Does Female Genital Mutilation Have Health Benefits? The Problem with Medicalizing Morality

By Brian D. Earp (@briandavidearp) * Please note: this piece was originally published in Quillette Magazine.     Four members of the Dawoodi Bohra sect of Islam living in Detroit, Michigan have recently been indicted on charges of female genital mutilation (FGM). This is the first time the US government has prosecuted an “FGM” case since a federal law was passed in […]

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Treatment of Premature Ejaculation: Alleviating Sexual Dysfunction, Disease Mongering, or Both?

by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp) An interesting new paper, “Distress, Disease, Desire: Perspectives on the Medicalization of Premature Ejaculation,” has just been published online at the Journal of Medical Ethics. According to the authors, Ylva Söderfeldt, Adam Droppe, and Tim Ohnhäuser, their aim is to “question the very concept of premature ejaculation and ask whether it […]

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How to Keep HIV Cure-Related Trials Ethical: The Benefit/Risk Ratio Challenge

Guest Post by Nir Eyal Re: Special Issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics on the ethics and challenges of an HIV cure For most patients with HIV who have access to antiretroviral treatment and use it properly, that treatment works well. But the holy grail of HIV research remains finding a cure. Sometimes that […]

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Sex and Other Sins: Public Morality, Public Health, and Funding PrEP

Guest Post by Nathan Emmerich In the UK, a recent high-court decision[1] has reignited the debate about whether or not Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) should be provided to those who are deemed to be at high-risk of contracting HIV.[2] Despite the fact that NHS England is now appealing,[3] it was a fairly innocuous decision: having suggested […]

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In Praise of Ambivalence: “Young” Feminism, Gender Identity, and Free Speech

By Brian D. Earp (@briandavidearp) * Note: this article was first published online at Quillette magazine. Introduction Alice Dreger, the historian of science, sex researcher, activist, and author of a much-discussed book of last year, has recently called attention to the loss of ambivalence as an acceptable attitude in contemporary politics and beyond. “Once upon a time,” she writes, “we […]

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Circumcision and Sexual Function: Bad Science Reporting Misleads Parents

by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp) Introduction Another day, another round of uncritical media coverage of an empirical study about circumcision and sexual function. That’s including from the New York Times, whose Nicholas Bakalar has more or less recycled the content of a university press release without incorporating any skeptical analysis from other scientists. That’s par for […]

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Should Doctors Perform “Minor” Forms of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as a Compromise to Respect Culture?

by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp), with a separate guest post by Robert Darby A small surgical “nick” to a girl’s clitoris or other purportedly minimalist procedures on the vulvae of young women and girls should be legally permitted, argue two gynecologists this week in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Their proposal is offered as a “compromise” […]

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Controversial Views on “FGM”

by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp), with a separate guest post by Matthew Johnson Even the term is controversial. Female genital mutilation/FGM? Many women from societies that practice such traditional initiation rites find the term offensive. Female genital alteration? But that could refer to a wide range of procedures, including some that might be medically advised. Female […]

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1 in 4 Women: How the Latest Sexual Assault Statistics Were Turned into Click Bait by the New York Times

by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp) * Note: this article was originally published at the Huffington Post. Introduction As someone who has worked on college campuses to educate men and women about sexual assault and consent, I have seen the barriers to raising awareness and changing attitudes. Chief among them, in my experience, is a sense of skepticism–especially […]

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Prostitution, Harm, and Disability: Should Only People with Disabilities be Allowed to Pay for Sex?

By Brian D. Earp Introduction Is prostitution harmful? And if it is harmful, should it be illegal to buy (or sell) sexual services? And if so, should there ever be any exceptions? What about for people with certain disabilities—say—who might find it difficult or even impossible to find a sexual partner if they weren’t allowed […]

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