Momversation: Circumcision

26th January 2009

In this Momversation video it may sound like I think you’re a monster when you circumcise. In actuality, I don’t think it matters much one way or the other, I just personally found it too upsetting. Your kids, your call.

Unless you’re beating your kids in the parking lot. Then I’m probably gonna get all up in your business.

66 thoughts on “Momversation: Circumcision

  1. Maureen

    Wow, that was intense! My son is not circumsised because…. god, why?? My huband was more in favour (“He won’t look like me!”) but because I felt more strongly about my opinion that he did about his, we didn’t. It’s a very North American thing – and only post-WWII.

  2. Shelly

    I circumsised my son but he also had hypospadias that needed repairing as well. I asked my brother, who was not circumsised at birth but who chose to be circumsised at 21 (in military deployed, had multiple issues) what his opinion was. Since he actually knew what it was like – before and after, I felt comfortable with my decision to go ahead and circumsise. FYI my brother says everything is much better post circumsision ;)

  3. Bonnie B.

    Oh God, I’m dying to watch this, but I just sat down to have lunch and…..um…..ew. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be right back.

  4. Lyz

    My husband would agree with Shelly – better as a newborn than as an adult, or God forbid, a 6 year old!

    I did choose not to watch the procedure, however.

  5. darcy

    I really liked reading this blog, now I’m not so sure. There really is nothing like cleaning a man’s infected foreskin, so that you can stick a catheter in his penis for surgery. Here’s to hoping that when your son isn’t depending on you to clean his penis, he is a meticulous penis washer especially when elderly.
    I really feel sorry for the lady with the circumsised son, and maybe its not how the first lady intended it to be, but she came off as VERY judgemental, I mean seriously comparing it to female genital muttilation. My husband definately has orgasms with his circumsized penis, in fact every circumsized penis that I know can orgasm… not cool.

  6. denise

    when i was pre-med i watched a circumcision and it was nothing. it took two seconds. having been with several men that were not circumcised, i prefer circumcised. it’s more hygenic.

  7. denise

    when i was pre-med i watched a circumcision and it was nothing. it took two seconds. having been with several men that were not circumcised, i prefer circumcised. it’s more hygenic.

  8. darcy

    I really liked reading this blog, now I’m not so sure. There really is nothing like cleaning a man’s infected foreskin, so that you can stick a catheter in his penis for surgery. Here’s to hoping that when your son isn’t depending on you to clean his penis, he is a meticulous penis washer especially when elderly.
    I really feel sorry for the lady with the circumsised son, and maybe its not how the first lady intended it to be, but she came off as VERY judgemental, I mean seriously comparing it to female genital muttilation. My husband definately has orgasms with his circumsized penis, in fact every circumsized penis that I know can orgasm… not cool.

  9. Leslie

    There are certainly two sides to every story huh! Being married to a European man, and being currently pregnant with his son, there was no discussion here in our house. We will not be circumcising. There are risks on both sides, and my future son will certainly be getting the “this is how we wash” lesson from his daddy. After my cousin’s son was born, and I changed his little diaper at a few days old, it broke my heart to see him so red and irritated, and I didn’t see any compelling reason to perform the procedure. Also, (overshare here) the sex is wayyyyy better with an uncircumcised man (in my opinion of course!)

  10. sue

    Just a quick note regarding Alice’s comment that female genital mutilation is vastly worse than male circumcision….

    FGM is not *always* a complete excision of the clitoris (which I believe is what she was describing). It is often very similar to male circumcision – a removal of the clitoral “hood” (similar to male foreskin).

    So, from that viewpoint, FGM and male circumcision are virtually identical. I would argue that people would be outraged at the thought of doing that to their daughters. Why are boys different?

  11. Laura

    As a urologist: Circumcision decreases risk of urinary tract infection in male infants. It also decreases future risk of penile cancer. (However, penile cancer is so rare, this is a bit of a “so what”.)

    For parents, I believe it is a cultural and aesthetic choice. If they are committed to maintain proper hygiene and comfortable teaching that to their son, then there is no reason to circumcise your child.

    But likewise, there is no real reason not to either. Hygiene is easier, there is a decreased risk of penile cancer, and in a rather novel study on a bunch of sailors who required circumcision late in life, sensation is not affected.

    And it is much easier, better tolerated and less traumatic before two years of age. (Interestingly enough, genital surgery on children is best performed either as newborns or before 9 months of age – psychologically the least damaging.)

  12. Binkytowne

    I think parents should do what is right for them- haven’t we all agreed to not throw judgement around at other parents by now? Also- I really enjoy this series but please tell the Momversation people to turn the music down- very distracting.

  13. Kirsten

    I think I’m surprised at the responses to this question. I could see both sides – and I think my hubs and I are one of the few people we know who decided NOT to circumcise our son…but I never really thought of it as genital mutilation. I personally couldn’t stomach the thought of anyone hurting my newborn…but I never thought badly of my friends who went ahead with it for their own kids. Seems like it’s just a very personal decision.

  14. Yolanda

    Like sleep training and breast feeding it’s very hard to maintain a rational, open discussion about circumcision. It’s one of those parenting issues about which people feel the need to be fanatically right. I’m a little surprise you mommas went there, given the fact that the fanatics will be arriving to comment in…3…2…1…

  15. anna

    I’m not at a point in my life to think seriously about the pros and cons of circumcision. However, were this a real debate, the first woman would have lost. Though strongly against circumcision, she did a very poor job explaining her position. Circumcision is bad. She doesn’t like the idea. She’s against it. Would she care to expand on that thought? She seems very judgmental, and I’m not inclined to seek out her blog,wherever it is, to find out more. She had plenty of opportunity here. What, exactly, was the point of her appearance on the video? To feel superior to the woman with the circumcised son?

  16. anna

    I’m not at a point in my life to think seriously about the pros and cons of circumcision. However, were this a real debate, the first woman would have lost. Though strongly against circumcision, she did a very poor job explaining her position. Circumcision is bad. She doesn’t like the idea. She’s against it. Would she care to expand on that thought? She seems very judgmental, and I’m not inclined to seek out her blog,wherever it is, to find out more. She had plenty of opportunity here. What, exactly, was the point of her appearance on the video? To feel superior to the woman with the circumcised son?

  17. darcy

    Um, seriously?
    A cosmetic surgery? This is why I don’t go to “Mommy Blogs” or Blog about my parenting experiences, I can’t handle the moral high ground:
    its like if you don’t give birth holding the hand of a midwife, with out an epideral, then subsequently breast fee your baby till its 2, than you are a bad mom.
    I just don’t get it.

  18. Meg

    Err. You were fine. The first woman? Let’s just say she lost me at “religion is nothing to hide behind.” I’m not going to chalk that up as anti-Semitic, that would be unfair. But I think it is fair to chalk that up to not having a real understanding of religions outside the mainstream of American culture. Do what you want, but I’d leave other people’s religious and cultural beliefs out of it. Just as a general rule. And we’ll leave it at that.

    And now I’m going to go visit Alice’s blog, and give her a little virtual cheer, because I think she got the short end of the stick there.

    And your curls are fabulous.

  19. HDC

    Shelley’s comment made me fell better about deciding to do the snip with our little guy. I left the decision up to my husband entirely because it didn’t really matter to me. Since he owns one I figured he was in a better place to make the decision. Looking back, I think I would have decided against it. I don’t think it’s on par with FGM. However I also think from a hygiene point, how hard is it to wash that every day really? Plus if it really was unnecessary or harmful why hasn’t evolution done away with it.

    If we have another little dude, I’m going to be in the anti-camp I think.

  20. ellen

    I have a friend who had to be circumcised when he was 12. Erections were painful.
    Can you imagine being a 12 year old boy and having to ask your parents about that? Then, having to go have that procedure?
    No thanks.

  21. Joe

    Laura said:
    “If they are committed to maintain proper hygiene and comfortable teaching that to their son, then there is no reason to circumcise your child.”

    You make it sound like it’s a chores or some complicated puzzle. Retract, rinse, replace (when they can do that). It takes longer to explain than to do.

    And comfortable teaching? Seriously? You’ll have to teach him to wash his hair, brush his teeth, and wipe his butt. I don’t understand how teaching a boy to clean his penis could be less comfortable than teaching him to wipe his butt.

    With all the maladies American medicine assigns to the foreskin it’s amazing that we (and every other mammal) has made it this long with it. How did the US end up being the only country to cling so stridently to this bronze age ritual, especially for secular reasons.

  22. kidsdoc

    The reason uncircumcised boys get more UTIs is that the foreskin can harbor bacteria, and in some cases can block flow of urine–these things increase the risk of bacteria traveling up the urethra and causing an infection. The reason girls get more UTIs is that our urethras are very short and bacteria can relatively easily travel up into the bladder. Removing the clitoris (which is no where near the urethra) would not change this. Also FGM has no medical purpose, and is used primarily to subjugate women and control their sexuality. Comparing FGM to male circumcision is unnecessarily inflammatory, has no logical basis, and weakens the “anti-circ” argument, IMO.

  23. fruitlady

    When I was pregnant with my oldest son over 9 years ago my husband and I were in disagreement over this topic. Do we or don’t we? I had been listening to Howard Stern ranting about it one day on his show about how mad he was at his parents for circumcising him. So I started looking into it. I couldn’t find any research that really convinced me it was the right thing to do. And my husband and his friends were all arguing the “everybody will make fun of him” argument which of course is horseshit because men don’t acknowledge looking at other men’s penises. We were still not in total agreement after he was born and the hospital doctor came in to check on the baby and we asked him. He was an amazing doctor who sat down and told my husband, “it’s not like God screwed up on anatomy and us doctors have to fix it. It’s natural.” So we didn’t do it. And my hubby worried for a while. But we made friends with other new parents and realized that there were lots of little boys still in tact and it set his mind at ease. We now have 2 boys ages 9 and 7 and I have NEVER retracted their foreskin to clean it and they have never had any infections at all. I also read that this phenomenon started with the soldiers returning home after WWII and having adult circumcisions because of VD they contracted during the war. So doctors started doing the procedure as a preventative measure on infants to reduce the risk of infections later in life.

  24. Cmom

    After having been guilted into having it done to my oldest son (now 19) I refused to have it done when I gave birth to my next two children, both boys. They are now 14 and 15 years old. It have NEVER, EVER, EVER been an issue in our home. The only one who ever had a problem with his penis was my oldest son, (you know, the circumcised one) his circumcision was BOTCHED and they had to pull the skin down several times over several pedi visits (up until age 4 months) until it finally stayed. So I got to feel like a barbarian over and over again, until the skin stopped crawling back up where it should have been left in the first place. It is NON-ISSUE and people should stop making it one. My non-circumcised sons are both athletes and it has never even come up. My husband wanted them to have it done, his reason was “because mine is” — well that’s not a good enough reason. I told him when he puts his feet into the stirrups and pushes the baby out of his vagina then he can make that decision. ALSO – just to make him happy, we consulted with three doctors and all three told us there is absolutely NO medical reason (cleanliness or otherwise) to have it done.

  25. Cmom

    Oh,and one more tidbit: my MIL tried to make me feel bad by telling the story of her uncle, who had to have it done at age 40, and how it was sooooo painful (like it’s not for a baby)— At least at age 40 you can UNDERSTAND pain, have pain meds, and be put out for surgery. Unlike being a defenseless newborn, with someone strapping you to a papoos board and coming at you with a scalpel.

  26. latinamomof3

    Comparing FGM to MGM is VALID. Cutting is cutting no matter how you do it and how much you cut. If the tissue is healthy and you cut it without the owner’s consent, it becomes a violation of human rights. The only reason to circ would ever be medically necessary would be in the case of FROSTBITE, GANGRENE, MALIGNANCY, or SERIOUS TRAUMA. All very rare. Let the boy decide when he is old enough if he wants that part of his penis cut off!

  27. Hugh7

    How about “Your kids, THEIR call.” Whose penis is it?

    14. Kirsten: “it’s just a very personal decision.” Exactly. So shouldn’t it be left to the person most concerned?

    25. Ellen: He probably didn’t have to be, but in the US they don’t know about all the alternatives that are available, because they’re so ready to circumcise. And for every one who needs it at 12, there are literally hundreds who don’t (of whom a fair few would get complications if it were done as a baby) but their troublefree lives don’t make good anecdotes.

    27. Kidsdoc. It is increasingly debatable whether circumcision does actually prevent UTIs in boys. Wiswell’s huge and influential studies were all of boys born in military hospitals, where most of the intact boys would have been premature. The samples were taken differently from the two groups of boys.

    While genital cutting may not be useful in preventing UTIs in girls, they are several times more likely to contract UTIs than boys, and are invariably treated successfully without surgery.

    The logical basis for comparing male with female genital cutting is the human rights issue. ALL genital cutting is outlawed in most of the western world, no matter how minor, sterile and anaesthetised (absent pressing medical need) with no letout for religion or culture – but only if the genitals are female. What happened to equality of the sexes?

  28. Laura

    Its not debatable whether it decreases UTIs. It does. Not *prevent*, but decrease. A special patient population I would recommend circumcision to are infants with congenital disorders involving their kidneys…kids who cannot afford to have UTIs.

    And Joe, you’d be surprised at how unresponsible people can be. I’m sure I’ve seen more four year olds with balanitis and phimosis than you have. (And little old dudes with paraphimosis.)

    But that’s not really the point. I’m not assigning an “array of maladies to the foreskin! the evil foreskin!” My point (which was not well said) was that there are sides to each decision and valid points for both.

    So my final 2 cents, if my kid had a congenital disease involving the kidneys…then probably. If not, then probably not. Europe didn’t sink into the ocean, so I think we’d be okay. :)

  29. Joe

    Laura:

    Unfortunately, I would not be surprised at how irresponsible some parents might be. And I am sure you’ve seen more boys with either balanitis or phimoisis than I have, you’re a urologist that would be your job right? People only see you when they have those types of problems and get those special referrals.

    Now there are certainly situations when circumcision is necessary and I have no problem with a medically therapeutic circumcision but, those are few and far between. Most problems that US doctors refer for circumcision have alternative, often less invasive, treatments. For example, how often is prepuceplasty suggested when a case of phimosis is presented?

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2490/8/6

    Just about everything I’ve read about this procedure was done and developed outside the US. I’ve seen how fast US docs are to jump to circumcision and while you might not be among those docs, reading what is written and coming out of the US (and sometimes other countries were circumcision was common) you’d think it was the magic bullet cure all that solves all problems and causes none which is disingenuous to put it lightly.

    To summarize, I don’t have problems with a medically therapeutic circumcision any more than I would have a problem with a medically therapeutic tooth extraction but I would expect the same situation. That is, this is the only possible remedy we can’t save it. However, no rational thinker can defend routine infant/child circumcision.

  30. Joe

    Laura:

    Unfortunately, I would not be surprised at how irresponsible some parents might be. And I am sure you’ve seen more boys with either balanitis or phimoisis than I have, you’re a urologist that would be your job right? People only see you when they have those types of problems and get those special referrals.

    Now there are certainly situations when circumcision is necessary and I have no problem with a medically therapeutic circumcision but, those are few and far between. Most problems that US doctors refer for circumcision have alternative, often less invasive, treatments. For example, how often is prepuceplasty suggested when a case of phimosis is presented?

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2490/8/6

    Just about everything I’ve read about this procedure was done and developed outside the US. I’ve seen how fast US docs are to jump to circumcision and while you might not be among those docs, reading what is written and coming out of the US (and sometimes other countries were circumcision was common) you’d think it was the magic bullet cure all that solves all problems and causes none which is disingenuous to put it lightly.

    To summarize, I don’t have problems with a medically therapeutic circumcision any more than I would have a problem with a medically therapeutic tooth extraction but I would expect the same situation. That is, this is the only possible remedy we can’t save it. However, no rational thinker can defend routine infant/child circumcision.

  31. LolaGranola

    Why my son, if I ever have one, will be circumcised:

    My first boyfriend was uncircumcised…for half of the time we were together. One night, while in flagrante delicto, something happened to his foreskin, and he began bleeding…all over the place. Turned out that he had some sort of foreskin mutation (I forgot the exact term) that caused the skin to be too tight when he was aroused…leading to the foreskin tearing and the painful (and quite horrifying) bleeding episode.

    So, at age 20, he got a circumcision. Extremely painful for him (although absolutely hilarious to his friends). Probably a pretty rare occurence, but enough for me to decide I wouldn’t want my son to have to experience such pain later on in life.

    If that hadn’t happened, I probably wouldn’t really have an opinion one way or the other. As long as a person’s decision is thoughtful, rather than simply rote conformity to custom or tradition, isn’t that what is most important?

  32. LolaGranola

    Why my son, if I ever have one, will be circumcised:

    My first boyfriend was uncircumcised…for half of the time we were together. One night, while in flagrante delicto, something happened to his foreskin, and he began bleeding…all over the place. Turned out that he had some sort of foreskin mutation (I forgot the exact term) that caused the skin to be too tight when he was aroused…leading to the foreskin tearing and the painful (and quite horrifying) bleeding episode.

    So, at age 20, he got a circumcision. Extremely painful for him (although absolutely hilarious to his friends). Probably a pretty rare occurence, but enough for me to decide I wouldn’t want my son to have to experience such pain later on in life.

    If that hadn’t happened, I probably wouldn’t really have an opinion one way or the other. As long as a person’s decision is thoughtful, rather than simply rote conformity to custom or tradition, isn’t that what is most important?

  33. Mark Lyndon

    Umm, why is my earlier comment still “awaiting moderation”? It has links to the position statements on circumcision of the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, and the British Medical Association. The doctors in those countries are mostly circumcised, or married to circumcised men, yet they all seem to be against circumcision.

  34. Laura

    Well said!

    In my experience, phimosis gets the knife more often in older men. I never saw a more sad dude than the 80 year old who needs a circumcision due to paraphimosis. We can do quite a few things to “save” the foreskin (if you will) in kids.

  35. Weremonkey

    Better now than later.
    At the end of the day, I think circumcision is much easier a few days after birth than any other time in someone’s life. A circumcised man does seem a lot cleaner and less delicate (and I mean delicate in a bad, injurable way) than an uncircumcised man.

  36. Betsy

    “At the end of the day, I think circumcision is much easier a few days after birth than any other time in someone’s life.”

    Really? Having surgery on your genitals without any anesthesia and no way to tell someone that you need more pain medication at a time in your life when you have no idea what’s happening to you and then having to urinate and defecate on your open genital wound is better than deciding as an adult to go under with general anesthesia, have the surgery, get strong pain medication while you heal, and understand what’s happening to you, and already be potty trained? Really? You believe this?

    I have a good friend who chose to be circumcised when he was 20. He does not remember the surgery thanks to general anesthesia. He had plenty of pain meds during the recovery period. He was also very *grateful* that his parents left this very extremely personal decision up to him since it was *his* body.

    I have another good friend who was circumcised at birth and is quite angry with his parents for taking this choice about his body away from him without his consent.

    Anecdotal, yes, and statistically most men are happy with their penises regardless of circumcision status, however, if my son is one of the unhappy ones (as both my friends are examples of), I’d rather he be like my first friend – able to remedy the situation by still having the choice open to him rather than my having taken it away from him.

    Besides, how would I explain to my son that I went against the recommendations of every single medical association in the world in order to remove 1/3 of his penile skin without his consent just in case he got something that could easily be treated or prevented with a much less invasive procedure (antibiotics, steroid cream, dorsal slit, condoms)?

  37. Molly

    Ok.

    1) Circumcision is not like breastfeeding, or co-sleeping, or any other aspect of the “mommy-wars” for one simple reason: It involves cutting a child’s genitals, which the others do not.

    2) If it is ethically wrong to cut a girls genitals and we value boy-babies as we do girls, (which we do) it should also be ethically wrong to cut a boys genitals. That is simple logic.

    3) The claim that this is worthwhile to prevent unlikely future problems is then misguided for two reasons.
    — Similar claims could be made for girls and the people who support circumcision of boys would NOT then go on to advocate female circumcision.
    — What future benefit could possibly merit cutting of infants genitals, when the incidence of penile cancer is less than breast cancer in men, the studies on HIV and STD’s are scientifically contraversial and inconclusive, and anyone practicing safe sex is similarly unlikely to contract an STD, whether they are circumcised or not.

    And, “because I think it looks better” is not a morally defensible reason for cutting a child’s genitals, unless you want to argue that right for both girls and boys.

  38. andrea

    My husband and I are having a boy (any day now!) and we had the discussion about circumcision. I asked my husband how he feels about it and after discussing the pros and cons, we determined that we would have it done.

    I do have a problem with comparing circumcision to FGM. As a graduate student, I worked on a project regarding the barbaric practice. Alice is right on the money. It is done as a method of control, and causes pain throughout a woman’s life. It is meant to have the woman not experience pleasure during sex so that she will not want to be with another man. I find it incredibly difficult to compare circumcision to FGM. It’s apples and oranges.

  39. Molly

    To commenter #43:

    As a scientist, I can tell you that although scientific findings are always open to scrutiny, the findings about male circumcision and reduced HIV transmission are very strong. They are neither scientifically controversial or inconclusive. In fact, 2 of the randomized-controlled trials were stopped earlier than planned because the beneficial effect of male circumcision was so strong that it became unethical for them to continue to randomly assign men in the study NOT to be circumcized.

  40. libby

    Had this question been posed before my husband and I married, I probably would have been pro-circumcision. I’m an American, it’s the norm here, it is (subjectively speaking) more aesthetically pleasing, everyone else does it, etc. However, my husband is not circumcised, and while initially “different” to me, it certainly made me stop and really think about why this procedure seems to be such an no-brainer in American Culture. We did not circumcise our son and are satisfied with our decision.

  41. Mark Lyndon

    “I find it incredibly difficult to compare circumcision to FGM. It’s apples and oranges. ”

    Andrea, are you aware that some forms of female circumcision do less damage than the usual form of male circumcision, and that one form is the exact anatomical equivalent? (women have a prepuce too)

    Try debating with bloggers in Egypt and Malaysia that are about to circumcise their daughters, or have already done so. Try telling them there’s a fundamental difference between male and female circumcision.

    Are you aware that the USA also used to practise female circumcision? It was never anywhere near as popular as male circumcision, but there are middle-aged white US American women walking round today with no clitoris because it was removed. Some of them don’t even realise what has been done to them. There are frequent references to the practice in medical literature up until the late 1950’s. Most of them point out the similarity with male circumcision, and suggest that it should be performed for the same reasons. Blue Cross/Blue Shield covered clitoridectomy till 1977.

    One victim wrote a book about it:
    Robinett, Patricia (2006). “The rape of innocence: One woman’s story of female genital mutilation in the USA.”

  42. Joe

    To Molly #44
    A study of female circumcision in Tanzania found that it also reduced the incidence of HIV infection in circumcised women. Abstract here:
    http://tinyurl.com/d9uom

    Now, based on these results would you support more rigorous studies to medicalize this potential benefit and offer it to the parents of infant girls? Why or Why not?

    In the US where HIV is confined to certain high risk groups, sanitary conditions and access to doctors is sufficient, and the average age of infection is something like 36. To be sure if an adult wants that extra 0.02%, or proabably even less, amount of protection, they are free to get a circumcision if they want it; however, when talking about infants or children who have no ability to consent to a procedure whose benefits wouldn’t be realized, particularly in the west, until a child has reached majority requires a wholly different ethical analysis.

    Good science always requires good ethics.

  43. Mark Lyndon

    Weremonkey: “Better now than later. At the end of the day, I think circumcision is much easier a few days after birth than any other time in someone’s life.”

    It doesn’t have to be done at all. Only about 1 in 140 UK males need circumcising for a medical reason, and the rate is going down.

    Even if someone does eventually need to be circumcised, it’s safer and hurts less to circumcise at a later age, and the results are cosmetically better. I’ve never heard of a western adult circumcision resulting in death or penile amputation for example.

    Doing it right after birth is the worst possible time since :
    a) you have to separate the foreskin from the glans (think of removing your thumbnails only more painful). This also results in adhesions, skin tags and skin bridges. If you wait a few years, then the foreskin separates naturally. This also results in better cosmetic results.
    b) it’s smaller so more chance of a seriously botched job. It’s very rare, but some babies die or suffer amputations because of circumcision (google “David Reimer” and read about his/her story if you don’t know what I’m talking about)
    c) you can’t use general anaesthetic on a newborn, so it hurts more. Watch a video of an operation if you don’t know how much it hurts. Just because babies don’t remember, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t affected them. They have more problems breastfeeding, and also show more reaction to injections years later.
    d) newborns don’t have much of an immune system, so they can die of things that are harmless to adults or older children. A baby died after circumcision in New York recently of the coldsore virus for instance, and another got brain damage.
    e) a newborn can’t tell you if he actually wants to have the most sensitive part of his penis removed or not. It’s HIS body after all.

    If my son wants to be circumcised when he’s 18 (16 if he knows what he’s doing), I’ll pay for it and help him find a good surgeon. Until then, he stays intact. His body – his decision. If he wants to be circumcised later, it’s easy to fix – safer, less painful, and better cosmetic results. If we’d had him circumcised, and he wanted to be intact, it’s a problem.

  44. latinamomof3

    AMPUTATION is not the answer of cleanliness, WASHING WITH WATER is the answer. I bet I chop off my ears they’ll be clean… if I chop off my labia my parts will be clean too… seriously people, why would you want such a radical procedure in your child who is not consenting to have that part of his penis cut off? It is a violation of human rights – this needs to be stopped, then we can call ourselves ‘civilized…

    I highly recommend you to watch this educational video, a woman from Somalia telling her story and how routine infant circ compares to FMG:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5395565256830319025

  45. Molly

    To Andrea, commenter #43:

    So you “weighed the pros and cons” and I guess you decided the pros of circumcision outweighed the cons.

    Do a simple thought experiment: If you talked it over with your husband and the pros for female excision of the clitoral hood outweighed the cons- i.e. preserved most sexual function, like male circumcision, reduced some risk of disease that could also be remedied by simple safe sex practices, helped with cleanliness, etc. If it were the exact same pros and cons…

    …would you circumcise your daughter?

  46. pixie sticks

    we did it (after lots of agonizing) and I’m glad. I fully admit it’s like giving your newborn a nose job and I’m pretty honest about why we did it – it looks better and it’s easier (for me). Under no circumstances do I want (or know how, for that matter) to be telling my 12 year old boy how to keep his junk clean.

  47. darcy

    I’m not going to be popular here, I just find this post to be so fascinating.Wow. None of us even have penises, right?
    I am going to go again with my experiences, and not base it on some google search I did putting in the words for or against “circumcision, we are all smart enough to get evidence to support our own agendas. However, I can say that cleaning an uncircumsized penis foreskin out, so that you can stick a catheter in it before surgery is disgusting, and sad, and very frequent.
    Also I read the comment earlier that said that uncircumcised adolescents don’t get made fun of because men deny looking at each others penis’s. I’m sorry but that is not true and I think we all know that. I have heard many jokes about “so and so’s” turtle neck, particualarly in high school and college, and for people to act like that isn’t an issue is just ignorant. Yeah I don’t think people should get made fun of for being uncircumcised but it happens, and we all know it.
    FYI Howard Stern is mad at his parents because he has a small penis, and he thinks that’s due to the circumcision. He is a comedian.
    I don’t think circumcision is a violation of human rights, but you know the people who make the law have penis’s and probably are circumcised.

  48. Jen

    There are so many comments on here that are incredibly naive to the development and functions of the foreskin. Circumcision is completely unnecessary, harms the normal function of the penis, and removes a child’s right to choose over his/her own body.

    The mythical “infections” and “foreskin problems” are really just a misunderstanding of the foreskin and how it develops naturally throughout childhood.
    http://www.mothering.com/articles/new_baby/circumcision/protect-uncircson.html

    Every child regardless of sex, age, race, culture, religion or nationality has a right to a normal genitalia.

    GET EDUCATED!

    http://www.genitalautonomy.org
    http://www.cirp.org
    http://www.intactamerica.org
    http://www.nocirc.org
    http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org

  49. Molly

    To Pixies sticks, commenter #51:

    Would you give your child a nose job?
    (no responsible doctor would allow you to do that)

    would you circumcise your daughter if it made things easier for you and you liked the way it looked?

  50. latinamomof3

    Darcy, RIC IS a violation of human rights! What about those men that are furious from being circ’ed as an infant and trying to restore what they were stolen from them? Yes, women has no penises but the baby boys do and who is going to speak out for them? someone has to do it! It is illegal to even drop a tiny drop of blood from a girl’s genitalia, why is it different for boys? Boys do not have rights? What Pixie said it is just simple incoherent feminist remark, you are implying men doesn’t know how to care for their penises, but guess what? they still need to clean their butts and we are not cutting those. I have an intact boy and cleaning his penis is easier than cleaning his butt or ears. Amputation is not the answer to cleanliness. Tell me how 80% of the male in the world are INTACT and has no problem with foreskins. Now I feel for all mommas who didn’t make enough research and had their sons circ’ed, now only 50% of the boys are getting circumcised – every year the rate drops, by the time these kids are teens, circumcised males are going to be in the minority… HIS body, HIS choice!

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5395565256830319025

  51. Michelle

    I have two intact sons. Never a single problem. My first was circ’d against my expressed wishes that he NOT be circ’d. See why I won’t have a baby in the hospital EVER AGAIN – not if I can help it anyways. If it ever came to that I’d be DAMN SURE no freaking knife will go near my son’s penis!

    Son #1 has many problems, Meatal Stenosis (occurs in %10 of circ’d boys – funny because UTI’s in intact boys are less common than that), a very painful growth spurt ‘down there’ he had screaming spells for months when he was 3 and 4. God, I hope this doesn’t happen to him when he hits puberty. I will however present to him the option of restoring so he can have some slack to grow into. He also had a buried penis for the first 4 yrs of his life (another very common complication from circumcision).

    Cutting parts off healthy genitals regardless of gender is, well, insane. But hey, that’s America for ya – just another crazy country emulating a backward culture. No wonder every other industrialized Nation on the face of this planet is repulsed by this idea. The only time they see bare glans is when the grown intact male himself is ‘Retracting, Rinsing, Replaceing’ his prepuce during his normal hygienic routine, or when he is erect. The exposed glans is the look of an ADULT horny penis. It really does take a sick mind to want to see that on an infant. Have it your way, wear those cultural blindfolds. You may think bare glans is ‘attractive’ and or ‘pretty’ (yuck, barf) on an infant or child (again, that’s very very gross) but you can’t really explain to yourself why you think that way because you wear a heavy cultural blindfold.

  52. darcy

    OH WOW. My mind is totally changed, we should be storming people’s houses and incarcerating these ruthless fiends who are circumcising their sons. OH, wait that sounds a little like hmmmm…. crucifying someone for their beliefs, wow sort of like Nazi’s, but whatever.
    We should spend all of time and effort saving the foreskin, instead of going after pedophiles and dead beat dads. Oh wait people who circumcise their kids are pedophiles right because they like the look of an “adult horny penis”.

    This is really getting ridiculous.

  53. Clare

    I am in the UK and I don’t know anyone who is circumcised unless they are Jewish. As I’m sure you all know, it is not standard practice here, or really anywhere outside America. The rest of the world are managing to have good sex, avoid UTIs and keep their penises clean, which I think is pretty much all the evidence you need. I read a figure somewhere that the ratio of circumcised to not circumcised in newborn infants is now 50/50 in the US, and I think as the cultural assumptions become less entrenched, the circumcision rates will continue to fall.

  54. Michelle

    pixie sticks, how is it cleaner to have urine and feces up against an open wound? Do you defecate on your open wounds? Caring for a circ wound is MUCH HARDER than caring for an intact penis. An intact foreskin is tightly bonded to the glans just as the fingernail is to the finger. Wipe and go, and never retract an infant’s foreskin – its that simple. Ripping away the fused prepuce from the glans results in a raw open wound. The foreskin doesn’t naturally separate until puberty. This is nature’s way of protecting the penis. Its not hard to tell a young child to remember the three R’s during hygiene: Retract, Rinse, Replace. Plus, teenage boys will figure it out. Why in hell do you think they stay in the shower so damn long… Do you NOT tell your daughters that its important to wipe from front to back? Its just as easy, or is that too hard for you? Or, does your son have a mental disability and can’t remember the three R’s? In that case, you should probably cut off other parts of his body since he can’t possibly understand how to clean himself. I guess, having intact genitals is a privilege only for the SMART American.

  55. Nicole

    um . . . what about the curls? seriously, hot rollers or curling iron? I know you have naturally curly hair, but those waves are fabulous.

  56. Kimberly

    Wow…and I thought the Blowjob Brouhaha of a couple months ago from the comments in one of your previous posts got ugly! Though at this point, the comments are a bit too fanatical for me to delve into, I will echo one of the saner posts above about the fabulousness of your hair. Loves it!

  57. Molly

    Sorry, but FGM is NOT the same as male circumcision. Let’s just put that argument down and walk away from it, because it’s not only inflammatory, it’s inaccurate and insulting to those of us who make the choice to circumcise.

    I find it interesting how many people have felt it necessary to not only inquire whether we intended to have our son circumcised, but whether we’ll have the next one circumcised as well. I think that’s a pretty personal question, when I’m asked by anyone other than my child’s physician I decline to answer it, and I am really pretty disturbed by the fact that so many people out there are spending so much time thinking about the genitalia of strangers.

    Make the choice for your kid, not mine, please. And did everyone hear Maggie when she suggested that we needn’t try so hard to prove everyone else wrong just to feel like we’re right?

    Well said, Maggie.

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