The Intact Boy

Medicalized (non-religious) circumcision, an invention of English-speaking physicians, is in steep decline everywhere in the world — except for the United States. Join Marilyn Milos, RNRonald Goldman, Ph.D.Gillian Longley, RN, BSN; and Miriam Pollack in a critical examination of the practice of infant male circumcision in North America.

Photo courtesy Jessica Wallach,

Each of these programs is approximately 90 minutes in length.

Cost: $7.50 per lecture.

Certificate of Completion: $7.50 per lecture (completion of post-session questionnaire required).

Continuing Education Units available for some professionals.  Click here for more information.


Part One:
The Foreskin

The United States has been a predominantly circumcising culture since the mid 20th century, a time when childbirth and infancy began to be heavily medicalized through childbirth interventions and the aggressive marketing of infant formulas.   Along with the loss of knowledge of normal childbirth and breastfeeding, Americans have also lost their knowledge of the normal intact (non-circumcised) penis.

This lack of knowledge of the foreskin on the part of North American parents and health professionals underlies, in part, the perpetuation of the practice of circumcision, and has frequently led to false or harmful advice on the care of intact boys.  Part I of this series demystifies the foreskin, while at the same time laying a foundation for understanding the harmful impact of its loss to circumcision.

Warning: These programs are liberally illustrated with photographs and diagrams of adult and infant penises, as well as graphic images of the circumcision procedure. These images are intended for educational purposes only, but some viewers may find them offensive or disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.

The Foreskin
(90 minutes)
Presenters:  Gillian Longley RN, BSN

The foundation of understanding the value of not circumcising infant boys is having a solid knowledge of what the foreskin is, and what it is there for.  In this course, Gillian Longley RN, BSN, explains the anatomy of the intact penis, and shows how its unique structure and specialized tissue support a wide array of protective and sexual functions. The development of the foreskin in the fetus and child is also discussed, particularly the gradual natural separation of the foreskin from the head (glans) of the penis.  This information provides the rationale for a discussion of correct care of the penis in the intact boy, and the normal variations that may occur during penile development in childhood.  This presentation concludes with a discussion of the problem of forcible, premature retraction of the foreskin by incorrectly informed health care professionals. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics specifically recommends against forcible retraction, as circumcision rates drop in North America more and more boys are subjected to this inappropriate, unnecessary, and harmful practice that is obsolete in most of the world.


Select One…


Circumcision: Surgical Methods and Complications (90 minutes)
Presenter:  Gillian Longley RN, BSN

Parents are largely unfamiliar with the realities of how a foreskin is actually cut away. The common myths that circumcision is “quick and safe,” “just a little snip” or that the baby doesn’t experience any pain are false representations of the procedure. In fact, circumcision involves multiple tissue-damaging steps to remove the foreskin. Moreover, the circumcision devices used on the small penis of a newborn are relatively imprecise – which may lead to specific complications beyond the usual surgical risks of bleeding and infection. This course, led by Gillian Longley RN, BSN, provides participants with an in depth understanding of what is really involved with a circumcision and what the baby undergoing a circumcision may experience, during and after the procedure.

The presentation begins with an exploration of infant pain, and circumcision pain relief measures, including the facts that not all doctors use anesthesia for circumcision, that no method of local anesthesia has been shown to completely eliminate the pain of circumcision, and that babies do remember the pain of circumcision. The three main techniques of infant circumcision are explained step by step with still photo illustrations.  The range of complications which may result are illustrated and explained, including the often-ignored longer term harms that may occur due to loss of the foreskin’s protective and sexual functions, which may not manifest until years later.

The course closes with a brief look at the potentially harmful effects of circumcision on breastfeeding and mother-child bonding, which is covered in greater depth in a later class in this series.


Select One…


How Circumcision Affects Sexuality (90 minutes)
Presenter: Marilyn Milos, RN

Circumcision is a primal wound that causes pain and trauma to an infant’s penis–his organ of pleasure and procreation. Initially, circumcision interferes with the maternal infant bond, disrupts breastfeeding and normal sleep patterns, and undermines the successful completion of the baby’s first developmental task of establishing trust. Even when analgesia is used, circumcision causes pain to the penis, and every experience of that organ, from then on, is overlaid on a neuronal background of pain.

Circumcision removes the foreskin, with its 20,000 – 70,000 specialized, erogenous nerve endings, replacing the penile accelerator that allows a man to ride the wave to orgasm with an on/off switch that offers sensitivity and immediate relief without the ride to orgasm and the full symphony of sensation.  This is why the most common complaint of circumcised men in the USA is premature ejaculation.  At the other end of life, circumcised males complain about sexual dysfunction, including loss of sensitivity and impotence. Many women wonder why sex with a circumcised man is not fulfilling for them. They do not understand the role the foreskin plays in female sexual pleasure, including the gliding mechanism and lubrication.

This workshop, led by Marilyn Milos, RN, Executive Director of NOCIRC, will explore the effects of circumcision on an infant and on the man he becomes. The dynamics of circumcision, sex, and compensation for the trauma and loss will be discussed.

This program is currently being archived for future on-demand viewing.  If you would like to make arrangements with us to view an unedited recording of this session, send us an email :

Part Two:
The Psychology of Circumcision

Circumcision may be the missing piece of the American male psychological puzzle. Some men have discovered a connection between their circumcision and adult feelings related to sexuality, women, self-esteem, and other issues. Part II will focus on the short and long-term effects of circumcision and psychological impacts on individuals and society.  Participants will learn that circumcision not only impacts a man’s sexuality and male/female relationships, but also interferes with breastfeeding and maternal/infant bonding.   These lectures will be of particular interest to those who work with men’s issues, women who want to understand men better, and healthcare professionals who are concerned about preserving the motherbaby relationship.

Infant Response, Long-Term Psychological Effects, and Why Circumcision Continues
(90 minutes)
Presenter: Ronald Goldman, Ph.D.

Cultural and medical views of newborn infants have changed drastically over the years.   This session, led by Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., will provide an overview of the research on newborn infant sensory response, movement, expression, learning, and pain response and a review of infant response to circumcision.  We will address the following questions:
  • How does being circumcised feel to the newborn infant? Does the newborn infant feel “discomfort” or extreme pain?
  • Does it matter how circumcision feels to the newborn infant? Can newborn infants remember their experience?
  • Is an infant too young to experience trauma?
  • Are there any examples of events around birth that have a long-term effect on adult
  • Can memory of birth be documented?

We will apply the clinical definition of trauma to circumcision and look for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in circumcised men. This new perspective offers clues that could explain certain male feelings, attitudes, and behaviors.  This session will conclude with an exploration of the psychosocial factors that perpetuate circumcision.  In an examination of individual and institutional resistance to change, learn how cultural, emotional, behavioral, and psychological factors affect attitudes and behaviors about circumcision and related matters.  Various anxieties, beliefs, and values impede change – see how we can ignore or deny what is literally in front of our eyes.

This program is currently being archived for future on-demand viewing.  If you would like to make arrangements with us to view an unedited recording of this session, send us an email :


Lessons of Circumcision & Effective Communication (90 minutes)
Presenter: Ronald Goldman, Ph.D.

Circumcision is offered as an option to virtually every mother of a male child born in an American hospital. This parental decision can have unrecognized immediate and long-term consequences on the health of the child and parent.  The lessons of circumcision are many; they remind us of our core values and are applicable to other areas of life. These lessons involve the powerful impact of early infant experience, cultural values, the limitations of science, intellect vs. instinct, and how to make important childcare decisions.

It is essential that health care providers have accurate, current circumcision information and communicate it appropriately and effectively.  It is also important for prospective parents to be able to communicate with their partners effectively.  Because circumcision is an emotional topic, health care providers and parents need not only the facts but also the skills to talk about it in a sensitive way.


This program is currently being archived for future on-demand viewing.  If you would like to make arrangements with us to view an unedited recording of this session, send us an email :


Circumcision as a Woman’s Issue (90 minutes)
Presenter:  Miriam Pollack

As is true in all other areas of biology, altering form invariably alters function. What affects one gender is inevitably linked to the other. Circumcision is a woman’s issue as much as it is a man’s. It not only impacts a man’s sexuality and male/female relationships, but may interfere with breastfeeding and maternal-infant bonding. Join Miriam Pollack in a critical examination of the history and nature of male circumcision, and discover that this practice has multiple tributaries into the most intimate areas our lives, not least of which are the primal territories of gender and power.

This program is currently being archived for future on-demand viewing.  If you would like to make arrangements with us to view an unedited recording of this session, send us an email :

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  1. Joe in CA says:

    There is no medicine in circumcising healthy children. There is no conclusive evidence that circumcision prevents anything. It is irrefutable that circumcised men also get UTIs, develop penile cancer, contract STDs, and die of AIDS.

    How is it practitioners in our American medical system have the nerve to be reaping profit from circumcising healthy, non-concenting individuals, let alone target parents of newborn baby boys and pretend as if it’s this “choice” they can even be making?

    Organizations against the circumcision of healthy newborn infants should work together to expose it for the MEDICAL FRAUD (not to mention human rights violation) that it is. The circumcision of newborn children is worthless mutilation, and the doctors who perform it are nothing but grifters and charlatans. Shameless snake-oil salesmen making money off the expense of defenseless children.

  2. Gloria Lemay says:

    I highly recommend this course to parents and professionals. It is well done in every aspect. Kudos to all the teachers in putting together a first-rate course that will have an impact on ending male genital mutilation.
    Gloria Lemay, Vancouver BC

  3. Ron Goldman says:

    Anger is a common feeling of circumcised men who are aware of what they have lost and are dissatisfied about it. Most circumcised men are not aware of what they have lost. Sadly, many doctors are as uninformed and unaware of the harm they are causing as the parents who consent to circumcision. We offer these workshops to increase awareness. For more information about the psychology of circumcision, see the workshops offered under that title.

  4. Robert L. Stewart says:

    The need for a U.S. website, indeed for dialogue that exposes the harms and hurtfulness of RIC (Routine Infant Circumcision) is painfully long overdue. It used to be thought that the circumcision of infant boys was a health benefit. Then it became a “neutral” recommendation and a decision that was to be made after “full disclosure” of the operation and its consequences (which rarely came about). Now it seems that the foolishness of surgery (especially INFANT surgery) without true justification, is being properly exposed, and fewer parents are consenting to have their beautiful baby boys mutilated. Hurrah!

  5. pamela lewis says:

    As a student nurse in 1971 I saw a circumcision. The already crying baby boy was strapped on a cold board; chest and limbs restrained. He was not covered in the cold room. The doctor arrived and forced a wooden ring under the foreskin, the crying escalated to screams. He then took another ring and crushed the foreskin off. The baby boy took a breath, turned intensely red in the face, screamed and passed out. I felt sick with shock and asked the doctor “how can you think he doesn’t feel that?!” the doctor’s reply – “ahhh, he won’t remember it.” It was over in a moment, and I had an unconscious bleeding infant. In the years that followed I worked in the prison systems, the Emergency Rooms and mroe. I witnessed police brutality, assaults and much more – but that circumcision still stands out today as the worst violation, the most brutal event I ever witnessed. Last year, a mother was shopping in a quiet store I was also in and her baby was crying pitiously. She began a conversation with the shop-keeper and I over heard that she “did not know what was wrong – he was a perfect baby until after he was circumcised” – well DUH!

    On an esoteric level, the the yin/yang symbol comes to mind. In the middle of the folds of flesh of the woman’s external genitals lies the clitorus – the penis like erectile tissue. On the tip of the man’s penis is the dark, moist place like the woman’s darkness and moisture. We have robbed our men of that, no wonder there is so much war.

  6. Gabriella Tuttle says:

    I have read 38 books about “circumcision.” It is totally shocking to me how ignorant people are. I come from a country where this is not done. The more I learned about it, the more I was upset how parents can hand over their little boy to be mutilated. I blame mostly the circumcisers who peform this mutilation without question. I have never known anybody in my family or friends who had a foreskin problem. UTI’s? Please, girls get 10 x more UTI’s than boys and than the idea of hygiene. I don’t know what people think there is much to clean about on a little baby boy. You leave it alone first of all. Men, you have to wash your penis no matter what. It only takes a few seconds more to do. I know, since I had 9 male younger cousins I had to take care of. This father and son have to look alike idea is another crazy one. Do most sons actually remember what their father looks like? Not likely, since the puritans still prevail and most boys haven’t seen their father naked since they were 2 years old. I read to my male family members what is going on in this country and all the silly and ridiculous reasons (which most are unsubstantiated) the medical profession comes up with, and they still cling to it since it is their income at stake. The entire aids issue is another excuse. So, why is in the U.S. more aids than in european countries or Japan where circumcision is not practiced? Circumcision is now advertised as a cure for aids especially in Africa where the circumcision Nazis now prevail.
    My pediatrician uncle told me that in his 25 years of practice, he never had to perform one for any medical reason. In rare occasions it is always a urologist who performs this procedure. When this crazy idea came about 100 years ago and the Brits imposed it to all english-speaking countries, Americans are the only ones who still cling to it. The rates in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, even England have been seriously reduced. 16 states are already not paying for circumcision, we need to get all states to drop this procedure so parents will have to pay for it out of their own pocket. Since I am in Michigan and over 80% of boys still get circ’d, about half of Michigan is on welfare, so the rates could get significantly reduced.

  7. Anna says:

    Complete over reaction from that nurse. Whilst babies scream a little it remains a very safe procedure with a fast healing time. My son was circumcised and 3 days later swimming around the pool with other kids. My girl friends were all amazed that it healed so fast. No regrets.

  8. Hi Anna: Thanks for chiming in. Whatever you may think about the emotional reactions that many people have who have witnessed circumcisions, facts are facts – circumcision is painful, circumcision has risks, circumcision violates a child’s right to bodily integrity and self-determination, the foreskin is a valuable normal body part, and almost all circumcisions in children are not medically necessary. Have you had a chance to listen to my two segments on the Intact Boy series – on foreskin anatomy and function, and on the procedure, circumcision pain, and complications? This is objective scientifically documented information designed to help health professionals and parent become more informed about circumcision and the body part that circumcision removes. I know that parents choose to circumcise out of a desire to do what they think is best for their beloved son, and it is hard to hear information that seems to imply that maybe circumcision might actually have been harmful to their child. But I’ve seen over and over in my work as a nurse, that many parents do not have all the relevant information when they make their decision. However, once they start to learn things they didn’t previously have a chance to consider, they may decide to make a different decision next time around. I’m glad to hear your son healed quickly, but unfortunately that is not to say that no harm was done. Some of the complications like adhesions and meatal stenosis do not occur till years later, and the potential harms to sexuality of course will not be know until he is an adult, when you are unlikely to hear about it. Sorry to say, but the fact that you have no regrets does not guarantee that he will have no regrets.

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