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January 12, 2010

To Circumcise or Not To Circumcise?

By Worker Bee
516 Comments

Once 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.

TAGS:  men's health

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516 Comments on "To Circumcise or Not To Circumcise?"

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Dennis
Dennis
6 years 8 months ago

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!

Charles II
Charles II
6 years 6 months ago

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.

Andrew
Andrew
5 years 9 months ago

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

Charles II
Charles II
5 years 8 months ago

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.

Steen
9 days 3 hours ago

Form follows function, chuck. Its designed as such for a reason. Exposing the glans to constant stimuli, via contact with clothing will permanently reduce sensitivity over time. Why would anyone want to reduce the pleasure they can experience. Please stop, you have no idea what you speak of.

MommaCrafty
MommaCrafty
5 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Kyle
Kyle
5 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Steen
9 days 3 hours ago

Why not allow foot binding while we’re at it? Ear Notching? I mean it’s your kid, your *property* right? Maybe you’re superstitious and think the number 3 will lead to a lucky and prosperous life for your child later on, BUT only if you chop off those other 2 pesky digits on each hand. I mean it’s your property, amirite? Heck you can throw it in the river if you don’t like it as well?

mamagrok
mamagrok
5 years 4 months ago
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.… Read more »
Dan
Dan
4 years 11 months ago

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.

Kim
Kim
4 years 6 months ago

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.

TirCeol
TirCeol
3 years 5 months ago

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.

Guille
Guille
5 years 1 month ago
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… Read more »
Steen
9 days 4 hours ago

Advising boys to have their foreskin always retracted is not only needless and ignorant but also detrimental to the the sensitivity of the glans. Truly horrible advice.

Twyla
Twyla
6 years 8 months ago
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.… Read more »
Mark Sisson
6 years 8 months ago

“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.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Controversy doesn’t worry me.

Nor should it.

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

Peter
Peter
4 years 8 months ago

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.

Johnny at The Lean Saloon
6 years 8 months ago

Be careful about jumping to conclusions to quickly… it’s the etiology of CW.

hannah
hannah
5 years 9 months ago

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.

Rick
Rick
6 years 8 months ago

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.

FairyRae2
FairyRae2
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Katt
Katt
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Brad
Brad
6 years 8 months ago

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.

trackback

[…] Original post by Worker Bee […]

Ryan Denner
6 years 8 months ago

wow. not what I was expecting while eating my big ass salad on my lunch break.

Jess
Jess
6 years 7 months ago

Mmm… ass salad.

Joel
Joel
6 years 8 months ago

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
Joel
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

I respect you, Joe.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Joel. Sorry, the font is very light.

Jon
Jon
6 years 8 months ago

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.

spacecowboy614
spacecowboy614
6 years 8 months ago
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)… Read more »
Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

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.

fixed gear
6 years 8 months ago

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….

Shannon
Shannon
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Tara
6 years 8 months ago

What an awesome post! You rock!

Agi
Agi
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
SerialSinner
SerialSinner
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

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’.

SerialSinner
SerialSinner
6 years 8 months ago

Well you are evidently into the topic

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

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?

Jacob
Jacob
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Avigdor Loeb
Avigdor Loeb
5 years 11 months ago

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.

Hugh7
5 years 11 months ago
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… Read more »
Lady Jaws
Lady Jaws
5 years 10 months ago
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… Read more »
Jen Nelson
Jen Nelson
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Simone
Simone
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Well score one for Germany.

Indiscreet
Indiscreet
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Keeta
Keeta
5 years 4 months ago

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.

Krista
5 years 3 months ago

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
5 years 3 months ago

Forgot to add, although the whole article is good the information about separation/UTIs is point #4.

Chunster495
Chunster495
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Michael
Michael
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Yes, hear hear, and very astute.

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

Blimbo
Blimbo
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Thumbs way up.

Sonagi
Sonagi
6 years 8 months ago

I’m no proponent of circumcision, but I’d say your analogy is way off. Are you an opponent of preventive mastectomies, too?

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

On babies, yeah.

imogen
imogen
5 years 9 months ago

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.

Duane Stevens
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Cherie
Cherie
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
imogen
imogen
5 years 9 months ago
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… Read more »
Carly
Carly
5 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
tox
tox
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Jamie
Jamie
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

You had one heck of an OB.

Well done! Medicine in the finest Hippocratic tradition.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Apology. That last comment about the “OB” was intended for “carol”.

Mike
Mike
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Ross
Ross
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Stacy
Stacy
5 years 7 months ago
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… Read more »
MamaGrok
MamaGrok
5 years 7 months ago
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… Read more »
Hege
Hege
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Figlio di Moros
Figlio di Moros
4 years 3 months ago

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.

Vince
Vince
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Over/under for “anonymous Alex” addressing the substance of my last 3 comments?

hypatia
hypatia
6 years 7 months ago
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… Read more »
carol
carol
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Sara
6 years 8 months ago
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,… Read more »
Shannon
Shannon
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Vince
Vince
6 years 8 months ago

“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.

fixed gear
6 years 8 months ago

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. 😉

Shannon
Shannon
6 years 8 months ago

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.

surferpanda
surferpanda
6 years 8 months ago

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..

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Joe
Joe
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Dave, RN
Dave, RN
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Robert Gioia
Robert Gioia
6 years 8 months ago

I agree with the last post. Very beneficial for someone with recurrent infection and phimosis.

Julie
Julie
5 years 7 months ago

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?

Jeanie
Jeanie
6 years 8 months ago

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!

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Denis Gonzales
Denis Gonzales
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

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?

Denis Gonzales
Denis Gonzales
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Lack of lasting effects?

Rebecca
Rebecca
6 years 8 months ago

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. :/

Shannon
Shannon
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Denis Gonzales
Denis Gonzales
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

You didn’t find anything mutilating about it?

Denis Gonzales
Denis Gonzales
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Justa
Justa
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Shannon
Shannon
6 years 8 months ago

Well-said. I’d never alter my child’s body to impress others.

Julie
Julie
5 years 7 months ago

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.

Bess
Bess
6 years 8 months ago

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?

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Hear, hear.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

“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
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Green Onion
Green Onion
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Yes, that is also mutilation, but doesn’t destroy all sexual feeling.

edella
edella
6 years 8 months ago

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!)

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago
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.… Read more »
Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

*1996. My mistake. In 1997, the UN took up the issue with a new initiative.

Stacy
Stacy
5 years 7 months ago
“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… Read more »
MamaGrok
MamaGrok
5 years 7 months ago

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.

Krista
5 years 3 months ago

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.

Dave, RN
Dave, RN
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Really?

You don’t think any vaccine has EVER worked?

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

Matt Forrester
Matt Forrester
6 years 6 months ago

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.

Keeta
Keeta
5 years 4 months ago

Smallpox has been eradicated for years because of vaccines. it does not occur naturally anywhere 🙂

Dave, RN
Dave, RN
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago
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,… Read more »
imogen
imogen
5 years 9 months ago
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… Read more »
Marc
6 years 8 months ago

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

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

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
6 years 8 months ago

routinely children = children routinely

LittleMissGrok
LittleMissGrok
6 years 8 months ago

Male circumcision and female circumcision (mutilation) are not even close. How can you compare the two?

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

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.

edella
edella
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Primal Matt
6 years 8 months ago
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)… Read more »
Twyla
Twyla
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Mark Sisson
6 years 8 months ago

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!

Emily
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Michael
Michael
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Anders
6 years 8 months ago

grok didnt chop.

Allie
Allie
6 years 8 months ago

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?)

kongluirong
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
edella
edella
6 years 8 months ago
//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… Read more »
MamaGrok
MamaGrok
5 years 9 months ago
“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… Read more »
alina
alina
6 years 8 months ago

try a reusable cup! ie divacup or mooncup
tampons are toxic for you!
best,
alina

Stacey
Stacey
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
mrd232
6 years 8 months ago

(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.

Melissa
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Steve
Steve
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

I’m sure many people feel the same way about female circumcision.

Brad
Brad
6 years 8 months ago

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.

SerialSinner
SerialSinner
6 years 8 months ago

“and it resulted in a condition known as hidden penis!”
Holy Cannoli

Robert Gioia
Robert Gioia
6 years 8 months ago

I agree – having had the best of both worlds.

Diana Hsieh
6 years 8 months ago

I blogged about the morality of circumcision here:

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

Brian
6 years 8 months ago

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!

FairyRae2
FairyRae2
6 years 8 months ago

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…)

Diana Renata
6 years 8 months ago

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…

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Kristina
Kristina
6 years 8 months ago

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?

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Kristina
Kristina
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

“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?

fullyoperational
fullyoperational
6 years 8 months ago

Shapely legs, why not ?
how is that mutilation ?

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

Agi
Agi
6 years 8 months ago

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.

christie
christie
5 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Julie
Julie
5 years 7 months ago
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… Read more »
CMR
CMR
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
mrd232
6 years 8 months ago

Me too.

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

Flame away Christoph, flame away.

Diana Renata
6 years 8 months ago

And yet I will probably marry a circumcised man, and have my sons circumcised. Just so you know. 😉

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

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.

Diana Renata
6 years 8 months ago

It is what it is.

Jared
Jared
6 years 8 months ago

Why do you care what your son’s penises look like? That’s kind of perverse.

Jacob
Jacob
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Tom B.
Tom B.
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
spacecowboy614
spacecowboy614
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Grok is Softball!
Grok is Softball!
6 years 8 months ago

Thank you, spacecowboy!

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago
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.… Read more »
spacecowboy614
spacecowboy614
6 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Jared
Jared
6 years 8 months ago

As someone who was circumcised at birth, without my consent. I’m pretty annoyed at the parents above who did it to their children without thinking twice.

You are cutting off part of your son’s penis. How can that ever sound like a good idea? How can that ever sound normal no matter what society you grew up in.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

What do you think about the ones who know far more about it than your parents did, Jared, who are engaged in this discussion and who now have access to men’s experiences such as yours (not to mention those who were actually injured), but plan on doing it in the future?

Jared
Jared
6 years 8 months ago

Well, I kind of find it immoral, and wish society had the same attitude.

I had arguments with my ex- about it, and she was completely irrational. She was adamant that if we were ever to have children they would be circumcised. It all boiled down to the appearance for her.

It seems like a lot of moms have a pretty unhealthy interest in the appearance of their son’s genitalia, to the son’s detriment…

Christoph
Christoph
6 years 8 months ago

Thanks for your honest answer, Jared.

I’ve noticed this same thing on this thread. (Most chillingly Diana Renata among others.)

Adam R
Adam R
6 years 8 months ago
Wow, I read MDA very often, as well as the comments. With all the discussion that can get generated by the various topics and issues that Mark brings up with his posts, I don’t recall anyone who has been more pretentious than Christoph. There are many practices around the world (scarification, tatooing, etc) that are done on young boys that are not yet adults (whether they are infants or not, they don’t have ‘informed consent’). Do you feel just as srongly about all of those practices? ‘eh, anyway, I don’t feel incredibly strongly about the issue one way or another,… Read more »
Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Adam, it’s nice to know that you don’t feel strongly about even the possibility that this may be the genital mutilation of non-consenting children.

Pretentious? Judge for yourself. It’s certainly accurate.

And do I support scarring young children, or tattooing them? No, and in most cases these would be illegal in our culture. Circumcision is, of course, scarring, but scarring of the most sensitive and personal external organ a child has.

Katt
Katt
6 years 8 months ago

There’s quite a bit of difference between chopping body parts off to prevent the mere possibility of an UTI and getting a mastectomoy as a preventative measure because of some serious cancer risk…. which is the only reason I’d even consider it. And the risk would have to be very high, indeed.

Steven Quick
Steven Quick
6 years 8 months ago
At the end of the day if you want or need it done (for whatever reason) you can always have it later. However if you have it done to you as a baby you can’t undo it. My old man and most of his generation were done as babies, my parents decided not to with me. I’m glad they didn’t as it gave me the personal choice over what to do myself. I considered having it done in my teens but decided the cons outweighed the pros. In my generation and country (New Zealand) it seems about 50/50 whether people… Read more »
Alex
Alex
6 years 8 months ago

Circumcised! I’ll call a spade a spade — sex is awesome as is! Maybe it could be even better, but greed is a deadly sin…

Diana,

What you got going on tonight?

Take it easy everybody! I’m off to the gym!

Diana Renata
6 years 8 months ago

LOL Alex! Thanks for lightening up the comments. It was getting a little abrasive for a while there… and not in a good way. 😉

BlazeKING
BlazeKING
6 years 8 months ago

Hey Mark, on an unrelated note, I saw on a website one of those advertisements basically saying “I got ripped in 4 weeks following 2 simple rules, click here!” and they used some obese guy on the left next to your picture on the right. Just letting you know.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Just more proof that the Primal Blueprint works.

rafiki
rafiki
6 years 8 months ago

Circumcised at birth here. Never had a problem, can’t recall any pain, not emotionally scared and I don’t resent my parents at all. sex is great. I guess i can’t complain, nor do I want too. Will I do it to my kids? couldn’t say for sure I got awhile before I need to worry about that.

Roman
Roman
6 years 8 months ago

um, in my observation… chicks dick the ‘cut’ look…

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

So your belief system is males should cut their penises to look like what females, raised in our unique culture since Kellogg popularized circumcision in order to reduce masturbation and libidinousness, want?

Despite the fact that an uncircumcised penis is more functional… for the female… sexually?

It sounds like it’s your balls that have been cut off, mate.

christie
christie
5 years 8 months ago

They are functional either way, and being a female who has had long relationships with men of both stature. There really is not difference in sex. The foreskin doesn’t make it and better for us. Nor is it any more functional.. for the female…sesually. In fact, the uncircumcised man had less of a sex drive then the circ’d. Im not stating any relation between those 2 factors.. just my observations.

christie
christie
5 years 8 months ago

They are functional either way, and being a female who has had long relationships with men of both stature. There really is not difference in sex. The foreskin doesn’t make it and better for us. Nor is it any more functional.. for the female…sexually. In fact, the uncircumcised man had less of a sex drive then the circ’d. Im not stating any relation between those 2 factors.. just my observations.

CMR
CMR
6 years 8 months ago

As a chick – I dig the “uncut” look. I’m so happy my husband hasn’t been “cut”!

I’ve been in conversations where women are discussing the topic, and I’m an ardent support of not cutting. Maybe it’s the men, but the sex I’ve had with uncut men has been so much better.

So, just wanted to get it out there that several chicks dig the “uncut” look 🙂

Tom
Tom
6 years 8 months ago
I don’t understand why this is such an issue. As part of an obviously underrepresented minority I feel the need to speak out. I am not circucumcised and wish that I had been. My foreskin sometimes makes me that much more uncomfortable when it’s hot, that much dirtier when I’ve been sweating, and sometimes catches my pubic hair making it painful to move around and embarrassing to fix. Also, my understanding of female circumcision makes the comparison to male circumcision pretty misleading. To make male circumcision comprable, you’d have to cut off the whole head of the penis. If people… Read more »
Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Serious question: Why don’t you get circumcised and report back to us in 6 months which was better?

Tom
Tom
6 years 8 months ago

Serious answer: I have better things to do with my time. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough the first time. You people are making a mountain out of a mole hill. You have so much energy. Why not put it towards solving one of our more pressing social issues?

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Tom, with respect this is a pressing social issue.

And it is being slowly won to my way of thinking. The numbers of parents genitally mutilating their sons is dropping, even in America the second highest rated country in the world.

The other issues you mention are excellent and good for you for being concerned about them.

Myself, protecting children is my hot button.

Christoph Dollis
6 years 8 months ago

Speaking of animal issues, I wouldn’t circumcise a puppy.

It’s absurd. And it’s cruel.

Erika
Erika
3 years 6 months ago

Tom, so either you have really gnarly pubes or a tiny dick. And honestly? An inch of foreskin makes it too hot? Please. Maybe you should also have your testicles removed to prevent schwety balls.

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