Friday, December 5, 2008

Circumcision - Necessary or Torture?

I'm taking ak's advice and I'm creating a whole post about this one. It's not really a controversial subject to me, because, well, I don't think it's cruel. But the people who are against it probably think it's way more controversial than I do. Let's see how this goes ...

~All~ I know about circumcision is to me, a penis looks funny without it done. It's simply because the 99.9% of the penis I saw in my sexually exploratory years were circumcised. I may have seen one, maybe two uncircumcised. So to me, it was weird. I didn't know anything about them. I certainly didn't want to put one in my mouth because I've heard the propaganda that they're not as clean. I don't know what's beneath those folds!

Now, now, I'm sure it's all just dirty lies. The penis is as clean as the owner keeps it. But you know, with a circumcised penis, I can ~see~ everything, there aren't any hidden folds. So maybe my "dirty" fear is kind of true. Although I bet if there was "stuff" hidden in those folds, I wouldn't have to see it, I'm sure there would be a smell.

Okay, so. I've admitted I know nothing about it. If it's good or bad in the long run for the man. I know my husband is happy that he is, but he doesn't know what it's like to not be circumcised. I have also heard of a couple men who ended up getting it done as an adult. But I've heard way more stories of men who were pissed that they didn't have a decision in the matter and they wished they weren't - but then again, these guys also never knew what it was like to have it "undone" either. I guess I would need to talk to a guy who has experienced it both ways, but these would be guys who were for circumcision, since they went for it later on in life, so they wouldn't be a good group to ask either.

So how can we tell what's "better"?

I googled the pros and cons and the Mayo Clinic says the pros are: Easier hygiene. Decreased risk of urinary tract infections. Prevention of penile problems. Decreased risk of penile cancer. Decreased risk of sexually transmitted diseases. And the cons are: Surgical risks. Pain.

They don't really seem like they covered much of the cons, do they? So I found a better site. They list the same Pros of circumcision, adding in: A son should "look like" his father and
Worry about being "strange", but their Cons are: No medical reason for the circumcision, Fear of complications, Pain of the procedure and the memory of the pain after the procedure, Possible risk of conditions that develop because a foreskin is not present, Worry about decreased sexual sensitivity, and Lack of consent for a potentially life-changing operation.

The ~great~ thing about this site is with every pro and con, they discuss the supporting evidence AND arguments against. For instance:
Reason: Worry about decreased sexual sensitivity
Supporting Evidence: Some people feel the glans toughens up without its protective cover, and the penis is desensitized.
Arguments Against: No study has shown that circumcised men experience less sexual pleasure.

It's like they denounce every pro and con, not really helping you make the best of decision, but they do give you the most information possible. So they really leave it up to you to apply what's most important to you.

What I said in a comment on my last post was I am "out of my element when it comes to circumcision". And I still think it's true. I don't have a penis. I'll never have a penis. The only aspect of a penis I've dealt with is in a sexual manner. In looking at the pros and cons, I do gravitate towards the "A son should look like his father" and "Worry about being strange" arguments. Definitely the psychological arguments, as the physical arguments like cleanliness/STDs can be taught (IE: taught how to stay clean, use condoms).

I do think it's not the most pleasant thing to put my son through, but I also think that ~for me~, the pain I'm going to put him through is worth ~my~ reasons. And it just so happens that my reasons are the same reasons my husband wants to circumcise too (very convenient, eh?).

Anyone have thoughts on this topic?


The Captain's Wife said...

My husband and I have decided if we have a boy we will not be circumcising him. My husband has done a lot more research on it than I have and he feels strongly about it. The fact that he cared enough to research it, discuss with the Dr., and make an informed decision meant a lot to me, so I chose to go with his decision, no questions.

DH is circumcised, so our boy would "look different" but that does not seem to be an issue for him.

Anonymous said...


I've got 2 little boys, both circumcised. Neither one has had any complications, neither one seemed to be in any pain afterwards. They do numb them with a cream (lidocaine, maybe? I can't remember..) so that it's not really ~painful~ but it is still uncomfortable. It's just that it's short-lived.

My husband INSISTED that our boys be circumsized. His dad wasn't, and he said (and I quote) "That thing was NASTY-looking!! My boys aren't going to look like that!"

Me, I have no idea. I just figured he was better qualified to make that decision since, like you, I also do not have a penis. (Actually, I've never seen an uncircumsized one either)

That's just my 2 cents about it. ;)



jenn said...

I am just as out of my element on the topic as you are. When we were convinced we were having a boy I let the hub know that the decision was all his & I would defer to it no matter what it was. He wanted it done asap in the hospital.

As far as the arguements & reasons- I think it's all just user peference at this point. More people are decided not to circumcise (still a vast minority) so the 'not looking like anyone else' arguement doesn't hold up quite as well. But most fathers still are so I can understand the 'looking like your dad' arguement too!

Anonymous said...

He is your son, but it is his penis. As an adult, he may feel violated. Not all men circumcised as infants fell violated. Your own sexual preference shouldn't determine the look of your son's penis. It won't be you having sex with him. By the time he is an adult most women will have experince with both. Why not wait until he is old enough to make his own decision about how his own body will look. If daddy is uncomfortable with that maybe he has some buried issues with being cut himself, though it doesn't sound like he is the type that would admit it. Think about it. Once it is done you can't bring it back. Why not let him, your son, decide for himself?

Sarah R said...

I left the decision up to my husband (he is circumcized). He did his research and decided not to circumcize Andrew.

MrsSpock said...

My son is not snipped. I had to watch a circ in nursing school. They strapped baby boys to a board with their arms and legs pinned down, the doc put a clamp on their little winky, and made the cut. The baby screamed in agony and I almost passed out. Now, I've worked in a trauma ICU where I've packed dressing over a beating heart or around a spine, saw a brain herniating out of an eye socket without an eye, and intestines sitting atop someone's belly like a muffin-top. I've never passed out over that. I think it was the fact that this child was helpless and defenseless and had no say in whether he would experience that pain- and it was purely for a cosmetic reason. I could never do that to my kid. It seems awful to me to greet a new baby to the world by giving them needless pain.

I think a boy has the right to decide how to modify his own body, including tattoos and piercings. If my boy wants to be circed as an adult, he can. If he wants a million tattoos and a bone in his nose, as a man he has the right to decide to do so- but I think he's perfect as he is.

The AAP does not recommend routine circs. There is an argument that it prevents penile cancer, but basically you will circ 100,000 boys to prevent this rare cancer in 1 old man. Breast cancer is 1:4, and we certainly don't cut anything off for that. There is some research that supports a decrease in AIDS transmission in Africa for uncirced men, but quite frankly, who wants to play Russian roulette by not using a condom and hoping they don't get HIV? Not I!

An old boyfriend was uncirced, but his dad and brother were. He always said he was glad his mom was visiting relatives in Kentucky when he was born. He didn't give a flying hoot that he didn't "look" like them. I don't think my son will care that he didn't look like his dad. I never found him to be gross or dirty. They just need to retract it every day (once it can retract on its own- between age 3 and puberty), and clean it.

Circs are becoming much less common, especially on the east and west coasts. Here, in the corn belt, they are more common than not, but it is still trending down.

KatieM said...

I was like you on this decision, as in I left it completely up to my husband and he opted to have Cullen cut. As silly as it seems though, that was the number one thing I was worried about going into the surgery I could handle, my son's...not so much.

However, I will say that I felt fully confident in the neonatologist who did Cullen's procedure and I feel I did the best I could for pain med consent (including a glucose pacifier even though I was BF because it has been shown to reduce the pain response in newborns). But, in saying this I will 100% admit I cried like a baby when they brought him back to me afterwards (even though he was sleeping and was still numb from the meds so it was nothing he did to make me cry). I think it was just thinking about what he just went through that broke my heart.

The only "complication" we had from it was the fact it took him 24 hours to urinate when ideally they look for the first pee within 12. Personally I think it wasn't that he couldn't, it's that it hurt and he refused to pee because he kept jumping throughout the day I believe it was his attempt to urinate....however when he finally let loose...good lord, he soaked through his diaper, his onesie and 2 blankets and we never had a problem after that =)

Plus, the post procedure care wasn't as bad as I thought, and again with that I think I was more afraid of hurting him than it actually hurt.....just load up on the vaseline ;-)

Mel said...

I have read studies that say that HIV is easier to contract if you DO have a foreskin - something about there are more Lagerhan's cells in a foreskin, so more of the cells HIV likes to attach to? I'm not a scientist, so I'm not too sure... but HIV scares the heck out of me, so I'm definitely for anything to make it harder to get.

Lisa said...


I don't think I can be of much help in the cons of circumcision because I had both my boys circumcised. It was a very easy choice since my friend's father had to have it done (due to medical complications) at 42 years old! He said it was the worse pain of his life and highly recommended having it done before the boys were even aware of it.

I was very nervous about the procedure but the boys did great. They give them a local anesthetic and then do the procedure. The circumcision itself only takes abotu a minute. My boys hardly cried. They seemed uncomfortable for less than a day and everything healed up great.

The key is to have it done as early as possible. The sooner Karl gets it done, the faster he will heal and the less pain it will cause him. Zachary and Nicolas were less than 3 weeks old when they had it done. The doctor actually said that it is better to have it done even sooner.

I hope that helps...

Lori said...

1. Imagine cutting off your clitoral hood. With no anesthesia.(

(Oh wait -- you're into tats and surgeries, and I have an irrational fear of pain.)

2. Women have folds, and it doesn't seem bother men much.

You can surmise where I stand on this issue.

Kim said...

I am with you on it. I don't have a penis, the choice is not mine to make. Granted with ODS I did make the choice, but 13 years ago it was the norm. Everyone had their son circ.

YDS, my DH has said as soon as we can have it done (being a preemie they will not do it until he is ready to go home) we will have it done.

I have heard both sides, I have seen both sides, well kinda. I know of an eight year old boy who had so many problems he had to have it done at EIGHT. I would rather not put my son through that at 8 years old. BUT I have seen a 2 year old that it was done wrong, and he has to have it fixed.

Either way, I don't have a penis never will. It is my husbands choice.

Amanda said...

Mr. W and I will have our boys circumcised for the same reasons you and your husband are. I might be concerned about the whole pain issue, but if they don't remember the pain of being squeezed through a birth canal (not that mine will go through that) then I'm sure they won't remember the pain of being snipped a few days later.

Of course, just because he could, Mr. W started arguing the other side of the discussion last night. I pretty much told him to stuff it! :-)

Anonymous said...

I had it done to both my boys, and if my third was a boy and not girl I would have done it again. When we first decided it was all based on my son looking like his dad, but then my aunt, who is a nurse, told me these horror stories about having to clean old men's folds and about all the infections she has seen from not being cleaned properly. So I knew it had to be done. Aside from having to put bacitracen (not sure if that's how you spell that?) on them for the first few days, you couldn't tell they had anything going on, they weren't in pain, or they didn't act like they were in pain. It's totally up to you, if you and your husband want to do it, then do it. Don't worry about what everyone else thinks or says, it's your baby.

Jim said...

you don't have to circumcise your son just to look like his father no boy penis will ever look like an adult penis plus circumcision is a surgery everyone is different add fact is most males are not circumcised except in north america and the middle east and in the us the rate has fallen to about 50% and in canada to about 10% most people are choosing not circumcised there sons anymore

for more info check out blog

Sara said...

Well, I have never seen one. I mean, I have never seen an uncircumcised one! Ha - anyway, I will circumsize any son of mine. Mostly for hygiene purposes and because I think he should look like his daddy. That is my two cents...

Jessica said...

I have 2 sons, both I had circumcised. I can tell you that both of my boys never seemed like it was very painful. They were taken to the nursery, my OB put a numbing agent on the penis, they were given a sugar dipped paci to suck was done and they were brought back w/in matter of 10 minutes to my room. They did not look like they have been crying hard, in fact both were sleeping. My second son had some extra bleeding they kept an eye on, but that went away within a matter of hours. It is a personal decision. We went with what the norm and wanted them to be the same as my husband. I didnt want to have the conversation later in life or even when they are as old as 2-3 on why they were different than daddy. But I dont knock people who have not have it done, it is personal. I left the decision up to my husband.

Katherine said...

I had a lot of the same concerns with my first son, but I just figured if my HUSBAND (who, of course, HAS a penis) had it done, wants it done for our son, and experienced it himself with no ill effects, who am I to question it? And I do think that there's something to be said for a son "looking like" his dad--just a lot less chance for stress and anxiety over it, you know? Plus, have you ever met a guy who said he REGRETTED being circumcised or remembered the experience as being traumatic in any way? On the flip side, I did date a guy once who was NOT circumcised and was always a little uncomfortable about it. Just my two cents...

nancy said...

Wow. Some pretty severe opinions! And like I thought, they were from the anti-circumcision camp.

But, like always, I welcome all comments. I don't appreciate comments like anon's where instead of stating his/her opinion, he/she was trying to change ~my~ opinion, but I always get one or two like that. Guess they never went to debate class? Argue ~YOUR~ side, don't attack the other side.

~shrug~ Keep em coming though if you have an opinion!

Jason and Samantha said...

I don't have a son. But I left it up to my husband. Like you said, I don't have a penis.. so its not my choice. My husband said he would definitely have any sons circ'd. He just feels that is easier to take care of and its cleaner.

And honestly, I don't think he will feel "violated" if you did choose to, nor will he remember the pain.

Good Luck.

Anonymous said...

" Wow. Some pretty severe opinions! And like I thought, they were from the anti-circumcision camp."

Cutting off the most sensitive part of your son's penis isn't "severe"?

I'm sorry but I do feel violated from having been circumcised. I wasn't asked. Maybe I would decide to be circumcised later in life but the point is I will never have that choice.

Anonymous said...

hey nancy, i'm glad you posted this. and yes, you could decipher my opinion from my previous comment on another post. ;) the resource you included (link) is very comprehensive which will hopefully help folks on the fence or just beginning to research. and i'm glad you didn't take my comment as rude, it was not my intention to be.

i don't have a son, i have a daughter. i'm not even pregnant, but if i become pregnant my husband is strong in his opinion that his boy will not be cut... and he is cut himself. he is completely against the idea.

mrs spock shares similar thoughts to ours...

personally, in my immediate family we have 5 little boy cousins. they've all been circumcised, two of those circs were badly botched and follow up surgery (general anest.) was required to correct urinary tract issues. so for me... that was all i needed to confirm my position against cutting.

as women we clean carefully in the folds (tmi - lift the hood of clitoris to clean) and oral sex is a non issue for our men... the whole sexual issue is ingrained in us culturally i understand. but for me, it's just that - a personal issue.


nancy said...

Anon - I definitely think cutting off a piece of skin is severe. And I'm all for opposing opinions. Feel free to leave any kinds of comments against it like you have. I'm ~totally~ cool with that. All I meant was all of the "severe" opinions were the ones against it, like I thought they'd be.

margelina said...

Well, for starters...they DO use an anestetic block before they do a circ. I was very concerned about this when deciding whether or not to circ my son. My DH is, and he voted for it. But post-pardum hormones made it difficult for me to just hand over my son for it. My mom was against it, and made it known, and I didn't really know the right choice. My doc and hospital are Jewish, so of course they are pro-circ. Their advice was "he should look like his father". The nurse stayed with him the entire time (which was mere minutes from the time they took him until they brought him back) gave him Sweeteze (sugar water, which helps keep them calm) and he also had a ring block for numbing. My baby wasn't any more fussy afterward, and the circ didn't look anywhere near as bad as imagined it would. No bloodyness, nothing gross, just some guaze wrapped around it with vaseline. Within two days it looked completely normal. And, a Jewish doc did it, so you know it looks good, lol.
It was a difficult decision for me at first, just because I knoew nothing about circed vs. not (never was with anyone who wasn't), plus I was scared about hurting my baby. But the nurse and docs made me feel so much better. It is not the horror story it may have been 20 years ago, for sure.

Caroline said...

Don't do it. Here are some good sites:

Lisa said...

I would just like to make a comment about Jim's comment. As far as there only being 10% of Canadians who are now being circumcised, there is a HUGE reason for that. Mainly, that the hospitals are no longer offering the service (aka no longer FREE) and to have it done, you must go and pay for it.

So, that is the reason why many people in Canada are not having their boys circumcised. They have to go out of their way and pay for the service rather than having the option of it being done at the hospital and for FREE!

I realize that there are some Canadians who are choosing to not have their children circumcised but the reason why the stats are so low is more than likely not because of the tremendous outpouring of people who are against it...

Kim said...

Have to chime in again.

"Wow. Some pretty severe opinions! And like I thought, they were from the anti-circumcision camp."

Isn't this true in many other aspects? You will find the same debates when you talk about breast feeding or formula, and about what kind of diapers you use.

What it all comes down to, the choice is that of the parents. It is their choice how they handle their baby.

There will be extremes on both fronts. Totally not defending either side, just making a point or trying to.

Swinette said...

I, too, left the decision to my husband, and our son is circumcised. But I wonder, sometimes, how many people who are so anti-circumcision think it's cute when little baby girls have their ears pierced. *shrug* I know it's not the same thing, piercings can close, but still.

Geohde said...

Great topic Nancy,

I can only tell you my subjective opinion which is very very strongly con. It's an unnessecary surgical procedure. The risk of nasty things happening is small but there. There's no good evidence it is needed and I wouldn't go lopping bits of my girls genitals for social convention or to alter UTI risk either. Not that I'm making FGM analogies, I'm not. That's different.

It's becoming more and more uncommon to do too, although still more prevalent in the US for cultural reasons Isuppose. Here, it needs to be done at the big fancy children's hospital intheatre and not many people do.


Geohde said...

Posting another comment because I forgot to tick the email follow up comments box and I'd like to keep reading.


MommyP said...

I don't think it's "torture," but I did not get my son circumsized. His dad isn't either, but I let him make the decision about it in the end. I think its just as common now to NOT circumsize your son as it is to actually do it. You and your husband have your reasons, and there's certainly nothing wrong with doing it, if you believe what you are doing is the right thing for him.

Kelly said...

Hey Nancy!

We chose not to circumcise.

We didn't see it as medically necessary. I watched a video on circumsision and it was horrible. I couldn't do that to my son.

DH is circumsized and when we spoke about whether or not we should do it, he (DH) didn't have a strong enough opinion either way. So, he basically left the final say up to me.

Ironically, my pedi was quite pleased to hear that we weren't doing it.

That all said...Karl is YOUR son and as his parent and guardian it is YOUR decision to make.

Rachel said...

Well, I am Jewish, so I feel that I don't have too much of a choice. This is one of the most important things in Judaism, so for better or worse, we're getting it done. I would just assume have it in the hospital, instead of a ceremony in our house, but it's very important to both of our parents.

I do have a funny story to share about this topic. I teach in a school where I don't think there are any Jewish students, so they know very little about the religion. One of my students asked me, "since you're Jewish, when will you circumsize your son". My answer was that tradition says at 8 days old. He was shocked, he always thought it was at 13 years old, since that was when you "become a man". I informed him that he was getting confused with the Bar Mitzvah - big difference!!!

Elana Kahn said...

My opinion here is easy. We Jews have been circumcising our boys for the last several thousand years. For a while, Jews were the only people performing circumcisions until people realized the pros of circumcision and it stopped being a "Jewish only" thing. Our son(s) will definitely be circumcised for religious reasons and gain all of the wonderful benefits that come with it. :-)

mommybird said...

I have one son and he is circumcised, he did not cry at all. I did, but that's another issue of me being oversensitive to everything :) If we have another son we will do the same thing. DH is definitely the one with the penis so I trust his judgement way more than my own. The pediatrician that did DS's was really great. They bundled him up in blankets to keep him still and everything went just right. He did give us the choice of using the "older" or "newer" method. The newer I believe is the one with the little bell. It's supposed to heal faster but the pedi said if it was his son he'd use the "older" method because there is less chance for a problem with it healing wrong and needing to be redone. I don't really know much about it, but maybe you could ask your doctor about it if you're interested in the different methods.

Jennifer said...

I don't have a boy or a penis. ;) My brothers are uncirc., so I've seen uncirced penises, but never an adult one. I don't know what I'd do if I had a boy...just figured DH would mainly decide with some input and research from me.

I love the "debate" comment. Debate your issue and don't attack the other. If only politician's followed that!!

minus one said...

Interesting conversations going on here! I am a maternity nurse and have assisted with MANY circumcisions. Some sort of numbing agent is used, sometimes lidocaine injection, sometimes emla cream. At our hospital we also give them sucrose (they suck on our gloved finger which is dipped in sucrose) which acts as an anlagesic agent. There is occasionally a baby that does not cry during the procedure, but I would say that more often than not they are in distress, not just "uncomfortable", but distress. It may be from pain, it may be from being strapped down to the board, hard to say. Either way, it is a difficult procedure to take part in because there is no real way to effectively comfort the babe and there are a couple of nurses that I work with that refuse to assist with the procedure. It is a cosmetic procedure, and the decision to whack or not is primarily asthetic. (not that there is anything wrong with that)

My only bit of assvice would be that if you are having trouble breastfeeding, it might be best to delay the circ until after breastfeeding is well established. There are times (not always, but...) where a baby does not breastfeed well following the circ for up to 24 hours.

nancy said...

I just wanted to respond to all the comments about how painful/terrible/scary/etc it is for the baby. I totally think it will be. I don't think they can cut off a piece of skin with cotton balls. ~wink~

Yeah, it may very well SUCK for my son for a few minutes. It could very well hurt. He will probably scream from being strapped to a board and scream some more from the pain.

But, since we are getting it done, that's what has to happen. Things we do in life are sometimes painful to accomplish.

Think of IVF. Look what I did to get pregnant! Needles! PIO! OHSS! etc, etc, etc. Momentary pain to get to wanted result. Some people don't agree with IVF either. And some people don't agree with circumcision and that's all well and good. We all have the right to choose what we'll do. Well, in our case my son has no choice since I'm really not asking him a thing.

As for other countries not doing it as much as US, well, I live in the US, so yup, I'm brainwashed!

Cate said...

Lex was circ'd for two reasons mainly, first to look like his father (and uncles on my side) and secondly when I was in medical assisting school we went over the pros and cons with a urologist and then spoke to an adult man who had it done at 55 due to complications of his foreskin tightening up (he very rarely pulled it back while cleaning, etc). I wanted to see our doc do it however since I was still recovering from the c-section they didn't want to roll me down to the nursery, but they brought him to me to nurse immediately after and you'd never know what just happened.

Erica said...

I'm not for or against persay. My son isn't circumcised but mainly because my DH isn't either and we didn't feel it was necessary.

As for Canadians being down to 10% cicumsized, being Canadian I have SERIOUS trouble believing that. DS's daycare was surprised he wasn't done and the day DS was born he was one of 5 boys within an hour and was the ONLY one not circ'd.

Either way yes it is becoming less mainstream to be uncirc'd but its certainly not "mainstream"

Poltzie said...

I was personally ok with either decision but I have to say I was really happy when my husband was against it.
I do agree with the son looking like the father and because my husband isn't (eastern european) it seemed like unnecessary pain to both of us.
I also believe that it reduces sexual pleasure (yes I know that no study has ever proven it, it's my personal opinion) and although it's very hard to think of my son as a sexual being, he is one.
Either way, I think you've got to do what you are comfortable though.
That being said, I have a friend who's first son is cut and her second son isn't because she said it was the worst thing she ever had to experience and felt guilty forever after. I had another friend who got her mom to take her twins in because she couldn't do it. I guess it's like shots, hard to watch but you probably move on.

Anonymous said...

We didn't circ our son and I don't regret it. There is no need to do it, IMO, other then to make ourselves feel more comfortable. My husband is circed

Sarah R said...

I guess one point I'd like to make is to have respect for us on the other side. It isn't "gross" to leave the penis intact. The way I look at it is he was born that way, and I just left it alone. If a part wasn't supposed to be there, why would he be born with it?

I don't mind hearing other people's arguments for circing, but when they say it looks gross or disgusting, that strikes a nerve with me. He's my little boy and I think his parts look just fine.

When he is old enough to have sex, any girl that doesn't accept him for the way he is doesn't truly love him anyway. (I am not too concerned, since the percentage of circumcized boys is expected to continue to decline, so he'll be more "mainstream", so to speak).

nancy said...

Sarah, I'm sorry, but to ~me~, it does look "gross" because I'm definitely not used to it. I'm not saying it IS gross, but the aspect of how I first react is an opinion. Plus, I'm talking grown men, not babies.

Rita said...

Uncirc penis. Wash it properly, take care of it and don't go sticking it everywhere. Humans have survived for thousands of years with uncirc penis.
I believe that circumcision is a form of genital mutilation - not good for the girls and the guys.
That's just my opinion.

Jenera said...

Oddly enough this is one topic that I was attacked on due to my decision and reasoning for circumcising my boys.

I just had my newest boy circumcised about 36 hours ago. With our first son, I left it up to my husband. He is circumcised. He has had knowledge of family and friends who were not circumcised and some of the things they went through as a result of that decision. Both good and bad.

It was his belief that any boys we had be circumcised. We were lucky that there were no complications. In fact, with Sam's he had very little bleeding and was able to pee within an hour-he peed on me!

I can see why both sides get so defensive of their positions. But as with any decision a parent has to make when they have a baby, I don't understand why anyone has to be attacked for their reasons.

I think it's overkill to say circumcision is tantamount to child abuse but I've also been told I was a terrible horrible no good mother for choosing formula over breast feeding.

I say do what you wanna do.

AK said...

Nancy - I told you this would be a fabulous topic. It's more controversial than I originally thought. There was a whole thread about it on one of the boards a few months ago, and it turned into a circus... you know how that goes…

My husband, my son, and my step son are all circumcised. Personally, I've only seen one un-circ'ed adult male penis up close and personal in my lifetime, and I also thought it was gross. Just my opinion. Of course, for me it was the 'exception' and not the 'norm' so maybe that is part of my reaction. I still kind of do an ‘oh’ when I see an infant or young boy with an uncircumcised one. I do realize that it is a very 'American' thing, and that it isn't a common practice in other parts of the world. It is what it is. I think culture absolutely becomes a big part of the decision.

We know circumcision has benefits, and that it is safe, however, in the medical community, the controversy has been whether the benefits are 'significant' enough to recommend it as a standard practice. Yes, there is pain involved, but it is brief, and the infant is not going to remember it and certainly not, in my opinion, going to be traumatized by it. To quote a former pediatrics chief at Kaiser Permanente, he stated in a Time magazine article that, "A newborn baby is programmed for stress and recovers quickly."

I personally have never met any circumcised man who feels 'cheated' out of having a foreskin and resents being circumcised (certainly not my husband). If you do the research, the whole claim that circumcision reduces sexual pleasure in the future is really not true. I have, however, personally known grown men that have opted (usually needed) to have a circumcision for a number of reasons – and I can assure you, they would have much preferred that their parents had it done to them while they were infants.

My OB did my son’s procedure, and it was almost expected that we would do so (this is 5 years ago). There’s now new emerging research that suggests circumcision is more beneficial than originally thought. In certain high risk groups, such as gay men, it is said to significantly reduce the rate of AIDS infections. (I’ll have to look for that article and get back to you)

The thing with hygiene, for me, is this; anyone that has boys (especially as they get into the teenage years) knows that it is hard enough to get most of them to brush their teeth and take a shower, let alone take the time to properly clean the penis. And poor hygiene with an uncircumcised penis is where many problems can begin to surface.

I am curious, though; are insurance companies still covering this procedure, or is this beginning to change? I have heard that in certain states, public insurance (Medicaid) is no longer covering circumcisions. So many people may not have a choice any more… I find that interesting. Is that why there is now more resistance to circ’s from certain groups? To keep costs down? Who knows? Wouldn’t surprise me.

The data is out there, anyone can do the research for one’s self, and do what they feel is best for their child. If I were having another boy, I personally wouldn’t hesitate to have him circumcised.

Pamela said...

I don't have a penis, and I've never seen a circ performed, and my boys are circ-ed, and I don't really have an opinion either way.

But I will say this:

One of my cousins is a costume designer for a show on NBC. Her boss is an experienced gay man. Before her son was born, the topic of To Circ Or Not To Circ came up, and Experienced Gay Man highly recommended against the circ. Why? Because in his expert opinion, uncirc-ed sex was better sex.

Great post, interesting discussion.

Peeveme said...

I totally agree with Mrs.Spoke and Lori. Also, I can not imagine doing unnecessary COSMETIC surgery on a defenseless little baby.

The emotional argument for circ. just doesn't cut it (tee hee).

I agree the uncirc. looks funny to our culture. But seriously, how many people do you think will be looking at it?

It just seems like a cruel thing to do to a baby. The reasons for it are all emotionally based. I also find that parents do it becasue it makes THEM more comfortable. The rational never really seems for the befit of the child. "I want my boy to look like me" just seems selfish to me.