Q&A: Anger Over Circumcision

To circumcise or not to circumcise - it’s one of the hottest civil rights topics of the 21st century. Is circumcision a necessary procedure, or is it genital mutilation? Are parents who get their sons circumcised taking away their sons’ rights to choose? Circumcision is a permanent procedure – it’s not a decision that parents should make lightly.

Question: I was circumcised when I was born because of my Dad’s stupid religious beliefs. I’m really angry about it knowing that I didn’t ask for it. I’ve read places that the foreskin is necessary for protection and stuff. What do you think about circumcision?

–YouTube Viewer

Is Circumcision Medically Necessary?

Medically, circumcision is not a necessary procedure. Society has told us for years that an uncircumcised penis is “unclean” and can get infections. Thousands of years ago, when circumcision first became popular, the surgery may have helped keep a boy’s genitals cleaner due to the lack of clean, running water and proper hygeine habits. Even then, however, circumcision was never necessary. A boy who is not circumcised does not face any health issues relating to his foreskin as long as it is kept clean like any other part of our body. To clean an uncircumcised penis on a young boy is easy – the foreskin is fused to the head of the penis and doesn’t separate until about age 7. Simply wash the penis with soap and water. When the foreskin becomes moveable, retract the foreskin from the head of the penis in the shower and again, wash with soap and water. This is generally all the care an uncircumcised penis needs to stay clean and healthy.

Whose Body, Whose Rights?

While many advocates of circumcision state that the child has no recollection of the pain of the procedure, that doesn’t change the end result. A child who is circumcised can never become uncircumcised, however, an uncircumcised male may choose to get the procedure later in life. While most body changing procedures, such as tattoos and breast augmentation, require the informed consent of the person being operated on or being tattooed, circumcision does not require the consent of the child, only the consent of the parents. Babies unfortunately can’t give informed consent for their genitals to be operated on and their foreskin removed. They can’t tell you whether they would like to keep their foreskin or whether they would like to have it removed.

Support For Circumcised Men

If your parents had you circumcised due to their own religious or societal beliefs, you may be left wondering why you never had a say in how your genitals looked or felt. It’s normal to be upset when you realize what was taken away from you before you even had a choice about it. Some devices and surgeries exist claiming to help restore the foreskin, however, it can only stretch the skin on the shaft of the penis to make it appear as though you are uncircumcised. The nerves endings lost during the original circumcision can never be recreated. There are many support groups for circumcised men to deal with their feelings about having their rights taken away from them and many men choose to advocate for circumcision rights.


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