Infant circumcision in the United States

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I am thrilled to say that circumcision rates in the U.S. have declined in the last couple of decades.  On the other hand, it is incredible circumcision is still being performed on our newborn sons, given the amount of evidence that it is a mostly unnecessary cosmetic procedure.  I only say “mostly unnecessary” because there are occasions where circumcision is necessary, but they are few and far between.

Some circumcisions are performed for religious reasons.  My view on religious based circumcisions is that the people who still choose to circumcise, despite all the evidence that circumcision is mostly unnecessary, are, well, insane.  Would you jump off a bridge, or quit brushing your teeth, or quit breathing, or quit bathing because “God” told you to?  Probably not.  So why are people still mutilating their son’s genitals based on a religious text?  I especially do not understand, since the concept of “God” is a man-made creation.  Who the hell do you think wrote those religious texts?  People!  It is possible schizophrenic or delusional people who were having visions or hallucinations were likely to have written religious texts.  What do we think of schizophrenic people today?  They are nuts!  So the fact that people mutilate their son’s genitals because there exists a book that some nut job wrote makes me want to vomit.  Though, I may be a little biased because I am an atheist.

Another reason, probably more common than religious reasons, is that because “Daddy’s penis is circumcised and we don’t want our son’s penis to look different than Daddy’s, or different from other boys they may know.”  Well I have got some news for you.  Today’s circumcision rates are roughly fifty percent, and dropping.  So if your son happens to glance over at another boy’s penis while at the urinal, or in the locker room, or whatever, chances are, if your son is circumcised, he will be the one that looks different.

Another still commonly believed myth about uncircumcised penises are that they are more “dirty”.  They are not!  The penis is actually self cleaning (like the vagina), and no cleaning of the glans (head of the penis) is required.  Yes, the outer or exposed part of the penis needs to be cleaned because it may come in contact with dirt and whatnot, just like the rest of your body.

Yet another myth: “My son will have better sex and/or more sex partners with a circumcised penis.”  Wrong again!  The prepuce (or foreskin) is the most nerve-dense region of the whole penis.  Uncircumcised men are able to feel more, and have more pleasure during sex.  Also, speaking from personal experience, sex with an uncircumcised man is more pleasurable for the woman, too.  An uncircumcised penis creates more friction which then desensitizes and makes numb both partner’s genitals.  It is more common for a circumcised man to prematurely ejaculate, too.

And the pain.  Circumcision is often performed without anesthesia.  The amount of pain endured by removing the most sensitive part of the penis must be excruciating, and deserves the name of torture.  Even if there was anesthesia used while removing the foreskin, there must be an incredible amount of pain afterwards.  The open wound would be almost constantly exposed to urine and feces, which are quite acidic, because newborns eliminate frequently.  The open wound would also rub and come in contact with a diaper frequently.  Why anyone would expose their infant son to so much pain is beyond me.

Even watching a circumcision being performed on an infant is painful.  When deciding whether or not to circumcise my, then, unborn son, I watched a video of circumcision.  Thirty seconds into the procedure, I had to turn off the video and rush to the bathroom to vomit.  Every time I picture that procedure, I cringe.  I had nightmares about that video.  But to see circumcision on my own son, in person, would have been absolutely devastating, even if I had decided I wanted my son to be circumcised.  If you or some one you know is planning on or thinking about circumcising their son, suggest they watch a video of the procedure.  Just that, without the knowledge of the terrible side effects, might convince them otherwise.

If you or some one you know find yourself on the fence about whether or not to circumcise a baby boy, I have provided some reasons not to.

Circumcision possibly causes:

  • Infection
  • Hemorrhage
  •  If EMLA cream is used to anesthetize a newborn, brain damage
  • Urethral fissures
  • Urethral diverticulum
  • Occlusion of penile venous system
  • Impotence
  • Painful erection
  • Wound re-opening
  • Death

Circumcision inevitably causes:

  • Pain/shock
  • Damage in the form of scarring or pitting to the glans (head) or shaft
  • Loss of sensitivity
  • Reduced volume of penis
  •  Breach of human rights

I believe that all humans should have a say about what happens to their body. All humans, even newborn babies, deserve respect – respect for their body, respect for their autonomy. You would not cut off a newborns fingers just because you thought it looked better, there would be no dirt under their fingernails, or because you thought it would secure them more sex partners later in life, right?  So why would anyone want to cut or clamp off a necessary, functional part of a baby’s penis?  Sure, it is “traditional” or in line with a particular religion, but so is spousal abuse.  People fight for women’s rights not to be mutilated or abused every day. Let us start fighting for our son’s rights not to be mutilated and tortured as infants.  It is just plain wrong.

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3 thoughts on “Infant circumcision in the United States

  1. Pingback: Self-imposed ignorance in America | My Mothering Journey

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