Irreversible in nature, the act of newborn circumcision has carried on throughout generations with little more than cosmetic motivations today. What used to be a religious practice is now a common procedure with very little evidence towards its advantage. Helpless baby boys are amputated – taking from them healthy, functioning tissue that could greatly benefit him in his later life, though without his consent. Today, the rates of circumcision are dropping in the western world due to education and large movements against this practice, though still at least 32% of newborn males in the U.S. will be circumcised this year(down from 64.5% in the 70’s). With circumcision rates dropping, more and more parents are choosing to keep the foreskin in tact as a healthy option. Many now oppose this barbaric act of antiquity perpetuated by doctors and fathers who want to ‘have their son look like them.’
The truth is, between 82-85% of all males on the planet are uncircumcised. The knowledge most people have about this act -which takes the lives of at least 100 newborn boys every year in the United States- is sparse. People are under the impression that newborns don’t feel pain and that it is somehow healthy in the prevention of certain dis-eases later in life including AIDS and cancer, when there is very little evidence to support this. In fact, the origin of circumcision was in the attempt to keep boys from masturbating, and that’s all. Today, the movement has been more ‘like father, like son’ motivated.
According to intact america, the procedure goes something like this:
Surgical removal of the foreskin involves immobilizing the baby by strapping him face-up onto a molded plastic board. In one common method, the doctor then inserts a metal instrument under the foreskin to forcibly separate it from the glans, slits the foreskin, and inserts a circumcision device. The foreskin is crushed and then cut off. The amount of skin removed in a typical infant circumcision is the equivalent of 15 square inches in an adult male.
Babies feel pain just like we do, maybe the area is numbed a bit due to a local anesthesia, but sensation is still felt. There is also the recovery period where this sensitive organ is subject to friction and pain caused by the simple act of urination. The medical establishment actually does not recommend routine circumcision, and the U.S. is the only western country that still makes it a regular practice. Europeans do not circumcise. Australia, New Zealand and Canada used to practice circumcision, but no longer do – they have opted it healthier to keep it in tact.
Many assume that because circumcision has been the ‘norm’ in their minds, that most men are circumcised, when this is in fact not true. Many parents fear their son will be ridiculed in the locker room for having an ‘intact body,’ but this is really an inappropriate assumption to make for a boy or man before he is capable of participating in the decision himself. Many men feel a great sense of loss at not having their foreskin and there are those who attempt to re-grow the tissue.
The foreskin contains between “20,000–70,000 erogenous nerve endings,” three-quarters of which are removed during the act of circumcision, leaving the future man ‘disabled’ in a way – sexually. Keeping the foreskin is anything but a disadvantage to men, in fact there are many famous men who have their penis intact who would vouch for that- this video gives you some idea:
Dr. Dean Edell, long time opponent to male circumcision shows some somewhat graphic examples of this procedure done ‘wrong’ and some of the after-effects of removing the male foreskin. He also highlights the fact that benefits do not outweigh the risks and why we ought to abandon this practice entirely. This next video contains some graphic images, do not watch it if you are sensitive to such, or with a child.
There are many organizations today advocating keeping the foreskin intact and opposing male circumcision in the same way female genital mutilation is being protested. If you are a parent considering circumcision for your child, educate yourself completely on the reasons why and why not to ‘keep it in tact’ and make an informed, caring decision. If you have already circumcised your child, or you are – yourself – a circumcised male, you can still become an advocate for right action in others and change the way young boys are treated in the future. With rates dropping, there is very little reason to continue in the act of circumcision and more reasons for choosing to ‘keep it in tact,’ including future sexual pleasure – isn’t this reason enough?
Written by: Stasia Bliss