Please note, this discussion of circumcision is not meant to make circumcised men feel bad about themselves. It's meant to create awareness about the issues of circumcision, not for self-pity, but to promote a better future for the upcoming generations. What's done to us is done. Our parents thought they were doing what was right, even if they were lied to. We need to be aware of the potential issues to make better decisions for our children. Denial of these issues only perpetuates the cycle.
Circumcision of infants presents
ethical issues. It is a non-therapeutic procedure, it's not meant to
treat a disease; at best, if we believe in the (dubious I say) health
benefits, then it's prophyilactic or preventive of things that may or may
not happen many years from now; otherwise, it's just a cosmetic surgery.
In both cases, it's an ELECTIVE surgery (which the baby did not elect)
and it can wait until the baby becomes an adult.
even for a prophylactic procedure, it exposes the baby to non-trivial
risks such as death from bleeding, death from infections, damage or loss
of the penis and damage to the sexual function such as pain during sex
for life. More often than acknowledged, additional surgeries are
required to correct damages from the initial procedure. Most people do
not know this. -Of course this does not mean that the intent of circumcision is to cause harm, but harm do happens.
Most people don't know that most of the
circumcisions in the U.S. are performed without any form of anesthesia,
exposing the baby to horrible pain while the doctor (or an untrained
intern) cuts in cold blood the most sensitive area of the penis,
normally about 50% of the skin of the penis.
every surgery has risks. However, with a therapeutic surgery, you would be choosing between imminent suffering and the possibility of treating such
damage. For example, a person might die during heart surgery, but it
may also save that person from an imminent death. However, you might
want to think it over before sending your son into a "preventive
surgery" when the surgery might kill your son or affect him for life.
adult undergoing an elective surgery can make an informed choice and
face the consequences if something goes wrong. When circumcision goes
wrong, it's your child who suffers a lifetime of consequences.
also changes the form and function of the penis, decreasing the array
of experiences that the adult will enjoy. The foreskin is a sensory
organ on its own, and it also protects the glans. Its removal damages
the glans in the long term. There are plenty of reports of loss of
sensibility as the adult grows older. Lubricants and viagra are big
selling products in the U.S. thanks to circumcision.
adult men have hair on the shaft of the penis. This is not natural. This
is a result of skin from the scrotum being pulled onto the penis to
compensate for the skin cut during circumcision.
can't have a normal erection without pain due to a too tight
circumcision. Sometimes there is so little skin that it splits open
bleeding during erection. This is a potential consequence of
circumcision that is not apparent until the teenage years.
foreskin is not a useless flap of skin. It's a highly specialized
tissue with immunological and sexual functions. 150 years of cultural
conditioning made people forget what a foreskin is, how it looks and
what it does. The foreskin is not a gross flap of skin covered in
bacteria and germs, as people would like to think.
removes the child's possibility to decide over his body. Parents do not
own their children, or their children's body; they should not be
allowed to choose which parts of the body the babies get to keep or have
to discard. Every baby has the right to have a whole body.
you know that circumcision started in the U.S. in the late XIX century
and early XX century because some doctors believed that masturbation
caused epylepsy, tuberculosis, blindness, paralysis and several other
conditions? They knew that circumcising would make masturbation more
difficult (which is why lubricants are so popular) and with the pain
from the procedure the kids would associate sex with pain. Lovely, isn't
it? Thank you Dr. J. H. Kellogg.
The idea of circumcision
being cleaner really has its roots there too: a circumcised boy
wouldn't have to touch his penis to wash it, and if he didn't touch his
penis he wouldn't be tempted to masturbate. A circumcised boy could just
stand in the shower and get clean without touching "himself". That's hygiene for you.
the 30s, some doctors starting spreading some wrong advice that
unfortunately has perdured to our time. They said that if you didn't
circumcise your child, you should retract his foreskin to clean the
glans. This is wrong. In most babies, the glans and the foreskin are
sealed. Retracting it is like trying to clean under your nails with a
q-tip. It hurts. It creates wounds, which with time become scars and
adhesions, which in time become "acquired phimosis" - effectively
preventing the foreskin from retracting and now making circumcision
necessary. Great advice doctors, you suck!
Caring for an
intact penis is extremely easy. Wash it like it's a finger: just the
outside, rinse it with water. That's all. NEVER retract it. The only
person who should retract the foreskin is the kid himself, when he
starts to do it spontaneously. This can take several years. This might
not even happen until he is a teenager.
circumcision is big business. Not only the hospitals get to charge for
the procedure itself, but they sell the foreskins. With close to 2
million circumcisions per year, this is not trivial. Foreskins are used
to manufacture cosmetics, to grow cells for skin transplants and for
research. 50 micro-grams of human foreskin sell over the internet for
over 300 dollars. A single foreskin can be cultured over and over to
create new cells for any purpose.
When we know better, we do better. Let's save the upcoming generations from non-therapeutic infant circumcision.