Talk to me about circumcision...why or why not??? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey gals,

I thought if anyone would know about the pro's and con's of circumcision, it would be people here! This is our first experience ever having to contemplate this decision, since its our first boy. That's the great thing about girls is we don't have to think about it at all! But now with a little boy coming, I know it is a HUGE decision. (no pun intended!)

DH wants to have him circ'd. DH is circ'd himself. He says "God commanded it in the Old Testament". My sister, a mother of three boys, says its healthier because its easier to clean, and that if problems come from not being circ'd its really horrible to deal with later in life. But then again, my dad is not circ'd and he's done just fine. One of my best friends has five sons (plus one daughter). Her oldest two boys were circ'd, then they chose to not circ the last three. She says her older boys (now 15 and 13) are actually mad that their parents did that to them as babies.

I really don't know anything about it. Not only do I not have any sons (until now), I also have no brothers. So its really not been an issue in my life. But, when I was 14 I spent a day working in the hospital nursery as a part of a school project. I got to watch it being done to a little boy. I remember him being strapped to a little table (literally), was totally naked (and cold I'm sure!) and screamed and screamed when the procedure was done. My heart just broke for him.

I'm really leaning towards NOT getting my baby boy circ'd. It just rubs me the wrong way...especially in light of the fact that we're trying to do things as naturally as possible with the home birth and less medical interventions this time around.

So....clue me in....the good, the bad, and the ugly! TIA for any help!!
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#2 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 12:24 PM
 
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I wouldn't do it. There is a huge thread on circ on here check that out. Also watch to video on nocirc.org website. It is only about 15 minutes and very informational with out being over the top. It is what I have all my childbirth students watch. And just so you know how they circ now is completely different then how it was done in the old testament. My dh's family is Jewish and we still didn't circ our boys. This is one topic where research really does make a big difference.

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#3 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 12:26 PM
 
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These discussions usually get moved to the Case Against Circumcision forum here.

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#4 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 12:31 PM
 
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Ds was not supposed to be circed at all they wrongly did so at the hospital (and not this bean will not be born there!) I would post this on the circ forum you'll get wonderful replies there

In my case with Ds he had MAJOR problems they for one when they did it they made it so his (not sure the proper name so forgive me) "hole" is way to small and would seal up he was unable to urinate and I needed to add patroleum jelly on it and seperate it so the urine was able to pass he went to a uroligist and when they cathed him they needed to use a premie cath at the age of 1 1/2 the issue has passed in the last two years but still things go wrong in nessasary surgeries and this is a non nessasary surgery IMO it is mutilation and I feel so sorry for my Ds every single day. It is not easier to clean that is bull and I personally think it is more sanitary to keep the foreskin it is there for a reason!

But as I said before try the circumcision board on here they are so helpful

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#5 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 12:53 PM
 
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Check out the circumcision board. There is so much information there. My DH was and is so upset with his Mom about it still. He has had a really hard time forgiving her for it. So we decided not to circ DS. We got some flack at first but also a lot of support. The new testament has a lot to say about circumcision not being necessary as well. And I second what was previously said about a different way it was done.
I knew that I wouldn't circ my son, but when I found out that in many places in the US it is much more common for little boys to not be circ'd I knew that if he was in the minority somewhere it should be with the non circ'd. I can't imagine being one of the only circ'd boys in the locker room. That would feel horrible, I would imagine.
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#6 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by completebeginnings View Post
I wouldn't do it. There is a huge thread on circ on here check that out. Also watch to video on nocirc.org website. It is only about 15 minutes and very informational with out being over the top. It is what I have all my childbirth students watch. And just so you know how they circ now is completely different then how it was done in the old testament. My dh's family is Jewish and we still didn't circ our boys. This is one topic where research really does make a big difference.
Wow, THANK YOU!!! This pretty much sums up what I already knew. I still nearly cried watching the baby having it done, and thinking about the psychological effects on him. I'm going to have my DH watch the no-circ video, along with a few others found online.
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#7 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 01:04 PM
 
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Hey gals,

I thought if anyone would know about the pro's and con's of circumcision, it would be people here! This is our first experience ever having to contemplate this decision, since its our first boy. That's the great thing about girls is we don't have to think about it at all! But now with a little boy coming, I know it is a HUGE decision. (no pun intended!)

DH wants to have him circ'd. DH is circ'd himself. He says "God commanded it in the Old Testament". My sister, a mother of three boys, says its healthier because its easier to clean, and that if problems come from not being circ'd its really horrible to deal with later in life. But then again, my dad is not circ'd and he's done just fine. One of my best friends has five sons (plus one daughter). Her oldest two boys were circ'd, then they chose to not circ the last three. She says her older boys (now 15 and 13) are actually mad that their parents did that to them as babies.

I really don't know anything about it. Not only do I not have any sons (until now), I also have no brothers. So its really not been an issue in my life. But, when I was 14 I spent a day working in the hospital nursery as a part of a school project. I got to watch it being done to a little boy. I remember him being strapped to a little table (literally), was totally naked (and cold I'm sure!) and screamed and screamed when the procedure was done. My heart just broke for him.

I'm really leaning towards NOT getting my baby boy circ'd. It just rubs me the wrong way...especially in light of the fact that we're trying to do things as naturally as possible with the home birth and less medical interventions this time around.

So....clue me in....the good, the bad, and the ugly! TIA for any help!!

Congratulations on the impending birth of your son!


Cleaning an uncircumcised penis is not harder than cleaning a circ'd one. In fact it is easier. You don't have to do anything special with it at all. You clean it like you would a finger.

I have two intact boys. They have had no foreskin related ailments to date .

Circumscision can interfere with a successful breastfeeding relationship. Studies have shown that babies who are exposed to pain meds early in life have a lower tolerance to pain later on. For some, this is a completely necessary risk, but circ is just not necessary.

I wouldn't do it, personally. I think it is unnecessary.

As for the bible reference, there are a lot of things that God supposedly commanded in the Old Testament that modern Christians no longer adhere to. We (well, many of us) no longer require women to keep their heads covered or shaven. We no longer require that a man cleanse his saddle if he's recently had an emission of semen. We no longer consider women unclean after childbirth and disallow her to enter a place of worship for 40 days (longer if you have a girl IIRC). I don't see how circumscision is any different.

Mama to Thing 1 and Thing 2.
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#8 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 01:49 PM
 
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I wouldn't do it, personally. I think it is unnecessary.
This is how I feel about it, as well. Dh is not circ'ed and hasn't had any issues with not being so, so if we have a son I see no reason to have it done.
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#9 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 02:28 PM
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http://www.circumstitions.com/Itsaboy.html

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#10 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 02:32 PM
 
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I wouldn't do it. I spent years learning everything I could about circumcision and it will happen to a child of mine over my dead body. I have not been blessed with a son yet, but since we didn't find out what gender my girls were I made sure to learn as much as I could so I could defend my decision to family members and friends.

I want to address a common argument for circumcision... the argument that the son should "match" his father - so if a father is cut, so should the son be and if the father is intact, then there's no reason to circumcise the son. This argument is false. My dh is intact and his father is circumcised. My dh is extremely grateful to his father for leaving him intact and never had any issues about not "matching" - especially since baby penises really look nothing at all like adult penises regardless of circumcision status.

When dh was tiny, he only noticed the size and hair differences. Once he was old enough to retract his own foreskin (around age 5) he just assumed that his father wore his pulled back all the time. He was appalled when he learned that his father had actually had part of his penis amputated!

An article that examines the psychological reasons circumcised men want to circumcise their sons can be found here: http://www.udonet.com/circumcision/v...ty_of_men.html It is an article for YOU to read, not your husband, but it might help you understand why your husband might be so insistent on circumcising his son(s).

As for the Biblical argument I highly recommend that you read with your husband the passages in Galatians chapter 5. Particularly verses 2-6

My husband has never had any issues from being intact (nor have I any complaints ) and the vast majority of my friends have left their sons intact and none of them have had any problems either. Do check out the Case Against Circumcision forum (it's temporarily closed right now) when you get a chance and feel free to ask any questions!

Best wishes to you!

mama to two girls and due in November!
: Circumcision can never be undone :
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#11 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 03:40 PM
 
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There's some evidence that circumcision reduces the spread of STD's, including HIV. However, it's nowhere near as effective as CONDOM USE and IMO does not justify cutting off a body part, ESPECIALLY not of a baby boy who can't consent to it.

The bottom line for me is that I'm not willing to have a medically unnecessary surgery performed on my newborn, male or female.

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#12 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 04:04 PM
 
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There's some evidence that circumcision reduces the spread of STD's, including HIV..
This has actually been debunked. All you need to do is look at the statistics that the US has the highest circumcision rate and the 3rd highest HIV transmission rate (as well as one of the highest rates of STD transmission in the world) and Finland, with the lowest circumcision rate has the lowest rates of both.

In this study:

Weiss GN, Sanders M, Westbrook KC. The distribution and density of Langerhans cells in the human prepuce: site of a diminished immune response? Isr J Med Sci 1993;29(1):42-3.

They show that the lack of Langerhans cells can diminish the body's ability to fight off viral invaders. Those cells are lost in circumcision.

Here is another study:

http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v13/n3/abs/nm1541.html

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#13 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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Because the foreskin belongs to the baby. The baby cannot give consent to surgery. End of story.
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#14 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 04:08 PM
 
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Because the foreskin belongs to the baby. The baby cannot give consent to surgery. End of story.
: Is there any other body modification you would consider for a newborn of either sex?

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#15 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 05:04 PM
 
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We're not doing it, but if it's an important religious issue for your husband (you mentioned he quoted scripture), then it's definitely worth talking about. The Galatians verses someone mentioned are a great find though (though maybe not effective if he's Jewish).

As for me, I'm not for circumcision (and all the reasons why are probably outlined in much greater detail in the circ forum).

Mom to DD Nov 2009,
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#16 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 06:15 PM
 
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This has actually been debunked. All you need to do is look at the statistics that the US has the highest circumcision rate and the 3rd highest HIV transmission rate (as well as one of the highest rates of STD transmission in the world) and Finland, with the lowest circumcision rate has the lowest rates of both.

In this study:

Weiss GN, Sanders M, Westbrook KC. The distribution and density of Langerhans cells in the human prepuce: site of a diminished immune response? Isr J Med Sci 1993;29(1):42-3.

They show that the lack of Langerhans cells can diminish the body's ability to fight off viral invaders. Those cells are lost in circumcision.

Here is another study:

http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v13/n3/abs/nm1541.html

There is a fairly recent study that confirms that circumcised males are less likely to transmit HIV and Herpes. However, since we don't live in Africa and have widespread access to condoms, I find this particular study irrelevant to North American society.

Mama to Thing 1 and Thing 2.
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#17 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 06:19 PM
 
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I find this particular study irrelevant to North American society.
ITA - It's just a reason I have been hearing A LOT lately for cutting up little boy's genitals..thought I would nip that one in the bud

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#18 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 06:33 PM
 
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The Bible doesn't command circ. There are several passages stating that baptism has taken the place of circumcision. In the new testament, Acts chaper 15 is all about circumcision.

CPST & mom

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#19 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who has chimed in on this topic. It is something very very important to both DH and I. And just to clarify, neither of us are Jewish. We are of a Christian faith (LDS). However, I think DH hasn't really researched it thoroughly enough and for some reason is hung up on whatever is in the Old Testament and hasn't given much consideration to the New Testament...I think that is just an "excuse" (if you will) for him wanting his son to look like himself.

All of your experiences and links to other places has given us a great deal to discuss, which I am actually looking forward to. I honestly don't think it will be too hard to have DH come to the same conclusion on his own (to leave our son intact), especially once he can research it out as well as talk to our friends (that I mentioned in my original post).

Thanks again!
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#20 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 07:20 PM
 
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Here is information relating directly to the LDS church. You can also just google "LDS church and circumcision" and you'll find tons of info.

CPST & mom

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#21 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 07:32 PM
 
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I personally don't care whether a man is circed or not.....it's HIS penis....which is exactly why it is his choice to make. If it's an issue for your DS when he is older, he can make their choice to do it. Simple as that.
My DH wanted our future son (if we have one) to be circed but DH didn't realize that he had a very, very "loose" circ done so he still has foreskin that completely covers the head of the penis. When I showed him what a "real" one looks like he backed off.

Blessed with two BEAUTIFUL little girls: Kylie (09/06) and Maggie (4/09) :
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#22 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 08:05 PM
 
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IN regards the Christian view on circumcision , they seem to be largely against it. Jesus was supposed to replace all the old laws. Here is a good page to look at:
http://www.noharmm.org/christianparent.htm
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#23 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 09:53 PM
 
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As a Jew my opinion is this, if one is not Jewish, why do it? There really isn't any reason to circ aside from a religious obligation.

If you are Jewish, it's no one's business but yours and God's if you don't. Your son can make the decision on his own when he comes of age if that is what you are comfortable with.

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#24 of 45 Old 05-16-2009, 11:19 PM
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I think Carter's pediatrician sums up the cleaning (or lack there of) issue perfectly: "Well, we don't pull our teeth just because we have to clean them, so why the foreskin?"

Rebecca, mama to Carter Elliot , 06 November 07, Holden Oliver, 10 November 09, and Harper Lucinda Amelie, 26 September 11 and someone new, coming at the end of September 2013.

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#25 of 45 Old 05-17-2009, 01:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Shanti_Mom View Post
I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who has chimed in on this topic. It is something very very important to both DH and I. And just to clarify, neither of us are Jewish. We are of a Christian faith (LDS). However, I think DH hasn't really researched it thoroughly enough and for some reason is hung up on whatever is in the Old Testament and hasn't given much consideration to the New Testament...I think that is just an "excuse" (if you will) for him wanting his son to look like himself.

All of your experiences and links to other places has given us a great deal to discuss, which I am actually looking forward to. I honestly don't think it will be too hard to have DH come to the same conclusion on his own (to leave our son intact), especially once he can research it out as well as talk to our friends (that I mentioned in my original post).

Thanks again!
My DH was originally appalled at the idea of not circing. Since he was. In a way he had to come to terms with the violation that happened to his body before he was willing to see that he needed to protect our future children. I don't know if that makes any sense? I haven't read the article about the mens thoughts on it yet, but am excited to. Maybe that will help you as well!
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#26 of 45 Old 05-17-2009, 01:45 AM
 
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Shanti_Mom, as another LDS mom, and one who *really* had to fight it out with my DH about whether or not to circ our 2yo, I really feel for you.
Rather than type everything out again, I will just copy from the blog post I wrote about it:

Quote:
I've been a little hesitant to post anything on this topic, because I know members of my extended family read here, and I think that many of them disagree with me on this topic. But I was recently part of a conversation that made me realize that I should talk about this, and most especially to the people I care about.
My baby son is intact. That means that his body is precisely as God made it--we did not cut off part of his penis. Circumcision may be common, but so was the black plague and smallpox. Just because something is common doesn't mean it's good or right. I don't like to make any kind of major decision without doing the research--so I did it. I studied from sources like the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and so on. Sure, there are a lot of emotionally-charged hotheads out there preaching against circumcision, but there is a lot of careful, logical information as well. And it all says the same thing--there is no good reason to circumcise unless your God requires it. The only faiths I'm aware of that call for circumcision are Islam and Judaism--so members of those faiths will need to come to their own decisions. However my own faith [LDS] has scriptures which are blatantly against circumcision (Moroni 8:8 Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.) SO, there is no good reason for me to cut my son.

There are many arguments in favor of routine circumcision, but none of them hold water. I'll just run over the ones I hear the most:
1) Looking like Dad--so, if my baby's nose doesn't look like mine, shall I get him a nose job? Shall I get him color contacts if his eyes are a different shade than mine? Really, this is the most stupid reason ever for a cosmetic surgery on a baby
2) Looking like other boys--well, circumcision rates in this country are on the decline...somewhere around 50% at present, with various areas ranging from 35% to a high of about 65%. Most of the rest of the world (with the middle east as the exception) has MUCH lower rates.
3) Risk of penile cancer--penile cancer is very rare. Even among high risk groups, studies indicate that the difference in penile cancer rates between circumcised and intact men is something like 0.03%. Not statistically significant. In other words, it's too small to be considered evidence or 'proof' of anything...
4) Hygiene--underneath the foreskin is something called smegma. It is a lubricant-not unlike the fluids which women have in their genital regions. It not only lubricates, but also works much like snot--it catches anything that may get in there and flushes it out. So, actually, the intact penis is MORE hygienic than the circumcised one.
5) Risk of infections--see #4
6) More likely to give wife infections--see #4
7) Harder to wash--um, have you ever washed a little girl? Furthermore, during childhood an intact penis is about as complicated to wash as a finger. Anybody want to cut off their fingers in an effort to make handwashing simpler? I didn't think so! And in adulthood, well, an extra two seconds in the shower to rinse in and out, and voila, cleanliness is still easy.
8) Lower risk of STDs and AIDS--well, the studies that have suggested this have not taken into account things like socio-economical status or sexual habits...they have just said oh, this man is intact or this man is circumcised, and let's see who has STDs. The studies are biased. Frankly, a little education and monogamy would solve a whole lot more than cutting off some skin.

And, in case you have heard the rumors or believed them, let me set you straight: circumcision HURTS LIKE CRAZY. Grown men get general anesthesia if they choose to have it done. Babies are lucky to get a local. And then, while they have a raw, fresh wound, they are put into snug diapers which not only rub the wound, but also expose it to urine and feces on a regular basis. Mmmmm, just what you want on a wound in the most sensitive part of your body, isn't it.

As I pointed out to my friend--I spent 9 months of pregnancy doing everything I could to protect my baby. That isn't going to change just because he's now living outside of me rather than inside. I will still protect him.

I want to make a comment for those who noticed that I use the word 'intact' rather than 'uncircumcised.' The prefix 'un-' suggests that something was incomplete. The penis was meant to be the way it is; it is not an incomplete circumcision, it is intact. I realize that there are circumcised men out there who may feel hurt at the thought that they are not the way they were meant to be. Unfortunately, that is exactly true. Generations of the blind following the blind (or the circumcised following the circumcised) have injured countless boys and men. I cry thinking of it. I wish I could restore to you what was taken without your permission...but unfortunately I cannot. All I can do is try to spread the information in the hopes of protecting future little boys. "...when you know better, you do better."

Every day when I change his diapers or bathe him, I see my son's healthy, intact body. It is just as we made him. It is just as God designed him. It is how he was born, and it is how he is meant to be. Who am I to take away his choice to be intact? Every day when I see his intactness, I remember that I chose to respect my son. It reminds me to respect everyone. I think this world could use a little more respect.

The second thing I recommend is google 'vincent bach circumcision' and find his articles...he wrote a REALLY good one to wives explaining why their husbands tend to be defensive about circ. Reading that article helped me understand how DH probably felt, and helped me find a better way to approach him about it.

~Jenni, rural frugal Alaskan, eternally married to Dragon
loving my wild things DS Wolf (12), 3 angels, DS Bear (6) & DS Eagle (3)
 

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#27 of 45 Old 05-17-2009, 02:05 AM
 
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Shanti_Mom - My DH is circ'd, and our son is not. DH was opposed to leaving him intact at first because of the religious reason you cited (and my DH is a minister!) but after much discussion it seemed to boil down to not wanting our son to "look different than the other guys in the locker room." When I showed him statistics of how many boys are being left intact now, he came around really quickly. And if DS ever wonders why he's different than Daddy, it will be easy to explain that when Daddy was born, they thought circumcising every boy was the best thing, but by the time DS came along, we had learned that it is perfectly fine and healthy to wait until the boy is old enough to decide for himself.

My brother was born at home and left intact, so I asked him about it. He said he never knew he looked different from my Dad...was never teased in the locker room...has never had a problem with infection or keeping it clean...and he's married now and very happy to have never been circ'd.

Mommy to a boy (6), girls (4&2), and our baby boy (8 months)

Missing Ashlyn 10/18/06 and Brennan 10/18/10
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#28 of 45 Old 05-17-2009, 02:08 AM
 
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One thing I did not mention in my blog post (nor mention to my DH) but which I did consider in making my choice is that intact sex is much better (for both man and woman) than circumcised sex. There are lots of links and threads (some of the links are graphic, just fyi) in the case against circumcision board... I knew that DH didnt' want to think about his unborn/infant son's future sex life, but as someone who is married to a cut man, I was thinking about DS's future wife, and based on what I've learned, wow, it's a huge difference.
(LDS sidenote here, but based on the doctrine that in the resurrection we will be "restored to our perfect form" I figure that means everybody gets their foreskins back, so if he's gonna get it back anyway, might as well just leave it there in the first place, ya know?! )
I think that the Biblical commandment was more about obedience than anything--somewhat like the commandment to sacrifice the perfect/best lamb, they were asked to sacrifice the best bit of themselves as well. However our doctrine believes that we have new commandments/sacrifices now, so circumcision is not necessary. I know LOTS of LDS families who have kept their sons intact.

~Jenni, rural frugal Alaskan, eternally married to Dragon
loving my wild things DS Wolf (12), 3 angels, DS Bear (6) & DS Eagle (3)
 

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#29 of 45 Old 05-17-2009, 02:13 AM
 
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Oh, another thing (can you tell this is a big deal to me?!) yes, DH is cut, and so is our older DS...the boys are 6 years apart and I learned some things between them. Anyway, the 2yo hasn't noticed anything about the difference, but of course the 8yo has.. He asked me about it one day, and I explained that some people feel that cutting off the foreskin is a good idea, and that when he was born we thought so too. However later on we decided that it was a better idea to let the person choose for himself, so we didnt' cut DS2s foreskin. DS1 didn't/doesn't seem bothered by it at all...and if he does at some point as he gets older, I will tell him that I'm sorry that I didn't know better then. If he's really really bothered by it I will offer to help him persue restoration if he wants to.
It's like the Maya Angelou quote: "I did then what I knew then...when you know better, you do better..."

~Jenni, rural frugal Alaskan, eternally married to Dragon
loving my wild things DS Wolf (12), 3 angels, DS Bear (6) & DS Eagle (3)
 

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#30 of 45 Old 05-17-2009, 02:48 AM
 
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His body - his choice.

I would never amputate or alter a healthy part of my daughter's body, so why would I ever consider doing that to my son? It was never a real debate in our family, my husband is circ-ed, but two wrongs don't make a right and so it was never an issue.

As others have said the STD myths have been debunked (and I've read that circ actually makes the transmission of diseases more likely because the drier nature of circ-ed penitration is more likely to cause tiny tears), it's easier to maintain (leave it alone and don't retract it), and ultimately I think the high percentage of irrectile dysfunction and need for viagra and cialis in recent years (in those older men, the first really large wave of circumsized babies in North America) speaks to the harm of the proceedure.

I also think this article The Vulnerability of Men can be really helpful.
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