With a handful of my friends having children, I find myself revisiting the debate about whether to circumcise.
After years of waffling, I think I’ve finally settled my position on this issue.
I am going to go out on a limb and say that doctors with knives should not, well, go out on a limb.
A quick disclaimer: I’m not addressing circumcision performed for religious or cultural reasons.
So assuming it bears no spiritual meaning, then why do it?
The procedure isn’t medically necessary, much less recommended. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that the medical benefits of circumcision “aren’t compelling enough to warrant the AAP to recommend routine newborn circumcision.” While circumcision may have some potential minor medical benefits, the procedure also has significant complication rates of infection, hemorrhage and even death.
The hilarious history of circumcision in America speaks for itself. Non-religious infant circumcision didn’t become routine in the United States until the late 19th century. The procedure became popular only because it was thought to control masturbation, which everyone considered to be a sinful act that engendered illnesses ranging from blindness to epilepsy to death. By restricting movement of the penile shaft, circumcision was thought to reduce the propensity for males to shake hands with their governor. (Source: CIRP.)
A flip side of this argument is that those with circumcised penises experience a loss of sexual sensation. (Of course, a loss of stimulation sounds like it could be a potential benefit, but I won’t comment any further.)
Another oft-cited reason for male circumcision relates to cleanliness. But the purported risk of dirty uncircumcised penises was announced at a time when we didn’t have all the modern cleaning tools that most families now have at their disposal: Biore Foreskin Wash, Smegma Oil of Olay, etc.
So the only reasonable remaining consideration is an aesthetic one. Since most men in the United States are circumcised, there is the possibility that uncircumcised males will feel embarrassed because theirs are ‘different.’ But why conform if everyone else’s appendage looks like a cross between Darth Vader and Dick Cheney?
Quite frankly, the only person who should ever see a man’s reproductive organ is his lawfully-married wife during pro-creational activities, so that’s a stupid factor to ponder.
Plus, from a global perspective, uncircumcised penises are the norm as the overwhelming majority of babies are not circumcised. Indeed, 82% of the world’s living men are intact.
In fact, according to this doctor, the United States is now the only country in the world routinely circumcising babies for non-religious reasons. Yes, we are the only member of the United Nations that routinely snips our members. [Insert “Coalition of the Willing” joke here.]
I’m sure you can read more about these facts from the must-read book that should be on every nightstand: The Joy of Uncircumcising.
Besides, it seems silly to talk about aesthetics when debating genital mutilation. I find big toes to be aesthetically displeasing, but I don’t advocate whacking them off with a machete.
So in sum, the United States is the only country that routinely continues the practice of performing medically-unnecessary male genital mutilation, which was only popularized as a way of controlling the epidemic problem of masturbation.
As much as I consider myself an American patriot, I’m going to have side with the rest of the world on this one.
So I’ve reached my answer: it doesn’t make sense to circumcise.
My decision is final.
Tomorrow, I’m going to go to my doctor and ask to get uncircumcised.
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While you ponder how serious I am in taking this stance, I feel compelled to note that I am 100% serious about being against female genital mutilation, which continues to be performed worldwide at the horrifying rate of 6,000 girls a day.
You can read more about this at this Amnesty International page.Powered by Sidelines