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Having a boy... to circ or not to circ? - Page 2

post #21 of 107
Here's the book I found most helpful:
Circumcision: A History of the World's Most Controversial Surgery

There are some vis online, and the Penn and Teller episode of BullS... is good.
post #22 of 107
In case you missed this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by latinalonestar View Post
MYTH 2: Having an intact boy means more work and extra cleaning to prevent infection.
TRUTH: It is actually easier to care for an intact boy. People are severely misinformed about the anatomy of foreskin. During the infant/childhood years the foreskin is fused to the head of the penis and the opening is only wide enough to allow for urine to pass through. This protects the developing penis from urine, feces, and other harmful pathogens. An intact boy should NEVER be retracted for cleaning or for any other reason. Premature retraction causes tearing and pain and can result in many complications, including infection. The proper care for the intact penis is to LEAVE IT ALONE, only the exterior gets cleaned. Should poop get on the penis, all you do is wipe it like a finger. Throughout childhood the skin will slowly separate from the glands and the foreskin opening will widen. Self-cleaning excretions prevent the need for cleaning during that time. Through self-discovery a boy will learn to retract his own foreskin. After retraction is possible a boy can easily clean himself with a quick rinse in the same way that girl cleans her privates. It is a good rule of thumb to never let anyone touch your intact son’s penis. Many people, including care providers, will ignorantly try to retract the foreskin. Fact is, the US medical profession cut off so many foreskins in the past that the doctors rarely if ever saw an intact boy and have lost the base of knowledge of diagnosis and treatment. Now, they are operating in a vacuum of information or even worse, in an environment of false information. The only tool you need to care for an intact boy is a ruler to smack the hands of those curious people who attempt to retract his foreskin. Retraction happens at a different time for each boy. Some boys do not retract until puberty, that is perfectly normal.
http://www.nocirc.org/publish/pamphlet4.html
http://www.nocirc.org/publish/pamphlet6.html
http://www.cirp.org/library/normal/aap/
http://www.cirp.org/pages/parents/peron1/

MYTH 7: If I don’t circumcise my son, it may need to be done later in life. I’ve heard of some 5-10 year old boys having to be circumcised.
FACT: This misconception is another that stems from the problem that doctors are not being educated about the normal development of the intact penis. The only reason that a child or adult would ever need to be circumcised would be in the case of frostbite, gangrene, malignancy, or serious trauma. Doctors that do not know about the anatomy and development of the foreskin often prescribe circumcision for a multitude of incorrect “reasons”. For example if a 10 year old boy is not retractable a doctor might tell a parent that he needs to be circumcised. This is not true. In fact, only 50% of boys are retractable by age 10. Many boys do not become retractable until puberty. This is normal. In the rare event that a man is not retractable by adulthood, there is steroidal cream that can be applied which will allow the skin to stretch. Amputation is not necessary. Another example is repeated infection. The foreskin is NO more likely to become infected than any other part of the body. In the rare chance that there is an infection, antibiotic ointments are sufficient. Parents that complain of repeated infection are almost always parents that are trying to retract their child’s foreskin for “cleaning”. As stated before, there is not reason to try to clean under a boy’s foreskin. Trying to “clean” under the foreskin is the equivalent to trying to wash out a girls vagina. It will ultimately cause a floral imbalance and result in infection.
http://www.nocirc.org/publish/pamphlet7.html
http://www.mothering.com/articles/ne...uncircson.html
http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcisi...kinleaflet.pdf
http://www.cirp.org/library/normal/
post #23 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn View Post
As an infant, the skin in not retractable, making cleanliness difficult (say the Drs??) I read another post on here and got confused a little about the word "retract". It said something about the skin eventually will retract on it's own and that forced retraction can cause trauma to the area and soreness, etc. If I'm understanding this right, when does the skin become "loosened" (general term as I really do not know what I'm talking about here, lol) and able to be retracted?
bolding mine. Yeah... soreness the same way ripping your fingernails off would cause soreness. Intense searing pain might be more accurate.

Yes, eventually the foreskin will retract, pull back, on its own. You still don't need to worry about it. The owner of the penis, when old enough to do so (7,8, 9 +) AND naturally retractable, should retract, rinse, replace at bath time.

Most boys become retractable somewhere between 2yrs and 18 yrs.


Quote:
The root of my question is this: If baby is not circumcised at birth, is it possible to do it later on? And is it possible to do it with lack of pain?

The idea that "well yes, it hurts, but the baby will never remember it" is just horrifying to me. My daughter broke her leg at 1 year, and wont remember it. But that doesnt mean it didnt hurt so I should break the other one too... I just hate that form of reasoning that they wont remember it. I cant imagine hurting a little baby like that.
In a different post it was compared to tearing off a fingernail, is that accurate??

It can be done later under general anesthesia with post op. pain medication. Both things unavailable to a newborn.

Tearing off a fingernail is akin to the separation of the foreskin from the glans. The cutting would be akin to cutting off your earlobes or lips or other bit of skin....

Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn View Post
I have SO MANY questions!! And my reasonings for considering it are as follows:

1. I am not a boy, don't have a boy, and have never seen an uncirced penis. I don't know exact %, but I do know that most males are circed in the US. However, I do know that it is a "European" thing not to circ (my grandfather is from Germany, and I know he is not circed and that it isn't as common over there?). But the fact that most US males are has led me to assume that there must be a reason for it.

SURE! there's a reason for it. It was thought to reduce masturbation. It doesn't. But the good ol' USA isn't big on evidence-based medicine.

Quote:
2. My fiance is circed, and when I even brought it up, he said "We are circ-ing him." His standpoint was that he wouldn't want our son to be made fun of when he has to change in front of other boys (or feel like he can't change in front of them), or feel like he is "different", or feel insecure with his body in front of a woman.
Well, it's quite likely he'll know more intact peers than circed ones. And if he's intact, he can always get circed later. If he's circed he's SOL.

Never mind if he moves to Europe. Where nearly everyone is intact.

Quote:
3. I have heard (and realize from PP that this is not true??) that it is harder to keep the area clean. I am wondering though-- when your boys get to age 5-10ish, when they really arent capable of cleaning it well themselves but it becomes uncomfortable to have mommy touching, what then? Or is cleaning not as big of a process or deal as I'm imagining?
The beauty of the intact penis is that nothing really needs to be done until they're old enough that they're already going to be erm, handling it

Do you worry with your girls that you'll have to hold them down and really clean in all those folds when they're 5-10? Sounds pretty horrifying, huh?


Quote:
These are my main reasons for considering it, but I do have reasons for not considering it.
I just want to get all of the info so we can make a better decision, and can be comfortable with our choice.
There are NO reasons for doing it. None. It's an awful, barbaric process that should be outlawed.

-Angela
post #24 of 107
You've gotten lots of great links, advice etc.

I'll just chime in here from the perspective of cleaning/cleanliness, day to day living with intact sons etc.

I have two intact boys and honestly, it is no big deal. It's not even something I worry about, or even really think about. My DD was harder to keep clean down there because, like a PP mentioned, there are way more nooks and creases etc in that area for girls yk?

As for the retraction thing, I didn't worry about that either. Little boys are completely fascinated with their penis from the get go and play with it any chance they get. They will figure out when it is able to retract. It's really not something you need to worry about either.

I'll just put it bluntly:

There is NO good reason to circ your son. Period.
post #25 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn View Post
His standpoint was that he wouldn't want our son to be made fun of when he has to change in front of other boys (or feel like he can't change in front of them), or feel like he is "different", or feel insecure with his body in front of a woman.
This probably won't be an issue for the upcoming generation, because the numbers are changing, as has been mentioned.

But even if it were the norm, we wouldn't have done it. Kind of like, even if female circumcision were the norm here, we still wouldn't do it. Too many risks and probelms associated with both procedures.

As far as little boys looking like Daddy-- well, they don't, whether they're circed or not. My DH is circed, our sons are not, and it hasn't been an issue. Little boy penises just look different anyway. My little boys often walk in on me in the bathroom and ask why I look different than them! We like the answer, "everyone looks different!" No big deal!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn View Post
3. I have heard (and realize from PP that this is not true??) that it is harder to keep the area clean. I am wondering though-- when your boys get to age 5-10ish, when they really arent capable of cleaning it well themselves but it becomes uncomfortable to have mommy touching, what then? Or is cleaning not as big of a process or deal as I'm imagining?
It's really no big deal. I haven't touched my four-year-old's penis since he was out of diapers, and we have had no problems with cleanliness. Like a girl's anatomy, the inside parts are naturally self-cleaning, and the outside parts require little more than a gentle wash in soapy water. A bubble bath does the trick, no scrubbing involved! We have never had any issues or complications whatsoever from them not being circed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn View Post
1. I've heard of "botched" circs and it horrifies me.
It's a real risk (can't remember the numbers) and it IS horrifying. For one thing, it's so dangerous to perform such a procedure on such a young baby-- days-old babies' blood usually doesn't clot well. So bleeding problems are common. And even "tiny" mistakes can be a big deal-- I had one boyfriend who's circ was so tight (they removed a little bit too much skin, this is another common problem) that he had serious sexual malfunctions as a result. He couldn't last for more than a minute or two IF THAT and erections were quite painful to him. Very, very sad. At the time neither one of us realized it was circ-related. I still feel so bad for him when I think about it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn View Post
Son being unhappy that he was circed, and nothing we can do about fixing it after the fact.
This is the case with my dh. Luckily, he doesn't have a "botched" circ or anything, and neither one of us ever had an issue with he circed state until we started researching circ.

Now it is something he doesn't like to talk about at all because he loves his parents and doesn't want to feel angry at them-- they didn't know any better, just going with the flow-- but the sense of indignance he has now, that he had no say-- and will never know the pleasures of having a foreskin-- it's emotionally painful.

Like a number of men who learn about the function of the foreskin, he is now trying to do something called foreskin "restoration", which means slowly trying to stretch out the remaining skin on the shaft of the penis. If men stretch that skin out for a long enough amount of time, (years, usually using special skin-stretching devices that they wear part time) then they can get a little bit of a pseudo-foreskin back, although not with all of the functions of the original foreskin. But it has been frustrating and uncomfortable for him, this stretching process, as you can imagine. He has seen little if any progress yet.

It means SO much to us to know that our sons can make their own decisions on such a sensitive issue, instead of having that choice taken from them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn View Post
I just want to get all of the info so we can make a better decision, and can be comfortable with our choice.
I know, and that makes you a great mom.

One last thing I want to mention: one of the primary functions of the foreskin is sexual. It enhances not only the male's pleasure, but helps him to have more sexual control (not ejaculating too quickly, can last longer if he wants to, etc) which can enhance his partner's enjoyment. The male foreskin helps the female partner to achieve orgasm during intercourse in several ways. Also, purely from a comfort standpoint, the foreskin functions to maintain the woman's natural lubrication so she doesn't dry out during the act, and this makes intercourse more gentle during her "dryer" times-- like when she's breastfeeding, or close to her period, or during and after menopause.

Hope all this info helps!
post #26 of 107
I just want to chime in and say GOOD FOR YOU for asking these questions now. I found MDC briefly during my pregnancy, but sadly I never visited this board or asked these questions. Allowing my son to be circ'd was the biggest mistake of my life, something I will always regret and can never take back

It was not easy to admit that something I had agreed to was not only unecessary, but harmful and violated my child's rights. It wasn't easy to open my mind enough to see that everyone I know and everything I thought about this topic was just plain wrong. Thankfully there are many knowledgable people here who can direct you to the info you are seeking - so you can find the truth for yourself.

Best of luck to you & your little one.
post #27 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn View Post
1. I am not a boy, don't have a boy, and have never seen an uncirced penis. I don't know exact %, but I do know that most males are circed in the US. However, I do know that it is a "European" thing not to circ (my grandfather is from Germany, and I know he is not circed and that it isn't as common over there?). But the fact that most US males are has led me to assume that there must be a reason for it.
One word. MONEY!!! Imagine getting $200.00-$800.00 for a 20 minute "procedure". There is no medical reason to circ a perfectly healthy baby.
post #28 of 107
You've gotten a lot of good answers - just a few things I'd like to add:

First, "what are the risks of not circumcising" seems like an odd question, when you think about it. Do we ask what the risks of not pulling healthy teeth, not amputating healthy toes or removing healthy fingernails are? Sure, you could say that by doing these things, you reduce the risk of cavities, frostbitten toes and ingrown nails, but this is obviously an illogical reason to remove healthy body parts. When you consider the supposed "benefits" of circumcision, don't forget the price - amputation of part of the genitals. Ask yourself whether you'd have your labia removed to gain the same "benefits", and it should be clear how absurd the practice is.

Also - yes, it's basically unheard of in Europe (except among religious minorities or among the old men in England - it was briefly "trendy" there a couple generations ago). My DF is German and, as far as we know, no man among his family/friends is circumcised and none ever had any problems related to it (You're apt to hear about a lot of older men who "had to be circumcised" in the US simply because our doctors lack knowledge about the intact penis - in Europe, they would get less invasive treatment).
Ah, yeah, and regarding 5-10 year olds not being able to wash themselves - I've seen my DF shower, and it's really not a complicated process. Retract and wash - it takes seconds, and a 3 year old could do it. If he can wash his hands, he can wash his penis (really, it's more difficult for a girl to wash herself, and my 4yo manages that).
post #29 of 107
My two teenagers are intact. They're perfectly healthy. I never underestimated their intelligence when they were little; they figured out how to wash themselves quite easily.

Their father is circed. They saw him naked when they were small, and never once asked why he looked different. I think a grown man's parts look so much different than a little boy's parts, on so many levels, that the missing foreskin isn't as noticable.

My son did notice that his (circed) friend's penis "looked funny" when they were changing clothes together after swimming at age 6. So yeah, little children who aren't embarrassed easily might notice each others' junk, but I doubt that any teenager in a locker room would want to be caught gazing at another boy's meat.
post #30 of 107
I think that you just need to actually think about the absurdity of the whole thing..I mean really...

Why on earth would you cut off any part of your baby's body? It's just plain weird!
post #31 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn View Post
I have SO MANY questions!! And my reasonings for considering it are as follows:

1. I am not a boy, don't have a boy, and have never seen an uncirced penis. I don't know exact %, but I do know that most males are circed in the US. However, I do know that it is a "European" thing not to circ (my grandfather is from Germany, and I know he is not circed and that it isn't as common over there?). But the fact that most US males are has led me to assume that there must be a reason for it.
Probably 80% of American men in your age group are circumcised only about 55% are being circumcised today, but there are wide regional variations. It is in a slow decline though. It might be more accurate to say that circumcision is an American thing rather than saying not circumcising is a European thing because non-religious circumcision is practically unknown outside the US. I was also big in Australia and Canada but they started to stop doing it in the 80s and 90s respectively and the numbers are at or below 10% in those places. The reason why slight majority of males are still being circumcised today is because Drs don't actively dissuade parents as they should. It has nothing to do with being healthier or anything like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn
2. My fiance is circed, and when I even brought it up, he said "We are circ-ing him." His standpoint was that he wouldn't want our son to be made fun of when he has to change in front of other boys (or feel like he can't change in front of them), or feel like he is "different", or feel insecure with his body in front of a woman.
Well, I am an intact (not circumcised) and I can't say that I never felt like that. Whether in a locker room or with women. And just to say this before you ask, I never cared what my father looked like, he is and at the time it was a non-issue. There is a good thread that I think you should read about the circumcision and women's issue here:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1011034

The bottom line is that in the world your son will grow up in he will have peers who are also intact. Further, there is so much information out there that most boys and girls will know the difference anyway making it a non-issue. Long gone are the days where girls in the US will be utterly unfamiliar with an intact penis. Hopefully, by the time your son is in his teens circumcision will be largely stopped anyway, that is my hope.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn
3. I have heard (and realize from PP that this is not true??) that it is harder to keep the area clean. I am wondering though-- when your boys get to age 5-10ish, when they really arent capable of cleaning it well themselves but it becomes uncomfortable to have mommy touching, what then? Or is cleaning not as big of a process or deal as I'm imagining?
This is not an issue, drawing on my experience personally. When they are infants, toddlers, and even into childhood there is really no special care. Just wipe like a finger. At some point he will become retractable and if it occurs at an age where you are still bathing him you can suggest that he retracts, rinses, and replaces. You can actually mention it to him by four or five either way and if he can't do it he can't its not really a problem. If he doesn't reach that point until long after you've stop bathing him, and it does happen I couldn't until about 10 other may not until later. He will discover it on his own. Lets just say that there are other reasons to be retracting and replacing. And let me just asking kind of tongue and cheek, how hard do you think it is to get a boy to rub his penis in the shower.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn
These are my main reasons for considering it, but I do have reasons for not considering it.

1. I've heard of "botched" circs and it horrifies me.
This is a solid risk though look for a Dr or hospital staff to minimize and dismiss it. Also some complications may not be noticed until years later. Things such as tight erections from removing too much skin, poor cosmetic result, ect. If something like that occurs you proabably won't hear about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn
2. The lack of pain relief given when the circ is done, and the excuse that "they dont feel it" or "it hurts but they wont remember it." That horrifies me as well.
Quite common, but whether they feel it or not doesn't change the ethics of the procedure. There are many groups of nerves to consider. A cream may numb the surface skin but the foreskin is double layered and cream may not fully numb it and it may not numb the nerves in the glans ect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn
3. Son being unhappy that he was circed, and nothing we can do about fixing it after the fact.
This is a reasonable concern because he can never change it, not really anyway. If he is intact and wants to get circumcised he can it's not that complicated a procedure, though some people like to make it out to be. In my mind that is the only time (adulthood) that it can ethically be done (for cosmetic reasons).

Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn
I just want to get all of the info so we can make a better decision, and can be comfortable with our choice.
Please please please don't do it. It's cosmetic and not worth it. Ask all the questions you want we want you to be comfortable with leaving your boy intact.
post #32 of 107
I long for the day this is no longer a decision parents of boys will even need to make. No one has to sit around wondering what they have to cut off of their girls first thing. I always knew I wouldn't circ but I feel bad that new mommies even have to imerse themselves in this kind of decision.
post #33 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by LionTigerBear View Post
One last thing I want to mention: one of the primary functions of the foreskin is sexual.
Hope all this info helps!
Oh I can attest to that.
post #34 of 107
you got great answers here, btw congrats on your baby!!! ::

let him decide, it's not our decision to make.

I have a boy and he is intact, sooo easy to clean and no problems either

and he IS perfect!

Blessings to you!
post #35 of 107
just wanted to add that, yes, there is a reason 50% of american boys are circ'd the real question is whether or not it is a good reason.

also - while america may by 50/ 50 (which btw is not most...so he will be in good company during the time he spends naked in school) the rest of the world is something like 80% intact... so obviously there is no reason to circ since 80% of perfectly healthy men are intact.

my little story- when my doctor asked if we were circing i said no. he said 'good there is no reason to circumcise, americans only do it b/c it is covered by insurance and they don't know any better" some insurance companies are no longer covering it b/c it is cosmetic.

last thing- this will be hard on your fiance. he does not want to not circ... b/c that would be acknowledging that the foreskin is necessary, functional, and not dangerous. he is circ'd ... he has no foreskin. he wants the foreskin to be useless, harmful, and totally unnecessary,... he also wants most men to be circ's b/c he doesn't want to be lacking in some way.

there is a good chance none of that is conscious thought.. but it is there. no guy wants to think that he may be missing a key part of his penis.
post #36 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn View Post
Someone said to check out the circ video... where do I go about doing that? (are we talking an online video or one I need to get and watch at home?)
I'd love to see it.

Thanks!
haven't read every response in the thread, but i wanted to respond to this. just youtube "circumcision videos"; there are plenty! and i wanted to say, back when i was pg and before we knew we were having a girl, i started researching circ in case we had a boy. i wanted to know what we'd do.

well, i was leaning toward doing it before i saw a video of it--mostly because DH is circ'd and, like your fiance, kind of assumed his son should be as well. then i came on MDC and saw a link to some circ videos. 3 minutes into one video, i knew i could never, ever, ever do that to my child. luckily it wasn't hard to get DH on board, so if we ever do have a son, he will remain intact.

really, once you look into it, it is basically impossible IMO to decide to circ.
post #37 of 107
You have so many things to think about already. Lots of great info, and congrats on your little boy! Just wanted to say for me it has a lot to do with the fact that I view circ as an act of sexual violence. I wouln't want my dd sexually violated as an infant and I don't want my son to be either. Think about his first days out of utero being met with such violence! I can't even imagine why or how it's legal. It breaks my heart. I hope your fiancee can be talked to openly and honestly about this. Good luck and congratulations again!
post #38 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by BnInTheOvn View Post
As an infant, the skin in not retractable, making cleanliness difficult (say the Drs??) I read another post on here and got confused a little about the word "retract". It said something about the skin eventually will retract on it's own and that forced retraction can cause trauma to the area and soreness, etc. If I'm understanding this right, when does the skin become "loosened" (general term as I really do not know what I'm talking about here, lol) and able to be retracted?
I have 3 intact boys. All I did as babies was wipe the outside of their skin with a wipe if they pooped and washed them with water in the bath. Nothing could be simpler.
As for retraction...my 6yo is absolutely NOT retractable at all, my 4yo is, my 2yo mostly is (as far as I've seen him do it). The average age (not the average in the U.S. thanks to unknowledgable doctors) for retraction is 10+ years old. But sometimes it doesn't happen until after puberty. Even then, there's nothing WRONG with that.

Bottom line, it is not MY foreskin, it is my sons, and he should be allowed to make decisions about its alteration just like any other part of the body.
post #39 of 107
When you see your baby boy, you will see why you don't need to worry about cleaning. It is literally shaped like a little firehose and nothing about it looks like it should even remotely be "pulled back." I don't know what people were smoking when they came up with that one.

The foreskin is akin to the clitoral hood. Would you let anyone cut off your daughter's clitoral hood? Probably just thinking about that makes your stomach turn, right? Your son's foreskin is a healthy, functioning part of him, just like your daughter's clitoral hood.

I beg you on behalf of your unborn son - let HIM decide. It can always be cut off later if he so chooses, but can never be put back. PLEASE leave the decision of what to do with the penis up to the owner of said penis.
post #40 of 107
Hello! Congratulations on your pregnancy! It's great that you are researching this *before* your ds is born.

I'm writing from the perspective of an older woman with adult sons. I made many mistakes raising them; it's a part of parenthood. Children don't come with instructions, so often you will guess wrong when it comes to child-raising. One thing I did right, however, was to leave them intact. As adult men, they are VERY happy they have their foreskins! Nobody has any issues about their cleanliness, either--they both take daily showers. Considering that over 80% of their peers were circ'ed, they feel that they dodged a bullet.

I'm sooo glad I left them as nature made them! :
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