General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Why was I circumcised?

Asked by Ltryptophan (9109 points ) May 19th, 2011

As a child born to a christian family, I am unaware how it came to be that I was circumcised. Please, by all means, enlighten me.

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46 Answers

TexasDude's avatar

You’re from the US, right? It’s kind of the in thing here since the 70’s, I think. There was kind of an assumption that it was more sanitary for a while, but now it’s just a thing that doctors do by default unless you tell them otherwise from what I’ve seen. It has little to nothing to do with religion.

iamthemob's avatar

It’s medically standard.

However, it’s ridiculous that it’s medically standard.

TexasDude's avatar

However, it’s ridiculous that it’s medically standard.

Agreed. I’m happy with my circumcised equipment then again, I can never know what it’s like to not be that way but the idea that circumcision is more sanitary and somehow superior is severely outdated and has no grounding in fact.

Ltryptophan's avatar

I’m not big on conspiracy theories, and I don’t know that any exist on this subject, but I definitely see where I could get the wrong impression about a Jewish religious ritual being performed on my precious.

WestRiverrat's avatar

At one time it was considered a health issue in the US. There are some studies that suggest it lowers the risk of UTIs and transmission of some STDs. There are also studies that show no correllation between the two.

So it is basically a take your pick.

Ltryptophan's avatar

If anyone has any supporting documentation I wouldn’t mind cleaving through it.

ragingloli's avatar

“Circumcision weakens the power of sexual excitement.” – Maimonides.
Circumcision is about the control of religion over the sexual activities of people.
That is the origin of the practice, and the excuse of hygiene is just that, an excuse because the original purpose of sexual control became less acceptable in recent times.

JLeslie's avatar

When a baby is born in the US the doctor usually asks the parents if they want to circumcise the baby. Most doctors recommend doing it. Even my husband, from Mexico, the hospital usually just did it after the parents gave permission, but it was very common.. My husband had it done later because he was a premie. There is a belief it is easier to keep clean and more hygienic to circumcise. There has been many arguments about this on fluther if you want to do a search.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Funny you would bring this up. My 27-year-old son has really raked me over the coals for this. I have many reasons why I had my boys circumcised. For one, my dad told me to because his brother had to be done at age 14, and dad felt so sorry for him. Secondly, there was only one boy in my high school that had not been done, and when the word spread, none of the girls would go out with him – even though he was a drop-dead gorgeous French-Canadian. Third, my husband had been done and doctors were saying at the time that you should do whatever is most prevalent in your family so that the boy would feel the same as the other males. Doctors also said it was cleaner, and it was supposed to be sexier. You know the old joke about the guy that got circumcised so that he could have a chance to get ahead. Ha-ha.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ltryptophan Shilolo has studies cited here. He is an Infectious Disease doctor.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard You started your answer word for word what I was typing! It’s does seem to be a US thing, in europe it is really only seen for religious reasons. It seems to be based on the assumption that it reduces disease and makes cleaning easier. While it is true it does make cleaning easier evidence to suggest it reduces disease is pretty weak, in fact several STI’s are more likely to be transmitted. The only time it could be possiblly reccomended on medical grounds to prevent disease is in areas with endemic HIV infections..

As a male who was circimsied in adulthood, in my experince after circumcision the glans was much less sensitive than it was before.

Nullo's avatar

It is not uncommon for Christians to observe some of the Jewish traditions – really a matter of preference, since that’s Old Covenant stuff. Biblically, it is something of a symbol of dedication (probably not the best description – it’s been a loooong day), rather like Samson’s hair.

Meego's avatar

If you really want to know the answer maybe you should ask your parents?

JLeslie's avatar

@Meego Great idea.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@Meego that answer is easy. They just did what everyone else does.

laureth's avatar

Cultural inertia.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

Ask your parents. I never got my son done. This is something that I would rather leave up to him. I never got my daughter’s ears for the same reason. I’m not about to cosmetically alter my children’s appearance so they fit in with everyone else.

Check out all the controversies behind it: Controversies behind circumcision

Meego's avatar

@JLeslie ty, I thought about my sister and my mother both having boys and both of their reasons were different and both outcomes were also different. Would only make sense to ask the one who did the deed. You were thinking the same thing though weren’t you? :)
@Ltryptophan you should ask for a better answer..you deserve one it’s your penis!

Meego's avatar

Tell them they owe it’s to your penis…thank you very much.

laureth's avatar

(Well, it’s most of his penis.)

meiosis's avatar

I’m very thankful that my (European Christian) parents didn’t even consider it. All man, me ;)

everephebe's avatar

I very happily retain my prepuce, and think that there is no earthly reason on the planet to remove said skin. I’m ribbed for your pleasure.

everephebe's avatar

Of course I think this ultimately illustrates that religion is the number one form of parental abuse.
I much rather have people cut god out of their lives, than the skin of off their child’s genitalia.

trickface's avatar

I’m from the UK and generally all of us think it’s very weird how in the USA it’s considered cleaner and ‘sexier’ to be circumcised. It’s totally bizarre. Anyone with an inch of hygiene will clean themselves properly downstairs whether you’re circumcised or not. Admittedly, the USA is more religious than the UK so I can’t combat that nonsensical pseudo Judaism-Christianity value of chopped todgers. I think @laureth hit the nail on the head with ‘cultural inertia’, that is a fear that is built up through time and society right? I also can’t believe the doctors don’t even ask before they snip away.

Circumcision is absolute nonsense to me.

Paul's avatar

Over here in the UK I only only know of one circumcised person in my entire school. I guess there’s just never been the health scares here there have been in the US.

Bellatrix's avatar

I haven’t had to make this decision for a long time but when my son was born it was not routinely carried out in Australia and you had to ask for it. I think this is still the case. I will stand corrected if anyone has more recent information to the contrary.

I actually discussed this at length (no pun intended) with my doctor before making the decision that there was no justifiable reason to have my son circumcised.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

@trickface I talked to my current bf about this and he said if he’d ever have a kid, he’d get him cut. I know religion isn’t his reasoning seeing as he’s an atheist. He’s cut himself and just likes the look. I told him I could never justify cutting my son for that reason alone.

trickface's avatar

@Ajulutsikael too right! with all due respect that sounds so narcissistic “I like the look and feel of my willy so my son will definitely feel the same about his”. It’s like christening as a newborn to me, it should be a decision the adult makes, except circumcision is obviously physical and for life.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

@trickface In this respect I’m happy my bf doesn’t want to have kids because God forbid I had a boy. I would refuse to let him have any decisions in that area. I push a baby out I’m calling the shots.

Prosb's avatar

I’m personally glad I was circumcised, because otherwise it just looks a bit odd when flaccid in my opinion. That aside, it really should be something up to the person, it’s too personal to have someone decide that for you.

However, if it wasn’t done at birth, I’m sure almost no one would have it for anything other than religious reasons. I can’t think of many people I know who would want to do that later, even if they prefer the look. Most girls/women here seem to prefer circumcised men, but that’s probably only because it’s the norm.

JLeslie's avatar

@Prosb People do it later. There was a Sex and the City episode about an adult who does it later, not that Sex and the City is any sort of official scientific study. My sister was a nurse and she had several patients do it as teens. My husband hadit done at around 5 years old. Well, his parents had it done to him.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

I think @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard hit it on the nail. It became common to circumcise males in America in the 1960s and 1970s, and it’s still a relatively common procedure. It doesn’t necessarily depend on your religion or the cultural background you have. Even I got circumcised, and I’m Asian.

And I agree with @Prosb, the uncircumcised organ to me looks a bit odd, flaccid. It looks “juvenile”, as if it hasn’t “reached maturity” yet. (lol)

trickface's avatar

Penis vanity, such a funny concept.

Maybe the same people who prefer their penis to look a certain way also prefer a set appearance to a ladies parts? There is such a thing as female circumcision as well, quite a few young girls in England get this because of sheer self-consciousness. It’s equally bonkers to me, but a little sadder too; how a person should feel their genitalia are ugly just because of a media-made average. Blegh.

laureth's avatar

@Prosb – they may prefer it but I don’t. I prefer my grains and my guy to be minimally processed. ;)

BBSDTfamily's avatar

You’re going to have to ask your parents why they chose to do it. Hopefully they thought it through and didn’t just follow the masses without deciding that they actually wanted to do it themselves. It was a big discussion in my marriage over whether or not we would circumcise our son.

tedd's avatar

I would personally prefer the choice had been left to me for when I got older. But I probably still would’ve got it done anyways.

I think there’s a growing movement towards not cutting them at birth for what its worth.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Isn’t San Francisco trying to outlaw circumcision altogether? I saw something mentioned on a blog a while ago, but never saw an outcome.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Your parents may have seen it as a cultural standard or a medical good idea. Anyone I’ve ever know who wasn’t circumcised as a baby went on to have the surgery as a late teen or adult, even with education, access to studies and whatever. When it came down to it the general reason was because they liked the look of the circumcision, female partners liked the idea of a “cleaner” or easier-to-keep-clean tinkie winkie and also… it looks bigger when circumcised.

AdamF's avatar

Except in the case of relatively rare medical abnormalities, every reason/excuse I’ve heard comes down to issues of appearance, religion/culture, or sexual activity. None of these issues are of such urgent relevance to a baby to justify a parent or doctor taking away the individual’s right to make their own informed decision when old enough to do so.

It’s a man’s right to make that choice, not a parents.

Frankly I am interested how many women here would object to someone cutting a bit off their baby daughter’s labia because they thought it “looked nicer”.

Plucky's avatar

This is an interesting read if you are interested in the history of circumcision.

Meego's avatar

Since your Christian I just found out that after tomorrow it won’t matter anyway

JLeslie's avatar

This is odd timing. I was talking with three women after my zumba class and during the conversation one brought up circumcision and I told the story of my husband being circumcised when he was 5 years old. Two of the other women chimed in, one her father had his done at age 30 because his wife was getting a lot of infections, and the her husband had it done in his teens. What’s the chance in a group of 4 3 out of the four knew men who had it done so late in life.

laureth's avatar

Re: “father had his done at age 30 because his wife was getting a lot of infections”

Whoa. I can’t imagine a cleanliness problem that is so hard to take care of that circumcision sounds like a better option! <shudder>

JLeslie's avatar

@laureth When women have recurrent infections they are almost always asked if their husbands are circumcised.

meiosis's avatar

@JLeslie Not here in the UK they’re not. I’d be very surprised if there was a significantly higher incidence of vaginal infections in women here, despite our almost zero rate of cosmetic circumcision amongst men, than in the US, or Middle Eastern countries.

Nullo's avatar

Family lore has it that my grandfather and an uncle both had the procedure after nasty zipper accidents.

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