Yesterday (March 30th, 2011) marked the 14th anniversary of the United States’ criminalization of female genital mutilation (a.k.a. female circumcision). Although it was never a threat to a majority of girls in the States, a law
was passed affirming their rights to genital integrity, regardless of their parents’ cultural or religious traditions.
This may be the one time in American history when congress defined and affirmed specific rights of female citizens, while failing to ensure comparable rights for their male counterparts.
I will not go into why or how circumcision became so rampant in the western world. I will only address why we as a country should stop circumcising our boys and dispel myths that say we should.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s policy on circumcision
repeatedly calls it an elective procedure
but also stresses that it is a decision that should be left completely up to the parents. (I find this very interesting, because if a parent brought their kids in for almost any other elective procedure, like, say, a nose job, the doctors and nurses would be shocked and dismayed and maybe even call CPS.)
The argument that one should circumcise for hygienic reasons is ridiculous and could just as easily be used to justify female circumcision. Parents can very easily learn how to clean
and care for their intact sons, just as easily if not more easily than learning how to care for a raw post-op penis that spends 24/7 in a dark, damp (and sometimes dirty) diaper.
In a meta-analysis
of statistics catalogued from 1989-2009, results are clear. There is a much greater likelihood of complications, including illness, infection, and death from circumcision than there is from keeping a baby whole and intact. Plainly, circumcising carries more risk than not circumcising
Parents have two options when it comes to deciding whether to circumcise their newborn son; only one is reversible. That is to say, an uncircumcised boy can always decide to get circumcised later in life. Conversely, it is virtually impossible for a circumcised boy to decide to regenerate his foreskin.
I have personally heard doctors make the argument against waiting to let the boy grow up and make his own decision. They say that it is better to do it when the baby is young, so he won’t remember it. However, there are some people who believe that we subconsciously retain memories from as early as in utero. If that is true, then it stands to reason we would retain some kind of subconscious memory of trauma in our first days earthside.
Doctors also like to calm new parents by telling them that circumcision is not painful because local anesthesia is used. If it doesn’t hurt, then why is it so important to do it “before the baby will remember it”? Also, talk to my husband about how much pain is actually still involved when local anesthesia is used. (He had a local for his vasectomy, and said he felt A LOT of pain.)
I think that if we left it up to the boys to decide for themselves, there would be 99% intact males in this country. Why do I believe this? Because every intact man I know, is eternally grateful that he was never circumcised. While I have read or heard hundreds of stories of men who were forever scarred (literally and figuratively) by their parents decision to fundamentally change their sexual organs. And only 1% of intact males are faced with a medical indication for circumcision in adulthood.
Circumcision can cause permanent nerve damage, which may explain why adult males who were circumcised after becoming sexually active, report decreased sensation during sexual contact. I guess the bright side for men circumcised as newborns is that they never knew how good it could be, so they don’t know what they’re missing.
Sex is one of the most basic, necessary, intimate, joyful human experiences we are blessed with in our short time on this rock. Take pride in giving your baby boy the opportunity to grow up to have a fulfilling and satisfying life in every way possible, including sexually!
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