Getting Snippy

Back around this time last year I followed the comments of a particular post from Suburban Turmoil with amused disinterest. Of course, life being what it is, a year later I'm deeply into research on the very same subject.

If you didn't bother to click the link above, I'm talking circumcision. When The Mrs. got knocked up, we briefly debated it and then tabled the discussion until we found whether or not it was necessary. Early on we both got the feeling our first born would be a girl, little did we suspect the truth......

Of course now we know that our first born will be a girl, but she will be quickly followed by a brother. So I'm back to the circumcision question. Once the ultrasound tech discovered those dangly bits it got real interesting. I was told that as the boy parent I could make the decision. My immediate response was "I don't really feel one way or another." That's when The Mrs's true opinion came out. I was told that her defference to me only applied if I had strong feelings. Since I didn't seem to have strong feelings, she was stepping in to make the call herself.

I have to admit, five months after that conversation my strongest feelings on the subject are still focused on my wife's spectacular reversal of behavior. But, I've done a lot of research since then so while I don't have strong feelings about circumcising my son, I do have more informed ones.

I asked a few close friends and indifference seems to be the main response. A very close friend had a son back in September and they had him snipped. When I asked why the only response I got was, "Because I am." The arguments for circumcision fall into two main categories. Medical, and aesthetic. (Of course there are religious arguments as well, but religion isn't a factor in this case.)

Everyone both in real life and on the net have a story about some distant family member who had to be circumcised later in life due to some obscure penile problem. So the argument that follows is of course you should have it done when they're an infant so it won't hurt as much. Folks, I call bunk. An infant feels too. I've read the research. The only difference between having it done as an infant versus an older child or adult is that infants don't remember it. Having it done when you're older actually seems a lot better. Because when you're older a new surgical scar won't be residing in a diaper right next to where bodily wastes collect.

The medical profession has decided to take a powder on this one. All the pediatricians we interviewed, and the obstetrican, said that there's no conclusive medical evidence one way or another. You'd think that if there was no conclusive medical reason to do a procedure, then your doctor should recommend against it. My conclusion from that is that they don't think it's a good idea, but they don't want to stir up controversy by recommending against it.

The aesthetic argument is a little more nebulous. From what I can tell, it boils down to two main things. #1) The other boys will make fun of him in the locker room. #2) Potential sexual partners will change their mind when they find out. What can you say to something like that? Boys are going to make fun of each other for one reason or another, so if it isn't an uncircumcised penis, then it'll be something else. Personally, I never really noticed penises much in the locker room and I don't recall any one getting any flack about it when I was a youngster. (Except for the guy with only one testicle, but that's a whole nother issue.) As for impeding his sex life.... that would be a pretty shallow reason for a woman to bail. And apparently circumcision makes sex a lot less enjoyable.

So at the moment I think I've pretty well talked myself out of having Luke circumcised. There needs to be a really good reason to put him through painful surgery, and it just isn't there right now. Besides, it can always be done later in life, but it can never be undone.

I'd be curious to hear if anyone out there has experience to share on the subject, but let's be up front about one thing. I'm not interested in hearing about how you think it's a human rights violation or mutilation or any other fuzzy stuff. Any comparisons to female genital mutilation will be summarily deleted. I want to know if anyone knows of a medical reason to have it done (preferably with links) or any emotional trauma that you went through because of it.

This article is what really did it for me. Be warned, it's very explicit and cringe inducing. Not safe for work.