Marilyn Milos

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Marilyn Milos : biography

March 22, 1940 –

Marilyn Fayre Milos (born March 22, 1940) is the founder and director of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC), a genital integrity organization which opposes the genital modification of children.

Milos’s view of circumcision

Milos, who opposes non-therapeutic circumcision of children, bases part of her argument on the fact that the foreskin protects the glans from friction and abrasion throughout life."Marilyn Milos and Donna Macris note that some have claimed that the foreskin provides a protective covering for the glans, making the uncircumcised penis more sensitive during sexual activity." Stephen Garrard Post, ed., Encyclopedia of Bioethics, 5 vols (3rd edition; New York: MacMillan Reference, 2004), vol. 1, p. 422; see also Morris L. Sorrells, James L. Snyder, Mark D. Reiss, Christopher Eden, Marilyn F. Milos, Norma Wilcox, Robert S. Van Howe, "Fine-touch Pressure Thresholds in the Adult Penis," British Journal of Urology, vol. 99 (2007), no. 4, pp. 864-869. She also believes that circumcision of infants should be seen as a human rights issue:

Only by denying the existence of excruciating pain, perinatal encoding of the brain with violence, interruption of maternal-infant bonding, betrayal of infant trust, the risks and effects of permanently altering normal genitalia, the right of human beings to sexually intact and functional bodies, and the right to individual religious freedoms can human beings continue this practice.Marilyn Fayre Milos, Donna Macris, "Circumcision: A Medical or a Human Rights Issue?" Journal of Nurse-Midwifery, vol. 37 (1992), no. 2, sup. 1, pp. S87-S96; see also Andy Coghlan, "Male Circumcision: A Contentious Cut," New Scientist, vol. 192, no. 2579 (23 November 2006), pp. 8-9.

Awards and recognition

In 1990, Milos was honored by the California Nurses Association for her "unwandering commitment to righting a wrong." She received NurseWeek magazine’s Nursing Excellence 2001 Patient Advocacy Award.


Milos is the co-editor of the following books:

  • George C. Denniston, Marilyn Fayre Milos, eds, Sexual Mutilations: A Human Tragedy (New York: Plenum Press, 1997), ISBN 0-306-45589-7
  • George C. Denniston, Frederick Mansfield Hodges, Marilyn Fayre Milos, eds, Male and Female Circumcision: Medical, Legal, and Ethical Considerations in Pediatric Practice (New York: Kluwer Academic / Plenum, 1999), ISBN 0-306-46131-5
  • George C. Denniston, Frederick Mansfield Hodges, Marilyn Fayre Milos, eds, Understanding Circumcision: A Multi-Dimensional Approach to a Multi-Dimensional Problem (New York: Kluwer Academic / Plenum, 2001), ISBN 0-306-46701-1
  • George C. Denniston, Frederick Mansfield Hodges, Marilyn Fayre Milos, eds, Flesh and Blood: Perspectives on the Problem of Circumcision in Contemporary Society (New York: Kluwer Academic / Plenum, 2004), ISBN 0-306-48333-5
  • George C. Denniston, Pia Grassivaro Gallo, Frederick Mansfield Hodges, Marilyn Fayre Milos, Franco Viviani, eds., Bodily Integrity and the Politics of Circumcision: Culture, Controversy, and Change (New York: Springer Science, 2006), ISBN 978-1-4020-4915-6
  • George C. Denniston, Frederick Mansfield Hodges, Marilyn Fayre Milos, eds, Circumcision and Human Rights (New York: Springer Science: 2009), ISBN 978-1-4020-9166-7
  • George C. Denniston, Frederick Mansfield Hodges, Marilyn Fayre Milos, eds, Genital Autonomy: Protecting Personal Choice (New York: Springer Science, 2010), ISBN 978-90-481-9445-2

Early life

Born in San Mateo, California, and professionally trained as a registered nurse, Milos started campaigning against circumcision with nurses and parents in 1979. The spark for her activism was an experience at a newborn nursery, where she had been instructed to attend a circumcision of an infant boy.Marilyn Fayre Milos, "Infant Circumcision: What I Wish I Had Known," Truth Seeker, vol. 1, no. 3 (July-August 1989), p. 3. In 1985, when she was working as a nurse on an obstetrical service, Milos was dismissed by the hospital administration for insubordination. In the same year, she founded NOCIRC.Leonard B. Glick, Marked in Your Flesh: Circumcision from Ancient Judea to Modern America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 4.


According to Michael and David Benatar, "[Milos’s] argument begs the question. It assumes that circumcision disfigures and injures. Yet this is exactly what is in dispute in debates about whether circumcision constitutes mutilation."Michael Benatar, David Benatar, "Between Prophylaxis and Child Abuse: The Ethics of Neonatal Circumcision," in: David Benatar, ed., Cutting to the Core: Exploring the Ethics of Contested Surgeries (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006), pp. 23-46; here p. 24. Louis J. Kern feels her view of sexual matters is "angry, confrontational, emotionally exploitative, and sensationalist."Louis J. Kern, "Venus Envy–Penis Envy: Aesthetic Autoplasty, Genital Reconstruction, and Erotic Embodiment," in: Heinz Tschachler, Maureen Devine, Michael Draxlbauer, eds., The EmBodyment of American Culture (American Studies in Australia; Münster: LIT Verlag, 2003), pp.43-58; here p. 45. Bernhard Ohanian, writing in 1986, claims that "Jews are quick to see undertones of anti-Semitism" in Milos’s arguments.Bernhard Ohanian, "Primal Cut: The Fight over Circumcision," Mother Jones, vol. 11, no. 111 (April-May 1986), pp. 24-28; here p. 28; see also Eric Kline Silverman, From Abraham to America: A History of Jewish Circumcision (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006), pp. 190-191.