I know this post will draw a lot of attention. Both positive, and negative.
But it is such an important topic to me. It holds such a burning fury within me that I feel like I need to write about it. That’s what this blog is for, right?
Lets start off with the basics.
What is circumcision?
- to cut off the foreskin of (a male) or the prepuce of (a female)
- to cut off all or part of the external genitalia and especially the clitoris and labia minora of (a female)
It is an unnecessary procedure that offers absolutely no benefits. And this is why I’m livid that is is still often practiced today, even though that number has dropped from 81% of newborn males in 1981 to 55% today. (Though its much lower in some parts of the country) Newborn females are exempt from this, as they have the law protecting them from genital mutilation. (Which is why I’m fighting for equality!)
In the space below, I am going to answer some common questions that I have received about circumcision.
1.) I have heard that circumcision will protect my baby from infections such as UTI’s and even HIV because it keeps him cleaner and is easier. Is that true?
There have been numerous studies done to prove both of these claims false. (If interested in learning more about said studies, I will provide links below) And while the common myth is that it is very difficult to clean the child or teach the child to clean himself, that is also false. With intact infants, the penis is very easy to keep clean. Since the foreskin does not retract until age three to sometime in puberty, the penis is easily wiped off like a finger. Once the foreskin does retract, teaching your child proper hygiene is simple. Simply teaching him to retract the foreskin while bathing is all that needs done. Parents do not need to do anything special.
And as an added fact, the foreskin actually protects against UTI’s and other infections. The sphincter of the male’s foreskin keeps foreign matter and other contaminants away from the urethra and is added protection against infections.
2.) My OB explained that my baby wouldn’t feel pain while the procedure is being preformed, and after. But I’ve read articles that disagree. Any insight?
It has been the idea for many, many years that infant circumcision is relatively painless for baby, and that the pain passes quickly without any mental scarring. But today, this has been proven false. Absolutely false. So incredibly false. False. False. False.
“Myth – Circumcising baby boys is a safe and harmless procedure.
Fact – Surgically removing part of a baby boy’s penis causes pain, creates immediate health risks and can lead to serious complications. Risks include infection, hemorrhage, scarring, difficulty urinating, loss of part or all of the penis, and even death. Circumcision complications can and do occur in even the best clinical settings.
Myth – Circumcision is just a little snip.
Fact – Surgical removal of the foreskin involves immobilizing the baby by strapping him face-up onto a molded plastic board. In one common method, the doctor then inserts a metal instrument under the foreskin to forcibly separate it from the glans, slits the foreskin, and inserts a circumcision device. The foreskin is crushed and then cut off. The amount of skin removed in a typical infant circumcision is the equivalent of 15 square inches in an adult male.
Myth – The baby does not feel any pain during circumcision.
Fact – Circumcision is painful. Babies are sensitive to pain, just like older children and adults. The analgesics used for circumcision only decrease pain; they do not eliminate it. Further, the open wound left by the removal of the foreskin will continue to cause the baby pain and discomfort for the 7-10 days it takes to heal.”
Some parents claim their child never cried during or after the procedure. To debunk these statements, I am quoting a touching, yet real post from Dr.Momma. Infants sliding into shock is very common during infant circumcision, hence the lack of crying.
This little one is not screaming. He is not sleeping. But he has gone into shock: a semi-comatose state that the human body slips into in order to physically survive extreme pain and trauma.
After the cutting of his genitals is complete, this little baby may sleep for many hours a day over the next several days or weeks (much more than is normal or healthy for a newborn, and similar to the deep depressive-state sleep that adults often slip into after trauma). He may experience severe ‘colic’ for weeks and months to come, as his body attempts to heal itself and deal with the very real pain and suffering of both a festering amputation wound, and post-traumatic stress. His cortisol levels (stress hormones) remain high. His metabolic brain functioning has changed. He may have trouble nursing or gaining weight, and he has a significantly greater risk of being deemed a ‘failure to thrive’ case. He will likely experience pain to a heightened degree in the future, even into adulthood. And his normal sexual functioning is forever impacted as a result of this alteration in form.
3.) I’ve heard of some parents deciding to circumcise because they want their baby to look like the baby’s circumcised father.
Okay, this one isn’t a question. But I had to address it anyway, because to me, this is incredibly disturbing.
If your child was born with a nose that was different from yours, would you be quick to assign a plastic surgeon to correct it? If your child was born with his mother’s darker skin tone, would you rush out to chemically lighten his skin to match yours?
I’d bet you probably wouldn’t. Circumcision is the exact same scenario.
Why on Earth would you decide to send your child off to an unnecessary (and purely cosmetic) surgery just so his penis can resemble yours? Why would you sign paperwork to have your son’s healthy tissue torn and cut apart for your own selfish pleasure? Why would you expose your son to so many risks? (Approximately 177 infants die every year from routine infant circumcision complications)
(I’ll be waiting for a response to those questions from my male readers)
4.) What is your #1 reason for being against circumcision?
This one is my favorite.
My number one reason for both keeping my son intact, and becoming an intactivist is the fact that every human deserves their basic human rights.
My son’s penis is just that. My son’s penis. It is not mine. It is not his father’s.
Disregarding all of the information above, I could not ever circumcise my son. For I could not do it without his consent. I could not purposely put him at risk. Even if it was beneficial in some way, I would not agree to it until he was old enough to become informed on the procedure and make the decision himself.
Because its his body.
Foreskin restoration is becoming more and more common as more men realize the benefits of having a foreskin, and are angry about not having the choice to be circumcised or not. Because it should be no one’s choice but the man’s himself.
I believe every infant should have the right to his or her body. Females have won that right via laws protecting them from female circumcision (finally!). Now its time for males. They deserve every right to their body. Their genitals should remain uncut and whole. Just like they were so masterfully designed.
His body, his choice.
For more information on infant circumcision: