I just got done watching an episode of Strange Sex on Discovery Health, and pigeoned between a segment about “a woman with two vaginas and two uteruses who was having a baby” and a piece on “a woman who was born with male chromosomes but had female sex organs,” was the story of a man who is trying to lead the charge against infant circumcision in the U.S. today.
A few months ago, I may not have given a segment like this much more than a laugh. “What a silly dude who wants to restore his own foreskin.” But having a baby on the way, these issues become something you have to think about. Every parent of a baby boy must answer the question: To circumcise or not to circumcise?
When I first started dating Baby’s Momma at the end of 2010, I was surprised by her stand on circumcision. She was strongly opposed. Like most American men my age, I am circumcised. She stated the act of circumcision was barbaric and declared that “no one was going to take a knife to [her] son’s genitals.” At the time, I was operating under the impression that there was a ton of medical data that proved that circumcision helped prevent infection and was somehow necessary. I also felt a need to defend my own penis. “It hasn’t affected me in any negative way,” I exclaimed.
Since that conversation, I have spent hours researching the topic on-line and have found that there isn’t any definitive evidence to support the positive health claims made about circumcision or, more to the point, the negative health claims of not circumcising your child such as the video found on the WebMD website which states that not circumcising your child can lead to a “greater risk of urinary tract infection, cancer of the penis, or passing sexually transmitted diseases.” More often than not, sites I visited debunked these statements as myth. One site even listed a 2008 study performed at Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Israel which actually showed that circumcised men are more likely to get a UTI, especially those circumcised by a religious leader. And there are a number of sites that theorize that one of the main functions of the foreskin is actually to protect against infection.
Health benefits aside, the shocker for me was when I discovered several reports that cited a loss of sensitivity in the penis in circumcised men. One British Journal of Urology International study said that “circumcision removes the five areas of the penis most responsive to light touch.” Wow – if that is true, then circumcision totally sucks and I want my “Five Areas of Awesome” back.
So after reviewing a large number of articles that discussed all sides, I’ve come to the conclusion that if we do have a boy this September, he will not be circumcised. One close friend of mine who is in his 30′s and converting to Judaism is making the decision to get circumcised now, and more power to him. My kid will also have the option to do whatever he wants with his genitals when he’s older, but until then, I’m just gonna keep my child the way God and nature created him – with all of his parts intact.
NOTE: Most of the “positives” for circumcision that I stumbled on centered around the potential psychological damage kids with a foreskin may receive when teased in locker rooms by other boys because their genitals look different than the other kids. I guess if my kid’s gonna get teased, then I’ll get teased too, right after I spend the next few months researching how to get my foreskin back.
Circumcision Information and Research Pages: http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/UTI/
WebMD Circumcision Video: http://children.webmd.com/video/circumcision-pros-cons
Parenting Blog: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/09/functions-of-foreskin-purposes-of.html