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Circumcision: Hygienic or Mutilation?

August 10, 2015

As I prepare for the birth of my son, my FIRST son, I’ve been researching what procedures he will have done and what I need to do to ensure he grows healthy and strong. One of the obvious procedures that are presented to parents of infant boys is circumcision.

Growing up as a girl in the United States, I didn’t hear this topic get brought up very much. In fact, I had never heard of any debate over it until I met my husband, who is Brazilian. Although he was born in a military hospital at which circumcisions were commonplace, he educated me about the division between cultures and how it was not typical for boys to be circumcised in many other countries and in several other cultures.

Needless to say, I had a lot of learning to do.

I decided to start my research with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), whose recommendations set the foundation for pediatric preventative care.

I was surprised to find out that circumcision is not a recommended routine procedure by the AAP. Their official statement on circumcision (from their website) is:

Evaluation of current evidence indicates that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks and that the procedure’s benefits justify access to this procedure for families who choose it, however, existing scientific evidence is not sufficient to recommend routine circumcision. Therefore, because the procedure is not essential to a child’s current well-being, we recommend that the decision to circumcise is one best made by parents in consultation with their pediatrician, taking into account what is in the best interests of the child, including medical, religious, cultural, and ethnic traditions.”

Interesting!

With that knowledge I dove deeper into my research. I wanted to know:

  • What are the health benefits of circumcision?
  • What are the comparatively (according to the AAP) minor risks?
  • What are some of these “medical, religious, cultural, and ethnic traditions?”

As far as the health benefits go, I found that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released some guidelines in December of 2014 about circumcision. Based on several clinical trials, many of them completed in sub-Saharan Africa, circumcised males showed a 50-to-60-percent reduced HIV infection risk and 30-percent reduced risk of contracting herpes and human papilloma virus (HPV), and it also reduces the risk of urinary tract infection in infants.

I read on to discover that circumcision is not covered by Medicaid or insurance, but there is a big movement to increase access for all who choose to have it.

Other supporters of circumcision cite the following benefits:

Sterile urine samples.

When a high fever is presented, a urine sample can often determine the bacteria responsible. An uncircumcised penis can present other bacteria from the foreskin, so infants would need to be “tranquilized” and a tube inserted just for a simple urine sample.

Improved hygiene and skin. 

Basically, fewer nooks and crannies for germs and smells to get in.

Sexual advantages.

Because of better hygiene, some say that women prefer circumcised men to uncircumcised men. I’m not sure I would trust any data to back this up, but I found it to be a common belief among supporters.

Prevention of infections and diseases.

In fact, one supporter, Dr. Edgar Schoen, M.D., even compared circumcision to vaccines, saying,

We’re talking about something that has significant benefits, just like immunizations. You can’t ask a baby if he wants it, and if you ask when he’s a toddler, he’d say no. The parents make the decisions. We’re talking about a preventative health measure here, not abuse. “

But, as the AAP stated above, it is “not essential to a child’s current well-being,” which is why it’s left up to the parents and left as an elective procedure. And considering how much the AAP advocates for vaccines, is that a fair comparison?

A growing number of people say no.

In fact, circumcision rates declined over the past few decades, going from almost 65 percent to about 58 percent between 1979 and 2010, according to a CDC report. Since 2012 the rates have rebounded slightly, but the debate rages on.

So what are the arguments on the other side?

No health benefits.

Some believe that since UTI’s usually come few and far between and are easily treatable, removing a piece of healthy tissue to prevent them is not worth it.

Extremely painful.

Even with pain medicine, some believe that the emotional memory of the pain rather than the actual procedure can linger.

Complications.

From not leaving enough skin, to bleeding, and even death, many people believe the risks and complications are more than are reported, because other factors are said to be the main culprit.

Decreased sexual pleasure. 

Again, the data is subjective, but the argument exists nonetheless.

Human rights violation.

This one got me the most. Circumcision is being compared to female genital mutilation. One decrier of circumcision, Dr. Mark Reiss, M.D., Executive Vice President of Doctors Opposing Circumcision, said,

Many people also feel circumcision violates human rights when a parent decides to cut off a normal healthy body part of a minor. People argue with that by saying parents have to make healthy decisions like immunizations. Sure. That’s not cutting off a healthy body part. If people started saying that to prevent breast cancer we should cut off newborn girls’ breasts, there’d be an outcry. “

Oh boy. I am honestly completely torn by the arguments on both side of this debate. I mean I feel like in most cases it’s pretty black-and-white what the right choice is for us as far as doing what’s best for our son: I’m going to try to breastfeed, we’ll practice safe sleeping (using an Owlet monitor so I can get some sleep and ease my anxiety, of course), learn proper carseat installation, etc. But I can honestly say that I can’t see major problems arising from either circumcising or not circumcising.

So in addition to reviewing all of this research, I also decided to look into some personal stories and opinions on the matter. Data is one thing, but how it affects real life is another. These really helped me get a better idea of what a man could go through if problems arose either way.

What are your thoughts on circumcision? Any experiences that led you to think one way or another? Please share below!

 

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Angela Silva

Angela graduated with her B.S. in Exercise and Wellness and is a NASM certified personal trainer who specializes in postpartum fitness and recovery. She enjoys writing, cracking jokes, and spending time with her family, preferably while fishing. She shares many of her life adventures on Instagram as @angelagrams

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82 thoughts on “Circumcision: Hygienic or Mutilation?

donamore364@yahoo.ca'

Don amore

I was circumcised as an adult for cosmetic reasons.. No issues especially in the sensitivity area . If ur against the practice leave ur child intact. I attribute botched circumcisions to human error not the procedure its self. To anyone considering it, go to an experienced doctor that has a good reputation and opt for a clamp method resulting in high circumcision keeping more of the inner foreskin. Better hygiene has just a bonus no snegma, odor, or irritation. If I suffered in anyway from being circumcision i would be the first to speak condemn it.

Tammy

The foreskin is no more a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria than is the vulva. Maybe we should cut off those germ-ridden labia majora on female infants too. They too are just “extra folds of skin.” The foreskin is also fused to the glans at birth the same way your fingernail is fused to your finger. It becomes unfused anywhere between the age if three and the onset of puberty. Also, the African HIV study was severely flawed. The type of HIV testing they used does not detect infections less than three months from exposure, meaning some infections very likely went undetected, whilst some detected infections were likely from exposure previous to the study. The men who were circumcised spent the first six weeks of the study healing and were thus unable to have sex and be exposed to HIV, unlike the men left intact. Additionally, the circumcised men were given access to free condoms and education on how to practice safer sex.

elliot.james1976@gmail.com'

Not Yours to Cut

Exactly. You got to grow up with all of your genital tissue. Why shouldn’t your son enjoy the same right?

Anonymous

The baby barely made a peep??? I’m a nurse, I’m Muslim, and I have vowed I will never subject my child to such a barbaric act. If babies were given anesthetic maybe it would be more bearable. But babies going limp from pain and despair is soo wrong. The fight they put up for their small size is a fight for life. Tying ripping your nail out slowly without anesthetic then tell me it wasn’t painful and you didn’t even make a peep. Imagine doing the same thing to your private areas where the number of nerves is tenfold that in your nail bed. Imagine doing it without anesthetic and imagine you are tied down on a cold board with all your limbs restrained. Please don’t say they don’t make a peep or hardly cry after. Their lack of crying is their giving in to the shock and trauma of the experience. I only would recommend the procedure if the foreskin is too tight thus exposing the head is impossible or hard. Unless it is medically necessary, circumcision is only a cultural / social / esthetic procedure.

Anonymous

Well you seem to be uneducated as to what goes on with females around puberty. Female genital mutilation is just that. They take stones or old razor blades have a group hold her down and just slice, slice away with dull blades until they remove her protruding organs and then sew her COMPLETELY closed with either thorns (have seen photos and heard stories of it) and leave only a minuscule hole for her urine and menstrual blood to flow out of. Of course and one with half a brain will know that is not enough of an opening and most urine and blood will remain trapped inside causing horrific infections and sepsis. Then here’s the best part for any of you who equate it the same, here skin grows over the thorns or whatever other material they have used to literally close her up (a man made chastity belt) and on her wedding night, cause the hymen or size of a woman’s natural vagina is not enough – they rip her open causing unbearable pain and bleeding and then penetrate her ignoring her pleas to stop. What a memorable first night. The following years night will be less memorable as the real goal of female circumcision and is easily found Ina my literature regarding the practice is to ensure the woman are NOT promiscuous as they have removed (violently) the external tissues that have sensitivity usually thrown in with removing the labia is the clitoris to. So try juggling without hands and arms and this of these woman’s sexual experience. This process is to not make them infertile but in a way to neuter them. Circumcision is removing the ‘excess’ skin that becomes the hood covering the tip of the penis, and can desensitize a man during sex as well as he can retract back into this hood rather then gliding and feeling the woman’s vagina. So think of it for some uncircumcised men, there head peaks out for a second, feels the woman then retreats (while still inside her) back into his own glove. This cuts down of his sensations and also the woman’s. I don’t know what was done to the elephant, cause it could have nothing to do with the procedure done by professionals on a baby that is being held for a procedure that takes less then a minute or two in a clean and sterile, environment. Of course get a professional, check their credentials, as with any procedure, but attend some cause you can hear and see for yourself, the baby does not suffer and within minutes is acting as any newborn with no symptoms of any lingering effect except better health for himself and future partners!

Anonymous

Well you seem to be uneducated as to what goes on with females around puberty. Female genital mutilation is just that. They take stones or old razor blades have a group hold her down and just slice, slice away with dull blades until they remove her protruding organs and then sew her COMPLETELY closed with either thorns (have seen photos and heard stories of it) and leave only a minuscule hole for her urine and menstrual blood to flow out of. Of course and one with half a brain will know that is not enough of an opening and most urine and blood will remain trapped inside causing horrific infections and sepsis. Then here’s the best part for any of you who equate it the same, here skin grows over the thorns or whatever other material they have used to literally close her up (a man made chastity belt) and on her wedding night, cause the hymen or size of a woman’s natural vagina is not enough – they rip her open causing unbearable pain and bleeding and then penetrate her ignoring her pleas to stop. What a memorable first night. The following years night will be less memorable as the real goal of female circumcision and is easily found Ina my literature regarding the practice is to ensure the woman are NOT promiscuous as they have removed (violently) the external tissues that have sensitivity usually thrown in with removing the labia is the clitoris to. So try juggling without hands and arms and this of these woman’s sexual experience. This process is to not make them infertile but in a way to neuter them. Circumcision is removing the ‘excess’ skin that becomes the hood covering the tip of the penis, and can desensitize a man during sex as well as he can retract back into this hood rather then gliding and feeling the woman’s vagina. So think of it for some uncircumcised men, there head peaks out for a second, feels the woman then retreats (while still inside her) back into his own glove. This cuts down of his sensations and also the woman’s. I don’t know what was done to the elephant, cause it could have nothing to do with the procedure done by professionals on a baby that is being held for a procedure that takes less then a minute or two in a clean and sterile, environment. Of course get a professional, check their credentials, as with any procedure, but attend some cause you can hear and see for yourself, the baby does not suffer and within minutes is acting as any newborn with no symptoms of any lingering effect except better health for himself and future partners!

Anonymous

That is not true. Though I have not been with many men, I have been with bot circumcised and non- circumcised. Those circumcised ABSOLUTELY have a great sensitivity there and every where on their penis. The major difference I would say is uncircumcised men are hyper sensitive on the tip and can hardly bear a direct touch or caress there. What seems to have happened is being always covered that when exposed it can be highly overly sensitive and not in a pleasant manner. But I can attest there is absolutely sensitivity in a circumcised males. It has to be clear, no one is cutting off their penis!!! What is being removed is an extra fold of the skin, which does not even need stitches to heal. To compare it to loosing a breast is absurd and uniformed !! If you want a better comparison it would be to have removed a thin slice of tissue the area of half a toothpick to insure the reduced risk of cancer. But there is no part of the breast that causes a breeding ground of bacteria or other health dangers nor does anyone discuss that women who are with circumcised men suffer 70% less chance of getting cervical cancer!! So it is not only the men’s health we are discussing but the woman’s. And better anyone discussing is being barbaric ( the process does sound it) GO to a few circumcisions!!!! I have been to many and honestly felt terrified at most BUT in several the baby didn’t even peep. Most give a few short cries, but many were before the process started and we’re just from being disturbed. NONE were crying a minute after the process was over. So how horrible could it have been for the babies if there was no crying only a minute ( and hours) later. There was only one instance where I heard loud crying and it took a few minutes to calm him down, but to be accurate, it was later discovered this child had other illnesses unfortunately and nothing related to this. The procedure absolutely sounds terrifying, but in reality it is not, the baby looks fine afterwards, not scarred and after a quick healing time there is no evidence anything was done.. Except there is a healthy child who is not a breeding ground for life threatening bacteria and diseases. Just take another look at the African data again. We are talking about less occurrences of a deadly contagious disease that no one knows how to really prevent, but is being Prevented in a vast majority of times by their only shield of being circumcised.

Kal-ke@hotmail.co.uk'

Kal-ke

Would you remove your eyelids? No because they have a purpose. That purpose is to keep the eyes clean. The foreskin has a similar role which is to keep the penis tip clean. It also keeps the tip sensitive, removing the foreskin that protects the tip will make it lose it senses thus the tip becomes insensitive. 🙂

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

I will watch it, thanks Rebecaa!

rebeccaworthington11@yahoo.com'

Rebecca

Please watch this video, ‘Elephant in the Hospital,’ before making your decision. I have two intact sons as I could not imagine subjecting my children to this unnecessary and excruciating cosmetic surgery. I do believe within our lifetimes male circumcision will come to be regarded as a human rights violation, as is female genital mutilation.

andreamom001@gmail.com'

Andrea B

There is no benefit. That’s right: there is no benefit. The “benefits” are all myths. The US has a higher rate of circumcision than Europe. If circumcision protected against STD’s or AIDS, the US rate should be much lower than Europe, where circumcision is rare and most men are intact. In fact, it is the opposite. The rate of AIDS and STD’s is higher in the US where circumcision is higher. Girls have a higher rate of UTI’s and no one suggests cutting off part of their genitals…they just take antibiotics if needed.

It’s not just skin. It is an organ in its own right including the male “G-spot” and more nerves than any other part of the human body. It’s like cutting off a healthy organ because you think it looks better to have it gone.

If he decided later he wants to lose the most sensitive part of his penis, it is actually easier to do it as an adult–with full anesthesia, as much pain meds as he wants, and no diaper to stick to the wound and hold urine and poop on the wound. Once gone, it can’t be returned.

Personal stories: The fact that first decided me was that my baby was more likely to die from the procedure than he was to even catch penile cancer (which is the one possible benefit–if you cut off a chunk of penis, that chunk can’t get cancer…breast cancer is MUCH more common and yet no one would consider removing the breast buds of baby girls to prevent it!) I wasn’t sure what my circumcised husband would think, so I brought up the topic and he said “NO! No we aren’t going to circumcise if it’s a boy!” (He disliked the look of his scar…and yes, every circumcised penis has a scar.)

My first son has never had a problem with his intact genitals and he is nearly 18. My dad lived his whole life with intact genitals (something I did not even known until after my grandma saw me change my first son’s diaper).

My second son had some pain when urinating one day as a toddler. Was it a UTI? Was it “ballooning,” a common, NORMAL part of development? Had he injured himself? To this day, I don’t know. A pediatric urologist made me feel awful for not cutting off part of his penis when he was an infant–after taking literally a 3-second look at his penis, he said my son NEEDED a circumcision, has “stenosis” and would continue to have problems for the rest of his life without a circumcision. He repeatedly told me it was a medical necessity that he have one. I felt awful. Then I started to think further. Some of what he said made no sense. How could “stenosis” develop suddenly (overnight)? Answer: it can’t. How could he tell anything with such a quick look?

After lots and lots of research, I cancelled the “medically necessary” circumcision. Four years later, my son is fine. Whatever was wrong went away within a day. He didn’t need a functioning part of his body cut off to solve whatever brief issue he had.

You’ll hear lots of parents who claim their son had “problems later on” and “had to” be circumcised. Most likely most of them are wrong. The doctor was wrong, and leaving the child alone would have worked out just fine–in Finland, only 1 in 16,677 men ever needs a circumcision for any reason.

Watch elephant in the hospital and (if you can stand it) watch the video of the procedure of the doctor who circumcised his own son in the office. There is no reason to remove a functioning organ from your son’s genitals risking his death for what is truly only a cosmetic difference.

This is also a good series from a reputable publication: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201109/myths-about-circumcision-you-likely-believe

christinehubel@gmail.com'

Christine

Anonymous,
It is most likely that your son witnessed someone being bullied for having an intact penis. The fact that he had to ask you if he was circumcised indicates that his happiness has nothing to do with enjoying his body, and everything to do with someone else’s opinion. I’m glad he’s happy (at least so far), but that doesn’t make circumcision a good thing. It just means he and his peers only know that one way of being.

kalle.thompson@gmail.com'

SisterCreature

Men DO complain about being circumcised. A lot of parents will never know of their son’s circumcision complications, because why would they discuss their sex life with their parents? A lot of things that American men experience which they simply think are “normal,” are actually side effects of circumcision. NORM.org is the National Organization of Restoring Men. Men who were forcibly cut as babies and who then go on to “restore” a semblance of a foreskin (a skin which covers the glans and appears intact, but does not have all the things a natural foreskin has) report an incredible change in the quality of their sex life and sensation. Tight erections, hairy shaft, narrow meatus, scars, numb areas, a calloused and discolored glans…. these are not biologically normal.

Also, in one study out of UCLA, families who circumcised their children were interviewed one year after the surgery. (The sample size was around 300 families). In that study, in 67% of the families, either the mother or father or BOTH parents regretted having their son circumcised. “Regret parent” is a term that parents who come to feel regret use in social media, and their stories are extremely powerful. What if something goes horribly wrong, what if your son requires blood transfusions, additional surgeries, suffers complications? Adhesions are very common; as the cut foreskin heals, it tries to reattach. You would have to take your son to a doctor and have these ripped apart. What a terrible experience for a newborn, for their first experiences earthside to be ones of excruciating pain in their genitals. (All avoidable!) Some pediatric urologists make all their money basically correcting botched circumcisions. And yet, all of this is completely avoidable. Simply decline to have elective cosmetic surgery performed on your newborn’s genitals.

I am a mom to 2 intact sons. I had an intact partner for the first time when I was 26 and his sexuality was different from anything I had ever encountered in a partner. It did not turn me off one bit, and actually, having the foreskin as something to play with made performing oral sex on him much more interesting and varied for me as a woman. (Sorry to be graphic, however you NEED to see your son in the context of the man he’ll someday become.) I watched about ten seconds of a circ video when I was pregnant and that’s all I needed to see to decide against it for my child. My second son is from a different father, who I’m now married to. My husband is Jewish, and yet, we DID NOT have our Jewish child cut. He has a Hebrew name and we will visit Israel, and he cannot be more fully connected to his heritage by being mutilated.

I saw that one commenter above described the moment her pre-teen son THANKED her for circumcising them, and that this made her even more “pro circumcision.” I would like to respectfully point out that it’s way too early for the jury to be in on circumcision in the particular case of that boy’s life. He has not entered the age of his full sexuality nor had sexual partnerships yet. He’s probably basing his thankfulness on a playground discussion or comparison he had with the other boys where they all checked to see who matched and who did not. That’s a very shallow reason to be thankful for a mutilation!

When I met my intact partner, who was 32 at the time, and he described how incredibly thankful he was to have his whole body, I felt that was a very good assessment for a reason to avoid cutting babies. He was spared the knife, luckily. His mother is a nurse and Native American and had witnessed the horror in the hospital herself. He was thankful every single day to have his foreskin. I can’t imagine a circumcised man who is smart and thoughtful and begins to research what was taken from him, being thankful every day for having a lacking member, once he suffers side effects or reads The Lost List on NORM.org and learns what was taken from his body. He was born with it! It should have been his, by right! And yet. We live in America. It’s demented.

As a final note, I have several tattoos. Some may say they are mutilations of my form. That is ok; whatever anyone else thinks, I don’t really mind, because they were MY CHOICE for my adult body. Leave your son a choice over whether his body is modified and his sex life forever diminished. We females have the privilege of being protected from genital cutting by federal law. Even though cultural practices and the law have not caught up, circumcision is becoming more passe with each passing day, and ALL of the comments you’ve received have been 95% pro-intact. Let your son have the whole body he was born with. It’s an extremely easy choice to make today, and he will be in good company.

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

Thanks Amber, I’ll add that to my list of suggested resources. I don’t think there will be anything I haven’t read by the time he’s born, we will be very informed 🙂

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

Thank you, I will read it!

Amber

It is a myth that it is easier/Les painful for infants.http://holisticparentingmagazine.squarespace.com/circumcision-decision

Anonymous

Hey I don’t have time to write a detailed comment. But this is an article I wrote a year ago talking about the dangers of pain in infancy, and how woefully inadequate anesthesia is for newborn circumcision. I truly hope you take the time to read it. http://holisticparentingmagazine.squarespace.com/circumcision-decision

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

Thanks Bret! I’ve heard of that ritual and am mortified at even thinking of how it started or who’s idea that was. How sad that those babies are subjected to that and a lifetime of infections afterward 🙁 I generally accept the AAP and CDC as credible sources but you bring up a good point of looking at the background of a study or group of research, and also doing some cross-examination to see what other studies say.

bret.furlong@gmail.com'

Bret

One of the problems we face as a society today is religious harm, it comes in all forms and is sometimes disguised as science.

Take the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Centers for Disease Control recent publications surrounding circumcision.

The CDC guidelines are based on a sharply criticized 2012 policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The 2012 statement was condemned by a large group of physicians, medical organizations, and ethicists from European, Scandinavian, and Commonwealth countries as “culturally biased” and “different from [the conclusions] reached by physicians in other parts of the Western world, including Europe, Canada and Australia” (Frisch et al., 2013).

The new CDC guidelines highlight methodologically flawed studies from Africa that have no relevance to the United States. They chose to ignore studies that were conducted in the United States and show no link between circumcision and the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV (Thomas et al., 2004).

But what does this have to do with religious harm, Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC since 2009, is Jewish. Prior to his role at the CDC, he was New York City’s Health Commissioner. In this role, he refused to take a strong stance against metzitzah b’peh, the practice among some Jewish communities of the mohel (ritual circumciser) sucking the blood from the wound with his mouth, during these rituals some babies contracted STIs and have lifelong damage a couple even died from disease.

4 of the 7 members of the AAPs Taskforce on Circumcision are Jewish, not believing these members are not only culturally but religiously biased would be naïve: It is inconceivable that the AAP could have objectively concluded that the benefits of the procedure outweigh the risks when the ‘true incidence of complications’ isn’t known.” Instead, as the AAP stated in a later publication—after drawing considerable fire from pediatric and statistical experts —their main conclusion was based on a “feeling.” One of the authors of this statement, Dr. Andrew Freedman, revealed in an interview that he had previously circumcised his own son on his parents’ kitchen table. “But I did it for religious, not medical reasons,” Freedman reported. “I did it because I had 3,000 years of ancestors looking over my shoulder.” So we can see that both scientific and non-scientific factors can influence people’s attitudes toward circumcision—including people who are charged with setting policy.

We have a duty as Christians and even Atheists and Agnostics, to not fall for pseudoscience, and keeping archaic blood sacrifice rituals away from our children.


http://m.pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/03/12/peds.2012-2896.full.pdf

http://www.skeptic.org.uk/magazine/onlinearticles/articlelist/711-infant-circumcision

https://www.academia.edu/10553782/A_CDC-requested_Evidence-based_Critique_of_the_Centers_for_Disease_Control_and_Prevention_2014_Draft_on_Male_Circumcision_How_Ideology_and_Selective_Science_Lead_to_Superficial_Culturally-biased_Recommendations_by_the_CDC

http://m.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201501/circumcision-s-psychological-damage

http://notyourstocut.com/2015/01/01/cdc-director-is-jewish-physician-who-formerly-flip-flopped-on-metzitzah-bpeh-issue-during-his-tenure-as-the-nyc-health-commissioner/

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

James, I just saw this after already replying to your other comment. I am so heartbroken for what you went through. I cannot bear to think of how many others are enduring something similar out of fear or embarrassment. I am so glad you were able to find relief and a solution, and are speaking out about your experience. I think the more we share and talk about these things, the more people will feel empowered to take control of their health and lives. Thank you, James.

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

Exactly, Kristy. I think teaching our children to be kind, regardless of what ways others are different than them, is the key here.

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

James, thanks for providing a male’s perspective! I think the only way to validate what you’re saying is to hear from a man who’s experienced it both ways. Those would interesting stories to hear.

james.ketter@hotmail.com'

James Ketter

Please read about Meatal Stenosis. It affects anywhere from 9 to 32% of all circumcised boys, and is virtually non-existent for intact boys. The fact the AAP excluded these findings from their 2012 statement on the procedure, which they have known about since 1978, should tell you all you need to know about the ethics of the circumcision industry.

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/61/5/778.abstract

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

Thanks Sara! I’m glad this is being brought up and so many people are aware and educating each other about the proper care of their children. Hopefully this helps reduce the rates of problems that arise from circumcisions.

sara@animal-adoptions.org'

Sara

Sorry one more thing! Ha

I’m actually a NICU and mom/baby RN. Prior to specializing in that field I would have circd. But as I began to really be able to recognize pain and stress in the infant, and see the negative impact a circ has on a baby- I changed my mind. You have to have a trained eye- but once you, all you can see in a post circ baby is his pain and stress. It effects everything. Their temps, their blood sugar levels, their ability to nurse, their interaction and bonding with mom…. And all we can give them is Tylenol. Which actually recently came under fire for claiming to be an infant pain reliever, because it’s actually never been proven as such. I wish that all parents having to make this tough decision could see what I see in a day at work.

sara@animal-adoptions.org'

Sara

Your right about the retraction! Nobody should ever retract he boys foreskin except the boy himself. It is common for the foreskin and the glans to remain fused right up to puberty. Or it is also possible that it could separate as a toddler. Both are variations of normal? But yes, never retract for cleaning. It will cause scar tissue that can lead to phimosis and future problems, and creates a risk for infection due to the micro-tears.

Another thing to look into is the aftercare for a circd baby, and the routine care for one who is not. With a circd baby you have to change dressings at first, apply Vaseline during diaper changes, and pull back to ensure the skin doesn’t heal shut (google: adhesions). With an intact baby you just wipe like a finger 🙂

And speaking of adhesions… He rate of adhesions is higher than people think it is. Many are not diagnosed., and if it is it’s not something the parents, child, or man would talk about. They can have a seriously negative impact on an adult mans sex life, due to painful tearing with intercourse. And if it’s a tight circ, they can tear just from an erection alone. Then you have the risk for infection again. Not worth the risk in my opinion!

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Angela Silva

Thanks Chelsie! Yes, I hope that whatever the parents decide, they understand how to properly care for their child to prevent any potential problems!

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Angela Silva

Thanks, James! Yes, I hope more parents are taught proper care of the intact penis since it is becoming more common in the US and most adults are more accustomed to caring for a circumcised penis.

kristy_billings@yahoo.com'

kristy

Its a cosmetic surgery. I had my first son circumcised, biggest regret ever. I have so many problems with him . Uti’s and even the skin stretching to the point he is in so much pain he is crying cuz he doesn’t have the skin to acomidate it. If I knew more about the foreskin I wouldn’t have had it done to him. My youngest is intact. I have had 0 problems with him. Easier then a circumcised penis. Just wipe wat is seen. No pulling back till they can do it themselve. And its selfcleaning just like our lady parts. No special cleaning needs to b done wen they get older. It’s there to protect from infections as they r younger and older.
Also the study of HIV is false. The only thing that can prevent any sti std is safe sex. All men are equaly suseptable to getting something.
In my wild days I encounter intact men. It was new to me. But I prefer an intact penis. Felt so much better, no tugging or pulling. There isn’t much of a smell. Just like our VJ it has its own.
In school boys will notice they r diffrent from one another. Its our job as parents to encourage them and bring them up if they feel down. Educate them. Let him make the choice himself wen he gets older.

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Angela Silva

Good point, and the same goes for all other surgeries, as well. Which makes me start considering the history of the procedure, which is crazy in itself.

jennw.321@gmail.com'

Jenn

It hurts then because the skin is still attached to the head the same way your fingernail is attached to your finger. You should never retract it to clean under it, just teach them that when it can be pulled back without pain, that is when the boy can start rinsing under it. His condition of not being able to pull the skin back is actually perfectly normal and not a reason to circumcise. If a man reaches sexual maturity and still can’t retract it, there are steroid creams they can use rather than surgery to fix the problem.

james.ketter@hotmail.com'

James Ketter

The definition of ‘foreskin’ to North Americans currently seems to be, “The skin covering the end of the penis, often removed by circumcision.”

This definition is not just incomplete and outdated, it misses the point of the foreskin entirely. It hides the truth under a veil of Victorian era taboo and sexual repression.

The man with a foreskin doesn’t just have skin covering the end of his penis. He has far greater control over his sexual experience. He receives feedback and pleasure from his partner in a way the circumcised man never can, and likely cannot imagine.

The foreskin is an exceptionally complex, sensitive and innervated structure of rolling and gliding sexual tissue. It is the male’s contribution to sexual lubrication.

During sex, the foreskin rolls back and forth over the sensitive glans of the penis, granting a secondary, and vital sexual stimulation. Its tissues and receptors connect the male to his partner in an extraordinarily intimate shared experience. Foreskin allows the male to receive and adapt to the most subtle of signals from his partner. As it rolls, it stimulates the most sensitive areas of the female body, allowing HER to receive the most subtle sexual signals from him.

An intact man can feel multiple small orgasms with or without ejaculation throughout intercourse, growing, ebbing and changing throughout his sexual experience. He can even continue, fully engaged, in the sexual experience, POST ejaculation. The foreskin functions to provide what the male needs when he or his partner needs it. Its mucosal membranes share hormones, and the thousands of specialized nerve receptors interpret intimate signals from his partner, allowing for a greater synchronization. The foreskin is the KEY to shared sexual communication.

With his foreskin the male glides effortlessly within his partner. He rides a wave of frictionless pleasure. His sexual experience is physically and emotionally stimulating from the moment of sexual initiation, to the final mutual climax.

The cut man, deprived of his foreskin, does not feel his sense of pleasure until the very end. He must drive dryly towards a single building goal without being able to enjoy the complexities of the journey along the way. He is unable to fully read or understand the minute sexual cues from his partner. His rough journey ends abruptly, and often, without warning. It is a singular and unconnected explosion of an event. He can neither feel the same kind of physical/emotional connection, nor the same level of intimacy.

Sex without a foreskin CAN feel good. However, sex WITH a foreskin feels AMAZING. It is a journey of pleasure rising and falling as naturally as the waves, breaking and breaking again until both are lifted and carried away into mutual ecstasy.

Sex with a foreskin retains that dimension of sexual intimacy and sensation completely alien to the man who was cut in infancy or as a child. Sex with a foreskin is not just ‘sex as nature intended,’ it is pleasure meant to satisfy the soul of both the intact male and his mate.

Foreskin allows the male to take his time and explore all that is his sexual birthright. It allows him to better connect with his partner, and more fully enjoy his complete potential.

Foreskin isn’t just more skin or more nerve endings. It is a vital part of male sexuality. It is the FIRST and FOREMOST part of making a connection with another human being.

It is time we start to talk about sex and our natural unaltered bodies like adults, unbound by taboo or tradition.

It is time to change our outdated definitions.

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Angela Silva

Oh, poor guy! I hope he was able to find a solution and get some relief! I agree – there is way too much shame and embarrassment about our bodies. I am a big advocate of taking charge of one’s health and body, especially when medical procedures are concerned. It’s difficult as a parent to have to make these choices for our little ones who can’t make them for themselves. That’s why I’m so glad to see so many passionate parents who are truly researching and doing everything they can to make the best choices for their children.

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Angela Silva

Yes, Christine! That’s another biggie for me – surely our bodies weren’t born with all of these extra parts. It’s just so interesting how it’s become so commonplace in the US when the rest of the world is largely uncircumcised.

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Angela Silva

That’s a big pull for me, as well – letting him make his own choices about his body (as long as they aren’t life-threatening).

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Angela Silva

I love Jimmy Kimmel! Poor guy. I’ll have to go read about that, I haven’t hear of meatal stenosis. Thanks, Jenn!

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Angela Silva

I am hoping that the big anti-bullying movement will also help. I was sad to hear that many people circumcise just to avoid scrutiny. I hope that we teach our children to be kind so parents can make decisions based on their children’s health, not so they avoid being bullied, no matter what the decision may be.

chelsielynn90@yahoo.com'

Chelsie

I could write a novel but I’m not going to. Watch a video of the procedure, as well as Elephant in the hospital (it’s a documentary on YouTube). Intact Is much easier to care for. Wipe what is seen from base to tip. The foreskin is fused to the glans with connective tissue equivalent to the tissue that connects the fingernail to the finger…. It naturally desolves as your son gets older… In some boys it doesn’t fully desolve until puberty. The ONLY person who should ever retract an intact penis is the owner of the penis. Sadly because the U.S. Has such a high circumcision rate proper intact care and anatomy isn’t taught to health care professionals and isn’t seen in medical literature or textbooks… It’s unfortunate and sad especially for the poor innocent newborn babies who endure the procedure with em sufficient anesthetic

james.ketter@hotmail.com'

James Ketter

A child’s foreskin is not retractile until puberty or later. YOU DO NOT pull back his foreskin to clean, anymore than you would rip open a girl’s hymen to clean the insides of her vagina. It is sealed shut for a reason.

DO NOT believe this horrible abusive myth that you have to pull back a boys foreskin to clean underneath. Doing that is what CAUSES all those problems you hear about in the USA and other circumcising nations.

A MAN has to pull back his foreskin to RINSE with clean warm water. He is sexually active. A child DOES NOT.

Really, this is basic sexual biology here. This is not rocket science.

DO NOT MESS WITH THE INSIDES OF A CHILD’S GENITALS.

Did I really have to write those words in the year 2015?

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Angela Silva

Thanks Jill! Yes, this was a first-step in our research. Especially since the AAP says the studies aren’t sufficient to recommend it as routine, we figured we’d hear some real-life stories about how it would affect him either way.

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Angela Silva

People will always think what’s different than them is “weird,” so when the circumcision rate is 50% that won’t be an issue.

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Angela Silva

That’s good to know, Rachael. I’ve heard mixed things about retraction but that many problems can arise from parents of infants or toddlers trying to retract and clean it when it shouldn’t retract for years. Thanks!

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Angela Silva

That’s a good point too, Jenn. Someone brought up the whole “what-if” argument, and why don’t we remove tonsils, appendixes, gallbladders, etc. to reduce the risk of infection as well. I’m not sure I agree that those can be compared, but it gave me something to think about. Thanks Jenn!

christinehubel@gmail.com'

Christine

Rebecca, your experience says a lot about the cultural preferences of American women, and apparently some were not as nice as yourself and made it a big deal with those men. It’s horrible that they treated them in such a way that they felt self-conscious about their natural bodies enough to apologize to you. Please don’t use the shallowness of some women as a reason to get an optional surgery for a baby boy.

jennw.321@gmail.com'

Jenn

I think the difference is, you would only ever have his appendix out if there was something wrong with it, if it became diseased. You wouldn’t do it just in case he ever might get appendicitis in the future, and you wouldn’t do it at a few days old when only a local anesthetic could be used unless you absolutely had no other options.

james.ketter@hotmail.com'

James Ketter

When I say I was damaged by infant circumcision, I should be specific.

There wasn’t anything immediately wrong with the genital cutting I was subjected to. My parents and the doctor were quite happy with the immediate result, and frankly, other than a few hurtful comments on how short my penis appeared, I didn’t know any different as a child.

Puberty changed everything.

You see, it is impossible to tell how much penile skin a baby will need when he grows up. His tiny penis isn’t developed yet. Doctors have to guess how much of the mobile structure of the penis to destroy. They often guess wrong. The most common complications include removal of too much skin (like what happened to me), and removal of too little, which causes other nasty complications.

During puberty I experienced tight, painful erections. Without enough slack skin, the bulk of my penis had been trapped my whole life. It made my penis look shorter than it really was. When erections and my growth spurt started this caused me a great amount of pain.

My penis skin literally split under the tension. I was left with less than half the penile skin I should have had. No one noticed this, because frankly, some kids are just less endowed than others. And, what parent is going to try and get their child hard to see if he has enough skin? No, that never happened. That would have been a whole other level of child abuse.

The growth and erections of my teen years left me with stretch marks and awful scarring. Masturbation was actually impossible for me because of the tight skin until I was 15 years old. Oh, I was horny as all the other teens, but I just couldn’t do anything about it because of the pain it caused me.

I never told my parents this, because, let’s face it, teenage boys DO NOT talk to their parents about their penis or masturbation habits.

With no one to talk to about it, I assumed that all my sexual problems were my fault. I blamed myself for not being masculine enough. I blamed myself for being defective.

Twice before I was 18 I tried to kill myself because of my perceived failings as a male.

When I finally had sex, I was disturbed to discover I just couldn’t feel anything from my partner. Years of scarring and thickening of the skin left me with an insensitive member that wasn’t equal to the task. The only way I could feel anything through my penis was during masturbation and with a death grip that could crush full beer cans. A vagina has some grip, sure, but no where near enough for me to feel what I ought to have felt.

This led to years of depression, self blame, and a lot worse. I had to fake orgasms with women. It was devastating to my psyche. Eventually it was just too much work, so the relationships would break down because of lack of intimacy.

I came across foreskin restoration a few years ago, and it was a purely cosmetic choice for myself. I had grown up around my intact cousins, and I always felt my penis was wrong looking. The idea of hiding my horrible scars under a fold of skin sounded really appealing.

Within the first few months of starting foreskin restoration I noticed a change. As I slowly developed more slack skin, my penis slowly began to heal for the first time since I’d started puberty. The more slack skin I had, the better things functioned.

By the time I developed enough slack skin to again cover the glans properly I was sold.

When the skin covers the glans the glans starts to heal and shed all the thickened skin that has built up over the years. My sensitivity magnified a hundred fold. Also, shedding the thickened skin and healing the glans allowed the scaring around my meatus to soften. Pain I had had my entire life while urinating suddenly disappeared. That pain was so constant and expected that I thought it was normal. My mind had become accustomed to the pain so much that it no longer registered. Suddenly not feeling a pain I had had my entire life was a revelation.

Eventually I researched and discovered that I had been suffering from Meatal Stenosis all my life. At nearly 40 years of age, I was finally cured of it.

Foreskin restoration has reduced the look of my scars, improved the function of my penis, and improved my overall mental, physical and sexual health.

I have had enough foreskin now to know what both sides of circumcision feel like, and it is no contest. Foreskin is simply better in each and every way. There really is no excuse to remove a body part this valuable and functional.

My own parents, when I was a child, were just like all the pro-cutting parents I try and educate. They were convinced I was “fine.” I was a happy child, and I didn’t know any better. When asked, my parents were proud of their decision, and would recommend it to their friends because of how happy THEY were with the configuration of MY penis.

But they didn’t know the reality. They never could, and never can. Neither can you if you cut your sons.

When I hear men brag about their penis, and claim, “I’m cut, and I’m fine,” I laugh, because I know the truth. The more insecure you are about your penis, the more you lie and claim everything is fine. Everything is fantastic, “I am so very very happy happy with my cock!” It is a lie, and an evasion.

I know. I used to be the King of Denial. I used to say those very same things. It takes a VERY brave man to admit his penis is less than it should be. I would have walked into burning buildings, or into a war zone without blinking, but to admit my penis was flawed was something I didn’t have courage enough to admit.

It took restoring my foreskin to finally make me admit out loud what had been wrong for so very long. Now I brave insults and ridicule for spreading education about the abomination that is genital cutting.

I’m sorry to say, if you cut your child, you will probably never know the damages you have done. Boys and men are not wired to talk openly and honestly with their parents about this. A man will die before he lets anyone think there is anything wrong with his penis, or his masculinity.

You can claim, “my son is fine,” all you want, but you just cannot and likely never will know the actual truth. He may not be able to face the truth of this himself. More than to anyone else, he will lie to himself.

There is no way to know how much skin a baby boy will require for his penis when he is grown. It is NOT something that can be predicted. Doctors have to guess. They can and do guess wrong more than they guess right.

I speak out against genital cutting because I know first hand how horrible and wrong it really is. I know what the circumcised child is missing. I know what he can suffer. I know what you’ve put him at risk for. I’ve experienced it.

I’ve researched every aspect of it, and there really is no excuse to take this pleasure away from another person.

Make no mistake, the foreskin is erogenous tissue. It is more pleasurable to have one than to NOT have one. It IS a valuable part of the penis. It is an organ with specialized functions that make a man’s life better. Its loss is not insignificant. It is NOT just skin.

If you want I can give you more information about foreskin restoration.

PM me.

Don’t just research circumcision. Research the FORESKIN.

If men were supposed to have foreskins they would have been born with them.

jennw.321@gmail.com'

Jenn

I’ve met quite a few guys who have had problems with it. I think intact men have been shamed in the past and that is why they feel self-conscious. But when they are circumcising babies, it’s hard for the doctor to estimate how much skin to take. Sometimes they take too much, leaving men with tight, painful erections, sometimes they take too little, causing skin bridges and adhesions. I knew someone who had pain all his life and never realized until recently that it was because of this circumcision – they took more skin from the top than the bottom. He has pain on a daily basis, but was still in favor of circumcision when I met him because he didn’t even realize his pain was a complication of his circumcision.

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Angela Silva

Thanks Rachael! Yes, I would assume proper hygiene for an intact penis can be routine just like cleaning behind their ears. As long as they’re taught from a young age that it’s just something to be done, they shouldn’t have a problem with it.

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Angela Silva

Thanks, Darlene! I have been surprised in learning about a lot of the history and cultural beliefs surrounding circumcision. It definitely makes me think twice about it!

christinehubel@gmail.com'

Christine

Hey, Angela! I would encourage you to listen to your gut here and avoid the circumcision entirely. If my child needed a serious procedure to save his life or fix a terrible problem, I would get it done. And like you, I would hardly be able to watch and would suffer the whole way through. I would agonize over his pain, and worry about infection or complications afterword. Therefore, I would never choose an optional procedure that does carry all the risks you listed above. Though some people taut the benefits of circumcision, hundreds of millions of intact men prove it is not necessary for health or happiness.

My two sons are intact, and have had zero problems. They are not smelly or dirty, since under the foreskin gets cleaned by sterile urine, and it actually keeps germs away from the urethra. They have never needed a urine sample drawn (and in the small chance that they do, I would ask for a nurse who knows how to cath without retracting) so that problem is a very small concern to me. A foreskin that gets forcibly retracted (usually for cleaning) is the main risk to intact boys. It can get red, infected, germs can enter, etc; but when left alone, the foreskin is a valuable and harmless body part.

As far as personal stories go, you will always find someone who had a medical problem with any body part. That in and of itself is not a reason to remove it in advance from someone else. You will always find a boy who was teased for his foreskin, but that says far more about the bullier than the procedure of circumcision. About half of US boys are left intact now, so changing a boy’s body for this reason is not even going to help. Bullys will find something new to hurt people over. You will also find people who say the sexual benefits of foreskin do not matter, but if you search “foreskin restoration” you will find thousands of men who are stretching their existing skin to reclaim some of the benefits lost when they were circumcised (the 20,000 nerve endings cannot be replaced, but the glans covering and gliding motion can) that show men do miss their foreskins.

I don’t know if you believe in God or mother nature or evolution, but please trust that boys’ bodies are the way they are for a reason. If the child’s tonsils, appendix, gall bladder, toe, or foreskin (or the breasts, ovaries or uterus of girls) are truly harming his body, those can be surgically removed, and he will still live a good life. But if they are harmless and beneficial, why would we remove any of those?

If boys were meant to have foreskins, they would be born with them. 😉

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Angela Silva

Thanks Rachael! That’s so sad to hear – my pediatrician assured me I could be present for the procedure and that pain management would be used to minimize any discomfort. However, as you said, I’m not exactly sure that the benefits are worth the ordeal. I am still doing my research and gathering the opinions and experiences from others because, like you said, data and stats are one thing but how it really affects people in real-life has been extremely helpful in giving me an idea of what we’re dealing with.

Jenna

Please do some unbiased research. I believed several myths, and had my first son circumcised, 8 years ago. It is the biggest regret of my life. All baby boys are not born defective. Humans, both male and female, all evolved with a foreskin. It is meant to be there. If you wouldn’t be able to handle watching the procedure being done, imagine your poor sweet boy, hours old, going through such a traumatic experience, for COSMETIC purposes. He needs his mommy to protect and comfort him, at all times. He should be welcomed into the world with love and comfort. 80% of the world’s men, are intact, and almost never have any issues. The American doctors, and their lack of knowledge on how to care for a normal penis, is where the problems come in. Please trust your son to be capable of cleaning himself, and leave the decision up to him. Good luck with your little guy. 🙂
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201109/myths-about-circumcision-you-likely-believe
http://Www.thewholenetwork.org
http://Www.savingoursons.org
http://Www.intactamerica.org
http://Www.yourwholebaby.org

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Angela Silva

Well I wouldn’t want to see him have his tonsils or appendix or any other body part removed either. Or ever see him in any kind of pain, of course. But that’s where weighing the risks and benefits comes in, if going through such an ordeal is worth the benefits. Thank you for your comment!

arwindemuller@att.net'

Rachael

Some boys and adult men are not happy with theirs, especially when they weren’t done ‘well’. It’s not something you can undo if they aren’t happy with it, but it is something you can do later if they wish they had it done.

jennw.321@gmail.com'

Jenn

They state that the benefits outweigh the risks, but then go on too say the true risks are unknown. One risk they don’t talk about is meatal stenosis, which is a complication that happens about 10% of the time and often requires surgical correction. Jimmy Kimmel has already had to have 2 surgeries to correct his.

arwindemuller@att.net'

Rachael

My husband was circumcised and he got teased for his Darth Vadar dick. So, it really can go either way with the teasing. Boys will tease each other about their penises, no matter what (size, shape, color, etc.). I think it’s important to teach our boys to be proud of their bodies and not ashamed of them.

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Angela Silva

Wow, thank you for those resources Heidi. I’ve got some reading to do 🙂 I’m so glad to hear that you and so many parents are researching these things rather than blindly following the trends. What lucky children to have such caring parents.

jlmulkern@gmail.com'

Jill

My husband was circumcised. He only now realized the problems that came with it because we are expecting a son and have done a lot of research. He had experienced infection as a baby from the circumcision, it went on for almost 2 years and he says he REMEMBERS how painful it was when he was a toddler.
We figured out he was loosely circumcised, so he has extra skin which we noted was actually a GOOD thing sexually (no lube necessary, no friction burn). He told me his friend was tightly circumcised and had experienced ripping or tearing when he first had sex because there was no ‘give’ to the skin.
We researched benefits of keeping the foreskin and the ‘how to clean’ since everyone seems to know it’s harder to clean when intact. That is actually not the case. The foreskin is adhered as an infant and retracting actually rips the skin and causes pain and adhesions. You simply clean like a finger! The foreskin acts as a self cleaning mechanism.
Long story short we have decided to leave our baby perfectly intact and my husband winces at the thought of circumcision. There are some really great articles and research regarding intact boys. I recommend doing some more research before making such a huge decision for your little one. 🙂

jennw.321@gmail.com'

Jenn

Probably because in our culture, there are people who think that it’s “weird” or “gross” for a man to be intact. It’s unfortunate, but it’s changing because less and less people are circumcising their sons, so intact is becoming more the norm, and also because men and boys are learning the actual functions of the foreskin and finding out it’s actually a good thing to have one.

arwindemuller@att.net'

Rachael

Just to note: when your child is older and has it done the risks are higher because they have to go under general anesthesia. This is the same risk as having tubes put in or tonsils. The pain level, however, is just the same. With an older child, they aren’t healing in a diaper filled with urine and feces.
A 10 year old should not necessarily be able to retract their foreskin. If it’s tight still, that’s ok. It’s supposed to be fused to the glans (head of the penis). The average age of retraction is 10, but boys can be up to 13-14 years old before it separates. True phimosis can be cured by steroid creams and does not require amputation.

jennw.321@gmail.com'

Jenn

I have been studying this topic for almost twenty years, and I have decided after a ton of research on both sides, I truly believe it is better not to circumcise. I think the biggest reason it feels like a hard decision at first is because people in our culture don’t understand the actual uses and functions of the foreskin. It isn’t just a tiny flap of skin or a little snip. It equals about the size of a 3×5 index card, and is made of skin, muscle, a frenulum, ridged band, and tons of specialized, fine-touch nerves. It’s functions include protecting the glans, providing a gliding action during sex, making it more comfortable for their female partner, and it is the most erogenous part of the male body.

In a recent study of women who have had sex with both intact and circumcised men, 85% prefer sex with an intact man. Women in our culture who say they prefer circumcised don’t usually know the difference, so they don’t know that the dryness and friction, etc. they experience is caused by their partner’s circumcision.

About 80% of the world’s men are intact, and in Finland, where they only circumcise if all other options have failed, only 1 in 16,000 ever need a circumcision. Some people say they know someone-a dad, brother, uncle, friend, whatever-who had to be circumcised as an older child or man, and they use that as a reason to circumcise their son. But almost all of those cases could have been avoided by knowledge (such as the fact that you should NEVER retract a baby or young boy’s foreskin because it is fused to the glans and retracting is actually what causes the infections that then lead to a doctor suggesting circumcision, and also the fact that physiological phymosis is actually normal and not a reason to circumcise, and that many boys’ foreskin doesn’t retract until puberty and that that is OK and not a reason your circumcise) or by trying less invasive options, such as steroid cream or a dorsal slit. Surgery should never be the first course of treatment, and definitely shouldn’t be something we routinely do just because something might happen in the future.

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Angela Silva

I’m in the same boat as you, Kate. My husband is not American, which is how I even realized it was so uncommon outside of the US and led me to research why. Thanks for your comment!

arwindemuller@att.net'

Rachael

Regarding cleaning, cleaning a baby’s intact penis is much easier than a circumcised one. Later in life, you’ll have to teach them to retract their foreskin and clean it, much like you’ll have to teach your daughters to separate their labia to clean their vagina.

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Angela Silva

That’s really interesting, Rebecca. It’s hard to think of your newborn son in terms of an adult with a sex life, but I wouldn’t want him to be ashamed of any part of his body! Thanks for your comment!

ricknjoan.je@gmail.com'

Darlene

Both of my sons are intact. I don’t believe it’s necessary to circumcised and I think it’s cruel to put them through that pain for your own selfish beliefs.

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Angela Silva

Great perspective, thanks Nadia!

arwindemuller@att.net'

Rachael

As a nurse, we were told by the nurses training us and the doctors to tell our patients that their babies slept through the procedure. Most of the time, they were screaming so much that they passed out or went into shock from the pain.
I guess my question would be – if you were having a girl, would you be having the same discussion? Could you in good conscience cut off any part, small or large, from your newborn daughter’s genitals? Regarding cleanliness, much of the problem today stems from improper training regards to intact care. As nurses, many of us were taught to retract and rip apart adhesions. Unfortunately, this causes tears and infections. Intact penises are fused to the head (glans) and should never be retracted. They retract naturally between the ages of 5 and 13.
The study that you cited about HIV and Africa is one that the AAP cites as well. I believe it to be accurate. HIV rates are lower among men that are healing from a circumcision (and have to wait to have sex), and are given STD education and condoms (obviously). Unfortunately, new data is coming in that shows that circumcision is actually increasing the rate of STDs because men think they can go without condoms now. Circumcised or not, you still have to wear a condom.
I’ve personally seen too many babies receive blood transfusions and have to stay in the NICU due to their circumcisions. I’ve never seen a baby die from it, but I don’t find that it’s ever worth the risk for something that ultimately boils down to cosmetics.
Definitely do your own research on it. Make sure you look up what the functions of the foreskin are. It’s not an extra piece of skin. It does have a purpose. For me, seeing it done so many times and seeing the pain during and after as well as having a circumcised husband that isn’t happy with his (skin bridges and too much skin loss makes erections painful) was enough to keep me from having the surgery for my boys. If they aren’t happy with the decision, they are welcome to have it done later.

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Peter London

“…even if we decide to circumcise, I couldn’t stand to witness the procedure 🙁 ”

Anglea — could I ask that you take some quiet time, and really sit and think about the utter horror of that statement? Doesn’t that just tell you all you need to know about this terrible assault on baby boys?

If you can stand to witness it, then you shouldn’t be doing it.

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Angela Silva

Thanks Kendra! Considering the majority of the adult male world is uncircumcised, I am sure it’s much more easy to clean and maintain than many believe.

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Angela Silva

That’s a great point. I’m all for leaving choices regarding health to the individual. Thanks for your comment!

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Ld

Totally unnecessary. Sad that this is still what seems to be a common practice. And the reasons for justifying it are very shallow and sad. The problems from circumcision that arise when one is an adult outweigh the “inconvenience” of having to clean a penis. Why not let them as an adult decide if they want it done? Don’t say it’s painful for an adult, but then not for an infant.

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Sarah

I would never circumcise my child. You should also check out http://www.savingsons.org/ for a lot more information, and literature.

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Kendra

Watch the procedure on YouTube.
If you can’t finish watching it all without wanting to puke do not do it. The ‘benefits’ are very very small and the downsides to circumcision are huge. It decreases sexual pleasure for both men and women and a lot of grown men are really unhappy that they were not given the option to keep their healthy, fully functioning and erogenous tissue. My husband is in the process of foreskin restoration. It won’t bring it back but it’ll at least bring back some sensitivity lost during circumcision but it will never be the same again. The more he learns about what was taken from him the more violated and angry he is. Research the 16+ functions of the foreskin. Realize that cleaning an intact penis is so simple, don’t retract, just wipe the outside like a finger. It is SO easy to take care of an intact penis without taking away a healthy, functioning and beneficial part of his sexual organ.

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Heidi

I’m glad to see that you’re researching this extremely sensitive topic. I’ve been researching routine infant circumcision for six years now. A few more areas I would suggest looking into:

Functions of the foreskin: http://www.cirp.org/library/sex_function/
http://www.drmomma.org/2009/09/functions-of-foreskin-purposes-of.html

HIV increases in parts of Africa after circumcision trials: http://malawi24.com/2015/08/04/circumcision-disaster-malawi-hiv-infection-rate-doubles/

Hygiene: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201109/more-circumcision-myths-you-may-believe-hygiene-and-stds

Outcome Statistics: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/cut-vs-intact-outcome-statistics.html

Additional Research: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ceht-3xu84I
http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/are-you-fully-informed.html

My opinion regarding infant circumcision has gone from completely for it (pro circumcision), to six years later seeing it as a complete human rights violation and hoping it will be made illegal just like female genital mutilation (pro intact). It is a long process to get to the point where I’m at, but one I was willing to make for my sons.

Please remember that circumcision can NEVER be undone. But it can always be done later if the male decides that is what he wants. My own husband is furious that his right to a whole body was taken from him as an infant, and we have suffered many of the lesser-known consequences relating to sexual intercourse from his circumcision. I’d be happy to discuss anything further or answer any questions you might have. 🙂

dglvrhied@hotmail.com'

Heidi

I’m glad you are truly looking into this topic before having your son. I would strongly encourage you to do further research and dig even deeper.
Research the functions of the foreskin, and try to find a reliably conclusive study that actually states there are medical benefits to a circumcised penis. The studies carried out in Africa to determine if circumcision reduces the risk of HIV transmission have been proven flawed and extremely exaggerated time and time again, and other studies have found that the rising numbers of circumcisions in places like Malawi are actually resulting in a rise in HIV transmission. There are currently hundreds of thousand of men in the process of “restoring” some of what they lost to infant circumcision, and even more men that are angry that they had no say in the human right to a whole body. Some useful links to help you further your research:

http://malawi24.com/2015/08/04/circumcision-disaster-malawi-hiv-infection-rate-doubles/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ceht-3xu84I
http://www.drmomma.org/2014/12/should-i-circumcise-my-son-pros-and.html
http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/cut-vs-intact-outcome-statistics.html
http://www.cirp.org/library/sex_function/

P.S. If you can’t stand to watch it, doesn’t that say something about WHY you can’t stand to watch it done?!?! Whether you watch it or not, it is going to be just as horrible for the boy that goes through it!

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Nadia

Hello All,
We are from canada in a province where circumcised boys are low as 3 %. We just go to a private clinic to get it done and pay for it. That said, since my husband is circomsised, we are looking in getting our son circumcised, mostly for hygiene and asthetic reasons. Personally a circumcised penise looks much better and is cleaner than a non circumcised penis. I have seen a friend in elementary having to get a circumcision at 10 years old because the foreskin was to tigh and he couldn’t retract the skin and was super painful. They had to put him to sleep and recovery was 4 weeks. Personally I believe that getting circumcised as a newborn is less traumatizing than when you are a toddler. Having to make sure your little boy pulls his skin back everytime he has a bath is a battle cause it hurts them. Anyway, skin on, skin off both have their advantages.

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Rebecca

I’m far from an expert on this topic, but in my experimental phase I had a couple run ins with uncircumcised guys. While it wasn’t my preference, it was far from a deal breaker. What I thought was interesting was that all of the guys had a bigger problem with it than I did – this was three different guys, but each one was self-conscious and felt the need to “apologize” about it, and wished that he had been circumcised. On the other hand, I never encountered a circumcised guy who seemed to have a problem with it.

kate.bolintineanu@gmail.com'

K.

It’s much more common in the U.S. than in most other parts of the world. My husband is not American, and he was not in favor of having our son circumcised. I’m of the mindset of not messing with what nature intended, so we agreed not to. When I shared our plans with my family, it was my mom and sister who protested! I couldn’t believe it! “It’s not hygienic!” Said my sister. “He’ll be teased!” Said my mom. I told them firmly we had made the decision and it wasn’t up for debate. My dad didn’t even raise an eyebrow. Funny! And I figure, well, it never set my husband back, so I don’t regret our decision one bit. Our son has never had UTI’s and I’m happy with him the way God and nature intended!

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Angela Silva

Wow, thanks for your feedback, Keri. I think even if we decide to circumcise, I couldn’t stand to witness the procedure 🙁

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Keri

I’m a nurse who works with babies and I’ve had to assist in numerous circumcisions. Seeing what these one-day old babies experience is enough to sway my decision not to circumcise. I can’t even imagine the level of pain they feel. And they only receive a local anesthetic which wears off in a few hours. Yes, it may be temporary but I just don’t think it’s necessary. Good luck in your decision!

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Angela Silva

I wonder what prompted him to thank you for being circumcised? Haha. Well I’m glad he’s happy about it!

Anonymous

One day, out of the blue, my son who was in Jr High at the time, and who was quite shy, came to me and said, “You had me circumcised, right?” and me, trying to hide my shock from this unexpected question coming from him of all people, answered “Yes.” Then he said “Thank you!” and walked out.
I SO BADLY wanted to follow him and find out what precipitated this, but I put it in perspective; teenage boys simply DO NOT willingly discuss anything even remotely involving their penises with their mothers, so for him to have asked me that question and then thanked me makes me even more pro circumcision than before. Even though the AAP doesn’t officially recommend it, I believe they “unofficially” do in their opening statement, where they state the “benefits outweigh the risks.”