just wanted to give my two cents about the dynamic of this discussion...
i think that to people who consider circumcision to be genital mutilation (category #1), they feel like they are being kind, loving, protective, advocates, etc., and standing up for the rights of children. to these folks, it's as common sense as saying "it is never okay to allow someone to beat, molest, or rape, another. it is a child's right not to have these things done to them, and it is a parent's obligation to protect them from these injuries". they don't see themselves as being "closed-minded" to the "debate" about circumcision. they choose not to circumcise precisely because they consider it an evil, a harm, to young children, done to them against their will. they don't think it's a parent's right to choose to do this to them any more than they think it's their right to harm their child in any other way. when they plead very intently with those who don't seem bothered by it, and seem angry, it is because of the fact that now, knowing what they know, it is a devastating reality to think of anyone doing this to a little baby. they consider those who would perform circumcision to be the bullies. they consider themselves to be defending the poor, helpless little babies of this behind-the-times country. because of what they know.
and i think that to people who are still considering it (category #2), they do NOT feel this way about it yet. they think (as many of us have thought at various points in our past) that it is a relatively minor decision, but one that some people feel very strongly about, not always for reasons they know a lot about. they think it's one part cosmetic, one part hygiene, one part religious relic, one part cultural norm, and a few other things, but they do not think of it as genital mutilation. the moment a thoughtful person puts circumcision in that category, they are, by definition, no longer on the fence about it.
so, there's a little bit of a problem with the communication when those in the first category are just jumping right to the "you're awful if you choose to do that to your kiddo", addressing it at the second category people, who haven't yet connected the procedure with mutilation, but who are seeking information. the fact is that you only come to feel that way about circumcision (that it is cruel) by learning everything about it that the folks in the first category know. so the best way to help people in the second category come around is to present the very information that creates that awful churning and utter disgust you feel in your stomach when you think about this happening to anyone, especially a little one, against their will. you are feeling disgust for the procedure, not the uninformed individual. it is SO easy for it to come out sounding like the latter. but i don't think it was anyone's intention. nor do i think the folks in the second category would truly want to do anything cruel.
i think if we can all understand the places from which people are speaking, we won't speak past each other in a counterproductive way. i truly can't see anyone doing anything that isn't fair (from their own point of view) in this discussion. i just see some people asking innocent questions, and others defending the very honorable belief that we must protect our children from abuse and mutilation.
will be TTC in late 2014 w/ frozen donor sperm via at-home ICI. queer, 32. DW is 41. married 10 yrs.
Thank you, Filamentary, I think that was the very point that needed to be added to this discussion!
My husband and I will not circumcise if we have a boy, but that is based on the fact that my husband is not circumcised and brought up the topic long before we even started planning for children. I come from a family that has always circumcised, and if it’s been done for a long time in a family, and there have been no serious issues or men who openly discussed a regret at being circumcised, then I can certainly see where some women would fail to see circumcision as an “evil.”
From the moment I stepped into this conversation, I understood that scathing criticism is not the way to persuade anyone to see that routine circumcision is not necessary. There are plenty of facts to support that belief, without resorting to emotional arguments, although it can certainly be hard not to let the emotional aspects of the situation not cloud any discussion on a matter such as this.
Thank you for your eloquent post in this difficult discussion!
My DS is not circed and if the new baby we expect in the next few weeks turns out to be a boy, he will not be circed either. My DH is circed and he is vocal about how much it bothers him that it was done to him without his consent. I have always found it very interesting that he blames his mother for allowing it, not his father. It is one thing that he is adamant he will never forgive her for. He loves her but really has a lot of resentment about it.
Married to my wonderful DH 5/2010, Mom to DS1 Kayden 7-14-2011 and DS2 Jakob 8-29-2013
Owned by Friesians and Drum Horses, plus the dogs, cats, rabbits and chickens
The most important delicate conversation that my midwife ever had with me and then my husband was on this topic. Before I felt strongly on it, I had never thought much about it. I fell into the "I don't have a penis what do I know" camp. My midwife and I talked and I realized that in our talking it didn't seem like something a protective parent would do (not judging but honest self reflection on my part).
She talked to my husband and I about the facts, about the myths and then said the most important thing. For any surgery it is up to the person insisting on the surgery to try their best to convince you why it's needed. Basically if my husband wanted it done he needs to research it every which way and prove to me that having surgery is better than not having surgery. Which I know in this case is not a possibility.
Fast forward a few years, and I underwent foreskin restoration. I was skeptical if it would work or not, but boy was I surprised. In short, the difference in pleasure cannot be compared. Life with a foreskin, natural or restored, is immensely better than without one. It's like watching a movie in color versus black and white. I never knew that the body could produce such glorious pleasure.
Looking back, I realize how little sexual pleasure I was receiving and how damaging circumcision was to both me and my partners. I had painful erections, premature ejaculation. Also, I hated that my girlfriends enjoyed sex more than I did. They had orgasm after prgasm, while i had three paltry seconds of glory. I became jealous. I thought they were sluts. I was angry and ignorant, but did not know why. Do you know what's worse than suffering? When you suffer, but do not know why!
The foreskin is a complex body part. It contains 20,000 sexual nerve endings. In addition, it contains many highly ennervated parts: the frenulum the frenar delta, the inner foreskin, to name but a few. These are crucial to male sexual pleasure., And here's a news flash: sex is an important part of a man's identity! Robbing him of his pleasure inevitably lowers his self-esteem. You also rob him and his future partner from fully enjoying their love for one another. You are not cutting a baby. You are cutting a man. You are hurting a family that does not yet exist. The damage done is so deep, so complex, that it boggles the mind.
I urge you to not cut your son. If he wants a circumcision, let him decide that when he is 18. Respect his body. Have mercy on this child...