Longtime readers will know that I have long opposed the genital mutilation, aka circumcision, of male infants. New studies showing that it can be very effective against the transmission of HIV may well tip the balance of the argument. Nonetheless, it behooves us to be honest about what is being done and has been done to millions of men without their consent. They are having their capacity for sexual pleasure drastically reduced. A new study shows exactly how serious the mutilation can get:

Morris Sorrells of National Organization of Circumcision Information Resources Center and colleagues created a "penile sensitivity map" by measuring the sensitivity of 19 locations on the penises of 159 male volunteers. Of the participants, 91 were circumcised as infants and none had histories of penile or sexual dysfunction.

For circumcised penises, the most sensitive region was the circumcision scar on the underside of the penis, the researchers found. For uncircumcised penises, the areas most receptive to pressure were five regions normally removed during circumcision all of which were more sensitive than the most sensitive part of the circumcised penis.

When your most intense sexual pleasure comes from scar tissue, something has gone wrong. My own view is that forcing boys to have most of their sexual pleasure zones destroyed without their express permission is a form of child abuse. If men want to have mutilated penises, that is their choice as adults. It shouldn't be their parents'. And mercifully, many more parents seem to be agreeing.