To cut or not to cut: Did you or did you not circumcise your son? And why or why not?

I won’t say what choice we made with our son, 11 years ago.

At this stage in his life, that’s his business.

However, I continue to be interested in the debate, which heated up recently with news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will release a report recommending that all baby boys born in the United States be circumcized to reduce the spread of HIV.

A friend of ours, who is not happy that infant boys are subjected to this procedure, alerted us today to his recent participation in that debate, via Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish blog on Atlantic.com, and to Sullivan’s own adament opposition to what he calls “male genital mutilation.”

This disturbing YouTube video, posted on Sullivan’s plog, shows an actual circumsion taking place on a newborn male in a supposedly state-of-the-art American medical setting. But as the video points out, circumsion, once performed routinely on “95 percent” of all newborn males in the United States, is becoming less common. More recently, in California, circumcision takes place in only 20 percent of male births, the video’s narrator says.

“It is very painful,” according to the narrator–even when analgesics are used and especially when it subsides.

The foreskin, which is removed in circumcision, is a “normal protective sexually functioning organ,” the narrator says. “Circumsion is an amputative surgery with inherant risk, including hemmorhage, infections, and many forms of surgical mishaps, even death.”

Our friend put it a little more directly, if less delicately:

“It’s my dick. It’s my dick. It’s my dick. It is no one else’s dick but my dick. And I should have the choice to circumcise it when I am old enough to make that decision.”

62 thoughts on “To cut or not to cut: Did you or did you not circumcise your son? And why or why not?

  1. Mickey, thanks for saying that , I was not angry in my response ,, I was the 11:03 that the previous poster referred to. I guess I must have made a point though that 11:24 couldn't refute 🙂 I respect your manner of debate Mickey, and though we are opposite ends of this spectrum, I feel we can respectfully agree to disagree. Now shall we discuss abortion now? or Breast vs Formula? or politics ? :)))

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  2. Someone brought up the topic of reduced sensitivity, and it was countered by a webmd article saying that sensitivity is not reduced—for the MAN. While that's debatable, the fact that the foreskin rubs where women are most sensitive during penetration makes me believe that sexual partners of circumcised men are missing out. I have heard the foreskin called “the best sex toy you can't buy”. I'm a woman, and that's good enough reason for me not to circumsise my boys.

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  3. You have heard the foreskin is the best sex toy…? No hands on experience? This conversation may spiral out of control, but here goes. My wife has had both experiences and would simply disagree with this theory. So the argument is that disease is acceptable because of your son's ability to please women in the future? Seems like an odd compromise. I am still sticking with the CDC and WHO recommendations. As much as folks have said that you can use a condom to protect from disease you can by a sex toy if that is what you are into to create the perceived missed pleasure. This conversation is beginning to make me blush, so I will respectfully bow out. 🙂

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  4. Mickey, lets see how far it goes.. how long did your wife breastfeed if you have kids? WHO recommends breastfeeding 2 years. Hope she did that as long as you're doing everything other entities tell you to do. I strongly believe that the stance WHO has taken is in response the sheer numbers of HIV cases in Africa where people can't seem to get the message that a simple condom would stop the spread. Still not a reason to make it routine.

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  5. “in Africa where people can't seem to get the message that a simple condom would stop the spread”

    Unfortunately nothing is ever that easy. You seem to imply that people in Africa just don't seem to get it, but you do not mention that there are many myths about AIDS and condoms spread around Africa. One side you have the Catholic Church who strongly lobbies against the use of condoms and actually teaches that condoms will not protect against HIV. On the other hand you have groups going around Africa saying that HIV is not sexually transmitted but actually a disease spread by the US to eradicate Africans. This myth makes it very difficult for example for the WHO to try to eradicate polio which had major outbreaks in Nigeria. People are going around spreading the rumor that the polio vaccine is how the US is infecting people in Africa.

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  6. “People are going around spreading the rumor that the polio vaccine is how the US is infecting people in Africa.”

    Well, then people are very stupid for believing that over there. And people are very stupid over here for believing that vaccinations cause autism.

    I think people are just very stupid in general.

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  7. My wife did breast feed for two years to the day with both of my boys and then she had a glass of wine:). She did a lot of research into that and gave my two boys their nutrition for everyday of those first two years. I personally think it is a good idea to listen to experts. Others, not so much. Who needs all that scientific mumbo jumbo anyhoo.

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  8. “I strongly believe that the stance WHO has taken is in response the sheer numbers of HIV cases in Africa where people can't seem to get the message that a simple condom would stop the spread.”

    Are these type of personal inferences into how worldwide health constituents make their recommendations really a reliable way to go? Let's try it.

    I strongly believe that the World Health Organization is the premiere expert on all subjects health related and do not believe they would make claims to suggest people do circumcision to simply serve the needs of one geographic region. I believe this organization has far more credence than any of the personal opinion from non-heath professionals that have idealistic reasoning for not wanting to circumcise.

    Now does it really matter what “I believe” anyway? I think the organizations dedicated to the health cause are reputable and I choose to follow their recommendations. I believe in all sorts of crazy stuff like flu shots, washing my hands to avoid swine flu, not giving my children certain medicines until they are old enough, and regular check-ups. I am like a voo-doo master or something, eh? Why would I listen to these crazy crackpot organizations who are obviously conspiring to create a worldwide outbreak of foreskin envy:).

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  9. My husband nearly died from his circumcision from bleeding complications. He had to be rushed from Concord Community (back in the day) to Children's (I think).

    I have four boys and only one is circumcised because he had a problem with the foreskin retracting.

    I actually sought my husband's input on this decision because I did want to take into consideration whether the boys should 'look' like their dad. His position was absolutely not for a few reasons.

    It is an amputation of a body part, and just because we don't really understand it, doesn't mean we should be hacking it off of every male child. This, like most medical procedures, come with risks. Why would anyone want unduly risk the health of his/her child unless there is an overriding reason to do so?

    And the main reason: My husband's circumcised penis is not nearly as sensitive as an uncircumcised one (because of the glans being exposed and rubbing against clothing). My husband hates this.

    People circumcise for strange reasons. My friend and I were having the circumcision discussion some years ago because my youngest son is seven. She explained that she circumcised her son because a circumcised penis was 'more attractive' than an uncircumcised one. I told her that I could line a dozen of them up and none of them would win a beauty contest, so that wasn't really our concern.

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  10. “And the main reason: My husband's circumcised penis is not nearly as sensitive as an uncircumcised one (because of the glans being exposed and rubbing against clothing). My husband hates this.”

    ok, I get it now, you're not very bright. Firstly, I have listed a study which shows that there is no decreased sensitivity after circumcision. Secondly, how would your husband know? Does he have two penises?

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  11. Anon 5:39 I noticed this too. You say your husband had to be rushed to Children's following his circumcision, which would indicate the procedure was performed prior to him becoming sexually active. Thus he really doesn't have a point of reference regarding the sensitivity of his penis. The best statement I can make is that he feels very unsatisfied and believes it might be due to his circumcision, but there is no way that he can know. But who knows it could be that he just has to much of an expectation or any other problem, I guess you and your husband will just never know.

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  12. I suffered from a seriously botched circumcision. Back in the 70s they used to do tons of circumcisions and apparently someone got careless. They cut off too much and I was left seriously scarred. I have suffered from extreme tightness and pain my entire life during the times when I need to function. Nerves were severed and several areas are dead to sensitivity.

    I regret being circumcised as I have lifelong scars and never will be completely functional.

    Those who are circumcised as teens or adults have it much better. They will usually get a nice even cut. However, I never had that choice and now I am stuck with a horrible uneven scar and severed nerves.

    I would not circumcise my son when he is an infant. However, if he wanted to be circumcised as a teen I would support him. At least, at that time the doctor would be sure not to carelessly cut or botch the procedure.

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