Experts have been unable to understand the origin of the practice of routine male circumcision. Most of the literature shows no awareness of phimosis - its frequency - or the sexual and erectile problems which can be cured by circumcision. If routine circumcision had been introduced for this most obvious reason of eliminating difficult foreskins; then the importance of an alternative modern method, suitable to our culture's attitudes in this day and age, would be clear.

Origins and Traditions

Among a number of the higher mammals, foreskin conditions occur with considerable frequency. The evolutionary relevance of foreskin conditions is discussed: Why have these hindrances to reproduction not been deselected?

The central file discusses The Origins of the Practice of Routine Male Circumcision.

The relevant anthropological and texts are collected under Anthropological Studies. Modern writers never mention phimosis. Phimosis was last discussed by Ploss (1876) and Bryk (1931).

Bryk thought it was far too great a rarity to be considered as originating factor. However in 1931 there were no statistical studies. I discuss all the presently available statistical reports. These show that, even in the non-erect state, at least 8% of men suffer phimosis.

Added to this , the practice originated among the hunting peoples. Hunting peoples lived in small tribal groups. Small groups are renowned for erratic fluctuations in the statistics. This is why reliable statistics must be taken from groups of 1,000s. With statistics from a group of 15, a fluctuation between 1% and 90% is no suprise. I suggest the first routine steps were taken during periods of high statistical frequency.

Ploss was misinterpreted. He claimed phimosis to be the origin of routine male circumcision, (he did not claim fertility to be of relevance apart from among the Jews).

Lets reconsider - some forms of phimosis are merely irritating others are painful, some typically result in inflammations and disease, some cause problems by urination, others during masturbation; some previous to intercourse, others during it, and still others for several days after intercourse.

In pre-literate times it would not have been possible to start understanding and classifying all these problematic conditions.

I suggest routine circumcision was originally introduced as an all cure: at a time of high frequency, as a practical and simple solution to and prevention of, a number of confusing and chaotic problems.

A further section examines the various reasons why among some peoples the practice became established - the oldest living surgical tradition - and thus heralded the beginnings of the surgical practice in Western medicine.

If routine circumcision had initially been introduced for this most obvious reason of eliminating difficult foreskins; it would clarify the importance of a modern alternative form of prevention.
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