written by Ann Daniel
This probably the most comprehensive blog I've ever undertaken. And it is also safe to say that I've never taken a blog more seriously. I treated it almost like a report or a research paper.
I'm nervous I'll make enemies out of this blog cause I'm not quite sure how people will respond or if a huge debate will start or what. I can see it going either way.
I've sent some "new invitations" out to people and I don't want them to think that this is a normal blog for me to write.
I actually had my husband read this over before I published it and he said that he doesn't think it'll be a big deal, so I hope he's right!
I debated with myself---back and forth and back and forth as to whether or not to write this blog. I finally decided to undertake it because I think since a lot of the people I know and love read it, they'll understand why my husband and I made a decision that goes against the grain of what people in this country have been raised to believe.
When we made this decision, I was anticipating all kind of weird looks from family and friends.
I also wanted to "lay it all out there" so I can educate and clear up any misconceptions about this subject. And that's the approach I'm going to take--educational, myth-busting and factual.
So here it goes....
My son is not circumcised.
I want to start of by saying that I'm extremely well-educated on the subject of circumcision, and foreskin. I joke with my husband that I'm the resident expert on foreskin in our house.
I've read article after article, as well as entire book about this subject (and I plan to read more, strangely enough, the subject does fascinate me). I will cite the sources I used to help me write this blog at the end of it, I promise.
I just don't want you to think I'm pulling this stuff out of my ass! ;O)
And though I did my best to remain unbiased and factual, there are moments when I believe my bias shines through.
I am only human. Sorry!
In fact one of the reasons I'm writing this blog now is because I feel totally informed and educated enough on the subject.
I have kind of been cowardly to stand up and "own" this.
It's not because I'm ashamed of our decision.
I'm afraid of offending people cause this might or could be or already is a touchy subject.
I am also afraid that there are some people who still might make fun of us, or even worse, our son. Obviously, not to our faces. But, behind our backs.
You do feel vulnerable when you go against the grain of your society. And I feel pretty vulnerable right now.
I try to be as genuine and authentic as I can be! And my interest and passion in this subject is part of me now!
But ultimately, I made the decision to write this blog for our son.
I want our son to be proud of his body and for me to hide the fact that we made a choice to leave him intact, sends the opposite message to him and to our friends and family.
I am going to guess that many people who start reading this blog, won't finish it. It is a sensitive and controversial subject.
Since this is a subject (genitalia) people don't talk about, I'm not sure if we have any friends in our life whose son is intact. I am assuming we don't. But, I could be wrong....recent stats published show that in 2006, 56% of boys born in the United States were circumcised and in 2009, those stats dropped down to 33%!!!
(Our little man was born in late 2009, by the way, and I do wonder if his peen counted in those 2009 stats).
So, the U.S. is slowly catching up to the rest of the westernized world (Canada, Europe, Australia, non-Muslim Asia) who consider circumcision to be a very unusual and almost unheard of practice.
85% of the male population, world wide, is intact.
The circumcision statement of The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia is: "...male circumcision is an unnecessary and irreversible procedure."
The British Medical Association's position is: "The medical benefits previously claimed, however; have not been convincingly proven, and it is now widely accepted, including by the BMA, that this surgical procedure has medical and psychological risks."
I had never thought to question the practice of circumcision until I joined www.justmommies.com and learned about how much of a hot topic it is amongst the "crunchier" mommas. After awhile, I slowly began to research it on my own and came to the same conclusions about the practice.
I began thinking: "Mother Nature doesn't make mistakes on this grand of a scale.
Every male enters the world with a foreskin. Every. Single. One.
Don't body parts that have no use eventually disappear with evolution?
And what are the chances that Mother Nature would make a body part so dangerous and horrible that it needed to be surgically removed mere hours after a baby's birth when, in theory, any living creature is in its most vulnerable and helpless state."
It started making more sense to me as to why these women chose to leave their son's intact.
Furthermore, if it is so controversial, who were my husband and I to make that decision for him?
If worse comes to worse and the child is truly pissed off at us when he's 18 for NOT having him circumcised after birth, then he can have the procedure done himself.
But, if I were a bettin' person (and I'm not), I would bet that he will end up leaving it just the way it is!
I joined that aforementioned forum in the latter stage of my pregnancy with our first born and, by that point, I knew I was having a girl. So, I knew I was free of making that decision for the time being.
One thing stuck in my mind and that is woman after woman would who left their sons intact resonated: "Watch a video of a circumcision and you will never want to circumcise your son."
So, in between our daughter's birth and my 2nd pregnancy (which I ended up losing), I did.
And they were right.
A History Lesson
Circumcision in the United States began to get popular in the Victorian era. The era in which people were terrified of masturbation and any sort of sexuality. It was used a punishment for boys who were caught masturbating. Doctors knew that circumcision desensitizes the penis. So, of course, the thought was that if you desensitize the penis, the boy will no longer be tempted to masturbate.
Soon claims that circumcision cured epilepsy, headaches, mental retardation and insanity (and even more) were common. And, of course, we now know that none of this is true.
This combined with the current racism rampant in the country (Jewish people were somewhat idolized and considered morally superior in some respects by the white majority and Blacks were still harshly judged, discriminated against in the worst ways).
The Jewish culture has a long history of circumcision and the African American culture did not at that time. So, it was one way that white majority parents could make themselves more like the Jewish culture and further set their sons apart from Black men.
And, during those times, a blunted sexual sensitivity was seen as a good thing to all people.
Simply put: it was the uber- sexually repressed time in our history. Sex and sexuality were baaaaad!
And, slowly but surely, over the course of decades and decades, mass circumcision entered our hospitals around the time WWII ended under the guise that it was hygenic and necessary.
And, over the years, as benefits of circumcision have been debunked by countless studies, more and more reasons are created out of the blue through *bogus* studies conducted on very specific populations to continue the practice because, at this point in time, circumcision makes doctors and hospitals a lot of money.
Obviously, they are able to bill insurance companies and parents for the procedure. But something most people aren't aware of is that they are able to sell newborn boys' foreskins to companies all over the world (pharmaceutical, biomedical and cosmetic companies are all in the foreskin buying business).
No foreskin is ever thrown away. They are worth money.
Yes, that's right folks! Your wrinkle cream or moisturizer just might contain infant foreskins.
What do foreskins go for one might wonder?
About $3,000 per square foot.
Big buyers include Proctor and Gamble and Helene Curtis.
This is also something that has been kept from the American public and is not listed on the Circumcision consent form that parents sign at the hospital.
"Oh by the way, are you aware that we are going to sell your child's body part for our profit?"
I think that revelation might make more parents stop and think for a minute.
Nowadays the reasons that have been created to continue circumcision are that they help prevent UTI's the first year of the boy's life, that they prevent STD's, penile cancer, cervical cancer and HIV.
Study after study have proven these wrong as well. I could go into each one and all of the studies but I won't unless I'm pressed or if people ask.
Facts about Foreskin (aka Myth Bustin')
Most people are under the impression that an intact boy's peen needs special care, that you have to retract and clean it.
It needs nothing, no special care whatsoever, except to be LEFT ALONE!!! The foreskin is completely self cleaning.
I mean, you still have to give the boy a bath every few days and wash it with soap and water just like you would a circumcised penis.
That's it though!
Do not EVER, EVER retract a little boy's foreskin. Ever. The only person who should ever retract a foreskin is the owner of that foreskin.
I belong to a online group for mom's of intact boys and the forum is littered with stories of parents glancing away at a doctor's visit only to look back and see that some stupid-ass physician or nurse has retracted their son's foreskin without any need or provocation whatsoever. Apparently, they just can't help themselves and have to see "what's under the rare and mysterious foreskin."
And then some of them even have the gall to accuse the parents of being neglectful, often saying things like: "You haven't been retracting his foreskin!"
(And this might be a good time to remind people again that I do have many, many nurses that I love in my life).
The baby is left crying and in pain. Having your foreskin retracted before it's ready is painful indeed. And if someone retracts my son's foreskin before it's ready, they'll end up with a lawsuit on their hands or a mouthful of teeth, depending on how I'm feeling.
I haven't heard of this happening to an older child, probably because older children are more able to defend themselves or vocalize their pain.
However, more and more physicians are refusing to do circumcisions and more and more nurses are refusing to assist during the procedure.
It can take up to two decades for a foreskin to become fully retractable. And that's totally normal. Some baby's are born with fully retractable foreskins, other boys' foreskins retract fully in middle to late childhood, most will be fully retractable by their teenage years.
Every boy is different.
It happens in stages, like breast development. Girls don't go to bed one night with no breasts and wake up with 36C's! Some girls begin to get breasts at age 8 and some don't begin to get breasts until they are 15!
These are facts that many doctor's may even be ignorant of.
The parts of your body that are most similar to a foreskin are eyelids. They have serve the same kind of protective functions to what they are protecting. Nobody ever lifts up their eyelids to clean their eyeballs. You don't need to! The eyelids clean them and keep them protected for you!
The glans of the penis is meant to be an internal organ. It's not meant to be exposed and rubbed against clothing, or exposed dirt and germs in the environment. The glans of the penis is supposed to be a deep purple or reddish color. And when the foreskin is removed, the glans undergoes keratinization and takes on a more dull appearance as the years go by, desensitizing it significantly as nerve endings are buried under that keratinization.
In fact, foreskins actually protect men from STD's and other infections (including UTI's) because of the self-cleaning and immune mechanisms inherently found in the structure. Glands in the foreskin produce lysozome, an antibactieral and antiviral protein. This protein is found in breastmilk and tears as well. These protective substances accumulate between the foreskin and the glans providing a perfectly moist and pH-balanced environment....it is otherwise known as smegma (perhaps the most vilified, misunderstood yet necessary and useful substance in medical history).
The US has the highest rate of sexually active circumcised males in the entire Western world and the highest rate of STD's in the Western world as well.
The logic stands clear.
Circumcision does not prevent STD's.
But, let's play devil's advocate for a minute and say that it did.
I don't know anyone who is going to encourage their son to live a life of sexual promiscuity. You have to educate your son, circumcised or intact, that you have to be careful who you put your peen in!
Circumcision is not a substitute for good parenting and healthy choices. I think we would all agree on that.
And I know what you are thinking....everyone *knows* a friend of a friend of a friend who didn't circumcise their son and he had to have it done when he was 8 or 12 or 16....well, most late circumcisions are not done for any real reason other than because doctor's are so unfamiliar with the development of the foreskin and perceive a problem when there is no actual problem.
Once again, there are many examples I could go into but I won't unless pressed or people ask . In fact, in back of the book I just finished is a list of how to respond to a doctor if they say your son needs to be circumcised for this.....or this......or this.....
By adulthood, a circumcised male is missing approximately 3 feet of veins and arteries, 240 feet of nerves and 20,000 nerve endings. In some cases, this results in making the penis 25% shorter than Mother Nature intended it to be.
I'm not even going to get into all of the sexual sensation circumcised males lose. I'm sure you can imagine....it's a lot between the loss of that erogenous tissue and the keratinization of the glans.
I'm also not going to go into what actually happens during a circumcision, mostly because it was upsetting to me. And I'll admit, I did not read that chapter in the book. I began to read it and it was too gruesome to continue, so I skipped ahead to the next chapter.
I did read that anesthesia may or may not be administered (and that has it's own separate risks apart from the actual circumcision procedure) to newborn boys and their little arms and legs are tied down during it.
That was enough for me.
If you really want to look at what they have to do to clamp, crush and cut off a foreskin, you go right ahead....you can Google it as well as I can.
I'm also not going to talk about the things that can go wrong with circumcision. They often aren't listed as circumcision errors in medical reports anyway...they are listed with vague words like "staph infection" and "hemorrhage" with no ties back to the original procedure that caused it.
A friend recently had to have her son's circumcision corrected and told me that someone at the medical facility told her they do about 10 circumcision fixes a week.
I'm not going to talk about how ridiculous I think non-medical reasons for circumcision are; religious reasons, so the little boy can look like his daddy (So, if daddy were missing an ear would you cut off one of your son's ears 12 hours after birth too?) or so he can look like other boys on the block or at his school.
Thank you for reading this far. I appreciate it.
As I stated at the top, I don't want people to think I'm judging them. I'm sure there are people who have not been convinced by my little blog here and are judging us for not circumcising our son.
And that's fine. Obviously, I knew I wasn't going to change the world with this blog. I know my readership isn't that big! But, I do know of two of my readers are pregnant with little boys right now, so maybe it gave them something to think about and research on their own too!
But, he's now almost one year old, nothing horrible has happened to him. No mythical UTI's! It's still a perfect peen!
I always have to bottom-line it....so I guess the bottom line is that I think little boys are perfect exactly the way they come into the world.
Let's leave them that way, please!
Info taken from:
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision: Untold Facts on America's Most Widely Performed-and Most Unnecessary- Surgery. By Paul Fleiss, M.D. and Frederick Hodges, D.Phil.
Cutting Kids: Why the Pain of Circumcision Lasts Far Longer Than the Procedure. by Karen Burka.
Whose Decision Is It? The Long-Term Legal Implications of Informed Consent by Gussie Fauntleroy.
The Case Against Circumcision by Paul Fleiss, M.D.