Recently, Forbes ran an article alleging that thousands of men including JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon have been getting throat cancer in epidemic proportions due to HPV.
But it’s very possible that Dimon has been swept up, along with thousands of other men, by an increasingly common disease: throat cancer caused by infection with the human papilloma virus, or HPV.
“It wouldn’t be unusual,” says Eric Genden, chief of head and neck oncology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. “This is an epidemic.”
How do you get HPV cancer? HPV is sexually transmitted. It’s mainly known as a cause of cervical cancer, which is what happens when it infects women. But men can get it by performing cunnilingus. It’s also possible, though less likely, that it can be transmitted by kissing. Eighty percent of sexually active people between the ages of 14 and 44 have had oral sex with an opposite sex partner. Researchers estimate that HPV throat cancer in men will be more common than cervical cancer in women in the U.S.
Jamie Dimon wouldn’t be the first to get throat cancer through oral sex. Last year, actor Michael Douglas said his throat cancer was also caused by HPV.
Asked whether he now regretted his years of smoking and drinking, usually thought to be the cause of the disease, Douglas replied: “No. Because without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV [human papillomavirus], which actually comes about from cunnilingus.”
Thousands of men are dying each year from infected female genitals. And not just any men—Forbes describes these men as “men at the peak of their lives and professional power”—or as we like to call them, alpha males. These aren’t just men who are sexually attractive to large numbers of women, but the ones most attentive to the sexual pleasure of their female partners. Truly our best and brightest. How can we stop this “epidemic” from claiming their lives?
I offer a modest proposal: female circumcision.
Female circumcision would remove all the the genital tissue associated with STD transmission when oral sex is performed on a woman, creating a smooth keratinized surface free from cancer spreading bodily fluids. While it may seem like an extreme measure, here are a few reasons we need to begin circumcising women in America:
We Already Cut One Gender To Protect Another
There is historical precedent for cutting the genitals of one gender to protect another from STD transmissions, and specifically HPV transmission. In 1954, researcher Ernest Wynder suggested that smegma found in men’s foreskins was causing cervical cancer in their partners. (It was later discovered his research subjects were not sexually educated enough to know if they or their partners were circumcised.) Though there is a link between cervical cancer and HPV, the link between circumcision and cervical cancer was later disproved, but not before becoming such a strong cultural meme that many doctors still use this myth to justify cutting men’s genitals.
Smegma was thought to be behind STD transmission in intact men. Smegma is of course a naturally occurring lubricant secreted by the genitals of both men and women, thought to have bacteria killing functions. The word smegma comes from the Greek word for soap. When a woman gets wet, her body is producing smegma. Women naturally produce more smegma than men, and any man who performs oral sex on a woman probably swallows some of her smegma. If smegma spreads STDs —and in particular HPV—and women have more smegma than men, then it is imperative we begin circumcising women as quickly as possible to protect men from this public health threat.
The AAP Has Already Supported Female Circumcision
In 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a policy statement which stated that pediatricians should be allowed to perform a “ritual nick” on girls genitals for immigrant parents who come from cultures that circumcise women. The policy statement said that since pediatricians already perform the significantly more invasive procedure of male circumcision, they should be allowed to draw blood from the genitals of little girls to satisfy the demands of parents.
However, the ritual nick suggested by some pediatricians is not physically harmful and is much less extensive than routine newborn male genital cutting. There is reason to believe that offering such a compromise may build trust between hospitals and immigrant communities, save some girls from undergoing disfiguring and life-threatening procedures in their native countries, and play a role in the eventual eradication of FGC.
The AAP policy quickly retracted their policy due to outcry from anti-FGC (Female Genital Cutting) groups and Intact America, but if “because parents want it” is sufficient reason for a national American medical organization to pull down a little girls pants and driving a sharp object into her clitoris, saving the lives of our best and brightest cunnilinguists is a good enough reason to reopen the debate.
We Used To Practice Female Circumcision In America
Female circumcision wasn’t outlawed until 1996. As Patricia Robinett, a woman circumcised by the American medical system, details in her book The Rape of Innocence: Female Genital Mutiliation & Circumcision in the USA female circumcision used to common enough in the United States to be covered by Blue Cross Shield and other medical insurance companies. Playgirl actually ran an article in the 1970s suggesting female circumcision might increase female sexual pleasure.
It Would Bring Greater Gender Equality
The United States is spending millions of dollars in grant money to circumcise Africans to prevent HIV, based on research that has been called both ethically and scientifically questionable. Shouldn’t women get some of that grant money too? Men get 100% of the genital cutting in America, and women get none. It’s time to change that. Female circumcision shouldn’t just be legal, it should be federally subsidized like birth control. Women should be in the streets protesting religious groups that refuse to pay for their employees female circumcision. It is our duty to support women in whatever they need to express their sexuality, including removing parts of their sex to make the sex they have safe sex.
Activists against male genital cutting say that condoms already prevent HIV transmission better than any surgery. While that may be true of the penis, who uses a dental dam when going down on a woman? Anyone? As comedian Patrice O’Neal humorously notes most women shame men who try to use protection when going down on a woman. Men are so thirsty, they will literally drink cancer before risk offending their female partners.
It’s time to make sex safe again. It’s time for equality. It’s time for female circumcision.
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