Sunday, February 13, 2011

Confessions of a Mom who Witnessed Circumcision

Read more here:

© Kristi (last name withheld by request).

"I remember the day James was strapped to the table, only a day old.  A procedure was about to be done that I considered normal, but if it was done or not it didn't really bother me either way.  Mike wanted it done and I didn't realize there was other information on it and that this procedure was becoming more and more of a fad.  I stood there and watched and stroked the hairy head of my newborn baby, as the person who delivered him was about to circumcise him. 

As the doctor injected a local anesthetic at the base of my son's penis, a loud, shrilling scream filled the room.  After about 2 minutes he was asleep and the doctor continued with the procedure, each step taking a specific amount of time with great precision and attention to detail.

[Parents often note that their infant appears to fall asleep during circumcision. This article talks about the protective defenses of the brain and how the infant handles the trauma by falling into a comatose state:]

I watched the whole thing and nursed him immediately afterwards.  I wanted Mike to be there to watch, but he hadn't made it back from taking care of our pets and getting his mom. 

I felt like I had done right by my son and my husband in consenting to circumcision, when really I removed my son's CHOICE in the matter. 

It never occurred to me that the foreskin was there for a reason.  It never occurred to me that I was removing my son's ability to choose whether or not HE wanted to be circumcised.  It never occurred to me how much I may have potentially damaged his (future) sex life - something most mothers don't think about when their child is born, but it is an important aspect of a man's life.  It never occurred to me that this procedure is completely COSMETIC and not medically recommended.

In fact, the American Medical Association stated: "Virtually all current policy statements from specialty societies and medical organizations do not recommend routine neonatal circumcision...."

I once heard a mother say that she wanted it done because she thinks uncut penises are gross and that she likes them cut.  Well it isn't HER penis and SHE isn't having sex with her son.  Why choose to do something for an infant boy if he has NO say in the matter and it will affect him in many aspects of HIS life?

Mike wanted his son circumcised. "I want my son to look like me."  Why on earth would any father WANT their son's penis to look like theirs?  Each child in made from both mother and father and the genetics decide the details of what the penis will look like, so NO penis will look like any other penis whether circumcised or not. Wanting them to look alike is absurd.

"I don't want my son to be teased in school."  With the decline in circumcision (56% of newborn boys circumcised in 2006 dropped to 32.5% in 2009), by the time the boys being born today reach the age in which they may be in an open shower, there will be more whole penises than circumcised ones or at least just as many.  Besides, what teenage guy in their right mind would admit to looking at another guy's crotch??  If they do, they must have some serious insecurities of their own or issues at home that teach teasing or mocking behaviors. [Addressed here in more detail:]

"It's cleaner to be cut."  Actually, like an eyelid keeps an eye clean or the labia keeps a girl's vagina clean, the foreskin of the penis keeps it clean too.  Just like the eyelid moves the cleansing moisture from the tear ducts around the eye and the cervix produces vaginal fluid to wash out the vagina and keep it moist, underneath of the foreskin, smegma is produced to keep the head of the penis clean and moist. Smegma is also produced by the female genitals. Learn more about proper care here: 

"Being uncircumcised makes the penis smell."  Well so do vaginas after not being washed properly, but you don't go and slice labia off to keep a vagina cleaner.  This doesn't mean you use soap to clean under the foreskin just like you don't use soap inside the vagina. Simple rinsing with water does just fine.  Don't expect it to smell nice after being stuck in underwear all day. Do you expect a vagina to stay fresh sitting in panties all day? Even circumcised men smell and have to bathe.

"God says it must be done."  Actually, today’s routine infant circumcision does not resemble Biblical circumcision: 

How did circumcision start in the Bible?
According to Genesis, God told Abraham to circumcise himself, his household and his slaves as an everlasting covenant in their flesh. Those who were not circumcised were to be 'cut off' from their people (Genesis 17:10-14). Note the connection between circumcision and slavery. It is alluded to in the New Testament as well.

Who was to be circumcised?
Abraham, his descendants and those who were bought with their money (Genesis 17:12-13). Also, all the males of a household were to be circumcised if one of them wanted to join in the Passover celebrations (Exodus 12:43-49).

However, there is a puzzle. Laws commanding circumcision are said to come through Moses (e.g. Leviticus 12), but the Children of Israel abandoned circumcision during Moses' leadership (Joshua 5: 4-7). Exodus 4: 24-26 tells us that Moses had not circumcised his own son.

This suggests several scribal traditions. In the first, Moses did not practice circumcision, and the custom was abandoned under his leadership (Joshua 5: 4-7). In the second his wife is made to conform to the practice (Exodus 4: 24-26). Finally, in the third tradition, he is given the command to circumcise from the LORD himself.

Did circumcision apply to anyone else?
Circumcision applied to the slaves of Jews. Apart from that, circumcision never applied to people outside the Jewish faith. The first covenant was not with other nations. All other people were described as uncircumcised, even those who practiced circumcision (Jeremiah 9:25-26). Circumcision never applied to Christians (Acts 15:5-11). The Apostle Peter, who was circumcised, said:

... we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.
(Acts 15:11, New RSV)

Should Christians follow the Law of Moses?
No. Christians were freed from the Law, including circumcision (Acts 15:1-20). It was described as an almost unbearable yoke on the neck (Acts 15: 10). The yoke, of course, was a sign of slavery and Christians were told not to become entangled with 'a yoke of bondage' (Galatians 5:1-2).

The Law as we read it contains things that appall us, such as forcing a rapist to marry his victim (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) or rejecting people born out of wedlock and their descendants (Deuteronomy 23:2). However, almost all of us read the Law in translation, which inevitably changes and distorts the text. Even fewer read it with a background of the checks, balances and insights of the Jewish oral and legal tradition. This has contributed to atrocities such as when Christians used Exodus 22:18 to justify the slaughter of 'witches' or other verses to justify slavery and the slave trade (e.g., Exodus 21:2-11, 20-21, Leviticus 25:44-46 and Deuteronomy 20:10-15).

Does the foreskin have a purpose?
And finally, think of the sexual and immunological purposes of the foreskin. If society could get past the stigma of the visual difference between circumcised and intact, they would be able to see what circumcision does to sex.  Not only does the lack of foreskin affect the man, by removing thousands of nerve endings, it also affects the woman by creating a situation where her natural lube is removed faster during intercourse, thus drying her up and making sex hurt.  The "helmet" effect/look that is created when a circumcised penis is erect is what rubs the inside of the vaginal wall and pulls the natural vaginal lube out with each thrust and removal of the penis.   If you don't believe me, check out this site as it explains it all!

A man might say that foreskin or lack thereof has nothing to do with how little or how much he feels during sex.  Well, the amount of skin that is removed as an infant is the equivalent of a 3X5 index card size of skin on a grown adult male, which contains around 20 thousand specialized nerve endings.  How can losing nerve endings not have an effect on how sex feels to a guy?  A circumcised man from birth will say his sex life isn't lacking only b/c he's never experienced sex any other way, the same way a color blind man does not experience color, but can still see.

When the procedure is performed as a newborn, sensitivity is lost in the head of the penis by the time the child becomes an adult.  When the procedure is done as a consenting adult, there is increase in sensitivity but only until the glans tissue thickens to protect the nerve endings.  The foreskin keeps the head of the penis covered when not aroused and fully erect.  By removing it, you make the head of the penis more sensitive, but over time it becomes desensitized by rubbing in the diapers/pants/boxers/underwear.  During sex the head is supposed to be stimulated like the clitoris is, but when the foreskin is removed as an infant, the head has become desensitized by the time he hits adulthood.

This animated, short video explains it well:

The foreskin HAS a purpose and the routine procedure of circumcision on newborns needs to be reconsidered!  The child should have the option to have it done when he can make an informed CHOICE.  It is HIS penis; let HIM decide when he is old enough to weigh out the information.  It is strictly a cosmetic procedure when done on a newborn boy.”


More on Medical Authority:

A summary of worldwide Medical association position papers

The Canadian Paediatric Society says that male neonatal circumcision should not routinely (i.e., in the absence of medical indication) be performed.33 The American Medical Association calls male neonatal circumcision a non-therapeutic procedure.34 The American Academy of Family Physicians equates male neonatal circumcision to a "cosmetic procedure."35 Male neonatal circumcision now is regarded as a non-therapeutic procedure that is totally unnecessary for a child's health and well-being. Furthermore, male neonatal non-therapeutic circumcision has significant risks and complications.36 Circumcision increases infant mortality because some babies die from complications of circumcision.37 Studies show that intact boys have better penile health during the first three years of life.39,40 Other drawbacks and disadvantages include psychological and sexual problems in adult life.40

The Finnish Medical Association feels that no law authorising circumcisions should be passed, and that public health care should not be obliged to perform the procedures. This view is echoed by Harry Lindahl, thinks that non-medical circumcisions for underage boys should be illegal. “I think that it would be fine to wait until a boy turns 18, when he can decide for himself”, Lindahl notes.

Here is the Genital Integrity Statement from doctors who oppose circumcision. It is an official, authoritative, 64 page document with an index for easy reading:

A neutral medical website: (Canadian Paediatric Society)

“What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision: Untold Facts on America's Most Widely Performed-and Most Unnecessary-Surgery
by M.D. Paul M. Fleiss (Author), D.Phil Frederick M. Hodges (Author)

Dr Sears advises about circumcision:

An intact American doctor questions cultural beliefs she was raised with:
By Dr Cat Saunders --

Circumcision Causes Lifelong Harm, Concludes New Research U.S. attorney warns doctors, "The foundation is well laid for lawsuits."

Medical Communities

Circumcision and Penile Care Resources for Birth Care Providers


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