A Collection of Information Resources for Expectant Parents
The introduction of child circumcision in the 19th century was an attempt
to prevent what was seen at the time as child sex abuse.
The current fascination many Americans have with child sexual pleasure isn't new. In the 1800's, the focus was on self abuse (masturbation). Many Americans of that time believed fervently in the evil curses that would befall any child who experienced sexual pleasure, no matter whether it was from the child's own hand or someone else's. Consider the following three historical references quoted from J. Bigelow's The Joy of Uncircumcising:
"By about 1880 the individual... might wish [to]... tie, chain,
or infibulate sexually active children... to adorn them with grotesque
appliances, encase them in plaster, leather, or rubber, to frighten
or even castrate them... masturbation insanity was now real enough--it
was affecting the medical profession." Circumcision: The Painful Dilemma.
Dr. E.J. Spratling prescribed in 1895 the method of circumcision as it is still practiced on children in US hospitals today.
"To obtain the best results one must cut away enough skin and mucous
membrane to rather put it on the stretch when erections come later. There
must be no play in the skin after the wound has thoroughly healed, but it
must fit tightly over the penis, for should there be any play the patient will
be found to readily resume his practice not begrudging the time and extra
energy required to produce the orgasm... We may not be sure that we
have done away with the possibility of masturbation, but we may feel
confident that we have limited it to within the danger lines." --E.J. Spratling, MD.
Here is an example of what another sexophobic American doctor had to say about masturbation in 1903: