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8
Jan

Circumcision – Is it Necessary?

by Tiffany in Birth & Baby, Health & Healing

Here I go getting all controversial again. ;) I don’t think I have ever talked about this subject in depth before..other than to say I am opposed to circumcision. But this article about how Denmark is considering a ban on circumcision got my attention.

I have strong feelings on this issue. It is medically unnecessary and it is traumatic for baby boys so I don’t/won’t do it. Well, scratch that… actually I can’t say that I have always felt this way. Let’s just say that when I had my first boy over 11 years ago I did not feel one way or the other about circumcision. I based my decision then on the incredibly dumb idea that my son should look like his father or the other boys in the locker room. I now see it is like having my 7 year old daughter go through a nose job or the like so that she can fit in. The idea of a surgical “vanity” procedure on a baby now seems outrageous to me but I didn’t always think so. I didn’t “think” about it at all and that is a shame. And no this is not the same as a cleft palate surgery or a surgery to repair a heart defect…I am talking about a completely NORMAL, functioning body part.

Most all health arguments in favor of circumcision have been debunked. If there are any medical benefits they are tiny…like better hygiene or a the small chance that it may be harder for them to contract STDs. Both of these issues can be resolved with education from the parental units so no need to go cutting off our body parts for that silliness. I believe that the American Academy of Pediatrics now admits that circumcision is an unnecessary procedure. Many insurance companies are no longer covering this procedure either since the medical community has by and large declared it has no medical benefit.

Of course there is also the religious aspect but I find that bogus too. Not religion…just the argument that the pursuit of religious freedom should entail being able to mutilate a human being. Most people feel that female circumcision is heinous and wrong on all levels. There are many organizations that are fighting to stop this monstrous practice and they come up against the religion argument all the time. But I don’t think the religion of the people in Africa should give them a pass to take an eight year old girl and cut off her genitals. Do you? Well, it doesn’t make a difference if it is a boy or a girl. It is cutting off a portion of a very sensitive, sexual organ without any consideration of the child’s wishes and many times without any consideration for pain. Yes, male circumcision is often done without ANY pain medication.

Last year I watched a video at COSI of a circumcision and if you have never seen one actually performed… let me tell you it is one of the most disgusting things I ever saw. I think all parents should be made to sit and watch it if they are considering this procedure. I wish I had seen it 11 years ago.

I won’t even go into the argument that one looks better than the other. It goes back to my nose job argument. Is cutting into your baby so they can meet your standards of beauty acceptable?

On the other hand, foreskin does have a purpose.

The foreskin has three known functions: protective, sensory, and sexual.

During infancy, the foreskin is attached to the glans and protects it from urine, feces, and abrasions from diapers. Throughout life, the foreskin keeps the glans soft and moist and protects it from trauma and injury. Without this protection, the glans becomes dry, calloused, and desensitized from exposure and chafing.

Ultimately I think circumcision is a personal choice that the individual who OWNS that body part should have a say in. They should get to decide if “looks” or the risk of STDs or religious standards, are worth that sacrifice. Here is to keeping our boys in tact and letting them decide. They are worth it.

You may also want to read: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision: Untold Facts on America’s Most Widely Performed-and Most Unnecessary-Surgery

Also Natural Family Living: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Parenting has a chapter on this subject and why natural, attached parents are saying NO.

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

71 Comments

  • http://wiredfornoise.com Summer

    Thanks for writing about this too! I’ve read that the rates of circumcision keeps dropping steadily, hopefully the more parents speak out against it the more the rates will decline.

  • http://www.journeyfarjourneynear.blogspot.com/ Gretchen

    We did not circ our oldest son but had no choice with our youngest two since we adopted them. They were both circ’ed. I totally agree with your post. Thanks for writing about it!

  • Katie

    Thanks for your opinion and the information! This was a great post, even if there are those out there that don’t agree with you.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Caroline

    Thank you for writing about this! The more we talk about it, the quicker it will end. And you are right, the American Academy of Pediatrics stopped recommending it in 1999. No medical organization in the world recommends routine infant circumcision, actually, not even in Israel. The best thing we can do right now is pressure Medicaid programs in our state to discontinue funding it. 16 states have made this transition- read this for more info

    http://www.coloradonocirc.org/files/handouts/Medicaid_and_Circumcision.pdf

  • Bucky

    Thanks for writing about this. I agree with you completely. As parents, we don’t own our children’s bodies. We are responsible for taking care of them. That doesn’t include chopping their flesh to make ourselves feel better.

    There was a lengthy discussion of this over at Crunchy Chicken’s site recently. I was happily surprised to see that the majority of people were anti-circumcisoin. Those that favored it generally fell into three groups: (1) the look like daddy group, (2) the foreskins are icky group, and (3) the religious fanatics.

    It was the religious people that I found most disturbing, because they firmly believed that their god required them to cut up their children to prove their own religious devotion. As you point out, hiding behind religion and culture is exactly the same sad excuse given by people who practice female genital mutilation. It is no less valid when applied to males.

    I have no problem with adult men or women who want to alter their own bodies. Pierce it, tattoo it, fill it with silicone, cut parts off … do what you want. But you have no right to do that to another human being. None. No excuses whatsoever.

    I’d say that if your religion or culture demands that you take a knife to your child, you need to step back and reevaluate.

  • Mindy

    I am SO with you on this one. Both of my sons are circumcised—not because I wanted it but because I couldn’t take the unceasing insistence from their father—and I regret it totally. In fact, my stepdad is a public health expert and I had all the facts and still I let myself be dissuaded. Everyone should see a video or witness a circumcision before considering it. I said that if they had to look like daddy I would hold them through the procedures, and HOLY F**K was it hard to watch. They SCREAMED. They got a shot in the penis for pain (not no shot for the shot), and then they shoved the instrument in, separated the glans from the foreskin, and cut around the metal circle like you’d give a kid a haircut with a bowl. Of course it was professional and healed fine, but I was SO pissed that my husband didn’t even come to watch. I think he’d have listened better when I assured him that at least half our friends are choosing to stop this practice. I mean honestly, how self-contained do we have to be to see that we are a tiny part of the world’s population who have decided to rip out what has been working perfectly fine throughout evolution, and was in fact designed by it. Ask any animal. They’ve got foreskins. Et voila.

  • Rhonda

    Wonderful post Tiffany! We didn’t circumcise our son either. I gave it a lot of thought while pregnant and interviewed pediatricians and that was one of the major criteria I used to pick a doc. I chose one who not only supported our decision not to circumcise but who knew how to care for an uncircumcised penis and who didn’t even circumcise her own son!

    I am very passionate about this. I am so glad to see others agreeing. We moved and switched docs in the last year and our new doc sent me to a pediatric urologist b/c he was convinced our son should be cut since he hasn’t started to retract at age 5. The PU just said our son was fine and it will happen when it happens and it’s extremely rare to intervene with nature. He said I knew all that I needed to know to take care of my son.

  • http://mostlynaturalmomma.com Momma

    I find your article to be a little one-sided and not fully giving all the facts. I think that there are definitely some stupid reasons to have a boy circumcised, but the fact is there are some medical reasons why is should be done.Now, that being said, most boys that get circumcised for “medical reasons” don’t really need it done. Parents need to be more informed. Too many parents do things just because the doctor said to or because it is considered the norm. But your article doesn’t really consider the parents who have to make the excruciating decision to do something they don’t want to do for medical reasons.

    And while I am not one of them, there are some cultures and religions that do this because of what they believe. Just because we don’t agree with them, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t respect their belief religion and belief. You addressed only one fanatic religious group in your post, but failed to mention the ones that love their children and their god and are only trying to do what they think is right. As parents, that is what we do. Just like you, the are doing what they think is right.

    And I am not for the government banning something or telling me that I must do something. We have already had to switch pediatricians more than once because they are starting to require vaccinations. If we let the government start banning and requiring things, we only give them more wiggle room for the future.

  • Amber

    Circumcision is definitely a personal choice on the PARENT’S behalf. I think that it is truly unfortunate that you are questioning whether or not people have their children’s best interest at heart. Perhaps you feel strongly about this issue because of your reasoning for having this done to your son. As you stated above, their is some medical benefit to cirumcision however small it may be. You yourself just said that you didn’t originally feel one way or the other about this. How many parents do you think had this done feeling like/and perhaps still feeling like this was the best decision for them? The mere fact that you make a comparison to female mutilation is truly appalling. This act (FGC) is heinous and should be noted as such. However, the reason behind this act is not for cleanliness, but primarily done to terminate or reduce feelings of sexual arousal in women so that they will be much less likely to engage in pre-marital intercourse or adultery. This is done in a non-medical facility, girls between the ages of 5 and 8 are forced to have this done, they use razor blades, knives and scissors, and the side affects include: hemorrhage, shock, painful scars, keloid formation, labial adherences, clitoral cysts, chronic urinary infection, and chronic pelvic infections. FCG can be deemed as traumatic and extreme. However, how you felt that these two were comparible is beyond me. I agree that the vanity aspect of circumcision is silly and superficial. Absolutely accept your child as he is. And yes, giving your 4 yr old daughter a nose job is silly. But what if your child was born with a cleft palate? While there are recquired surgeries due to reasons beyond cosmetics, there are some cosmetic issues that arise. Should we wait until they are old enough to decide whether or not this is something they want done? Or perhaps we should wait until they are old enough to let us know whether or not they want to be vaccinated, seeing as how these too are painful. (I’m not a vaccine fan, just making a comparison to the non-anesthetic aspect) We are living in a time where we are constantly gaining new information. So maybe circumcision falls into the category of “unneccessary,” but don’t sound off in a way where you make others feel like their choice wasn’t/isn’t good enough. And please don’t make a comparison to intentional mutilation. Give people the resources they need to make their own educated decisions. Leave your “holier than thou” attitude behind.

  • Marilyn

    Glad to see some people have educated themselves before making such a decision as the procedure is totally unnecessary & purely cosmetic. Both of my boys are intact and have had no problems.

    Here is a great website my husband and I stumbled across while doing our research.
    http://www.ksnocirc.org

  • Deborah

    If I can add a spin on the ‘religious’ argument…I don’t think God would have created foreskins if they were meant to be removed…

  • Bucky

    @momma: failed to mention the ones that love their children and their god and are only trying to do what they think is right

    I don’t think that anyone is questioning anyone’s love for their children or their deity. It isn’t a question of love — it is a question of right and wrong. Unfortunately, people’s love for their deity of choice can often lead to some very wrong actions. No one doubts that the suicide bombers aren’t devoted to their notion of god and what that requires. They obviously love their god a great deal. But that love doesn’t make their actions ethical. It isn’t about love.

    Parents that mutilate their girls do it out of love and devotion. They want their children to be able to fit in to their group.Their god requires it. Not cutting up their little girls would be to exclude them from society and from eternal life in heaven.

    Doesn’t make it right. And we all can agree on that.

    But too many people are happy to give our own culture a pass when we mutilate little boys for the very same reasons. Because it is the normal, culturally accepted thing to do here.

    And to those who say that FGM is worse than MGM, let me just point out that the goal of both is the same: reduce sexual sensation/pleasure without interfering with reproductive function.

    Parents have no right to cut up their children to satisfy some personal religious/cultural belief of their own. If their god requires a sacrifice of flesh, they can offer their own.

  • Bucky

    @amber: Circumcision is definitely a personal choice on the PARENT’S behalf.

    I’ll agree with you, but only if the parents are deciding to mutilate their own genitalia. They have no right to cut up their kids out of some misplaced religious belief. The exact same holds true for Christian Scientists and Scientologists who withhold needed medical care from their children because it goes against their own religious belief. (And why is it that two of the most anti-science, anti-rational religious sects have the word science in their name? Don’t we have truth in advertising laws?)

    We as a society no longer believe that children — or women — are property that is owned. We rightly limit parental rights in many ways. Parents can’t beat their kids, or rape them, or put them into forced labor, sell them, starve them. They are required as well to educate them, provide for basic needs, provide medical care. Many things that were acceptable in the past are no longer allowed. It is time we added male genital mutilation to that list.

    The mere fact that you make a comparison to female mutilation is truly appalling.

    No, what is truly appalling is all the women who keep telling me that MGM is no big deal. It is often compared to getting an ear pierced. Sorry, but no. When you have a penis and foreskin, then you can weigh in on the discussion of how it isn’t really a big issue and isn’t a problem for boys. I feel the exact same about men who argue that female circumcision isn’t bad for girls. You seem well versed on the problems associated with FGM, but there are serious problems with MGM as well. Just because the majority of MGMs (just like the majority of FGMs) don’t result in serious medical problems doesn’t mean there are very serious risks associated with the procedure. What is appalling is your apparent ease with minimizing those risks because our culture deems them acceptable.

    As for making people uncomfortable with the choices they have made about circumcising their boys, all I can say is that they should be uncomfortable. I’m glad to see that Tiffany has revisited her decision and realized that it was the wrong one to make. That is an incredibly brave thing to do. Most parents don’t have that sort of courage. I’m not interested in making people feel badly for just for the fun of it. I’m interested in changing peoples attitudes about mutilating our children. It needs to stop. It is wrong. Always. If that makes some people uncomfortable, I see it as a small price to pay for stopping the mutilation.

  • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

    Amber,

    We disagree on whether or not it should be a parent’s choice. In this day and age whe it has been declared by the medical community as purely cosmetic and unnecessary then I see it as being the exact same as getting your infant a nose job on a perfectly normal nose. This is not the same as a cleft palate. That would be an abnormal development and I can fully see why a parent would choose cosmetic surgery. Circumicision is not the same thing at all unless the child has some sort of deformity. But I am not talking about unusual or rare cases.

    I wasn’t really comparing FGM to MGM other than to show how religious ideals shouldn’t give us a free pass. But barring the location and the extent of the surgery they are the EXACT same procedure. Arguments otherwise just show how society embraces one and not the other and somehow that is all the rationale most people need….doesn’t make it right.

    I still remember the sobbing mass of tears the nurses brought back to me after my son’s circ procedure. I remember the swollen, weaping wound and how he would cry when he peed for days afterward. It will haunt me forever how I allowed them to hurt him for no good reason. I didn’t write this post to be holier than thou..I wrote it to share my deep regret and all the reasons why moms CAN just say no.

  • http://www.naturalmomsblog.com Lexi

    I agree that circumcision is a personal choice. However, it is not a choice for the parents to make, but rather for the child to make when he is ready to make a choice (probably late teens depending on the child).

    I went against our society’s traditions by not having my son circumcised at birth. I leave it completely up to him to decide whether he wants to go through the procedure or not.

    I understand that there are no medical or physical reasons for him to get circumcised. However, the social consequences of NOT being circumcised – including being ostracized by other men or even rejected by women – is something that he will have to live with. So he will make that decision.

    I do believe that it is the parents’ role to inform the male child about circumcision and the many issues surrounding it, so that he can make an informed choice.

  • Jassica

    I also agree, and I’m glad my first child wasn’t a boy. Not because I hadn’t made up my mind, but because my husband was still staunchly of the “a boy should look like his father” mindset. But, I had planted the seed. So, when I became pregnant again, I revisited the issue, firmly stating my stance, but not beating him over the head with it. Surprisingly, by this time, he had changed his mind, and we were in agreement not to circumcise him!! Minds do change, but it takes time.

    Also, I had an observation about my son that might be related to not being circumcised, but I wondered if any other non-circing parents had noticed this too. Little boys are notorious for peeing during diaper changes, but at 13 months, I can count on 1 hand the number of times my son has done this. Just wondering if it’s because his glans is protected, and not as sensitive to the change in temperature when the diaper is removed. If that’s the case, I can see that as a definite benefit!!! Has anyone else noticed this, or does my son just not fit the norm on this issue?

  • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

    Jassica,

    I noticed this too! My first son would often pee the second I opened his diaper for the first few weeks. I got soaked several times. With my second (no circ) son I never had that happen even once. Maybe you are on to something. ;)

  • http://www.justnotmartha.com Loretta

    I do agree that more information needs to be given to parents at the hospital before they make the decision to circ or not to circ. As a mother of four boys I can tell you that they don’t really give you much information and it was a very difficult for my husband and I to make on our own. And yes, all four of my boys had the circ. Even with the decision I made, I feel I could have been better informed at the time.

    One of the things that influenced my decision was a personal friend of ours. He had his circ done at the age of 19. It is more painful to have it done later in life and there are more risks involved when you have it done later in life.

    Either way though, there needs to be more information given about the pros and cons, the risks involved, etc… Just because people have “always done something” doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. There may be a better way to do things, but by nature we are a stubborn society.

  • Bianca Citino Fleck

    My 74 year old uncle and my good friends husband around the age of 30 who did not have circumcisions both had severe reactions. It appeared to be because of sanitary reasons, not saying they aren’t clean individuals, but did become careless. At 74 my uncle had to have a circumcision because of the severity of the infection he was hospitalized. The 30 year old had to go on antibiotics for a lengthy time.

    In this changing and so busy world I hope as infants they do not remember this traumatic surgery, but in the long run it is healthier and safer for the male species to have a circumcision to prevent unwanted circumstances from arising.

  • Missy

    oh, wow. I have been wanting to write about this issue for some time and very glad you decided to hit it! My son was born 6 years ago and thanks to a WONDERFUL friend who started the discussion with me ever so slightly while I was pregnant I got informed on the issue and said, “H-E -double hockey stick NO! My husband was very resistant. We talked and talked and talked. I fed him articles (since he wasn’t doing any research himself) and I cried many nights about it b/c this was the only issue we were not in agreement on. Finally, the day came, the drs asked and I signed the papers that he would NOT be circumcised. My husband is TOTALLY against circ now and so thankful I stood my ground.

    The idea that we need to continue doing something to our boys that has been done for many years without really thinking about it proves the point that many of us are asleep at the wheel. Cutting off a perfectly normal body part right out of the womb is just nuts. **Think** about it for 2 seconds. See what I mean!?

  • Mindy

    Hi Bucky, I think you meant to respond to others’ comments. I didn’t actually make any of the points you answered. Mine is comment #9.

    And Amber, thanks for the correction—as an anthropologist, I know about evolution. It doesn’t design anything. It would be more accurate to say that we self-designed through the process of evolution. However that’s nothing to do with the point of my comment, which was, “we are a tiny part of the world’s population who have decided to rip out what has been working perfectly fine.” Your comment on syntax was totally beside the point and adds nothing to it.

  • http://bacasofbend.blogspot.com/ Marisa

    This reminds me of the time when I gave birth to our son. We had already decided not to mutilate our son for vanity or social acceptance.
    When the doc asked us if we had plans to circumcise my husband was holding our son and responded ” No thanks, we’re letting him have the extra inch.”

  • Caroline

    Missy,
    Thank you so much for sharing about you and your husband. I had the exact same problem with my fiance (although, luckily, we don’t have any children yet!). It was the only issue we’ve ever been in absolute disagreement about. Luckily, after about 2 years of having the arguments, we’re in agreement that if we have a child, it won’t happen. I’m not sure if he’s completely changed his mind, though. He may never. But at least it won’t happen to our kids. I think many many people experience this conflict with their partners (sometimes it’s the women who want it done and the man who doesn’t, oddly enough). When I was going through the worst of it, I couldn’t find anyone online who was having the same problem. We all need to share our stories so we can support the ones going through this. It is a tragedy that in the 21st century, women are still “giving in” and getting their sons circumcised because their partner has put overbearing pressure on them. Thanks again!

  • Amber

    Mindy

    “I mean honestly, how self-contained do we have to be to see that we are a tiny part of the world’s population who have decided to rip out what has been working perfectly fine throughout evolution, and was in fact designed by it.”

    Saying something was “designed by evolution” is a contradiction in terms. Evolution doesn’t design anything.

    Bucky

    “It isn’t a question of love — it is a question of right and wrong.”

    But if someone is doing the circumcision because their God told them to, doesn’t that God decide what is right and wrong? Let me ask you a question, what about ear piercing? You literally poke a hole in a girls ear, and maybe more than one, just so she can wear jewelry. And this is motivated by PURE vanity, there is no medical or religious reasons for doing so at all. In fact, ear piercings are a cleanliness problem. Should we not, for the same reason, poke holes in the ears of our little girls?

    “No one doubts that the suicide bombers aren’t devoted to their notion of god and what that requires.”

    Again, if we’re attempting to compare circumcision to suicide bombing, the honesty of such a comparison is lost on me.

    “Parents that mutilate their girls do it out of love and devotion.”

    Nope, they do it out of fear. If they don’t do it, the other men in the community will.

    “But too many people are happy to give our own culture a pass when we mutilate little boys for the very same reasons. Because it is the normal, culturally accepted thing to do here.”

    Wait, is everyone just willing to ignore the medical benefits of a circumcision? For every study that says there aren’t any, there is another study that says there is. Aren’t you just picking and choosing which studies you find convincing and ignoring the counter evidence?

    “And to those who say that FGM is worse than MGM, let me just point out that the goal of both is the same: reduce sexual sensation/pleasure without interfering with reproductive function.”

    First of all, it’s not called MGM, it’s called circumcision, you can’t just rename a procedure because it suits your argument. Secondly, there are medical reasons for circumcision, it has nothing to do with sexual pleasure. In fact, I’m curious to where you got the idea that the purpose of circumcision was to reduce sexual pleasure.

    Deborah

    “If I can add a spin on the ‘religious’ argument…I don’t think God would have created foreskins if they were meant to be removed…”

    Forgive the sarcasm, but I’m sure glad you’ve decided why God did what He did, and what He should do regarding the creation of human beings.

    For the record: I’m a Christian, so I’m not bound by circumcision. The Apostle Paul made it very clear to us that God doesn’t not require circumcision in Christians. However, I don’t think anyone here has talked about the reason that circumcision was required of the Jews, and then became a common medical practice for a very long time. The reason was cleanliness. Only in the last fifty years has running water been fully available to most of Americans, making daily cleanliness an option. Before then, however, a circumcision would have literally prevented life threatening infections (as is evidenced by what happens TODAY to uncircumcised penis’s if they AREN’T cleaned regularly). So, I’m open to our day and age of cleanliness making circumcision less useful in most of American culture.

    However, to ignore the necessity of it as early as fifty years ago and the infections that happen in modern times if an uncircumcised penis is NOT cleaned is to have a complete bias for your position.

  • Amber

    For Everyone

    I don’t want to get this discussion side tracked, but I have a question.

    Almost every single one of you have said something along the lines of “the parents don’t own their child’s body and can’t do whatever they want to it. The child should decide”.

    I don’t know how each of you feel about abortion. But wouldn’t it be the height of hypocrisy for someone who is “pro-choice” to argue that parents don’t have the rights over the bodies of their born children, but they have the rights over the bodies of their unborn children, to do what they will, and prevent them from being born? Shouldn’t you be consistent in your reasoning?

    But if all of you feel the same way about unborn children, then great. I was just a question that was hitting me as I was reading your responses.

  • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

    “Wait, is everyone just willing to ignore the medical benefits of a circumcision? For every study that says there aren’t any, there is another study that says there is. Aren’t you just picking and choosing which studies you find convincing and ignoring the counter evidence?”

    Well it is telling that the medical community at large and the AAP no longer feel it is necessary or has much medical benefit. If all these “studies” did show real benefits then why is the medical community ignoring them? Why are insurance companies not being sued for all the penis injuries they are surely causing?

    Removing foreskin in this day and age to prevent some future infection is like having your baby’s appendix removed “just in case” they might someday get appendicitis. If they do end up with a problem later you deal with it…just like I dealt with having my gall bladder removed when it became infected. I didn’t sit and wish my parents had proactively removed it when I was a baby.

  • Sheri

    I am the mama of 3 little boys — 3 little boys with intact penises. I watched the same horrible circumcision video at COSI — I could barely sit through it. My 9 yr old son saw bits of it before wandering off to play, and afterwards he thanked me for not doing that to his body.

    Great post, great discussion, and an important topic to bring some attention to!

  • Jennifer

    I have 2 boys, one is circumcised, one is not. When my oldest son was born I was a young single mom and therefore I chose not to put my son through the pain and felt it was a pointless procedure. When I later met and married my husband he made it very clear that when we had more children they would be circumcised. I disagreed in the beginning and later backed down. I wish that I had held my ground, however I had to take my husband’s opinion into account.
    Now that my oldest is 11-years-old I will probably let him choose if he would like to have the procedure done in the future. Knowing how I have raised him, I am pretty certain he will not choose to be circumcised anyway.
    I am glad you covered this topic. It is something that I think about from time to time. I have never regretted not circumcising my son and I think he will be grateful in the long run for it. When he is older if he wants it done I will support him fully. I think it is his body and he should have the right to chose.

  • Ted

    I’m one of five brothers and we are all intact. Our mother was against unnecessary surgery. It was her belief that Nature/God made no mistakes in designing our bodies. We are grateful for her foresight and wisdom to appreciate, ‘what is.’

  • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

    Thanks Ted for your comments!

    Also thx ladies for sharing how husbands and wives may disagree on this. My hubby and I did as well the second time around and I didn’t budge. It just wasn’t negotiable but my hubby is pretty laid back and usually resolves to let me make big decisions about our kids.

  • Rhonda

    I have to add here that I am amazed by all the cleanliness and infection reasons for circumcision. It’s like our pediatrician told us “You will teach your son to clean himself as diligently as you teach your daughter to clean herself.” Why is it that we think boys are incapable of keeping themselves clean? But we have no problem feeling confident that we can instruct our daughters on how to keep themselves clean and feel secure that they will do so?

    And a little history lesson from the pediatric urologist (at Children’s Hosp. in Pgh) circ was RARE prior to WWII. When GIs returned home and modern medicine welcomed in their baby boomer children so did a wave of all things sanitary and the “habit” of circumcision was born into the good mother psyche.

  • Bucky

    Mindy, I’ll try to respond to all of your comments. We obviously have major differences in our viewpoints, but I appreciate and respect your considered response to my comments. Thanks.

    But if someone is doing the circumcision because their God told them to, doesn’t that God decide what is right and wrong?

    In a word — NO. Nobody believes this. We don’t think that the people who worshiped an Aztec god that required regular human sacrifices are the arbiters of right and wrong. The fact is that ““we are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in.” The notion that anyone today is willing to concede that every moral code that any person believes was divinely commanded is therefore correct is ridiculous. Arguments that require I believe in your mythical god never win. (They also never lose for people who put mysticism over reason.)

    …what about ear piercing

    I’m completely against it. On the list of “Bad Things We Do To Our Children” it is pretty far down there. But I find it sad and odd. I never understand why parents are so interested in sexualizing their young children. I know lots of parents who pierce baby girl’s ears so that everyone will know the sex of the baby. I always think that the baby doesn’t care if people are confused about whether it is a boy or girl and that if the parents have some bizarre issues about sexuality, they should talk to a therapist instead of poking holes into their child.

    Again, if we’re attempting to compare circumcision to suicide bombing, the honesty of such a comparison is lost on me

    I wasn’t comparing circumcision to suicide bombings, just the motivation behind each. You are willing to give male (but not female) circumcision a pass because of deeply held religious beliefs. If deeply held religious belief is all that is required for an action to be moral, then you can’t condemn much of anything that is done in the name of someone’s god. Including suicide bombing. I am under no such delusions.

    Nope, they do it out of fear. If they don’t do it, the other men in the community will.

    Actually, you are wrong about this. FGM is almost always performed by older women on younger babies/girls/women. Not out of fear particularly but because it is the expected norm and to go against the cultural/religious expectation is unthinkable. Some mothers may be afraid, perhaps, but I suspect that most just go along because it is “what is done” without thinking much about it. Isn’t this true about most cultural expectations. The fear isn’t of physical violence as much as it is a fear of not belonging to the community.

    Wait, is everyone just willing to ignore the medical benefits of a circumcision? For every study that says there aren’t any, there is another study that says there is. Aren’t you just picking and choosing which studies you find convincing and ignoring the counter evidence?

    Another commenter already addressed. But let me reiterate that much like the “conflicting” studies on global warming, there really aren’t any serious studies that show male circumcision is a medical necessity. Or even preferable. Just the opposite in fact. I am paying attention to groups like the AMA and the APA as well as international medical organizations. The very same groups that find no medical necessity for female genital mutilation.

    First of all, it’s not called MGM, it’s called circumcision, you can’t just rename a procedure because it suits your argument.

    Actually, you can’t give something a nicer sounding name just to make yourself feel better. You know, “enhanced interrogation technique” instead of torture. Call it some nicer sounding name to make your barbarism less appalling to you, but it is still the same. And I’m not making up the phrase “male genital mutilation.” Many people all over the world call it what it is instead of some euphemism. Cultures that practice FGM don’t call it “mutilation” either. They’ve got some nicer sounding traditional word to make it more palatable to themselves.

    …there are medical reasons for circumcision…

    Something we actually agree on! :-) You are right, there are medical reasons for circumcision. And when medical problems arise that require circumcision, I am completely in favor of the procedure. Until they do arise, however, keep you knife away from your child’s genitalia.

    I’m curious to where you got the idea that the purpose of [male] circumcision was to reduce sexual pleasure.

    Because I know my history and during the early to mid twentieth century when male circumcision became widespread in this country, the advocates of MGM argued for it as a way to stop masturbation among boys. This was supposed to work because circumcision makes the glans much less sensitive — the thinking being that if a boy’s penis wasn’t as sensitive to tactile stimulation, he would be less prone to spending all his time stimulating his penis. (Anyone having any experience with teenaged boys — circumcised or not — will know the fallacy of this theory.)

    On a broader perspective, every religion tries to control the behavior of its adherents. And sexual behavior usually tops the list of activities religions try to control (perhaps monetary behavior tops the list, but it’s a close call). FGM is certainly an attempt to control the sexual behavior of women. Why do you think that MGM is any different? Cutting off a part of a man’s sexual organ is nothing more than an attempt to control his sexual behavior.

    Finally, this comment wasn’t addressed to me, but I did want to respond: I don’t think anyone here has talked about the reason that circumcision was required of the Jews, and then became a common medical practice for a very long time. The reason was cleanliness.

    First, it wasn’t a common medical practice “for a very long time.” For many centuries, it was only performed as a religious rite, not a medical practice.

    Secondly, I wonder if you actually know any Jews? Have you ever attended a brit milah (or bris — the ritual Jewish circumcision ceremony)? It isn’t performed because of the reduced risk of infection or because of “cleanliness.” It is done because the Jews believe that their god requires it as proof of their “covenant.” It is done not because their god thinks that it is “cleaner” or more “sanitary” but because they believe that their god requires it as proof of religious devotion.

    Please stop trying to provide scientific medical rationale for purely religious belief. There is none.

  • Bucky

    My apologies to Mindy.

    My comments should have been addressed to Amber.

    Mea Culpa.

  • http://mamaevausa.blogspot.com/ Mama Eva

    After much research on my part in the last few years, I have also come to the conclusion that body parts – especially on an infant or child, boy or girl – should be left alone! Many docs in my area may still do them, but there are many that refuse.

    What ultimately sold me on the ‘no-circ’ position is the video on YouTube from Penn and Teller (yes, the crude comedy duo) about Circumcision. Parts are very funny (Penn’s comments) and others are scary (the doc talking calmly about the procedure – I cringed, winched, and then called over my DH to show him and make sure we were on the same page!)

  • Missy

    Following up with Tiffany’s comment about removing something to prevent future infection, I think about this all the time in relation to the circ argument and penile cancer. If this does hold water, then women, you’d better hold onto your breasts and other female parts b/c this would make removing our boobs a “good” thing to do since there are tons more cases of breast cancer then penile cancer.

  • http://mamaevausa.blogspot.com/ Mama Eva

    p.s. I have heard of some in the Jewish community not wanting to circumcise and questioning that part of things in their religion….

  • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

    The first book I mentioned at the bottom of the post is written by a Rabbi who opposes the practice and says it is not required. Sounds like like don’t all agree on the issue.

  • Caroline

    Are you thinking of “Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective” by Dr. Ron Goldman?

    jewishcircumcision.org
    jewsagainstcircumcision.org

  • Bucky

    Mama Eve & Tiffany:

    There are a growing number of Jews who don’t circumcise their children but instead have a ceremony where a small drop of blood is drawn instead to satisfy the religious ceremonial requirements. Not being religious at all I still find this a little odd, but a perfectly acceptable compromise. As with the traditional bris, the baby is drunk anyway so doesn’t feel a thing at the time (or later when they sober up) and no permanent damage is done.

  • http://mamaknj.blogspot.com mama k

    We decided not to circ.
    It was a difficult decision as it is definitely going against the culture (at least in my circle of friends) but I feel good that I’ve put the option out there and some of my friends (who don’t have children yet) might actually consider the decision differently when the time comes. The only way it will change is if the culture changes to support it.

  • Ashleigh

    Another factor to consider is definitely the hygience because some men don’t clean their foreskin as often as they should and it becomes a disgusting mess for nurses. My mom is a nurse and she has encountered this problem. At the same time, circumcision should be an individual decision and parents should aware of all the facts.

  • http://www.circumcisionandhiv.com Joe

    Amber Said: “However, I don’t think anyone here has talked about the reason that circumcision was required of the Jews, and then became a common medical practice for a very long time. The reason was cleanliness. Only in the last fifty years has running water been fully available to most of Americans, making daily cleanliness an option. Before then, however, a circumcision would have literally prevented life threatening infections (as is evidenced by what happens TODAY to uncircumcised penis’s if they AREN’T cleaned regularly). So, I’m open to our day and age of cleanliness making circumcision less useful in most of American culture.

    However, to ignore the necessity of it as early as fifty years ago and the infections that happen in modern times if an uncircumcised penis is NOT cleaned is to have a complete bias for your position.”

    There is virtually no evidence that circumcision was born out of necessity such as cleanliness. In the first case, circumcision was never wide spread. Before the Anglo medicalization, circumcision was only common in the Middle East, some parts of Africa, and some parts of the Pacific. Had circumcision been truly necessary, one would have expected much wider adoption much longer ago. Here is a map of word prevalence: http://www.circumstitions.com/Maps.html With the exception of the US, the prevalence has been largely unchanged in history. It was only in the last 100 years that it became common in Anglo countries and since that time, the English, the New Zealanders, the Australians, and the Canadian have mostly dumped the procedure in about that order. The Australians and Canadians are still in the process of doing it, about 15% prevalence circumcision is a tough monkey to shake off.

    Further, considering that surgical theaters weren’t a safe or sterile place until perhaps the last 75 years or so, any surgical procedure would have presented a great risk to an individual. It is unlikely that any potential benefit could out weigh the risk since the age before modern cleanliness was also the age before sterile operations.

    It’s more plausible that circumcision started out with a bunch of drunken bronze age men around a camp fire and a dare. And when circumcision starts it’s difficult to get that monkey off the back of a society. Circumcising groups go to great lengths to show a benefit, no matter how small, to the procedure. The greatest risk factor for infant circumcision is a circumcised father. http://www.circumstitions.com/Fox.html

  • http://www.circumcisionandhiv.com Joe

    Ashleigh said: “At the same time, circumcision should be an individual decision and parents should aware of all the facts.”

    As long as you mean an individual decision for the boy (or man), we’re about on the same page.

  • Andi

    Thank you for addressing this issue. I wanted to address two comments in particular. First, about a circumcision hurting a 19 year old man more than it would an infant, simply untrue. An adult would received adequate pain relief before, during and after the circumcision. An infant would not/does not. Even if a penile dorsal block is used (and most doctors opt not to use this), the best pain relief a baby would receive after the fact is a dose of Tylenol. One dose of Tylenol can not touch the post-surgical pain of circumcision and the pain of having urine and feces touch an open wound for 7 days. Also, the foreskin of an adult is already naturally loosened and does not have to be separated away from the glans with a blunt instrument the way it must be in infant circumcision. The separation of the infant foreskin is painful, much like removing a nail away from the finger/nail bed. And of course, pain is always magnified in the presence of fear. An infant has no idea what is going on or that the procedure will eventually end. An adult knows what the surgery entails and that it will eventually be over. So to Loretta (#17), I must strongly disagree. A circumcision for an adult is not more painful than for an infant. It’s only due to the fact that an adult can verbalize post-surgical pain but an infant can not that we as a society believe this. After all, babies cry all the time, right?

    To Ashley (#41). I am a nurse, a RN with many years of experience under her belt. I’ve yet to see a man with foreskin require additional care due to the fact he was intact. If someone your mom took care of developed infections, it is due to nurses being negligent in care, not because he was intact (I understand the patient himself might have allowed this to happen if he had a stroke or something and couldn’t clean himself, but that could happen to any person, intact or not). I suspect many other patients, including women with labial folds, were also left unclean. All genitals get dirty and smelly. That is why they must be kept clean. Cleaning an intact man’s genitals is no more difficult than cleaning a woman or a circumcised man. A wash cloth and warm water will do the trick! I once took care of a very obese woman in home health. She developed a yeast rash under both breasts due to sweat and her large breasts. No one ever suggested surgically removing her breasts to avoid the rash. we simply provided her with a nurses aide to help bathe and dry, fashioned a binder of gauze to absorb the sweat, and applied an anti-fungal medication. You treat the problem *if* it’s a problem, you don’t surgically amputate everyone preventively.

    The first time I witnessed an infant circumcision in nursing school I felt right away no child of mine should be circumcised. Once I did further research and found the procedure wasn’t recommended by the AAP and carried many surgical risks, my choice to keep future children intact was solidified. Years later, I have seen my fair share of botched circumcisions in the OB ward but I’ve still yet to see any foreskin as the culprit of disease.

    It’s amazing to me how the US culture sees the circumcision of young girls as barbaric but see nothing wrong with the circumcision of baby boys. As some others have stated, I feel circumcision should be the choice of the child once he/she is old enough to consent. I would never wish my children to alter their bodies in that way, but if they make the decision as an adult with informed consent, so be it.
    In the mean time, I’m happy to continue raising both an intact daughter AND an intact son. My husband who was circumcised at birth is happy of our decision also.

  • Jassica

    As Bucky stated in response to Amber. Jewish circumcision was not about cleanliness. It was a covenant and a sign of who they were. Something I think hasn’t been mentioned yet is that before Christ, and for about 100 years after, Jewish circumcision was different from that performed today. Only the tip of the foreskin was removed, leaving most of the glans covered. In fact, this changed because some men were pulling their foreskins forward to appear as if they hadn’t been circumcised so that they could not be identified as Jewish.
    Learning this had a profound effect on how I viewed modern circumcision, especially when people argue for it for religious reasons.

  • http://mamatouille.blogspot.com/ Abigail

    Here in Japan they won’t even do circumcision! And my hubby’s from the UK and they don’t do it there, either. But even if we’d lived in the States where I’m from, neither of our boys would’ve had to go through that horrible procedure. I feel so bad for those babies whose parents decided it’s necessary for some reason.

  • Caroline

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumcision

    There is evidence to support the theory that Jews acquired circumcision from the Egyptians while they were held as slaves in Egypt. This would have been hundreds if not thousands of years before it was written about in Genesis. Circumcision was apparently not even written about in the original version of the Torah, and Rabbi Moses Mainmonides wrote about how it was basically done for preventing masturbation.

    http://jewsagainstcircumcision.org/

  • http://www.looksgoodinpolkadots.wordpress.com PolkaDotMommy

    I can’t correlate male circumcision with female mutilation. When certain ethnic groups perform female circumcision they actually take away a females ability to experience pleasure and orgasm. That is far different than a male circumcision. Many of those same groups also believe in stitching wives closed when the husband must travel to keep her pure and so that he may have the pleasure of tearing into her body upon his return. That is mutilation, pure and simple. Relating the two is putting forth an unjust argument.

    Also, when our government steps up and begins banning or requiring things regarding our health and bodies, we are in trouble. What next? Required vaccines regardless of personal or religious beliefs, routine sterilization of humans deemed not acceptable to procreate, laws on how many children we can have (so that infanticide and overflowing orphanages become norm)?

    Some things go beyond beyond a natural home… some things are meant to be left up to the parents to decide. Circumcision falls into that realm. I don’t know of any grown man who laments over how horrible it was that his parents had him circumcised.

    I feel that piercing an infants ears (or any child of an age to not yet ask for it and understand the pain involved) is wrong… aren’t we doing the same thing? Altering our child’s body for our own sense of vanity? When I worked outside a mall store that pierced ears, I use to cry for those babies who would scream for long periods of time before tapering off into wimpers and sighs… But then, I also don’t know any grown women who lament over having had their ears pierced without their consent.

    But that’s a choice we get to make as parents.

  • http://www.looksgoodinpolkadots.wordpress.com PolkaDotMommy

    I did want to add that I have seen firsthand several young males with SEVERE foreskin infections because their parents couldn’t afford a circumcision and at that time, our state public health plan wasn’t paying for them (not sure if they are currently).

    Low income families have less access to cleanliness and education and infection is a very common risk in young boys with the foreskin intact. If a parent doesn’t know how to care for it (or can’t, or just won’t) then they are doing their child a grave disservice by not removing the foreskin. Those infections can be life altering, causing severe scarring and lifelong problems with the penis and urethra.

    I’ve cared for some of these children, and in comparison, an infection is far worse to deal with.

    While I realize many people who opt out on their own are educated and care for the foreskin correctly, not everyone is in that situation and applying a “one size fits all” mentality doesn’t work.

  • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

    I do know several grown men who lament over being circumcised. Forsekin rubbing against the glans during sex is highly pleasurable and they will never get to know that feeling. I think if given the option most men whould take a chance with RARE infections rather than short change themselves in the pleasure department.

    Parents are responsible for keeping their children clean and healthy…period. They need to step up and handle their business not proactively cut off body parts so they don’t have to be bothered.

    It goes back to my other argument…appendicitis can kill your child so does that mean parents should all opt to have the appendix surgically removed at birth? No? Why not? It is the same thing. There is no good reason to remove a perfectly normal piece of the body.

  • http://mamaevausa.blogspot.com/ Mama Eva

    To Andi the RN, thank you for being a great nurse! There needs to be more nurses like you – the ones that wake up and realize everything the medical community does not have to be done to everyone. And that will actually care for patients instead of just obeying doctors orders without a thought.

    I am also glad this post is getting good attention. It is an important issue that people need to educate themselves on and not just do because of popularity, vanity, religious obligation, or bad science/studies.

  • http://www.naturalmomstalkradio.com/blog Carrie at NaturalMomsTalkRadio

    Wow, some excellent points being made here. As for the ear piercing – I don’t agree with piercing a little girls’ ears either. My oldest daughter asked me to have hers pierced at age 5 so we had them pierced, but I would never do that – it’s painful and only for the parent’s pleasure (makes the baby so cute! etc), which is a bit sick in my opinion. Incidentally even though I tried to warn my daughter that ear piercing was painful, she was insistent!

    I don’t understand the hygiene argument because the penis is self cleaning like the vagina. It just needs bathing. As for men being mutilated sexually, that’s very true but also his wife will have less pleasure because the intact penis operates differently during intercourse which happens to be more pleasurable to the woman. I won’t go into detail on this PG rated blog but there is plenty of info on anti circ sites.

    I’ve also talked to women with intact husbands who agreed. ;)

  • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

    ITA about ear piercing. My stance was always that I would let my daughter decide if and when to get her ears pierced. My daughter is almost 5 and has declared that she will be getting it done soon despite my being very candid about the pain issue. ;)

  • Devin

    Thank you Tiffany for helping educate a new generation of parents on the culturally accepted atrocity of cutting off parts of little boys’ genitals in the U.S.A.

    Here is an American male’s response…

    The amputation of a male child’s nerve enriched prepuce is a penile reduction surgical procedure that unfortunately still infects our civilized, capitalistic, and so-called “equal rights” society. Not only is the circumcision of male infants and young boys considered a human rights violation by many, it’s a men’s health issue and perpetuates an irrational belief in our country that all little boys are somehow born imperfect or faulty requiring surgical correction of their penises upon birth ! This idea is a sick one and is absurd to not only me, but the vast majority of people on earth.

    Evolution and God has perfected the human body making every part sacred, miraculous, useful and functional. Circumcising male children is medically unnecessary, disfiguring, disabling, unnatural, non-Christian, abusive, unethical, painful, and a profit driven surgical procedure confronted by parents of newborn boys in most American hospitals, especially in the mid-western states. It’s a “cure” still in search of an identifiable disease. Most parents have and are given minimal knowledge about the appalling history, unjustifiable reasons, and adverse consequences of circumcision. Many parents and many physicians in America acknowledge the male prepuce as an “extra flap of skin” and are uneducated about its protective, sensory, and essential sexual functions. In my view, all lack common sense and many also lack the courage and intuition to follow their maternal / paternal instinct to protect children from easily avoidable harm, enough said.

    I am grateful that the male newborn circumcision rate in America continues to decline with the current rate being about 55-60%. I am also grateful that ALL national and international medical associations do not recommend the practice of routine childhood circumcision for both boys and girls ! I am deeply saddened and vitriolic that many Americans encourage and welcome circumcision surgeries for male children due to parents’ personal preference and ignorance, cultural or societal influence, physicians’ profits, religious dogma, numerous other irrational reasons, or flip of a coin.

    My heart goes out to all those mama’s and papa’s who learned too late the adverse consequences of consenting to have their little boys circumcised. I commend them for standing up and spreading the word to end the practice and protect other boys. The regret in their voices is so sincere and painfully heartfelt. Their voices need to be heard to help end the still popular practice of amputating parts of male children’s penises in the 21st century. It is highly probable that in your son’s lifetime the U.S.A.’s 1996 Federal Female Genital Mutilation Act will be amended to protect the genital integrity rights of all little boys too. What a day it will be for rejoice as well as a reflection of sorrow and regret for the millions of males who have undergone genital cutting and unnecessary amputative surgeries without their consent.

  • http://www.abetterenergyplan.ca Joan Allen

    I’m glad you spoke on this! I remember when my son was born, circumcision wasn’t even a choice. The doc just scooped my son up and away he went. He didn’t bother to ask me or my husband what our opinions were. But now, things have changed drastically. My girlfriend just recently had a boy and she was given the option and had time to consult with a doctor.

    I am glad the times are changing and that an pointless and hurtful procedure is slowly becoming obsolete.

  • Rain Cloud

    Well said on all aspects. Thank you!

  • http://www.wholetruthsolutions.com Terri Bebla

    I happen to have two beautiful boys, one is 4 years old, and the other is 1. I opted out of this procedure, although my husband still insists that it is necessary. I say just leave it, it is meant to be there! He says for reasons of hygiene, they need to have this done. Not going to happen. I had to remind him that he was not snipped until he was 9 years old and only because he fell out of a tree and hurt his penis. He said it was the most painful thing having to go to school after his procedure, I refuse to do that to my children. Great topic!

  • http://www.circumcisionandhiv.com Joe

    It’s so good to read that people are opting out of this horrible procedure. There is currently a bill that is being submitted to all the US states and federal legislatures. http://www.mgmbill.org/contactus.htm Hey, it’s a long shot but who knows. If anyone would like to contribute, and their state isn’t listed, contact the comments@mgmbil.org and volunteer.

    There is also an effort to get more states to drop medicaid funding. If you want to help with that contact NOCIRC http://www.nocirc.org.

  • http://www.healthplansplus.net Helene

    Thanks for contributing this different perspective on circumcision to Take Charge of Your Health Care Carnival.

  • John

    If parental rights don’t include sexual abuse, why should they extend to the amputation of sexual tissue? When I look at the horrid ring of scar tissue around my penis, and the mishmash of inner and outer skin crushed together, I recoil in horror. Why was this done?

    Circumcision persists because of its powerful psychosexual effect on both men and women. It’s a cycle of sexual abuse and violence that is passed from one generation to the next under the cover of culture, religion, or medicine . Understandably, many parents who make the decision to cut sexual tissue from their children, male or female, have to justify what they did using whatever reasons are given to them by their society and their doctors, even when those reasons are absurd, e.g. cleanliness, fear of cancer, fear of masturbation, “infections”, etc. Would you cut the skin from around your daughter’s clitoris? After all, it would have exactly the same potential future benefits: vulvar cancer is just as common as penile, and just count the number of “feminine hygiene” products in your grocery store or pharmacy.

    We did not cut off part of our son’s penis. May the genital mutilation end with my generation.

  • Meg

    I just wanted to say that this is a great topic! I’m very grateful to everyone who gave educated opinions on the subject. These posts made for a great read and a very nice conversation between my husband and I.

    Firstly, my husband is 29 years old and is an intact male. Not once in his life has he ever had any sort of penile infection. His comment was “It is not hard for a parent to teach their son the proper way to clean themselves.”
    Boys, and girls (as some have said), are not ignorant and can fully grasp the importance of cleaning their bodies to prevent illnesses and complications. It is the parent’s role to impart this hygiene onto their child as much as washing their hands after going to the bathroom and brushing their teeth to prevent dental problems.

    On a side note, to #48 PolkaDotMommy, I am not happy that my mother chose to pierce my ears as a baby. No, I do not remember the pain. However, as I grew up both holes are now noticeably uneven. I also suffered from earlobe infections as a child because of a sensitivity to not only metals but plastics. I wish she had waited for me to decide for myself.

  • jen

    Wonderful blog! Yes it is a personal choice, HIS choice. Every person regardless of sex, culture, race, religion, nationality, or age has the right to a normal genitalia. People don’t understand that most female circ removes only the clitoral hood, which is exactly the same tissue that becomes the foreskin on a boy in the womb. The female and male sex organs are actually quite similar in composition and functions. The tissues in the foreskin are highly-vascular, nerve dense, and actually have muscle fibers too. It is extremely functional, even more functional than the foreskin of a girl, yet you can’t even so much as prick the privates of a baby girl in our country. Boys deserve equal protection under the law. Thank goodness circumcision is on the decline. I can only hope it will one day become another barbarity left to history. One day all boys will have the choice over their most private area of their bodies but until then we need to speak out. Please keep speaking up for these precious babies who are strapped down and mutilated everyday in our country. THANK YOU!

  • Nandi

    Thank you for such a well thought out blog post. A person’s body should be his to do what he wants with. If he decides to get surgery on his penis at age 18 that’s his decision, but it should not be the parents decision. It’s not ok to take away someone’s basic human right to bodily integrity, whether that person is male or female. Performing painful and unecessary surgery on infants is an issue that we as a society need to really re-examine and rethink. Some forms of female genital mutilation cut off the clitoral prepuce which translates to the foreskin in males. It is literally the same surgery just a different name :female genital mutilation.” Lets call circumcision by it’s true name “male genital mutilation.”

  • http://www.stopthecut.org/ twitter.com/mccaw

    Intact male 33 years w/out a single problem. I thank my parents and their wise doctor for leaving me intact.

    40,000 nerve endings in my foreskin, the natural protection of my glans and the ability for my foreskin to glide back and forth during sexual intercourse means I’m at my default level of maximum sexual sensitivity.

    http://www.sexasnatureintendedit.com/
    “Top Ten (10) Ways Circumcised Male Sex Hurts Women!”

  • http://twitter.com/Circinfo CircInfo

    Circumcision offers a lifetime of health, medical and sexual benefits. At least one third of uncircumcised males will develop a condition requiring medical intervention. This means degrees of suffering and possibly death. In contrast, circumcision can prevent or greatly reduce the risk of these medical conditions. The surgical risk with a modern circumcision is extremely low, while the functional outcomes are excellent. Male circumcision also offer considerable medical and sexual benefits to a female partner by reducing her risk of suffering, disease, medical treatment and premature death.

    • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

      CircInfo aka industry rep…if all you say is true then I am sure that full grown men will sign up in droves when it is their choice to get circed. When they are a baby they cannot make that choice and it is not right for someone else to make it for them.

  • G.I. Meaney

    I’m glad Denmark is going to ban circumcision and hope the rest of the world will protect girls and boys as well.

  • http://www.metromediasquare.com/ Twiter.com/AlexMojo (Alex Mojo)

    CircInfo = hallmarks of a person w/ a ‘circumfetish’ (getting sexually stimulation over circumcision)… like those on the cut-happy Circlist website.

    A history of “reasons” for circumcision throughout history:
    http://www.icgi.org/2007/04/medicalization-of-circumcision-an-online-slide-show/

    “Circumcision once considered a cure for blindness, deafness, dumbness.” Most shockingly: “Circumcision once considered a way to prevent Black men from raping White women.”

  • Bucky

    Alex:

    Circumcision was considered a cure for blindness, deafness, dumbness and so forth because it was believed that those ailments were caused by masturbation and it was believed that circumcision would stop masturbation in all but the most hard-core evil boys.

    As for the black men raping white women … well, that’s just pure ignorant bigotry. There is a cure for that, but it involves cutting off the big head, not the little one.

  • http://twitter.com/guildwarsize guildwarsize

    Guild Wars game-developers announced about the publishing of already a very well-known new version of that game named – Guild Wars 2. http://www.runescapegogo.com http://www.runescapewin.com http://www.guildwarsize.com http://www.innicc.com http://www.cn2un.com

  • KB

    You made a comment “I believe that the American Academy of Pediatrics now admits that circumcision is an unnecessary procedure.”… This is not true…

    Directly from the “American Academy of Pediatrics” website…

    After a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence, the American Academy of Pediatrics found the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks, but the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision. The AAP policy statement published Monday, August 27, says the final decision should still be left to parents to make in the context of their religious, ethical and cultural beliefs.

    http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/Newborn-Male-Circumcision.aspx

    http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/prenatal/decisions-to-make/Pages/Where-We-Stand-Circumcision.aspx

    Last Updated8/28/2014

    As a man who is circumcised and I do not have any issue with being such, I do find it VERY offensive anyone would question or suggest I am less of a man being circumcised… the only people I have seen who make issue with “looks”, ”risk of STDs” or “religious standards” are mostly people who DON’T even have a penis.

    I have NEVER had an issue with getting an erection or ejaculation… as for “Here is to keeping our boys in tact and letting them decide.” If I had to explain to my child why I DIDN’T have him circumcised, (the pain he will go through and the recovery time is much longer as an adult then as a child)… My son would hate me for NOT doing it. As I would hate my parents if they had not done it… Looks has NOTHING to do with it…