< Back to All Articles

Circumcision Stories for Both Sides

August 10, 2015

“Before I even dive into this, I’m going to share the worst thing I’ve ever heard of in my entire life.

Smegma.

Its technical definition is:

“A thick, cheeselike, sebaceous secretion that collects beneath the foreskin.

I’ll be revisiting the issue of smegma further down the article. But for now, you’re welcome.

I always thought circumcision was just what was done, and that it was just a routine medical procedure because all penises came flawed and needed to be fixed or something? Now I’m finding out there’s a HUGE debate over whether it’s medically necessary, and I’m coming to find that a lot of the health benefits are debatable. I realized this when I found that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) doesn’t recommend it as a routine procedure. They recommend vaccines like crazy and set the guidelines for everything else. I mean if circumcision really provided life or death benefits or serious benefits, they would also strongly advocate for it, right?

The arguments for and against circumcision both cite health reasons, and I weighed the pros and cons of a lot of those in this post. If the AAP had a strong stance and real, hard evidence about why it was better, it would be an easier decision. Because the research is so limited, I decided I’d just look at some real-life, real-world experiences.

But before I share some of these stories and experiences, do you want to know the most surprising thing I found out about this entire debate?

It’s fueled mostly by women. Who don’t have penises.

I was so surprised that almost every opinion that popped up was from a woman.

I mean I get it, we’re moms. We take a vested interest in our children’s health, which is why I’m even researching and writing this article. I was just surprised that more women than men are so actively involved in the debate (at least online), and are even quite brutal to each other as they defend their points of view. Seriously, I can’t imagine seeing grown women arguing and being nasty in person about circumcision like they are online.

Internet probs.

I poked around online some more and found that there actually is a lot of discussion among men about circumcision.

So here are some of the common concerns and arguments surrounding circumcision, and some helpful stories, insights, and responses from an equal amount of men and women (and here’s where you’ll finally hear about SMEGMA!):

Uncircumcised men experience more infections

“I finally underwent the procedure after several years of trading yeast infections back and forth with my wife. We tried a number of alternatives, but finally both agreed that the circumcision was the best solution. I don’t know why I waited so long, but my problems with balanitis and her vaginitis stopped.” – ManintheUSA

“I was perfectly fine not circumcizing my son, my fiance is not circumsized. My friend, who is a nurse for a lot of older patients, told us that a lot of nurses will forget that the foreskin needs to be pushed back and cleaned on old men. If it’s not cleaned properly it can lead to massive infection which leads to you know what. That was her reasoning for circumcision. I kept that to myself and asked my fiance what he wanted to do. He told me he wanted it done for different reasons. I let him decide, since I’m not a man and I felt like a man should make the decision for our son, if that makes sense.” – Victoria M. 

“My nephew had several infections from not properly cleaning himself now, my sister says that’s not why, but my nephew says it is (he’s 12). He forgets to clean himself there. Not circumcising isn’t an option in our opinion.” – bcsmdln15

“When my son was born, my wife and I decided to just leave him alone. Unless there is ever a medical reason for it, we don’t want to circumcise him. I’m circumcised, and my parents decided to circumcise me. My mom said at the time, the doctors suggested it for sanitary reasons. I talked to my son’s pediatrician, and she said she only suggests it if there’s a medical reason for it.” – TechMike

Uncircumcised penises are harder to keep clean

“Growing up, the foreskin was not too great an issue, I was taught from an early age how to clean myself and practised proper penile hygiene. I was aware that I did not look like most of my class mates, but I must admit it was never too much of an issue. It was not until my teens that I noticed that my penis would develop an ‘smell’, to put it one way. Despite morning showers, by the afternoon my penis would start to develop a slight odour, not strong, and not noticeable to others, but noticeable to me. If I missed a shower, say because I was camping, the odour grew stronger, and in cases such as these smegma would start to build up under the foreskin rather quickly. As a result, where possible I would wash twice a day. I noticed while living in Europe (where circumcision is in the minority), that many men would have a strong odour, like the one I was familiar with, in winter. When thinking that in countries such as Italy and regions of France, showers are a once or biweekly affair in winter, I could understand why this odour could become so strong.” – AustraliaMan

“I had to be circumcised when I was 18 (I am now 23) and I just wish it had already been way earlier. In comparison to my uncirc’d days my penile hygiene is a lot better. Tell me what you want, but an uncircumcised penis develops the strangest and foulest ‘odours’. I remember that fishy stench of my glans only two hours after having washed my ‘old-fellow’ when I still had my prepuce.” – Med Student in Germany

“I have a good friend who was circumcised last year when he was 75 years old…and he’s glad he did it.” – Ralph_Kirk

“I am circumcised, but left my sons intact. Unless you don’t plan on teaching your children basic personal hygiene I wouldn’t worry too much about the whole “cleanliness” issue. The benefits of circumcision seem to be related to reduction in STD transmission. Many of the studies done on this are in high risk populations – promiscuous gay men, or men that frequently visit prostitutes. If you have religious or cultural beliefs that include circumcision then go ahead with it. Otherwise it’s really a personal decision for you and your husband. I’m sure your little boy will be fine with it either way.” – JohnS_15

Circumcised penises experience diminished sensation

“I was circumcised at birth, and am glad that I was. I have plenty of sensitivity and stamina, and have never had any medical problems, nor have I ever been made fun of in the locker room or when a woman has seen me naked. There’s just no downside to it. I’ve known a few guys who weren’t circumcised at birth who had to be circumcised during puberty due to phimosis or paraphimosis. These don’t happen to every guy who is uncircumcised, but the possibility is there.” – Slowpoke_TX

“The continued hygiene issues made me decide to have a circumcision. Several years later I finally got around to having it done. I saw a local GP who after questioning me as to why I wanted it done, referred me to a general surgeon. After a simple discussion and examination we set the date for the procedure under general anaesthetic. The procedure lasted an hour and recovery took a week or two.That was close to ten years ago now, and since that time I consider it to be the best decision I have made. Hygiene is no longer an issue, the lack of foreskin keeps the penis clean at all times. Nor have I noticed ANY loss of sensation. On the contrary, I find intercourse improved 10 fold since the circumcision. The few microns the skin that the glans may have thickened makes no difference at all to sexual receptiveness and I find it in some ways it is more sensitive.” – AustraliaMan

Circumcising an infant is a human rights violation – their body, their choice

“I am a newborn nursery nurse. I had both of my boys circumcised, but not in the hospital. I took them both to a pediatric urologist (I HIGHLY recommend Dr. Edmondson at Children’s Urology of VA). I had them circ’d for health and hygiene reasons, and because my husband wanted them to be circumcised. With my first son, they noticed an anomaly that we would have never known about until he probably had a major UTI if we had not circ’d him. If we wouldn’t have done the circ, he would have had major restorative surgery whenever the anomaly was discovered anyway. (they usually don’t find problems though!) The urologist does an amazing job. Babies are adequately numbed, they take their time (in a good way), and make sure that things are done right; also, the parents are right there with the baby during the procedure. They provide 3 types of pain management for the procedure. Also, with the baby being a little older, nursing/feeding is better established, swelling from birth is diminished, and you can give the baby Tylenol after the procedure (they don’t do that in the hospital). People say that the current rate is 50% circ’d, 50% not circ’d, but there are VERY few babies born where I work that aren’t circ’d in the hospital. And, those that aren’t, usually aren’t for a medical reason and are referred to a urologist because the parents still desire it, but for whatever reason, the OB can’t/won’t do it. Also, I’d much rather a urologist do a circumcision than an OB any day!” – Lindsey L.

“I am 82 and wish I had had it done. My brother in law had it done at 83.” – DanBev

If you are worried about pain they don’t feel it. They explained in the hospital they do it while they are sleeping, then spray it with something that completely numbs it, then snip. My son didn’t cry when it was done or wake up. While healing we put a little vaseline with a small square of gauze. He didn’t cry once when I cleaned him, but cried when I would clean his umbilical cord. I know everyone is different, but it definitely made me feel better.” – Victoria M.

“2 boys both circumcised because of health reasons. With my mom being a nurse she saw too many horror stories of men having it done 50-60+ years old and having horrible time recovering at that age. No one thinks their newborn will be a 70yr old man that may have trouble caring for himself.” – Heather D. 

“GOD designed Men and Women with Pro Creation Sex parts……why mess with a good thing? Will be 84 on Friday and still Original and narry a problem.” – Steve_Bagu

I let my husband make the call & he was initially against it, but after he talked to his dad and his brother who had to be circumcised as adults the decision was made to do it. But we had it done by a pediatric urologist not at the hospital.” – Terri R.

“I can say that getting it done later is extremely painful and harder to heal. I had a child I babysat for (when I was a teenager) need to have it done when he was 8, and then my FIL had to have it done in his 60’s so I’m glad I had it done when my son was a baby. I don’t regret our decision and he doesn’t remember having it done and I don’t bring it up.” – B. Kobus

“My son was uncut until about age 13, then medically it became necessary. It was NOT pleasant for a young man to go through that. I would recommend that if you do decide to circumcise- GET IT OVER WITH SOON AFTER BIRTH. My kid was in a lot of pain and it hampered him for about a month.” – ThreeRun

Infants should be circumcised to later fit in and avoid scrutiny

“I’ve been in the urology field for 10 years and I recommend getting Children’s urology to do it 3 weeks after they’re born versus the hospital. OB gyns arent urologists. The urologists end up doing so many repairs from it. The swelling had gone down from birth after 3 weeks and they can make a better judge of how much skin to take off. If too much is taken off there are serious issues. The circumcision rate is down to almost 50pct in the US. So when he’s an adult, 50 pct of men won’t be circumcised so who is normal then? I think kids think whatever isn’t like them is weird. So of course a teenager that’s circd can’t imagine having foreskin and vice versa. There are pros and cons. Old men uncircd have many issues.” – B. Kinsley

“A couple of things you hear about: locker rooms & peers – ummmmm… never stood around looking at each others penises. If had ever noticed someone different, there’s no way I’d point out that I was looking. Another argument is that it gets done because the parents want him to “be like Dad”. I don’t even know if my dad is circumcised. It’s never been a topic of conversation, and I don’t recall ever seeing it.” – TrampledUnderFoot

“I have 3 intact boys ages 14, 12 and 8 and they are old enough to say they are happy to have their foreskin and cringe at the thought of it being cut off. When asked about getting made fun of in the locker room they say that boys don’t look at each other’s penises, that would be weird.” – L. Smith

“I’m uncircumcised, grew up in a community where about 98% of those my age were. I endured a little locker-room taunting in Junior High, but not that much. This likely wouldn’t be a problem today; both because circumcision is no longer near-universal, and because adolescents no longer shower together after Phys Ed classes and athletic practices. I investigated having the procedure done as a teenager (an exchange student in our class had done so) but decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.” -2nd Trick Op

What are your thoughts on the circumcision debate? Do you have any other stories or experiences to add to these? Please share them below!

Author icon

Author Info

Avatar for Angela Silva

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

Product icon

Products in this Article

The Smart Sock is the first baby monitor to track your baby’s oxygen level and heart rate—good indicators of Baby's overall well-being—while they sleep. If your baby’s readings leave preset zones, you'll receive a notification that lets you know your baby really needs you. Now you can feel more confidence, more freedom, and more peace of mind knowing that Owlet is here to help.

Our all-new Smart Sock is the third of its kind and it's smarter than ever.

Comment Bubble icon

Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

21 thoughts on “Circumcision Stories for Both Sides

mycasita@icloud.com'

Robert

There are many things that affect a man’s life from birth to the grave. There are many things much more destructive that being uncircumcised, such as crime, excessive drinking, gambling, theft, lying, and a host of other things. Think about this, do you give your son’s eternal soul as much concern as you do to the condition of his circumcised/uncircumcised penis? We are all going to die, the question of his eternal state won’t be determined on if your son has a foreskin or not. Don’t believe in God? What if you’re wrong?

MJR1978@aol.com'

Angela

Allison, you made a good choice, 9 out of 10 males are OK with being circumcised. Truth is that 55% of women like for their man to be. Many men in old age need this surgery and its not good to have it at that age. Retired nurse here and I have seen lots of men have problems which could have been avoided if mom took action like you did.

halfshekel@comcast.net'

David

I simply CANNOT UNDERSTAND why you women, most of whom never even had a penis, think you are such authorities about the penis of a male baby.

As a man, I AM an authority, and let me tell you I still, at the age of 79, blame my parents for the many problems my foreskin caused me over the years until I got up the nerve to get it removed. It was uncomfortable, it was ugly, it constantly had to be cleaned, and it deprived my wife and me of the finest sex in our prime years. Foreskin is such a nuisance, God commanded his favorite people to remove it on the 8th day, presumably because he wanted the very best for his people.

You circumcise a baby, and he is uncomfortable for a few days. You circumcise an older boy or a man, and he gets pain and bleeding for about 6 weeks. You see, we boys and men get erections all the time, wanted or not, and that tends to rip out stitches and cause pain, bleeding, and ugly scars. Yes, you can avoid some of that by cutting it looser, but that isn’t a circumcision. Circumcision needs to leave as much mucosa as possible, and then remove every bit of skin the penis can spare. When erect, it should be almost impossible to slide the skin at all. Just for the record, the Plastibell is nothing more than a gadget to make the women feel better. CUT THE DAMN SKIN OFF!

Yes, it is the baby’s penis, but he has parents for a reason, which is to care for him and make decisions for him, until he grows up. Circumcision is a decision loving parents ought to make without batting an eyelash.

johncirc@hotmail.com'

Sandip Das

Circumcision of penis has too much healthy benefit beyond risking.
Circumcised men are large numbers around the world by non religious view.
Circumcised penis is so much better for sexual intercourse.
Many women like to do intercourse with her men partners with Circumcised Penis.
In our country Circumcision is very rare among Hinduism in India.
I am Hindu yet my penis is Circumcised due to medical reasons by doctor since birth into hospital.
I am now 26 years old and very pleased with my Circumcised Penis.
WHO recommended that penis Circumcision is need all of the boys for prevention such Penis related diseases around the world.

Modern scientific research shows that Circumcision of penis has too much healthy benefit beyond risking and any fearness.Many people are undergo for Penis Circumcision by their need in different ages or different reasons.

I am very glad to being a Circumcised boy.

jvandyke@onemain.com'

John

I’ve met circumcised men who had most of their mucus membrane and frenulum amputated as an infant. They have no feeling because their nerves are gone, so it’s very difficult if not impossible to ejaculate. These extreme circumcisions are not accidents, but the acts of sexual predators attracted to the profession of obstetrician. There always will be people who get off hurting other people, and in this role they are protected from criminal prosecution. There’s a reason the AMA circumcision propaganda machine protects these felons and their cash machine. Frankly as a scientist, I don’t for a minute believe these rosy stories from other posters. The glans dries out and keratinizes, and cut off nerves feel nothing.

The parents themselves are also to blame for lacking the backbone to say “no.” Denial won’t make the problem go away. Parents think they are carefully “researching” circumcision, but that has one fundamental flaw. You can’t expect to read unbiased information from doctors doing the cutting.

MJR1978@aol.com'

Mark

Allison, I am a man who had to have it at 32 years of age. I developed Phimosis and all the crèmes did not help. After it was removed,it was great not to have the pain and from what I had before, it felt great. After healing, sex felt better than ever! Its been 6 years and I do not seem to have lost any sensitivity at all. Only speaking for myself, I prefer circ. by far. Personally, I have never heard a circumcised man even mention it. Women who fret about having their son circumcised should know that they will never even think about it. Their is pro’s to having this done !

hnnhhyr@gmail.com'

Hannah

My story is that my 3 sons are whole.
No problems. No infections. No extra trouble. No pain.
They were made fearfully and wonderfully and every part of them has a purpose.
Just as it wouldn’t be right to cut off an eyelid or remove a fingernail because “it’s my culture” or “it might have problems later” (foreskin rarely causes problems anyway), it wasn’t my decision to decide which healthy body parts they get to reach adulthood with.
If there’s a problem that can’t be treated with more conservative means, that’s an actual medical decision that needs to be made.
If not, then it’s just causing a baby pain for no reason.

trode@aol.com'

Jack

Allison, sounds like you did exactly the right thing! Nurses need to know that the vast majority of men who have been circ’d never even think of it. Having a urologist is the best idea. Many men who are intact have problems, I myself had to have this done at age 28 and it relieved me of almost constant pain. The anti circ people are slanting the truth of this matter. I have never been unhappy about being circ’d and everything works perfectly.

alansdowne@gmail.com'

Allison

“… European women who enjoy the lubrication and sensations during sex [with uncircumcised men] don’t even know we cut those parts of our boys here”.

I’ve had more than my share of sex with both circumcised and uncircumcised men, and enjoyed all kinds of ” sensations “, but I could never tell any difference, much less form a preference.

Those European women must have some magical vaginas.

alansdowne@gmail.com'

Allison

Hi Angela! I love that you’ve given so much thoughtful consideration to your choice about your own son. In my parents’ generation, circumcision was just “done,” because, well, because. Because it was the accepted norm– sadly, I think at least partly from origins in class and status– and because of these societal “norms,” educated whites just had their boys circumcized. It wasn’t something that you thought about, and it was never up for debate. You just had it done. In contrast, when I was pregnant with my son (now 15), I agonized over that decision. As a nurse I have seen MANY cases of phimosis in elderly men, where the foreskin will no longer retract, and while that alone is by no means a basis for making a decision, it absolutely did bias me. I looked at every study, every piece of research that I could find, and especially anecdotal information from men who’d had it done as adults. I talked to urologists about their preferences and their patients. Most of the men who had it done were very happy– keeping in mind that most of them had it done for elective (even cosmetic) reasons, so there’s inherent bias. The overwhelming majority were very, very happy and denied diminished sensation or decreased quality in sexual function. By and large, the biggest regret among men who were circumcised as adults was that they hadn’t had it done sooner. There’s a lot more information online now than there was then, but it still seems to reflect that general consensus now. The unhappy minority is very small but very real, but experience is obviously subjective, and it’s always going to vary.

After an incredible amount of thought and research, I had my son circumcised. I still have twinges of doubt and regret, wondering if I did the right thing. I mentioned this to a urologist friend of mine recently, and he made a good point: my son is probably never going to give it a second thought, and neither should I. He couldn’t believe I would worry about such a thing (and this is a very young doctor). So the bottom line is, you have to make the right decision for your son, and not keep second guessing it.

If I had it to do over again? I’d probably circumcise, but not quite as confidently. I think I made the most informed decision that I could with the resources available to me, inasmuch as making any decision about someone else’s penis can be informed ;). If you have any doubts at all, let him remain intact and he can choose for himself if he wants to later.

elliot.james1976@gmail.com'

Not Yours to Cut

“but we will have to tell the doctors yes or no when they ask, that is a choice we must respond to. ”

And when the doctor asks, your answer should be a resounding “No,” just like if he asked you if you would like to cut a piece of your daughter’s vulva off. Her body, her choice; his body, his choice. It’s really not that hard to comprehend.

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

Thank you for your comments, Dee. We haven’t made a decision, but yes we will have to. It is not our “right to choose whether our son has his penis cut off,” but we will have to tell the doctors yes or no when they ask, that is a choice we must respond to. We are doing research, talking to professionals, and seeking word-of-mouth opinions because of the divisiveness of the debate. My statement stands – we are spending so much time on this decision that I hope he realizes this choice – and every other choice we have to make on his behalf – was made with his best interests in mind, and was not just made on the spot based on the recommendation of whomever is on call or present in the moment, which I fear happens too regularly.

Dee

Your statement, “And I’m hoping that whatever we choose, our son will know that we loved and cared about him so much that we spent hours and hours trying to make sure we did what was best for him,” tells me you still aren’t seeing the bigger picture here. If you still truly believe it is your right to choose whether your son has part of his penis cut off, you are not thinking about his rights. Your son will grow into a man some day. While he might not resent you for choosing for him, he very well could. Who will live with the penis the rest of their life? Will you and your husband, or will your son? It isn’t the family penis. It is your son’s penis, and he will use it EVERY SINGLE DAY for the rest of his life.

He may be lucky and escape immediate complications from the surgery (other than a wound trying to heal in a diaper), but he will for sure lose the many functions and protections that a “foreskin” has to offer. Why cut him short, literally and figuratively? Why make a decision for HIS penis, when the decision should be his? Why risk death, necrosis, hemorrhage, infections, extreme pain, shock, and complete loss of healthy/functional/important tissue?

Please look at other countries statistics. The vast majority of the world does NOT circumcise their infant boys, and they do NOT have all these medical problems that the USA seems to think will happen.

Ask yourself who profits from an infant circumcision? Is it the parents? Is it the boy himself (girls are protected under law)? Is it the boy’s future spouse/significant other? Is it the doctor’s/hospitals who perform the circumcisions?

Is there a conflict of interest with who profits from circumcision, and who pushes to continue this practice? Please do not be fooled. Circumcisions continue on the fact that it is a HUGE money making business in the USA. It doesn’t benefit the boy, or his future partner, or his parents, or his family. The only benefit goes to those who would so willingly cut off a healthy part of your son with no medical indications or needs.

Give your son the best, and let him decide what he wants to do with his own body!

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

Thank you, Rachael. You gave me a lot of food for thought. I think what you said in the end is critical – that parents do their research and find out what procedures they’re faced with, what their options are, what are the pros/cons, etc. I don’t think I could ever resent my parents for a decision they made with careful consideration and research, that they thought was in my best interest. And I’m hoping that whatever we choose, our son will know that we loved and cared about him so much that we spent hours and hours trying to make sure we did what was best for him.

arwindemuller@att.net'

Rachael

As happy as I am that he’s happy with your choice, there are thousands of men that aren’t happy with the choice that was made for them. What if it had been the other way around? What if he had come to you and said that he was unhappy with it? There is nothing you can do to get that skin or nerves back, unfortunately. If he’s intact and is unhappy with it, he can still choose to have it removed.

arwindemuller@att.net'

Rachael

I remember when I was in school wondering who on earth names these things.
Medulla oblongata, Uvula, Coccyx. I mean, really?

As weird as it is, it’s normal. Women get smegma too. And quite frankly, we don’t amputate parts of women’s bodies (or any other stinky parts of men’s bodies). Yes, your genitals will smell if you don’t wash them. Women have the same issues (fish, anyone?)

My first job was in a nursing care facility and I did see some men with hygiene issues. I saw far more women, though, with yeast and infection issues. Just simple anatomy helps you understand why a woman’s body is harder to clean than a man’s when they are bed ridden. Either way, it’s not justification for removing healthy tissue in infants. There is conflicting evidence about whether or not boys will have more infections if they are intact. What is rarely mentioned is that girls have a much higher rate of infection than intact boys, but we never use that as a reason to remove parts of their genitals. I feel much of the health benefits need to be really scrutinized. Would we do the same for girls? Would we remove a baby’s tonsils because they may get infected later? What about the appendix? Both the tonsils and appendix can have serious health consequences if they get infected and you can even die from an infection. Why do we not remove those as infants or even children to save them from a much riskier procedure later? Why not remove baby boy’s breast buds? They serve absolutely no purpose and the risk of getting cancer in their breasts is just as high as penile cancer (very, very rare).

I know you’ll probably get a few comments from people that were happy with theirs or whose children were happy that they had it done. That’s all fine and good, but there are thousands of men that had it done and aren’t happy with it and there is no recourse for them. If you aren’t happy with your penis and are still intact, you can do something about it. Unfortunately, if you’ve already had the tissue removed, it won’t ever come back. And that’s really hard for some men to deal with. Some feel as if they’ve been assaulted. Personally, I have no issue with circumcision if it’s the person’s own decision for their own body. But making that call and hoping they’re happy with your choice is risky.

You’ll also find men that don’t believe that being circumcised hurt their sex lives. However, what you won’t hear is the women who were. That skin is there for a reason and one of those reasons is for HER comfort. I know it’s uncomfortable thinking about a new baby’s future sex life, which is another good reason to let them make the call themselves.

I personally think it’s great that more and more women are getting involved with keeping baby boys intact. Many men can’t because they would have to face that something was done to them that they didn’t consent to or like. And that’s really hard for a man to admit. So it’ll likely be a cause championed by moms and nurses and doctors and men that are all sick of seeing this practice continuing. And good for you for looking into these things beforehand. Many families don’t. I’ve seen so many consent to a surgery with no more a thought than ‘well, everyone does it, right?’.

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

I’m fine with having smegma 😉 it just caught me off-guard that such a gross-sounding term was chosen to represent a less-than-pleasant body substance. Who gets to come up with these things, anyway?

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

Thanks Christine! And you’re right, it was just a foreign, funny-sounding word and what it represented made it even more gross-sounding. Sometimes I just wish whoever came up with these terms did a better job! But those are good points, and that’s another reason I decided to write a post about it. Although gathering real-life stories online is great, I realize those who choose to share and write their stories online usually have drastic opinions one way or the other, but there are always the unheard stories that matter as well, and I was really hoping to initiate conversation about these stories to find more of those.

christinehubel@gmail.com'

Christine

I know you are exaggerating, but a natural substance that the body produces cannot be anywhere near the worst thing you’ve ever heard of. Snot and eye boogers and lots of other things are gross too, but we do not remove body parts in order to deal with them.

Yes, on the internet, the debate is primarily between women. I’m sure things are different in some families, but in ours, I am the one who has the time to research decisions regarding our children and also time to discuss or post about it online. My husband is a great father, but he works hard so I can stay home. Therefore, he leaves it to me to get info about these things and we make the decision together. Kudos to the dads who are researching car seats, cloth diapers, vaccines, circumcision, and breastfeeding help! But the reality is that it’s mostly moms. Add to that the fierce desire moms have to protect their babies from harm, and you get the debate that you have observed. Of course no one should attack other moms, and I’m sad that you saw women being brutal online over this (or any) issue.

The cleaning issue is real, but it is very misunderstood. Most of the young boys with problems are caused by cleaning! Many American doctors are ignorant about intact care (since circumcision as the norm is just now turning around with this generation), and tell moms to push the skin back for cleaning. This introduces germs into an area that is meant to be cleansed by sterile urine, and it breaks the adhesions prematurely causing infection and pain. The nursing home problem is tragic, but again caused by misinformation. I am glad that by the time my intact boys are in a nursing home, intact men will be around 50%, and nurses will be educated on cleaning. Intact men may indeed experience more infections, but the answer is education NOT amputation.

One thing you may be missing when you read this stories is all the personal accounts and stories that are never written. These are the millions upon millions of men in modern and not-so modern countries who have intact penises, deal just fine with their smegma, and enjoy the sensations of their foreskins. People who have problems look to complain and share those problems. So you will be able to read horrifying stories of infection and the necessary circumcision that followed, but the guy who was left intact, his mom cleaned him properly (wiped the outside only), he grew up and learned how to rinse in the shower, and now has a satisfying sex life (and so does she!) does not feel the need to post in a forum. The European women who enjoy the lubrication and sensations during sex don’t even know we cut those parts of our boys here, and don’t get on mommy websites attacking each other since it rarely happens outside a tight religious community. One last point about women – have you ever seen the condoms that are marketed as “ribbed for her pleasure” and similar claims? Ask yourself: what is that that those condoms are trying to imitate?

Please do not let fear of a natural body substance prevent your son from enjoying all the parts he was born with. If smegma were a dealbreaker for sex or romance, there would be no little Chineese babies or European ones, or Russian, Mexican, and countless countries across Central and South America, Asia, much of Africa, etc. Only in a couple countries are intact penises a problem. And again, the answer is education, not amputation.

tanja.jones@gmail.com'

Tanja

While yes, smegma is a funny word, before you start making fun of it you might want to realize that you (females) have it too:

http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-smegma.aspx

Anonymous

I posted this on your other blog about this topic, but I think I’ll just mention it here, that my 14 year old, shy son, out of the blue, once thanked me for having him circumcised as a baby. I’m still a bit shocked that he did that, but glad that I made the right choice.