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Basic Information

Male circumcision is the practice of removing some or all of the foreskin of a penis. This is often done for religious reasons, and is the norm for Islam and Judaism. Evidence of circumcision of males dates back into ancient Egypt and occurs in a variety of locations all over the planet (including some Native Australian tribes). Due to a number of psuedoscientific fads it was also briefly popular for non-religious reasons during the 20th century but has since declined.

"Female circumcision" also occurs - mostly in Islamic North Africa - but, as its alternative name of Female Genital Mutliation (or FGM) implies, tends to be a lot more drastic, often involving ablation of some or all the labia vulvae, ablation of the clitoral prepuce and/or external clitoris and the near complete stitching closed of the vulva.

Where performed for religious reasons, circumcision is often seen as a form of ritual purification - although some cultures use it as an initiation ordeal instead.

Some recent studies in Africa have suggested that circumcision will reduce the chances of men contracting AIDS, and the practice has seen an increase.

See Also

  • Dinah And The Shechemites - illuminates one of the downsides of circumcision
  • Lilith - she is said to prey on uncircumcised children. Perhaps on adults as well?



Game and Story Use

  • Some forms of magic make it easier to cast a spell on someone if you have something from their body. So maybe it is worth asking just where all those leftover foreskins end up…
    • Apart from in jokes about the Mohel's wallet you mean?
  • Consider the risks of "the trouser test" in a culture in which circumcision - or the lack of it - is highly significant. For example, try explaining to a group of SA Brownshirts that the fact that you are circumcised does not necessarily mean that you are "ein Judenschwien".
  • There is a growing movement in the developed world to label all forms of circumcision as child abuse - this is a lot less contraversial for FGM than it is for male circumcision, but the inherent difficulties of enforcement, as well as the dubious motives of some campaigners1 should give GMs who like a hard hitting campaign an idea or two.
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