Social Question

Jude's avatar

NSFW (circumcision)

Asked by Jude (32112points) February 27th, 2012

If you feel comfortable answering, men, were you circumcised? If you had a male child, was he circumcised? If you’re planning on having children, is circumcision a must?

And, what are your reasons for it?

(Personally, I believe that circumcision is a throwback from the past – it was a religious thing, nothing to do with hygeine. It has no proven benefits. As far as I’m concerned, it’s abuse).

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140 Answers

King_Pariah's avatar

I was circumcised but if I have boys (or children at all) I have no intention of having him/them circumcised. If they want to be circumcised when they grow up, then they can get circumcised.

tom_g's avatar

I’m cut. My 2 boys are not. Non-reversible cosmetic surgery on my 2 little boys without their consent? Nope.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Female here. I do not want my boys to be circumcised and this is a point I will fight with my husband on if I have to. My last boyfriend was circumcised and expressed a desire not to be. I have told this to some of my friends and they are horrified. They claim it is “cleaner” to be circumcised which, in my opinion, is utter bullshit. It’s also cleaner for children not to have hair I’m thinking of lice and the like but no one keeps their kids bald because it’s “cleaner.”

DominicX's avatar

I’m sure this will turn into a war between “studies” that indicate opposite things, but I’ll answer before that happens.

I am not circumcised even though my dad is. I will not be circumcising my kids unless some unusual medical condition necessitates it. “It looks pretty” and “they need to look like their father” are not valid reasons in my book. Routine infant circumcision is a uniquely American phenomenon—it doesn’t happen in Europe and Europeans are not swimming in penile disease. Therefore, I will not be having it done.

DrBill's avatar

I was cut late in life, I consider it abuse, and would never abuse a child like this. I can also tell you sex is not as enjoyable after being circumcised.

Blackberry's avatar

Asking about my penis? I’m reporting this, creeper.

I’m circumcised. I personally think it’s harmless, but after seeing a debate on another website, some people are really passionate about this topic. I know there’s no reason to do it, so I can’t imagine doing it if I had kids.

If a poor guy was made fun of by women or his peers and was really devastated, I think it can be done later in life, lol.

Judi's avatar

@DrBill , why in the world did your parents wait until you were six????

ragingloli's avatar

If I had children, there is no way in hell I would perpetrate circumcision against them. It is child abuse.

Keep_on_running's avatar

Circumcision is the equivalent of genital mutilation in young girls. There is nothing right about it, and I’m sorry to the boys and men who have had it done. There may be some who embrace it and have done it willingly, that’s their decision, but a young child without consent? Wrong.

tom_g's avatar

@Keep_on_running – I suspect someone will shortly say “how dare you” compare male and female circumcision. I get what you’re saying, and I agree that genital manipulation for cosmetic, religious, or cultural reasons is unacceptable – for any gender. Let’s just get one thing out of the way so people don’t go all ape sh*t: nobody is saying that male circ is exactly the same or just as bad. It’s just helpful to acknowledge that we all can see female circ as something just obviously bad, while many families in the US celebrate the mutilation of their sons’ genitals.

blueiiznh's avatar

Yes, I will have to get back to you once I ask my Mother why. NOT!!
I am sure it was based on a religious /generational choice. Times are different now and I will cross cut that bridge when I hit it.

gondwanalon's avatar

I agree with you @Jude. Circumcision is abuse and mutilation.

I’m circumcised and I always wondered what it would be like to have that small amount of skin to protect the most sensitive part of the penis. On long bike rides the head of my penis sometimes gets rubbed raw.

I’ve witnessed a circumcision take place in a hospital nursery. It made me a little sick. The poor little baby was screaming bloody murder and his face was redder than a cooked beet. I thought, “Welcome to the world little guy. It doesn’t get much better”.

6rant6's avatar

I am.

We were uncomfortable with the procedure, and my son’s pediatrician recommended it, but acknowledged that for him it was also a religious issue.

As for what happened, that’s his to reveal or not.

AdamF's avatar

Im circumcized.

If I had a boy there is no way I’d let anyone near his willy with a scalpel outside of a medical necessity.

There’s just no legitimate need to do that to a baby except in such circumstances.

Mat74UK's avatar

I am not and I don’t know many that are. The only benefit I can think of occurred when one mate had it done when we were 9 or 10 and he was the guy that could pee up the wall the highest!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I would never do that to my male-bodied kids. Or to any of my kids, for that matter.

Keep_on_running's avatar

@tom_g Yeah, maybe “equivalent” was too strong or presumptuous of a word, but the bottom line is the same to me.

tranquilsea's avatar

My mother was really forward thinking in 1977, when she had my brother, as she did not circumcise him.

Nor did I when I had my boys.

Aethelflaed's avatar

As @Rarebear links to, there actually are health benefits for men. It’s not really as necessary in the First World, where men can take regular showers or baths and clean that stuff, to get circumcised, but sometimes when men in the military are on tour and away from such luxuries, they actually do find a need to start circumcising again. And it dramatically reduced the male’s chance of contracting HIV, First World or not.

Not saying people should do it, just pointing out that it does have some medical benefits.

Mat74UK's avatar

@Aethelflaed“And it dramatically reduced the male’s chance of contracting HIV, First World or not.”Simple reply to that….......... “put a bag on it

Rarebear's avatar

@Aethelflaed I’ll make the point that there are possible health benefits for women also as HIV in Africa is generally by heterosexual transmission.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Rarebear Very true. I find it hard to make really hard and fast rules about circumcision – what’s right for a middle-class person living in America isn’t necessarily right for a poverty-stricken person in rural Africa.

tom_g's avatar

re: Africa and HIV – You know, there are these things called “condoms” and they work pretty well. There are some who are against that though.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Considering the reduced risk of passing HIV to Female partners and the reduced risk of cervical cancer in life-long female partners of circumcised men, people should not be so quick to dismiss the health benefits of circumcision. Since I feel it does more good than harm, I cannot condemn the practice. The fact that it derived from religious custom does not, in itself, make it wrong, primitive or an evil of any kind.

The procedures done by some on females are serious genital mutilation the seriously impairs sexual function in those women. The same can be not honestly be said of male circumcision.

All generations of males in my family are circumcised. None of us suffer any ill effects. I’m heard no complaints from any female partners.

Rarebear's avatar

I have no arguments about condoms, although saying you’ll give condoms to the entire male population of African and expect them to use it is easier said than done. I’m merely disputing the point that there are “no proven benefits.”

Keep_on_running's avatar

Condoms should reduce HIV, cutting off a piece of your anatomy shouldn’t. I think @KatawaGrey makes a great point, you wouldn’t have fingernails removed because they trap bacteria underneath them which ingested, may lead to illness.

tom_g's avatar

@Rarebear: “I’m merely disputing the point that there are “no proven benefits.””

Cutting off their penises would significantly reduce HIV.

Oh, and people without legs are much less prone to broken legs.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@tom_g And condoms are often expensive, and need to be replaced each and every time. Circumcision is really only the one time. You really going to tell people in Africa that they should obviously just wear condoms? I’m really not trying to say every dude should run out to get circumcised, but rather, maybe there are some circumstances that are so different from our lives that a blanket condemnation isn’t called for.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

There are places where you can get condoms for free.

Rarebear's avatar

@tom_g This discussion isn’t about total penile amputation, it’s about circumcision. Just in case you’re not aware what circumcision is, it’s cutting off the foreskin of a penis—not the entire penis.

tom_g's avatar

@Aethelflaed: “You really going to tell people in Africa that they should obviously just wear condoms”

yes.

@Rarebear – Thanks for the lesson on circumcision. I was unclear before.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@tom_g Wow, how privileged of you.

ragingloli's avatar

take animal colon, tie a knot on one end -> cheap makeshift condom.

tom_g's avatar

@Aethelflaed – Are you f*cking kidding me? Catholic charities have been peddling anti-condom bullshit for years in Africa, and everyone is sitting around playing their xbox or some shit. Now that there is a way to reduce the risk of unprotected sex in Africa by performing circumcisions, everyone is all high and mighty and all concerned.

Where the hell was your concern when our beloved child-raping institution was screwing over this country with it’s anti-condom horseshit?

Fine. You like an operation over advocating for condoms. I get it.

Mat74UK's avatar

All I can say is if anybody raped my ass I wouldn’t be bothered if they were circumcised or not but I’d be a little happier if I knew they’d “put a sock on it”!
Just because it’s been decloaked doesn’t mean it’s any safer when it comes to HIV!

tom_g's avatar

Can I just duck back in here to apologize for my rude answer above. I am clearly stressed out today, and this topic is definitely one that can get me fired up. I’ll calm down.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I once had a religion based debate online with someone who was all in favor of circumcision, I asked the guy why not just let people decide when they are 18 if they want it done or not, to this he respinded “then no one would have it done”.

I am uncut, and am against the idea of circumcision.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Whoa, I leave to do a bit of stumbling and suddenly people against circumcision are condemning all of Africa to dying of AIDS…

Here’s a point: medical care in Africa is not exactly state of the art. People are not dying of AIDS because they aren’t circumcised if it honestly made that huge of a difference, 25% of all sexually active 20-somethings in the US wouldn’t contract STD’s, and most men in this country are circumcised they are dying of AIDS because medical care is terrible and sexual education is severely lacking and, oh, in many African countries, rape is used as a weapon of war so soldiers will rape women, children and sometimes even men of opposing villages; I’d say this is a bigger spreader of AIDS than being uncircumcised. These issues are a little bit more important than a tiny piece of skin on a man’s penis.

OpryLeigh's avatar

My boyfriend is circumsized and he doesn’t resent it or have any bad feeling about it. I can’t imagine I would have any of my children circumsized but I don’t know enough about it to have an opinion either way about it.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Interesting fact: In India, where circumcision is very rare, it is estimated that about 2.4 million people have AIDS. That is less than a quarter of a percent of the population.

There are countries in Africa where more than 20% of the population has AIDS or HIV.

If circumcision really made so huge of a difference, wouldn’t one of the most highly populated countries in the world have a much higher rate of infection?

wundayatta's avatar

Yeah. You dudes go ahead and stay uncircumcised as much as you want. Don’t have your sons done, either.

I’m circumcised. After much discussion with my wife, we had our son circumcised, too.

There’s been enough talk on the medical harms and benefits. I will say that comparing circumcision to female genital mutilation is like comparing a precisely lined up c4 explosion to a clusterbomb. Not the same thing at all.

But, from what I understand, women seem to overwhelmingly prefer circumcised cocks when it comes to lovers.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@wundayatta: Not true. I have found uncircumcised cocks to be more pleasing to the eye because they lack that ugly scar. Also, most women in our society prefer circumcised penises only because it’s what we’re used to. Neither looks better or worse, it’s just a societal thing.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@bkcunningham: Yeah, the section right under the head is all read, sometimes purple and there’s a line where it turns from the red or purple back into the regular penis color.

I had a fling with a guy who had the best of both worlds. He was uncut but he had very little foreskin. No scar, and no issues that uncut-phobics are, well, phobic about.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think that is the difference in color from the inner and outer foreskin layers in a moderately tight circumcision. When a circumcision is done on a infant, there really isn’t a scar (like I thought you meant when I read scar.) I like the look of a penis, cut or uncut. Hard or soft, but mostly I prefer hard.

My Mom had four sons. She didn’t have my oldest brother circumcised because, she said, she’d never heard of anything like that before and told the doctor no. My oldest brother was born in 1953. Every son she bore after that was circumcised because of cleanliness and medical advise. It had nothing whatsoever to do with religious reasons.

tom_g's avatar

Straight guy here, but I’m willing to bet that there are more than a few hetero females who are into an intact penis. Just like there are those of us hetero males who are attracted to real breasts.

The way I see it, if you need a woman to have plastic boobs, then you probably aren’t technically attracted to women. If some woman is disgusted by uncut dick, then maybe she can stick to plastic toys.

Jude's avatar

For those of you who decided on circumcision for their own children and/or support the idea in general, does this have anything to do with your culture or religion (Jewish, Catholic, for ex.)?

bkcunningham's avatar

@tom_g, no offense intended, but to me that is nonsensical. Uncut penis and plastic toys, plastic breasts and being attracted to women? What?

tom_g's avatar

@bkcunningham – We can take this topic to another thread if you want. I’m curious though – is this concept entirely foreign to you?

bkcunningham's avatar

Is what concept entirely foreign to me?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@bkcunningham @tom_g means that if you like implants, you like ‘fake’ parts and not ‘real’ women and if like uncut penises, they’re like ‘fake’ penises, like sex toys.

bkcunningham's avatar

I thought that is what he meant, @Simone_De_Beauvoir, except I think he meant cut penises are like fake penises or sex toys (I think that is what you meant to say anyway). That is silly to me.

amujinx's avatar

Regardless of whether you think there are benefits or not for circumcision, I would hope you would all agree that the choice on this matter should be with the person who you would circumcise. If you disagree and think the parent should dictate what happens to their child’s body, you and I will have issues. You are the parent, but that does not mean you should get to dictate something like this where you take something from your child that they can’t get back. The choice on this issue should completely be with the person who owns the penis once they are old enough to weigh the choices.

I am circumcised, and I have a noticeable difference in sensitivity from the top of the head of my penis compared to the bottom. If I was given the choice, I would never had been cut.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@amujinx My partner would completely agree with you. I don’t think many other men are comfortable stating that they in fact are NOT okay with having been cut.

Blackberry's avatar

Since I was cut as a baby, I wouldn’t know what my life had been like uncut, which is the only reason I’m apathetic about it.

amujinx's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir It’s part of the stigma that is on men in the US. They are supposed to accept that it’s “normal” to be cut and that women prefer prefer penises that are cut. I accept that how you are born is normal, and involuntary body modification is a crime. I know why my parents chose it for me, my mother is British and she had never heard of the benefits (as debatable as just how much benefit there is) and thought she was doing me a favor because she believed the doctor who supposedly knew better. However, the fact of the matter is that circumcision really is just a big business. It’s not like they are done for free, and the doctors know they can sway people who are uneducated about the benefits or lack thereof into doing an unnecessary operation for a few more bucks. I doubt most men would get cut if they were actually given the choice.

nikipedia's avatar

@wundayatta, please count me as 1 data point against your conclusion.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@amujinx: I’m with you on that 100%. It’s also why I’m against piercing a young child’s ears unless the child is old enough to request the ear-piercing and old enough to care for them him/herself. It’s also why I will not be raising my children vegetarian even though I am vegetarian.

Blackberry's avatar

@amujinx Yeah, my only fear about getting a vasectomy is just knowing someone will be cutting me open down there.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Blackberry, there is a no scalpel vasectomy method.

Rarebear's avatar

@bkcunningham The no scalpel vasectomy is a slight misnomer in that you’re still poking the skin with a sharp object—it’s just a very sharp forceps instead of a scalpel. I actually prefer the scalpel method as there is less digging around. But you want the doctor to use the method s/he is most comfortable using. They’re both functionally equivalent, the pain is more or less the same, and the recovery time is more or less the same.

@Blackberry Vasectomies are extremly safe—far safer than a tubal ligation. They are low risk, the recovery time is short, and then you never have to worry about fathering a child again. It is my preferred method of permanent sterilization and I had a vasectomy myself rather than forcing my wife to undergo general anesthesia.

saint's avatar

I am, so are my sons. What is interesting to me is that anybody gives a shit one way or the other, and that they think somebody should do something about it. Who are these people?

bkcunningham's avatar

@Rarebear, I started to add the details of the no scalpel vasectomy but figured they might make @Blackberry faint. jk @Blackberry.

tom_g's avatar

@saint: “I am, so are my sons. What is interesting to me is that anybody gives a shit one way or the other, and that they think somebody should do something about it. Who are these people?”

Who? Ummm…many of the people who have posted in the this thread above you.

Who are they in my experience? Generally people who don’t just do things that are cultural norms just because everyone else does. I think you’ll find that the same people who do the research and discover that the most respectful choice for their children is to give them the choice, are probably some of the same people who do all kinds things you might not understand if you are more traditional.

Also, besides the fact that your comment is essentially a rephrased “get off my lawn”, you apparently do care about it one way or another. You care enough to have come here to feign ignorance about why “anybody gives a shit”, despite the fact that there are 64 previous posts which include a ton of people explaining why they give a shit.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

When the son comes along, he will be circumcised. I see it much the same light as a woman going Brazilian, it is more to do with ease of maintenance, and hygene than religion.

saint's avatar

@tom_g Argumentum ad populum is one of the sure winners on Fluther.

tom_g's avatar

@saint – Wow, man. Please go look up that term and re-read my post. And note – if you don’t issue a correction, I’ll understand your intention.

Note: I’m waiting.

saint's avatar

@tom_g Waiting for what?

tom_g's avatar

@saint – For you to take back that argumentum ad populum accusation once you learn what it means and re-read the post you accused me of using it in.

saint's avatar

OK. To please you, I just re read it. My comment stands. Sorry.

tom_g's avatar

@saint – Well, I am sorry too. Sorry that I have to explain to you what that logical fallacy means, and then go on to repeat what I stated….

Here goes (short version)...this can be worded in many ways, but lets try this…the fallacy goes like this: A claim is true if many people believe it.

Are you with me so far? Ok, good. Now, let’s take a look at my post again. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Great. Now, explain to me where I make a claim and use this fallacy? It doesn’t exist, so you might have trouble with this part.

Let me help you…..

Here is the post you made at comment #65 of this thread:
@saint: “I am, so are my sons. What is interesting to me is that anybody gives a shit one way or the other, and that they think somebody should do something about it. Who are these people?”

You walked into a crowded room in which everyone who is interested in “this shit” is explaining why they give a shit. You walk into the room and ask, “who are these people?”, as though they are still hiding or something. No, the answer is “those people” are the people who have been filling this thread (or many of them). And what have they been filling this thread with? Yep, you guessed it – reasons why they “give a shit”.

Do you understand my post now? It wasn’t meant to complicate. It was meant to answer your questions.

Now, back to good old “argument ad populum”. Let’s see if we can apply it to my response in which you accused me of using it. Did you see the number 64 and think that this means I was making a claim that 64 posts means many people, therefore ____ (something)??

Dude, I’m not going to put the pieces together for you. If you make an accusation, you’d better step up and explain.

Blackberry's avatar

@bkcunningham @Rarebear Yeah, I’m getting it done either way, but it’s still a fear. Thanks for the reassuring.

Rarebear's avatar

@Blackberry My advice is to go to someone who does a lot of them. Most commonly that’s a urologist or a family physicians (in our system family physicians do pretty much all of them as the urologist can’t be bothered with something that small—I had mine done by an FP.)

Honestly, don’t worry about it. I took some antiinflammatories for a few days afterwards and some ice and I was fine.

I have links to lots of videos if you’re interested. :-)

bkcunningham's avatar

I’ve known many men who had it done an, just like you @Blackberry, they were scared of the pain. Also many of them had some fear of losing – something masculine – maybe is the word I’m looking for here. They all turned out okay and the pain was taken care of with a couple of days of ice packs and ibeprofen. The wives/girlfriends I’ve talked to said sex was better after their partners had the procudure and our conclusion is because the pressure of getting pregnant was removed from her and the relaxation flowed over to her mate. (Plus the women admired the men and were appreciative for their contribution to the relationship and decision to not have any more kids.)

Blackberry's avatar

Ah ok, thanks guys. I’ve been asking around and researching, and people have been giving me actual doctors names, but not saying much about them. I didn’t think about going to actual urologists, which makes obvious sense.

Sorry to derail.

DeanV's avatar

I am, and I never really thought much of it until now. Still don’t I guess.

I don’t remember any of it, as I was really young, and I certainly don’t feel any sort of long lasting genital pain. I understand it’s probably different for those that remember themselves uncircumcised, but I really don’t know the difference, so I guess I don’t care.

I suppose it’s something I’d have to take up with my wife if I ever have kids, as I’m decidedly “meh” right now.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I was circumcised, but I do not plan on having any male children I may have circumcised. Circumcision can have contextual benefits. If I lived in a place where prevailing cultural norms made condom use unlikely, and where the risk of HIV transmission was high, I might choose differently. For the present, however, the circumstances in which my children are likely to be born do not seem to warrant circumcision.

bkcunningham's avatar

@SavoirFaire, HIV is only one of the health conditions mentioned in the link @Rarebear provided. I thought you lived in the US.

tom_g's avatar

@bkcunningham – Can’t speak for @SavoirFaire, but I believe he included some criteria that would answer that…

@SavoirFaire: “If I lived in a place where prevailing cultural norms made condom use unlikely, and where the risk of HIV transmission was high” If he lives in the US, the first part == false, so the conditional fails.

ddude1116's avatar

I’m not circumcised, but over the summer I saw a man protesting circumcision, advocating to outlaw it or something, and he raised some interesting points, like how the skin not only protects the man, but it is meant to hold in lubricants during intercourse so as to protect the woman as well. And as far as cleanliness is concerned, that’s like finding the solution to cleaning your couch by just getting rid of it. It stays cleaner because there’s nothing to hold any fluids for any amount of time, but they do serve a purpose, as I mentioned earlier. And they use the removed foreskin to go into protective skin creams, so part of the reason it’s advocated is for cosmetic purposes.

Rarebear's avatar

Well, Jude asked for opinions and here are mine.

Male circumcision is not akin to female genital mutilation. I find that comparison offensive

Male circumcision is not akin to child abuse. I find that comparison offensive also.

There are health benefits to circumcision, but in the first world (and certainly for anybody reading this), I don’t think that should sway anybody’s decision.

I have seen several circumcision-related complications, but I have also seen complications arising from noncircumcised penises.

The arguments of better/worse for sex are opinion only.

Circumcision is an odd religious ritual, and I don’t really understand why the Jewish and Islamic cultures require it. But if I’m going to pick one, I’d pick Jewish because it’s done as a neonate and the Muslims do it at 13.

In short, it should be a parental or personal choice.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@bkcunningham I do live in the US. See @tom_g‘s answer: I was giving a conditional—the antecedent of which is (currently) false—in which I qualified my response. I do not plan on having any male children I may have circumcised, but I would consider it if I were in different circumstances.

I mentioned HIV specifically because it has been discussed more than anything else on this thread. In any case, I don’t find any of the other potential health benefits to be sufficient in my current circumstances either.

YARNLADY's avatar

All of my husbands and all of my sons and all of my grandsons have been. None of them have any ill affects, and it will continue to be by the choice of the parents.

fizzbanger's avatar

My husband was born without foreskin. He’s pretty indifferent about it.

Keep_on_running's avatar

Sorry to anyone who was offended by my first comment. I know they are different, I don’t want to play down the seriousness of female genital mutilation. I’m a woman so it especially makes me angry that this occurs in some parts of the world. I’ve seen footage of it and it’s truly horrific.

I don’t think I will ever agree with the altering of a child’s body just for social/cultural/pseudo-health reasons. I wouldn’t even pierce my hypothetical child’s ears. A-whole-nother issue… Obviously if it needed to be done for serious medical reasons – that pose an imminent threat to the child’s life – it should be done.

As with everything, just my opinion.

AdamF's avatar

None of the STD-related pro-circumcision arguments are sufficiently clear-cut (tee hee), to necessitate a parent circumcizing their baby.

It’s a decision for the owner of the penis to make, when old enough to make an informed choice.

Bellatrix's avatar

I did not have my son circumcised.

tedd's avatar

@Rarebear I find your dismissal of cutting off part of the penis as not being genital mutilation, and cutting a helpless infant boy with a scalpal as not child abuse… really f*cking disturbing.

And there are no health benefits in the first world. The “less chance of aids” thing was BS thought up by the Catholic church for Africa. It has been scientifically proven to be false. It can cause a higher chance of infections, but that’s a hygiene matter and typically doesn’t include STD’s as they cannot usually live outside the body (ie in the hood of foreskin).

I was circumcised, I will never circumcise any son I have.

tedd's avatar

Here’s a thought. I find large breasts unattractive. My whole life I’ve been attracted to smaller breasted women and found the big ones to honestly just get in the way. Moreover, they are prone to hygiene issues cuz they get stuff stuck in between them and under them. Also, they are a health hazard, women with larger breasts are more likely to get breast cancer.

I submit to you, that under the same principals that circumcision is a good idea, every woman with breasts above a B cup should have her breasts reduced.

wundayatta's avatar

@tedd And some do. By their own choice. It’s serious surgery.

It would be serious surgery for a guy to get a circumcision at a similar age. If you’re going to be circumcised, you really want it done at the age of a few days.

ragingloli's avatar

http://www.circumstitions.com/Pain.html

Read these accounts and tell me this is not child abuse.

tedd's avatar

@wundayatta If somebody chooses to have their breasts reduced, or part of their penis taken off… Then so be it. But I find something morally and frankly legally wrong with the idea of doing this to an infant.

Rarebear's avatar

@tedd Well, it’s obvious that your rude response to me was because you were abused as a child.

wundayatta's avatar

@tedd I can understand how you might find this morally or legally wrong. It depends on where you think rights come from. Based on your perception about infants, I’d guess you are also an animal rights advocate.

I believe that rights come, loosely, from the ability to think and communicate. People, in my opinion, grow into their rights as they grow into their ability to think and communicate. Obviously, babies communicate at a very rough and rudimentary level, since they can basically only cry or gurgle and maybe exhibit signs of a few other feelings. They can not, of course, talk, and thus cannot manipulate symbols. I believe that this means they can not, essentially, think. It takes language to think. It takes language to remember conceptual thoughts.

I think that nature has developed in us an ability to forget pain. It is useful in the immediate term, but not so useful in the longer term. I know I forget bad things as time goes by. It seems likely that babies have this capability, too.

So I don’t think circumcisions are mean or cruel or immoral or illegal. I think that parents know far better what is good for their infants than the infants do. If this weren’t the case, I don’t think we’d have such long childhoods. In any case, I have no problem making decisions for my children. I have no problems in denying rights to children that adults have. Children are not, for the most part, capable of handling things.

Rarebear's avatar

@ragingloli There is no question that it’s a surgical procedure that hurts. That’s why when I used to do circumcisions I used local anesthesia.

tedd's avatar

@Rarebear My rude response to you is a result of you being in favor of abusing infants. Pretty justified imo.

tedd's avatar

@wundayatta Please explain to me a good reason to get a circumcision. Even if the STD claims were true, which they’re not… In the US we have condoms. You can stop all of the STD’s with 100% effectiveness by simply wrapping it up if you have a possibly infected partner. I mean are we seriously pushing circumcision as some kind of STD prevention??????

The only reason parents in the US do it today is because of pressure from doctors, and remnants of the religious motivation….. It’s pure aesthetics.

And ok parents know better… But how about you wait til the kid is older and let him make that decision?

tedd's avatar

Further disproving the STD nonsense. Circumcision is not by in large practiced in Europe. In fact Europe, Russia, China, and India all have less than 20% circumcision rates (and most of them come in well below that benchmark). In the US the estimate is 80–85% of the male population has been circumcised.

This study found that the prevalence of HIV in the US is 6x the rate it is in Germany, 50% higher than it is in France, and so on and so forth http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/419?task=view

This website shows that the rates of Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia are all almost exactly as common in the US and in Western Europe. It also points out that the rough # of infected persons with STDs (all curable STDs) per 1000 in the US is 19, vs 20 in Western Europe (and hell even just 21 in north Africa!). http://www.avert.org/std-statistics.htm

What with all the STD prevention and evils circumcision prevents, I’m shocked to hear the population of the rest of the world hasn’t just died off.

amujinx's avatar

@wundayatta “I believe that rights come, loosely, from the ability to think and communicate. People, in my opinion, grow into their rights as they grow into their ability to think and communicate. Obviously, babies communicate at a very rough and rudimentary level, since they can basically only cry or gurgle and maybe exhibit signs of a few other feelings. They can not, of course, talk, and thus cannot manipulate symbols. I believe that this means they can not, essentially, think. It takes language to think. It takes language to remember conceptual thoughts.”

Using that logic, why can’t it be alright to rape babies? Since they don’t have rights until they can talk, and they won’t remember it happening it’ll be okay. Nevermind the crying, they actually like it. It’s not like they are saying no.

When circumcision was first brought into prevalence in this country, it supposed to be about cutting down masturbation. When that was proven to not be true and people started actually saying that it was abuse, miraculously the STD defense came up. Convenient timing, no?

zensky's avatar

Yes and yes.

Rarebear's avatar

Wow Tedd, I don’t recall where I said I was in favor of child abuse. Perhaps you could point it to me.

I realize you are dealing with underlying anger issues because your parents abused you so badly. Have you been to therapy? I’m so sorry about your childhood.

tom_g's avatar

@Rarebear – I can’t sit and watch this anymore. Please try to build a logical argument rather than attack the person you are arguing with. Google “Ad Hominem”.

Rarebear's avatar

Tom, I know what ad hominem is. I am not the one who cussed nor am I the one who accused someone without grounds of being in favor of child abuse.

If you want to equate circumcision with, say, chronically beating a child, burning them with cigarettes, and leaving them alone in a hot car, that’s your right.

I, however, see a distinction.

Rarebear's avatar

And actually if you want to be technical, the logical fallacy I deliberately used was a straw man argument.

The_Idler's avatar

@tom_g tedd was the one who accused @Rarebear of advocating child abuse. That is seriously offensive.

@tedd I don’t really understand the American obsession with circumcision. In my country (England) the structure of the healthcare system means there is no incentive for doctors to recommend it, except in medically useful/necessary circumstances.

I remember being circumcised. Well, I remember being examined a few times and being told I had to have it. It was recommended by a doctor (who makes the same amount of money whatever he says), when I was about two, I think. I had some kind of problem that made urination extremely difficult.

So I went in, got drugged up, then woke up later in pain, and spent a few hours in the hospital. Problem solved. No problems with it since. So it hurt. So does grinding a hole into your crushed finger’s nail to relieve the pressure, but it works. Many ways to skin a cat, eh.

Most of the people I know (who are cut) had a similar experience, whether as children or adults. None of us would wish it on our kids, but neither do we have any resentment against our parents. Even if it is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut sometimes, BIG FUCKING DEAL. It’s not like they did it for “fun”. There were only good intentions. They took their kid to the doctor with a problem, and the doc solved it. How can that be child abuse?

Grown men probably don’t cry when they get circumcised. Babies do, but babies also cry when they are hungry, tired, bored, lonely, or for any reason at all. It doesn’t cause any lasting problems. I think of child abuse as malicious or at least emotionally scarring, but circumcision just isn’t. Especially in America, where it’s even normal, and (often unjustifiably but never maliciously) recommended by medical professionals.

Doing something a doctor says will benefit your child is not child abuse.

I wouldn’t have it done to my kid, without reason, because, yes, it is painful. But there are medical reasons to do it, and religious and cultural traditions are also important to some people.

If I’m honest, I don’t think “religion” is a good justification for child circumcision, but I also don’t think “religion” is a good justification for child brain-washing, and I know I’d much rather be circumcised on a whim, than brain-washed on religion.

Aethelwine's avatar

My husband was circumcised. Our sons were born 17 and 19 years ago and we had them circumcised. The doctors told us the pros and cons and we decided to go ahead with the procedure for our sons. We aren’t religious people. As far as I know our sons don’t hate us for making this decision for them. In fact, I’m positive they don’t care one way or the other, and they still love us.

Rarebear's avatar

Wow. I feel exactly the same as the idler. Couldn’t have articulated it better.

DeanV's avatar

@jonsblond That’s my position on it as well. It wasn’t my decision to make, nor do I remember any of it. For a long time I didn’t even know there was anything other than circumcision until my parents talked to me about it.

For me, equating it with child abuse seems a tad excessive, especially seeing how many people here who were circumcised don’t remember any of it, and frankly, don’t care whether they are or not.

DominicX's avatar

@The_Idler I think a lot of people against circumcision wouldn’t have a problem with it if there was a medical need to do so (as in your case). I certainly wouldn’t oppose it then. It’s the idea that it needs to be done so the kid will look like the father or for questionable health benefits (like STD prevention) that don’t seem to be a problem in areas where it isn’t done routinely as it is done in America; or in some cases, just because it’s what you do.

My problem in general is just the idea of doing anything “just because”. That’s the reason my dad’s parents had him circumcised. Not because of a medical need for it or because they did extensive research into health benefits, but because “it’s just what’s done”. It’s my theory that if there were a greater reason than that, it wouldn’t done as routinely as it is in America (and it would be more like the situation in Russia, for example, where many of my relatives come from and where circumcision just isn’t done the way it is here).

I also would agree that it isn’t child abuse, but to me, it’s simply unnecessary surgery in the majority of cases. In your case, it wasn’t. In most cases, it is.

tom_g's avatar

@Rarebear: “I realize you are dealing with underlying anger issues because your parents abused you so badly. Have you been to therapy? I’m so sorry about your childhood.”

What claim or argument of @tedd‘s are you disputing here? Sounds an awful lot like an attack on @tedd.

@The_Idler: “tedd was the one who accused @Rarebear of advocating child abuse. That is seriously offensive.”

Did you just pull a “he started it!”? Unless I missed something, the above quote from @Rarebear is attacking @tedd – not his arguments. This is the definition of the ad hominem logical fallacy.

Rarebear's avatar

Tom, Tedd said he was circumcised. He also thinks circumcision is child abuse. Therefore in his mind he feels he was abused.

I am, of course, being deliberately absurd. But that is also my point.

Rarebear's avatar

@DominicX Pretty well written for a Stanford guy; Go Bears! :-) 22 years ago when I started practice, we circumcised practically every male who came in. There were very few who didn’t want their kid circumcised. Over the years, though, the practice dropped off and now in our hospital we don’t circumcise anybody. If a parent wants a circumcision we give them a referral.

As I said above I do not feel there is any medical indication in the first world for a circumcision. There is probably good data for HIV prevention (note NOT chlamydia or other STD) in the third world, but it is by no means conclusive and certainly not good enough to mandate, say, a circumcision program by the WHO. I am not in favor of circumcision, but neither am I opposed. Just as I see no data on the benefit of circumcision in the first world, neither do I see data on harm. Many allegations were made on this thread that circumcision is child abuse. Okay, fine. Show me the evidence that there is psychological harm from circumcision. Is there poor school performance? Is there a Likert scale study saying that circumcised males hate their parents more than uncircumcised males?

If there are, and the studies are well designed, I’ll certainly change my opinion from “no opinion” to “against”.

And to say that I’m pro child-abuse because of this is not only insulting, but it is asinine. It is as asinine as my alleging that Tedd was abused as a child, and that’s the point I am trying to drive home.

tom_g's avatar

self edit. I’m dropping out of this discussion for my health and sanity.

ragingloli's avatar

What is asinine is to suggest that abuse is somehow dependent on lasting psychological damage.
You are physically mutilating the baby’s body while it is writhing in pain, and that makes it abuse, even without the pain.

The_Idler's avatar

I think it is a very stupid and pretty nasty thing to do when there is no medical justification, but I’d still rather have parents who got me circumcised for flimsy “health” reasons, than have parents who had “serious expectations” with regards to my chosen religion, sexuality, profession, philosophy, worldview, sports team, hobbies, friends or those choices (+race) of my chosen partner.

One hurts for a few days, the other regularly makes hundreds of millions of children’s lives hell in one way or another, or at least intellectually stunts them (a crime against humanity IMO), with the effects VERY often staying with them for the rest of their lives.

Considering THAT type of child-abuse is generally considered normal child-rearing practice by the vast majority of people in the world, I’m somewhat dubious about making such a big deal about circumcision, which has practically no lasting effect. The most important thing here is that almost nil circumcised people actually care that it happened.

I’d rather have 3 days of pain, than a lifetime of confusion and/or exclusion.

The_Idler's avatar

I must repeat…. I do think it’s REALLY weird how obsessed Americans got with it.
I can kinda understand it from religions, because they’re all just fucked up anyway.
Then again, so is the American public consciousness.
Still, most people have much worse things happen in their childhoods, parents’ fault or not.

I mean, would you rather be:
Circumcised or bullied through school?
Circumcised or broken home?
Circumcised or super religious family?
Circumcised or emotionally distant parents?
Circumcised or unable to admit your sexuality?
Circumcised or forced into a career you hate?
Circumcised or fed terrible food so you were overweight?
Circumcised or never congratulated or encouraged on success?

See, I know what my choice would be in every case. And calling most of the alternatives here “abuse” is debatable at best.

A massive proportion of society grows up with one/more/similar of these problems, and they have large effects on the personalities and self-confidence of those people for the rest of their lives.
I never met anyone, though, who said,
“Yeah, my parents got me circumcised, but I’m alright now. Plus, we still talk sometimes…”

Rarebear's avatar

Rags, how is an infant writhing in pain if they are in no pain? Just wondering.

We obviously have different definitions of what constitutes abuse and I respect that.

amujinx's avatar

@Rarebear He’s saying the physical mutilation is abuse even if there is no pain.

Rarebear's avatar

No, he said, “You are physically mutilating the baby’s body while it is writhing in pain, and that makes it abuse, even without the pain.” That’s lazy thinking and writing, especially for @ragingoli who I normally think has very clear and razor sharp critical thinking skills. It’s a rare lapse.

If you want to say that circumcision is abuse because you’re removing a foreskin, that’s fine; I actually have no problem with that point of view from a philosophical perspective, believe it or not. I don’t agree with it, but I respect it. But if you’re going to have that point of view then you need to be consistent in your thinking. I would lump it in the similar category as piercing an infant’s ears (albeit a bit more surgically complex).

Again, to be absolutely crystal clear, I am not pro-circumcision. See my post above for a detailed explanation. If I’m going to cast my hat in a ring and make a call, I’d be philosophically against, but not because it’s abuse, but because it’s medically unnecessary in the first world.

ragingloli's avatar

@amujinx That is what I meant.

Rarebear's avatar

And I’m giving Jude a GQ even though it wasn’t worded as a question because I am enjoying myself so immensely! Thanks Jude!

wundayatta's avatar

When my son was born, we did a lot of research to decide this issue. We decided on circumcision. I don’t remember all the studies we looked at then, and it’s been a decade, so the science may have advanced. But I remember the decision being very unclear. There was credible evidence on both sides. In the end, since the science seemed fairly evenly balanced, it came down to other factors, such as social factors, that pushed us over to the decision.

tom_g's avatar

@wundayatta – Just curious – back in 2002 when I did the research (note: this was before the AIDS/Africa studies), not a single medical body advocated routine infant circumcision. I’m curious – what years were you having to make the decision? And do you recall finding “credible evidence” of some non-cosmetic/religious reason that resulted in bucking the medical establishment’s position on it?

wundayatta's avatar

@tom_g It was 2000. If I recall, some of it had to do with preventing problems I have now forgotten. Hmmm. I wonder if we have a file somewhere. Anyway, I think the studies went both ways. We were with a midwife group that did not seem to be pushing one way or the other. And I think the social considerations weighed heavily, too. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

augustlan's avatar

When I started having children (1994), the circumcision discussion had only recently begun. Prior to that, it was pretty much a given. My then-husband and I discussed what we’d do if we had a boy. We looked at the research, the prevailing trends, and took into consideration his religious background (Jewish) and decided if we had a boy, we’d have him circumcised. We ended up having three girls, so it turned out to be a moot point, anyway. If I were having children today, I doubt I’d have a boy circumcised.

Rarebear's avatar

I pretty much agree with the AAFP Statement on circumcision, except for I do think that they’re brushing off the whole HIV in Africa thing a little too much. I read the papers and I think that there is some evidence for prevention. It’s not earth shatteringly strong, but it is there.

I can say, however, that circumcision is a procedure that should be done by someone who does a lot of them. I’d much rather have it done by a mohel who does two or three every day than a urologist who does 2 a month.

tedd's avatar

I mean honestly, thinking about it…. even where I was circumcized.. it’s a very sensitive/easily pained area of my penis. Just touching it in some ways can hurt… and yet it’s located precisely where the most nerve endings in the penis are. Who on Earth thought cutting right there was a good idea?

Rarebear's avatar

@tedd That’s not normal. You should see a doctor. Most men’s circumcised penises are fine.

tedd's avatar

@Rarebear False.

I’ve read about it. It’s not recurring pain that just happens on it’s own. It doesn’t directly effect or come out during sex… but the area directly below the head of the penis on the underside of the penis (the frenulum area)... is very regularly a source of easy pain, or much more easily pained after a circumcision.

It’s very delicate skin, and a very delicate area (see most concentration of nerve cells in male body)... and they actually cut it there. Women have one too http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frenulum_clitoridis ... I wonder how the world would feel about cutting that?

Frankly it’s barbaric.

Rarebear's avatar

@tedd Sorry, I was just trying to help you.

tedd's avatar

@Rarebear Sorry for the offensive sounding tone. I honestly didn’t mean it to be, but re-reading it now it definitely sounds that way.

Rarebear's avatar

@tedd No problem.

6rant6's avatar

@augustlan My son was born in 1980. It was an open issue then, and had been for a while before that. When we brought up the subject with the pediatrician, he gave a quick summary of our views – before he made his case. He’d heard it all that many times before.

augustlan's avatar

@6rant6 We lived in a small town area… maybe our location made a difference. Late bloomers!

Unclepepsi's avatar

My only issue is women deciding what to do with a male penis.I am circumcised by the way and I really don’t think it matters.

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