The First Cut

January 27, 2009

Here’s something that I had planned to never blog about: my son’s penis. Not about the novelty of having a baby with a penis (because, really: contrary to all expectation, the novelty wears off. A baby penis is just a little version of the appendage that you’ve seen before, and once you get accustomed to the risk of being sprayed during diaper changes, there’s really nothing particularly complicated about its care and maintenance), not about the differences between be-penised babies and be-vulvaed babies (there’ll be plenty of opportunity to reflect upon gender differences as these pertain to my son and daughter without considering their genitalia) and certainly not about our decision whether or not to make that all-too-significant snip. Circumcision, above all else, was not something that I was going to blog about. Too personal. Too controversial. Nothing to say about it.

I changed my mind. I still regard the topic as dangerously personal and controversial, but I do, as it turns out, have something to say about it.

My husband and I agonized over whether or not to circumcise Jasper. Actually, that’s not true: I agonized over whether or not to circumcise Jasper. My husband was pretty certain that he wanted to not circumcise – it’s not my place to explain his reasons, but I will say that he (my husband) is circumcised, and that he does not practice a religion that encourages circumcision – and although my inclination was to give my husband decision-making authority on this issue – he, after all, knows penises better than I do – I was, for some time, torn. I had never seen an uncircumsised penis. I had no idea – beyond the most rudimentary, high-school sex-ed posterboard kind of understanding – what might be the implications of circumcising or not circumcising. I was all, what’s a foreskin? And: why cut it off? But also: but doesn’t everyone cut it off? And: if everyone else cuts it off, there must be a reason. But then again: cutting. I was very confused, and more than a little uncomfortable about the whole subject.

The only thing that I knew for certain was this: circumcision meant that someone would bring a very sharp object very close to a very delicate part of my very little baby, and I didn’t like that idea one bit.

I read every article, medical and otherwise, that I could get my virtual hands on. I read anti-circumcision articles and pro-circumcision articles. I read about how circumcision might reduce rates of certain kinds of infections, and about how such reductions were most likely statistically irrelevant in North America. I read many personal essays by parents who are pro-circumcision, and many by parents who are anti-circumcision. I saw many comparisons to female genital mutilation, which I dismissed intellectually, but which haunted me nonetheless. I resisted being haunted. I worried about resisting being haunted. I worried about the ethics of making such a decision for my child: what would my boy want, if he were able to ask himself the question? I asked my husband; he knew his own answer. I wasn’t sure that that was enough.

I worried about how much I was worrying over the issue.

I read more articles.

I read that the pediatric associations of both the United States and of Canada recommended against circumcision. They were circumspect about it, to be sure: they fall all over themselves assuring concerned parents that it’s a personal decision, a decision that only the family can make. But they still get their message across: there’s no medical reason for a child to be circumcised.

That, however, was not the reason that I decided that I did not want Jasper to be circumcised. I decided that I did not want Jasper to be circumcised, simply, because I could not bear to allow anything to happen to him that would cause him unnecessary hurt. I could not bear the idea of the flash of a blade near his little body, the slice that would cause him to cry out in pain.

This was – this is – an intensely personal decision. In a way, it was a selfish decision: I made (and my husband supported) a decision based upon my feelings, my fears. It is Jasper, however, who will live with this decision. If I chose, I could weave a story, a philosophy, about how decisions such as these demand that we consider most seriously the passive option – that we do nothing that takes away from the individual that our child will become, that we do nothing that constrains that individual, that robs that individual of anything, literally or figuratively – but that would be bullshit. As parents, we make decisions every day – every hour – that shape our childrens’ futures with little conscious regard for whether or not our children, looking back, would want us to consider those decisions differently. We take away little pieces of potential futures for our children with every step that we take – and with every step that we take, every decision that we make, we also add pieces, we also build possibilities into those futures. Obviously, in an ideal world, we would make all the right decisions, and our children would one day congratulate us for caring for them and protecting their interests perfectly. But ours is not an ideal world, and we make decisions under imperfect conditions, and we can be assured only that we will, as parents, achieve imperfect results.

So I didn’t choose to not circumcise my son because I was perfectly convinced that it was right thing to do, because I believed that it was the thing that he, someday, would thank me for doing. I didn’t make the choice that I did because I think that all parents should make that choice. I didn’t choose to not circumcise because I came to the conclusion that it was the only choice that a good mother could make. I did it only because I didn’t want to cut him.

It was the only thing that I could do, the only choice that I could make, for me. I can only hope that I did right, that I chose right, by him.

(I’ve not yet drawn a name for the Motozine from last week’s giveaway; I’ll do so at first opportunity and post the winner by Thursday. In the meantime, thank you all so very, very much for sharing your generosity of spirit in the comments, and, as always for your love and support.)

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    { 139 comments }

    Mouse January 27, 2009 at 11:53 am

    We had the advantage of not having to worry about what Daddy looks like. There was, however, the Jewish side of my family. We’re mostly cultural, New York Jews; at a family gathering, one uncle said, in response to my telling his daughter that we wouldn’t be raising our son Jewish per se, “But you are going to circumcise him, right?” I found it funny that what we did with our son’s penis was more important to him than the religious upbringing.

    SP January 27, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Funny Story – Ex and I decided we would not circumcise Thing1 for the simple reason that we felt that he should “look like dad.” It was not a religious need for us. The medical opinions were not enough to sway us one way or another. We just thought that growing up, looking the same as Daddy made sense. When my Mother-in-law showed up and asked why we were not having Thing1 circumcised and we explained the look-alike thing her head just about exploded! Apparently, Ex is indeed circumcised. We had no idea…
    There really should be more PICTURES in sex ed.

    katherynei January 27, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    I chose not to with both my boys, and so far so good. I didn’t want to make the decision for them since it is their body. And I know, other than in Sex and the City not a lot of people opt to have the surgery when they are older, but at least they’ll have the choice. It helped too that dad was so adamantly against it.

    much more than a mom January 27, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Good for you. Ultimately that’s why I made the decision not to circ our son too, but I blogged about more reasons here:

    http://www.muchmorethanamom.com/2007/01/11/taking-the-whole-baby-home/

    LAVANDULA January 27, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    hi catherine the decision was easy for me.i didn’t want to hurt my son in any way and also his father is not circumsized so we didn’t do baby…

    Anonymous January 27, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    From anecdotal experience and a bit of reading, I’m under the impression that a lot of gay men are against circumcision. Make of that what you will.

    Anonymous January 27, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    If I have a boy, I’m going to make the same decision you did, for the same reasons mostly.

    Look at it this way, if he ever really wants to cut it off later, it’s always an option. (they do it to grown men in Africa a lot these days b/c of the AIDS connection) But if you made the decision to cut it off for him… there’s no deciding later that he wants it!

    Glad you shared this! Thanks!

    Karen Sugarpants January 27, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    I’m so anti-circumcision I think people are afraid to discuss the subject with me.
    Before we made that decision, I’d read tons on the subject and decided we would leave our children’s penises intact. I was very worried, like you, that we would make the wrong decision.
    But I also think it’s not a personal decision unless you put that decision in the hands of the child at the age of 18. I believe that circumcision should be completely illegal for kids under 18, regardless of religion. That’s where it gets sticky for some people. So there’s that.

    heels January 27, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    I had pretty much already made up my mind not to cut my son, but then I got a letter from my male cousin that sealed my decision. He was never circumcised, and he wrote about how much he enjoyed having his body whole, how he had never had any trouble at school or with girls, and that he seemed to have more feeling based on what his guy pals had related to him ( I didn’t know that boys talked about their penises so much, but…). Hearing from someone who had grown up so happy with his body made me feel very comfortable with my decision. I thank him to this day for being so open and honest about it.

    Anonymous January 27, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    It is such a highly personal decision!

    The thing that I find odd, though, is when families say that they want their sons to look like their dads. Really?! I dismissed this arguement right away – a child’s penis looks nothing like a grown man’s penis. My husband is circumcised and my son is not . . . my son has never mentioned that difference, but has mentioned the hair and size differences! By the time they would notice that they do or don’t have as much foreskin as Dad, I’m pretty sure the visual comparisons won’t be happening!

    There are several good reasons to choose to circumcise, I just don’t think “looking like Dad” is one of them.

    Anonymous January 27, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    It is such a highly personal decision!

    The thing that I find odd, though, is when families say that they want their sons to look like their dads. Really?! I dismissed this arguement right away – a child’s penis looks nothing like a grown man’s penis. My husband is circumcised and my son is not . . . my son has never mentioned that difference, but has mentioned the hair and size differences! By the time they would notice that they do or don’t have as much foreskin as Dad, I’m pretty sure the visual comparisons won’t be happening!

    There are several good reasons to choose to circumcise, I just don’t think “looking like Dad” is one of them.

    Redneck Mommy January 27, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    We circ’ed. But only because the hubs insisted. I was on the fence, not caring, not wanting to cut, not wanting to have to decide.

    Boo made the choice and dealt with the snip and the healing.

    I bowed out out completely like the chicken shit I admit to being.

    If we have/had another, I don’t know if Boo would be as impassioned to have it done to his third son. But I also don’t know if he wouldn’t. So I push the subject of little boy’s willies out of my minds and focus on teaching my boys the important things in life.

    Like peeing in the toilet and the importance of foreplay.

    heh.

    Live and Learn the Hard Way January 27, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    My ex husband and I didn’t circumsize either one of our boys (even though my ex was circ.)My oldest is ten now and we have never had any reason to regret our decision, and more and more I am meeting other mother who have made the same choice. My pediatrician says the split is leaning more towards 60/40 as far as the averages are concerned in their practice. My decision was based entirely on the ca=fact that I couldn’t bear to let anyone harm my brand new perfect little one….nothing more nothing less…

    tallulah January 27, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I call it male genital mutilation so you know where I stand on that subject. I figure if any of my boys want a penis that looks like the ones in Playgirl, they can always get “cut” as an adult.

    FishyGirl January 27, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    In the end I left the decision up to my husband, since he has the equipment that I lack. I figured he’d want it done since he is, but he said no, it’s unnecessary. So both boys are intact. I think as long as the parent makes the best, most informed decision they can, it doesn’t matter what that decision is.

    Kari January 27, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    My sons are not circumcised either, they are 10 and 5 yrs old. Neither is my new nephew – he’s a week old :) I think you made a perfect decision.

    Catherine January 27, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Did I write this post? I decided the exact same, for the exact same reasons, after the exact same process. :)

    specialaffinity January 27, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Why is there even a need to think about performing this unnecessary surgery? This thinking is but an example of ‘not accepting what is.’
    Male babies are born as Nature/God design them to be. They are born perfect. What is it, that makes it so hard to accept that Fact?

    It’s our job as adults to teach our sons to bath and maintain their personal hygiene – just as we have taught our daughters to do.

    Our job isn’t to mutilate our sons genitals and then rationalize our reasons for doing so. It’s not the business of parents to be modifying their sons genitals, without their permission.

    If our sons, when they reach adulthood want to modify their genitals, then that’s their business.

    Michelle January 27, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    It’s really refreshing to read a NON-judgmental post about this topic. The comparison between circumcision and FGM angers me. There is no comparison. I don’t know anyone who is traumatized or harmed by a circumcision (unlike FGM). I admit that I was relieved that I didn’t have to make the decision, but we were leaning the other way. I spoke to a nurse once about how many circumcisions have to be performed on teen and preteen boys because of infection or trauma to that tissue. It happens more often than people think.
    Ultimately we decided that if we had a boy we’d do it. H wanted his son to look like daddy and not feel different in that way and for me it’s a cultural thing.
    I agree completely with you. There is no right or wrong here. It’s just a call that the parent has to make.

    Amber January 27, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    We made the same decision that you did, for much the same reason. Actually, my husband was on the fence until I told him it cost $300 to have it done, then he decided not to do it. So in actuality it was a combination of well, I’d rather not and being cheap.

    I will admit that once my little guy was born, and I watched him wail after his vitamin K shot, I was relieved. I don’t believe circumcision is permanently damaging or anything, but I think it would be traumatic for me.

    Anonymous January 27, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    You made the RIGHT choice because you gave HIM the choice. Every child regardless of sex, age, race, religion, culture, or nationality has the right to choose whether they want to permanently alter a functional part of their body once they have reached consenting age. Cosmetic surgery on a non-consenting minor is wrong and every medical organization in the entire world has classified circumcision as non-therapeutic.

    Please read these so you can protect your intact son from doctors that may not be educated about the development of the intact boy.

    How to Protect your Intact Son, Expert Medical Advice:
    http://www.mothering.com/articles/new_baby/circumcision/protect-uncircson.html

    Avoiding circumcision after the neonatal period:
    http://www.nocirc.org/publish/pamphlet7.html

    Best Wishes,
    jen

    rcas January 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    For our first son, I went with circumcised husband’s wish to have our child circumcised as well. As it turned out, our baby spent his first six days in the neonatal intensive care unit, and I believe one of those days was due to the trauma of the circumcision (perhaps just being uncovered for that amount of time, since he was having trouble regulating his temperature). Obviously it was an after-the-fact realization. We would probably have done the same with our second son, in spite of my reservations, however he was born with a “natural” circumcision. Yes! Clearly he’s destined for greatness–Moses had one, and so did Muhammad.

    My OB, anti-circumcision all the way, said he was glad since he’d had parents whose sons were born with natural circumcisions who still wanted a little taken off–a much trickier surgery to perform.

    At my second son’s 4-month pediatrician visit, the doctor examined his penis and said (and this was the man who examined the baby when he was still in the hospital), “Looks like somebody didn’t take enough off.” I was confused, thinking, “You mean GOD?!” Then I realized he meant the OB and I reminded him it was a natural circ.

    I was so grateful not to have to go through that again. And our boys will have much entertainment in future, taking baths together and comparing their genitals.

    And I suppose I could feel guilty about the first child’s getting cosmetic surgery, but at this point I have so much else to worry about that that doesn’t really make the cut, as it were. My parenting life is filled with enough guilt as it is.

    Maria January 27, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    We have a biological son and an adopted son. When biological son was born (he was the first) I was defintely in the NO circumcision camp. There was no debate, I put my foot down and that was that–I would not have it.

    Then my second son came to us from social services and his birth mother had chosen circumcision so he was cut when we got him.

    And now I have two bigger boys who have penises that look COMPLETELY different and, you know what?, it doesn’t make one bit of difference.

    If we have another biological boy we still won’t do circumcision and if we get another foster child I’m pretty sure they probably will be. But in the long run I have realized that it’s just not worth stressing over.

    Do what you want, own your choices and move on. I just have to think that it’s one of those works-great-either-way things.

    Amy Jo January 27, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I went through the same struggle three years ago when I was pregnant with my son. We’ve taken some flack for leaving him in his ‘god-given’ form, but I have never regretted our decision for one moment. Some people are very sensitive about it, but it seems that people are open to both alternatives more than ever.

    Beth B. January 27, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    I have done three snippys with my boys and all is well. But I do think it is a personal decision and both sides should be respectful of each other’s decisions. Great to have an honest discussion like this!
    Thx:-)

    Bea January 27, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    I’m with Anonymous from 1:47 about the “looks like Dad” argument – or at least, I think that argument only has validity from the parents’ point of view rather than the child’s. Same goes for the “looks like all the other boys” argument because these days most locker rooms are going to have a pretty healthy representation of both.

    SciFi Dad January 27, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Not that it should matter to you, but circumcision is classified as cosmetic surgery in Ontario.

    My son is uncut, as am I. However, my status had nothing to do with the decision; it was about the lack of necessity for us.

    As for the looks like Dad argument: how many times did you spend naked time with your parent of the same gender growing up where it mattered to you what either of you looked like?

    Shonda Little January 27, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    It was a tough decision for us because my husband isn’t, nor is his brother. Ultimately my doctor talked us into it.

    Loralee Choate January 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    I did it mainly because I watched my best friend go through it at 20 and MY HELL how that man suffered. I knew it would not be a memory for him and much worse should he opt to do it later.

    Plus, I do no think I could go near my husband in the way he would REALLY like if it were not. (Personal preference and TMI, I know)

    That said, when the time came I was all a quiver with worry and doubt, even though I was sure.

    Mary Moore January 27, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    We ended up not circumcising our son, but it was a tough decision to make.

    mom2nji January 27, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    We circ’d all three boys, I was against it with all three. Dh was firmly in the they must be clipped camp esp with my oldest. He thought it was unclean. Noah’s was awful! His ped was a nut job and didnt use anything for pain. We had no idea and just ASSumed he would. Jebus awful stuff.
    DH started to wane on the issue by the time #3 came along but didnt want him to be “different”. We had to wait til Zai was 3 weeks cuz he was sooo tiny. Once again awful stuff, though this doc did numb it.
    Whats done is done, I was not thrilled at the time but they all came through okay.
    I am working on him for the then next baby, cuz I know it will be another boy!

    Her Bad Mother January 27, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Is it wrong that I laughed out loud at the second part of your comment, Loralee? Because I did.

    Baby in the City January 27, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    For those new or soon-to-be parents who are interested in all the info from both sides…

    We snipped my son and he cried a lot, but not from the cut, from being undressed and cold and being strapped into the body mold and constrained (which is so the baby keeps still and out of the way). We had a topical freezing, followed by a needle and I am sure he felt nothing. His cries stopped long before the cutting. It healed SO fast, kind of like the umbilical button.
    I was present for the whole thing. It was awful to see him all strapped down, it felt wrong, but it was over very quickly and really, I believe boys are no worse for it.

    Ultimately, I think it is a 50-50 proposition, there is no right answer. Parents should follow their gut.

    fidget January 27, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    in the end, he can choose to go under the knife one day if he would like, much like one day my girls can decide for themselves if they want pierced ears. Who am I to modify their bodies for non medical reasons? If I was all up in that idea, I’d get them some bad ass tats. Bad ass tats have way more street cred then a circumsized penis any day.

    Fairly Odd Mother January 27, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    I was pretty certain I didn’t want to have my son circ’d, but wasn’t sure about how my husband would feel. It turns out, he was ok with letting our son decide if he wanted to get it done later in life. Sure, he might feel some pain if he decides to get it done, but at least he’ll be in charge of that decision.

    (I do dislike the ‘so he looks like his father’ reason b/c do men and their sons really compare penises? My breasts are teeny tiny compared to my mother’s and yet I’ve never wanted implants to ‘match’ hers)

    dawn224 January 27, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Loralee’s comment was awesome :)

    I left it to hubs. He has a penis – he chose the cut.

    When they brought Alex back he was sleeping peacefully. When he woke up, he let out a whole new cry we hadn’t heard before, and it was one of pain.

    And we felt like shit heels.

    Now – he’s almost two, and for the amount of time that child spends with his penis in his hand, he would have rubbed the damned foreskin off by now anyway.

    (and funny, it seems like there are more defensive non cutters in this thread. hee!)

    Joe January 27, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Her Bad Mother –

    As a guy who was mercifully spared when it was much more common I want to congratulate you on a good decision. He will thank you I am sure of it. It’s great to see that the tied seems to be shifting I hope we see circumcision dwindle to very low levels as soon as possible.

    I wanted to share an article that was published last year in an Australian Journal, Medical Anthropology Quarterly. Before anyone completely dismisses any comparison with FGM please carefully read: A Rose by Any Other Name? Rethinking the Similarities and Differences Between Male and Female Circumcision.

    I think they make some very compelling points and I hope people who completely dismiss a link might be able to see how in some cases the two procedures are closer than we would like to believe. Perhaps it will give people more to think about.

    LizPW January 27, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    We circ’d. I am Jewish and we plan on raising our son Jewish.

    With that said, I didnt just say “Well I’m Jewish and thats that”. We did research and had conversation with each other, with close family and with a rabbi to make our decision.

    We had a beautiful ceremony at our home with a lovely Mohel and kiddo didnt even cry. Me? I was a blubbering fool (those darn hormones!), but not because I questioned our decision, but because I didnt want any pain to come to my small child who I knew already was going to need surgery at 2 weeks old.

    With all my careful consideration and empathy for my child, whom I love more than life itself, I was still called a child abuser and was attacked with such venom by people who opposed my… well thought out… decision, that I vowed I’d keep my personal and controversial decisions off the internet. Kudos to you for taking on a hot button topic like this.

    Her Bad Mother January 27, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    LizPw – which is exactly why I swore that I’d never talk about it – too hot button, and I wasn’t interested in stoking flames. It’s a personal choice, an intensely personal choice, and I respect whatever any parent thoughtfully chooses. It wasn’t until I saw a thoughtful discussion taking place at Momversation that I realized that it might be safe to bring it up, and have people talk about their decisions openly and civilly.

    Anita Ovolina January 27, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    I have five girls and didn’t really think about it until I realized that in the United States it’s a big issue. In Italy, boys are not circumcised but after reading the post and comments I understand it’s a hot issue.
    I’m glad I don;t have to deal with it with girls :)

    NotStyro January 28, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Although I don’t agree with the result, I think you made an informed choice and that is all that a child and the AAP can ask of you.

    For anyone seeking more information on male circumcision, please follow the links…

    Why should you consider circumcision?


    Benefits outweigh risks…

    Debunking lies and myths…

    Personal Testimonials…

    Medical References…

    Mr Lady January 28, 2009 at 12:54 am

    Found it.

    If you’re on the fence, try this one out.

    Meg January 28, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Interesting topic and one that I haven’t given much thought to. Since we only have a girl, we didn’t need to make the decision.

    However, I’m naiive and I don’t think it would have been a hard decision for us. I knew the reasons for it and I just figured it’s something you do. Granted, I probably would have researched it more, knowing I would be putting my son through it. What a tough subject.

    But I will always remember a time in high school. Things got hot and heavy with a guy. Before he let me see or touch “it”, he begged for me to promise not to tell anyone that he was uncircumcised. It was humiliating for him. We never had sex (not b/c of that) so I don’t know how it feels to be with a man who is intact, but I think of that night and I don’t ever want my child to feel embarassed (any more so than is natural at that age!).

    I guess what I’m saying is that you’ve opened up a new area for me to explore. I never realized it was such a controversial topic.

    Deb on the Rocks January 28, 2009 at 1:21 am

    My sons are teens, with the elder cut and the younger not. I started reading Mothering magazine after having my first son and was evangelized. I agonized about both decisions on and off and still don’t know what is right. For what it is worth, the older is happy he was snipped as a baby; the younger is fine with his foreskin intact and doesn’t want it removed now/yet, but wishes it would have been done as a baby. Who knows?

    Joe January 28, 2009 at 1:24 am

    @Meg

    In my experience the issue you describe was not a problem though I am sure for some it could have happened. I think you, and others, should consider that a lot has changed since those days. First, many more boys are left intact today. Just look at the replies to this blog post. And hopefully it will continue to fall. Second, there is so much information on this Internet now most boys will know that this is a uniquely American enigma and everyone will be aware of the differences. The days where either girls or boys will think that boys are born circumcised (and therefore an intact boy seems odd) are long gone.

    @All

    I also wanted to get some reactions to a blog I found. It’s of an Indonesian mother praising her infant daughter for getting through her circumcision bravely. Now clearly she did this at a hospital or pedi and infact a large majority of women in her part of the world do this. We here would have put her in jail for what she did but for some reason it was important to her.

    It was important for her (whether it was culture or religion), she had it done by a doc, and since the kid is an infant she won’t know what she was missing. My question to you all is: Is she a bad mother? If you say yes, she shouldn’t have done that how is it materially different from what we do to boys?

    Kyla January 28, 2009 at 1:38 am

    My son isn’t circ’d either…then again neither is the hubs. I’m sure he’d LOVE me sharing that with the Interwebs, so to soften that, I will also add, mindblowing sex? Yes indeed.

    NotStyro January 28, 2009 at 1:39 am

    @Joe, not to spark a debate, but FGM is not equal to male circumcision.

    From 'Allegation 8' of the 'debunking lies & myths' link…

    "Male circumcision and female genital mutilation (sometimes also incorrectly called "female circumcision") are two completely different procedures. Circumcision of males, except if done for religious reasons, is considered by most people as a prophylactic (health) procedure. FGM – by its nature – usually results in the mutilation of the female sexual organ, which makes it very hard for the person involved to experience any sexual pleasure. The equivalent of FGM in males would amount to the complete amputation of the penis. "

    SUEB0B January 28, 2009 at 2:30 am

    I had a short relationship with a man who had been damaged in the circumcision process and he was damaged in every way by it.

    Anonymous January 28, 2009 at 5:34 am

    Thanks for sharing your story.I think it’s great parents are now talking about it and sharing information.
    For the record, I’m a mom of two boys – one circumcised and one not (I also have a daughter). My oldest, a son, was circed at 2 days old and to my knowledge suffered no ill effects. He came back to my room sleeping and the nurse said he did great. He’s now 10 and fine. When my second boy was born I just assumed we’d circ, as my oldest is, but the baby was born with an undescended testicle. We were told if his testicle didn’t drop by age 2 he would need surgery and we could just circ him then while he was under anesthesia. So during this time I researched how to take care of an uncircumcised baby and what all a circumcision entails (he was born 4 years ago so the internet was much more accessible). I found out so much stuff I had never know. If I had actually known what all a circumcision involved I don’t think I ever would have consented to the first boy getting it. I also read there could be serious complications, thankfully my oldest didn’t have any. I also saw a video of a baby getting the surgery and then that was it for me. I knew I couldn’t go through with it. Cleaning an uncircumcised baby is actually easier than cleaning a circumcised baby and you just wipe it off (there’s a lot of vasoline and gauze with circed babies for a few weeks). It’s very easy.
    For the record, my youngest son’s testicle dropped around 11 months so he never needed that surgery either. By then I had already decided against the circ even if he needed the testicle surgery.

    I guess my whole point is we are lucky information is so available to us parents now days. I think you can find much info for or against anything. But sometimes seeing both sides of the cause allows us to make a more educated decision and feel confident doing so.

    Somebody mentioned in an anonymous post that a lot of gay men like foreskin, or something like that. I have to say I find that comment hateful and unnecessary, and I’m not sure what that person was getting at. That said, 4 years ago when I was researching it, I did find some gay men and websites discussing the greatness of the foreskin. I also found several websites by, if you can even believe this, men who get off sexually seeing and performing circumcisions on both boys and men. I can’t wrap my mind around a fetish like that, but it does exist. So I would hope anyone researching circumcision would really investigate the source and incentives for posting such information (pro or con).

    Lastly, as someone with both circed and uncirced sons, I can’t say I feel one way is better, or that someone who circumcises is a bad parent. I think we all make the best decisions we can with the information we have, and I think most parents put a lot of thought into stuff like this. I don’t think there is just one right way. But I do think it’s nice that issues such as this are being discussed. It’s a good thing!

    (I’m using anonymous posting because I don’t want any harassment, but my name is Anita and I enjoy your blog! I also love the name Jasper!)

    Gunfighter January 28, 2009 at 9:42 am

    I think you made the right choice.

    I have daughters and I am officially (surgically) out of the baby making business, but if I had a son, I wouldn’t have had it done simply because there is no reason for it.

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