes Crown--or tip
of the male clitoris.

All this was in the link provided in the article. - Jakew 21:43, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I have added a reference to support the O'Hara citation, and yes she quoted Josephine Lowdnes. (p.131)

Robert Blair 13:29, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

This is insane. None of my concerns (above) have been dealt with, the edit history is a sea of reverts, and yet most of the people who work on this article seem completely unwilling to conform to Widipedia's standards. The worst offenders, from what I can see, are Robert the Bruce/Robert Blair, and Jakew, but DanP, though he shows a willingness to compromise sometimes, can be just as bad; almost no one else dares to edit this article any more. The edit warring and non-neutrality on this page has become ridiculous and out of control. I'm going to recommend something be done about it, whether it's locking the article, preventing current users from editing it, or completely removing the article from Wikipedia -- probably the best option given how utterly useless this article is from the point of view of academic rigor and usefulness. What's worse, ALL the articles the above editors fight on regularly are in similarly bad shape. Please do something about it immediately.

In my view, the only option is to immediately remove all questionable material from the article and stick to a simple description of the foreskin. All additional information will have to be thoroughly discussed on the talk page and respectable academic references given before a draft is agreed on and the text added to the article. Exploding Boy 21:23, Jan 25, 2005 (UTC)

  • This is bizarre! You yourself are hardly neutral so what are you up to here? You therefore are in no position to decide what is "questionable material". Is this a new angle you are proposing to try and force your POV into this and other articles? - Robert the Bruce 04:22, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

STOP adding offensive and inflammatory subheadings to talk pages. Exploding Boy 17:45, Jan 27, 2005 (UTC)


Robert the Bruce and Robert Blair seem to be at an edit war on this article. Therefore, the article shall be protected to cool down the edit war. Should anyone wish to request for its unprotection, please visit Wikipedia:Requests for page protection -- AllyUnion (talk) 07:37, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • If you don't like edit wars, why not petition to Jimbo Wales for a sympathetic point of view? I have no problems with the current policy myself, but I don't like dealing with the edit wars and all that. Scott Gall 18:46, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)


The section on surgery to the foreskin is insane. It's a confusing mass of links to studies which contradict each other. The whole thing is really seems unnecessary to me - this article is about foreskin, not a circumcision debate. I propose removing all the arguments about circumcision with the following:

In addition to its use as a treatment for phimosis, circumcision, among other procedures, is also practiced for religious, aesthetic, health, or hygiene reasons. For more information on circumcision, see Circumcision.

Preputioplasty is an alternative surgical treatment for non-retractile foreskin[22] [23]. Non-surgical treatments also exist for this condition, with varying degrees of success.

Circumcision vs. foreskin

Keeping in mind that this page is specifically about the foreskin, meaning the human body part, and not a debate about circumcision, I've taken the liberty of removing the statistics and studies about circumcision and whittled the whole article down to what is directly relevant.

Debates over the effectiveness of circumcision should be contained on the circumcision Wiki page, end of story. --RyanSEanes 04:07, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

That is a good idea. I also removed all the cultural stuff about male circumcision, as it's pretty much unrelated to an article on anatomy. DanP 04:33, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I agree wholeheartedly. The article on foreskin should be on foreskin, including gliding action, sensory, penetration purpose and other biological characteristics explaining how a foreskin works. Explanations (and the arguments) on circumcision need to be linked to a separate page; Male circumcision -next to link to the article on Female genital cutting. --Veffari 04:13, 19 October 2006 (UTC)


Jakew, you claimed in an edit summary that aposthia is less common then phimosis. How common is this deformity? Sirkumsize 01:20, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

Aposthia is a birth defect. "Congenital disorder" is the most neutral POV term for the article. Trying to hide the fact that aposthia is a congenital disorder is pushing a POV. -- DanBlackham 08:07, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

Why would you imagine that "disorder" was a neutral POV term? I've yet to see a definition from a medical or scientific source that uses the term, e.g. "Congenital absence of the prepuce." [9] "congenital absence of the prepuce." [10] etc. Jayjg (talk) 08:16, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

I can find no credible source that describes it as a defect or disorder. Some anti-circumcision websites use the former term, but they are obviously POV sources. - Jakew 10:57, September 4, 2005 (UTC)
Since sources do describe it as congenital, but not as a congenital disorder, I have removed the wiki link. - Jakew 11:16, September 4, 2005 (UTC)

Is the "congenital absence" of any other part of the human body not recognized immediately as a birth defect? Why the special exception for the "congenital absence" of the foreskin? -- DanBlackham 16:43, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

Because as far as I can tell, only anti-circ websites describe aposthia as a birth defect. - Jakew 17:50, September 4, 2005 (UTC)

As far as I can tell only people with a strong pro-circumcision POV suggest that the congenital absence of a boy's prepuce is not a birth defect. If a girl has a congenital absence of her labia minor, there is no debate, everyone recognizes it as a birth defect. If a girl has a congenital absence of the prepuce of her clitoris, there is no debate, everyone recognized it is a birth defect. But if a boy has a congenital absence of his foreskin, people with a pro-circumcision POV want us to pretend the congenital absence of a normal body part is not a birth defect. -- DanBlackham 22:47, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

I think that Jakew should use some real factors in deciding whether or not a website is pro-circumcision POV besides whether or not it calls aposthia a birth defect or not. Sirkumsize 18:22, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
It really makes no difference whether a site is pro- or anti- in this context. The fact is that, as far as I can tell, only sites pushing a POV describe aposthia as a birth defect. The issue is not the absence of pro-circumcision websites with this claim, but the absence of neutral ones. Jakew 18:42, September 12, 2005 (UTC)
Well, I certainly provided some neutral links, and they didn't describe it as a "defect". Jayjg (talk) 18:43, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
My apologies. I should have said the absence of neutral ones making such a claim. Jakew 19:00, September 12, 2005 (UTC)
By your view of what POV or netural is distorted. If jayjg gave me a neutral website that refers to aposthia as normative and then reposted changing nothing except the reference to aposthia as a defect and then showed jakew, he would declare it POV. The same is true for jayjg if I gave him a similiarly modified neutral link from jakew. Jayjg is so distorted that he believed the aposthia article needed to be unilaterally deleted and was sure that deletion would be the inevitable outcome of any vfd and he saving the community effort through his vandalism! Sirkumsize 20:59, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
So you consider these links to be POV? [11] [12] Regardless, please desist from your personal attacks, or you will be blocked. Jayjg (talk) 22:11, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
Your going to block me unilaterally? Is what I said a personal attack, or the honest truth? Did you not do the said things to the article aposthia? If I had not intervened the article would not exist right now! Sirkumsize 19:04, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
Not only are your statements regarding the aposthia article false, but the "it's the truth" claim never works for violations of the Wikipedia:Civility and Wikipedia:No personal attacks policies. People who continually attack other editors are inevitably blocked, and you didn't answer my question about the links. Jayjg (talk) 22:29, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
Explain why you think the "its the truth" argument never works. Its an established fact in the law of most countries that slander requires the statements made to be false. Why would wikipedia be any different. If wikipedia doesn't accept such an argument something is wrong; maybe a policy needs to be ammended. As for your links, they are frankly too short to be POV but as far as I can see that's irrelevant. They certainly do nothing to move forward the argument that aposthia isn't a disorder. I do believe that if the links referred to aposthia as a disorder you would think it was anti-circumcision. As for the inevitability of my being blocked, I will suggest you think about the statement you made about the inevitability of a vfd against aposthia in that article's history. Sirkumsize 02:32, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
Sirkumsize, if you feel that the policy ought to be changed, why not make that suggestion in that article's talk page. But unless and until it is changed, you can be blocked for violating the policy.
As for the links, the point is that non-POV sources don't claim that it is a disorder. It isn't absolute proof, and the possibility remains that there might somewhere be a non-POV source that does. However, until such a source is located, we shouldn't state it. By all means - please! - find one. I for one will not declare it POV on that sole basis, and nor will Jayjg if he has any sense (which he has).
Your comment regarding inevitability is mystifying. A VfD was filed on 15th August. Jakew 10:19, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
"Its the truth" doesn't work because a) the Wikipedia:Civility and WP:NPA policies are about moderating behaviour in order to create a congenial editing environment, regardless of the "truth" of the claims, and b) because the claims are false in any event. As for the inevitability, I'm as mystified as Jakew as to what you are saying. Jayjg (talk) 07:09, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
Thank you jakew, this is the sort of acknowledgement I was looking for. Sirkumsize 20:19, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

The congenital absence of a normal part of the human body is by definition a congenital disorder. Changing the definition of congenital disorder so that it uniquely excludes the congenital absence of the foreskin is clearly POV. -- DanBlackham 06:40, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Can you quote a neutral medical source supporting your view? Is the absence of an Epicanthal fold a congenital defect? How about the absence of an earlobe? Jayjg (talk) 17:01, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Is the congenital absence of the labia minor or the prepuce of the clitoris a congenital disorder? I think most reasonable people would say yes. However some people from Ethiopia or Somalia might disagree because they support female genital cutting of children. -- DanBlackham 08:52, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

So to summarise your argument, there is disagreement over whether this is a disorder, and additionally, Ethiopians and Somalians are unreasonable and/or not people. Interesting views, but this doesn't exactly strengthen your case. Jakew 09:58, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

No Jake, my argument is a congenital absence of a normal part of the human body that the overwhelming majority of people have at birth is by definition a congenital disorder. The overwhelming majority of girls are born with a labia minora and the overwhelming majority of boys are born with a foreskin. If supporters of female genital cutting change the definition of congenital disorder so that it uniquely excludes the congenital absence of a girl's labia minora, it is clearly pro female circumcision POV. Similarly if supporters of male genital cutting change the definition of congenital disorder so that it uniquely excludes the congenital absence of a boy's foreskin, it is clearly pro male circumcision POV. -- DanBlackham 17:06, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Dan, to my knowledge nobody has ever claimed that the absence of the labia is or isn't a birth defect, and I don't think that Wikipedia has a position on the subject. But let's suppose for the sake of argument that such a situation arose. Let's examine hypothetical scenarios:
  1. FGC advocates state that it is not a birth defect (no apparent endorsement or opposition from other sources). We may either ignore this or make a parenthetical note that they state it, if appropriate, relevant, and notable.
  2. FGC opponents state that it is a birth defect (no apparent endorsement or opposition from other sources). Again, we may either ignore this or note that they state it, if the same conditions apply.
  3. Neutral, reliable sources make a statement one way or other. This is suitable for inclusion.
  4. There is actual debate (outside of Wikipedia). Depending on context, noting it may make the article more interesting.
Please note that nobody is suggesting that we include such text as "it is not a birth defect". We simply argue against endorsing the view that it is. Compare removing "serial killers are bad people" with including "serial killers are nice guys really". One makes the article more neutral, the other tilts it in the other direction. The situation is similar. Jakew 20:27, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Jake, you are asking Wikipedia to change the definition of congenital disorder so that it uniquely excludes the congenital absence of the foreskin. Please recall that Wikipedia is not a soapbox. When a normal part of the human body is missing at birth, it is by definition a congenital disorder. The vast majority of boys are born with a foreskin and the vast majority of girls are born with labia minora. When the foreskin is missing at birth or the labia minora is missing at birth it is a congenital abnormality which is a type of congenital disorder. Making a unique exception to the definition of congenital disorder in order to exclude the congenital absence of the foreskin is pushing a pro-circumcision POV. -- DanBlackham 07:08, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

Dan, please would you do two things for me:
  1. Provide a source for your statement that: "When a normal part of the human body is missing at birth, it is by definition a congenital disorder."
  2. Show me where I have edited an article to push any definition of congenital disorder.
Thanks in advance. Jakew 08:15, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

From the article congenital disorder:

"Congenital disorders include minor physical anomalies (e.g., a birthmark), severe malformations of single systems (e.g., congenital heart disease or amelia of the legs), and combinations of abnormalities affecting several parts of the body."
"Congenital disorders is a broad category that includes a variety of conditions. The following terms are used for various subsets of congenital disorders."
"A congenital physical anomaly is a difference, an abnormality, of the structure of a body part. An anomaly may or may not be perceived as a problem condition."

Jake, you removed the link to congenital disorder from this article. [13] -- DanBlackham 20:58, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

Or, to repeat my questions from 3 days ago, :Can you quote a neutral medical source supporting your view? Is the absence of an Epicanthal fold a congenital defect? How about the absence of an earlobe? By the way, many people are born without Epicanthal folds and/or earlobes. Also, given the typical human extremes in body shape, aren't men born with a huge variation in the amount of foreskin they have? Jayjg (talk) 15:44, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

The article congenital disorder supports my view. You answered your own questions when you wrote "many people are born without Epicanthal folds and/or earlobes". Because many people are born without Epicanthal folds and/or earlobes the condition is not a congenital disorder. The overwhelming majority of boys are born with a foreskin. The congenital absence of the foreskin is extremely rare, therefore it is by definition a congenital disorder. -- DanBlackham 21:06, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

What is the threshold for 'sufficiently common', Dan? Jakew 21:54, 22 September 2005 (UTC)


In dealing with the Laumann study I think it is important not to understate or overstate what he found in his study of American men. Details that are important:

  • Sexual disfunction was slightly more common in men with foreskins in his study.
  • This reached statistical significance in the older age groups.
  • This was a study of American men. Shen's study of Chinese men came to a different conclusion [14]

Michael Glass 21:34, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

"Slightly". Ok.
Significance was not confined to older age groups, though it was more common there.
It was a study conducted in America, and presumably most men were American. It is true that Shen's study came to a different conclusion. Whether that was due to nationality, sample sizes, study designs, or whatever is pure speculation. The introduction to the section reads "The function(s) of the foreskin are controversial and unclear." This discussion certainly supports that so far! Jakew 23:53, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Jake, Laumann said:

While there appears to be little difference between circumcision status and sexual dysfunction for the two younger cohorts, the association is quite strong for the oldest group of respondents. (Table 3).

In the light of this statement it would appear that the statistical significance of the overall figures came from the older age group. I think it would be more accurate for the text to reflect this finding. Michael Glass 04:41, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Michael, look in the 'all men' column. Significance is clearly identified. Jakew 10:14, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

The significance noted was at the 10% level. Now I always believed that statistical significance began at the 5% level. This is the standard that you yourself applied to the Fink study when you wrote: Fink's study reported less sensitivity after circumcision, though this only bordered on statistical significance. This was for a finding at the 6% level.

I am sure you will agree with me that the article cannot say that something is significant at the 10% level but only borders on significance at the 6% level.

However, my point is about Laumann. When you look at the columns for the three age groups columns you will notice several things:

  • for men aged 18 to 29, the uncircumcised ones seemed to fare worse, though this was not statistically significant;
  • for men aged 30 to 44, the uncircumcised ones seemed to fare better, though this was not statistically significant;
  • for men aged 45 to 59, the circumcised men fared significantly better in overall performance and in achieving and maintaining an erection.
  • Overall, the difference in performance between the two groups was only significant at the 5% level for the older age group.

This is why I feel that Laumann's summary (quoted above) is more accurate than your most recent revision. Michael Glass 21:25, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Michael, in keeping with the no original research policy, and in recognition of the fact that different authors use different thresholds for significance, I believe that we should use the assessment of the author whenever possible. Laumann explicitly stated that his finding "bordered", so I think it is appropriate to use his assessment.

I have given some thought to the Shen study, on which you comment below, and I agree that I should not have removed 'highly significant'. I had previously felt that since Shen did not assess significance, we shouldn't either. Thinking about it, using the widely accepted level is reasonable if the author did not apply one. This seems a generous yet fair standard, since by using it we should never disagree with the author. I've reintroduced 'significant' but not the subjective 'highly', and trust you'll find this acceptable.

Concerning Laumann, the problem is that he applies the p ≤ 0.10 test and then (apparently) ignores it in the text.

Jakew 22:18, 27 September 2005 (UTC)


Jake, it is difficult to avoid bias and spin. I am concerned that in your most recent revision you cut out material that tended to clash with your opinions about circumcision and introduced material that tended to support your ideas. I don't mind your introducing material that supports your position. However, I object to your removal of material, unless it is wrong. This certainly applies to information about the level of statistical significance in the Shen study (at the 1% level) and also to notes about nationality or other factors, because circumcision practices differ in different countries. You are, of course, correct in saying that commenting on these differences would be speculation, but suppressing information about these differences also skews the information. Michael Glass 21:25, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Michael, I've just addressed some of these above, and I hope that you'll find this satisfactory.
We don't know in all cases that the subjects were of a certain nationality. All we know for sure is that the primary researchers were located in country X. If the nationality of subjects were important, wouldn't it be reasonable to expect researchers to document it?
Mention of such things may introduce skew, since it implies that nationality (for example) is important. Jakew 22:23, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Jake, thanks for your note. I was also working on the passage and I made some further changes. I hope that these amendments are satisfactory to you. Your point about the nationality of all the subjects is a good one, but I think the origin of the studies should still be noted. I await with interest your comments on my latest revision, and any changes that you might introduce. Michael Glass 02:35, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Jake, I have made a few further changes in the light of your remarks (above). Michael Glass 04:45, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Jake, I like almost all of your latest changes. I made a couple more changes but I was wondering if the different findings could better be displayed as dot points, like this:

Morgan wrote that the foreskin's gliding action facilitates sexual intercourse [15].
  • Shen (China) found that eighteen of 95 patients suffered from mild erectile dysfunction before circumcision and 28 suffered mild to moderate erectile dysfunction afterwards. This is very statistically significant (P = 0.001) [16]. Pang and Kim (South Korea) reported "Of those who were circumcised long after they had been sexually active, > 80% reported no noticeable difference in sexuality, but a man was twice as likely to have experienced diminished sexuality than improved sexuality." [17]
  • Fink's study of American men found significantly worsened erectile function (p = 0.01)[18].
  • Studies by Collins (USA), Senkul (Turkey), and Masood (Britain) found no significant difference in erectile function [19] [20] [21].
  • Senkul found that the circumcised men took significantly longer to ejaculate after circumcision (P = 0.02) [22].
  • Laumann's study of American-born men found "little difference between circumcision status and sexual dysfunction for the two younger cohorts" (18-29 and 30-44). However, older men (45-59) with foreskins in his sample were significantly more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction overall (p 0.05) and trouble achieving and maintaining an erection (p. 0.05) while worse premature ejaculation and more performance anxiety for the older uncircumcised men (both p. 0.10) approached statistical significance [23].

The only change I would really contest is the one about the level of significane in Peng's study. As you feel uncomfortable with the word highly I have substituted the word very and given the numbers of men both before and after circumcision who suffered from erectile dysfunction and the total number of men in the study. To quote just the numbers of men who suffered from erectile dysfunction before circumcision would skew the report of this study. All in all, though, I think we're making good progress. Michael Glass 23:41, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Michael, I've removed the word 'very'. It's unnecessary and subjective. Stating that it is significant is adequate.
I don't strongly object to changing 'controversial' to 'contested', but I've inserted 'proposed' before 'functions'. Otherwise the wording implies that the functions are absolutely certain but some imbeciles contest them anyway. I still think that 'controversial' better describes the situation.
I've made minor changes to the description of Shen, which just help the flow and help the article to come across as more neutral.
I don't think that the problems with the article can be resolved through bullet points alone. Findings are grouped together into paragraphs more or less at random, rather than addressing one issue at a time, the focus is still on circumcision's effects rather than assessment of proposed function(s), and there are vaguely-worded findings such as Pang and Kim's, which are too imprecise to fit with any other. If I thought there were the slightest chance of success, I'd suggest including only functions that are uncontroversial, as might be done with a 'normal' body part such as say the hypothalamus. (Before anyone gets upset, I don't mean to imply that the foreskin is abnormal, only that practically everything to do with it is controversial.) Jakew 00:27, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Jake, thanks once again for your note. You will of course have noticed that I have introduced two changes to your latest revision. One is to rework the beginning of the section because I felt that the addition of proposed tended to cast doubt on the beliefs that the foreskin has erotic or protective functions. I believe that it is better to stick to strictly neutral language in the introduction and to let the evidence speak for itself and for the readers to make up their own minds about the evidence. The addition of the note about the significance at the 1:1000 level was to point out to readers that this level of statistical significance was quite high. On second thoughts, I am considering adding other notes to other probability readings to help explain the significance of these figures to readers who may not be familiar with measures of probability. I would value your feedback on this idea. Michael Glass 10:24, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Michael, I'd be interested to see your ideas, but my feeling is that readers will either be receptive to numerical statements of significance or they won't. We could accomodate those unfamiliar but willing to learn by linking to statistical significance, but most of the unreceptive group will just ignore numbers anyway, and since they do nothing for readability, I suggest leaving them out. Jakew 10:56, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Statistical significance

Jake, I have just read your comment above. I finally decided to add a note about statistics. I looked up statistical significance in Wikipedia and found it helpful. However, the reader may need an even simpler explanation about what the figures mean. I hope that this note will be useful to readers who may not be sure about statistical significance.

Thanks once again for your feedback. I will certainly be interested to read your feedback on this addition to the text.Michael Glass 13:02, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

I have noted your revision of what I wrote. It was clear and succinct, provided you knew what 0.10, 0.05 and 0.01 meant. As this cannot be guaranteed I have added something to explain this in simpler terms. Michael Glass 13:36, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

I find the idea that anyone would fail to recognise that 0.10 is equal to one tenth rather disturbing, but if you think it is necessary, it seems fine. Jakew 19:20, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

You start from the known and work towards the less well known. Michael Glass 22:12, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

At the moment, the explanation about statistical significance contains most of the p values mentioned in the article. It would be simple to add the other ones. Then the section could read like this:

Several of the studies noted in this article refer to statistically significant findings.
Statistical significance is a measure of confidence that an observed association is not due to chance. It is often expressed as a p value, which represents the probability that the finding is due to chance. Thus, lower values of p represent a stronger association. The p values mentioned in the article are explained below.
A finding is considered significant if p is less than a certain value, called the significance level. The choice of level is somewhat arbitrary,[30] but commonly chosen values are 0.10, 0.05, and 0.01.[31] [32]
A p value of 0.10 means that the probability of the finding occurring by chance is 10% or 1 in 10.
A p value of 0.08 is 8% or 1 in 12.5
A p value of 0.05 is 5% or 1 in 20.
A p value of 0.02 is 2% or 1 in 50.
A p value of 0.01 is 1% or 1 in 100.
A p value of 0.001 is 0.1% or 1 in 1000.
A finding of statistical significance does not by itself demonstrate that one thing caused another. See also statistical significance [33]

What do others think? Michael Glass 23:57, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

Simpler language

I've tried to clarify and simplify the language. I hope I've succeeded, but it's still a work in progress. In any case, the language level in the article should be consistent. Michael Glass 22:12, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Cleaned up to a higher standard

Are we there, yet? If not, what else needs to be done to reach that standard? Michael Glass 22:58, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

To me, the article doesn't read like an encyclopedia article on a part of the human body. In particular, the "functions" section seems overly cluttered with references and not accessible to the lay reader. Instead of summarizing reseach on the topic in clear terms, I think this section clouds matters with excessive detail. Additionally the section on statistics seems to me entirely out of place in an article on this topic.

Eloil 05:32, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

There are so many conflicting claims that it is difficult to write something that everyone will agree on. Make statements without references and they will be removed; reference every statement and people will complain of the clutter. Use words like 'highly significant' and people will contest it, even when the p ratio is <0.001; refer to p values and the article becomes less accessible to the lay reader; supply a table to explain the p values to the lay reader, and someone will object that this is entirely out of place. So there's no way to please everyone, even though we might try. Michael Glass 22:57, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

I have gone through the whole article, simplifying the language and trying to remove as much clutter and unnecessary detail as possible. Michael Glass 01:24, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Think that the article is ready. I'm going to give it a couple of days and then take the tag down. Christopher 03:39, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Copulatory behaviour in rats and bulls

Jake, I noticed that you removed one of my citations. I should have put it better when I first wrote this sentence. The text of the Cold and McGrath article that I cited says:

In other mammals, it is known that the male prepuce is important for normal copulatory function, because surgical removal of the prepuce disturbs normal copulatory behaviour in male mammals,25-26 [24]

However, references 25 and 26 say:

Desrochers A, St. Jean G, Anderson DE. Surgical management of preputial injuries in bulls: 51 cases (1986-1994). Can Vet J 1995;36:553-6.
Lumia AR, Sachs BD, Meisel RL. Sexual reflexes in male rats: restoration of ejaculation following suppression by penile sheath removal. Physiol Behavior 1979;23:273-7.

So the evidence cited refers to rats and bulls, and that's the way I referred to it.I have now reworked the sentence so that it states what Cold and McGrath said and what evidence they based it on. Michael Glass 12:59, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

Jake, I have just noticed your revert. I'll see if I can get hold of the evidence that Cold and McGrath referred to, and work from them. Michael Glass 13:25, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

Good idea. You'll see that they are rather dishonest in the way in which they represent their sources. Anyway, it's best to work from primary sources, particularly with such a controversial topic. Jakew 13:31, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for that, Jake. There's no doubt that it's an over-generalisation, but anyone can make a mistake. We're all human, after all. Michael Glass 14:16, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

When it comes to Ken McGrath and Christopher Cold, that may itself be an over-generalisation, Michael. ;-) Jakew 14:43, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

Protection of the Prepuce

JakeW, it has been know for decades that the prepuce offeres the glans and meatus important protection during infancy. Freud was very clear when he said "Superficial ulceration of the urethral meatus ... occurs chiefly in circumcised children but may be found in the noncircumcised as well if the prepuce leaves the tip of the glans free to irritation." Christopher 17:41, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

I believe Weiss was equally clear when he wrote: that the prepuce "acted as a cesspool for infectious agents transmitting disease." Would you suggest that we include that in the introduction also? Jakew 18:10, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
Weiss is referring to the prepuce after it separates from the glans. During infancy the prepuce shares its epithelium with the glans and thus cannot 'act as a cesspool'. I am not saying that after infancy the prepuce offers any protection, though I believe that is likely to be the case, I am saying that from birth, until the preuce and glans separate, the prepuce clearly offers the glans and meatus protection from urine and feces.
I think Weiss is perfectly capable of stating his own intended meaning. Also, the synechiae connecting the glans to the prepuce tend to form pockets as they begin to separate (Gairdner reported that this separation process is complete at time of birth in 4% of infants). Furthermore, the prepuce tends to continue past the glans, forming a space where pathogenic microorganisms may breed. Jakew 12:31, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
First, according to Gairdner, the prepuce is not merely connected to the glans by synechiae, the glans and prepuce actually share an epithelium until they separate. However, as I have been unable to obtain copies of any of Weiss' articles(Medline isn't very helpful when it dosen't have the full text), I shall disregard that for now. The reason that I had originally quoted Freud was because his study showed that the boys who were experiencing ulceration of the urethral meatus were either circumcised or their prepuce didn't protect their meatus. It should also be obvious that the prepuce protects the glans because after it is removed the glans experiences as color and texture change.
As neither of us is a doctor or med student, I dicided to find the public opinion of a hospital. According to Cedars Sainai, "...the foreskin (prepuce), a fold of skin that covers and protects the rounded tip of the penis (glans)." [25] Honestly, the fact that the prepuce protects the glans is quite obvious. If you would like me to believe otherwise however, I am going to need to see some pretty convincing evidence. Christopher 06:47, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
I never claimed that no doctor held that position, I only stated that since it is controversial it ought not to be stated as fact. I have removed "and protects", though a fair alternative would be "covers and protects the glans penis, while exposing it to the risk of infection." Jakew 12:39, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
Just because you disagree with it does not mean that it is controvercial. Besides which, controvercy does not preclude something from being factual. Evolution is a great example. Some find the concept of evolution to be very controvercial but that does not prevent evolution from being fact. Now, about your suggested statement. What is the point of saying that the prepuce exposes the glans to the risk of infection? The entire body is exposed to the risk of infection all of the time. I am going to put my statement back up. Please do not remove it again without providing some very convincing evidence as to why both Freud and the doctors of Cedars Sinai cannot be trusted. Christopher 03:36, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
Actually, if anybody disagrees with something it is controversial by definition. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, and it is indeed controversial. It is (to my mind at least) highly probable and eminently logical - certainly far more so than proposed alternatives, but it is not a fact. Nobody has ever observed evolution occurring. Compare this with Newton's Laws of Motion (ignore Relativity for the sake of simplicity). Furthermore, the concepts of protection, meatal stenosis, and infections are discussed later in the article. There is no need to add controversial and POV statements to the introduction. Please do not do so. Jakew 12:48, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
If a promoter of female genital cutting said the vagina "acted as a cesspool for infectious agents transmitting disease" most reasonable people would recognize the absurdity of the statement. -- DanBlackham 10:33, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

POV? Exactly what points of view are available that concern a piece of anatomy? Did you feel that the wording was POV or the content was POV? All of my statements are backed up with either peer reviewed articles or other wikipedia articles which are presumably also backed up with peer reviewed articles. Reverts are meant for vandalism, not censorship. Christopher 12:44, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Lots of peer-reviewed articles express a POV. It is frequently possible to find two peer-reviewed articles that express opposite points of view. It's fine to discuss those points of view, but not to endorse either one. An introduction should generally stick to established (and non-controversial) facts, however. Jakew 12:51, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
All of the information that I have introduced can be considered 'established' (A well respected hospital uses it for their public material). As for controvercial, I have addressed that already. Please cite specific grievances that you have with individual sources. Christopher 13:00, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
You haven't actually cited any sources. If you would care to do so, we can discuss them. Jakew 13:15, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
I was referring to the sources in our discussion. In this section. Christopher 13:32, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
...which do not support many of the claims. Jakew 14:44, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
Allow me to break it down by claim and back up the claims individually.
  • The prepuce protects the glans
  • The prepuce protects the meatus
  • Freud's evidence appears later in the article
  • The prepuce is a primary erogenous zone
Also, all of these claims are pretty obvious, the function of the prepuce is apparent from its form and it is obviously erogenous because it is a part of the penis.
  • The best that can be said for the cedars-sinai statement is that "some believe that the prepuce protects the glans". An unsupported claim is not evidence of fact, though it is evidence of belief.
  • Ok, we could perhaps say that it protects the meatus from meatal stenosis, at least according to Freud. However, in the interests of balance we ought to comment on the fact that it makes other diseases more likely. Does this really belong in an introduction?
From Erogenous zone: "There is some debate over whether the prepuce is erogenous in nature. Winkelmann's opinion is that the prepuce is a "specific erogenous zone."[2]" Jakew 12:50, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
¿What next? ¿Do you plan to argue that the eyelids do not protect the eyes? Please at least make edits passing the giggletest.

— Ŭalabio‽ 15:42, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Poll about protective and sensory properties of the præpuce

Some keep removing the facts that The præpuce protects the glans, meatus, frænulum, and its own inner smooth and ridge mucosa as well as has sensorial purposes. This does not pass the giggletest. It is like arguing that eyelids do not protect eye. I decided to try a poll:


¿Does the præpuce offer protective properties against heat cold, mechanical, et cetera, to such structures as the glans, meatus, frænulum, its own inner smooth and ridge mucosa, et cetera?


  1. — Ŭalabio‽ 22:03, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
  2. Christopher 22:49, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
  3. Sandpiper 09:44, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
  4. --Dumbo1 17:30, 8 November 2005 (UTC)



  • Firstly, as with the other issue you raise, you're requesting a vote on a different claim than that which was made in the contested text.
  • Secondly, stating that something is protective implies two things: a) that whatever it is protective against is likely to occur, and b) that whatever it is protective against would be in some way harmful. "The eyelid protects the eye" is a reasonable statement because the eye is easily damaged by foreign bodies. "The paper bag protects my face from being seen" is peculiar to say the least because it is not apparent what harm would be suffered from being seen. Leaving the harm implicit, as in "the paper bag protects my face" is even worse (from what? Bubonic plague? Sulphuric acid? A bullet? A thermonuclear explosion? The Mafia?).
  • Thirdly, stating that it is protective in general is misleading, since the presence of the prepuce actually increases the risk of various diseases. Jakew 14:26, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Jakew 14:26, 6 November 2005 (UTC):

> Firstly, as with the other issue you raise, you're requesting a vote on a different claim than that which was made in the contested text.

Not true.

> Secondly, stating that something is protective implies two things: a) that whatever it is protective against is likely to occur, and b) that whatever it is protective against would be in some way harmful. "The eyelid protects the eye" is a reasonable statement because the eye is easily damaged by foreign bodies. "The paper bag protects my face from being seen" is peculiar to say the least because it is not apparent what harm would be suffered from being seen. Leaving the harm implicit, as in "the paper bag protects my face" is even worse (from what? Bubonic plague? Sulphuric acid? A bullet? A thermonuclear explosion? The Mafia?).

¿Does the præpuce offer protective properties against heat cold, mechanical, et cetera, to such structures as the glans, meatus, frænulum, its own inner smooth and ridge mucosa, et cetera?

> Thirdly, stating that it is protective in general is misleading, since the presence of the prepuce actually increases the risk of various diseases.

The præpuce does not increases the chances of certain diseases much, while offering much protection. ¿Should we ban shoes just because the warm moist environment they create increases the the chances of fungal infection? ¡No! The protection shoes provide against broken glass and HIV-filled syringes from the heroineuseers far outweighs the increased risk of fungal infection.

— Ŭalabio‽ 19:08, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Flatly denying statements and making unsourced and unsupported statements that protection outweighs increased risk is not an adequate response. Futhermore, asking whether we should ban things is a strawman: we're not talking about banning foreskins, just about making huge and controversial generalisations in an encyclopaedia article! Jakew 19:40, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
I cited the sources, which was pointless. Next, I must prove that soap makes water wetter I suppose.

— Ŭalabio‽ 01:56, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

You cited, which is Hugh Young's personal website. It does not qualify as a reliable source. Jakew 12:40, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

I came here as a result of reading a RfC, and it seems a question is being asked. As such, it seems to be asking for my personal comments rather than a set of references, so with regard to the comment above about not stating personal views, I shall ignore it. It is true that references are useful to decide a difference of opinion, but so is common sense and experience. Yes the prepuce does protect the structures below.

Two questions have been asked here, but the answer I would give seems to fall between the two. I do not know whether the prepuce contains significant nerves which play a role in sex, I suspect not. However, I am sure that the protective role enhances the sensitivity of the skin underneath. This is frequently stated in articles on the subject, and accords with my own experiments. Whether this is considered a plus (extending the sex act and thus enhancing pleasure) or a minus (extending it so far that nothing happens), rather depends on your circumstances. Myself, I happen to be in the happy position of possessing a forekin which is content to ride either covering the whole penis, or permanently tucked behind the head. Having tried it for extended periods in both positions, I can report that sensitivity does decline when the foreskin is permanently retracted, and I did not like this at all. This experiment was unaffected by the sudden absence of the foreskin during sex, since of course it then behaved as normal. Hence, my contention that it does protect the organs below. Sandpiper 09:44, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

¿Does the præpuce have sensorial functions?


  1. — Ŭalabio‽ 22:03, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
  2. Christopher 22:49, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
  3. Sandpiper 09:44, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
  4. --Dumbo1 17:30, 8 November 2005 (UTC)


         (are there no 'no's or have they become muddled into comments?)


  • This is a red herring; a pointless vote. The contested text does not state that the prepuce has 'sensorial' (is there such a word?) functions. It states that the prepuce is a primary erogenous zone and that it is "very sensitive". These claims are very different to claiming that it is capable of sensing some sensation. Jakew 14:26, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Jakew 14:26, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

> This is a red herring; a pointless vote. The contested text does not state that the prepuce has 'sensorial' (is there such a word?) functions. It states that the prepuce is a primary erogenous zone and that it is "very sensitive". These claims are very different to claiming that it is capable of sensing some sensation. Jakew 14:26, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

So you admit that the præpuce adds to the sensation of sex. ¿Would you like to add your vote to the yeses?

— Ŭalabio‽ 19:08, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Certainly not. My own experience, as with men in the Masood study, has been that removal of the prepuce actually improves sensations during sex. Jakew 19:40, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
It is cited now. Must I prove that the Earth is round now. [27]

— Ŭalabio‽ 01:56, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

You cited a subjective assessment of histology. While Taylor speculated that it might have an erogenous role, he did not demonstrate it. Nor did he even test sensitivity. Jakew 12:40, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

— Ŭalabio‽ 22:03, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

See my comments above about the first question. I have voted yes to this question too, on the grounds that the role is protection of the actual sensory organs. I would add this comment too. Men who are circumcised or uncircumcised tend to masturbate in different ways. The foreskin in inherently a very excellent tool to slide over the head of the penis during masturbation, and men with foreskins are well aware of this, and take advantage of it. Men without a foreskin either manipulate behind the head, without really touching it, or slide something (hand?) over the top. When a non-circumsized guy tries this, the results can be quite electrifying, and unbearable due to the greater sensitivity of the penis. Trust, me I've tried it. I find this evidence of a change in the organ.

The original reason circumcision was introduced into America was by those who felt masturbation was a sin, and getting rid of the foreskin would cut down on it. I have no doubt they were correct about the mechanics, both by making the act more difficult and by reducing sensitivity and hence stimulus to the act. They may have been correct in the consequences, but were barbaric in their presumption. Sandpiper 09:44, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Polls are irrelevant to policy which include WP:NPOV WP:NOR and WP:CITE. You must source all claims, using encyclopedic sources, and state them in a neutral way. Jayjg (talk) 17:41, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

I now linked to peerreviewed articles. ¿How much more evidence do you want?

— Ŭalabio‽ 01:02, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

The only link you added was this [28], which is a google search, not a "peer-reviewed article". The only previous link that might have qualifed was Taylor, and it has already been explained to you that while Taylor speculated that it might have an erogenous role, he did not demonstrate it. Nor did he even test sensitivity. And if you're in mediation, then go mediate; included in that is stopping these reversions of JakeW. Jayjg (talk) 04:44, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Wholesale reverts

Hello Jake,

I'm disappointed that you have resorted to wholesale reverting in the article on foreskins. Remember how well we worked together to improve this article only a few weeks ago. Let's talk about the Laumann study if you have any concerns about what I have added.

By the way, was there a problem with CIRPS that shut it down when I tried to access it about a day ago? Michael Glass 09:56, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Michael, we've previously discussed this issue at Talk:Medical_analysis_of_circumcision#Recent changes. Ethnicity was controlled for in the multivariate analysis, so what benefit is there in further complicating the article?'s server had a "technical hiccup" for a few hours yesterday. It was fixed at about 15:00 GMT. Jakew 11:56, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Yes, Jake, we have discussed this previously, and you never replied when I pointed out that Laumann drew attention to ethnic and other differences in his analysis of his findings. If Laumann saw fit to comment on these differences between the circumcised and the uncircumcised men in his sample, surely it is in order to mention it in the article. Look at what he said:

Differences in circumcision levels across racial and ethnic groups are more revealing. In particular, whites are considerably more likely to be circumcised than are blacks or Hispanics (81% vs 65% or 54%). These differences remain significant when other variables are controlled. Net of these factors, the odds of a black being circumcised are roughly half (95% confidence interval[CI], 0.40-0.85) that of whites; the odds for Hispanics are about one third (95% CI, 0.26-0.44) that of whites. There has been some convergence in circumcision rates for the 3 groups across cohorts, though differences among groups have persisted (Table 1).
Circumcision rates vary significantly by the level of education obtained by a respondent's mother. The critical break occurred between respondents whose mothers did and did not earn a high school diploma. While 62% of respondents whose mothers did not finish high school were circumcised, the rate for all other respondents varied form 84% to 87%. These differences remained significant when other factors were controlled. Net of such factors, the odds of being circumcised for respondents whose mothers earned at least a high school diploma was about 2.5 times (95% CI, 1.9-3.8) that of those whose mothers were less educated. This discrepancy appeared to be narrowing in more recent cohorts. Among the youngest group of respondents, only those whose mothers had finished college displayed a significantly higher circumcision rate than those whose mothers had not earned a high school diploma [29].

It would appear from this that the statistical control in the analysis was to ensure that the two differences noted were real, and not the product of some other factor. Rather than the multivariate analysis discounting this difference in the two groups of people, it confirmed that the two factors noted were real differences. If so, the differences should be noted. Michael Glass 13:42, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Michael, I can't see the relevance of this data to a section on the functions of the foreskin. I guess we could add a section noting the distribution of foreskins among certain groups, if you like. Jakew 13:50, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Jake, the relevance is that the men with and without foreskins were significantly different in ethnicity and level of education. Both of these factors are known to correlate with general health and fitness. Therefore the significant differences noted between the older men in Laumann's sample could be due to social and health differences rather than to circumcision. Michael Glass 11:31, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

That misses the point that multivariate analysis controlled for these variables, Michael, doubtless because the researchers were concerned about the very issue you raise. Jakew 11:21, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Jake, I could well have missed something but it appeared to me that the analysis revealed that this was a real difference between the groups. I would suspect that social factors could account for much of the difference between the groups in sexual practices, sexual performance and exposure to sexually transmitted disease. Michael Glass 12:17, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

As far as I'm aware, Michael, we're only discussing sexual dysfunction. We don't cover practices or STDs in the article. Concerning dysfunctions, the footnote to table 3 explains: "Derived from logistic regression model performed in which experience of the dysfunction is the dependent variable and independent variables, in addition to circumcision status, include number of sexual partners, religion, residence in rural, suburban, or urban areas, education and, in models for "all men," ethnicity." Jakew 13:11, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Problems with sources

According to Verifiability#Dubious_sources, published research is allowed. The link to Freud's research is provided later in the article which backs up the claim that the prepuce protects the glans. The link to Taylor's research shows that the prepuce is very sensitive and the link to erogenous zone#Prepuce shows that the prepuce is an erogenous zone. You seem to be claiming that a large part of the skin system of the penis is not actually an erogenous zone. I consider this an outlandish claim and "outlandish claims beg strong sources". Please back yourself up with some strong evidence before reverting again. Also, Jayjg, I do not consider your revert a minor edit, please do not abuse the minor edit flag. Christopher 16:07, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

No, Freud's paper backs up (to an extent) the claim that the foreskin protects the urinary meatus. But you've changed that claim, so that it now claims that the foreskin protects the glans.
Taylor's research does not show that the prepuce is very sensitive (he didn't report on any testing of sensitivity).
The link to erogenous zone clearly states that the matter of the prepuce is controversial.
Finally, nobody has modified the article to state that "the foreskin is not an erogenous zone". If anybody had, a strong source would indeed be needed. But obviously it is ridiculous to require articles to cite sources for what it doesn't say.
The article ought to be reverted. Jakew 16:42, 11 November 2005 (UTC)


The praepus is a type of cap, and can be damaged during childbirth as a consequence of mother activity level, e.g. too much sitting or minimal total-body muscle use. Hence, the many pre-natal exercise/work-out classes which offer the modern pregnant woman a recourse and some insurance that a foreskin will not be irretrievably or decisively lost during childbirth.

The function of the praepus as a cap is additionally affected by the mother's intentions when creating a male child -- will he be a sort of augmented version of herself or an attempted copy of some acceptable male role model?

Other viewpoints promulgate the notion that the penis can also function as a type of nipple where other sources of nourishment are non-existent -- i.e. during emergency conditions or search-and-rescue operations.

Chafing or irritation of the penis, including the praepus, does necessitate stimulation of the brain's pleasure zones as a means to ameliorate the effects of disorder. beadtot 11/12/200520:15, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Anatomy vs function

There seems to be a bit of a revert war involving the Taylor article. Firstly, may I recommend the edit warriors not to use URLs when referring to peer-reviewed scientific research? (1) The CIRP site is known to reproduce fulltext resources with no visible waiver from the publisher. (2) It puts the research on the level of any piece of text on the internet, while it is much stronger.

That said, I think it's a bit tall to say that just because the foreskin happens to have Meissner's corpuscules in a high density this proves that it has a erogenous function. The fingertips are chock-a-block with tactile tissue, yet most of that is only interpreted as sensual in a certain state of mind, and even then hardly. I find it rather poor evidence to cite in the intro of an article and actually reveals blatant bias. JFW | T@lk 20:44, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, Jfd. As far as I can tell, Taylor's article only claims that the Meissner's corpuscles are dense in the 'ridged band' as compared with the rest of the foreskin. Unfortunately, he didn't give any nerve counts or indeed any hard data. I guess in your profession you must read a lot more anatomical works than I do, so do you have any thoughts on that matter? Jakew 20:59, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Well, I'm now more into clinical texts than anatomy sources, but nonetheless the density of sensory corpuscules is not a predictor of sensual function. Of course these things can be quantified - simply compare it with a similar number of random skin punch biopsies and see if the result is statistically significant on a Chi-square test. The Taylor article does not seem to get very close to this kind of methodology. JFW | T@lk 00:07, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

A further attempt was made to shove this factoid back in. I have removed it, as the study cited does not methodologically prove anything about the prepuce being erogenous. JFW | T@lk 05:56, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
The following link was inserted as a source for the claim that the foreskin protects the glans penis . I have removed it, as the source is a pamphlet with no references, and as such must be considered an opinion piece. It would be evidence only of opinion. Furthermore, according to that page, the AAP saw fit to remove the relevant paragraph from the 1990 edition. Therefore, we can only say that the AAP once believed this - there's no evidence that they still do. Jakew 12:28, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

The foreskin protects the glans panis from the freezing cold experineced in areas like northern europe. This stands in a trade off to the over-heating effect it has in desertous areas during the day time. Of course that during the night time the desrt is cold, but it is still a useful practice to circumcise in the desert, where one still sleeps at night and commonly has not enough water supply to waste on hygene. Forcing circumcision via religion and as a means of representing political alliance is a matter of forcing a quintessential fractureline between the ethnical groups of hot and cold parts of the world. Oscarseph 19 January 2006

That's an interesting explanation, Oscar, though given the excellent blood supply to the glans I'm inclined to doubt that it is prone to freezing. Are you aware of any sources backing it up? Jakew 21:49, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Better foreskin photo?

The example shown in the photograph does not accurately show what a flaccid uncircumsized penis looks like. Usually, the foreskin more than covers the entire glans.

Mine doesn't unless I do it on purpose Cuzandor 04:09, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
I uploaded a photo of a more typical male foreskin. Tresmuchomacho (talk) 03:23, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

We got the new photo for better foreskin...

On some it does, and on some it doesn't. Normal Variation. Biggishben 11:13, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

A series of photos of foreskin retraction could be worthwhile, but the penis in Foreskin_retraction.jpg is deformed. Could cause confusion over what is being illustrated -- photo should be deleted. Xandergr8 18:19, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Can someone a upload a detailed image that shows the entire surface of the inner foreskin? Apathy 03:53, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Better Photos for "Table?"

See "Table showing four levels of foreskin retraction, in flaccid, semi-erect, and erect states."

Who chose this series of photos? Is there any reason that such a dirty penis was used to illustrate an uncircumcised penis? Someone's bias, perhaps? Also, any reason why some semen can be seen bubbling out of the head in a couple of the slides? I'm sure someone has a better series of photos to illustrate this sequence, if it is indeed needed at all!

Unsatisfactory Photos

There is no indication as to the source of the currently posted illustrative photos but may I say that they illustrate very well what needs to be illustrated -- and can be difficult to visualise when only described verbally -- and in an entirely non-prurient way. Thanks to the contributer, whoever he or she (or they) may be. Masalai 04:40, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

The photos of the gallery are ugly. The first shows a man who's playing whith his foreskin. The second is in black and white. The last represents an erection (a lose of erection in fact), and the mesurment of a penis. This is not the subject of this article. Remove these pictures. User:béatrice 23:26, 10 june 2006.
Those who have described the photos displayed as "ugly" are accurate in their perceptions. The chart with multiple images and the photo which is captioned "Penis, the foreskin covering the glans" are two of the most unappealing images of penises I have ever seen. The "foreskin advocates" that are so involved with constantly re-editing this page should realize that a picture can be worth a thousand words and visually-pleasing images of handsome intact male genitals might do as much or more to persuade parents not to circumcize infants than reasoned arguements. I hope someone replaces these nasty-looking pictures very soon. HouseOfScandal 09:09, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Why don't you find some of these "images of handsome intact male genitals" and suggest them here? Christopher 19:53, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Actually, wouldn't detailed drawings be more suitable? It is, afterall, what other encyclopedias would have. FMF|contact 02:48, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Systematic reverts from User:CB001

Why do User:CB001 prefer old ugly pictures ? You don't like newer one ? (by Béatrice)

Old photos are better, your photo is ugly. Same thing for the article "Glans penis". And everytime you remove the gallery. CB001 15:17, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
Je remarque que le consensus dont vous semblez être le porte-parole (!!!) préfère conserver 4 photographies microscopiques absolument hideuses au lieu d'accepter les photographies du site français.
En plus vous mentez :
L'illustration de "prépuce" (photo que vous contestez) a été introduite le 3 mai 2006 sur le wiki français sans aucune discussion postérieure, en remplacement d'une photo hideuse et sombre :
Vous pouvez le constater ici :
L'illustration de "gland" (photo que vous contestez) a été introduite le 10 mai 2006 sur le wiki français.
Avec aucune discussion :
Les photographies qui ont été acceptées après discussions - certe à couteau tiré - avec une restriction : un bandeau déroulant datent de plus longtemps et portaient sur "pénis" et "érection".
Vous serez aimable de quitter ce ton méprisant et condescendant et par exemple mettre aux voix comme il a été fait sur le wiki français (pour "pénis" et "érection" et non pas pour les photos que vous incriminez) la conservation des photos antérieures ou l'introduction des nouvelles photos. Merci.
Ce n'est pas a moi d'organiser une nouvelle contestation a ce sujet, le consensus actuel me convient tout a fait. Libre a vous de l'organiser avant vos modifications (c'est la moindre des choses avant de supprimer des illustrations comme vous le faites). En revanche, toute suppression non justifiee de la galerie sur l'article foreskin sera signalee. CB001 15:59, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
Please, don't speak french on this talk page. CB001 16:05, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
If you don't want a answer in french, don't speak in french.
Puisque ce qui vous chagrine c'est la suppression de ces 4 photographies (auquelles vous semblez particulièrement tenir d'ailleurs) une solution est de rajouter la nouvelle photographie aux 4 auquelles vous tenez tellement. Plus un vote. Les internautes jugeront. Si vous faites disparaître la nouvelle photographie, ce sera une preuve que vous voulez truquer le vote. Bonsoir.

Systematic cancels of a new picture from Users : vote !

Vote for :

  • Keeping all the pictures as it was in this page :


These old pictures are ugly. "What does this image add that isn't already covered better by the existing images?" One of this photos is an erection. Not for this article.


  • Keep only these 3 old pictures in paragraph "Research use" as it was in this page :

Not sure I'd vote for either of those three options, since the first one seems to link to images that are gone, or at least aren't loading for me. I think the page as it currently exists ( ) on Jan 2 2007 is fine, image-wise. I suppose the images could be better, as in more detailed and focused particularly on the foreskin, perhaps with labels, but honestly I think they're pretty good / illustrative. They seem better than any of the older photos, or the ones that seemed to be pulled from Sexuality articles (e.g. with semen). They serve the purpose of illustrating the subject fine. I vote for the page in its current state. --Kadin2048 20:05, 2 January 2007 (UTC)


Does anyone know much about the foreskin retracting when the penis is erect? It seems that the current picture shows that the glans in uncovered when erect, is this typical? I've seen in some adult films and on actual men where the foreskin stays in place, but can be manually retracted when the penis is erect. ---DaveMarshall04 21:16, Jul 10, 2006 (UTC)

Yes it is Cuzandor 01:16, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
On some penises, when they are fully erect, the foreskin still covers it. But it can be pulled back as well

langerhans cell

[30]. Mion 01:20, 15 August 2006 (UTC)[[31]]Mion 01:35, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Text removed

I've once again removed the following text, which had been added to the section on langerhans cells and HIV. The most recent version read as follows:

  • "This is sometimes used as an argument for circumcision, but these cells also exist in the inner surface of the female clitoral hood and inner labia. Circumcision proponents do not suggest similar treatment for women. [32]"

There are several problems here:

  1. "This is sometimes used as an argument for circumcision" - strictly speaking, it is the resultant reduction in HIV risk that is sometimes used. Regardless, this needs a source (if this were the only problem, I'd have supplied such a source).
  2. "but these cells also exist in the inner surface of the female clitoral hood and inner labia" - this needs a source. To my knowledge, none exist (and I vaguely recall reading evidence to the contrary), therefore this is OR.
  3. "Circumcision proponents do not suggest similar treatment for women" - again, a source is needed. Moreover, there are an infinite number of things that people do not suggest. The only possible reason for including this text is to imply that these unnamed proponents are hypocritical. This violates NPOV. We could say "so-and-so argues that..." if a source could be found.
  4. Finally, the link to does not conform to WP:RS. Jakew 12:19, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, someone made a much more inflammatory edit, and I tried to reword it. I think your idea to revert it totally is better. --Robb0995 18:09, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Re: Removed Text

I (kogejoe) made a similar post, and I can see that problem. However, the problem remains.

"Strictly speaking," this is the foreskin page, and though langerhans cells are found in it, it seems the mention of these cells only serves to suggest circumcision. The very source that is used mentions the langerhans cells in this context. (This is the link used in the article: I find it peculiar that the person mentioning the langerhans cells only does it to mention the suggestion that it "must be regarded as the most probable sites for viral entry in primary HIV infection in men."

The last sentence of this article fails to mention that Langerhans Cells also exist in the mucosal tissue of females, and that they are also a point of entry for HIV. The very source (the Szabo and Short study) that he/she quotes makes this statment. (see the heading " The Pathogenesis of Sexually acquired HIV infection") The source, immediately after mentioning that langerans cells in VAGINAL mucosa are targeted, the focus shifts to just male langerhans cells and how men would benefit from their removal.

I think this is a bias. If it weren't, then this person would properly mention the presence of HIV suceptible langerhans cells in both the male and female sexes. The very mentioned source shows this.

The Wiki article "Langerhans Cell" is more detailed and actually serves to explain what an langherhans cell actually does, but it also has this problem. The final sentence, whihc reads "The inner surface of the foreskin, especially the downpart," seems to be quite biased and limiting. Just what is "the down part," and why mention just the inner surface of the foreskin, when all mucosal tissue has Langerhans cells? Strangely, the poster uses the exact same source, the Szabo study.

The source would be more credible if it sited that Langerhans cells were suceptible to HIV, without the immediate suggestion of circumcision.

The following site rebutts the linked Szabo and Short study. (

HIV receptive langerhans cells, are HIV receptive langerhans cells, and they are found in both male and female. That they should be excised in order to reduce HIV infection is secondary, and there needs to be an unbiased source that says just that.

Quite frankly, why is the Szabo and Short source allowed? It is a flawed and biased study aimed to find a medical justification for circumcision. If this source, as biased as it is, is allowed, then this source should also be allowed. (

If langerhans cells are to be discussed, then all facts should be let known, and not just that they may be a point of entry for HIV in males. Just why must the suggestion that the langherhans cells "must be regarded as the most probable sites for viral entry in primary HIV infection in men" the only thing people must know about langerhans cells?

Does "langerhans cells" need to have its own special heading? They are a subject all their own, and I think that it should just be mentioned in the main article with a WikiLink to a page or article caled "langerhans cells." It's preposterous that someone decided to make this its own separate heading just to mention the possibility of a point of entry for HIV. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kogejoe (talkcontribs)

  1. This article is not about the mucosal tissue of females. If there's a page about the comparative anatomy of male and female genitalia, that is the place to make such remarks. They do not belong here.
  2. Unless I'm mistaken, the source refers only to langerhans cells in the mucosa of female rhesus macaques, not humans.
  3. Nothing in the link you gave constitutes a rebuttal of the source. Different opinions are merely expressed, and addressed in the 'authors reply' at the end of the page.
  4. There is no reason why more information about langerhans cells cannot be added. Jakew 12:31, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Reply to Jakew

  1. Touche on the female issue. However, the langerhans reference here seems inappropriate, as the only purpose it seems to serve is to allude to them as receptors of HIV, implying that they are malignant, and should therefore be removed. The full functionality the langerhans cells serve in the mucosal tissue of the inner foreskin should be disclosed, and not merely that they can become an easy entry way for HIV. I see it akin to briefly mentioning the prostate in a discussion about the male reproductive organs, mentioning that it becomes cancerous in elder males, and little else.
  2. You are not mistaken, the source refers only to langerhans cells in the mucosa of female rhesus monkeys, and not humans. And unless I am mistaken, the entire Szabo and Short study is supposed to follow from experiments performed on both male and female rhesus monkeys. How is it, then, that the infection of the male monkeys is highlighted, but the fact that langarhans cells were HIV targeted in females monkeys is ignored? The bias in this study, if it could even be called a study, should be self-evident. The study is not seeking to indict langerhans cells as HIV receptors, but to find a rationale for mass foreskin removal in males.
  3. The link I give questions the validity of a study that draws conclusions on merely tallying up information Szebo and Short collected using biased methods. It also states what Szebo and Short fail to mention; that langerhans cells are normally found in all mucosal tissue, and that even after circumcision, there would still be a substantial amount of them left. Their full erradication is physically impossible. A strange phenomenon that "opinion" is an issue, as, even IF Szebo and Short's findings were correct, (that only the langerhans cells found in the male foreskin are HIV receptive), that these cells "must be regarded as the most probable sites for viral entry in primary HIV infection in men" would also be peripheral opinion. Perhaps the study and its indictment of the Langerhans Cells by Szebo and Short should be dulely noted, but the opinion expressed in quotations should be omitted, as it is but secondary opinion.
  4. If there is no reason why more information about langerhans cells cannot be added, then I expect to see more information on langerhans cells and their function in the human prepuce, and not just a mere gloss over Szebo and Short's opinion that "they must be regarded as the most probably sites for viral entry in primary HIV infection in men." HIV receptivity is not their only function, I'm sure.

Kogejoe 13:49, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Replying in turn:

  1. addressed in 4.
  2. there is explicit mention of human studies: "In humans, histological studies have identified antigen presenting cells in the mucosa of the inner foreskin and urethra.10 Therefore it seems likely that antigen presenting cells at these mucosal sites are the primary target for HIV in men." As for bias, the title of the study clearly indicates that it sought to explain why male circumcision is protective, as has been documented in many studies. That is the scope, hence the focus on the male anatomy.
  3. I see no reason why criticism in those letters cannot be included, provided that it is presented neutrally ("X argues that..." is usually a good approach) and that the authors responses (in the "authors reply") is also included.
  4. This is a Wiki, so be bold and add some sourced information! But avoid synthesis and make sure that the sources discuss the subject in the context of the foreskin.

Incidentally, you may find these links of interest: [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] Jakew 14:02, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the links.

I just have to say that the blatant focus of the recent "studies" on langerans cells in the male sex organs is all too convenient (for promoters of male circumcision that is). If langerhans cells found in the mucosa of the foreskin of the male penis are an entryway for HIV, then it only stands to reason that this is also true for langerhans cells found in female mucosal tissue, and that females too would benefit from the removal of "excessive tissue." It's really too bad there are no studies that can be cited, nor ever will be cited, given the view of female genital modification in this country. (US Citizen here...) In both cases, however, the radical excision of mucosal tissue wouldn't be a solution to the AIDS epidemic, as immunity to AIDS wouldn't be conclusive; all studies warn that there is still a risk for HIV infection. However, I realize this goes beyond the scope of the foreskin page. And I stop here.

I still contest the neutrality of the Szebo and Short study, or any other aids/circumcision study for that matter. To me, neutrality means there is no axe to grind, in these studies, always being the justification, if not the proliferation, of world circumcision. Always they end with the suggestion of circumcising as many men as possible, completely ignoring the ethical implications of circumcising non-concenting individuals. Even if the above studies concluded that circumcision stops AIDS 100%, it should be the individual male that decides for himself whether or not he wants to take this protective measure. Indeed, these studies assume that all males engage in unsafe sexual activity, and again, it is but my opinion, and, admittedly, beyond the scope of this page.

Glad the Langerhans Cells heading was re-worded, however. I should hope it stays that way.

Kogejoe 14:31, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Sorry that you feel that way. I won't argue, as Wikipedia is really not the place for it. Jakew 14:52, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

can we please stop deleting

This is cited information. I think someone just doesn't like it. (ShitakiMan 12:04, 9 January 2007 (UTC))

Cited sources need to conform to reliable sources policy. For example, cite articles in peer-reviewed journals. Jakew 12:25, 9 January 2007 (UTC)


you said "Cited sources need to conform to reliable sources policy. For example, cite articles in peer-reviewed journals" These are cited sources websites of people, doctors who have OPINIONS ABOUT FORESKIN. Opinions are welcome on Wikipedia as long as they are not called fact. You need to chill please. You don't own Wikipedia. Like Go to Read the books. I'm am having a hard time believing you're not a little kid. Please grow up and stop deleting people's info. Wikipedia is for ALL POINTS OF VIEWS Not just those of people who amputated parts of their penises.

Anti-Circ is Pro-Natural

CIRP IS A REFERENCE IN THE BRITISH ACADEMY JOURNAL OF MEDICINE. Neither facts nor opinions about foreskin should be deleted just because someone is insecure about their penis. This is 2007 for g*d's sake. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Woodstock2010 (talkcontribs).

CIRP is not a reference in the BMJ. CIRP has been mentioned - once - in an opinion piece in the BMJ. There is a significant difference.
Please review WP:RS. Jakew 13:00, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Myth section?

Should there be a section that dispels myths or list anecdotal claims about the foreskin? Have these claims been substantiated? Especially the Apocrine Glands (pheromones), Estrogen Receptors, Lymphatic Vessels and Meissner's Corpuscles claims. Apathy 17:01, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

It might be difficult to retain NPOV with a 'myths' section. As for the "lost list," some claims are contradicted by the evidence (apocrine glands), some common to all skin (eg lymph system), and some are exaggerated. Jakew 11:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Is there any (unbiased) material that goes more in depth about the nerves and cells in the mucous membrane of the prepuce? Apathy 02:42, 16 January 2007 (UTC)


Jake, please do not revert for NPOV when there is no conflicting view. It is up to you to show there was bias before reverting. Note the guidelines: "representing fairly and without bias all significant views that have been published by a reliable source." If you have evidence of a POV that says the foreskin is not sensitive then present it. Until then, "sensitive" is a given, and a reasonable conclusion because there is "a piece of information about which there is no serious dispute". Even though there were four verifiable sources, it should be so obvious to a reasonable person that sources are not needed. BTW, I have no problem with the erogenous quality of the sensation of the foreskin being subjective, which is exactly why a comma was needed. By saying "some sources assert", you are implying that "some sources do not assert", which is in itself, presenting a biased POV in a passive-agressive way. I guess the other option is that you are asserting that every possible source in the Universe must assert something... of course, that would be absurd. I will give you a chance to respond before I revert back. smt 20:18, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Smt, firstly it is impossible to prove your statement that there is "no conflicting view". Secondly, the sources do not establish that it is a fact. For example, one of them stated "we postulate that [part of the foreskin]... is primarily sensory tissue." Note that they did not test the hypothesis, nor assert that it is definitely true. Jakew 20:29, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
It is not necessary to prove there is no conflicting view by an absolute standard. If no verifiable source of a conflicting view is presented then it is a safe assumption that there is no serious conflicting view. The issue is ONLY that sensitivity exist. This is not about a subjective claim that sensitivity is good, bad, indifferent, erogenous, or whatever. Is there a serious dispute that the foreskin is "sensitive"? If so, present the evidence. Honestly, I can't imagine who would assert that the foreskin is in no way sensitive. Jake, even you have admitted that the foreskin has nerve endings present in the foreskin known as Meissner's corpuscles - rapidly adapting light-touch receptors. If you don't deny there is sensitivity, then I can't imagine who else is here that would. The sources DO confirm the existence of nerve endings on the prepuce: "from its free surface are a number of small, highly sensitive papillæ"-Grays, "The prepuce provides a large and important platform for several nerves and nerve endings"-BJU, "Nerve bundle density was noted to be highest in ventral prepucial tissue"-JU. smt 05:11, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I think you need to read Gray's Anatomy again, Smt. The full quote is "The integument covering the glans is continuous with the urethral mucous membrane at the orifice; it is devoid of haris, but projecting from its free surface are a number of small, highly sensitive papillæ." (emph added) Jakew 21:56, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Some additional comments on this subject from Viens: "In one of the papers that is often cited by anticircumcision proponents, the claim that circumcision removes an important component of the sensory mechanism of the penis is based on finding of an extremely small sample size (n = 22) of cadavers.22 Not only is a pathological study not ideal for conclusions concerning the physical sensation and enjoyment of sex in the living, we have no findings that show that sensation transmission pathways of the penis differ substantially between circumcised and uncircumcised men. As it presently stands, there is no convincing evidence that shows that sexual function of circumcised individuals is worsened or damaged as a result of a properly performed circumcision." Jakew 20:42, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, but this is only about "sensitivity" not the effects of sensitivity. See NPOV edit at 15:20:23 and revert at 18:29:23 smt 05:11, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Please read Viens' comments again, particularly the second sentence that I quoted. Jakew 08:59, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Jake do you have verifiable sources that say the foreskin is not sensitive? YES or NO? That is the ONLY issue at hand. Subjective interpretation of any sensitivity is NOT the issue. smt 16:38, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Smt, the article does not say that it is not sensitive. It says that some sources state that it is. The latter is factual, the former may or may not be. Viens says (to paraphrase) that one of his concerns is that a pathological study is insufficient proof of sensation. Thus, we cannot assert that one or other is correct, we simply report what sources state. Please see WP:NPOV. Jakew 17:24, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Jake is correct about this. "we simply report what sources state." Integrating sources in an attempt to summarize what that might mean is synthesis, and not allowed. Atom 17:31, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Jake, then I am fine with Atom's wording that "Sources state" instead of "Some sources state" since there are no sources that state an opposing view, and saying "some sources state" gives the impression that other sources disagree. Obviously, you don't mean "some sources state" in the sense that not all sources in the Universe make a statement relating to this issue. Whether or not pathological studies are good ways to prove sensation does not seem to be relevant when other ways work just fine. If a reference to a pathological study needs to be removed I am fine with that, too. smt 18:02, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Looking at the quote from Viens, can you truthfully say that all sources that have examined the issue are in agreement that it is sensitive? I couldn't. The only thing we can say honestly is that some sources make this statement. Here is the AAP's assessment of the evidence: "One study suggests that there may be a concentration of specialized sensory cells in specific ridged areas of the foreskin but not in the skin of the penile shaft.17"[38] Jakew 19:07, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Let's address the key points:

  1. A quote from a philosophy student is not an authoritative source for addressing issues regarding any biological structure. Does Viens even have any specialized training in biology, anatomy, or pathology?
  2. Viens gives an unsubstantiated opinion that a pathological study is not ideal for conclusions concerning physical sensation. He does not say it is insufficient. While I don't find the claim unreasonable (since "ideal" is subjective), it says nothing that precludes pathological studies as being one of a number of ways of coming to a conclusion regarding nerve sensation. It seems it was sufficient for the pathologists involved, and the review board at the British Journal of Urology that published the study.
  3. Finally, Viens makes no point regarding the issue of sensitivity of the foreskin except to say that there is no evidence of a change in "sensation transmission pathways" between circumcised and uncircumcised. The issue has nothing to do with sensation differences between circumcised and uncircumcised, or any judgment, thereof.

So, looking at the quote from Viens, can I truthfully say that all sources that have examined the issue are in agreement that the foreskin is sensitive? Absolutely, as none have stated otherwise, including Viens. If Viens anywhere says "the foreskin is not sensitive", then please present that evidence (again, not that a philosopher is an authority on the subject).

Let's just be clear: the currently proposed change is to separate the difference between what sources assert (that the foreskin is sensitive) and what some of the sources assert (that the foreskin is specialized erogenous tissue). Here is the proposed change: from "Some sources assert that the foreskin is sensitive[9][10][11] and has erogenous functions in humans." to: Sources state that the foreskin is sensitive,[9][10][11] while some sources assert that the foreskin has specific erogenous functions in humans." smt 21:21, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Smt, once again the article does not state that the foreskin is not sensitive, and that is not the only form of disagreement with the claim. Questioning the methodology and whether the conclusions are appropriate is another. Viens (in a peer-reviewed journal) has raised issues, firstly the "non-ideal" nature of the study for determining sensation, and secondly the small sample size. The AAP note the study, but describe it as the findings of "one study", which is essentially what I'm suggesting.
I suggest that we quote the AAP's description. Jakew 21:45, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Viens wrote an opinion piece on circumcision for a Symposium on Circumcision, as did a number of others. He did not say the method used was inappropriate for determining the existence of sensation, only that it was not ideal for determining "physical sensation and enjoyment of sex in the living". His opinion was not a medical one, but was a personal one, as he provided no references to back up his opinion. Viens, a philosophy student, is not an authority on medical issues. No one has seriously questioned that the foreskin is sensitive or that the method used is not a valid way to determine sensitivity. Taylor has shown the foreskin itself is richly innervated with Meissner corpuscles, which are sensitive to light touch, as you yourself have agreed. Are you now suggesting that the whole Meissner's corpuscle page on wiki is wrong and that they are not sensitive to light touch? Clearly, the foreskin is sensitive to some degree, as the evidence shows, and there is no evidence yet provided that this is incorrect. Do you have a study of the foreskin showing it is not sensitive? If not, then what is the problem? The facts speak for themselves and NPOV is not an issue as all evidence published by a reliable source is reflected and we have "a piece of information about which there is no serious dispute." smt 22:19, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Smt, we have a study that "postulates" that part of the foreskin "primarily sensory tissue." The AAP reviewed it, stating that it "suggests that there may..." Commenting on the "claim," Viens states that it is based on an "extremely small sample size" and that a "pathological study [is] not ideal for conclusions concerning the physical sensation and enjoyment of sex in the living." We cannot make a claim any stronger than that. Jakew 10:05, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
I have now replaced the sentence with one incorporating the AAP's assessment of Taylor's study. Jakew 10:54, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Here are some links (unbiased) that seem to support the sensitivity issue regarding the foreskin. Most of them point to (recent) studies that indicate that an uncircumcised penis is indeed more sensitive.

Captainbryce1 (talk) 17:34, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

The proximity of these two sentences confuses readers: "Schoen states that "[a]necdotally, some have claimed that the foreskin is important for normal sexual activity and improves sexual sensitivity. Objective published studies over the past decade have shown no substantial difference in sexual function between circumcised and uncircumcised men."" Sensitivity, sensation, and sexual function are three distinct factors, but this paragraph confuses these. When the WHO says there is no sexual functional differences between circ'd and intact men, they are just saying that both can have erections and make babies. The foreskin is clearly sensitive, Sorrells proves that. Sensation is subjective and hasn't been proven, but the overwhelming anecdotal evidence suggests sexual sensation of the foreskin is significant. Dan Bollinger (talk) 13:56, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

There seem to be several parts to your argument, Dan. Let me address these in turn.
  • You believe that presenting the two sentences in the Schoen quote together might be confusing to the reader. However, you seem not to have considered the fact that these two sentences appear in this way in the published source, with the apparent meaning being that the "objective published studies" contradict the "anecdotal claims". The fact that this is a quote means that we do not have complete freedom to change the sentence order, and to do so on grounds of whether we personally agree with the argument seems dubious at best.
Quoting confusing text is just as confusing as writing it ourselves. Let's move toward the truth, not just accept the opinion of Schoen, who is not a neurologist. Dan Bollinger (talk) 15:23, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm afraid that I don't know what you mean by "move toward the truth". Nor do we "accept" Schoen's point of view, or indeed that of any other author. It's probably unrealistic to expect that any of us will agree with every viewpoint expressed in the article, but we can document those points of view nonetheless. I encourage you to review Wikipedia's policies on the neutral point of view, which contemplates the inclusion of all significant viewpoints about a subject, and verifiability, which makes it clear that the standard here is verifiability not truth.
Incidentally, I'd prefer it if you would not insert replies in the middle of my posts in future. Jakew (talk) 16:07, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
  • You argue that sexual sensitivity, sensation, and function are distinct, and personally I largely agree with you (though not entirely: I would consider sensation to be a sexual function) and would have preferred to use more precise language. But the fact is that these are the words used by the source, and often the most faithful way to document a viewpoint is a direct quote.
Schoen's viewpoint is not beneficial if Schoen is confused on the terminology. This article is about the foreskin, not a particular physician. Dan Bollinger (talk) 15:23, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
We have no way of knowing whether Schoen is confused, Dan. And to dismiss a viewpoint as "not beneficial" because you deem the author to be confused is ... well ... incompatible with the goals of an NPOV encyclopaedia. Jakew (talk) 16:07, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
  • You argue that the WHO intend "little evidence [of diminished sexual function]" to mean that erections and procreation are possible in both circumcised and uncircumcised men. It is unclear how you have determined that this is what they mean, and I'd be grateful if you would explain.
This is historically the viewpoint of physicians' groups in general. They don't consider factors outside medicine such as psychology. This is a function of their self-imposed limitations as experts. This limitation should be noted. Dan Bollinger (talk) 15:23, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately, it seems that your answer still doesn't explain how you've made this determination. Instead, you've taken your initial claim and made it more broad and difficult to prove. But nevertheless, I shall be interested to learn what evidence you have. What concrete evidence do you have that a) the WHO consider only erections and procreation, and b) that this is true of physicians' groups in general? Jakew (talk) 16:07, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
  • You argue that the foreskin is sensitive, and point to Sorrells' study. It is unclear what point you are trying to make here. Firstly, Sorrells' did not measure sexual sensitivity: they studied the ability to sense a fine filament. I suppose that Sorrells did establish that the foreskin was capable of sensing something, but the first study to do this was Bleustein 2005, so it is again unclear why one would point to Sorrells. Secondly, please note that Schoen does not state that "some have claimed that the foreskin ... is capable of sensing something", but instead specifically discusses the claim that the foreskin improves sexual sensitivity — not quite the same thing. Thirdly, it is unclear how your argument relates to Schoen's quote: are you merely arguing that Schoen is wrong?
You twist my words. I'll say again. Sorrells measured sensitivity of the foreskin and their results were statistically significant, yet there is no mention of this in the article. To paraphrase Sorrells: "Circumcision regularly removes three-fourths of the sensitivity of the penis." Dan Bollinger (talk) 15:23, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorrells is cited as the third reference in the article, Dan. Your paraphrasing of Sorrells' paper, however, is incorrect: it said nothing about removing three quarters of the sensitivity of the penis, and indeed their study was not designed to quantify total sensitivity, so it would have been peculiar if they had made such a claim. They did, however, make the claim that the five most sensitive areas of the penis are on the foreskin (this interpretation of their data is contested, but the fact that they stated this interpretation in their paper is undeniable). Jakew (talk) 16:07, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Finally, you again seem to argue about the subject rather than editing decisions. You're free to hold the opinion, obviously, that the sexual sensation of the foreskin is significant. But how does it relate to this article? Jakew (talk) 20:04, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
It should be obvious that if the foreskin is highly ennervated, as Sorrells shows, then that should be mentioned in an anatomy article on the foreskin. Not highligthing Sorrells is being disengenuous. Dan Bollinger (talk) 15:23, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Dan, Sorrells didn't actually study the innervation of the foreskin; perhaps you are thinking of another paper. However, as mentioned above, Sorrells' paper is already included in the article, so your argument is somewhat perplexing. Jakew (talk) 16:07, 3 January 2009 (UTC)


I don't want to call anyone an idiot but...whoever wrote that SOME SOURCES THINK FORESKIN IS SENSITIVE is not thinking. Any skin that has NERVE ENDINGS is sensitive. That's what SENSATION IS. It's simple English language. My husband has foreskin. IT IS SENSITIVE!!!!! There's also no need to say the Foreskin MAY HAVE protective functions. In the first paragraph of the ENTIRE ARTICLE is says foreskin is SKIN that PROTECTS THE GLANS. In women, the clitoral hood PROTECTS THE CLITORIS. This is not rocket science people. It wouldnt be there otherwise. That's like saying SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE EYELIDS PROTECT THE EYES. It's a fact, the skin is there for protection mainly, or mammals wouldn't be born with prepuces and clitoral hoods. Think people. (: —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

4th Graders Editing Wikipedia

"Some also believe that the foreskin has protective functions, though this is disputed" OF COURSE THE FORESKIN IS PROTECTIVE. This editor should not be editing. Anyone can DISPUTE ANYTHING. Heck, some people dispute that terrorists brought down the World Trade Center. Doesn't mean it's not true. FORESKIN IS THERE FOR PROTECTION. Its in the article's first paragraph. There's a little something called accuracy and redundancy people. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

Sanitised Article

Congratulations on creating a completely sanitised article! Having just read the article, I realised that if I had previously known nothing about the foreskin, I would come to the conclusion that it has all the sensitivity of pubic hair. That's OK because it's not like this article is about skin on the penis or anything... There seemed to be some statistics in the Functions section that, if interpreted correctly would lead one to conclude that the foreskin is, in fact, a sensitive part of the penis. However, because it had not been previously introduced, it was just raw data being thrown around.

I realise that there are limited studies pertaining to the foreskin, and that substantiating the obvious is far more difficult than it should be, but we can do better. I wish I had time now to fix it, but for the moment, this complaint will have to do. Christopher 02:41, 5 February 2007 (UTC)


The article said that Taves' finding was the first study of its kind. I found no evidence that the study was unique, or one of a series of such studies or the first or the last of a series of studies. As this statement is practically unprovable, I removed it. Michael Glass 11:27, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Functions section

A large part of this section is about the effects of circumcision - shouldn't this be moved to a circumcision-related article? 17:02, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

The statement "The World Health Organization state that there is "debate about the role of the foreskin"" is not NPOV. The foreskin is a normal body part, period. Whether or not it has a function is moot. Whether we agree on its function is moot. Debating its functionality is turning it into a cause, not the anatomical part it is. For instance, I checked the WP entries for other sensory body parts: eye, ear, and tongue, and their "functions" are not being debated. The same goes for female genitalia entries for vulva and clitoris. The function of the testicles are not under debate either. Clearly, this statement needs to be struck and the section edited more closely. Frank Koehler (talk) 14:17, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, Frank, your argument doesn't make much sense. In the "functions" section of an article about the foreskin, whether or not it has a function is far from moot. It is in fact a key point.
As you say, the function of the testicles is not under debate. As far as I know, you are correct on that matter. However, what is true of one body part is not necessarily true of another, and the function of the foreskin is debated. So it makes sense that we should identify such debate when it occurs. And we have a perfectly neutral statement, informing the reader that a highly reliable source — the World Health Organisation — identifies debate over this matter. What, exactly, is the problem. Jakew (talk) 14:26, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
It appears to me that the statement about function being debatable is more about pathologizing the foreskin than explaining its various functions. Leave the debateable functions out of the discussion, just as they are left out of discussions about other body parts, and instead return to a factual description. Frank Koehler (talk) 14:50, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Pretty much every proposed function is or has been debated, so omitting debatable functions would probably result in an empty "functions" section. Also, WP:NPOV indicates that we should report on all significant views, not just those which are not disputed. Jakew (talk) 15:30, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Oh come on

"This section is a stub - you can help wikipedia by expanding it."

Now really, who thought that'd be funny? (It is) Nick 01:02, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Moses Bailey article

This article is used to undermine the view that the foreskin has a sensory role. It's general overview in favour of circumcision, and it doesn't go into any detail about the sensory effects, dismissing them in a single paragraph. Since it's a lightweight treatment that predates a lot of work in this area, is it appropriate to use it as if it is a response to the recent work of Taylor etc? Checking out the article's references, I note that it contains some very questionable and probably outdated information; in the conclusion it says that 10%-15% of men will need circumcision later in life. A quick check of the source for this claim [39] reveals two other sources: one from 1953 and one from 1983.--Nydas(Talk) 10:19, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

The article is a review article that not only postdates but comments on Taylor's research. It seems entirely reasonable and balanced to include it. Jakew 10:37, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
The Moses and Bailey quote comes after a 1999 quote from Taylor, suggesting that it is a direct response to that, when it isn't.--Nydas(Talk) 11:50, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Both are review articles, with different conclusions about the evidence. We could probably drop the Cold and Taylor quote, since they didn't make that remark in the context of Taylor's 1996 study (which is the subject of the paragraph). It would certainly improve the flow. Jakew 12:02, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Why not rework the article so it contains a section on the foreskin's nerves? Mixing sexual effects with a discussion of the sensory apparatus of the foreskin only serves to obscure the issue.--Nydas(Talk) 18:40, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't quite understand. What issue do you feel is obscured? Jakew 19:14, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
The innervation of the foreskin is drowned out by the sexual stuff. One comes away with the impression that the evidence of the foreskin having nerves at all is 'indirect'.--Nydas(Talk) 19:43, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Isn't it rather artificial to talk about nerves without talking about their (alleged) function? And if they do serve an important sensory role, then shouldn't we discuss it? Alternatively, if they serve an unimportant role, then do they warrant their own section? Jakew 20:09, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Most half-decent anatomy articles carry basic information about blood supply, innervation, bones, etc, regardless of whether's it's 'important' or not.--Nydas(Talk) 08:29, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Please remove the photos

That penis photoes are very ugly, i am still barfing. Please, take a photo from a model (if you want a real photo), or replace them with a drawing (this choice is better to me)! 22:06, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Sorrel Study

After review of the Sorrel article and the article that was cited by Sorrel, "Evaluation of female external genitalia sensitivity to pressure/touch: a preliminary prospective study using Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments", it seems that parts of the foreskin are more sensitive to fine touch than the glans clitoris.

Considering that this is not specifically mentioned by Sorrel, I decided to just put it here for discussion, first. Also, I didn't want Jake to have a stroke. Facts:

Location; grams (SEM)

  • the outer prepuce; 0.2941 (0.046)
  • the rim of the preputial orifice; 0.093 (0.027)
  • the muco-cutaneous junction; 0.192 (0.041)
  • the ridged band; 0.205 (0.036)
  • the frenulum near the ridged band; 0.177 (0.044)
  • the frenulum at the mucocutaneous junction; 0.159 (0.045)
  • the rim of the preputial orifice; 0.230 (0.129)
  • the outer prepuce; 0.353 (0.132)

I will pick the group of women with the most sensitive reading. Premenopausal women (mN)

  • Clitoral glans (S2) 0.95

mN -> g

  • Clitoral glans = 0.097g

It looks like the clitoral glans is not as sensitive as the preputial orifice. Does this count as Original Research? It is really just a comparison of whether two numbers are larger. Christopher 05:27, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it's original research. Jakew 11:32, 21 March 2007 (UTC)


thumb|50px|right|Removed image

Just wondering why someone has removed the image on the right from this article (claiming that the foreskin was "too long" and thus somehow not representative)? In my opinion this is a very good image and should be restored. Exploding Boy 04:45, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Hi, I have been a family physician for over 25 years and I must say that particular photo does represent an abnormal (not negative in any way) foreskin as it is indeed very long. Look at the statistics on the main article, 50% have full coverage of the glans. This does not mean the foreskin goes well over the glans, just that it covers it. In fact another 50% have either partial or no coverage at all. I have seen adult foreskins most of my career as I work in the South West.

Without at all intending to be rude, the above unsigned message is extremely misleading. "Abnormal" is a very strong word, and not at all correct in this case. It might be unusual, but that's a big "might," and frankly there's no good way of knowing. Exploding Boy 02:08, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

That is why I said I was not intending to be negative. Abnormal by definition means that it is not the norm, which it is not. Also, there are ways of knowing, do any research on the subject and you will find plenty of information.

I've restored the picture. Please find better arguments than your personal interpretations of the data and your own anecdotal experiences.--Nydas(Talk) 06:27, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

I think the image is too large and too prominent. I think that the image on top should be some sort of artist rendition and an image on the bottom should be a picture simply because and unsuspecting child may view this page without knowing what a foreskin is. A drawing would not be as bad as a picture for a child to see and if he/she saw the drawing he might not scroll. My personal opinion...I'll leave it to you guys to decide what's right.

Wikipedia is not censored, pictures should be kept. A drawing simply is not the same as a picture. Mathmo Talk 02:38, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

I also made the point that the picture represents the foreskin in a rather extreme sense. I agree that the photo ought and should bereplaced. It isn't necessarily abnormal but it is not an accurate and balanced representation of the male foreskin. Is there anything preventing me from posting a new picture myself that would remain assuming it is deemed superior in purpose? Kryslam 17:39, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Because that image keeps getting removed for some reason, and because people say the foreskin is too large to represent an average foreskin, I will use this image in it's place. thumb|50px . If anyone has a comment or thinks this image should not be used either, please comment. Nikon307 (talk) 00:20, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Description - faulty wording?

In humans, the outside of the foreskin is like the skin on the shaft of the penis

Hmm. Isn't this a bit like saying "the outside of the lower eyelid is like the skin on the cheek"?

The point being: there's no clear dividing line where eyelid/foreskin ends and non-eyelid/non-foreskin begins. 22:39, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Remove one picture

Why do you need 2 pictures? the first one should be removed, because I can't even read the text there.

Why is this article so confusing???

This article is about male human foreskins. Everybody is born with a foreskin at birth and circumcision is the removal of it. The foreskin contains x amount of nerve endings (i assume in the thousands) and is the only moving part of a male penis. It is incredibly pleasureable to a man when the foreskin glides up against the corona penis and rest of the head. It also rubs in concert with female vaginal canal during intercourse. then you can talk about how the foreskin protects the head of the penis from excessive friction during sports and being active, and then talk about smegma some, and yada yada. any thoughts? and the pictures suck. there should be a picture of a retracted foreskin as well as a flaccid foreskin. and maybe a graphic of gliding motion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:37, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

I especially find the function section very weird. Why does it start off with "some researches believe"... What the heck? Foreskin facilitates intercourse, it provide pleasure because it is packed full of nerves and stretches and unstreches during sex and rubs the head of the penis. cmon people —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:49, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Some researchers believe that the foreskin has these functions, while some do not. Wikipedia's policy is to write from a neutral point of view. Jakew (talk) 11:40, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
So the foreskin doesnt move during sex? it doesnt give added pleasure to a mans johnson? it doesnt have sensitive nerve endings? adult circumcision isnt excrutiatingly painful because of all those nerves? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
If I were to answer your questions, I would of course be giving you my opinion. But that wouldn't be very helpful: Wikipedia's articles aren't about my opinion, and things shouldn't be presented as true (or false) just because I agree (or disagree). Instead, we should simply report neutrally on viewpoints expressed in reliable sources.
As an example of what a reliable source states, consider your question about added pleasure. The American Academy of Pediatrics state that:
"Some people believe that circumcision makes the tip of the penis less sensitive, causing a decrease in sexual pleasure later in life. This has not been proven by any medical or psychological study." (source) Jakew (talk) 22:21, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
The source you cited is, even by your own standards, biased in favor of circumcision. Note that that AAP site ignores the possibility of the foreskin itself being a source of pleasure for a man or his partner. Kieral (talk) 03:28, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
WP:NPOV requires that we fairly represent significant views expressed in reliable sources. I should point out that if we were to exclude from consideration all sources that one or more editors considered to be biased, there would be none left. Smile.png Jakew (talk) 12:40, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
This focus on the glans is a red herring. Can you point to any medical literature claiming the inner foreskin is not highly erogenous tissue? Kieral (talk) 00:45, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't believe that anyone mentioned the glans, Kieral. The AAP referred to the "tip of the penis", which would seem to include both the glans and foreskin. Jakew (talk) 13:20, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
The tip of a circumcised penis is only the glans. If you include the foreskin in this, the claim becomes absurd and self-defeating: amputated tissue can't be sensitive. Any data on sensitivity of these lost nerve endings would have to be zero by default. However, there have been studies which showed no change in sensation on the glans after circumcision. Kieral (talk) 04:42, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
You appear to be reading that statement while making the assumption that the foreskin is sensitive (in the sense of contributing to sexual pleasure). This seems to be an example of begging the question. It's best to take the statement at face value. Jakew (talk) 12:37, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Let's look at its face value then. A quick Google search refutes their claim and your suggestion that the prepuce does not contribute to sexual pleasure. "The most sensitive location on the circumcised penis was the circumcision scar on the ventral surface. It was remarkable that five locations on the uncircumcised penis that are routinely removed at circumcision had lower pressure thresholds that the ventral scar of the circumcised penis." [40] The AAP made a patently false statement supported by no references, yet you "take the statement at face value." This seems to be an example of a (fallacious) appeal to authority. Kieral (talk) 08:51, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
The news article you cite is about a study by Sorrells et al., which did not actually measure sexual pleasure. A critique of that study (co-authored by myself) was published in the June '07 issue of BJU International.
It may be your opinion that the AAP's statement was "patently false", but policy does not require us to judge sources, but instead to report neutrally about what they say. Jakew (talk) 11:00, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Photograph at start of article

Could a photo or drawing more appropriate be used here? The foreskin on this penis is quite long and "wrinkly" and probably not an accurate reflection of what a typical foreskin looks like. Just a picture with a better portrayal of the foreskin I think is needed......? —Preceding unsigned comment added by ZED08 (talkcontribs) 01:16, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I've seen many many foreskins in my day, and I'd say this picture is a fair representation of what a good percentage of them look like. Perhaps not a majority, but trying to get a "normal" foreskin in one picture is like trying to get "normal" eye color in one picture... there are so many different kinds and they are all "normal", despite what the alleged doctor said in an earlier discussion topic here. In fact, on medical evaluations an "abnormal penis" is one that has had this structure removed... it is "abnormal" because it has been altered from its original form. Some foreskins even overhang significantly beyond the end of the glans, which would be at the extreme end of the bell-curve, as would one that is so short it covers none of the glans. The pic in the gallery at the end satisfactorily demonstrates another common example of a foreskin. The repeated requests for a drawing instead of a picture reflect the cultural discomfort Americans have with the male anatomy, and, as has been mentioned countless times before, Wiki does not censor, certainly not because the natural human body offends you. Gimmethoseshoes (talk) 07:39, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Is there supposed to be something after the words "when the penis" in the intro? I looked through the revision history but that is how it has been for a while. Nice photo too. Stepp-Wulf (talk) 02:42, 22 January 2008 (UTC).

Forcible retraction of the foreskin

I think that the Forcible retraction of the foreskin article should either be deleted, or merged into this one. I have said why on the other talk page: Talk:Forcible retraction of the foreskin Tremello22 (talk) 11:23, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Needs more penis pictures

This article needs more penis pictures, especially ones of circumcized men labeled incorrectly as having retracted foreskin. Someone get on this immediately!!

First images and users comlaints

though i agree the first photos on the page is 'weird' looking it is in fact an honest image of a foreskin--- and should remain on the page- but NOT the first image .

remember this is NOT a porn website where aesthetically pleasing penis--- should be the only photos on view if we are to only show organs then this would be a lie, some men have 'ugly' foreskins and many have 'ugly' penis's and they come in all different shapes colors and sizes .as a girl i saw what i deem 'ugly' images of mens dicks forskins an all and this image stayed with me long enough to want absolutely nothing to do with men intimately - but of course what i saw was a real and that cannot be denied . so if Béatrice or any of you find these images off putting i suggest you visit some pornography websites instead. and so there should be a variation of penis's foreskins .we need a variation of different foreskins ,anything different would be a lie.

by 'istera' 5th november 2009

oh and as for the first image this is what has become of it : [41] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:06, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Unrepresentative photograph

I apologize for possibly not structuring this page correctly, but I wanted to suggest a new photograph. This photograph is of a man with an abnormally long foreskin and is not representative of what a foreskin normally looks like. Most foreskins just reach the end of the glans or end shortly before it. I do not have any and am loathe to find one online for copyright reasons, but I'm sure someone in the wiki community has a more representative photograph. Thanks. (talk) 11:32, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

I always thought it (the current photo) looked like a restored foreskin. I second the motion by --Studiodan (talk) 12:00, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Huh? Foreskins are about as variable as vulvas: no two are alike. This one looks about as representative as any, and its appearance is not out of line with description in the text. I refer you to the photographs at the end, none of which show a "normal" foreskin, whatever that is. I suggest that the above users substitute photographs of their own "normal" foreskin if they are really bothered by the current image.Wandooi (talk) 03:38, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

I want to express my agreement with Wandooi that penises, and foreskins are highly variable, so all this talk about a representative foreskin and whatnot is totally misleading.--Prepuce4Life (talk) 07:29, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

I agree with the first comment. The photo should be updated to represent something that is a little more common. Nobody is suggesting that there isn't variation of foreskins anymore than they are suggesting that the one is question is not normal. But there is a difference from what is considered "normal" and what is in fact more "common". Most foreskins don't look like the one in the photo. I think a picture that is more representative of a common foreskin would be more appropriate. Captainbryce1 (talk) 15:31, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Where did the old cover photograph go? If some think it was not representative of some kind of norm, fine, but move it to the "additional images" section. Redundant prepuce is fairly common and should be shown in a foreskin article. I'm fine if it's not shown as the norm, but to exclude it altogether underrepresents the variety of natural foreskin length! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:51, 8 September 2010 (UTC) we really need all that photograph at the bottom? I think the two in the article is sufficient enough... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:45, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

I agree, it is rather odd, please revise. Michaelzeng7 (talk) 00:45, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
I've removed two penis-photographs from the gallery; one which showed a shaved penis and added little or nothing to the article other than a certain strangeness with a total lack of pubic hair; the other which was of low-quality. I re-positioned the composite flaccid/erect photo into the article, replacing the composite erect/erect photo. The composite flaccid/erect photo demonstrates, well I think, how the foreskin typically appears in both situations, rather than the composite erect/erect photo. The three other gallery images of artwork and statues are harmless and probably add some value, so they remain. Tbmurray (talk) 21:23, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure if this section is referring to the current picture at all. Also, I'm not sure if this is mentioned elsewhere in wikipedia, and I certainly hope it is, but it is a serious problem that we're all engaging in these arguments about whether this or that picture is representative. As mentioned above, they're highly variable in size, length, etc. It should also be noted, though, that virtually all of the arguments for or against any given image are about images of white people. If we subscribe to the belief in a representative penis, and if that means the modal penis, then it should probably be Han Chinese or something like that. I'm not arguing for that, though. I'm arguing in favor of inclusion of a much greater diversity of pictures of genitalia, inclusive of those with a broad spectrum of melanin levels and of shapes and sizes, etc. This is especially important in the face of increasing normativity of what is considered attractive genitalia. Take a look at the article on labiaplasty for an example. There is no one right or perfect set of genitalia and there shouldn't be. You can call that a bias of mine, but the embracing of diversity is actually a core wikipedia bias, *ahem* value.--Prepuce4Life (talk) 07:29, 19 April 2011 (UTC)