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.


Blogger Sarcastro said...

Been there, brother. Despite no legit reasons other than aesthetics and conformity, the wife decreed that the uncut were gross looking.

So, the boy was cut.

4:00 PM, January 01, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As for impeding his sex life.... that would be a pretty shallow reason for a woman to bail." - Yep. An unshallow woman with a modicum of curiosity might have the initial reaction of "Neat! Can I touch it?" Or so I've heard. ;)

7:26 AM, January 02, 2008  
Anonymous dolphin said...

This may qualify as "fuzzy stuff" but I say leave it up to your son.

You are indifferent to it. Your son one day may not be. Why not let him make the choice when he becomes an adult?

My parents made the choice for me as an infant (I'm cut). I would have made the opposite choice, but now I get no chance to. If you don't care one way or the other, let your son decide what he wants to do with his body.

7:45 AM, January 02, 2008  
Anonymous nm said...

OK, let me start by saying that I don't see any reasons that gentiles should have their sons circumcised. I'm not advocating for it. As an attendee of brises, I can tell you that as a religious ceremony, it's incredibly low-stress on the baby, who probably won't let out more than half a "waaah!" (I've never attended a non-religious circumcision, which sounds quite different to me.) But if there's not a religious mandate, even half a "waaah!" is probably more than parents want to hear. So why should they?

But I have to take exception to this: And apparently circumcision makes sex a lot less enjoyable. I've asked a lot of guys about this, and I think it's one of those sex myths. They all seem to think that their respective penises are as sensitive as sensitive can be, no matter what state of snipped or unsnipped they are.

8:11 AM, January 02, 2008  
Blogger W said...

I take exception to your exception NM. :-)

That particular comment came from a lot of guys who were circumcised later in life. That's the only way to truly know. Of course any guy you ask is going to tell you that.

2:42 PM, January 02, 2008  
Anonymous nm said...

W, if the guys were circumcised later in life for medical reasons, there's no way to separate out whether the underlying medical problem or the circumcision itself caused the decreased sensitivity. And in either case, guys will say anything anyway. Except for engineers, of course.

3:04 PM, January 02, 2008  
Anonymous dolphin said...

I take exception with your exception too nm.

The loss of a good 20,000 erogenous nerve endings (the foreskin has more concentrated nerve endings than almost any other part of the body) would almost HAVE to have some effect on the sensitivity of the organ. Not to mention that having the glans rub up against cotton underwear (I guess you could only wear silk from birth on, and that'd help alot) all the time thickens and desensitizes that sensitive skin.

3:20 PM, January 02, 2008  
Anonymous dolphin said...

Another thing (sorry, but this really is a pet issue of mine) is that an uneven circumcision can disfigure the penis as it grows. Have you ever seen a penis with a sharp curve in one direction? That doesn't happen in uncircumcised men (the penis may naturally have a very subtle curvature, but not a sharper one). That is a direct result of the an uneven circumcision that left the skin on one side tighter than the skin on the other. As the penis grew, it was forced to curve in the direction of the tighter skin (sorta like how getting one tire stuck in the mud will force your car to turn if you try to move forward).

3:37 PM, January 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many pros and cons to the procedure. I'm uncut. There was a time I had considered the surgery in my late 20s.
There are times I wish I had had the opportunity to be cut as a teenager. right now, I'm really glad I'm intact.

I do not remember being made fun of at all. If the foreskin is taken care of, it simply slides back and looks just like a circumcised penis.

I have read plenty of how some circumcisions are done well and the skin is tight on one side or not enough skin was cut off causing the penis to either curve in one direction or another.

It's definitely a decision not to take lightly. If I were to ever have a child I would give him the opportunity to decide later on in his life.

8:13 PM, January 02, 2008  
Anonymous nm said...

I guess you could only wear silk from birth on

A motto for us all, to be sure.

9:29 AM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger W said...

Good point NM. I hadn't considered that. I'm still going to continue to disagree due to the anatomical reasons dolphin mentioned, but I hadn't considered that point when I was reading up on the subject.

3:13 PM, January 06, 2008  
Blogger jarvenpa said...

As a woman I can't attest to personal in-the-body experience, but I have two sons (each had a different father; long story). Both are intact; dad of firstborn wasn't, but was cool about my qualms, and we didn't cut the child. Dad of my third child (there's a daughter too)is himself intact, and was a great resource for the firstborn as well as for the eventual third babe. The eldest child is now 30, never had problems. The younger one is 18, also without problems.
Why go through a surgical procedure that isn't needed?

11:34 PM, January 29, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Un shallow women? what world is this?

As a 21 year old college girl I can honestly tell you uncircumcised is a major turn off. Not only does it not look appealing but it is dirty. If a guy doesn't take special care to wash the extra skin he can get all kinds bacteria ... and why would you want that inside of you.

As for scars with diapers full of crap ... change the diaper and keep the scar covered?? Its worked for everyone who has been circumcised up till now.

8:26 PM, February 04, 2008  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

Late to the comments, but from a medical perspective, the latest research shows that uncircumcised males have a much greater chance of contracting HIV. My OB (who's da bomb and the smartest woman I know) told me she's certain that now that this research is out, doctors are going to start swinging back in favor of circumcision, where for a while now they've been neutral.

I'm not agreeing or disagreeing; I just found that interesting.

5:13 AM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

Okay, "much greater" is debatable. Make that "greater."

5:14 AM, February 05, 2008  
Anonymous Busy Mom said...

Ah, the Internet and circumcision. Always a good time.

10:54 AM, February 11, 2008  

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