Is this really normal in the US? No circ-ing in Europe... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi, I'm from the UK and I just can't get my head around routine circumcision - it seems completely odd to me. In the UK the only boys that are circ-ed are those that are for religious reasons. I have had plenty of partners, and only seen one circumcised penis in my life. And that was wierd. Sex is way harder than if the foreskin is there! That was a US guy by the way.

I am just shocked that this goes on in a routine way to be honest, and I don't really understand the justification for it.

It is the same in the rest of Europe as well. It just seems like a really barbaric and horrific practice to me.
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#2 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 10:55 AM
 
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Hi, I'm from the UK and I just can't get my head around routine circumcision - it seems completely odd to me. In the UK the only boys that are circ-ed are those that are for religious reasons. I have had plenty of partners, and only seen one circumcised penis in my life. And that was wierd. Sex is way harder than if the foreskin is there! That was a US guy by the way.

I am just shocked that this goes on in a routine way to be honest, and I don't really understand the justification for it.

It is the same in the rest of Europe as well. It just seems like a really barbaric and horrific practice to me.
Lamentably it is still relatively common. There is something about circumcision that prevents parents from really thinking hard about it, once it's normalized to them anyway. In fact, until people started getting onto the Internet and such it was so common that many thought all boy/men everywhere had to be circumcised. Doctors here don't help the situation, thought they should know better. Fortunately, it is on a slow decline but there are many who still think intact boys and men can't keep themselves clean or will be disease prone it's even difficult to wrap your head around that attitude when you live here.
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#3 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 11:01 AM
 
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Yes, it is still routine here (numbers are dropping though). It is barbaric, disturbing and just plain wrong. It's hard for me to understand it and I was raised with it being the norm.

OUR DAUGHTERS ARE PROTECTED SHOULDN'T OUR SONS BE TOO! :
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#4 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 11:10 AM
 
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Unfortunately, yes

Far too many people here consider being circumcised as "normal" instead of the other way around. Other than religious purposes, baby boys are routinely circumcised within a day or so after birth because so many people here are convinced that the foreskin is this unhygenic, smelly, unattractive, illness and disease causing "flap of skin" or "extra hanging skin" that is just waiting to make the baby's penis fall off at any given moment. Ok, perhaps that last part was exaggerating a tiny bit, but yes, they are convinced that leaving an infant boy intact is basically nothing but trouble. They are also convinced that if it isn't done as an infant, that the majority of all males will HAVE to be circumcised later on in life - which is simply untrue.

Aside from faulty medical reasons, there's the, "well dad is circumcised and the son MUST look like his dad" argument.. which is obviously rediculous. And "the boys in the locker room will laugh at him!".
And many other equally rediculous claims.

You are right.. it's most definitely odd, barbaric, and utterly horrific

It is changing, though... slowly.

Wife and mother to 2 kiddos - 17 yr old DS jammin.gifand 13 yr old DD energy.gif.. and a cat that thinks he's a dog dizzy.gif
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#5 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 11:20 AM
 
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I'm 28. Until 6 months ago I had never seen an intact penis. I thought it was necessary!

And we didn't circ, btw. Most people have thought nothing of it.

Mama to Nov '08 and June '10
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#6 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 11:22 AM
 
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For some reason, there are these bizarre myths that keep circulating in the US. I dont get it. what every one told me when I had DS (including my then 18 year old SIL....)
-It doesn't hurt them
-They won't remember it
-It's jsut a useless piece of skin
-If you don't do it, it's really hard to clean

We left DS intact because
-Don't tell me cutting off the end of someone's penis doesn't hurt without geneal anesthesia
- Subconsciously, they most certainly DO remember it
-It's NOT useless, its a very IMPORTANT part of the anatomy
-WTF, this is the easiest thing to clean on his entire body!

I do not understand why these myths keep perpetuating. It makes no sense to me. All it took was like three minutes of reading the function of the foreskin for me to go "No WAY are we taking that from our son." Since he is cut, DH was a harder sell. He figured his sex life was fine, no big deal. Even for my rather hard nosed partner, it was just a few minutes of reading and he was as horrified by this as I was. So I just don't get how people could see the information and still choose to do that to their sons. I pray for a day when RIC is legally considered child abuse, because that's exactly what it is.
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#7 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 11:33 AM
 
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Lilabet, I'm in Canada where it's not routine either.

I just can't get my head around why it is in the US. It makes no sense to me.
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#8 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 01:09 PM
 
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I'm in the UK and I had the same reaction as you, Lilabet.

I have tried pointing this out to pro circers on the internet, the fact that we don't circ here and it doesn't seem like our men have diseased penises about to drop off lol I think many of them are of the opinion that we are somehow backwards and ignorant of the "benefits" which is why we don't do it....
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#9 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 01:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lilabet View Post
Hi, I'm from the UK and I just can't get my head around routine circumcision - it seems completely odd to me. In the UK the only boys that are circ-ed are those that are for religious reasons. I have had plenty of partners, and only seen one circumcised penis in my life. And that was wierd. Sex is way harder than if the foreskin is there! That was a US guy by the way.

I am just shocked that this goes on in a routine way to be honest, and I don't really understand the justification for it.

It is the same in the rest of Europe as well. It just seems like a really barbaric and horrific practice to me.
It seems barbaric and horrific to me, too, But just as you don't seem to feel horrified by the fact that it is done for religious reasons, I guess because it is the 'usual' here, most people don't think about it much.

However, there are so many myths about the foreskin that those that are from intact norm countries can really help to dispell the myths and make intactness the norm here too.

Jessica

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#10 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 01:57 PM
 
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oh, i wanted to add, that for me, learnng that most of the world does not circumcise was a HUGE reason why I fought pretty hard to keep my son intact. It just really didn't make sense why we would do something that was painful and possbly dangerous (now I know its also damagng) to a newborn when most of the world was just fine (and there was no medical reason for it).

nak

Jessica

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#11 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 02:23 PM
 
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With each of my 3 kids one of the huge stack of papers given to me when I was being admitted to the hospital in active labor was the circ consent form. (Actually not for the 2nd one, I walked in crowning and she was already born by the time we got around to the paperwork...) The circ consent form is thrown in with the other papers like the permission to bill your insurance or whatnot. It's THAT routine. Unfortunately we did make the decision to circ our son. He's now 21 mos and I do truly regret that we did it. My husband was very insistent for religious reasons. If we have another boy I refuse to have it done. Period. He can divorce me over it for all I care. I truly wish I'd read up on it more before having my son.

When I say this to friends or other moms in our playgroup they seem horrified that I would NOT circ the next boy. It does seem like I'm an outsider for even considering it. Not in the LLL group though, there are quite a few crunchy moms there with intact boys.

So, to answer your question, OP, it's a "normal" part of the hospital birth here. Just like having your BP monitored and being told not to eat or drink anything but clear liquids while you're in labor. (Which I totally ignored every time because how can you have the energy required to give birth if you've been sipping Sprite?) My OB came around to check on all her patients that morning and told me she'd be doing circs around noon (after doing a c-section first). My DH accompanied our son and held him during the procedure. He told me that they literally had 5 baby boys all lined up in a row... the nurse removed the diaper, the OB did the circ... nurse cleaned up a bit and bandaged him, put on a new diaper... move on to next baby. It was an assembly line for circs. (The very thought makes me sick to my stomach thinking about it. Sorry to those of you with weak stomachs.) The OB was also VERY surprised that DH came with him. Our rule is that baby does NOT leave us at the hospital. One of us goes with the baby everywhere, nighttime weight checks and all.

Beth
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#12 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I do find religious circ-ing equally as bad, but it's difficult (more difficult anyway) to ever get people to change if they do something as part of their religion. I guess it is that routine circ-ing had not even ever crossed my mind as a possibility until I read this board really.

I can't comprehend really actually how it is legal. Do you think this will ever change?

Beth, that description is grim. Routine mutilation. NICE. I can see why you want to stay with your baby if this is the kind of stuff you have to protect them from.

Claire - funny you should say you think that people pro-circ might think we are backward, when I thought, upon reading about this, that the pro-circers are the backward ones!
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#13 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 04:11 PM
 
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I think this is treading too far into discussing religion/circ which is not allowed in this forum.... I just mentioned that as an analogy as to why people in the US seem to 'accept' it so easily, as it seems most intact-norm countries alow/accept religious circumcision.

It is odd that FGM is illegal and male circumcision is legal and that probably won't change here, but I see it gradually becoming only a tradition that is done for religious reasons.

Jessica

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#14 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 04:42 PM
 
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We had our first midwife appointment a few weeks and were utterly shocked to hear that circumcision is an elective...and that most insurance companies don't cover it...and it was just like cosmetic surgery.

Why would they be born with the skin if they didn't need it?????

Randi
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#15 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 04:57 PM
 
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Yep... Its completely routine. At the end of one of my OB appointments (I was in my second tri, not exactly sure how far along), my OB asked me if we wanted to circ if it was a boy. Very surprisingly though, no one asked us at all during our 5 days in the hospital. That's pretty non-typical for most US hospitals, from what I hear.

AFAIK, every little boy I know besides my DS and my nephew are circ'd. The ONLY other mom I know of that had intended to leave her sons intact wound up having a little boy with hypospadias and chordy... So when he was 18mo he had surgery to correct it and of course they used his foreskin for the surgery.

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#16 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 05:05 PM
 
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Claire - funny you should say you think that people pro-circ might think we are backward, when I thought, upon reading about this, that the pro-circers are the backward ones!
Oh, I completely agree! I did actually read that on a pro circ website once... that they view us as being backward because we don't circ.."ignorant" was the word used even. :

The thing is apparently we used to circ in the UK as well but I think it fell out of favour after a medical paper was released that stated there was no medical benefit. That and the fact that our NHS does not cover it.

I AM thankful that I do not have to worry about taking my sons to the Dr here as we don't get the whole retraction issue that so many ladies on these boards do.
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#17 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 05:05 PM
 
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yup, it's completely normal... I have only ever seen 2 intact penises irl.

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#18 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 05:07 PM
 
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yup, it's completely normal... I have only ever seen 2 intact penises irl.
Me too. And they are babies -- my son and my nephew.

Carly [29] + DH [27] + DS [9]

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#19 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 05:11 PM
 
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Me too. And they are babies -- my son and my nephew.
These were both adult men...

but one of 'em was born on a commune in California. And named Zen.

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#20 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 05:18 PM
 
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yup, it's completely normal... I have only ever seen 2 intact penises irl.
I'd say its common but certainly not normal.
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#21 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 05:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lilabet View Post
I do find religious circ-ing equally as bad, but it's difficult (more difficult anyway) to ever get people to change if they do something as part of their religion. I guess it is that routine circ-ing had not even ever crossed my mind as a possibility until I read this board really.

I can't comprehend really actually how it is legal. Do you think this will ever change?

Beth, that description is grim. Routine mutilation. NICE. I can see why you want to stay with your baby if this is the kind of stuff you have to protect them from.

Claire - funny you should say you think that people pro-circ might think we are backward, when I thought, upon reading about this, that the pro-circers are the backward ones!
Male circumcision, like female circumcision, is an incredibly complex social problem which is perpetuated in essentially the same ways, through myths, superstitions, and exaggerations. All of which are typically disguised as 'cultural'.

One of the most interesting things is that while other parts of the world, which performed circumcision fairly regularly at one point, have largely abandoned it, while doctors in the US strain to find the slimmest of advantages to continue to justify it. There are even today still people in the US who believe it must be done, that every boy on earth must have this done for some vague reason which they don't really know.
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#22 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 06:07 PM
 
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I'd say its common but certainly not normal.
You knew what I meant.

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#23 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 09:58 PM
 
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I have only ever seen 2 intact penises irl.
I've only seen three. One Canadian, one German, and one guy who was born at home and named "Govinda".

I've actually met people who thought it was illegal not to circumcise a boy - and when I was pregnant with my first 9 years ago, I wasn't sure if it was legal, either (although I was determined not to anyway).
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#24 of 73 Old 12-14-2008, 10:18 PM
 
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I'd say its common but certainly not normal.
Yeah, normal is the intact penis.

Sadly most people from the US don't question circ. 3000 boys a day are victims of this barbaric human rights violation. :_( How we can recognize it as a human rights violation for the women in Africa and not for our boys here in the US is beyond me.
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#25 of 73 Old 12-15-2008, 09:00 AM
 
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Oh, yes, lilabet--circumcision is so common here that when I tell people that circ. isn't necessary, they look at me as if I had two heads. It is just so ingrained that it HAS to be done. There is actually a *fear* of the foreskin, that if a man has one, he'll develop cancer of the penis and it will fall off. I wish I was kidding. The ignorance is astounding here in the Midwest.

I see you're from the UK. The Midwest is the common term for the north central part of the U.S. This is the part of the country with the highest circumcision rate.
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#26 of 73 Old 12-15-2008, 01:40 PM
 
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I have never seen a circed penis irl. I guess that comes from being Canadian. Or perhaps I'm just not experienced enough. But I count myself lucky. I don't know anyone irl who has circed their baby.

Wife to DH, Mom to my Intact Boys DS1: Born 02 Pain Med Free Hospital Birth, BF'ed for 9 Months, Partially Vax'd DS2: Born 06 via UC, BF'ed 3 years 10 months, and UnVax'd
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#27 of 73 Old 12-15-2008, 05:43 PM
 
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The thing is apparently we used to circ in the UK as well but I think it fell out of favour after a medical paper was released that stated there was no medical benefit. That and the fact that our NHS does not cover it.
I believe there was actually a medical paper that tracked deaths/complications related to circ that facilitated the end in the UK.

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#28 of 73 Old 12-15-2008, 07:14 PM
 
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I believe there was actually a medical paper that tracked deaths/complications related to circ that facilitated the end in the UK.
Yes, Gardner 1949 I believe.
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#29 of 73 Old 12-15-2008, 07:19 PM
 
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These were both adult men...

but one of 'em was born on a commune in California. And named Zen.

Carly [29] + DH [27] + DS [9]

TTC my second and his first!

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#30 of 73 Old 12-15-2008, 08:02 PM
 
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I've actually met people who thought it was illegal not to circumcise a boy - and when I was pregnant with my first 9 years ago, I wasn't sure if it was legal, either (although I was determined not to anyway).

I have to say, that is absolutely the strangest comment I have EVER heard on this topic.

Why on earth would ANYONE think NOT performing cosmetic surgery on a baby would be illegal. I dont mean to be rude to you when I say this. I just have never heard anyone say this before, and it baffles me how anyone could believe its true. (in the latter sentence I am referring to the people you wrote about)
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