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After the battle is won

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

My son was born in September and is intact. When my daughter was born 6.5 years ago, I did not even know what circumcision is! I'm so thankful that I had a daughter first, or I'm sure any son I would've had would've been cut due to my lack of education.

 

Anyway -- when we found out we were pregnant (a year ago this week, actually), I brought up the subject of circumcision with my husband immediately. Since the birth of my daughter, I've done hours of reading on the subject and knew that I could never subject any son of mine to such an unnecessary and cruel procedure. He didn't really have strong feelings either way, but he is cut and his biggest argument in favor or circumcision was the locker room argument -- which I thought was ridiculous and told him as much. It may help to say that his 14 year old son is also cut, though he doesn't live with us. After I pointed him in the direction of several articles on the subject, he was fine with me having my way and leaving any future son intact. We chose not to find out what the sex of the baby was ahead of time -- and I was pleased to find a boy at our home birth 3.5 months ago! 

 

Everything has been good for the most part. However, DH's family for several weeks after our son was born, was trying to convince him to get the procedure done. His sister even told him a story about a boy she knew who went to high school with her son (19 years old) who had to transfer schools because he was ridiculed for his whole penis so much. I find this hard to believe, but whatever. Following this, my husband seemed a bit more uncomfortable with the state of our son. Adding to this was the fact that his best friend had a baby boy a month after our son was born and, of course, he was circumcised. Anytime anyone in his family asked about circumcision, he'd say "It's still being discussed." Which of course it wasn't. And it makes me kind of upset that he's not willing to just say "We've done our homework on this and it's not happening." None of my family has said a word about it one way or the other and that's the way I think it should be. I'm not sure why his family thinks they get a vote in the first place.

 

So jump to present time. Our son is 16 weeks old now, and it seems that DH has gotten somewhat passive aggressive about it. I don't know that he intends to be, but some of the things he says are just ridiculous. I seriously don't think he's ever seen an uncircumcised penis before and just doesn't understand the function. We somehow got on the subject of sex and erections of whole vs cut men and he said something to the effect of "a lot of women refer to the ridge on a cut guy." I was like -- what?? He didn't realize that the foreskin folds back during an erection exposing a penis that... looks like his. I had to show him diagrams for him to believe me. Then he says "Yeah -- well, if you have a foreskin you have to wash up right after sex. You can't just lay there like we can." Wow, okay. The other night while I was changing DS's diaper, my husband announced that he had to use the bathroom which is right next to our bedroom and loudly exclaimed "Daddy can just shake it off. He doesn't need to wipe or anything." And most recent and perhaps most disturbing -- DS has been sick with his first cold for the past week and a half. He's been pretty miserable and crabby because of it. So last night we're all laying in bed together and DH says "Hun... you know what's crazy about this? If we would've cut him, he'd be better by now." OMG!!!! I just pretended I was sleeping. I couldn't even formulate a response. Comparing chopping off a perfectly healthy and functioning part of our son's genitalia to a COLD?! 

 

*EDIT* I want to explain this part a bit better, because it seems I've been misunderstood. DH wasn't saying that being circ'ed would prevent a cold or cause it to heal faster. From how I understood him, he was saying that the time it would take to heal from a circ procedure would be less time than what it's taking for DS to recover from his cold. Sorry I don't explain myself the best at times!

 

Has anyone else had issues with passive aggression from their husband AFTER your son is already here? There have been no issues with DS's penis since birth. No raging infections or smelly discharge like everyone seems to be telling him will occur. I just don't get it. Our son is perfect. Where are these feelings coming from?!


Edited by summermommy2004 - 1/5/11 at 9:54am
post #2 of 14

Wow, I am sorry to hear that you are going through this with your husband. Couple of thoughts:

 

1. Obviously, this situation has brought up some issues for your husband, possibly/probably related to a subconscious fear that you would prefer that he was intact, too. Maybe even that *he* wishes he were intact. But rather than saying THAT, he is making passive-aggressive/sarcastic statements about how great his (circumcised) penis is, perhaps partially to convince himself!

 

So, knowing this, you have a couple of choices/things you might do -- one, try to offer up some (truthful) complimens about him/his penis/its function. I'm not suggesting that you lie, but find real opportunities to build up his self-esteem without degrading the intact penis in any way. Truth is, your husband didn't have any choice in his cut-ness, and shouldn't be held responsible for it. Like my DH, he seems unlikely to want to restore, so better to just emphasize the good aspects of your relationship together. Two, you might try to avoid making ANY comments about your son's intactness and how perfect it is. ITA with you -- it is! but just don't say it wink1.gif I have really, really struggled with this, as I have become quite an intactivist (4 intact boys!) but realized that it was hurtful to my husband to talk about it constantly. If I don't bring it up, my DH won't, for sure! Three, at some point, you might actually confront your husband in a gentle way -- perhaps he doesn't consciously realize what he's doing, and talking about it would help. I don't know your DH, so I can't hazard a guess as to how he might react, but you do, and you'll know when that moment comes (if it does). 

 

2. At some point in the future (not at 16 weeks, but at some point), your son will be able to pick up sarcastic/passive-aggressive cues and references to his status. IMHO, I would NOT allow that under any circumstances. There is no reason to say things that could harm a child's self-esteem and body image. You will have to determine if and when it becomes an issue ... if your DH gets stuck on this for a long time, you may at some point have to confront him and tell him that you will not tolerate things that undermine your son's well-being, period. If he needs to vent, he may do it to you in private, but not in earshot of your children (as your daughter and step-son are also internalizing his comments right now ... how do you feel about that?)

 

3. Regarding his family, there may be little you can do about that. You can't make your husband want to stand up to them, and his inabilty/disinterest in doing so probably reflects a long-standing balance of power/relationship structure in his family that is far beyond the scope of this (armchair psychologist's) reply.  Depending on your relationship with them, you might just say what i did to my FIL, when he asked me "how do they do circumcisions these days, anyway?" following the birth of our first son. I just said, "I have no idea. DS is intact." He was astonished, and asked, "isn't it more hygenic?" and I said, "Actually, it's not. There are no medical reasons for infant circ, and we don't do unnecessary cosmetic procedures on our kids." Period. He has never mentioned it again. I assume that somewhere along the line he researched it, decided we weren't too crazy (LOL) and that's that. If you get an opportunity and feel comfortable, try something like this dialogue (practice it first, that will help you not to forget what you're saying, or to sound undecided) to put it to rest.

 

But, at a minimum, truly, it is NONE OF THEIR CONCERN!!

 

4. The last comment about the cold and how circumcision would've cured/prevented a virus ... that one is truly baffling to me. Do you think he was trying to be "funny?" (it's not funny at all ... but I'm at a total loss as to how the two could be related) I think if my DH had said that, I would have kicked him out of our bed until he got his head on straight, but your "ignore it" approach is probably wiser and more peaceful.

 

Hang in there! Sorry this response is so long and disjointed, four little boys are very busy!!

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vachi73 View Post

 

4. The last comment about the cold and how circumcision would've cured/prevented a virus ... that one is truly baffling to me. Do you think he was trying to be "funny?" (it's not funny at all ... but I'm at a total loss as to how the two could be related) I think if my DH had said that, I would have kicked him out of our bed until he got his head on straight, but your "ignore it" approach is probably wiser and more peaceful.

 

Hang in there! Sorry this response is so long and disjointed, four little boys are very busy!!


I don't have a lot of time to reply right now, but I do want to thank you for your response. The detail really means a lot to me.

 

I do want to address the last one though -- because I fear I must've worded it badly in my original post. I don't think that DH intended his comment to mean that circumcising would've caused DS to get better faster, but that if he had been circumcised, the time it would take to heal from the circumcision would be less than the time it is taking him to recover from his cold. I hope that makes better sense.

post #4 of 14

Aha! Well, that does make it a little clearer. Whew, I was really concerned with relating the circ to his viral resistance!! ;)

 

I have no idea how long DS is taking to recover from his first virus, but I understand that even the basic "healing" from neonatal circ is at least two weeks, so I doubt that the net healing time is greater for the cold. Regardless, it is still an odd thing for him to associate it, which tells me (again, armchair psychologist!) that he is still struggling with the decision... probably along the lines of, "see, circ isn't that bad! I'm fine, and this cold is just as bad as that would've been." or something similar. Obviously not true, when you consider the lifetime effects of foreskin amputation (!!) but it sounds like it's not resolved for him. Which was clear from his prior 20 statements. ha ha

 

I wish I had better advice. I am sympathetic, and others here will be, too! I still think that trying to encourage his status, while not diminishing DS's status, will be helpful, but you may be headed for an uncomfortable confrontation. Others here will know best how to approach it, should you get to that point.

 

Hang in there!!

post #5 of 14

I would give him lots of sexual attention.  I would also gently say, "I know that our son's penis is on your mind.  If you'd like to talk about it, I am willing.  But I must ask you to not make derogatory comments to or about our son, for his sake.  There is nothing wrong with his penis, and what you are saying could hurt him."  If that doesn't work, I'd probably tell him that he needs to deal with his issues on it b/c he cannot take them out on his son.

post #6 of 14

Just give him lots and lots of affirmation. I wouldn't let those comments continue unanswered though. Just be confident that you made the right decision. He (dh) has to work the issue out, which is why he can't let it go. Circ must be the better route, in his mind, because (again, in his mind) he doesn't need to fix anything. As for recovery... that's just if the job isn't botched! As for his family, just look any detractors squarely in the eye and be confident that you are right. Easier said than done, but you don't have tobe wordy. Just shut them down. His body, his decision.

post #7 of 14

I jokingly told dh not to worry whether ds's penis looks like his because "if he's lucky, he'll be hung like daddy" That one seemed to go over well wink1.gif

post #8 of 14

my dh makes dumb comments from time to time. Stupid stuff like if ds is nakie after a bath, saying something like  "hmm.. snip snip!" @@ its obnoxious. Once he said he read somewhere that intact men have to retract in order to pee, and that would be SUCH a pain. I had 3 different thoughts. First, no they don't.. that would be a personal preference maybe, but not a requirement. 2nd, if they preferred it, I can't imagine it'd be that difficult. And last? I have to wait in long lines at crowded public places to use the bathroom, pull my pants all the way down to my knees, turn around, sit, and wipe when I'm done. And sometimes I have to wipe off the toilet seat before using it because of splatter. And somehow I survive that horror.. and I have to repeat it several times a day! Yet somehow I manage..

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galatea View Post

I would give him lots of sexual attention.  I would also gently say, "I know that our son's penis is on your mind.  If you'd like to talk about it, I am willing.  But I must ask you to not make derogatory comments to or about our son, for his sake.  There is nothing wrong with his penis, and what you are saying could hurt him."  If that doesn't work, I'd probably tell him that he needs to deal with his issues on it b/c he cannot take them out on his son.


I do think this is part of the problem. DS is 16 weeks old today and DH and I have yet to be successful in having sex. It is extremely uncomfortable for me, so we don't get very far. We have been trying a couple of times a week though and I have let DH know that I wish it were easier for me and that I look forward to being able to have that time with him again. I wonder if he takes it as an attack on his penis? I know he's told me that he feels like I don't find him attractive since we don't have sex, but I always reassure him that I want to and that it is just uncomfortable yet -- and with time and practice we'll be back to normal.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tammylsmith View Post

Just give him lots and lots of affirmation. I wouldn't let those comments continue unanswered though. Just be confident that you made the right decision. He (dh) has to work the issue out, which is why he can't let it go. Circ must be the better route, in his mind, because (again, in his mind) he doesn't need to fix anything. As for recovery... that's just if the job isn't botched! As for his family, just look any detractors squarely in the eye and be confident that you are right. Easier said than done, but you don't have tobe wordy. Just shut them down. His body, his decision.


Thanks for this. I will work on affirming him more. We've never had a problem with sex, so he's got nothing to worry about -- but he does. I don't know what it is with men and their sexual egos ;) In regards to his family, nothing has ever been said in my presence. They all work on him over the phone. As far as I know, nothing has been said in several weeks, but it just bothers me that they take such interest in DS's genitalia when my family hasn't said a single word about it. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tammylsmith View Post

I jokingly told dh not to worry whether ds's penis looks like his because "if he's lucky, he'll be hung like daddy" That one seemed to go over well wink1.gif


haha! I have actually complimented DH on his size on several occasions. He has nothing to worry about there!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiLStar View Post

my dh makes dumb comments from time to time. Stupid stuff like if ds is nakie after a bath, saying something like  "hmm.. snip snip!" @@ its obnoxious. Once he said he read somewhere that intact men have to retract in order to pee, and that would be SUCH a pain. I had 3 different thoughts. First, no they don't.. that would be a personal preference maybe, but not a requirement. 2nd, if they preferred it, I can't imagine it'd be that difficult. And last? I have to wait in long lines at crowded public places to use the bathroom, pull my pants all the way down to my knees, turn around, sit, and wipe when I'm done. And sometimes I have to wipe off the toilet seat before using it because of splatter. And somehow I survive that horror.. and I have to repeat it several times a day! Yet somehow I manage..


Yeah, I think I posted above that my DH said something about how DS will have to wipe off when he pees. I just kind of rolled my eyes. What a stupid thing to think about. And honestly, I'm not sure why he'd even think that. There's this great thing called the SHOWER in which even intact penises can be cleaned. Amazing, really. ITA with your comment about public bathrooms though. Wouldn't it be nice just to be able to wip it out and go?!

post #10 of 14


You've gotten some great responses so far.  Just wanted to add my two cents to the discussion.  My DH is intact, and this is our/his experience:
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by summermommy2004 View Post

So jump to present time. Our son is 16 weeks old now, and it seems that DH has gotten somewhat passive aggressive about it. I don't know that he intends to be, but some of the things he says are just ridiculous. I seriously don't think he's ever seen an uncircumcised penis before and just doesn't understand the function. We somehow got on the subject of sex and erections of whole vs cut men and he said something to the effect of "a lot of women refer to the ridge on a cut guy." I was like -- what?? He didn't realize that the foreskin folds back during an erection exposing a penis that... looks like his. I had to show him diagrams for him to believe me. Then he says "Yeah -- well, if you have a foreskin you have to wash up right after sex. You can't just lay there like we can."

 

DH has never jumped up right after sex to "wash up."  Haha, the whole image makes me lol.  He doesn't get infections, I don't get infections from his lack of washing, there is no more smell than previous experiences after sex with a circumcised man.  I am (about 50% of the time) the one who jumps up after sex.  Not for washing, for urinating to stave off UTIs.  I actually have only had one UTI in my life, and I was with a circumcised man at the time, but it was a RAVING painful UTI that came on very very quickly - a matter of hours.  I probably don't even need to get up to pee, but I usually do anyway.

 

FWIW, I have only been with one man who ALWAYS jumped up after sex, and it really was to wash up.  He was circumcised.

 

Wow, okay. The other night while I was changing DS's diaper, my husband announced that he had to use the bathroom which is right next to our bedroom and loudly exclaimed "Daddy can just shake it off. He doesn't need to wipe or anything."

 

I have seen my DH urinate more times than I wish to admit.  lol.gif   He never wipes anything after urinating.  (He always raises the seat, so no issues there, haha).  He makes two or three small "milking" motions after the stream is finished, replaces the foreskin, and that's that.  So fascinating the images people come up with regarding the intact penis!

 

I would also be uncomfortable with denigrating statements about my son's intact penis in front of either of my children, if I were you.  Even if he doesn't understand yet, your daughter does, and she is forming opinions about intact penises based on his comments.  I would try to stop that from happening if it were me.

post #11 of 14

Your husband is a victim of circumcision.  To agree to leave your son as he was created is a constant reminder to your dh that he isn't.  Put yourself in his place.  How would you feel if you discovered that you had genital amputative surgery, that you have lost part of yourself that you should have?  He is going through the discovery of this information and processing it the best way he can at the moment.  He was not protected at his most helpless and vulnerable time by the people who were tasked with that job.  I am sure his parents love him and that they would never knowingly have him harmed.  There is much ignorance now, it was only worse when your dh was born.  It must be a conflict for him to know that this was done to him by loving people.  Making a different choice for your son implies that circucision is unnecessary at best and damaging and wrong at worst.  As a victim of it, it's difficult to reconcile.  I think your husband will need time to come to terms with this.

It's not appropriate for him to make comments in the presence of ds and hopefully you can convince him of that so that he stops.  In the meantime, I'd suggest you be as gentle to him as you can.

post #12 of 14

Many men have a hard time accepting what was done to them. However, he is not educated enough if he is making comment about having to wash after sex and not being able to shake off. The fact that he didn't know foreskin retracts proves that he is not informed. I would provide him with information, that he can read and deal with on his own. What is foreskin? What is its purpose? What does it do? He needs to deal with his circumcision, in order to do that he needs to understand what happened to him. He needs to learn about the anatomy and function of the foreskin. What is the frenulum, mucosa and ridged band? 

 

If I were you I would print out a labeled diagram of an intact penis both flaccid and erect. Then provide definitions for the parts (like at the bottom of this page). Also include an explenation of how they work. You could also provide pictures of parts like the frenulum. This will allow him to fully understand the function and purpose of the foreskin which will allow him to see your sons natural penis in a different light.

 

The following is an explanation I have been working on-

 

 

The foreskin allows the skin to glide with the erect penis instead of becoming tight; this gliding action allows males and females to connect without friction.  Like your eyelid, when you close your eye and rub your finger over it, it moves with your finger and there is no friction but if you hold your eyelid tight and try it there is friction.

 

The foreskin protects the head of the penis. It prevents the head from drying out and protects it from rubbing against clothing, which can slowly desensitizes it. The penis head is naturally covered by moist mucosa tissue of the foreskin, not skin; the wetness is essential for optimum health. Removal of the foreskin by circumcision results in a change in the appearance of the head. Without the foreskin, the head is exposed to the outer environment and dries out. The color changes from a red-purple to a light pink in Caucasians and the texture changes from a glossy finish to a matte finish and becomes dull rather than shiny. With the drying out the head develops several extra layers of skin, which may deaden sensation.

 

  The foreskin removed during circumcision contains roughly 20,000 nerve endings.  So what is foreskin anyways? Foreskin- is a retractable double-layered fold of skin and mucous membrane that covers the head of the penis when the penis is not erect. The outside of the foreskin is a continuation of the skin on the shaft, but the inner foreskin is a mucous membrane like the inside of your eyelid or mouth, that’s how it keeps the head moist. When the member is resting the inner foreskin (mucous membrane) would be touching the head while the outer layer would protected it. Smooth muscle fibers keep the foreskin close to the head but make it highly elastic. The ridged band isthe transitional area from the outer to the inner surface of the foreskin. Obviously this would be what you are looking at when you look at the tip of a sleeping natural penis. . Meissner’s corpuscles- is a type of nerve ending in the skin that is responsible for sensitivity to light tough. In particular, they have the highest sensitivity when sensing vibrations. The quantity of Meissner's corpuscles on the fused smooth mucosa on the inner foreskin decline with age, but not on ridged band.

 

When a penis is intact and erect the frenulum will show. The frenulum is the membrane attaching the foreskin to the head and shaft of the penis.The foreskin is attached to the head with the frenulum, which helps return the foreskin over the head. Wondering what a frenulum looks like, lift up your tongue and look at what is attaching your tongue to your mouth. The inner foreskin and frenulum are the most sensitive areas of the entire penis and are richly endowed with nerves. Often only a trace of the frenulum is left after circumcision, if it is not entirely removed. Many circumcised men consider it their G-spot only because their G-area which consists of the rigged band and frenular delta have been removed. The frenular delta is a triangular area of mucosa under the penis head who’s top is the frenulum, whose sides are the ridged band and whose base is the junction between the inner and outer zone of the foreskin. 

 

frenulum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The membrane attaching the foreskin to the glans and shaft of the penis (at the ventral midline, just proximal to the meatus). It is richly endowed with nerves. Often only a remnant of the frenulum is left after circumcision, if it is not also removed. Many circumcised men consider it their "G-spot" - but only because their "G-area", the ridged band and frenular delta, has been removed. (L. fraenulum = little bridle pl. frenula) There are also frenula under the tongue and elsewhere."  

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would also encourage you to read articles written by men about their experience accepting their circumcision. Communication is key, talk about it. Let him know that you love him just the way he. However, you cannot ignore the hostile comments he is making towards your son. I believe if he fully understood your sons anatomy he would not make such terrible comments and would be better able to deal with his own issues. If the comments do not stop ask him why he is being hostile and inferior towards his own infant sons penis, he may not even realize he feels that way.

 

"When my mother said that little boys should look like their fathers and brothers; it hurt.  Although, it doesn’t bother my son in the slightest, it does remind me that I am not whole.  It’s hard to ignore the scar." http://www.thewholenetwork.org/3/post/2010/10/manhood-cut-confessions-of-a-circumcised-dad.html


Edited by JulianneW - 1/6/11 at 10:08am
post #13 of 14

I'm sorry your husband is having a tough time with this.  I would imagine it's a long journey to realize your penis doesn't have all the parts it came with, and to come to terms with that.  You've gotten a lot of great advice.  I definitely second that you need to make it clear to DH that you're happy with his body.  I think that may be where the underlying tension is coming from. 

 

If you haven't already read this, please do: http://www.udonet.com/circumcision/vincent/vulnerability_of_men.html

 

Re: cleanup after sex and peeing, DH is intact and he doesn't generally wash after sex.  I usually do, but after some cuddle time.  Girls get so much messier anyway!  He shakes off when he pees (he retracts, pees, shakes and replaces; he does have a long foreskin) and it really has never been a big deal in any way, his whole life.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thank you to everyone for your responses! I'm hoping that hubby will be able to come to terms with what was done to him, eventually. For now it just seems that he's got to convince himself that his genitals are superior to make himself feel better. It's awful that he even feels the need to defend them. I obviously have no issue with their current state :) It's tragic that anything was done to his genitalia in the first place. 

 

I will be taking some time to look through the links I've been provided with and will be listening for any further degrading comments from DH. If I hear anything more, I will be (gently) confronting him about it. I don't want it to continue into a time when DS will actually be able to understand. One of DH's biggest concerns with leaving DS intact was the locker room argument... I wonder if he knows at the moment he's no better with some of his commentary!

 

Anyway -- I really appreciate everyone's responses. If anyone has anything else to add, I'd love to hear it. 

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