Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
12 Jan

To Circumcise or Not To Circumcise?

circumcisionOnce a proverbial given in this and a number of other countries, circumcision has become a hot button issue, intensely debated in both family and medical circles. For decades it was standard procedure for hospital births, but the numbers are quickly declining. Today, 56% of newborn boys are circumcised, although the rate varies considerably by geographic region in the U.S. In 1999, the American Pediatric Association revised their statement on circumcision to acknowledge the “potential medical benefits” of the procedure but concluded “these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.” Most of Canada has “de-listed” circumcision as a necessary (i.e. paid for) procedure.

In truth, the decision to circumcise isn’t purely medical even as it becomes increasingly controversial. Intangible aspects play as much or more of a role in parents’ choice as scientific research. For some families, circumcision is an age-old rite celebrating religious covenant. For others, it’s a venerated custom that manifests cultural identity. Families who aren’t influenced by religious or cultural values might choose circumcision for social or aesthetic reasons in an effort to allow junior to look like the other boys at school or like the father. However, other families and experts argue that the practice is a painful, unnecessary procedure that violates the physical dignity and even legal rights of the child.

The history of circumcision is imprecise, but the practice is thought to have its roots in the Middle East. Experts suggest a number of potential reasons behind the initial practice of circumcision, including figurative sacrifice, virility ritual, and cultural hygienic custom. In many tribal societies, circumcision was observed as a cultural rite of passage into manhood. Although circumcision predates religious directive, it eventually became a sacred practice in the early Jewish faith and for the followers of Islam. At various times in history, circumcision was also used to designate social status as well as religious identity. On an odder note, Western societies, particularly in the 19th and early 20th centuries, practiced circumcision to discourage masturbation. In these same centuries, the issue also became medicalized around tenets of basic hygiene. In the late 19th and 20th centuries, the rate of newborn circumcision increased as hospital births rose and the public accepted the medical argument for standard circumcision.

For our part, let’s delve into the medical side.

These days, one of the most commonly cited health reasons for routine circumcision is decreased STD risk. Numerous studies based in Africa show that circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexual HIV contraction by 50-60%. In response the assembled research, the World Health Organization/United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS issued their official recommendation of circumcision as one method to prevent the spread of HIV. Critics caution that the “context” of the African epidemic, which is as high as 25% of the population in some areas, is so different from the disease rate (as well as cultural and hygienic practices ) in the West that the protective factor of circumcision isn’t nearly as high in Western countries. Some experts estimate a 10% risk reduction in Western societies (PDF). Other Western-based research demonstrates reduced risk for other sexually transmitted disease like genital herpes and HPV as well as a decrease in bacterial vaginosis risk for female partners of circumcised men. Research exploring the impact of circumcision on infection reduction in homosexual men has been more limited but so far shows a mixed picture of protective influence. A review published this month indicates that circumcision appears to reduce risk in primarily “insertive” rather than receptive partners.

The physiological logic behind circumcision’s reduced infection risk involves the bacterial ecology of the inner foreskin itself, which harbors anaerobic bacteria that appears to fuel inflammation and infection. The inner foreskin is home to the highest concentration of so-called Langerhans’ cells, which facilitate HIV transmission and replication.

A less dangerous but more common problem for uncircumcised males, particularly boys, is recurrent urinary tract infection. Circumcision is considered a standard treatment option for those with recurring UTI or serious complications from an initial case of UTI. Some experts have questioned the usefulness and cost efficiency of routine circumcisions to prevent infections in a relatively small number of boys. According to a British study, 111 routine circumcisions must be performed to prevent a single UTI. However, other experts suggest that there’s more at stake than simple urinary infection risk. Another study found that 18% of young boys in the study who had UTI showed signs of kidney scarring. Follow-up circumcision in these boys substantially reduced subsequent UTI occurrence. As a research commentator noted (PDF) in light of this picture, “[I]f the circumcision had been done in the newborn period would the kidneys have been protected from damage in the first instance?”

In response to these infection-related findings, critics of the procedure counter that diligent safe sex and hygienic measures more reliably protect both the man and his partner from infection. Opponents say that circumcision (or at least the public message about its lower infection risk) can give men an inflated sense of protection against life-threatening diseases and discourage use of condoms, testing and other safe sex methods. Nonetheless, many physicians and public health experts maintain that circumcision is a practical strategy for reducing disease in males and their respective partners.

As for the other physical conditions circumcision is meant to prevent, many experts say that the evidence just doesn’t support the need for routine circumcision in every boy. The nonretractable foreskin in childhood is often a misdiagnosis, since separation of the glans happens over time (a protective feature) and may not even be noticeable until puberty. Common infections can be treated with a plethora of modern medications like antibiotics and steroid creams. As for penile cancer, the risk is so low (approximately 9-10 per million men) that circumcision choice shouldn’t be based on this concern.

Then there are the medical complications. They can be everywhere from aesthetic-based to functionally impairing. Infection rates hover close to five percent. Significant narrowing of the urethra occurs in anywhere from 5-10% of circumcisions and must be addressed with follow up treatment. Injury to the urethra can occur. The least common but most dramatic complications include partial to full penile amputation or even the rare death from serious infection.

On a considerably lighter note, critics also suggest that circumcision compromises sexual pleasure. They argue that the foreskin, as host to a dense network of nerves, is a functional erogenous zone in itself.

Although it’s likely impossible to reach any definitive conclusions regarding the issue, self-report research on men who are circumcised in adulthood show mixed results. In one such study, the majority of men did not experience a decrease in libido or pleasure. Eighty-two percent reported the same (44%) or enhanced (38%) penile sensitivity. A smaller study (PDF), however, recorded patients’ written comments about the impact of the procedure on their sex life and calculated that nearly half of respondents experienced less penile sensitivity after circumcision.

Now that we’ve laid out some of the arguments and medical research, we want to hear what you have to say. What is your thinking on the subject, and what factors have or would influence your choice to circumcise or not circumcise? Thanks for reading and contributing.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. First!
    No one touching this one?
    Well let me go on the record…
    …a woman walk into a a bar with a pig under one arm and a duck under the other…

    I know when I had my son, I felt awful afterwards just for the PAIN. And the crazy thing, is everyone is like saying, “they won’t remember the pain!”

    Yeah, but I do and to this day wish I hadn’t. Especially with all the data supporting the contrary.

    Thanks Mark, Happy New Year!

    Dennis wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • It’s always going to be controversial, so I’ll just say this. If you are NOT going to circumcise your boy, at least prompt him to retract his foreskin as soon as he is able to, and to keep it that way at all times. Explain circumcision to him as soon as he asks about it or is able to comprehend it, not after he is an awkward teenager or grown. And make sure he knows that he can get circumcised any time he needs or wants to.

      Charles II wrote on March 30th, 2010
      • Only just reading this article now, (Dec/2010, but I’ve got to find out from you, WHY should a male keep his foreskin retracted all the time? He’d have to keep on pulling it back many times during the day. I assume you are not an uncircumsized male, because you don’t seem to know very much about this. It just doesn’t make sense… Retract and clean it in the shower/bath, then leave it be.

        /rant

        Andrew wrote on December 30th, 2010
        • Au contraire. It is you who know little about the foreskin. Many, perhaps even most of them, are loose enough and/or long enough to work exactly as you describe. Maintaining retraction can be difficult or seem even impossible. Others are not so at all, and can become permanently retracted on first try or with only some effort over short time. The foreskin is an excellent over center device that can become quite comfortable in either position, forward of or behind the corona of the penis head.

          Charles II wrote on January 2nd, 2011
      • You have absolutely no knowledge of the foreskin at all. If you did you would know that the foreskin is meant to cover the glans to keep it moist. If the foreskin is retracted at all times the glans will dry out and the nerves of the glans begin to deaden as the glans is covered in many layers of skin. This is called keratinization. It can cause sexual dysfunction. Besides. The foreskin should absolutely NOT be retracted until it retracts naturally. Forcefully retracting the foreskin is very damaging to the penis. It is only necessary to retract the foreskin once it has naturally retracted to clean away smegma (which women also acquire in the folds of their labia, we do not cut them off of little girls so there is no good argument to circumcise males for the same reason). Once the area has been washed with a mild soap the foreskin should be replaced over the glans where it belongs. Prior to natural retraction the foreskin has its own cleaning system. You should only wash the external the same way you wash your finger.

        Circumcision is an unnecessary, cosmetic procedure performed primarily in the United States…where doing the same thing to girls is considered “wrong” and is illegal. Regardless of how you flip the coin, genital mutilation is not acceptable. Removing a functioning part of a human being (much less and infant that has not given consent) is wrong. Infant circumcision is a human rights violation.

        MommaCrafty wrote on January 22nd, 2011
        • I’m tired of hearing this human rights nonsense. The child has no memory of the incident what-so-ever and there is nothing wrong with a circumcised child. I feel like we as Americans feel the need to question everything that is happening around us, including things that need not be questioned. If a parent wants to have their child circumcised it should be THEIR choice. Not the choices of other individuals who state that it is wrong. It is none of any of your businesses what the parents decision to do is and that should be excepted instead of trying to fight it. I think you people need to find other things better to do with your time then to try to take a right away from the public that we have had since way before this country was founded.

          Kyle wrote on May 12th, 2011
        • I’m actually trying to reply to Kyle, but there’s no reply link below his comment.

          I get where you’re coming from, Kyle. But your facts are wrong. Circumcision began in this country (for Christians and other non-Jews) a little over 100 years ago, when the military instituted it to try to cut back on masturbation. It became common fewer than 100 years ago. My parents learned, only at his death, that my grandfather wasn’t circumcised. They had no idea that it only became commonplace around the time of WWII.

          This is *not* our national heritage. It’s not our Christian heritage. It has nothing to do with tradition or destroying our culture and everything to do with asking, “Why did we ever start doing this in the first place?”

          It’s a little harder to search through the comments now that they’re broken up into pages, but I urge you to take just 5 minutes to look for my other comments that give the details of this, historically, esp. regarding how it is nothing resembling the traditional circumcision procedure that was commanded by God of Abraham. I also give the harm that comes to the man and to his future wife. It is far from negligible. Living that harm myself is what first sent me looking into the history and facts of the procedure.

          mamagrok wrote on May 12th, 2011
        • Kyle you must obviously also be in favour of the doing the same thing to girls. Don’t worry I’m only planning to have my daughter’s genitals trimmed a little. Since she’ll be in hospital anyway I might as well have her earlobes pruned at the same time. All without anaesthetic of course. Babies don’t feel pain or don’t remember it or something, so it’s all good.

          Dan wrote on October 26th, 2011
        • Im sorry, I just had to respond to your comment as I found it to be harsh and ignorant. Genital mutilation? Are you insane. Their is absolutely no way you can call it that. Look up cases of genital mutilation and give your head a shake. Human rights violation? Again, are you insane. I’m assuming you’ve just had a baby, and are feeling very strongly towards not circumsizing. Fair enough, but don’t you dare tell me that circumsizing a child is comparable to mutilation. That’s just complete and utter bullshit.

          Kim wrote on March 23rd, 2012
        • Kyle and Kim -

          Please educate yourselves on some basic anatomy before making any more decisions that impact other individuals. Circumcision is genital mutilation. The only difference is society’s view towards it, and the age at which it is performed. I guess you don’t have any problems with female circumcision as long as it is done right after they’re born?

          Your viewpoints are sexist and offensive.

          TirCeol wrote on April 8th, 2013
      • My least favorite article on this website. Why? The author does not follow his own internal logic (Grok’s logic, the primal logic). I think that is the case because he is probably circumcised himself and is hard to realize and accept your parents screwed up, and see it everyday of your life. Yes, for any given issue, we can always find studies in favor or against (e.g. breastfeeding), but weak science is never a substitute for common sense. There are cases where circumcision is needed (kids with unhealthy habits and lifestyle prone to bacterial infections). That one reason only can explain for all those studies that “suggest” benefits from circumcision. But that would be like removing the teeth to prevent cavities. The cause is not the teeth but the unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Even the Pediatric Association of USA (the only country I know where circumcision is practice routinely) does not recommend it anymore. Like with the breastfeeding “controversy”, finally the public and scientific community has realized that nature knows better. Baby boys do not come to this world with a physical defect that we need to “fix”, that is very presumptuous. The evolution process has designed a body that we could say is perfect for living in its environment. Mark, there is no possible controversy here. Follow your own logic. Grok would be pissed at the idea of circumcision and you know it. Don’t fix it if it is not broken. Gentlemen, “do not harm”. Please.

        Guille wrote on August 28th, 2011
  2. Mark, are you trying to get some controversy going on your site?

    And, if we’re living like Grok, I’m sure he didn’t cut off his son’s penis.

    Do you know the circumcision rate in other industrialized countries?

    Do you know the reason circumcision started in the first place?

    How about you watch a video or too on circumcision and see if that’s something you want done to you:

    http://www.circumcisionquotes.com/video.html

    And read this article:

    http://www.mothering.com/health/the-case-against-circumcision

    And why not cut off a girl’s labia to help protect her from UTI’s? The rate of UTI’s in uncircumcised males and females is the same.

    Or, let’s cut off ears to protect against ear infections.

    Really, Mark, why didn’t you talk about the importance of establishing good bacteria in the child to help prevent UTI’s, ear infections, etc. ? Did you know that breastfeeding and being born at home helps colonize the child’s system with healthy bacteria, helping them fight off ear infections, UTI’s, food allergies, etc. ? Please focus on these issues…this post of yours sounds very CM to me, and that makes me very sad.

    Twyla wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • “CM”?

      If you read the post closely MDA’s Worker Bee (and I by default) didn’t take a strong stance on circumcision. This isn’t my area of expertise but I find the topic interesting, so I thought we’d explore the scientific literature and varying viewpoints, and then open it up to discussion.

      Controversy doesn’t worry me.

      Mark Sisson wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • Controversy doesn’t worry me.

        Nor should it.

        Google — and by that I mean people — love controversy.

        Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • So Mark, what do you think about circumcision. Do you think we should circumcise males or leave them intact?

        For me, I would leave them intact.

        Peter wrote on January 26th, 2012
    • Be careful about jumping to conclusions to quickly… it’s the etiology of CW.

      Johnny at The Lean Saloon wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • We are excepting a baby boy in a couple months, and I have been looking into both sides of circumcision.I am leaning towards no, and wanted to thank you for providing the link to mothering.com. that is an excellent article, and has helped me establish my views on the topic.

      hannah wrote on December 1st, 2010
  3. Well, I don’t remember the pain, that’s true. And honestly, it doesn’t bother me that it happened.

    BUT

    I wouldn’t pass on this tradition. It’s not necessary. Babies wouldn’t remember if we branded them either, but we don’t do that.

    Rick wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • I wouldn’t pass on this tradition. It’s not necessary. Babies wouldn’t remember if we branded them either, but we don’t do that.

      I totally agree! My almost-3-year-old is uncircumsized, and will remain so unless he decides, as an adult, to make that (unnecessary) choice for himself.

      FairyRae2 wrote on January 13th, 2010
  4. I love the banana! That’s inspired.

    If I ever have a son, he won’t be circumcized. I find it to be unnecessary if this is not a religious vow, and most problems will be prevented with good hygienic practices.

    Katt wrote on January 12th, 2010
  5. I was circumcised at birth, and now have three boys of my own who are not. To be honest its a tough call, but my wife and I just decided its not natural or really needed so WHY? One of the three seems prone to irritation after swimming, but not infection or anything. He’s five and showers himself after swimming so its probably a lack of washing that we are dealing with. Besides that I see no drawback so far.

    Anyone who does it so son will look like Dad has bigger issues to deal with.

    Brad wrote on January 12th, 2010
  6. wow. not what I was expecting while eating my big ass salad on my lunch break.

    Ryan Denner wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Mmm… ass salad.

      Jess wrote on February 23rd, 2010
  7. My son is not circumcised, I am not. This was a contentious issue between my wife and me when it came time to make the call. Ultimately, we decided that it was a decision best left to the individual receiving the procedure. If my son chooses to get circumcised when he is old enough to make the decision for himself, I will respect that; but I don’t believe that the decision should be ours to make on his behalf..

    Joel wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • I meant to say that I AM circumcised. Though I think its worth noting that I was not given the choice. If I had been given the opportunity to choose for myself, I certainly would not have been circumcised.

      Joel wrote on January 12th, 2010
  8. Unless it’s medically necessary, it seems like it would be better to give the choice to child. The UTI and STD observations are interesting, but don’t seem to be enough to justify prophylactic circumcision.

    Jon wrote on January 12th, 2010
  9. My father being the son of Italian immigrants, he didn’t understand the desire to circumcise one’s children. So my brother and I were not. And for most of adolescents I hated that fact. It was awkward for me when it came up (because it was usually talked about as “abnormal”) and, when my friends found out, they made fun of me (that’s okay… I got them back!)

    But as I got older I’ve become glad that I’m uncircumcised. First of all, it’s the way my body was intended to be. Secondly (and, in my mind, NOT on a lighter note) it’s where my, “spot” is. (pleasure is part of life and if circumcision depletes this then that fact is more than just some aside). And lastly, I kinda like the way it looks. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some, well, less than attractive ones, but that goes for toes, noses, ears, and calves as well.

    The main thing is, if you are making a decision, any decision, on “I don’t want to be made fun of” or “I want to conform to cultural norms” then your logic is flawed from the get-go. If circumcision is actually healthier, then I’m all for it. But that doesn’t really seem to be the case, and there are plenty of reasons why uncircumcised might be “better”.

    Lastly, there is a very easy way to bring the chances of acquiring HIV (or any other disease) through sex down to almost 0%. A condom. 50% is still not very good odds when you’re playing Russian Roulette.

    So, like momma always said, “if it’s raining out, don’t forget to wear your rubbers!”

    spacecowboy614 wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • The main thing is, if you are making a decision, any decision, on “I don’t want to be made fun of” or “I want to conform to cultural norms” then your logic is flawed from the get-go.

      Truer words were never spoken.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • Oh please! Conforming to cultural norms is a good thing and a valid reason people make a lot of choices in life. Try not wearing pants to work and throughout your daily activities next Monday and see how it feels to not fit in….

        fixed gear wrote on January 14th, 2010
        • A medical decision needs to be based on health and safety; there are known risks to any medical procedure, significant bacterial risks of simply being in the hospital.

          Making a medical (surgical) decision for sake of conformity is not a sound reason – whether one is talking about circumcision or any other medical procedure.

          There is a big difference between not wearing pants and cutting off a body part in order to look like (an ever decreasing) portion of society. And the vast majority of the population will never see the penis, so in reality one is circumcising to conform to a *possible difference* in the locker room and for the *possible pleasure* of sexual partners (many here have expressed more pleasure and preference for the uncut penis).

          There is some truth in that some amount of conformity is how our human race survived. In ancient times, going solo could have meant vulnerability to attack, and conforming within the group could mean survival. However, we humans are almost too stable now, as Mark writes in his book – we aren’t having to fight for survival and that can slow our evolution. These days, in our general safe (as a species) lives, conformity is not crucial. Eating primal is being nonconformist; conformity wrt eating, in America, is eating the Standard American Diet.

          Shannon wrote on January 14th, 2010
    • What an awesome post! You rock!

      Tara wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • As far as the tease factor (in the bizarre world of male penis comparison)if the rate of circumcision has dropped by almost 50% then it seems that upcoming generations will not have to face this sort of stigma anymore…even more reason for this to be a non issue

      As far as health benefits…they seem small and are accompanied by similar precentages of risk. I doubt that if you are living in the Western world you will blame the fact that you are uncircumcised if you contract HIV (other factors will probably contribute more heavily). On the other hand if your child suffers from complications due to the circumcision you will feel nothing but guilt.

      Like others have said. Let this be a decision the person makes for themselves when they are old enough to understand the arguements for and against.

      Agi wrote on January 13th, 2010
  10. All types of genital mutilation, including circumcision, appear to have a religious origin, probably meant to reduce pleasure during “sinful” intercourse.

    Like Christopher Hitchens said, I think it should be the guy’s decision whether to sew off the tip of his penis or not.

    The above being said, the evidence supporting circumcision is, at best, weak and comes at the cost of losing countless nerve endings.

    Plus Grok’s penis was not Kosher.

    SerialSinner wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Well said, by you and Christopher Hitchens both.

      It SEEMS to me that hacking off the tip of a baby’s genitals MAY not be strictly “primal”, and might have even been influenced by culture and religion, as opposed to the demands to survive in the Paleolithic environment.

      Just sayin’.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • Well you are evidently into the topic

        SerialSinner wrote on January 12th, 2010
        • Yes.

          Protecting children is something everyone should be into, I think.

          It is bizarre that, of all things, it’s okay to cut off part of one’s child’s genitals.

          If one takes religion, culture, and “the way things have always been done” custom away from the equation, doesn’t that seem a little odd?

          Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • I don’t want to take any stance on circumcision itself, but to claim that sex is deemed “Sinful” by religions who perform circumcisions is uniformed, false, and an out right [b]lie[/b].

      In Jewish law, sex is not considered shameful, sinful or obscene. Sex is not thought of as a necessary evil for the sole purpose of procreation. Although sexual desire comes from the yetzer ra (the evil impulse), it is no more evil than hunger or thirst, which also come from the yetzer ra. Like hunger, thirst or other basic instincts, sexual desire must be controlled and channeled, satisfied at the proper time, place and manner. But when sexual desire is satisfied between a husband and wife at the proper time, out of mutual love and desire, sex is a mitzvah.

      Jacob wrote on January 19th, 2010
      • Well said, tribesman!. I just happened upon this thread looking for info on vitamin D (hey, I didn’t make the search engine) and this looked too interesting to pass by. I’d just add that Jewish law advocates marital intimacy on the Sabbath, not restraint. It is not only permissible, but sanctified.

        Avigdor Loeb wrote on October 21st, 2010
      • And yet Maimonides said:
        “As regards circumcision, I think that one of its objects is to limit sexual intercourse, and to weaken the organ of generation as far as possible, and thus cause man to be moderate. …

        “The bodily injury caused to that organ is exactly that which is desired…there is no doubt that circumcision weakens the power of sexual excitement, and sometimes lessens the natural enjoyment; the organ necessarily becomes weak when it loses blood and is deprived of its covering from the beginning.”

        He also said
        “The bodily pain caused to that member is the real purpose of circumcision.”

        and
        “Our sages (Bereshit Rabba, c.80) say distinctly: It is hard for a woman, with whom an uncircumcised man had sexual intercourse, to separate from him.”

        - Moreh Nevuchim (The Guide for the Perplexed) p.378 of the Dover edition
        1956.

        Hugh7 wrote on October 22nd, 2010
    • I don’t know about sinful sex. Sex is well condoned in the bible if it’s within marriage…or concubines in the old testament. Actually, it’s more likely along the lines as eating kosher and women isolating themselves during their period:sanitation. People back then didn’t know about germs or cancer or what caused them for the most part, so they came up with this solution, which at the time, was worth it. It became a tradition and was passed on until now where it isn’t really worth it. I come from a Christian background, so male circumcision is easy enough to explain….female circumcision, I admit, has me stumped. =P

      Lady Jaws wrote on November 24th, 2010
  11. I’m female and don’t have children but I knew a guy who had to get circumcised at age 26 because of painful erections. After the circumcision, he was fine. I don’t believe it’s necessary as once believed.

    Jen Nelson wrote on January 12th, 2010
  12. I myself here in Germany do not know anybody who is circumcised, and I have NEVER EVER heard of a guy with urinary tract infection.
    And second, when UTI is not treated from the beginning, the bacteria start to spread to the kidneys, so I am not surprised that they get damaged. BUT this is an error in treatment.

    Simone wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Well score one for Germany.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Same in the UK. It happens but it’s unusual. My first boyfriend was American and he was snipped – but none of my subsequent partners have been.
      It seems a bit of an odd thing to do to a healthy child.

      Indiscreet wrote on January 13th, 2010
    • Our family Doctor actually told us that boys cannot get UTIs. He said it’s something entirely different, with similar symptoms. For the life of me I cannot remember what it was he said though.

      Keeta wrote on May 17th, 2011
      • I think what you’re thinking of is when the foreskin starts to separate from the glans urine can make it sting. Because it “hurts to pee” according to the boy then the parents and doctors automatically think it’s an UTI.

        http://www.drmomma.org/2011/06/ballooning-in-intact-child.html

        For the record, my husband is circumcised, my son is intact, and any future children I have will be intact.

        Krista wrote on June 25th, 2011
        • Forgot to add, although the whole article is good the information about separation/UTIs is point #4.

          Krista wrote on June 25th, 2011
  13. I got circumcised when was around 5, and I recall the pain =(. To ease the pain, the nurses suggested I wear a paper cup and attach it to the area and cut out the other end of the cup so I could pee through it. I wore this under my pants and went to kindergarten. I wasn’t too self conscience so I guess I didn’t care much, but I do remember my friend asking me what i had in my pants… back in Korea, hospitals did not circumcise at birth and usually men were circumcised when they go to mandatory military service… but since i was going to be emigrating to the states, my parents thought I needed to have the procedure back then.

    Having been through it… I still got my son circumcised as I didn’t want him to feel different in the future… i actually have friends who have self esteem issues because they weren’t circumcised. At least my son won’t have any memories of it.

    Chunster495 wrote on January 12th, 2010
  14. I am so glad my parents didn’t circumcise me. I can only imagine how bad it would feel without the whole banana peel; really, it is there for a reason. IMO circumcision is a f@#$ed up practice coming from religious origins. Barring medical complications, I see no logical reason for it. To me, the “health” reasons are an arbitrary guise for the religious undertones of chastity and purity. I some parts of the world it is common for baby girls to be “circumcised”. One deciding whether or not to circumcise your child forget the pain the baby has to go through during circumcision, think about the diminished pleasure they will experience later in life.

    Michael wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Yes, hear hear, and very astute.

      I am sure there is the odd case for medically necessary circumcision, but that is rare.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
  15. The health-based arguments for circumcision aren’t that strong. I see it being very similar to the logic of, say, cutting of a woman’s breasts so she doesn’t have to worry about getting breast cancer.

    Grok was never circumcised and he seemed to get by okay. We’re all here aren’t we.

    Blimbo wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Thumbs way up.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • I’m no proponent of circumcision, but I’d say your analogy is way off. Are you an opponent of preventive mastectomies, too?

      Sonagi wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • On babies, yeah.

        Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
        • Lol, Christoph. Nice. :)

          Sonagi, regarding preventative mastectomies, I think they are such an absurd attempt at a solution that it would be laughable except for the sad fact that people actually do that to themselves.

          Why not just cut everything off below the neck and be “disease-free.” I mean, really.

          imogen wrote on December 9th, 2010
  16. My first two boys were circumcised. Just as they were vaccinated. These were decisions made in the ignorance of youth when I still thought the medical profession could be trusted to make decisions in the best interest of patients.

    My wife and I have a baby boy due in February. He will not be circumcised, nor will he be vaccinated. I would never practice genital mutilation on my daughters, why would I do it to my son?

    That British study cited, that says 111 circumcisions must be performed to prevent 1 UTI is the same abysmally low success rate that drove my wife and I from trusting in “routine vaccinations.” The idea that making everyone suffer equally to protect very few individuals is immoral.

    Duane Stevens wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Circumisized or not…doesn’t matter. But please don’t leave your child unvaccinated. Regardless of what the talk show wags tell you, there is no evidence whatsoever that there is any relation between vaccination and autisim. Think of how you will feel if your child contracts whooping cough, scarlet fever, polio, tetnus, measles, etc. None of these viruses have gone away….it’s just that everyone is vaccinated.
      This is one area that you don’t want to be Grok-like in. Prior to vaccinations you could pretty much count on losing one or more of your children to these diseases. 3 of my Great-Grandfather’s siblings died in a 2 week period from diptheria. While watching a program with a panel of Moms with autistic kids swear that their kids became autistic because of vaccinations I noted the one thing that they all did have in common….all of the mothers were pushing 40 years old or more when they had them.

      Cherie wrote on January 13th, 2010
      • If there were one shred f evidence in favour of vaccination, it would be a valid discussion topic, but as of the present, there isn’t and it remains an issue of medical industry propaganda, a.k.a. fear-mongering.

        My children have had several of the supposedly potentially deadly diseases that vaccines are supposed to prevent, and they all were ill for a maximum of three days each- no secondary infections, no complications whatsoever, and they now all have natural immunity, which vaccines ironically do prevent.

        Nevermind that the best way for me to guarantee that my children contract polio is to have them vaccinated.

        In terms of risk, of which living is one, there is far less risk involved in nourishing a body to build immunity than to deliberately injecting an otherwise unlikely-contracted disease into it.

        It’s amazing how basic logic goes out the window when the fear-inducing word “vaccine” is invoked.

        Thank you for using the term “vaccine”; it’s worlds away from the truth of “immunisation,” which is easily obtained through excellent nutrition and allowing the immune system (mostly in the gut) to do its job. Do you really think we have less ability to fight off disease as a further evolved species than earlier? Or do you think there are more communicable/infectious diseases? Also unfounded.

        If I had my children vaccinated “on schedule”, they’d have 32 poison-pokes before the tender age of three. Seriously. Ridiculous.

        And for those who have trouble understanding the link between vaccines and autism, it is rather obvious that the link is in ‘toxic load’, which can come from anywhere, accumulated over time in the gestating mother’s body, transferred to baby, environmental pollution, masses of medication during hospital birth, etc…. It just so happens that the medical industry has a load of toxins available for injection, and pushes them on parents and babies so readily, that they tend to be the toxic load that pushes some people over the edge from wavering brain-health to symptomatic brain-injury/impediment.

        There are plenty of children with autism who have had no vaccines, but this is no case for the health-benefits for vaccination.

        It is likely that those 40+ mothers have had a long enough time to accumulate toxins in their bodies prior to vaccinating their babies, that this may have been what tipped the scales against their babies being able to tolerate the repeated injection of poisons.

        Occam’s razor is as helpful as ever in determining the root-causes and best solutions to these issues. And no, it is isn’t more complicated than that. Human health is extremely efficient; the circuitous routes the medical industry takes to make claims about the need for or success of their Big-Pharma propaganda campaigns are self-incriminating. Posters warning parents that their children could contract tetanus from playing in their backyards and at the beach, or while fishing with dad, are obvious ploys to monger fear in the stead of reason.

        If any of the medical industry’s claims were true, there would be no need for scare-tactics. The veracity of their claims would be self-evident.

        Proper nutrition and activity are self-evident and default precursors to health. Vaccines can claim no such place in the evolution of human beings or our health.

        imogen wrote on December 9th, 2010
        • I am sorry, but you are way off base here. I respect your right to not vaccinate your kids, but acting like there is some conspiracy to poison them is ridiculous. I have studied immunology for years and for some illnesses exposure to antigens from that illness are the only way to infer protection. I agree with you that the gut mediated pathway is often a better way to introduce antigens, that is why a lot of vaccines are going oral as opposed to injection.

          Additionally, the number of vaccines routinely given are closer to twenty than thirty-two, often with multiple diseases covered by a single vaccine.

          Personally I never get a flu shot because in my age group the risk of death is low from an infection. You may not need to vaccinate against yellow fever or some of the other tropical diseases if you live in the northern us and don’t travel. The HPV vaccine, which I think is a fantastic breakthrough at limiting a disease that seldom has any symptoms until s woman develops cervical cancer, can be given to girls in their teens.

          My twin brother (fraternal) is Autistic and I don’t blame anyone, least of all the “Big Pharma.”We had the same womb environment, the same nutrition, and the same vaccination schedule (my parents actually spaced ours out instead of giving multiples at each visit) and we ended up with completely different social intelligences. He didn’t speak until he was nine.

          I have worked overseas in areas where vaccination is not commonly practiced and have watched children die of measles. I can personally guarantee you that when your pediatrician – if you have one – recommends vaccination they are not part of some conspiracy to hurt kids. They, like me, are trying to reduce the suffering and improve the longevity of children.

          Okay, rant complete. I know it won’t do any good because you’ve already decided what the truth is, but maybe someone reading this will do their own research before taking your advice.

          Carly wrote on January 16th, 2011
        • This is ridiculous. It was only ever one rogue doctor who said there might be a link between autism and vaccinations. And he was ludicrously biased – he was being paid a hell of a lot to say it. Immediately as he released his report, thousands of medical professionals rubbished his claims, and he was struck off the medical board. But still this man’s claims were reported and thus the percentage of children being vaccinated against MMR dipped. And, surprisingly, the number of children contracting – and dying from – measles, mumps and rubella in the UK ballooned.
          When my children are born they will most definitely be vaccinated.

          As for the circumcision thing – I know plenty of men who have been snipped later in life for medical reasons, so I’m all for it if it’s necessary. But I see no reason to circumcise at birth if there’s nothing wrong. Just as I would never pierce a baby daughter’s ears for aesthetic reasons so she won’t remember the pain, so I wouldn’t unnecesarily circumcise a baby boy for aesthetic reasons.

          tox wrote on July 26th, 2011
  17. My son was circumcised almost 6 years ago. I made his father watch the procedure because I wanted one of us to be there, and I could not walk very well. He slept through the entire thing, apparently. Didn’t even flinch.

    So there you go.

    Jamie wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • You had one heck of an OB.

      Well done! Medicine in the finest Hippocratic tradition.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • Apology. That last comment about the “OB” was intended for “carol”.

        Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Ive heard countless stories maintaining the exact same account. If i have sons, they will be, if only for the fact that I don’t want to heap ostracism on them. There are little to no side effects and none long term that I’ve ever heard off.

      Babies can feel pain from early in the second trimester before they are even born so I have no doubt that some pain is inevitable however the lack of ostracism (specifically during the time of sexual development) the easier up keep (cleanliness), the proposed health benefits, and never having to hear my son explain that his wife was grossed out because she’d never seen an uncircumcised guy I think are worth it.

      Mike wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • It’s about 55/45 these days in the US, so the ostracism argument is less compelling than for our generation, when it was more like 80/20 or 90/10.

        As for little to no side effects, you’re cutting about half of the nerve endings off your boy’s penis. Aside from that big one, there’s a 5% risk of infection, a 1/20,000 risk of amputation and 1/2,000,000 risk of death. There’s also a significant risk of urethral thinning and complete loss of pleasure sensitivity.

        Those are significant and real side effects just to make sure he’s in the majority.

        Interestingly to me, my wife and I had this discussion last week as our first son is due in April. He’s not getting circumcised.

        Ross wrote on January 13th, 2010
        • My husband, who was raised Catholic, is circumcised. His parents had it done when he was an infant. I asked him if it was painful and he said he has no idea. He was too young to remember anything. He is and always has been clean and healthy. He has no problem in the pleasure department, whatsoever. Scout’s honor. He doesn’t resent it, because he hasn’t suffered from it. We’re both happy with that.

          He’s the only man I have ever had any sexual relations with, so circumcision is all I know. I think that our lack of knowledge on how to properly care for an uncircumcised penis is a major factor in why, if we have a boy, we’ll probably have him circumcised. I also don’t want him to have to do it later in life and remember every second of it.

          Stacy wrote on February 1st, 2011
        • Trying to reply to Stacy, but the reply link isn’t below your name for some reason.

          Your ignorance (and I use that term in that technical sense, not as an insult) is no reason to remove a perfectly functioning organ from your son. Let me fill you in, b/c I didn’t know when my son was born, either: The official word from the AAP is “Leave it alone.” Don’t touch it. When he’s four or five, you can tell him that he can occasionally very gently see if it opens up (retracts), and when it does, he should do that during bathing time (before any soap gets in the water) and swish it around in the clean water.

          THAT IS ALL. No care.

          Circumcision, on the other hand, requires much careful care to the surgical wound left on the newborn boy.

          I’m Catholic. Catholics don’t circumcise for religious reasons. Those who did so in the 20th century (only Americans) only did so because the culture around them told them to.

          MamaGrok wrote on February 1st, 2011
      • Women grossed out from seeing an uncircumcised man??? What planet…What society – do these women live in? I want to sa “la-la-land” – or one of extreme ignorance and cultural and scientific depravity.

        I read the comment about Germany above, and will add that the same is true of Norway where I am from, and also the other Scandinavian countries: Routine, male infant circumcision is non-existant.

        Even calling it “prophylactic” makes me ill. And although it cannot be compared to elective and prophylactic mastectomies in adult women (who usually have been told they have a greater than normal probability of developing breast cancer due to familial history/incidence), it CAN be compared to female infant (or minor child) c. in non-western societies. Need not go far to find out what mainstream Americans think of that!

        I heard that the practice really picked up after WW I when young soldiers came home from the trenches with all kinds of infections. I’d love to blame a war! But that was 90-something years ago… And North-Americans are the “showering-est,” most ablution- and soap-addicted people in the world. Also consequently use more water, phosphates, energy (to transport and heat said water), and pharmaceutical products in the world. Just look at the “anti-bacterial” debate! Once rare, bottles of anti-bac gel are now ubiquitous. In spite of the fact that proper hand-washing is still the best way, etc…

        Back to circumcision: I once watched dear friends day-old son being diaper-changed in the hospital room, both parents present… the nurse pulled the diaper off, and with it the bandage covering his recently mutilated little penis – which began to bleed profusely, and the boy screamed in terror and pain. I was shocked. Never saw it so “freshly done” and never heard a baby scream like that. The worst part? His parents looked bothered, but then just carried on as if this was the most normal thing in the world.

        It is not. Or infant boys would have been born without a foreskin. Mess with nature later if you wish or if medically necessary. But call a spade a spade, folks. Routine infant circumcison is unnecessary physical mutilation of a newborn, and it is unconscionable in this day and age.

        Hege wrote on January 14th, 2010
      • Ostracism? Grossing women out? Cleanliness?

        The proposed “health benefits” have anlready been dismissed, but cleaning an uncircumsized penis isn’t a big deal, and I’ve never faced ostracism for it. Hell, as for “grossing women out”, you’ve probably slept with uncircumsized men and had no idea. The foreskin retracts during erections, so you can only tell there’s foreskin when a man’s limp.

        Figlio di Moros wrote on June 24th, 2012
    • Wow, I just had a damn good laugh there! When you said “He slept through it…”, I thought you meant the father!
      ROFLMAO

      Good to hear it was a pain-free experience for the child.

      Vince wrote on January 13th, 2010
      • Over/under for “anonymous Alex” addressing the substance of my last 3 comments?

        Christoph Dollis wrote on January 14th, 2010
    • I hate to say this:

      Unless the doctors had your child under anesthesia, what your son experienced, although it appeared to be, was not sleep. What the child was actually experiencing was an acute stress reaction (sometimes known as shock) due to the physical trauma.

      The brain immediately triggers it’s own type of shutdown mode and sufferers appear to be numb, disassociated and drowsy.

      For a long time in the medical community ignorance convinced many that if the kid wasn’t screaming constantly that must mean it didn’t really hurt. Research has now proven otherwise but unfortunately many doctors will not inform new parents that this is the actual phenomenon occurring. Even more unfortunately some will still try to pass off this reaction as if it proves the procedure is no big deal.

      hypatia wrote on February 22nd, 2010
  18. When we found out that we were having a boy, our OB approached us about circumcision before our baby was delivered. We didn’t know much about it so she let us know that the procedure is not only very painful for the newborn but completely unnecessary. We decided against it for both of our boys – it just seemed unnatural to alter their “parts” and for us to make this kind of decision about their bodies for them. They are ages 8 and 10 and have never had any problems associated with a lack of circumcision.

    carol wrote on January 12th, 2010
  19. I guess I never expected this conversation to come up.

    I have 4 boys, 2.5 circs. Weird, huh? 3 of the 4 were born with a little birth defect that required surgery, and circumcision usually goes along with it because the foreskin wasn’t fully formed anyway.

    With the first, we asked the dr. to reconstruct the foreskin, but it didn’t work so he still has the incomplete, loose skin. The second didn’t have the defect, so he’s uncircumcised. The last 2 got the surgery and the circ.

    #1 son is going to have to decide what he wants to do, and if he wants to be circumcised as an adult, he won’t like the pain. I’m sure it’s much worse for adults, but unfortunately it may be necessary.

    Sara wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Actually circumcision is less painful for adults because they don’t have involuntary erections like infants do. Each time the infant has an involuntary erection, it stretches the healing wound and causes pain. And because the infant is peeing and pooing in his diaper, there is a good chance of infection on the wound. An adult male getting circumcised can be given medicine to prevent erections and will not be soiling the wounded area.

      Shannon wrote on January 13th, 2010
      • “Actually circumcision is less painful for adults because they don’t have involuntary erections like infants do.”

        WHOA DOGGIES! I think a guy needs to have a little chat with you – its how they salute the morning – most every morning.

        Vince wrote on January 13th, 2010
        • Yeah, second that. I’m 35 and I have involuntary erections every night. All men do. ….I thought the stereotype was WE were the ones who didn’t know about YOUR bodies, not the other way around. ;-)

          fixed gear wrote on January 14th, 2010
        • Ha – if I weren’t married, I’d sure be happy to dedicate my life doing a scientific survey of male erections :)

          As my post said – “An adult male getting circumcised can be given medicine to prevent erections and will not be soiling the wounded area.” Unless you can’t take the medicine, and unless you plan on peeing and crapping in your undies, you have a medical advantage over an infant.

          Shannon wrote on January 14th, 2010
  20. Our son is circumsized, but I wish that I hadn’t. I have mixed feelings on the subject being a westerner..but when the nurse took my baby son away for the procedure I just had a bad feeling. How could I put him through that pain? I wish I would have been more knowledgable at the time. But once again, I trusted that the Dr.s knew what was best and went with it. They are the professionals, right? Now, I know better and do my own research..

    surferpanda wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Now, I know better and do my own research.

      Good for you.

      This is a deeply embedded thing in our culture, and most people accept it.

      The more people who see the light, the more children who will be protected from genital mutilation.

      IF there are advantages then surely teenagers, at least, can make the decision when they are old enough to understand the risks, and “rewards”, of circumcision.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
  21. We circumcised both our boys. I’m not cut and don’t have any particularly strong opinions on the subject, so I defaulted to “no”. Wife felt more strongly about the matter so I let her make the call, since she grew them for 9 months and would be doing most of the diaper changes.

    Joe wrote on January 12th, 2010
  22. Having worked in surgery, and done circumcisions on patients later in life due to recurrent infection… suffice it to say that I did have my son circumcised. You don’t have to worry about those kind of infections later if you are circumcised.

    Dave, RN wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • I agree with the last post. Very beneficial for someone with recurrent infection and phimosis.

      Robert Gioia wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • When my son was born, the pediatrician who saw him in the hospital essentially said the same thing (he was a pediatric nephrologist, not my regular pediatrician). The question I’ve always wished I’d thought to ask is, would you advise the same if I’d had a baby girl? I know plenty of girls who’ve had recurrent UTIs, and no one even considers cutting off body parts. If someone feels the same about both sexes, I can’t argue. But if not, why would you do it only for your son?

      Julie wrote on February 16th, 2011
  23. My son was born in 1980, and is NOT circumcised. His son is also not, as well as my daughter’s son. I am happy to report that none of them have had problems. My son is actually proud that he is “intact”. Circumcision is purely cosmetic, in my opinion. Unless there is some religious reason for it, I say LEAVE IT ALONE!

    Jeanie wrote on January 12th, 2010
  24. My son was circumcised almost 6 years ago. I made his father watch the procedure because I wanted one of us to be there, and I could not walk very well. He slept through the entire thing, apparently. Didn’t even flinch.

    So there you go.

    I think your husband lied to you. To protect you from the memory of the thing which you could not face.

    Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Wow. You’re rude. My wife let my boy suck apple juice off her finger for the duration of the procedure, and while he didn’t sleep through it, he never seemed particularly distressed either. don’t discount other peoples’ experiences.

      Denis Gonzales wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • Denis, the mutilation wasn’t in the experience itself, it was the fact that as far as your son’s foreskin is concerned, now you see it, now you don’t.

        It had more to do with the blood and the scars than your son’s pain tolerance.

        I didn’t imply circumcision = torture, I said it is multilation.

        As to how you didn’t “see” the mutilation, I can only say the brain is an amazing thing, isn’t it?

        Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
        • semantics? I “see” your point. I feel the procedure, lack of lasting effects from it, and the benefits outweigh the negative experience, if you’ll call it that. just my 2 cents.

          Denis Gonzales wrote on January 12th, 2010
        • Lack of lasting effects?

          Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Are you serious? I don’t care whether you are for or against it, but to say that someone’s husband is flat out lying about the procedure not being a horrible, terrible, OMG NIGHTMARES4LYFE one is incredibly rude. It is NOT unheard of for boys to sleep through/not be massively bothered by circumcision. It certainly isn’t the norm, but is most certainly happens, however you personally feel about circumcision.

      Calling someone a liar is not a way to win an argument. :/

      Rebecca wrote on January 19th, 2010
      • As a point of reference, shutting down and going to sleep is a common coping mechanism in infants. Of course not every infant who falls asleep during an activity is shutting down, but sometimes an infant does shut down to protect itself from too much stimulation, from pain, etc. An infant sleeping through an Imax movie might be shutting it out rather than blissfully dozing, for example, and an infant could indeed shut down and sleep during a stressful medical procedure if it feels traumatic enough to the baby. Again, it’s not to say this infant shut down – it could have very well been simply sleeping – and I’m not the one who said the husband was lying, I’m simply providing a bit of additional information.

        Shannon wrote on January 19th, 2010
  25. Just had my boy circumcised several days ago. He’s healing nicely, and shows no signs of trauma, physically or psychologically. My wife and I did hours of research, but in the end, we decided that females, especially teenage girls, can be quite cruel. Adolescence is difficult enough as it is; we don’t want it to be more difficult than it has to be. I watched the procedure and did not find anything mutilating about it.

    Denis Gonzales wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • You didn’t find anything mutilating about it?

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • I did not. the doctor was quite competent and efficient. the incision is very clean, and has healed very quickly. maybe the best indicator of the success is my child’s lack of fussing during diaper change.

        Denis Gonzales wrote on January 12th, 2010
        • I wish your child all the best.

          I believe many good parents get their children (male and female) circumcised, but nonetheless the practices are barbaric.

          Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Perhaps you should consider that there are women out there that really, really like an uncircumcised organ. Different likes for different tastes. As fewer people get it done, those nasty “teenage girls” will come to think of it as normal.

      If you had a daughter, would you encourage her to have her genitals altered if they didn’t look exactly how you think they should look? Just wondering.

      I’m really happy that I’m all natural.

      Justa wrote on January 13th, 2010
      • Well-said. I’d never alter my child’s body to impress others.

        Shannon wrote on January 13th, 2010
      • This! This is probably TMI, but I can say that, though an American woman born at a time when the procedure was much more common, I much prefer uncircumcised. My husband is cut, and I deal with that, but it feels (and, honestly, looks) much better intact. Those mean, apparently promiscuous, teenage girls you plan on your son having sex with will probably see it both ways, since only about half the boys are even getting cut.

        Julie wrote on February 16th, 2011
  26. If there’s any part of modern medicine I believe in, it’s informed consent. Babies aren’t old enough to make that decision, and I have no intention of having any sons of mine circumcised. If they wish to have it done as adults, that’s their business. I’d rather leave the choice to the person being cut.

    I really don’t understand why it’s considered an international human rights abuse to circumcise girls, but still considered routine to do this to boys. Is it only a double standard when girls are victims?

    Bess wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Hear, hear.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • “If there’s any part of modern medicine I believe in, it’s informed consent.”

      Yes.

      And routine circumcision is optional surgery.

      It’s not exactly fixing a heart valve problem, or a breathing problem with the oesophagus.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • There are different varieties of female circumcision.

        Generally, though, the clitoris is removed, and sometimes the inner labia as well. Often the wound is sewn shut.

        Removing the bud of the clitoris does not remove all sexual sensation. Read Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book “Infidel” for her personal experience with female circumcision and subsequent enjoyment of sexual pleasure.

        It is a difference of degree, not kind. The foreskin is (or was) a source of masses of nerve endings designed to experience sexual pleasure.

        Not to mention protect the glans of the penis from abrasion… so that it doesn’t thicken up, add approximately 15 extra layers of skin cells, dry up, and reduce male sexual pleasure yet again.

        Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Female circumcision takes off the clitorus, destroying ALL sexual feeling there and often times includes sewing the vagina shut to prevent intercourse until married. That is mutilation.

      Green Onion wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • Yes, that is also mutilation, but doesn’t destroy all sexual feeling.

        Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • What’s done to girls is not “cirumcision” – their clitoris is removed so they can’t have an orgasm. Removing a foreskin is hardly the same thing. (I guess that this is a rather wince-making subject for a lot of men, and suspect many reactions may be more viceral than logical!)

      edella wrote on January 13th, 2010
      • What’s done to girls is not “cirumcision” – their clitoris is removed so they can’t have an orgasm.

        Women can have orgasms with their clitorises removed, as I have mentioned on this site, referring to Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s sexual experiences following removal of her clitoris and labia (plus the sewing shut of same) as laid out in her book, “Infidel”.

        Here is a study from Nigeria that supports that conclusion.

        Likewise, when you remove tons of nerve endings and a third to a half of the surface area of the skin on a man’s penis, men can still have orgasms.

        But the experience is a different one and, one logically assumes, a lesser one.

        Again it is a difference of degree, not of kind.

        So you’re simply misinformed here. Your point is invalid; it’s not factual.

        You would do well to choose a different one, or simply come to the correct conclusion that routinely removing the foreskins off of healthy babies is perverse.

        It causes physical damage in every case, sometimes severe, and occasionally death. It lowers sexual response, and most importantly, a person should be able to decide for themselves if they want their genitals altered in any way.

        In 1997 the U.S. Congress passed 18 U.S.C. § 116 : US Code – Section 116: Female genital mutilation:

        (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), whoever knowingly
        circumcises, excises, or infibulates the whole or any part of the
        labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has
        not attained the age of 18 years shall be fined under this title or
        imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
        (b) A surgical operation is not a violation of this section if
        the operation is -
        (1) necessary to the health of the person on whom it is
        performed, and is performed by a person licensed in the place of
        its performance as a medical practitioner; or
        (2) performed on a person in labor or who has just given birth
        and is performed for medical purposes connected with that labor
        or birth by a person licensed in the place it is performed as a
        medical practitioner, midwife, or person in training to become
        such a practitioner or midwife.
        (c) In applying subsection (b)(1), no account shall be taken of
        the effect on the person on whom the operation is to be performed
        of any belief on the part of that person, or any other person, that
        the operation is required as a matter of custom or ritual.

        So it is illegal to cut off even a portion of a female child’s labia if it isn’t medically necessary.

        Yet a female adult could certainly have orgasm with a portion of her labia missing. We’ve even shown she can have orgasm with her clitoris missing.

        What then was the moral case for outlawing this practice?

        Because it’s bloody sick to cut parts of kids genitals. They’re not old enough to decide if they want this or not. I really don’t see why it’s more complicated than that…

        … except for the fact that it’s “commonly done”.

        So were many bad practices historically speaking.

        Things are changing. It’s becoming less popular.

        And I for one support this healthy trend.

        Christoph Dollis wrote on January 13th, 2010
        • *1996. My mistake. In 1997, the UN took up the issue with a new initiative.

          Christoph Dollis wrote on January 13th, 2010
        • “Women can have orgasms with their clitorises removed,…”

          Hold up. NOT TRUE. I am a woman and quite frankly, if I didn’t have a clitoris, I would NEVER have an orgasm. Not all women are stimulated the same. Anal sex nauseates me; vaginal stimulation feels great, but it doesn’t ever lead to orgasm; and my g-spot is nearly impossible to stimulate. I need my clitoris to get an orgasm and I’m sure I’m not alone.

          You, sir, seem to have a lot to say on the subject of female circumcision, but without knowing how different women’s bodies work. Don’t assume you know what body parts we do or do not need/want to keep.

          Stacy wrote on February 1st, 2011
        • My dear Stacy, do you not see the irony in your comment? “Don’t assume you know what body parts we do or do not want/need to keep.”

          Can you see your son saying the same to you in 30 years?

          Open your heart! The decision about keeping one’s most intimate body parts intact belongs to no one but that person, male or female.

          MamaGrok wrote on February 1st, 2011
        • This is a reply to Stacy.

          Erm, have you heard of clitoral roots? You know, the internal part of the clitoris. Sorry if this is TMI, but I routinely have GOOD orgasms from stimulating my clitoral roots DURING vaginal intercourse by rubbing our pelvic bones together.

          So, yeah, I would still have a great sex life if my external clitoris was removed, but I would still be mad as hell.

          Krista wrote on June 25th, 2011
  27. Duane Stevens, I applaud your non-vaccination decision. Mercury and autism arguments aside, vaccinations don’t work. There isn’t a single placebo controlled double blind study behind any of them. And the vaccine manufactures refuse to do them, stating (for some reason) that it wold be “unethical” to do so.
    Most people don’t know it, but even with the first vaccine, developed by Edward Jenner, didn’t really work like they said. People started getting smallpox again, and when faced with that, Jenner just said that if they got what looked like smallpox, it was really a psuedo smallpox, and not really smallpox at all. The denial has been going on since then, and there are many many many instances of epidemics of diseases immediately after a vaccination program. It’s sad really.

    Dave, RN wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Really?

      You don’t think any vaccine has EVER worked?

      Where are the massive warehouse like buildings filled with iron lungs?

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • To think vaccinations don’t work is very naive and I can hope that members of your family do not catch anythign that was suuposedly wiped out years ago.

      How many cases of smallpox did we have last year in the US? Thats right and you you wonder why? Small pox vaccines have basically eliminated the problem in the US.

      Matt Forrester wrote on March 12th, 2010
      • Smallpox has been eradicated for years because of vaccines. it does not occur naturally anywhere :)

        Keeta wrote on May 17th, 2011
  28. Do some research into the recent polio epidemic in Africa. Occurring only in those that have been vaccinated.
    I’ve done hours of research, and this isn’t’ the place to dwell on it, it was just a comment to Duane. Start digging and you’ll truly be shocked at what you find. It shakes the paradigm as much as it did mine when I found out that “hearthealthywholegrains” were in fact, not healthy. And like the whole grains issue… follow the money.

    Dave, RN wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • I am not a believer in vaccination, I support more kids playing in dirt, less obsessive washing with harsh detergents and exfoliants (which cutting edge research is showing breaks down the skin’s ability to protect against items breaching the skin, leading to autoimmune disorders like allergies), and more breast feeding, plus good old probiotics.

      However… I still think, based on my current state of knowledge, that the idea that vaccines don’t work at all isn’t supportable.

      It makes sense, in theory, why they’d work because the process is essentially similar to how we develop natural immunity. At the same time, I’m perfectly willing to concede that scientists don’t understand all the ins and outs and I’m sure many of their vaccines are hit or miss, and in some cases directly harmful.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • Respectfully, it is not the same process, Christoph.

        When was the last time you contracted an airborne or waterborne illness by direct injection into your bloodstream, completely bypassing your gut (mouth to rear, of course)? The body has these protections in place to deal with foreign invaders, and to bypass its natural defense is to cause injury to the whole process, and the integrity of the body as a whole.

        The skin itself has its own natural defense as you pointed out, so poking through it to introduce a gut or respiratory-colonising virus/bacteria is counter-productive.

        Also, probiotics are best taken as food, like kombucha, veggie/meat ferments, etc…

        The terrain is key. Healthy terrain kicks out invaders. Unhealthy terrain invites them. :)

        imogen wrote on December 9th, 2010
  29. I am circumsized…so is my son.

    Really tough issue in my opinion

    I’m quite positive we are not “created” to have anything “fixed” when we arrive right?? Does that make some sense?

    Marc

    Marc wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Makes sense, Marc.

      I don’t want anyone to think that I’m saying parents who get their routinely children circumcised are bad people.

      I think the practice itself is bad, and the cultural pressure to do so is bad.

      To me, I am sure many people from Africa where female circumcision is common love their children very much. Yet the practice is still wrong and I would like to see it ended.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • routinely children = children routinely

        Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
        • Male circumcision and female circumcision (mutilation) are not even close. How can you compare the two?

          LittleMissGrok wrote on January 12th, 2010
        • They both involve cutting perfectly healthy genitals, and they both reduce, but not remove, the capacity for sexual pleasure.

          As a rule it is quite rightly culturally taboo to be doing things to babies’ genitals… unless, of course, you have a scalpel.

          Male circumcision and female circumcision (mutilation) are not even close.

          Male circumcision IS mutilation.

          Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • marc said: //I’m quite positive we are not “created” to have anything “fixed” when we arrive right?? //

      I agree, and notice that most other male primates have their genitals protected by their bodies. The “working bit” emerges from within when needed. I suspect that the foreskin is a remnant of that stage of our evolution.

      Another basic difference between us and the other primates is that human females can feel sexual pleasure, probably a glue to keep the family unit together until offspring are mature. So the clitoris is shielded to keep it more sensitive and a penis circumcised to provide more staying power.

      I am sure grok would have put his finest flints to good use in this regards, because his prospective mates would see a more attractive sexual partner. (I am sure that religion etc fancied this all up later on!)

      edella wrote on January 13th, 2010
      • I’m sorry to all of those people who wish to believe that they didn’t mutilate their child when circumcising them. I understand why many of you would like to believe that “it does no lasting harm” (despite visible evidence to the contrary).
        I’m not a big fan of sketchy evolutionary hypothesizing, such as “the foreskin is a remnant of evolution” – that’s like saying the appendix is a remnant. NO, it’s just no-one figured it out until recently. The foreskin absolutely has a function:
        a) to protect the sensitive glans of the penis (as the clitoris too has a hood)
        b) to act as a plunger mechanism to draw competing males semen out of the female genital tract.
        This is sexual survival of the fittest – and as much as our religious values may condone circumcision and condemn multiple partners, the reality of primal survival was the more women a man slept with, the better, and the more men a women slept with, the better.
        Sex should = pleasure whether male or female.
        Sex = survival of the tribe (or species)
        Sex = formation of pair-bonds increasing likelihood of being fed / protected.
        The arguments about “what if my child wants to look like his buddies?” or “what if a girl likes a circumcised member” are crass in the bigger context of human function.
        Incredible.
        Literally.

        Primal Matt wrote on January 13th, 2010
  30. Sorry, Mark. I meant CW (Conventional Wisdom). I was nursing my 1 year old and typing at the same time…she was sucking out my brain cells. :) I also spelled too wrong…meant two. Is there no “edit” option on the comments?

    All argument aside, I still wish you would have focused on establishing healthy bacteria to avoid these unnecessary illnesses. I still love your site, though, even with this post about circumcision.

    Peace.

    Twyla wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Thanks, Twyla.

      I didn’t mean to call you on a typing error. I just wasn’t sure what you meant, though now it makes complete sense.

      We’ve talked about healthy bacteria before but no yet in the context of circumcision. Might be fodder for a future post!

      Cheers!

      Mark Sisson wrote on January 12th, 2010
  31. I take issue with the verbage at the end of your post, “On a considerably lighter note [I think there is nothing light about it], critics also suggest that circumcision compromises sexual pleasure.”

    I’m not going to tell you why I take issue with it, just to say that DH, who is circ’d said that we WOULD ABSOLUTELY NOT circumcise our son.

    Emily wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Yeah, this “light” note is the heaviest to me. When making the decision it is hard to empathize because for the most part – male or female, cir’d or not – we have only been that way and not any of the others. We don’t know how to compare one condition to the other. But when I was younger and learning that “removed” was the norm, as much as I strived to fit in, I could only feel pity for those who where missing a part of their valuables and thankful I was different in this way.

      Michael wrote on January 12th, 2010
  32. grok didnt chop.

    Anders wrote on January 12th, 2010
  33. Well, now that you’ve done a male-centered piece, you should have no problem doing a bit on how to feel better when menstruating. (Can you tell this means I am currently in pain?)

    Allie wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • The key to feeling better while menstruating (I used to have MASSIVE cramps myself) is to change how you feel about your cycle. I grew up thinking that the period was bad because “Women made sin” or some Catholic B.S. like that. Not to mention all the stuff in our culture that it’s such a hindrance on everyday life and that women are weak because of it. I know that I have found once I started thinking differently about my period, I didn’t have a lot of pain.

      Another way to look at it is that pain usually happens when something is wrong. Menstruation is perfectly normal. Don’t fight it, just let it happen. A lot of the pain is how you think about things.
      I can also give you some herbal remedy suggestions if you like.

      kongluirong wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • //Menstruation is perfectly normal. Don’t fight it, just let it happen. A lot of the pain is how you think about things.
        //

        This is just another sort of “received wisdom” and not necessarily so for all people. Its a hormonal, bodily process as well as a mental one, and it doesn’t always work well.

        A lot of mentrual pain depends on a efficiency of blood flow plus the inevitable congestion in that area. Hence the old remedies of hot water bottle or an aspirin, because they get things flowing. (Exercise or an orgasm has much the same effect.)

        But its a bit like saying that positive thinking will cure cancer, so its your fault if you aren’t positive enough. A bit unfair on the poor sufferer, as positive thinking doesn’t always do the trick!

        edella wrote on January 13th, 2010
      • “Women made sin” has no place in the Catholic view of the world, nor does the idea that menstruation is some kind of evil punishment. You may have been fed a misrepresentation of the Catholic view by someone affected by the post-Victorian puritanism still hanging around in the 1950s.

        What you have expressed was never the Catholic view, and I have evidence in that I have several books published by Catholic priests, with imprimaturs, in the mid-20th century which expressed the very opposite of that kind of anti-body, anti-woman view, and which fought against that view. Papal encyclicals of the time, as well as of our own time, express the true Catholic view, as well.

        I would be happy to share that info with you if you’d like to contact me via PM in the MDA forum, under this same name.

        Many women suffer from menstrual pain because of the sugar and grains in their diet. Their pain is real, not psychologically caused. It always amazes me how many have ended that pain by going primal.

        MamaGrok wrote on December 30th, 2010
    • try a reusable cup! ie divacup or mooncup
      tampons are toxic for you!
      best,
      alina

      alina wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • My first experience with using a cup was my last. I got the absolute WORST yeast infection I had ever had. Strains I had never experienced before. I go to great lengths to prevent yeast infections (taking supplemental probiotics, eating yogurt, keeping scrupulously clean w/o use of soap or cleansers, etc) because I am prone to recurrent yeast infections. By this time in my life I just don’t get them anymore. Until I used a menstrual cup. Not saying women shouldn’t use them, but by the same token that women should be aware about the hazards of using tampons they should also be aware of the hazards of using a menstrual cup. Personally I advocate using cloth pads (Lunapads, Glad Rags, etc).

        Stacey wrote on January 13th, 2010
        • (not trying to derail the comments)

          Thankfully I’m not the only one! I tried a cup and ended up with a really horrible pressure sensation and a day later, a very painful UTI. I spoke with my doctor about it and apparently this is common for some women in regards to cups/diaphragms due to the shape of the cervix. The doc said they can also cause recurring yeast infections in some.

          Ugh, no thanks! I like the cloth pads, too.

          mrd232 wrote on January 13th, 2010
    • How long have you been eating paleo? Are you eating lots of fish? Lots of nuts?

      After being paleo for several years now and managing my ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 (unfortunately, nuts contain way too many) fatty acids, my periods are much better.

      They are much shorter and much lighter, for example. I think menstruating is very very sensitive to diet. I went off the paleo diet a couple of months ago and the period I got that month was so incredibly painful that I hightailed it back to paleo eating.

      If you do have symptoms, I find a broth made of kombu, a dash of ground black sesame, and some pumpkin/kabocha puree really helps.

      Melissa wrote on January 13th, 2010
  34. I’m circumcised. My son is 11 and is circumcised. Dr asked and I thought he might feel more comfortable looking like dad.

    I watched. Not a big deal. Pretty simple procedure these days.

    Most are making way too big a deal out of this.

    Steve wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • I’m sure many people feel the same way about female circumcision.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • My sister inlaw had her son circumcised, and it resulted in a condition known as hidden penis! He went in normal, and came out with an inny. How much fun do you think he will have in the locker room.

      Brad wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • “and it resulted in a condition known as hidden penis!”
        Holy Cannoli

        SerialSinner wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • I agree – having had the best of both worlds.

      Robert Gioia wrote on January 13th, 2010
  35. I blogged about the morality of circumcision here:

    http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2009/01/circumcision-as-mutilation.shtml

    Diana Hsieh wrote on January 12th, 2010
  36. Neither my dad, brother, nor I had the snip. While in America it might be the norm, I am glad, and PROUD, that my parents had the “foresight” [get it?] to not give us the cut.

    I brag to both sexes alike about how I still have my hat on. You have to leave a grape out to turn it into a raisin. Why would you intentionally do that to your most important organ?

    Plus the fact that it makes masturbation a breeze!

    Thanks mom and dad!

    Brian wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Plus the fact that it makes masturbation a breeze!

      LOL!! And it makes everything you do w/ your lady a lot easier too!! (My first serious boyfriend was uncirced and it seriously made everything a lot easier it seemed…)

      FairyRae2 wrote on January 13th, 2010
  37. My 2 cents- circumcised does look better, but that’s just my opinion. I’d prefer a man was rather than wasn’t.

    And I’m sure Christoph will have his say on my post as he has everyone elses…

    Diana Renata wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • You bet.

      Your aesthetic tastes, formed by the fact that you grew up with that being the norm, isn’t justification for genital mutilation of too young to decide infant babies any more than if men had a real distaste for labia, so said cut those suckers off.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • No Christopher, but Men seem to want us women all with perky breasts, long hair, shapely legs, etc – so we end up mutilating ourselves and our self-images to fit what is the ‘aesthetic norm’. Is that justified?

        Kristina wrote on January 12th, 2010
        • It’s up to the woman to make those choices, if she feels it will enhance her attractiveness.

          It isn’t mandatory.

          The key point is it’s up to an adult woman to make those choices, not a parent when the girl is tiny.

          We wouldn’t as a society allow parents to do surgery on their young daughters so they had bigger breasts when they grew up.

          Likewise we shouldn’t allow elective surgery on young boys so men’s penises look a certain way when they grow up.

          The Greek statues of Adonis and others showed a natural human penis, and Adonis is renowned for his looks. But whether one does, or does not, like the look of a foreskin is no basis for deciding whether to cut the genitals of a child.

          Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
        • So as a parent I’m not allowed to consider the health of my own child given the knowledge that is out there? If circumcision was something that I consider necessary for proper hygiene or religious beliefs (which I don’t) it shouldn’t be up to me to decide whether or not to have the procedure?

          Parents do what they feel is right for their child, whether driven by aesthetic norms or outright concern.

          I do realize where you’re coming from, but changing a societal ‘norm’ isn’t going to happen over night. And good luck with the Kosher set.

          For what it’s worth, if I do have a son I’ll leave it up to him to have the procedure or not.

          Kristina wrote on January 12th, 2010
        • “So as a parent I’m not allowed to consider the health of my own child given the knowledge that is out there?”

          Should we legally allow circumcision of girls?

          Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
        • Shapely legs, why not ?
          how is that mutilation ?

          Breast implants for any other reason other than post mastectomy, i do not agree with.

          fullyoperational wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder. As a female, I have no real preference one way or the other aesthetically…though I like the unaltered quality of of an uncircumcised penis (I was born in Poland where it is not done and I grew up in the US)

      If the numbers are correct and only 56% of of infant boys are getting circumcised then what is the aesthetic “norm” now will change with time.

      Agi wrote on January 13th, 2010
      • In my opinion a circ’d penis IS more attractive. That being said, I would still NOT circumcise my son if I was to have one.

        Also, I don’t know why female circ is being brought up as a defense. Whether girls do or do not feel pleasure after having it done there is still NO reason for it to happen. At least there is a reason for it to be done to males, if a parent believes strongly enough that it really makes a difference with hygiene to the point of infection and/or catching diseases, besides other (admittedly weak) medical reasons. Female mutilation has *NO* medical reasoning – although you are comparing apples to apples, one is granny smith and one is a red delicious.

        I reiterate, I would NOT circumcise my son if I had one.

        Also, I have a friend who was circumcised when he was 17 years old. He comes from a Central American family where boys are not generally cut. He decided on his own will to have it done (having been born and raised in the U.S. although I’m not positive if that is his reasoning)After, he had to lay in bed for weeks with no pants on, he says he couldn’t even let the sheets on his bed touch it, it was very painful. That being said, he actually says sex is MUCH better now that he is circumcised, much more sensitive then it was with a layer of skin over it. GO FIGURE!

        christie wrote on January 19th, 2011
        • I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, I bring up female circumcision mostly as a hypothetical situation. No medical reasoning exists because female circ. is not medicalized and standardized. It makes sense that, if removing male foreskin reduces certain infections, then removing labia would probably do the same. However, as you said, there’s nothing medically to back this up. Female circ is illegal and is not accepted as a preventative remedy. Nevermind my feelings on the subject; that is just true. Our society would not even consider trying out a routine change of female genitalia in order to see whether it decreases infection, but if it gave the same results, I still don’t think Americans in general would be okay with it. It is a double standard that we can’t find the answer to. However, I do find it interesting that those who say they circ for medical reasons never suggest it might be a good idea to try on females, as infants, before UTIs and STDs become a problem. Even with numerous infections and significant damage women have the choice whether to remove body parts. For men and boys, if they get infected, they are expected to just get cut without a second thought.

          Julie wrote on February 16th, 2011
    • I think it’s just what you’re used to. My first long-term bf that I ever saw was uncut, and then I saw one that was cut and it was strange because it was different than what I was used to seeing.

      My perception is formed by my experiences, so while I prefer uncut because my experiences you prefer cut because of yours. Yes, it does involve social norms and it can be difficult to get your mind out of the cloud of accepted normalcy.

      That said, I would never cut our future son’s. Cutting of sexual organs is not a decision I want to make for someone else.

      CMR wrote on January 13th, 2010
    • Me too.

      And I also support the field of plastic surgery for women and men.

      Flame away Christoph, flame away.

      mrd232 wrote on January 13th, 2010
  38. And yet I will probably marry a circumcised man, and have my sons circumcised. Just so you know. ;)

    Diana Renata wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • You can’t claim ignorance so your glee is revealing.

      If your sons resent you for it, they will be justified in doing so, unlike other parents for whom there was little realistic choice.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • It is what it is.

        Diana Renata wrote on January 12th, 2010
        • Why do you care what your son’s penises look like? That’s kind of perverse.

          Jared wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • As a circumcised male, I’ve never once resented my parents for it, in fact, I couldn’t care less about a flap of skin off the tip of my penis. Hell, I do that much damage to my body on a weekly basis anyway, and guess what? I’m not resentful of myself for it.

        As far as if it’s painful for the child? I sympathize with a child in pain, but life is pain. Whether inflicted by a doctor, a Mohel (during brit milah), yourself, or some psychopath, there’s no escaping it.

        You can get into the ins and outs of whether it changes your sexual “output” or “input” all you want, but I know I’ve always been more then satisfied, and not to toot my own horn, haven’t had many bad experiences with the ladies either.

        As far as a health standpoint, I couldn’t really care less about that either. I don’t have to worry about STD’s, because I act under the assumption of caring for my own body and not taking sexual risks, and as for hygiene, I do just fine there too.

        And on the other side of the coin, I don’t care one way or the other if a man is circumcised, while I have not made the decision to, or not to, circumcise any male children of mine, it does not matter one way or the other to me. Do I find it barbaric to circumcise a child? No, is anything you say in your overtly rude tones going to change that. Absolutely not, all you’ve done is toss the same rhetoric around that everyone has already heard, only with much greater acrimony.

        On that note Cristoph, you sound far less like a “Caring Citizen” out to change the world and save foreskin of innocent children, and more as a man who has a great chip on his shoulder, for what, I don’t know, but you seem to take that out on others here, in the most bitter of ways you can, while the rest attempt to remain a healthy debate. Can we have differing opinions without relinquishing our manners? I would like to believe so, but all too often it’s proven otherwise by some.

        In closing, I wish I had time to proofread this, but I believe it gets my point across.

        Jacob wrote on January 19th, 2010
  39. I was circumcised by my own choice at the age of 13. The effects of the procedure was painful, however, I do not regret my decision. I believe in personal body modification, which is what I see it as if performed by request.

    On a side note, I am bothered by the number of people who tend to apply “Grok wouldn’t do it” mentality to every situation. I understand that most here love “Grok,” but I have never quite felt at ease with him/her. I think its a great way to get the paleo diet across, but the reliance on a fictitious character for every decision I find a bit odd.

    Tom B. wrote on January 12th, 2010
  40. Christoph,

    I agree with you on principal. And I applaud your resolve. But I disagree with your approach.

    Not because I think this is somehow an “un-serious” issue, but because I think it is serious.

    And so I would implore you to please just think about what your goal is in entering this conversation. If it is to antagonize those who are “wrong” about this issue, then you are achieving what you have set out to achieve.

    But if your goal is to change people’s minds then realize you are only causing greater entrenchment. You are only creating an individual who personifies this idea for them to dislike. And you are guaranteeing your goals will be unmet. You do not have to agree with anyone else here, but I promise that if you respect their position, and try to see it from their point of view (no matter how misguided, wrong, or “evil” you may see it) you will have a chance to persuade them. But if you just come out and say “you are misguided, wrong, and evil” you will have changed nothing.

    If you want to open minds, and you are really interested in helping young boys, then please, just a little respect, man. You’ll be surprised at how many ears it opens up.

    spacecowboy614 wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • Thank you, spacecowboy!

      jenella wrote on January 12th, 2010
    • I have said that a parent can be loving and also have their child circumcised.

      I have said that holds true for both female and male circumcisions.

      What I will not do is pretend those practices themselves are anything other than barbaric and perverted abuses of children by adults, which reduces their wholeness, their ability to enjoy the full breadth of their sexual pleasure, and in each and every case is injurious to, of all things, their genitals.

      I for one may respect a person who holds a culturally or religiously inspired delusion, but I will not respect the delusion. The reality is humans are capable of doing terrible ill if another other humans do it too.

      I applaud those who understand this and can chart a new course. Nothing says that some of the pro-circumcision people on this thread can’t do likewise and if they do not, it is not my fault.

      My responsibility was to raise these issues for the welfare of children. Babies.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • I really do understand where you are coming from. And I’m glad you think that parents who circumcise their children are still loving (since, in the end, they are trying to do what is right for their kid, though you or I may disagree and think it misguided).

        What I’m talking about are the words you use and how you choose to use them (including their frequency). If you call the practice barbaric, those who have circumcised their children or are contemplating it will think “Oh, so I’m a barbarian am I? Well, screw you!!!!” Not “I don’t want to be a barbarian and so I shouldn’t circumcise my child.”

        I am not trying to say that you are at fault for trying to raise this issue. Or that your concern doesn’t lies with the welfare of children. I do not doubt where your heart lies, and your zeal confirms it.

        All I am trying to say is that if your intent is to do more than just raise an issue, if it is to change people’s minds, then you should soften your words. Because, if your goal is to help babies, as you say, then your concern should be less about semantics and “not pretending” and more about being persuasive.

        I understand my original Otis recitation fell on deaf ears, so allow me to implore that you gotta hold her, squeeze her, love her, don’t tease her…

        You know what I’m saying?

        Try a little tenderness, man!

        spacecowboy614 wrote on January 12th, 2010

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