I've had conversations with people about circ, and "peeled back the layers" to find that even when the health excuses, look like daddy, etc reasons are debunked, the real core of it is they are scared to death of "caring" for it.
-I was selling something on craigslist and the woman who picked it up was pregnant with her first, a girl. dd was about a year. She said she was so glad it was a girl because her sister had a boy and was circed with.. plastibell I think? and it was so creepy waiting for the ring to fall off. I of course mention that its completely unnecessary to circ and if I had a boy (and now I do! :D) I definitely wouldn't do it. She responded, "but then you have to clean it out...".. really freaked out by the concept. I told her that wasn't true and I hope I planted a seed!
-My brother's... child's mother (not his partner) was "really stressed out" about the concept of "Dealing with" an intact son. My brother consented as a compromise to leave him vax free.
-I was talking with a different brother and apparently as part of his "research" about circ (he has 3 cut boys :() he asked the parents he knew who had an intact son for their advice. "They still have to help their 8 YEAR OLD clean it!" My head pretty much exploded. I almost asked if he still helped his 6yo dd douche, or if she could manage it herself by now @@ Instead I demonstrated proper cleaning technique by grabbing a napkin and wiping my finger.
I know there have been other conversations. I probably blocked them from memory. Anyway, I really think that underneath any other excuses to circ, a lot of people, even faced with the truth that its not medically necessary, are freaked by the concept of "intact care" and would rather just cut it off. Not all people, course, I know there are people who cling to it for other reasons with a death grip, but SOME. Probably moms in particular.
Problem is, theres website after website title of "care of the intact penis" thread titles on this very forum about "intact care" and I can't help but wonder how many people might see those two words together and think "ugh, ew, I definitely do not want to even READ about cleaning out a foreskin!" From the point of view of someone who hasn't received any other good circ vs intact info (and probably plenty of misinformation) its not a far leap to assume that "care of the intact penis" at the top of an article on a website isn't going to be pleasant information to read.. and they might quit reading at the headline. Before they learn that there is NONE, aside from potentially slapping away meddling hands at WBVs!
So I'm wondering.. what can we do to make the "care" of an intact penis mainstream? Without putting that in the title! I'd love to create a pamphlet that is straight, uneditorialized FACT about circumcision, intact care, and normal development/what to expect. Something that on the surface, doesn't look anti circ, but simply letting the facts speak for themselves. Any thoughts? I've thought of writing it myself but would love some help!
It's definitely not common knowledge that you don't have to strictly clean the foreskin on a kid. I've had lots of people ask me, "But don't you have to like, clean it out and stuff?" They're always totally shocked that the foreskin is attached to the glans and has to be ripped off during a circumcision. Even an intact guy I know had NO clue that a kid's foreskin is attached. He was seriously upset that his ex had their son cut when he found out what exactly that entailed.
There are also myths about cleaning it when they're older. I was once told by a friend that she'd definitely cut any sons she had because it was sooooo dirty - that they had to SCRUB under their foreskin after sex or they'd immediately get an infection. I asked her if she scrubbed out her vagina after sex and she kind of blew me off.
I don't think a lot of people even realize what a foreskin looks like or how it works - they hear "extra flap of skin" (except that it's not a flap, it's a tube, and it's not extra, it's necessary and normal) and think it's this weird lumpy bacteria-laden swathe of flesh. I bet a lot of people have seen multiple intact penises (whether in person, in porn, whatever) and had NO idea that that's what they were looking at because they're expecting this shockingly abnormal ugly-looking thing.
Loving wife of my gamer boy Michael. Blog link in my profile!
Rachel, you've hit the nail on the head. "Fear of the unknown" is a huge factor for a lot of people. And the fact that the myths and misinformation you described is so prevalent doesn't make it any easier for us to get factual information out there. The medical community is not doing their part.
Maybe we should title intact care threads with "Intact care - there isn't any!" If nothing else, it might get non-believers and fence-sitters to look at the thread.
If the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.
This is a HUGE issue.
And even typing out a 'how to care sheet' is more work than it actually it.
It's like writing out instructions for making a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. It's incredibly easy, but by the time you are done you have a whole page to get all the basic parts and not miss a part. It also tends to be a bit unwieldy despite it's simplicity. Then people get hung up just seeing there are instructions before they read it.
I don't know the answer, but I agree this is such a huge issue- over such a NON-issue, it is frightening.
It can also be helpful to tactfully point out just how insulting it is when people talk about hygiene. They are basically saying 80%+ of the world's men have issues, or your son or husband or neighbor is unclean or would find it difficult to keep clean.
I never understand- I mean, we don't worry about our daughter's who we know will deal with menstruating one day...
Yet we freak out about a foreskin??
And, I suppose, humor can always be a good leveling tool, if you can manage it.
Dh, Joshua Rebeccaand . for Laura
This was actually part of why I had my first son circ'd.
However, now that my current son is intact and I've cleaned poop off of both I can attest that circ care is SO much harder! I even told DH (who wasn't really on board with intact originally) and he said, "Yeah, I've noticed that. You don't have to clean under all those folds."
I like that! I was thinking of making some kind of pamphlet that included (in order) What is the foreskin (and what its function is), what is circumcision (very specific, almost graphic, but uneditorialized description), How to care for it, both ways.. and there you would see the contrast. Maybe that section would be a good place for a table showing both sides! Then what to expect in the future, for both! For circ, it would involve watching for meatal stenosis, for intact it would mention normal separation symptoms (including tips on soothing any irritation from the separation) and the normal age ranges.. that kinda thing! The goal would be to not look blatantly anti circ, just have the facts speak for themselves. Oh, and a myth vs fact section at the end! Like, debunking reasons for childhood circ.