My five year old son is not circumcised. Here are the reasons why:
#1. We didn’t need to for religious reasons. We aren’t Jewish or Muslim so we didn’t need to do it to fulfill a religous requirement or covenant with God. For the Christian, Baptism replaced circumcision. I can understand and respect parents who choose to do it as a religious requirement. Christians are not required to circumcise their sons, in fact, New Testament scripture specifically tackles this issue.
#2. Cultural norms: I am not going to have a knife taken to my son’s genitals simply because it is “in fashion.” To do it simply because my husband is circumcised, is a matter of cosmetic preference. My husband and I refused to put our son under the knife for an unnecessary,and painful, procedure, which has a risk of complications, sometimes serious and permanant, simply for appearances. Circumcision became popular in America for a few reasons. Early on, It was thought that it would help prevent masturbation. It was done *routinely *to military men during WWII to help prevent VD and for other proposed hygeine purposes. So the procedure “took hold” of American culture and it became more routine in America after the men returned home. What’s good for the father is good for the son…
If parents are concerned about their kid looking different in the locker room, fear not. A sizable number of fellow parents from your child’s generation are figuring out how barbaric and unnecessary circumcision is, and are choosing not to do that to their sons. An uncircumcised penis among my son’s peers won’t be so very unusual. I know most of my friend’s babies born during the same year as my son didn’t do it, including his pediatrician’s sons.
#3 There is a** higher risk of complications from the surgical procedure than the slight risk of an infection related to an uncircumcised penis. Honestly, I was guessing the percentage of infection would be much higher in uncircumcised boys, but after doing research and reading the studies, I was shocked to see how low the numbers are. Most of the world is uncircumcised. It would seem that if remaining uncircumcised is such a problem, that Europe would “catch on” and begin routine circumcision. Most men of the world seem to function just fine with their foreskin intact.
#4 It is not a problem to clean. We began teaching our son how to clean his own penis from the time he could hold a washcloth. It isn’t difficult. He takes his own showers and we occasionally remind him to do it just like we remind him to wash his ears. I must add that he forgets to wash his ears from time to time, but he never forgets his penis. The important thing for American parents to remembers is not to force the foreskin back when changing diapers, just gently push the skin back and wipe with a baby wipe, just like you would changing a girl’s diaper. I have heard of parents who think they have to force the skin back and use Q-tips to clean etc. These poor parents end up causing irritation or even infection. Girls have a higher risk of bladder infection or UTI than uncircumcised boys. All it takes is to gently push the skin back, gentlywipe with a wash cloth and rinse. Nothing more. The foreskin is not completely retractible until later into childhood. By then the boy is washing himself (unless there are developmental problems or something)
The first feeling a boy has in his penis should not be extreme pain. Why do that for cosmetic purposes?
Anyone who is considering doing it for hygeine or medical purposes, to prevent UTI, an extremely rare form of penile cancer or to have a slightly lower risk of V.D. should actually look at the studies and results themselves. The risk is much lower than the risk of problems resulting from the circumcision! Putting our boys through this pain and risk for such minor reasons is unnecessary. I honestly feel we are in need of cultural change in America regarding routine circumcision.
I know parents who think it horrible when people pierce their baby girl’s ears, yet they have skin from their newborn son’s genitals cut.
I don’t judge other parents, they make their choices, but if I can help one parent to do some research and question whether it is necessary, then I served the purpose of this post.