Q. Aren't there more important things in the world? Most men agree that sex is one of the most important aspects of their lives. As the penis is the main instrument of male sexual activity it's hard to see how the casual removal of part of it cannot be one of the most pressing issues in the world today.
Q. I have been told being circumcised will prevent me from getting cancer of the penis or giving my partner cancer of the cervix.Is this true? No. Both these "old wives tales" have been completely disproved. More details and medical references.
Q. I was circumcised as an adult and I feel that my sex life was much improved. Why is that? If you were circumcised in the UK as an adult, you most probably went to your GP complaining of a problem with your foreskin that was casuing discomfort during intercourse. Faced with this situation many GPs will simply (and unnecessarily) refer men for circumcision, which generally relieves the discomfort and leaves the man enjoying a more comfortable sex life.
This does not mean that men with healthy foreskins would find their sex lives improved by circumcision; neither does it mean that your resulting sexual experience would not have been far better if your doctor had avoided circumcision and treated the problem conservatively.
In May 2002, a study by Kenneth Fink and his colleagues published in the Journal of Urology reported that adult circumcision appears to result in worsened erectile function, decreased penile sensitivity and that 38% of men circumcised as adults reported harm to sexual function. The subjects were men circumcised to solve various medical conditions, all of which would have had an adverse effect on the man's sexual experience before the operation, and most of which could have been treated without resorting to surgery.
Q. I was circumcised out of medical necessity, surely that's unavoidable? NORM-UK has discovered over the years that many doctors are flippant about circumcision, and some are too keen to refer the patient at the earliest opportunity . We have discovered that "medical" circumcision rates vary widely across the country  and that at least 5 studies [3-8] have shown that two thirds of therapeutic circumcisions conducted by the NHS are unnecessary. If you're a man circumcised in the UK to resolve a medical issue, we estimate there is a 90% chance [8,9] that you could have kept your foreskin by using some cream or doing some stretching exercises for a few weeks. It would at least have been worth a try.
[1. Based upon enquiries received regularly by NORM-UK from intact men whose GPs have suggested or recommended circumcision.
2.Survey conducted by NORM-UK in January 1999.
3. Griffiths DM, Frank JD. Inappropriate Circumcision Referrals by GPs. J Royal Soc Medicine. 1992; 85:324-325.
4. Rickwood AMK, Walker J. Is Phimosis Overdiagnosed and are Too Many Circumcisions Performed as a Result?. Ann Royal Coll Surg Engl. 1989; 71:275-7.
5. Williams N, Chell J, Kapila L. Why are children referred for circumcision? (letter). BMJ. 1993; 306:28.
6. Farshi Z, Atkinson KR, Squire R. A study of clinical opinion and practice regarding circumcision. Arch Dis Child. 2000; 83:393-6.
7.Huntley JS, Bourne MC, Munro FD, Wilson-Storey D. Troubles with the foreskin: one hundred consecutive referrals to paediatric surgeons. J Royal Soc Medicine. 2003; 96(9):449-51 (ND002508).
8. Concern over this has been recorded by the House of Commons Health Committee: Hospital services for children and young people, House of Commons Health Committee, 128-I, 1997.
9. Van Howe R. What is "phimosis?" http://www.cirp.org/library/treatment/phimosis/ (further refs on web page)
10. Rickwood AMK, Kenny SE, Donnell SC. Towards evidence based circumcision of English boys: survey of trends in practice. BMJ 2000;321:792-793. http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/321/7264/792]
Q. I've seen other websites promoting male circumcision, who do I believe? NORM-UK recommends evaluating all health websites against the Health on the Net (HON) code of medical ethics. In particular pay attention to the identities and qualifications of those providing medical information, and information about who is paying for the website - what are they getting out of it in return? Additionally look for reference to statements made by respected medical authorities, such as the British Medical Association (BMA).
Q. Is opposition to circumcision racist? No. Circumcision is a surgical procedure that can be performed on men and women of all races and religions and is done for a variety of reasons, some of them cultural or religious. NORM-UK was originally formed to address the unnecessary medical circumcisions being performed in British hospitals. However, we were later joined by members circumcised for religious or cultural reasons who wished to extend the campaign to their own communities. NORM-UK is a multi-cultural organisation that believes in equality and respect for all men, women and children. We do not tolerate any use of the circumcision issue as a pretext for attacking specific religious and cultural groups, and we have policies in place to protect the organisation from being misused by anyone who might wish to further such an agenda.
Within this context, opposition to male circumcision can be no more racist than opposition to female circumcision, which is also practised for religious and cultural reasons and yet is completely illegal in many countries, including the UK.
Q. Many men say they are happy about having been circumcised, why don't you feature them? If they are happy then they have no problem, and in any case their views are already well known. It is clearly ridiculous to suggest, as some do, that every circumcised man should share the same feelings on the subject. NORM-UK represents men who dislike having been circumcised, and who wish to make it known that they are unhappy so that future generations can be allowed to make a properly informed choice as adults.
Q. Shouldn't it be up to individuals to choose whether they want to be circumcised or not? It most certainly should. However NORM-UK has a considerable number of members who were circumcised as adults without, they believe, being fully informed of the possible implications beforehand. Other members who were circumcised as children because their parents or doctors wished it, believe that parents should not have the right to consent to irreversible surgery upon their children unless there is an immediate medical need.
A child left alone is able to make an informed choice about circumcision when he is an adult. A circumcised child is left with no choice at all.
Q. What do the letters NORM stand for? For NORM-UK they do not really stand for anything. At NORM in the USA the letters stand for "National Organisation of Restoring Men". NORM-UK was originally formed with along similar lines and adopted a similar name. However, NORM-UK's principal activites go far beyond foreskin restoration and therefore the acronym is not really appropriate; NORM-UK is just a name.
Registered Charity No. 1072831
Patrons: Prof. Jack Cohen, Alan Cumming and Brian Sewell