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Circumcision: To Snip or Not to Snip

Wed, May 06, 2015
Total votes: 173
Baby Circumcison

In the United States we have a broad mix of cultures and traditions.  Many are obvious in the churches we go to, or the sports we watch, or the food we eat.  Others, like circumcision, are so far below the surface we seldom think about them.  Then you find out you are having a son.  Suddenly, something that never crossed your mind, never made it to the conversation, might be an issue.  Our auhtors try to tackle the surprisingly difficult debate below, without being Judgey.

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Please Don't Snip Me!
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What's the Big Deal?
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Coming to the United States from a foreign country it is surprising that all men are circumcised here when they are not in most of the rest of the world. When I first became exposed to this I was only 6 years old and my brother was just born in a US hospital.  My father is 100% Italian and therefore, uncircumcised.  As we were leaving the hospital, the nurse came in very upset saying that we couldn’t leave because my newborn brother had not yet been circumcised.  My father was irate over the concept of his newborn son’s penis being mutilated, and so we left the hospital with my little brother, foreskin and all. 

Now as an adult, I think, what is the big deal? Why do men have to be circumcised?  I have polled my male circumcised friends and they claim that it is cleaner, and that it reduces the incidences of penile cancer….but has this really been tested?  Does every Latin American or European man have diseased cancer ridden dirty penises?  I would think that the rest of the industrialized world would have come to a global decision on defending men’s reproductive rights….but nothing has happened, no one talks about men being in trouble because they are uncircumcised.  So I ask, why is this necessary? Where does it come from?  

Originally the decision to circumcise comes from the bible, which is why for Judaism it is a religious ritual to circumcise their male babies in a religious ceremony.  I have no qualms with people deciding to do things in the interest of religion, yet there are tons of non-Jewish men in the United States who are circumcised.  I am a mother, but I do not have a son – only a daughter.  When she was born, the thought of piercing her ears was horrifying to me.  I decided that such a big decision to alter the body that I had so painstakingly spent 9 months making didn’t need to be made while she was an infant, and did not need to be made by me.  If she wants to pierce her ears, navel, nose, eyebrow….she can make those decisions later, when she is aware of the pain and the consequences. 

Seeing that I was so tormented about something as minor as a tiny little hole in an ear lobe, I can’t imagine I would be able to decide about loping off a piece of my infant son’s most sensitive body part.  Nature makes us a certain way for a reason, and making a human is a pretty incredible and delicate process, I don’t think it is my place to interfere with nature, especially when there is no firm identifiable medical evidence as to why it should be done. 

Aesthetics also play no role, because a fully erect penis whether circumcised or not, looks exactly the same.  I have also heard that the foreskin also makes sex more pleasurable for uncircumcised men, with the opposite side being that circumcised men can last longer…having been with both, I have noted no difference in sexual performance.  I am also not a man, so I cannot judge who enjoys sex more.  I have also heard of botched circumcisions….so men, is it worth the gamble?  Keep your foreskin with the promise of maybe enjoying sex more!

Do you have kids? Thinking about having kids? Out of all the worries and concerns and hope for your children do you find circumcision to be a hot button issue? It’s funny, I never did until my mate and I started talking about having a son. I’m a man, and circumcised (sorry about the TMI, but you started reading about it). I can’t imagine being any other way. But I know a lot of men aren’t. I also know that the US is one of the only places that considers it a given at the hospital. So I never even thought about having a son and him not being like me. Because that is what it comes down to for me. I know there is a huge amount of research saying this and that about the health and sexual benefits of both.

May favorite argument comes from those overexcited sales-people-type sources that claim uncircumcised sex feels better. It sounds just like the ads for pills to improve performance or to get girls to go home with guys by increasing their body temperature. If you are one of the folks that writes those, sorry but you need a new technique. You also have the religious types who desperate want to avoid anything that resembles Jewish practice, and that’s just hateful. I have always been more pulled in by the health concerns/benefits and hygiene. But that is completely inconclusive. Read through all the “evidence” and arguments and it comes down to one thing, there is no real evidence it hurts or helps either way. No, it does not affect cancer odds. No, it does not affect fertility. No, it definitely does not affect enjoyment.

If you really read extensively, you’ll find that the people that argue these points on either side usually have a secondary agenda with religion or nationalism or politics. In the end I want my son circumcised because I am. I never want him to feel different from his father or separate from me in any way. I want him to feel included and bonded with, and never odd or different from, the man who will hopefully (if I’m worthy) be his role model. I know against all the other arguments mine reasoning seems a little weak, but it’s important to me in a way the others never can be.

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