But Won’t Male Circumcision Lead to Guys Becoming Promiscuous Whores?


Many of our readers were disgusted we would even raise the possibility that slicing the foreskin off baby boys in an effort to stem HIV transmission rates could be a good thing. We expected as much, even though there’s significant research showing circumcision cuts female-to-male transmission rates by half. (That, and Jewish families regularly circumcise their sons, but maybe that “religious tradition” is acceptable?) Alas, circumcision doesn’t have the same health benefits for gay men, or whatever you want to call men who have sex with other men. But what’s interesting to note, as KJ Dell’Antonia does, is that the whole debate about making unprotected sex safer by going after young people differs widely when you’re talking about boys and girls.

When it came to girls and preventing HPV, which can cause genital warts and possibly lead to cervical cancer, the debate over vaccinating pre-pubescent gals caused an uproar. Namely, critics suggested an HPV vaccine — that could help prevent cancer — this would lead to increased promiscuity amongst America’s sluts. (For the vaccine to work, girls must receive it before ever being exposed to HPV, which happens when they’re sexually active.)

But when it came time to discuss a similar (albeit not identical!) healthcare recommendation — doing something to young boys that could help prevent HIV infection — there was no such uproar. What, nobody thinks that circumcising boys will lead them to become (straight) manwhores because they’re less at risk for contracting HIV?

It’s a ridiculous assumption. And yet, nobody on this website raised the possibility (though one hinted at it); neither did anyone on lady site DoubleX. Double standards?

It’s important to note: Whatever the Center for Disease Control decides about male circumcision, it will never be mandatory. It will only be a recommendation, something parents can still freely decide on for their sons. But if the CDC does make an official recommendation for the procedure, it will once again be covered by Medicaid; many states began eliminating coverage for the procedure. So wouldn’t that be a good thing? To give parents the option of, one day, lessening the chances their son will contract HIV during a night of utter stupidity?

Undoubtedly, some will still say circumcision is genital mutilation, and a CDC recommendation will only put a government stamp on the procedure while taxpayers pick up the bill. And that’s a fine argument. But we’re big fans of more education and more options for Americans and their health care decisions.

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  • Peter

    Then I assume that you will petition the CDC to also put the option of having an abortion into Medicare also.

  • ggreen

    Start the circumcision is mutilation screaming in 1..2..3..

  • D-Sun

    What’s that? Circumcision, you say?

    Hold on, don’t start the shitstorm yet; my popcorn isn’t done.

  • ...

    See you guys in 50 comments.

  • Lauren

    Circumcision doesn’t prevent HIV any more than these vaccines prevent all kinds of HPV or cervical cancer, they only reduce the risk. Condoms reduce everything, by a lot, but these two things do go together: Take a guy who thinks he can’t get HIV because he’s cut, fucks some HIV+ girl without a condom, gives her a strand of HPV she thought she couldn’t get because of some vaccine, and he wasn’t in the 50% (those are shit odds, btw) to be magically saved from HIV, and now everyone who thought they were bullet-proof is sick. NOT HELPFUL.

    There was a legitimate debate (not over whether girls would give in to their slutty natures because they couldn’t get cervical cancer, never mind that they could still get a pregnancy or an STD from unprotected sex) over whether vaccines that actually carry their own health risks should be given to girls under the age of consent. On the other side, there were people refusing to get the vaccine for their daughters because NO DAUGHTER OF MINE IS A WHORE in which case the doctors explained that even their future sanctified husbands could give them HPV (duh), so get it anyway. ALSO NOT HELPFUL.

    What is more important with health decisions is to divorce this morality bullshit from the science. IF it can be proven that circumcision sometimes reduces HIV infection for some people some of the time, that’s still no reason to recommend everyone do it. Especially when you’re taking away something that these boys can never have back. It’s not mutilation if a man grows up and decides to have himself circumcised, but to physically alter someone against their will or without their informed consent when it isn’t necessary is not right and shouldn’t be advocated (or subsidized) by the government. You may be contending that it is necessary, since HIV is sometimes life-threatening, but it still remains that this won’t save everyone, and may in fact put some at more risk (because, as you so annoyingly brought up: if they think they’re immune they might have more unprotected sex and skew their good averages). Circumcised heterosexual men can still contract HIV, they do it all the time (apparently about 50% of the time).

    Of course, no one in the last article accused boys of growing up to be sluts because naturally there’s a double standard (and thanks so much for bringing it up; I’d gone almost four minutes without getting a sexism headache). Guys are supposed to want to fuck everything raw, regardless of how it affects their partners, which is the ugly flip side of that double standard. I’m a girl, so I get shamed for wanting sex at all because I’m supposed to be a sealed canister of virginity; guys get shamed for not wanting it enough, not being jerks about it, because they’re supposed to be assholes who respect nothing but their own cocks. Women are not all hermetically sealed, men aren’t all assholes, sexism sucks for everyone, and that’s not even the issue here.

    Protected sex is a good idea all the time, not just because of HIV or HPV, but because of every STD you can’t see, and pregnancy in the case of heterosexuals. I’m surprised to find men who are happy that they were circumcised as infants, just like I’m surprised to find girls who are happy to have their ears pierced as infants. I get that some people enjoy being circumcised, and some people like having pierced ears, and it’s nice not to remember the pain, but don’t you care about your bodily sovereignty? About your right to say what goes into or is taken away from your body? Don’t you deserve to make decisions about your sexual health on your own, when you’re old enough to even care about sex, without your parents or doctors pulling rank with the latest untested studies? This is an issue that women get to deal with all the time, and lucky you guys get to deal with it too. Step up for your rights. We ALL deserve better.

  • Dennis

    …lead to guys BECOMING promiscuous whores?!

    C’mon now, cut or uncut, hiv-, hiv+, or unsure of status, one thing we can all celebrate is that we are already free to be unapologetic ‘promiscuous whores’, or happily monogomous, or somewhere in between, making our own sexual rules and challenging the sex phobic, pleasure phobic bullshit which ‘infects’ far to much of humanity.

  • John Santos

    As we speak, in Africa HIV infections have risen because men who have had a circumcision are having unprotected sex because it is believed that the only way to heal the wound is to have sex–bleed it–of it’s impurities. Secondly, you are not officially a man until you have sex with your new circumcison. And of course, we have the men who believe what they have been told; circumcision is a protection against HIV and so they have unprotected sex. Very little attention is being paid to promoting condom use. That is the reality of selling circ and not condom use. As the years progress we will see a massive increase in HIV cases

  • Rick


    Dennis FTW!

  • SuperCat

    I still think that genital mutilation seems to be a little too extreme an “option” for the off chance that sometime in the future a man will have unprotected sex with an HIV positive woman.

  • Jamie

    I swear to God I thought that baby picture was Alan Chambers at first glance.

  • Michael

    CDC = Centers for Disease Control

    NOT Center.

  • M Shane

    No. 9 · SuperCat : there isn’t to much of an off chance in Africa. Also the chance of someone having anal sex with a male here is very high. Blood transmission.

  • Matt

    You know, if you cut everything off… balls and all then guys won’t even have a sex drive and hardly anyone will be at risk. I love how zealots promote things like circumcision instead of just realizing that contracting STDs really comes down to your own stupid behavior. It’s darwinism… survival of the fittest. If you participate in risky behavior, then you’re at a higher risk for contracting diseases. That’s no reason to punish everyone because you think you’re some crusader, saving everyone from themselves.

    I’m circumcised but wish it could have been my own decision… it’s mostly a one-way street and not so easy to go back to what I should have had. Of course here in America, it’s the land of everyone knows what best for everyone else. That’s why it’s so hard to do anything without breaking some law… for your own good of course. Everyone else knows what’s best for you but you can’t think for yourself. Maybe circumcision would help slow the spread of HIV in Africa… but even then is it truly worth it? The best I see is what the title of the article states… a false sense of security. Leave Africa alone… and the rest of us too.

  • Dogstar

    I find it interesting that the CDC would consider recommending circumcision, an elective surgery typically done without the consent of the patient, in order to possible prevent a disease that the male may perhaps contract one day. I don’t see the CDC recommending that female babies have their breasts removed at infancy. 12.7% of women will have breast cancer at some point in their lives and it would seem that full mastectomy at infancy would prevent this. Besides, what are breasts good for anyway? You can always buy formula at Walmart!

    Makes you wonder exactly who is driving these recommendations.

  • Restoring Tally

    “it will never be mandatory. It will only be a recommendation.”

    Excuse me, but the great number of brainless twits in the US consider them the same thing. Reading comments on some of the articles, many, many people believe that the recommendation is actually mandatory.

    Not to mention that the doctors and hospitals, who stand to make a LOT of money circumcising, will have an easier time convincing new parents to circumcise. So, effectively, a recommendation by the CDC is almost the same as making it mandatory.

    I really wished I had not been circumcised. Now that I have restored my foreskin (, I know what I have missed all those years before. We do not need to perpetuate this barbaric practice.

    As for guys becoming promiscuous whores, aren’t already? I mean, how could anyone tell the difference?

  • Frank OHara

    “it will never be mandatory. It will only be a recommendation.”

    I wouldn’t count on that! Until a court case in 1973, many hospitals in The US circumcised every baby boy before they were allowed to exit through the doors. Even after the court case, there are examples of doctors telling new parents that circumcison was required by law and they had to sign the consent papers. That is the nature of circumcision advocates. It’s not enough that they were circumcised and that their sons were circumcised. They want every boy circumcised.

    Since the internet and the ability of parents to share information, the circumcision rate in America has dropped drastically and there are those out there that are committed that all baby boys be circumcised. A falling circumcision rate is a threat to many as they will be put to task by their own sons to explain why their bodies were violated in such an intensely personal and private way.


  • Tommyz

    This is so sad. I echo the statements of all the above – but want to add – we seem to know nothing about science and our bodies. For years it was said the appendix had no function – now it turns out – oops wrong – it does some pretty valuable stuff. I think before we go cutting things out that millions of years of evolution decided to give us – we should be a bit more humble about our lack of knowledge.

    You know – there is still a large chance that the reason for all the Bee deaths is due to genetically engineered crops screwing up their immune systems. Nice. Once again we find “technology” solutions to problems caused by um…”technology”. Not for going back to the dark ages here – but a bit more humility from the CDC would be a nice thing.

  • Oliver

    Mutilation? Why would cutting off a part of someone’s body be considered mutilation?

  • MikenStL

    Ditto on agreeing with most of the above…. As far as genital warts (which thankfully I don’t have BTW), they can still be passed even with condom usage if they are located somewhere besides the shaft of the penis or vaginal canal. Any skin to skin contact, there are even genital to oral cases of transmission.

    So even if I thought my daughter (who has received the vaccine) would always use a condom for safer sex, I would still have her (or him) get the vaccine because I can’t see how having genital warts, even without the cervical cancer risk, would ever be a good thing.

  • rick

    “But Won’t Male Circumcision Lead to Guys Becoming Promiscuous Whores?”

    dumbest headline of the week. circumcision was used as an anti masturbation treatment in ages past.

  • 20yroldlibido

    I’m circumcised!

  • Everyone out there

    Stitching a woman’s vagina closed will also slow the spread of HIV. Maybe the CDC should “recommend” that too.

    Honestly Queerty, I think you deliberately write these stupid articles to get readers riled up. I’ve noticed a distinctive change of tone lately and it not a good thing. It seems that whoever writes these things has adopted a well-meaning but naive voice that comes across as uneducated and foolish.

    Do you really want us to think that it is no big deal for parents or doctors to make an irreversible decision about a child’s sexuality? We would never think of remove any part of a girl’s genitals on the off chance that she won’t be smart enough to use condoms.

    Queerty you need to be a better advocate. Instead of advocating for things because they sound good on paper, look a little deeper and make an educated decision.

  • romeo

    LMAO Circumcision was used to prevent masturbation?! Well, that was a waste of time. I know ’cause I’m circumcised. LOL Never felt mutilated either. Don’t know what the big deal is, frankly.

    Whatever, I’m really posting here ’cause I LOOOOVE that picture! LMAO

  • Don in Kansas

    I find the idea of circumcision reducing rates of HIV infection to be laughable. Back when the AIDS crisis first hit and folks were dying left and right, most American men were cut. Didn’t seem to slow things down then! I firmly believe that education and getting the idea across that using a condom ever time would do more to reduce infection rates more than anything else. Those of us old enough to remember the early days also remember how it was hammered into our heads to always use a condom and rates of infection did drop. But they seem to be going up again because we are complacent about condom usage and too many people think why bother, we now have drugs that will fix me if I get it. Changes in behavior will lower infection rates, not mutilating a baby boy’s dick!

  • Rendall Hall

    Why are so many gay men Jewish? Circumcision? There does seem to be a disproportionate number of men who are gay and Jewish, than the total population as a whole. Now, this doesn’t explain the diproportionate number of gay men who are left-handed. That is another theory related to left/right brain stuff. But as a Jewish left-handed cirumcised gay man, I masterbate a lot… with my right hand. But that may be because my left hand is up my ass. BTW:: I am HIV-. Go figure.

  • Marc

    One question. Why are we spending so much research time and money on such a ridiculous study? Okay, two questions. Shouldn’t the money and time go toward finding a cure for HIV and teaching about condoms and how to use one properly?

  • Amanda

    How about no one have sex until marriage like God intended. Problem solved! Have a nice day! :-P

  • Mats Birgersson

    In Uganda they ( Maria Waver and others from John Hopkins ) did not only look at
    the effect of HIV infection on men who where circumcised. Less where infected.
    But still they where recommending the use of condom. Because there is still 50 % chance to bee infected. And women having sex with circumcised men, whit HIV infection, was infected at a higher rate than women the had sex with uncircumcised, with HIV infection.
    So when condom is recommended so why circumcision.
    And why is the sexuele spreading of HIV among men less in Europe, most man have there foreskin intact, than in USA where most men have there foreskin taken away
    as babies?

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