‎"We cannot withhold facts for fear of offending because the importance of the information outweighs people's right to not be challenged in their beliefs."
-Maddie Reid

Monday, April 18, 2011

To cut or not to cut...it's only his decision.

I actually started this blog post a few weeks ago and kept thinking about how to approach this. It's a really touchy subject and one that while I'm extremely passionate about, I've hesitated to come out of the closet about on facebook because of how people react. But I've thought and thought about it and I just can't stay silent any longer. I may lose friends over this but it is what it is. I have to speak out about this in spite of whatever may come from it. 

Oh boy. Here I go. Opening that can of worms. I know that a lot of my facebook friends are going to read this (if they even bother) and be like, gasp! how dare she? Well, I dare. Oh yes, I dare.

Circumcision. Okay so here's the deal with circumcision. It seems normal to just lop it off right? I mean, it's just some extra skin right? Um wrong. I could go into what the foreskin is, what the purpose of it is, the extreme pain that it causes a newborn (yes, newborns can feel pain) to have it removed, but if I start there and go on, this blog post would be 10 miles long. I assure you, the foreskin is there for a reason. Were it not, would babies be born with it? It is made up of blood vessels and nerve endings and just as having any other part of your body cut off would hurt, it hurts to have it removed. 

There are a lot of arguments I hear from people about why they circumcise. Honestly, each and every one of them is a load of bunk. Yes, each and every single one of them. Here are 3 common ones I hear often. 

Reason #1: It's cleaner to have a penis circumcised 

I’m sure you’ve heard second hand horror stories of so-n’-so’s nephew/uncle/cousin who had horrible infections and ended up being circumcised later in life. This is an all too common tale for intact (not circumcised) men in the United States in the last 100-150 years. It all boils down to proper care of the penis. You should never pull back the foreskin for any reason at all. Also make sure anyone who will be caring for your son, and your son's pediatrician know that you do not want them pulling it back (many doctors don't know they aren't supposed to be retracting the foreskin). US doctors have been forcing retraction at exams and instructing parents to retract on a regular basis for decades, but we now know that this is harmful and unnecessary and it actually causes most of the problems that you hear about later.
The foreskin is fused to the head of the penis just like a fingernail is attached to a finger. Over time the fusion naturally dissolves and only your son will know when it is safe to pull back (sometimes as late as puberty.) By forcefully retracting the skin doctors and parents have been causing damage that in turn can lead to infections for the child. If you simply leave it alone chances are extremely rare for anything unusual to happen. This is proven by the fact that these issues are not present in countries that have a better understanding of intact care (Europe, Mexico, Asia, Africa, etc). It is very easy to care for – “only clean what is seen” is the intact motto. (Taken from Minnesota N.I.C.E)

Reason #2: He should look like his daddy

Then there comes the “look like daddy” factor that many people feel is necessary. I don’t know about you, but I am not aware of any father/son penis look-a-like contests in our area. There is no way to guarantee any part of your son will look like your husband, and considering cosmetic surgery to change his nose to look like daddy’s sounds absurd, right? Same thing goes with the penis. They are all different shapes/sizes, and in reality there is a whole lot less penis comparing than we sometimes think there will be. A much more noticeable difference would be that daddy has hair. The locker room debate is also being thrown out the window. Worldwide 80% of men are left intact, in the USA countrywide approimately 64% of men are left intact, and in Minnesota we are leaving 35% intact (based on the latest survey in 2008). The percentage is rapidly increasing the more people are made aware. Someday in the near future the cut boys very well could be in the minority. 
(Taken from Minnesota N.I.C.E.)

Reason #3: It decreases the risks of STDs later in life

There were studies that said that circumcised men in Africa were contacting HIV more so then uncircumcised men. These studies have recently come under the microscope and are being debunked. Being circumcised does not decrease your risk of STDS and even if it did, that's an odd reason to remove something isn't it? I mean, think about it. You could get breast cancer...do you remove your breasts? You could get a yeast infection...do you remove your vagina? No. You don't. To me, it sounds like an excuse to not teach our sons safe sex. Don't remove the foreskin to prevent STDS, use condoms  to prevent STDs, or don't have multiple partners. 

When it comes down to it, it's not your penis and the only person who should make a decision about cutting off an important part of the body is the person whose body it is. Furthermore, may I just say that all of those reasons for male circumcision? Well they've been used to excuse female circumcision. Would you circumcise your daughters? No, you wouldn't. So why would you circumcise your sons? 

This isn't an attack against those who have circumcised their sons. It's done. However you can educate yourself on what circumcision truly is and change it in the future. If I saved one baby because of this post, then my job is complete. 

There is a prepuce organ/foreskin packet that includes 8 articles and 3 DVDs: at http://www.savingpenises.org/our-information-packs.html
Here are some wonderful reference websites if you’d like to look up more information;
http://www.drmomma.org/ -http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/are-you-fully-informed.html

If you and your partner disagree on what should be done – ask yourself – “Whose penis is it?” There is absolutely nothing wrong with leaving your son intact and allowing him to make the decision about his genitalia when he is old enough to make such a call. Many men resent being cut emotionally and/or physically, there is no way to know where your son will fall in the spectrum. Logically, with the increase of intact boys in our area it is most likely that circumcision will be rare or extinct in the next two generations. Your son could either be the last one cut, or the first one left intact. It’s up to you. (taken from Minnesota N.I.C.E.)


  1. Great post! I hope you don't catch too much flack about this on Facebook! If it makes you feel any better, I shared this on Facebook on both my blog and personal account! =)

  2. I love this post! I used to be mainstream too, and was very well known as someone who used the term "dirty hippies". I've joined the tree huggers, LOL, but refer to myself as "chewy granola"...I don't cloth diaper, so I'm not totally crunchy.
    Good on you for speaking the truth about circumcision. There will always be people resistant to this way of parenting, and on hearing information that goes against what they were told. (We were once too, right?!) Keep it up. Educating people is the loving thing to do. No one can know what nobody tells them!
    All the best, from one NICU momma to another!

  3. I would hate to see you lose friends over this. You offered good information, but in the end I think it's a very personal decision for the parents. Education always helps though!

  4. A non-decision for me! Just leave it alone. :) Let the boy decide when he's old enough.

  5. beth i have lost a few friends over this issue but you know what? i dont care. if they are narrow minded enough to not want to do any research about this issue, screw em! i dont need friends like that.

  6. Thus far, I've lost 3. It shows me who my friends are and aren't though :shrug:.