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Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma

Without much knowledge, the American public generally assumes that our cultural practice of circumcision is a trivial and benign procedure. As discussed in CIRCUMCISION: THE HIDDEN TRAUMA, plain facts and recent research results conflict with these beliefs and raise questions. Dr. Goldman’s application of psychological and social research coherently explains both the tenacity of the practice and the contradictory information and beliefs about it.


1. Infant Development and Response to Circumcision

Changing Views of Infants; Sensory Response; Other Abilities and Qualities; Pain Response During Circumcision; Behavioral Response Following Circumcision; Comments from Professionals

2. Why Parents and Physicians Choose to Circumcise Infant

Mental Factors; Emotional Factors; Male Attitudes Toward Choosing Circumcision; Behavioral Factors; Communication Factors; Language Factors; Defense Mechanisms

3. Social and Cultural Factors Perpetuating Circumcision in America

Historical Context; Circumcision in Other Countries; Sexuality, Denial, and Normality; Conformity; Female Genital Mutilation; Science, Medicine, and Cultural Values

4. Long-Term Psychological Effects of Circumcision

I. Early Trauma and Memory Reasons for Lack of Investigation; Birth as Trauma in Psychoanalysis; Infant Neurological Development and Memory Capability; Clinical Experience with Body-Oriented Therapies and Research on Birth Impact; More Reports of Perinatal Memories; Circumcision Memories; Circumcision as Trauma; Circumcision of Older Children

5. Long-Term Psychological Effects of Circumcision

II. Adult Emotional Impact Men’s Attitudes Toward Their Own Circumcision; Psychological Impact of Circumcision on Men; Body Image, Self-Esteem, and Shame; Neurological Effects; Discovering Circumcision; Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Related to Circumcision; Sex-Related Effects of Circumcision

6. Circumcision and the Mother-Child Relationship

Maternal Anxiety; Mother-Infant Interaction; Loss of Trust; Mothers Who Observed Circumcision

7. The Impact of Circumcision on American Society

Effects of Low Male Self-Esteem; Avoidance of Intimacy in Male-Female Relationships; Unnecessary Surgery; Control of Female Sexuality; Attitudes Toward Pain and Stimulation; Passivity; Reduced Empathy; Antisocial Behaviors; Interrelationships of Social Problems; Warfare

8. The Lessons of Circumcision

Infants Are Real People; Circumcision Trauma and Effects on Adults; Circumcision and Disrupted Bonding; American Motivation to Circumcise; Science and Medicine; Ethics and Medicine; Cultural and Social Perspectives; Hope for Healing

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