What exactly is the advantage of circumcision and why is their such insistence?

(663 Posts)
FrigginRexManningDay Tue 06-Aug-13 09:35:52

I was watching 'What to expect when you're expecting' last night and one of the male characters was insisting on circumcision for his unborn son,which turned out to be a girl.

One of the reasons he agreed with was making the penis less sensitive. I don't understand the reasons behind it. AFAIK its not healthier or cleaner. I understand it being done for medical reasons of course,but it just seems unnecessary to be so routine in America.

angelos02 Tue 06-Aug-13 09:37:22

Mother nature doesn't know what it is doing so needs religion to rectify it. Oh, and mutilating a child is OK too. I can't think of any more reasons. wink

FrigginRexManningDay Tue 06-Aug-13 09:39:02

Angels I just can't understand removing a healthy functioning part of the body.

Latara Tue 06-Aug-13 09:40:07

I think it's done for hygiene and / or religious (Jewish & Muslim) reasons.

As for making the penis less sensitive - I don't know if that's true, you'd have to ask a man who's been circumcised.

Some of my patients have been circumcised, probably for medical reasons cos they're Christian mostly. They are no less sensitive when it comes to removing urinary catheters unfortunately!

angelos02 Tue 06-Aug-13 09:40:53

Me neither. I think it is barbaric.

melbie Tue 06-Aug-13 09:41:32

How about the massive reduction in urinary tract infections and STIs? So yes there is some evidence that it is healthier. Balance of risks and benefits I guess. I am still not sure either way but there ARE reasons other than religious which are sensible

FrigginRexManningDay Tue 06-Aug-13 09:44:12

Safe sex would be a much less invasive way of reducing STIs,no?

FrigginRexManningDay Tue 06-Aug-13 09:47:08

Also as I said,repeated UTIs would be a medical reason for removing the foreskin. Dh has never had a UTI so it would be unnecessary to remove his foreskin.

CailinDana Tue 06-Aug-13 09:47:50

My bil had to be circumcised as a child due to his foreskin being too tight. Other than that i can't see much reason for it. As long as a man has good hygiene and practices safe sex then the sti/urinary tract benefits don't really seem worth it imo.

Sallyingforth Tue 06-Aug-13 09:56:01

Genital mutilation. It's wrong for either sex.

MrsLion Tue 06-Aug-13 10:11:11

Dh is a kiwi, and like America, it was the cultural norm to circumcise all male infants when he was born 40 odd years ago.99% of his friends are, and while it's not the norm now, it still happens. You have to pay privately, but I know 2-3 families who have had their baby sons circumcised.

Being British myself I just don't get it- it simply isn't part of our culture and it wasn't even something to consider for DS, but dh did give it a lot of thought.

His reasons for considering it were hygiene and to some extend appearance- being different to peers. Obviously this not the case now, but back when he was a teenager, uncircumcised penises were the object of ridicule and disgust, and something to be slightly ashamed of.
Something that is almost unheard of in Britain in the same era as far as I know.

Mil and I have had a heated argument about this- in her opinion all uncircumcised penises are dirty and riddled with stds. Er, wash and use a condom!!

YoniBottsBumgina Tue 06-Aug-13 10:18:00

It's because it's considered normal in America so to be un-circumcised is considered by some to be unattractive, unhygienic and generally disgusting and why wouldn't you just get it done when they are a baby and won't remember it?!

They are usually baffled when people from other countries are horrified by the idea of it. I did once try to tell someone that the idea, to us, of forcing the foreskin away from the penis where it is fused at birth, with no anaesthetic, is akin to removing a newborn's toenails with pliers because it saves you clipping the toenails and you avoid the problem of ingrown toenails which might get infected later in life. They still don't get it.

Dh and ds are circumcised, had it done as children for medical reasons and dh Is now too sensitive iyswim...
One of the reasons is hygiene but proper washing could,sort that out

Dejected Tue 06-Aug-13 10:38:50

My eldest was circumcised for medical reasons. He wouldn't have had it done otherwise.

hermioneweasley Tue 06-Aug-13 10:43:30

It is cultural. Became part of Muslim and Jewish heritage, probably because living in hot, dusty areas with no indoor plumbing, it did make sense froma. Hygiene perspective. Obviously, this is not relevent now.

In America, I believe it became popular because it was thought to make Boys less likely to "play with" themselves. I don't know if this is true.

There is also a very pervasive myth tha newborn babies don't feel pain, so it is a good time to do it then.

Whatever the reasons they are irrelevant and superstitious. Genital mutilation of boys should be unacceptable.

ANormalOne Tue 06-Aug-13 10:51:56

Apparently it's easier to chop parts of your child's body off rather than teach them how to actually clean themselves. Just like it's easier to pull their teeth out instead of teaching them to brush properly.....

Circumcision absolutely reduces sensitivity, it removes 20,000 'fine touch' receptors, leaving men only able to feel pressure and pain. Men who are circumcised take longer to ejaculate and usually thrust harder due to lack of sensation.

Information on the function of the foreskin.

Any removal of the foreskin without a medical necessity is mutilation and abuse as far as I am concerned.

OatcakeCravings Tue 06-Aug-13 10:56:09

It reduces the risk of HIV.

BramshawHill Tue 06-Aug-13 11:09:25

How does it do that, oatcake? Surely the HIV is transferred by bodily fluids, being circumcised doesn't prevent them being exchanged - condoms do.

Whothefuckfarted Tue 06-Aug-13 11:14:53

Oh god give oatcake a biscuit

There are no good reasons to circumcise a male or female baby unless for medical reasons.

A male baby's foreskin should never and I mean never be retracted for cleaning or general nosiness by parent or doctor, that can damage it.

Clean what you can see.


GetStuffezd Tue 06-Aug-13 11:17:43

Oh dear god. Reduces the risk of HIV.
It is mutilating the genitals of someone who has no say in the matter. It is vile.

OatcakeCravings Tue 06-Aug-13 11:19:20

Give me as many biscuits as you want but circumcising men is one of the HIV/AIDS reducing strategies of the WHO. Apparently it reduces the risk of HIV infection by about 60%. Many, many studies available on this.

Absolutmum Tue 06-Aug-13 11:20:03

Oatcake, I do hope that was a sarcastic comment.

Whothefuckfarted Tue 06-Aug-13 11:20:37
OatcakeCravings Tue 06-Aug-13 11:22:43

The OP asked what advantages male circumcision has - I gave her one. Might not be overly relevant in the West but in many African countries it is.

FrauMoose Tue 06-Aug-13 11:24:44

The trouble is if you take a thread like this and combine it with the Ramadan thread, whose title needed to be changed by Mumsnet HQ, the consensus would appear to be:-

1) Muslims who observe one of their most important obligations are 'stupid', make bad workmates etc.
2) Muslims, Jews - and those from other cultural backgrounds - who observe another traditional practice in relation to new born sons are barbaric abusers

It can all end up sounding just a little bit English Defence League...

GetStuffezd Tue 06-Aug-13 11:25:55

See what you're saying FrauMoose but just because someone has no respect for any religion/religious practices, doesn't mean they've got EDL tendencies.

KentishWine Tue 06-Aug-13 11:29:12

Oakcake is correct. Circumcision reduces the risk of HIV. I don't think this is the motivation behind most circumcisions performed though.

I can't say much about reduced sensitivity - that is surely a personal/perception/relative to the individual and cannot be measured universally?

My husband was circumcised due to a tight foreskin when we were first together (in his mid 20's), and I can say he certainly doesn't need to thrust harder! He doesn't seem to have changed much sensitivity wise. If anything, he's much more liberated to use it as he wishes, as opposed to being quite limited/uncomfortable, it was hard for him to relax before.

We then discovered his father had the same issue, as did his cousin, which makes us wonder if we should have it done at birth or not for any future sons. He was a bit of a late bloomer and I wonder if not being able to fully appreciate himself comfortably held him back somewhat... I'd hate for my own teenage sons to feel something was wrong and it stopped them feeling confident about themselves.

Still undecided. feel I'd hate it if my bits looked different and I had to ask my parents why they changed my body on my behalf. And then how would I explain that to my mates/partners as an awkward teen when doing the things teens do? Very undecided.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 11:29:56

When are we, as a civilised country finally going to make this practice illegal?
I don't care about religious sensitivities and IMO, they should not be used as an excuse for allowing the multilation of a newborn.

Some young boys are always going to need to have the procedure for medical reasons. But then many young children with various medical issues need various procedures to correct them. Do we suddenly decide that all children should be put through the pain and discomfort of these?

It's utterly barbaric and a shame on us that we still allow it.

KentishWine Tue 06-Aug-13 11:31:17
Tee2072 Tue 06-Aug-13 11:31:59

Frau MNHQ have changed that title.

Circumscision most certainly does lower the rates of HIV.

I'm Jewish. My husband is not. Our son is not circumcised. I do not have a penis so did not get a vote when he was born, since I do not practice my religion. Even if I did practice it, I don't think my son would be circumcised as I agree it is an outdated and barbaric practice and there are other ways to prevent disease.

Rooners Tue 06-Aug-13 11:32:36

it's true but I still think it's barbaric and wrong. And unnecessary.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 11:33:57

Circumcision only reduces the transmission of HIV due to bad hygiene. It's because of the failure to wash adequately therefore leaving more bodily fluids behind the foreskin.

FrauMoose Tue 06-Aug-13 11:35:20

I suppose that having no respect for any religion/religious practices does - essentially - involve not respecting huge swathes of humanity.

I'd argue that while bad and/or unnecessary things certainly have been done in the name of religion, the jury is still out as to whether those who claim to be free of superstition are actually kinder/more caring/more sensible in their behaviour.

skyflyer Tue 06-Aug-13 11:35:29

DH is circumcised, medical reasons when he was a baby. He has no issues with sensitivity. When DS was born he had the same problem but not as bad so no need. For medical reasons I can see why but for personal preference it seems needless.

skyflyer Tue 06-Aug-13 11:38:25

The doctor did say to us that if it was needed for DS it would be better to have it done while he was tiny because if you leave it until they are older (toddler) then it is more painful. Apparently it also takes longer to heal the older they are.

SamG76 Tue 06-Aug-13 11:38:59

Thanks, FrauMoose - my feelings entirely. These threads always turn into a discussion between the gullible and the clueless. It normally ends with people saying "I'm not Muslim but if I were I wouldn't keep Ramadhan" or "I'm not Jewish, Muslim, Black African, American, Aborigine, etc but if even I were I definitely wouldn't have my son circumcised"....

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 11:39:08

Well I don't think it makes you a better people simply because you are not religious.

But I do think it makes you a bad person to sign up to mutilate a newborn baby's body simply because it was thought to be good practice 2000yrs ago.

NotDead Tue 06-Aug-13 11:42:01

Well after going to school with boys who went on and on about dick cheese, who had disturbingly whiffy trouser removals in the changing rooms etc etc I think male circumcision is fine.

True it makes handjob skills a bit more tricky - no half-hearted slidy stuff girls have to actually think about pressure, slidiness etc etc..

I think foreskin = great when balls swinging in air/dunked in mud.. you know nature stuff, but with clean cotton underwear and washing and that .. well is it really needed?? no parasites generally to crawl up there etc..

as for sensitivity.. well sensitivity of penis is low when not erect anyway.. and yes there is some talk about losing that sensitivity but no man can ever compare with 'the other' as circumcision in youth is not the same as pinning it back after a lifetime of cheesy mustiness covered head..

Isn't HPV infection more likely in partners with a male foreskin in the room??

Anyway lube, orgasm, strong erections make circumcised penises too sensitive to touch so not sure the effect is MASSIVE...

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 11:43:06

And I totally respect any adult who makes the decision to believe in God. Why would I not respect them? But I cannot see how anyone can justify circumcision. How can we say that smacking is wrong but genital mutilation is just fine?

NotDead Tue 06-Aug-13 11:44:38

I hope haircuts and shaving and cutting nails and wearing clothes and plucking nasal hair and washing and fitness programmes are made illegal too - what's wrong with 'natural'??

gutzgutz Tue 06-Aug-13 11:45:55

My dad is circumcised (TMI from my mum, I prefer not to think about my dad's penis grin). Apparently this was common in England in 1940s (northern town). I gave my Jewish husband the option to have our sons circumcised at birth if he felt strongly about it but he was too lazy to get organised. I politely ignored MIL when she offered to get DS1 done at 6 months. Hasn't mentioned it with DS2..... I think it's unnecessary...

SamG76 Tue 06-Aug-13 11:46:52

Thanks, Mary Katharine - I am a "bad person", along with the vast majority of Jews and Muslims. I see we're back in EDL territory again.

ukatlast Tue 06-Aug-13 11:47:51

Quote MaryKatherine: 'When are we, as a civilised country finally going to make this practice illegal?
I don't care about religious sensitivities and IMO, they should not be used as an excuse for allowing the multilation of a newborn.'

Couldn't agree more.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 11:51:15

No, Sam, sorry that's too easy an get out for you to suggest that I'm a fascist simply because I think the appalling practice of cutting off pieces of a child's body should not be tolerated in this country.

mrsravelstein Tue 06-Aug-13 11:51:24

i'm jewish, by birth/race, but have no religious beliefs at all. when my sons were born my mother asked if i would circumcise and i pointed out that i would no more circumcise my sons than i would my daughters. it is a disgrace that is allowed in the UK for anything other than medical reasons.

mrsravelstein Tue 06-Aug-13 11:52:36

mutilating your newborn child for no reason is so clearly a "bad" thing to do. it shouldn't require any discussion at all.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 11:54:14

It has absolutely nothing to do with slighting any one religion. Nice, white American Protestants indulge in it too. I am equally as contemptuous of them.

SamG76 Tue 06-Aug-13 12:01:45

MK - why do I need a get-out? You're the one who has stated that the vast majority of Jews and Muslims are bad people, which happens to be pretty close to the views of the BNP, let alone the EDL+....

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 12:07:13

Where did I state that Jews and Muslims are bad people due to simply being Jews and Muslims????? This has nothing to do with fascism. I have no time with extremists from any side who believe themselves better simply because of their colour or race. It is a lame argument to say, 'oh MK disagrees therefore she must be a fascist!' hmm

The practice of circumcision is cruel and outdated and should not be tolerated in a civilised society. I don't give a hoot why individual parents choice to do it. They are all a disgrace IMO.

Clawdy Tue 06-Aug-13 12:08:18

Have to say the circumcised ones look better...Sort of neater..

Lavidaenrosa Tue 06-Aug-13 12:12:44

My cousin had phimosis and he had to be circumcised. He was 9 years ols and he had to wear skirts when it has healing. If it had been done earlier he wouldn't have been humiliated wearing skirts.

SamG76 Tue 06-Aug-13 12:22:15

MK - I don't think you're a fascist, but your ludicrous generalizations make me suspect you'd get on quite well with them.

I personally think smoking is disgusting, and it has far worse outcomes for the smoker and family members than circumcision. Do I think all smokers are bad people? No, because I realise that that would be a ridiculous generalisation and no thinking person would take me seriously.

sashh Tue 06-Aug-13 12:23:32


Actually it does cut down the risk of contracting HIV, but increases the risk for other infections.

The foreskin has a role in preventing infection, but because of the way HIV mimics 'safe' substances the foreskin allows it to pass into the body.

So if you are in a remote part of Africa, with no access to condoms it might be useful. But in the west not.

Although having a partner who needed to be circumcised as an adult and it should have been done as a child. It should only ever be done for medical reasons.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 12:24:02

My circumcised husband is very glad it was done when he was a newborn. As are all the circumcised men I've ever had this discussion with. None of them would have thanked their parents for not having done it when they were babies. None of them see themselves as mutilated. Most of my friends with boys circumcised them as newborns, they're excellent loving parents nonetheless!

Far more important issues for you all to get on your high horses about.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Tue 06-Aug-13 12:24:21

Gutzgutz - My (white, CofE) Dad was born in a northern city in the 1940s and was circumcised too. I think due to relatively poor hygiene (cost and difficulty of having hot baths), overcrowded housing and the fact that medicine was much less advanced than it is today it made sense to do so at that time. I think he always thought it was a good thing as he had a friend who had to be circumcised as an adult for medical reasons and found it (understandably!) traumatic. Dad asked whether we would get DS circumcised but I said no way. The only reason I'd allow my DS to be circumcised is if it were medically necessary.

OP - You are right it is odd that circumcision still persists in the US as cultural norm. I find it astounding actually. I'm less sure about religious reasons. I'm loath to dictate to people how to practise their own religion even though I find the idea of non-medical circumcision repellant. Allowing a man to choose to be circumcised at an older age might be an option?

DP is Jewish and circumscribed. He wishes he wasn't. I'm expecting our first baby in November and if it is a boy then he won't be circumcised. P especially finds the concept of a bris odd, the idea of gathering to celebrate a baby boy by cutting a part of his penis off. If we have a son who grows up and wishes to be religiously Jewish he can make the choice himself.
Of my partners before DP one was circumcised for medical reasons and after the initial super sensitivity found he gradually became desensitised.

As for comparing it to cutting hair or nails. well cutting grown hair or nails means they can grow back if desired. A foreskin can't.

Aaah, auto correct. I do ,of course, mean circumcised.

kitty1976 Tue 06-Aug-13 12:31:24

How can cutting off a part of a child be compared to cutting hair!!! Cutting hair does not hurt and grows back and SamG76 compared it to smoking which yes kills people but people make a choice to smoke, no baby chooses to have part of his body chopped off for no reason.

Not sure why this has to be spelled out but chopping off bits from babies is a bad thing to do, you would not chop of a baby's little toe or another part of them which was not strictly necessary!!!

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 12:31:26

I've been to plenty of brit mila's. Not sure if I'd choose it if I had a boy but the idea of celebrating a rite of passage seems completely normal to me. You might not agree with the rite but celebrating it is obvious like a christening

MacaYoniandCheese Tue 06-Aug-13 12:31:55

DH (Waspy Canadian) was circumcised as an infant and so were my two boys. It's done in the Doctors office, by the GP, with a local anaesthetic. It takes two seconds and is nothing like that horrible video that always gets posted on these threads. It's cleaner, healthier and easier, IMO, causes no more distress than infant vaccines and if it confers disease-prevention later on, then it's certainly something for parents to consider. I've never heard of anyone having complications and DH (and other circumcised men I've 'known') are always very happy with their bits. I am always baffled by the hysteria on this subject on here.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 12:33:35

Totally agree maca.

Love how people on here have decided for my dh and his friends that they are mutilated! Patronizing much?

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 12:36:44

Nonsense, as I said in my earlier post I hold the same views with regards the American families who chose to do it. I am quite able to separate one barbaric practice from the otherwise innocuous beliefs of the people concerned.

And your smoking analogy doesn't work unless you believe that people are forcing cigarettes upon babies. I am not a smoker and I equally agree that subjecting a child to passive smoking within the confines of the house or car is a disgrace.

You can see on this thread many posters who are Jewish state that they believe it to be outdated and barbaric. I have no issue with those people or their absolute right to their beliefs. This practice is barbaric and needs to stop. Bringing the EDL and others like them into the argument is poor as you are trying to suggest that everyone who feels as I do (and there is a gat many) is therefore fascist; which is nonsense.

ilovecolinfirth Tue 06-Aug-13 12:36:49

Some very black and white comments here. My son was circumcised at the age of 3 due to a medical condition called hypospadias which meant his wee came out of the wrong place. The first 3 years of his life we had this operation hanging over us, so comments such as it being barbaric would have been unhelpful and upsetting. There are many necessary reasons for a boy to be circumcised, and by seeing my son (and the boy in the bed next to him) recovering post-op, I can confirm that they had nothing barbaric happen to them. Bollocks-off to anyone who says there's no excuse for it and its barbaric. Well done for giving birth to a 'medically-perfect' child and being able to make judgemental comments without considering all the reasons.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 12:38:41

Kungfutea, taking a sharp implement and using to cut a piece of the body unnecessarily is mutilation.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 12:40:36

Well, that's your terminology, not ny husbands and since he's the one who had it done to him, I think he's entitled to phrase it as he wishes. As I said, patronizing! You don't get to decide how others should feel.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Tue 06-Aug-13 12:41:08

IloveColinFirth - I don't think anyone is saying medically necessary circumcision is wrong. I wouldn't have my DS's toe cut off either in the normal scheme of things but would if it was medically necessary.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 12:41:35

Ilovecolinfirth, as was made clear early on in the thread, nobody is talking about circumcision where it is medically necessary. That is a completely different issue. Another child may need a limb amputated due to infection yet we don't suggest doing it to all children. Of course your son needed the op. there is no question of that being the right course of action.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 12:41:41

He's glad it was done to him as a newborn. You could refer to ear piercing as mutilation.

Tee2072 Tue 06-Aug-13 12:42:04

ilove everyone has said 'unless medically necessary'. So get the chip off your shoulder and read properly. No one is saying it is barbaric in your child's situation.

There is no need for it any more with a healthy baby boy. Period.

Tee2072 Tue 06-Aug-13 12:42:59

People do refer to ear piercing as mutilation, Kung. All the time on here.

BTW, ear piercing is actually against Judaism.

Confused yet? grin

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 12:43:15

Your DH is an adult and can phrase it how he likes.
We do not allow smacking despite many adults saying it did them no harm. Likewise, the cane in school.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 12:44:21

That's all well and good for your child tee but not other people's.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 12:44:22

Removing your child's foreskin because you think it looks nicer, is bizarre and creepy.

In a modern, western country, then benefits of circumcision are massively outweighed by the risk. Needing it medically (due to a problem with the foreskin/penis) is something different all together. If it's causing discomfort/pain or making a child ill, that is a separate argument to the appearance 'but it's cleaner' comments.

I've seen a fair few penises in my life. They all look different. And if someone can't wash is properly, then the issue is with the man, not the penis.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 12:45:07

>>>You could refer to ear piercing as mutilation.

Yes, and I wouldnt pierce a child's ears, either.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 12:47:37

Again, Mary, he was pleased it was done to him as a baby, you don't get to decide whether it wad right for him or not! You're all so patronizing and convinced of your self righteousness.

ilovecolinfirth Tue 06-Aug-13 12:47:51

Tee2072, check through the thread properly. Not everyone says 'unless medically necessary'. There is no chip on my shoulder, I'm just very frustrated that there can be such sweeping generalisations. And by using the word 'barbaric' when there are people who have very difficult decisions to make is really not pleasant. Period.

Tee2072 Tue 06-Aug-13 12:48:37

My child? My child is not circumcised despite the fact that he is technically Jewish.

What are you talking about?

Every man I know, except my husband, is, because I grew up in the US and my family is Jewish. The first time my mother changed my son's nappy she had a bit of a shock as she'd never an uncircumcised penis before.

Tee2072 Tue 06-Aug-13 12:48:56

She'd never seen... I missed a word.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 12:49:16

I wouldn't pierce my baby's ears either, nor would I refer to it as mutilation. Far more important things to get worked up about imo.

Tee2072 Tue 06-Aug-13 12:49:51

Yes, they did, ilove. Don't be so defensive. You absolutely made the right decision for your son and if you were fine with that decision? You wouldn't have to react so strongly on this thread.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 12:50:42

Point is tee, you make the decision for your child, I'll make the decision for mine, ta very much.

TheFuzz Tue 06-Aug-13 12:50:44

There is some crap spouted on here. I was done as a baby due to medical reasons and my bro had to be done in later life for similar reasons.

Can't say it's made me feel any 'different'. Had to be done though.

As for mutilation, I feel I've mutilated myself by having a bloody vasectomy - well I will have by the time my next two operations come round - Urologists love chopping bits out.

I'm against any surgery unless necessary, oh and that includes boob jobs, face lifts etc etc.

There isn't any need for it, but if it is someone's religion then you should respect it, unless the laws will change, then it could end up back street stuff.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 12:57:03

I cannot ever have respect for such a process. The reasons behind it whether they be religious or cultural make so difference to my views.

It shouldn't have to be said but obviously if the reasons are a medical necessity then that it totally different.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 12:59:47

Good, so don't do it for your child. I'll male the decision for mine.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 13:00:29

Since we're talking about the appearance of a person's genitals, shouldn't we let the child make the decision for themselves. When they are an adult?

We make choices every day for out children based on what we think is best, but in the case of altering their body for cosmetic purposes, in an irreversible way, I think parents who do this are totally overstepping.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 13:01:32

I'm sure you will! I still don't think you should legally be allowed to. Though I accept that forcing it underground will not stop it, only make it most hideous and dangerous for the tiny babies involved.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Tue 06-Aug-13 13:02:22

IloveColinFirth - I've just thought of something which is actually quite similar. When my DS was 15 days old a doctor did snip off some of his skin with sharp scissors. He had a tongue tie which was affecting his ability to breastfeed. We were told it was a much simpler operation to snip it at less than 12 weeks, after that it became a bigger deal so we did it straightaway. The fact my DS needed that doing is no reason to say that all children should have the skin under their tongues snipped routinely. To do so would be barbaric. Anyone saying they shouldn't do so routinely is not criticising my decision have my son's tongue tie snipped on medical advice. No one would include your son's medically necessary treatment in the description "barbaric". It's only barbaric if done for no reason or reasons which people judge to be inadequate.

For what it's worth I'm sure we'd both rather our son's hadn't needed their treatments but you make the best decisions you can as a parent.

mrsravelstein Tue 06-Aug-13 13:15:19

i've met plenty of circumcised (as a baby for no medical reason) men who wish they weren't. my brother is one of them. i also have several male jewish friends who would be delighted if circumcision was outlawed, because it would make it easier for them to reject the immense pressure and weight of tradition that compels them to mutilate their babies.

mrsravelstein Tue 06-Aug-13 13:16:30

if i chopped off my baby's little toe because i said it was my religion, i would rightly have my baby removed from me. i cannot see how this is any different.

YoniBottsBumgina Tue 06-Aug-13 13:36:30

I am slightly more tolerant of it for religious reasons than for unsubstantiated claims about it being cleaner and looking neater. But when it comes down to it it is a medical procedure and nobody should have to go through it unless medically necessary. (Or, okay, as a cosmetic one, if they are 18+ and have made the informed choice to have it done)

We don't remove tonsils or appendixes "just in case" although those are routinely taken out when they cause a problem. Why should it be the same here?

Also it seems like everyone thinks the surgery is no big deal - it is and there can be complications, even with the modern "plastabell" method. Older surgical methods were risky - there was a famous case where the penis was so mutilated after a botched circumcision that the surgeon inverted it and the parents were told to raise their son as a girl. He ended up transgender. But even with the modern method (Which is basically akin to forcing something under a fingernail to prise it off) there is no general anaesthetic used because it is considered too risky. (There is, if the procedure is done to an older child or adult) - in some hospitals they use paracetamol, which might as well be useless. In others they use a local anaesthetic by injection, which would be painful enough in itself. In other hospitals they use nothing at all. Instead they strap the babies down so they can't wriggle too much. Google "circumstraint" - it is a thing. Made me feel sick when I first saw it.

In addition because babies are constantly in nappies the site can become infected or irritated because you're basically drenching an open wound in urine every 30 minutes. This can cause complications, it can also cause more general crying and unsettlement (just what you want with a newborn) and problems with breastfeeding because they are in pain.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 13:43:53

Funny I haven't met any of these men who wish they weren't circumcised.my brother, dad, husband, cousins, friends, uncles, all circumcised. All of then happy with their situation. Nearly all my friends who had boys had then circumcised. Most are great parents.

If I had a boy, I'd worry that he would be angry with us for not circumcising him as a baby when its much easier.

I've lived in a country where nearly every baby boy is circumcised. It's no less enlightened than the UK. Go and be judgey about ear piercing in babies, no difference.

FrigginRexManningDay Tue 06-Aug-13 13:45:47

I would just like to clear up the speculation about the EDL. I am not English and do not affiliate to EDL.

If cleaning and penis care is too much for some parents to teach then that's a bigger question. My DS is able to take care of his penis.

As for saying its cultural/religious the same could be said about female circumcision.

In Africa a lot of religious/witch doctoring has led to false information about AIDS/HIV and rape is still a massive problem so circumcision may protect the men but not if the female population is still at such risk.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 13:50:42

grin I am judgy about people piercing their babies ears!
I think it's a horrible and unnecessary thing to do to the flesh of a beautiful baby.
It's not quite the same though, is it? The restraints, the time it takes both to administer and to heal and the fact that there's no going back. They are both nasty and to try and say that because a less nasty procedure isn't illegal then neither should the other one be is slightly disingenuous.

eddiemairswife Tue 06-Aug-13 13:50:57

Quite common in this country in 30s and 40s for all boys irrespective of religion . Probably because it was considered to be hygienic. But practices change over the years. You've only got to look at baby feeding to see that.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 13:52:03

I am judgy about ear piercing in babies, actually.

There are websites full of guys who aren't happy about their circumcisions. There's a mini industry selling all kinds of lotions, potions and devices to help men stretch it back.

At the end of the day, men who have been circumcised as children do not know any different. They might be happy with it because of this. In one sense I suppose that's fine, but I really believe it is fundamentally wrong to be making decisions that could affect your child like this, for reasons of vanity and 'ickyness'.

Countries where it is not routinely done are not full of men with rotting penises, so obviously it isn't a 'problem'.

Wiki references a 1 in 500 rate of moderate to serious complications with routine infant circumcision. That seems awfully high for something with no real purpose.

TheFuzz Tue 06-Aug-13 13:52:35

Given a choice I wouldn't have had it done, but it was done for medical reasons. Wasn't happy 'being different' as a kid, school changing rooms and all. Couldn't care less now (but that's because I'm older and less self conscious).

FrigginRexManningDay Tue 06-Aug-13 13:57:52

Something else that's kind of bothering me is the message it sends to boys,that their penis needed to be made better and nicer. That dosen't sit well with me. The flip side is saying an intact penis not as good and ugly.

kitty1976 Tue 06-Aug-13 13:59:50

^^ I agree with Friggin

Bluegrass Tue 06-Aug-13 14:00:21

Personally I think it's a bit fucked up to look at any baby's genitalia and think "I reckon we can improve on that if we hack a bit off".

Still, at least people who attempt to justify on health grounds are trying to argue that it is in the baby's best interests. Shrugging your shoulders and saying you're whipping the knife out because your particular tribal god prefers it to look that way is (in my opinion) obscene, and has no place in 21st Century thinking. Why the fuck is that god supposed to have put it there in the first place if they wanted it sliced off at the first opportunity? Moves in mysterious bloody ways indeed!

If religious groups didn't still hold so much power it would clearly have been made illegal by now. It is one of many things that I think (hope) our descendants will look back on, mouths open in shock saying "can you believe what they did to babies back in the olden days!" .

aufaniae Tue 06-Aug-13 14:02:30

Why does everyone do this in the States? For the answer, follow the money.

It has become the cultural norm in America largely because health care is run on a for-profit basis. The supposed benefits of circumcision have been massively over-hyped by an industry which stands to make money from every circumcision carried out. It's not to do with religion, or hygiene. It's to do with marketing and profit.

In this country, where medical intervention is done on clinical need, we do no do it, as it is not proven that any benefits outweigh the not inconsiderable risks.

And we're changing our health system to be more like America ... why?!

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 14:04:02

Absolutely! Like slavery and drilling holes in the head to relief minor headaches and burning women as witches if they didn't conform to society's expectations.

aufaniae Tue 06-Aug-13 14:07:48

The reason there is such insistence is that it has become the cultural norm, and as humans we tend to self-police around cultural norms (we might openly disapprove of people who eat while shopping for example, or who pick their noses while talking to you).

And let's face it, if you've already cut off a but of your child's bod (or had it done to you) you've got a pretty heavy investment in that being the right choice! People are not keen on accepting that they were conned into chopping off bits of their babies simply to make money for shareholders! Much more comfortable to believe it was a good, positive health-giving favour they did for their child.

aufaniae Tue 06-Aug-13 14:08:55

*that should have said "a bit of your child's body"!
<sigh, I'll learn to type one of these days!)

aufaniae Tue 06-Aug-13 14:09:30

Great examples MaryKatharine

Mia4 Tue 06-Aug-13 14:13:59

I'm a little confused why a man would want his son to have a less sensitive penis? Unless he has a problem himself with premature ejaculation that he wants to make sure his son is fine? Genuinely confused.

My cousin is circumcised, he doesn't really feel that much different to when he wasn't. His was when he was 16, he got a bad infection and ended up ripping a bit so they gave him the op. Seeing him walking around in so much pain after, I can understand why people who insist on it for their religion don't like the idea of waiting until their older because they worry about that aspect but on the other hand my cousin's was under anaesthetic and with tremadol so i can't imagine how much pain a baby would be in without that, despite them not remembering it.

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Tue 06-Aug-13 14:14:15

I understand one of the most common cause of medical circumcision in Europe is because of Phimosis, a narrowing of the foreskin at the tip so it can't be retracted.
Even with Phimosis now there is no need to circumsize.

Yesterday my son had a postoplasty because of Phimosis where the foreskin was cut and restitched to allow it to retract. It was far simpler than circumcision and far less painful. We are both delighted that he didn't have to go through a circumcision, it's bad enough as it is.

Surgery on the penis is not to be taken lightly and as far as I can see is not done here for religious reasons.

I know this is slightly off thread but just wanted to explain that now there are choices of surgery even if medical reasons are involved.

foreverondiet Tue 06-Aug-13 14:21:16

Ear piercing not against judiasm - allowed for women not allowed for jewish men. Tattooing is not allowed in Judiasm at all.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 14:22:12

I think if those newborn babies had a voice and were lying there bound and restrained begging their parents to stop and to please end the excruciating pain they were putting them through then many parents would think twice. If that baby could then get up, still in agony, and look their parents in the eye and ask, 'why did you just do that to me?' There would be many more second thoughts.
But because a newborn cannot articulate all the above and a cry is a cry is a cry, then everything is apparently dandy!

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 14:51:31

OP, you say "AFAIK it is not healthier or cleaner". I'm not sure what scientific evidence or personal knowledge you have on this topic, but there is an overwhelming body of evidence that shows it to be healthier. The AAP's policy statement, published last year, following a comprehensive meta-review of all English-language peer-reviewed studies published in the previous 15 years, concludes that the benefits outweigh the risks. Policy Statement

As mentioned above, the WHO also endorses circumcision in the fight against AIDS in Africa.

Before hordes of posters reply that this is all a big conspiracy, and that evil American doctors are only doing this for the money, please also read the Johns Hopskins health economists study, which suggests that not circumcising is actually much more of a drain on health care resources, and that falling circumcision rates will result in very significant avoidable health care costs. [[http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/declining_rates_of_us_infant_male_circumcision_could_add_billions_to_health_care_costs_experts_warn Johns Hopkins]

YoniBottsBumgina Tue 06-Aug-13 14:59:46

And many of them don't cry during the procedure because the reaction to extreme shock is not to cry but silence and often to fall asleep as an extreme defence mechanism - the body is literally shutting down, like an adult fainting. Yet this is taken as a sign that the baby is perfectly happy and relaxed during the procedure.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 15:03:40

Those costs are coming from the increased spread of STIs. You could bring costs down with comprehensive sex education that encouraged use of condoms and sexual fidelity.

I would rather teach my son to be responsible for his sexual health and to always use condoms, than rely on circumcision.

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 15:04:02

link fail - Johns Hopkins

As ever on these threads, there seems to be a complete disconnect between the reality of circumcision, as performed in the western world, and its perception by those who have no experience of it. The reality is that there is plenty of scientific support to back up parents' decision to have it done, and it performed quickly and easily, under local anaesthesia.

Worldwide, one man in three is circumcised. Get over it. Unless you think one in three mothers and fathers are barbaric/vile/bad persons/mutilators? That makes for a whole lot of barbarians out there.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 15:05:19

But prima, that all only applies because of slapdash hygiene. My DH washes in and around his foreskin thoroughly morning and then again at night. He has taught ds1 the importance of this also. Those germs associated with foreskin and not soap resistant.
What it's all saying is that foreskin risk would be negligible if men ensured they washed thoroughly but as they don't, having one increases all sorts nasties. That, IMO, is not a valid reason for circumcision. Teaching your son that hygiene is vital is a far better way.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 15:06:36

^Although health benefits are not great enough to recommend routine
circumcision for all male newborns^

That would be the key phrase in the policy statement.

FrigginRexManningDay Tue 06-Aug-13 15:08:14

Teaching my ds how to wash properly and to use condoms would be much better than cutting off parts of his body IMO.

eddiemairswife Tue 06-Aug-13 15:12:12

There was a study some years ago that showed women whose partners were circumcised had a lower risk of developing cervical cancer.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 15:13:42

Because of the lower rates of HPV infection in circumcised men. Something which could be achieved just as well by people having safe, responsible, protected sex.

DuelingFanjo Tue 06-Aug-13 15:14:04

it seems to be rife in America which is really sad, and they seem to think it means you won't get HIV which is utterly ridiculous.

FrigginRexManningDay Tue 06-Aug-13 15:14:11

That would probably be to do with certain strains of HPV which vaccine/condoms would help prevent.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 15:15:48

Eddiemairswife, washing thoroughly and practicing safe sex would also help prevent the hpv virus.

DuelingFanjo Tue 06-Aug-13 15:16:15

"My DH washes in and around his foreskin thoroughly morning and then again at night. He has taught ds1 the importance of this also. "

I honestly don't think there is any reason for anyone to pay particular attention to the foreskin when washing. This is another thing I have seen Americans say a lot. It's all so strange.

They actually believe that European men have loads of penis problems because they are uncircumcised but the truth is that here in the UK men do very well without having to mutilate their genitals.

Would be interesting to know which posters on here are American!

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 15:16:32

Sorry, lots of xposts there with others saying the same.

FrigginRexManningDay Tue 06-Aug-13 15:18:06

HIV has been around for decades and the same safe sex message for most of that time,how can someone be so arrogantly ignorant to think lack of a foreskin is a preventative measure in a developed country like America?

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 15:19:09

DF, he had an infection as a teenager which was very smelly and unpleasant so he is very particular. He only ever uses water and teaches DS to do the same. Likewise, I teach the girls to clean their vaginas with water too. My understanding is that cleaning with water merely freshens rather than disturbs the ph. I would think it's the same with the foreskin.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 15:19:47

Foreskin is kinda self cleaning, no, I mean give the whole area a bit of a lather, rinse (repeat?) in the shower/bath, but you don't need to be going at it with a nail brush.

FrigginRexManningDay Tue 06-Aug-13 15:20:45

My dh washes his penis by eh washing it with a sponge,no pulling back of the foreskin,just washing what it visible,similar to the vagina not needing to be cleaned inside.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 15:21:06

Vaginas are also self cleaning surely? Wash the external bits but leave the inners alone?

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 15:23:09

* I don't actually teach dd2anything so particular as she is still little. Dd1 is older and hygiene is soon to become an issue. No touching of baby or young boys foreskins at all in this house. DS2s is as it was when he was born. Unless he comes to me complaining of anything hurting stinging or itching then it will be left alone until he decides otherwise.

Bluegrass Tue 06-Aug-13 15:24:08

"Worldwide, one man in three is circumcised. Get over it. Unless you think one in three mothers and fathers are barbaric/vile/bad persons/mutilators? That makes for a whole lot of barbarians out there."

Prima- this argument could be used to prevent any sort of societal progress. You could go back and say that if enough men beat their wives, or enough parents birch their children then you should get over it as it is clearly acceptable. That can't be right though can it?

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 15:24:43

But splashing of water is fairly external. It's not like douching! It is indeed self cleaning but a slashing certainly freshens in the morning! grin

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 15:25:51

Oh what a Freudian slip for this thread! I noticed just as I pressed post but too late to change! Obviously I meant splashing rather than slashing! grin

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 15:27:55

Slashing vaginas sounds much less fun!

Yeah, bit of a wash with water is fine, just had an image of someone scrubbing their poor vagina out with a loofer!

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 15:28:36

It doesn't matter a damn if you think the rates of HIV or other STI justify it. It doesn't matter a damn if you are circumcised. It doesn't matter a damn if you think your religion or culture demands it. It doesn't matter a damn if you find it aesthetically pleasing.


evil = treating children like possessions

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 15:51:29

Bluegrass, my point is that if one is taking the position that "all people who circumcise are bad people", or that "circumcising your son makes you evil", then you have to conclude that one in three people in the world is evil. Now admittedly I only know a very small percentage of all people, but it strikes me as very unlikely that one in three of them is evil. Or that 87% of all people in North Virginia are evil. I think mostly people do what they think is best for their child, based on medical advice at the time, their culture, religion and values. It is simply not true that parents who opt for circumcision wish to hurt their babies - quite the opposite, I expect most of them do it so that the child is part of his community, as a bond with god, or to keep diseases at bay, none of which seems evil to me.

I understand that there is always a danger of moral relativism, and I also understand that circumcision makes a lot of people uncomfortable. But there is always an undertone of cultural imperialism on these threads: the overwhelming position seems to be that we (Brits) don't do it, and clearly we know better, therefore it must be bad and (big leap) parents who do it are themselves bad people.

It is such a manichean view of the world. I just think the position in real life is more nuanced.

Sallyingforth Tue 06-Aug-13 15:55:07


Just that.

If the foreskin was unnecessary and fundamentally dirty, it would have disappeared by normal evolution.

Like any other part of the body it can get diseased, and in that case it will be right to treat it. Otherwise it should be left alone.

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 16:00:33

If the foreskin was unnecessary and fundamentally dirty, it would have disappeared by normal evolution.

What, like the appendix? grin

I don't think you understand just how slow evolution actually is.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 16:07:14

The act of treating children like possessions is evil.

The people who do it may be very evil (if they live in a society that obviously abhors such behaviour) or not at all evil (if they are living in a society that not only deems such behaviour as essential but in which they are repressed and actually have very little or no choice).

It is a sliding scale....

FrigginRexManningDay Tue 06-Aug-13 16:10:28

So would you remove a newborns appendix or tonsils?

Wibblypiglikesbananas Tue 06-Aug-13 16:14:22

In answer to the original post, I often wonder this at the Dr's office. I'm a Brit in America, due to give birth to a baby boy in the next couple of months, and I'm appalled at the level of promotion given to circumcision here.

DH and I have made it very clear to my OB that we don't even want to be asked the question once the baby is safely delivered - as appears to be standard. And this is in a hospital that has the highest 'baby friendly' rating possible in the US - not much friendly about taking a knife to a newborn in my eyes.

I absolutely appreciate the need for medical circumcision, but to cite 'culture' as a reason/excuse for this barbaric practice is just pathetic. It really does baffle me that in North America, the US in particular, with all the talk of human rights and freedoms, this practice still exists. Yes, freedom to choose when you're an adult is one thing, but to be allowed to <legally> butcher a newborn in this day and age?! Unbelievable.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 16:15:11

Prima, do you see FGM in the same way? Or is male circumcision ok because it is also practiced in nice, sanitised western environments?

Just because a practice is entrenched in culture (such as slavery) doesn't mean we shouldn't object and try and encourage those who participate to see the light. I don't see that as particularly imperialistic or British just sensible and educated.

I maintain my belief that if the baby was able to articulate the torture and confusion going through its little head and was lying there begging for mercy then many parents who go along with this barbaric custom would think twice.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 16:18:56

I do often wonder how this fits in to the pro-life culture in America too. I mean, we must respect the rights of the foetus, but once it's born, do what you want?

thegreylady Tue 06-Aug-13 16:19:10

My ds's Muslim mil offered him a large quantity of gold [true] if he would be circumcised before he married her dd.He declined with thanks.In Turkey the practice is for boys to be circumcised [in hospital under GA] when they are about 8.There is a huge party,special dressing up outfits and parades through the streets!
Ds said that if they had a ds he would leave it to him to choose,however they had a dd so not relevant thank goodness.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 16:21:13

Actually Mary as much as I am against routine circumcision of boys for cultural or religious reasons, I don't think you can compare against FGM. FGM is about controlling girl's sexuality, and is a practice that causes immense, sometimes life threatening, harm to girls and women. Male circumcision generally leaves a man still able to have a perfectly normal sex life. FGM is a whole other sphere of horror. It's not done for the same, or even similar, reasons. The comparison between the two only serves to make FGM see more trivial.

SamG76 Tue 06-Aug-13 16:21:42

ICBINEG - I'm a Londoner born and bred - am I very evil or just repressed? What difference does it make to your argument if I'm Jewish (and I mean practising, rather than the somewhat lacklustre posters who have been saying that they aren't having a brit for their child....) ?

SaucyJack Tue 06-Aug-13 16:23:22

My boyfriend was circumcised as a child due to a tight foreskin, and if I'm honest, from my fairly limited sample of penii I do prefer it.

It is cleaner. I would happily eat my dinner off of it shock (sorry tmi)

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 16:25:43

You don't know what a newborn baby is thinking or feeling. It's your projection. Maybe they're thinking ' thanks mum and dad for doing this now when its the least complicated'

Prima - excellent points! I find the cultural superiority distasteful. Look at the reference upthread to rape being problem in Africa. Ummm, Africa Jang a bloody country!

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 16:26:57

That should be Africa is not a country.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Tue 06-Aug-13 16:31:22

But Kungfu - the 'least complicated' situation would be to leave things as nature intended, surely? Why complicate things at all?!

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 16:35:35

Because what if my child, being part of a culture where all men and boys are circumcised, is unhappy not being circumcised.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 16:36:29

Then when they are old enough they can make a decision for themselves.

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Tue 06-Aug-13 16:38:51

'The reality is that there is plenty of scientific support to back up parents' decision to have it done, and it performed quickly and easily, under local anaesthesia.'

Yes in theory it can be done under local anaesthetic alone but it rarely is because its so traumatic. When boys have a circumcision they normally have a GA and an LA. If you take into account the risks inherent in a GA, it suddenly isn't so attractive anymore -surely?

At least in boys and men there is pain relief given but no pain relief for new borns? It is genital mutilation and torture.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 16:38:54

But that's the point I just made. It's far easier medically to do it as a newborn.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 16:39:18

Oh I know FGM is a far worse horror. But actually, part of the historical reason for male circumcision was to desensitise and somewhat lessen masturbation.

And whatever the newborn baby is thinking, I doubt it is being 'thankful' for anything. Why would it be thankful that its not being done later? Why would it need to be done at all?

And I know at the start of the thread many posters mentioned the toe analogy but many of those who chose to circumcise would be horrified if their neighbour decided to start a religion which dictated that it was good practice to cut off the smallest toe of all baby girls. And suddenly a whole community of people started cutting of the little toes of baby girls. The government would step in and rightly so. Cutting off the foreskin of baby boys as a cultural practice is no different from cutting of the toes of a baby girl for cultural practice. The only difference is that one is legal.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 16:40:58

It's only easier medically because we don't bother to properly anaesthetise infants. Newborns feel pain, to not provide adequate pain relief while you chop off a bit of their penis is foul and barbaric.

Feminine Tue 06-Aug-13 16:42:05

The states do not have a 100 percent take up for it
. I think it is getting closer to 50-,50. That has to be a good thing.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 16:42:25

Before 2 weeks old, central nervous system hasn't developed properly in that area and blood vessels around there still very small. You only need general anesthetic after 2 weeks old. Far far less chance of any complications.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 16:44:11

Bullshit about historic reason for circumcision to lessen masturbation. You know not of what you speak.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 16:50:22

I wouldn't call eliminating lifetime risk of penile cancer, reduction in risk of uti dutifully infancy and reduction in transmitting and contracting hiv and other stis barbaric.

Seems to me its an even playoff with risks/benefits medically.

Add the cultural/religious aspect to the equation and its clear why many non barbaric, educated and enlightened parents choose circumcision.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 16:52:25

I will try and find a link but maybe in an our or so as on my phone. It is not bullshit that it became widespread as it was known to desensitise the penis and therefore reduce 'fiddling'. I will find a link.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 16:55:55

But penile cancer is exceptionally rare. Oh and the HPV vaccine we give to teenage girls, if given to teenage boys increases that rarity.

The rest of the world who do not circumcise are not running around in agony from constant UTIs or other penile problems. They do not cancel each other out at all.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 16:58:36

Ok, less that 500 cases of penile cancer in the uk each year. Risk Can be eliminated by the hpv vaccine.
Less than 2% of boys will suffer at UTI in childhood.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 17:01:09

It's called risk not certainty. Despite what you think, nothing is certain.

The American academy of pediatrics say that health benefits of circumcising newborns outweigh risk but bot enough to recommend as routine. Fair enough to me and certainly with cultural or religious reasons to do it.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 17:05:06

I should say that the masturbation thing could be part of white Anglo Saxon reasons for circumcising. Not part of Muslim or Jewish cultural reasons.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 17:05:19
MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 17:05:58

The last link shows how the masturbation link certainly helped give rise to its popularity in the US.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 17:10:07

Good that such barbaric thoughts regarding sexuality have never been part of the Jewish or Muslim discourse on circumcision.

DuelingFanjo Tue 06-Aug-13 17:20:20

"and I'm appalled at the level of promotion given to circumcision here."

They make money from it, it has NOTHING to do with health unfortunately. Just a money making thing sad

Wibblypiglikesbananas Tue 06-Aug-13 17:29:27

Duelling - I know, it's crazy.

Kungfu - the American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends scrubbing brand spanking newborn babies of all their vernix when they arrive in the world, which is in total contrast to the NHS guidelines which recommend leaving vernix in place due to its beneficial properties. I wouldn't trust what they say as necessarily being correct... In fact, given my experience here, it's probably just another 'service' that can be added to the insurance company's bill!

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 17:30:52

Oh really? That's all it is? A money making scheme?

But you know better thab the American academy of pediatrics I guess hmm

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 17:36:59

Some pcts fund religious or ritual circumcision.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 18:16:44

In the same way, the vast majority of American women assume that giving birth on their backs hooked up to an epidural is the norm. The more medicalised a birth is the more it costs.
I've nothing against epidurals and would have liked one for my 4th baby due to complications after my 3rd but I saw it as an informed choice rather than standard procedure.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 18:22:37

Exactly. Circumcision should be an informed choice. No need for hyperbole and accusations of barbarity.

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 18:22:40

the NHS guidelines which recommend leaving vernix in place due to its beneficial properties

I could just as easily turn this on its head and say the NHS recommendation is dictated by the lack of money or staff to properly wash your baby.

See what I did there smile ? If you look for ulterior motive you can always find it.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 18:31:15

Ehh, yes indeed it should be an informed choice-when the owner of the penis is old enough to make that choice.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 18:37:42

Unfortunately at that point the operation is far riskier. You've missed your window of opportunity to do it very simply as a newborn.

Prima - actually, NHS guidelines match WHO organization guideline for vernix, which is not to remove for at least six hours after birth as it has a wide range of benefits. The World Health Organization has little ulterior motive for this.

WHO does not have guidelines for circumcision in Western countries - other than the usage of anaesthetic - and it's guidelines in East Africa and other regions with high HIV areas is voluntary circumcision - which is by adults - shows signs of helping lower the spread of HIV, though not nearly as successful as condoms but missionaries in the area have made that culturally difficult.

I am American. It has been well shown that American medical practices go against best practice from the World Health organization due to a preference because it is far more tied into making money, fearing litigation, and a general America is always right attitude. Many American governmental boards have been caught up in it lately, not just medicine, education has been totally screwed over and the FDA is a corporations dream. It isn't looking for ulterior motive to point out that the American systems have a massive problem, Americans have been shouting and fighting against it for years. Cause even American births being so much more expensive, it's death rates are appalling and women tend to have far less aftercare than British ones. When a super-posh Duchesses' private birth costs less than half an average/poor hospital American one for the family with far higher rates of death, the problem should be obvious, and circumcision is just another thing on the insurance bill in most areas. In American areas where it's stopped being paid for by insurance, the rates doctors who push for it drop. The volume is loud, we've been fighting for it to be recognised for years, no ulterior motives, just want best practice and routine infant circumcision isn't it.

Sallyingforth Tue 06-Aug-13 18:52:16

That sounds very hopeful Spork. I hope the trend continues.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 19:02:43

I'm in America. The problems with the us health care system are way beyond whether an infant is circumcised! You'll pay through the nose for the most natural of births (I got the bill for thousands after a midwife attended completely natural birth!)

Circumcision probably shouldn't be routine but an informed option.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 19:04:31

See there are 4 possible cases here.

1. You hack a bit of a newborns penis and because of their cultural background etc. they are glad you did it when they grow up because they don't remember the process.
2. You dont hack anything off and you child when grown is perfectly happy with that. (alternatively by the time your kid has grown up the very idea that people impose their religious / cultural views on children has become totally ethically unacceptable and they are glad they had forward thinking parents)

3. You dont hack anything off and your child grows up and wants the operation (or maybe converts unexpectedly to Islam etc.)

4. You hack a bit off and your child grows up and wishes you hadn't and feels he was abused and treated like a possession by his parents.

In case 3. kung is indeed correct that some extra hassle has been incurred.

In case 4. some massive fucking hassle has been incurred. I'm guessing we can't currently fix that and will not be able to for the forseeable future.

The moral of this story. LEAVE OTHER PEOPLES GENITALS INTACT. They can always lose bits they decide not to keep...but they can't put it back.

ANormalOne Tue 06-Aug-13 19:07:55

The cancer risk and health benefits are silly nonsense arguments as far as I am concerned, circumcision may reduce the chances of catching HIV or developing penile cancer, and?

Breast cancer is far more common than penile cancer, does that mean it'd be perfectly acceptable for me to give my son or daughter a radical mastectomy to prevent her developing it? Should I have their appendix or tonsils whipped out at birth? Maybe we should remove their teeth once they've all emerged just in case they get gum disease? How about I have my daughter circumcised to prevent her developing cancer of the vulva or a hysterectomy in case she develops ovarian cancer?

Oh right, they'd all be barbaric, but cutting off part of your son's penis almost straight after birth, nah, that's cool.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 19:10:50

Ignoring the fact that you can't go back to being a newborn and the 2 week window of a relatively easy, simple and straightforward procedure.

So you take a leap of faith and make a decision either way since either decision is effectively irreversible.

And if you believe that one of your scenarios is more likely than the other, then that will inform your decision.

It's my decision to make in the best interest of my child, not yours

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 19:12:35

Thank you for the hyperbole anormalone

ANormalOne Tue 06-Aug-13 19:14:02

It's my decision whether to circumcise my daughter, remove her uterus, ovaries and breast tissue, not yours. Guess we'll be booking ourselves in then, she's my child, it's my choice.

Kungfutea Tue 06-Aug-13 19:15:33

What is the risk/benefit analysis of the procedures you mentioned vis-a-vis newborn circumcision?

Most parents who circuncise are just as capable of assessing risk as you are. And they don't love their children any less. Nor are they any less intelligent than you

ANormalOne Tue 06-Aug-13 19:19:53

Well if I remove her vulva she won't get cancer of the vulva, removal of the uterus no chance of uterine cancer, no ovaries no ovarian cancer, no breast tissue a reduced chance of breast cancer. How's that any different from touting a reduced chance of penile cancer as a big plus for removing your son's foreskin?

If you support removing his foreskin because it reduces the chance of penile cancer why object to my suggestions? There's clearly a benefit it doing it so surely it should be a choice I get to make?

I'd suggest anyone putting a newborn infant through an unnecessary operation, in many cases without anesthetic, that can actually kill them is pretty unintelligent if you ask me.

SamG76 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:25:21

ICBINEG _ I note you still haven't answered my question about how evil we are? As for your cases, all our family have been 1, and I don't see any sign of it changing anytime soon....

If we did nothing, our DS's might regret not having been able to go to their Jewish school, might be a bit upset at being the only members of their extended family not to be part of the Jewish community. But of course they will have the (theoretical) benefit that they weren't treated like a possession....

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 19:35:43

sam Only you can answer that. Only you know to what extent your hand was forced by your own religious / cultural indoctrination.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 19:38:43

I can't wrap my head around access to education being linked to state of penis.

I really really can't.

The world is TOTALLY fucked up.

Let's imagine that your DS might grow up resenting that a part of his anatomy is missing due to no decision on his own part. Let's imagine that he really regrets that his parents didnt cede him autonomy over his own body...let alone his own thoughts on religion etc.

SamG76 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:40:26

ICBINEG - It wasn't forced at all, any more than I was forced to marry someone Jewish or take the religion seriously. Where does that leave me in the evil stakes (I'm genuinely interested to know)?

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 19:42:10

kung when the decision is genuinely in the best interests of the child, it will be backed up by HCP recommending it (impartial ones..not ones that are going to benefit financially from the arrangement) and we wouldn't be having this discussion if that were the case.

Anyone having their child circumsised without the recommendation of a HCP is doing it for their own interest and not those of the child.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 19:43:05

sam well I would say that if you believe your DS will go to hell if he dies with an uncut penis, then your aren't evil to do it. Wrong, but not evil.

mrsravelstein Tue 06-Aug-13 19:49:44

the argument that it reduces the risk of penile cancer is clearly a non-runner since as others have said we don't remove at birth every other part of the body that might one day become diseased

the fact is, and i have personal experience of this having argued with my jewish mother about my not circumcising my sons, there is an understandably immensely strong desire among people who have circumcised their sons to normalise that decision. my mother, an extremely strong minded and not religious woman, believed that it was the 'right' thing to do. she had been brought up to think it was normal. she had had it done to her own son. so my telling her that i considered it a barbaric mutilation did not go down very well, just like it's not going down well on this thread. so i can sort of understand why there are people on here who want to defend their decision to circumcise as clearly they thought it was in the best interests of their child.

i would hazard a guess though, that the number of non-circumcised adult men who wake up one day and wish they had been circumcised is pretty close to nil. (and yes i do know of 2 converts to judaism who had it done in order to marry. i am confident that they are very much in the minority though)

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 19:52:46

yep some of the people on here remind me of 80's school teachers wondering how the hell they can teach if they aren't allowed to use the cane any more...a sort of befuddled kind of "but we were only caning children for their own good?" puzzlement.

ShellyBoobs Tue 06-Aug-13 19:54:27

You've missed your window of opportunity to do it very simply as a newborn.

It's only easier on a newborn as the poor things can't fight back while they're being mutilated.

TheRealFellatio Tue 06-Aug-13 19:56:00

Oooh good, I love a nice Routine Circumcision With No Medical Need thread. They always go so well. I haven't read it - has anyone claimed religious intolerance and victimisation yet?

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 19:56:45

I predict that 100 years from now it will be illegal everywhere on the planet to permanently modify any body but your own. Medically advised procedures will of course continue to go ahead, but no other reason to chop up someone else's body will be seen as valid.

ShellyBoobs Tue 06-Aug-13 19:57:21

...has anyone claimed religious intolerance and victimisation yet?

Oh yes.

EDL and BNP mentioned, too.

SamG76 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:59:23

ICBINEG - don't know if on its own it will consign him to some divinely-inspired punishment, but it certainly won't gain him or me any heavenly brownie points. I keep a number of other practices, even though I don't think that Jews who don't are necessarily headed for a sticky end....

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 19:59:53

You've missed your window of opportunity to do it very simply as a newborn.

If you remove someone else's foreskin they have entirely and forever missed their window of opportunity to experience life with a foreskin.

You have indelibly marked them as your property first, and their own person second as thoroughly as if you had tatooed 'belongs to X' on their forehead.

Sallyingforth Tue 06-Aug-13 20:00:02

TMI alert.
My DP absolutely loves it when I gently slide his foreskin down. I would hate to think he could have been deprived of that pleasure by the whim of a parent. His penis is just perfect as it is.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:03:47

sam FWIW you have totally lost any possible sympathy from me by mentioning getting brownie points for yourself.

I mean WTAF?!!? Did you actually genuinely just say that you permanently modified another sentient autonomous human beings body in order to make you own place in heaven more secure?

TheRealFellatio Tue 06-Aug-13 20:06:28

Oh how hilair.

I suggest you all google circumcision and go to images, and spend a few minutes looking at all the horrific pictures of babies and young children (boys and girls) being forcibly held or strapped down and cut, and see the abject terror, shock, distress and searing pain in their little faces.

Of course those of you who disagree with the practice will look, and cry a bit, and feel traumatised by it, and those of you who will do it regardless because of cultural or religious expectation will not look, because they'd rather not be reminded of the awful truth of what they have inflicted on their children. They can't face it. Shame.

Routine circumcision with no medical need is one of those things like fox hunting for me - I have discussed it with some extremely intelligent and (usually) well balanced people but I have never, ever heard an argument for it that stacks up and justifies the awfulness of the act.

mrsravelstein Tue 06-Aug-13 20:06:58

nope she said it won't gain her any brownie points in heaven (which is true because, um, heaven doesn't exist). although if you believe in heaven, and you don't need to be circumcised to go there, then that seems like a good reason not to circumcise. ha, see what happens when you try to apply logic to this rubbish.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:07:47

I feel sick.

appletarts Tue 06-Aug-13 20:09:20

A Jewish man can have great difficulty with his cultural and religious heritage if he is not circumcised, for a start no Jewish woman would want to marry them. Very few Jewish men would thank their mother for not getting them circumcised. In liberal circles it can be ok not to circumcise but it is generally a given. Cultural and religious reasons are not unimportant. Oh and babies today are anesthetised and feel very little pain.

SamG76 Tue 06-Aug-13 20:10:09

ICBINEG - there's an obligation on the parents to have a brit for their son at around 8 days.Accordingly, we were fulfilling our religious obligations by doing so. This seems a fairly uncontroversial interpretation of the religion. If we didn't have any religious obligation, and were just doing it for fun, that would be a much more serious matter, in my view....

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:12:33

mrsR I read it as, 'NOT circumcising will NOT earn me or him any brownie points"

the implication being that there are points to be earned for both of them by doing it.

I can understand an adult male making the decision being rewarded by god for his effort....

I don't understand why god would reward a baby who had no say in the matter for the actions of his parents....

what sort of a god rewards taking choice away from someone more than allowing someone coming to know him independently?

mrsravelstein Tue 06-Aug-13 20:13:27

the whole notion of 'religious obligation' is so insane in this scenario. ah yes, well NORMALLY i wouldn't mutilate my newborn, but you see, god wants me to. so that's ok, phew. perhaps this explains why am i only jewish by race and not by religion.

mrsravelstein Tue 06-Aug-13 20:14:20

icbineg, oh god (ha) i re-read it, you're right

mrsravelstein Tue 06-Aug-13 20:16:11

i nearly married a circumcised jewish man. we discussed the fact that i would not countenance circumcising if we had a son. he was fine with it. i think lots of my jewish male friends would be fine with it if there was a trend towards rejecting it as a practice.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:16:51

sam the more you say the more it sounds like you inflicted a mutilation on your own child for the benefit of yourself.

All I can say is that if god does exist and genuinely prefers the company of people who blindly follow 1000's of year old traditions over people capable of respecting a child's autonomy over his own body and religious and cultural mindset then I for one am glad I will not be there for eternity.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:18:06

I puked my guts up for 8 months of pregnancy - I wouldn't want to do it for another week...let alone eternity.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 20:19:18

Appletarts, a Victorian gentleman would face great cultural resistance if he allowed his wife and/or daughters to take up a profession. Does that mean it was right for him to do so? As society progresses one can only hope that ridiculous practices based on superstition or worse still, cultural pressure will cease to exist.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:19:26

mrsR I am glad but unsurprised to hear it is on the way out. Like I said, noone will be having this conversation in 100 years time....except in a wtf did they think they were doing back then sort of way....

appletarts Tue 06-Aug-13 20:20:15

Icbineg I think what you know about Judaism and Jewish culture you could write on the back of a matchbox. This is ignorance talking here and your thinking is very universal, it's western white christian way or no way. Sam I'm with you.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 20:21:25

And of course if you do believe in god you've got to wonder why he would create half the species with an extra bit he expected you to remove at a few days old.

appletarts Tue 06-Aug-13 20:21:26

Umm Mary this has been custom since biblical times....not on its way out anytime soon. Victorian references ha ha ha.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:22:23

mary we could make a list of things that have previously been totally socially acceptable to do to children and that at some point people were considered looney liberal to speak up against!

Ill open with:

1. make them work for their food in the workhouses
2. cane them for not memorizing latin accurately

mrsravelstein Tue 06-Aug-13 20:22:54

you don't need to know anything about jewish culture to know that mutilation of a baby for no medical reason is wrong.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:23:35

me? Christian? I have rarely been so insulted.

White I will have to own...but I have no choice over that...

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 20:23:52

Fellatio, why don't you also go and google pictures of abortions being performed with coat hangers. Then you can exhort people to join the 'prolife' movement. How's that?

I love a good circumcision thread. smile

appletarts Tue 06-Aug-13 20:24:00

Again Icbineg, nothing alike. Oh dear no historians here today then. This is social change you are describing not religious practices.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:24:13

3. Put laudanum in their milk to stop them crying

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:26:20

apple draw a graph for me would you?

What % of jewish boys were circumcised 1000 years ago?

What % of jewish boys were circumcised 10 years ago?

What % of jewish boys were circumcised last year?

Connect up the dots however you like and tell me roughly when the line hits zero % in the future....

TheRealFellatio Tue 06-Aug-13 20:27:23

It can be argued that there is a real need for abortion. I don't think the same can ever be said of ritual circumcision.

Talkinpeace Tue 06-Aug-13 20:29:41

"Religion" = to mark out as different
no other reason

hamdangle Tue 06-Aug-13 20:31:01

I have had a few ahem boyfriends in the past, some were circumcised but as I am in UK most were not. I had one boyfriend who had been circumcised who was very traumatised by it though. It had been done badly and he had scarring. It seriously affected him. He did feel like he had been mutilated.

I had another boyfriend who had a circumcision for medical reasons while I was seeing him. He didn't think it was a big deal. It was back in action after four weeks despite the dr advising at least six wink

The fact is that even if the procedure was as easy to perform on an adult as it is supposedly on a newborn I imagine there still wouldn't be many men queuing up to get it done for aesthetic reasons/prevent cancer or HIV/ to make it easier to keep clean or any of the other bollocks reasons people come up with.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:31:38

4. beating children with psychiatric or chromosomal disorders to 'cleanse them of the evil' <---religious one

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:33:14

5. send them down the mines to put food on the table

appletarts Tue 06-Aug-13 20:33:27

No time soon. Perhaps you would like to pen that graph, I'm not sure that sort of data is available, especially from 1000 years ago (oh dear). Every single Jewish family I know and know of has circumcised their sons. When someone doesn't it is unusual.

mrsravelstein Tue 06-Aug-13 20:34:26

hypothetically, if circumcision was made illegal, i wonder how many jews would be willing to risk prosecution to have it done and how many would be quite relaxed/relieved about letting it go? leaving aside the mad lubavitch frummers in my family, i would think that many liberal jews of child bearing age would tend to the latter?

appletarts Tue 06-Aug-13 20:34:40

Your social examples have no relevance to this discussion.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 20:37:10

Well that's rich, siding with sam who thinks that anyone opposed to circumcision must be a Jew hating, Muslim hating fascist! hmm

Namechangingnorma Tue 06-Aug-13 20:37:17

I don't know why I read these threads as I find them extremely upsetting. I have the most wonderful, kind, caring mother, who my brother would agree is as near to perfect as a mother could be. My sister-in-law and cousins are the nicest, gentlest, warm human beings and fantastic mothers. My husband, brother and father would all be very upset by not being circumsised. i think of all the amazing people I have in my life who are being called evil. It's far more than religion, its our culture, our history and it is the core of who we are. i am a nice person, I am kind and caring and as a result have lots of close female friends of varying religions and cultures. . if I am lucky enough to have a child and it is a boy, it will be circumsized. i am not evil.

appletarts Tue 06-Aug-13 20:37:27

Ravelstein, why is that an interesting idea? You are setting criminal law and religious law against eachother, what is your point exactly?

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 20:38:01

You are missing the point entirely. My point is that these propaganda images offer a completely distorted view of the procedure. Resorting to them as an argument only goes to evidence your agenda, and your lack of knowledge of what it actually entails.

SamG76 Tue 06-Aug-13 20:38:26

ICBINEG _ the number of religious circumcisions is increasing in the UK, and of course this trend will continue for the forseeable future as the orthodox Jewish and Muslim communities have a relatively high birth rate, making up for those such as Mrs R who drop out. A record percentage of Jewish children is at Jewish schools, as well....

Namechangingnorma Tue 06-Aug-13 20:38:33

He not it

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 20:38:47

Why do they have no relevance? Why? Sam talked about her son fitting in in Jewish society and how he would feel ostracised if he wasn't circumcised. The social scenario is, in fact, exactly the same.

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 20:40:26

Sorry that was to Fellatio.

<fast moving thread>

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:41:22

hmm what could be kinder than removing someone's foreskin without their permission?

How about NOT removing someone's foreskin without their permission.

Why not allow your son, should you have one, to grow old enough to make his own decision to accept your culture and religion at which point he can have himself circumcised if he wishes?

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 20:42:28

Namechangingnora, if I told you that I held deep rooted beliefs that girls should only have one ear and therefore felt strongly about cutting one off my baby daughter, you would think me insane. Why would anyone in their right mind want to cut a baby's ear off, you would say. And you'd be right.

Just because generations of people have mutilated their baby boys in the name of religion or culture does not make it right or acceptable.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:42:56

sam it isn't the total number in the uk that is important, it is the % of practising religionists doing it.

That percentage was presumably close on 100% in the past and is currently down at 90%...and falling....

appletarts Tue 06-Aug-13 20:43:16

No not the same. Examples are being given of social change and moral views changing over time. The obligation to circumcise a boy is not a moral or a social fact, it is religious. Access to a Jewish school is not social it is religious.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:44:26

Mary oh or what about a finger? We could insist that god needs us to remove 1/10 of our girl childrens fingers, in order for us (not the girl - noone gives a shit about them) to get into heaven!

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 20:44:47

Likewise, Prima, resorting to called those opposed to the procedure, fascist is a weak argument.

appletarts Tue 06-Aug-13 20:46:24

Oh that is a smashing idea! Give a Jewish boy a Jewish name, a Jewish family, take him to shul each week, raise him observant and all that time let him feel like he is not really Jewish because he wasn't circumcised. That wouldn't hurt him all would it? Oh yes he can do it when he's older and he's grown up like a cuckoo in the nest.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 20:47:15

So because its religious its acceptable. Lets stone the women who commit adultery whilst we're at it!

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:47:33

But religious view are changing....Some jews now eat pork product, hardly ANY of them still do the hair over the temples thing, and 10% of them are no longer circumcising.

This is one way traffic.

Welcome to the post enlightenment world.

appletarts Tue 06-Aug-13 20:47:55

But you are making up obligations for Icbinergs religion, what nonsense as a comparison.

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 20:48:17

Have I done that Mary? confused

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 20:48:59

6. stoning children for adultery...well I am sure some of them would have been children still by our reckoning

7. Having sex with 9 year old girls <-----religious one

appletarts Tue 06-Aug-13 20:49:50

Hair over the temples thing????? I have to leave this thread now it is too maddening. I have to imagine you are not terribly bright Icey.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 20:51:06

No, Sam did. That was her first 2 posts after and in response o my first two posts this morning. I could only object if I hate Jews and objecting means I'm a member or certainly of the persuasion of the EDL or the BNP.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 20:53:33

Appletarts, your post about how the boy would feel if he wasn't circumcised. There wouldn't be any problem would there, if all boys were given the choice on coming of age? There would be no problems, no ostracising, no being banned from school.

If it all stops then no issues, surely?

SamG76 Tue 06-Aug-13 20:58:36

Ditto - thanks, Apples. And where does this 90% idea come from? It just depends who you count as Jewish. If a man marries out, then his kids aren't Jewish by orthodox standards, so what he does with them is neither here nor there. I suppose he could not have a brit and then join a liberal shul with them, but that would be pretty exceptional. And if the parents didn't join any shul or show any interest in the community, it's unlikely their child would be counted even if technically Jewish. I wasn't brought up especially religious and have friends of a wide variety of observance, and only know of one who failed to have a brit for her son, though for all I know she had it done privately.

TheRealFellatio Tue 06-Aug-13 20:58:51

NamechangingNorma the people are not evil - the people have been brainwashed over millenia and do thing unquestioned, on automatic pilot, like sheep. The practice is evil, unnecessary and (in poor countries with poor sanitation and no access to anaesthesia) can be very dangerous, and indeed life threatening.

My DS was circ'ed aged 10 on medical grounds. His surgeon told me that his bread and butter business is repairing botched circumcisions done at birth in a ritual context rather than a medical one.

appletarts Tue 06-Aug-13 21:01:16

Brainwashed? Ha ha ha what like terrorists? oh and by the way op it is there not their.

SamG76 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:02:02

The EDL comment was a grumble about suggesting that everyone who has their child circ'ed is a bad person. I said that this is the sort of generalisation would go down well with the EDL, and it still seems odd to me to condemn a third of the world's population in this way. As has been commented before, most people have a slightly more nuanced take on things....

TheRealFellatio Tue 06-Aug-13 21:03:00

Er..no, not like terrorists. What a very odd thing to say.

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 21:04:41

Mary, to be fair your post was very offensive. The reference to 'we, as a civilised country' directly implies that you exclude (or would prefer to exclude) from 'your' country anyone who practises circumcision. It also implies that such people are not civilised, which is offensive and quite simply, wrong. If you use that sort of language, you can't be surprised that some people will conclude you are intolerant.

Op I'd be annoyed you'd nicked my Frigg if you weren't using it for such good wink

Circumcision is utterly barbaric for any reason other than medical need.
Religion is a pile of crap IMO,and people often hide behind it in order to inflict pain and suffering upon others.

It is child abuse,and should be punished as such.

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 21:11:03

Bingo! smile

TheRealFellatio Tue 06-Aug-13 21:11:05

Prima I think there is enough information out there for me to have a reasonable knowledge of what it entails thank you. How about you lie still (or I'll get some kind and caring people to hold you down, or tie you to a board) and I'll slice off a bit of each eyelid or perhaps an earlobe for you with a razorblade, and I'll get a friend to photograph it all. Then we can discuss whether or not your reaction to the pain and the fear of being restrained was 'normal', or just the result of silly propaganda material.

TheRealFellatio Tue 06-Aug-13 21:12:04

or how about your outer labia and clitoris? After all you'd look so much neater and cleaner without them.

sandberry Tue 06-Aug-13 21:15:56

Circumcision at best reduces the risk of UTI (which is easily treated with antibiotics) by 1%.
It is questionable whether it reduces the risk of sexually transmitted infection due to the exceptionally poor quality of many of the studies available.
It does reduce the risk of HIV in developing countries but if you teach your son to use a condom the risk of contracting HIV is tiny.
And the risk of penile cancer even in a higher risk population group is extremely low
Surely removing a part of your son's body without his consent in order to reduce these miniscule risks is overkill. This is nothing like vaccination where the risks of illness are so much higher and the risks of the procedure so much lower.
And parents who are so interested in their son's genitals to be concerned about their appearance are frankly creepy.

As for religion well that is harder to eradicate but plenty of people claim FGM is part of their religion even though no religion officially endorses it and we ban that, even the 'milder' forms like removal of the clitoral hood which could be seen as similar to circumcision.
Children aren't of any religion even if their parents consider them to be. If circumcision was outlawed then it would likely become traditional that adult males would choose to join their religion if they wished by becoming circumcised. Nobody would feel left out because noone would be circumcised and the child would be protected from having his body permanently and irreversibly altered in the name of a religion he may never practice.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 21:20:23

By 'we as a civilised society' I meant our lawmakers. I stand by my post saying that there is no justification for it still to be a legal practice other than the fact that making it illegal would simply force it underground. It does not align me with fascists because my viewpoint have nothing whatsoever to do with the reasons why people choose to circumcise.

And namechangingnorma talks about the practice being at your core but wasn't it far more widespread for men to refuse to shake hands with a woman in case she was menstruating many years ago? Now only the most orthodox of Jews still observe this. It is a fast dying out belief. Why can't circumcism go the same way. If you all waited until your son was old enough to choose there would be no cultural pressure.

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 21:20:47

I agree Fellatio, there is plenty of information out there. I just don't think you have read any of it. Have you read the meta data analysis? The WHO-backed studies on HIV transmission? The studies on pleasure before and after? Do you know what the risks actually are?

When you refer to ritual circumcision, i sense you have in mind some nutter with a rusty kitchen knife, sucking blood from a baby's penis. This is just not how it is done - are you so naive (or ignorant of the stereotype wink) that you think Jewish mums don't love their sons as much as you do yours?

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 21:21:27

X posts there.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 21:25:02

apple many people have come to the conclusion I am kinda dim...particularly while I was getting my degree and PhD at oxbridge....

"Payot are worn by some men and boys in the Orthodox Jewish community based on an interpretation of the Biblical injunction against shaving the "corners" of one's head."

Yup it is definitely me that sounds dimwitted here....uhuh...."Biblical injunction against shaving the "corners" of one's head." may contain in one sentence the best evidence in existence that organised religion is a sham.

But my point was lots of men used to do this...now only the proper hardliners do. why would circumcision not go the same way?

In 50 years only the hardliners will a) care if a boy is circumcised. b) circumcise their own kids.

In 100 years no one will on account of it being illegal.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 21:27:16

I am sure that all mums love their sons. I think they can and should be encouraged to find a different way to express that love than marking their children as property of religion X.

TheRealFellatio Tue 06-Aug-13 21:28:16

But plenty are attacked with a rusty kitchen knife Prima - I am sure many millions of muslim and jewish boys have experienced just that - maybe just not in leafy Stanmore. Just because in your community you may have come up with apparently less barbaric ways to do it does not justify the act in the least.

By all means if circumcision is a great idea for the prevention of Aids then offer ADULT men a programme of circumcision under anaethesia. How many grown men do you suppose would volunteer for the wonderful and potentially life saving procedure it using the same method as is used for babies? hmm

And if you have daughters I wonder if you have considered having their breasts removed as soon as they have grown, to prevent the very real risk of breast cancer? After all we can all manage without breasts.

TheRealFellatio Tue 06-Aug-13 21:31:43

And of course I don't think Jewish mothers love their sons less - I just think they never really allow themselves to question the practice in a truly balanced and reasoned way, because the consequences of realising that you want to keep your child entact are just too mind-blowingly awkward for you.

Namechangingnorma Tue 06-Aug-13 21:33:36

its a piece of skin, not something you need to feed children, not something you need for sexual pleasure, not something you need to hear or function. The analogies are ridiculous.

TheRealFellatio Tue 06-Aug-13 21:37:15

I disagree. OK the argument for BFing holds up, but what about reomving them as soon as you've finished your family? Every woman? After all you can still have a sex life without tits, just as you can still have a sex life without a foreskin. It may be slightly altered, but so what? Think of all the lives that would be saved!

How about pulling out our teeth to prevent decay and pain, and just eating blended food? Think of all the pain and gum disease that could be avoided!

And of course no-one really needs their outer labia do they? Clearly not, as plenty of girls get theirs sliced off by Granny.

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 21:39:03

I don't know who you think 'my community' is Fellatio? I'm not Jewish, or Muslim (or American!). In fact I am a very vocal atheist, and a Brit (with dual citizenship). . But I have lots of Jewish, Muslim and American friends, none of whom, I can safely report, are evil smile.

As has been said upthread, infant circumcision is infinitely simpler than adult circumcision and much less likely to lead to complications.

The ridiculous analogies are getting pretty tedious.

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 21:40:03

X post Norma!

TheRealFellatio Tue 06-Aug-13 21:44:15

Oh ok, fair enough - you made reference to Jews and you seem pro-circ so I assumed you were Jewish. I categorically did not say that any individual people of any race or creed were evil. In fact I said they were not evil. I prefer to think of it as blinkered, sheep-like and deeply outdated/misguided.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 21:47:58

it's a piece of skin...indeed....but whose skin is it Norma? Yours to do with as you please? Or your sons to do with as he pleases?

That is worse than the pain...the risk of a botch ...the risk of infection...

The idea that you think your babies body is yours to alter is the big fat fucking problem I have with the whole thing.

It is NOT your skin...so why not leave it alone?

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 21:50:20

There was a thread on here a couple of years ago discussing the little known practice of getting your daughters legs waxed at 9yrs. Apparently, waxing repeatedly for 1yr that young means there is a good chance their legs would emerge from puberty hair free.
Would I do it? No way! Would DD's 16yr old self wish I had done? Possibly.
But her body does not belong to me and she needs to be old enough to make such decisions for herself even if that does mean 'missing the window of opportunity.'

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 21:51:13

No offence taken.

SamG76 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:51:48

"Payot are worn by some men and boys in the Orthodox Jewish community based on an interpretation of the Biblical injunction against shaving the "corners" of one's head." But my point was lots of men used to do this...now only the proper hardliners do. why would circumcision not go the same way?

Quite the opposite - 50 years ago, peyot would have been almost unheard of in the UK and even the US. Now it's filtering down even to the right-wing modern orthodox. There is an issue of polarization in the community, which is producing challenges for everyone, but suggesting that the brit will die out anytime soon is is wishful thinking on your part....

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 21:54:57

it's a piece of skin...indeed....but whose skin is it Norma? Yours to do with as you please? Or your sons to do with as he pleases?

Is there any chance I am going to get an answer to this from any of Norma, sam, apple, or prima?

WHOSE SKIN IS IT? what makes you think you own your babies body?

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 21:56:27

I was thinking longer term than the current anti-rationalism fad Sam

go back 1000 years and what fraction of men looked like todays hardliners?

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 21:57:27

"shaving the corners of ones head" ...that is really going to stick with me for a while....

Namechangingnorma Tue 06-Aug-13 22:06:00

We believe we are doing the absolute best by our children, I am talking for my family and friends, having just had my third miscarriage I suspect I am a little too delicate for this thread at the moment, Thanks for the haranguing though ICBINEG

FrauMoose Tue 06-Aug-13 22:12:12

I am sorry for your losses Norma.

Namechangingnorma Tue 06-Aug-13 22:16:07

Thanks FrauMoose

crescentmoon Tue 06-Aug-13 22:17:55

Yes I'm very sorry too norma.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 22:18:57

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 22:22:54

Icbineg, you really need to take a couple of deep breaths, you are coming across as quit het up by something which really doesn't concern you. No one is putting a gun to your head to have your sons circumcised. But you seem really hung up on the thinking that it is wrong for parents to make that decision for their sons.

I hate to break the news to you, but as parents, we make decisions for our children, some of which have long lasting or permanent impact, on a daily basis. The way we feed our kids, the way we educate them, the values we transmit, how we shield them from health and social risks, all of these have an infinitely more significant impact on our kids' lives than the decision to circumcise. This doesn't mean we are treating children as property: it just means we are, well, parenting them.

Namechangingnorma Tue 06-Aug-13 22:25:08

You are right it's not relevent to the thread, however, it is always good to be mindful that you are talking to other human beings and there is a way to approach it, doesn't need ti be antagnostic and goading to get your point accross articulately

Namechangingnorma Tue 06-Aug-13 22:26:39

Apologies for typo's Ipad, don't know why Mary's post was deleted

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 22:28:00

Why was my post deleted? I didn't say anything I haven't said earlier in the thread and that hasn't been backed up by other posters.
As you have read it Norma, I'm sure you can see that I was sympathetic to your MCs having been there myself but I still believe circumcision is cruel and barbaric.

If the medical advantages of circumcision were really significant enough to make it worth having, I think it would be available free of charge on the NHS and all parents would be given at least the choice to have it done. So it appears that in the UK the medical advantages of non-medically indicated circumcisions are not significant.

I would have more sympathy for the religious/cultural argument if the parents had a bit cut off without adequate pain relief at the same time as their infant son did.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 22:30:10

Indeed. I do genuinely thing it's best to stay away from threads such as this when you have other issues going on.
My mother was killed by a drunk driver and I get very stressed when I read threads where the OP and others are whinging about their mother either interfering or not helping them out 24/7.

Namechangingnorma Tue 06-Aug-13 22:30:56

Agree Primafacie, excellend post. I just keep thinking about how lucky my brother and I were to have the parents we have who honestly couldn't love or support us more. I could only wish to be as good a mother as mine has been. i realise that I am looking at this issue in a microcosm but uts my exoerience and my culture and my family, friends and community. I am jewish and my best friend in the world is Muslim, and I love her family as my own, this is just very close to home for me. I suspect its far far outside some other posters sphere or experience.

Namechangingnorma Tue 06-Aug-13 22:32:22

breahteslowly, not true, there are many things that would be good for people's health that the NHS simply cannot afford to do.

SamG76 Tue 06-Aug-13 22:33:08

go back 1000 years and what fraction of men looked like today's hardliners?


Easy answer - nil. Today's hardliners dress as 17th century polish noblemen, as a rule.

As for whose skin is it - also easy - It's the baby's. Do I have a right to make certain decisions on the baby's behalf? Yes. Are vaccinations included? probably yes. What about circumcision? Well, clearly I (along with a large percentage of the world's population) think yes, and you think no. The difference is that you're trying to force enforce your opinion through the law, whereas the status of your child(ren) is of no interest to me.

MadonnaKebab Tue 06-Aug-13 22:33:47

Facial tattoos are culturally important to Maori people in traditions going back thousands of years
If a Maori parent believes tattooing is less painful in newborns, should they be free to go right ahead and get a big old tattoo across their newborn baby's face?
Or would it be better to let the child decide when he/she grows up?

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 22:39:19

Norma and Mary, sorry for your losses, I have had my own too, it's really tough isn't it.

sonlypuppyfat Tue 06-Aug-13 22:40:42

My DS was circumcised when he was 6 for medical reasons. It was horrendous I wouldn't wish it on my worse enemy he was in agony how you could do that to a baby is beyond me. The nurse told me it was like pissing glass.

Namechangingnorma - I disagree. It is a pretty cheap procedure, it wouldn't take much of an advantage for it to be cost effective to roll out to the whole population. The cost-benefit analysis must indicate that the benefits are minimal in the UK where antibiotics are readily available as are condoms. We are bothering with the HPV vaccination for girls. If circumcision had even that much of an advantage, then I think it would likely be free on the NHS.

MaryKatharine Tue 06-Aug-13 22:46:59

Thank you, prima! I can cope with the MCs better than I can with cope with what happened to my mother. I have a lot of unresolved feelings there.
Anyway, bed is calling so I will take this strange truce in the thread as my cue to leave as I've said my piece and even been deleted for a post that was no different from my others. Goodnight ladies.

Namechangingnorma Tue 06-Aug-13 22:56:33

Goodnight MK and if it helps I have no idea why your post was deleted, I wasn't offended by it!

Namechangingnorma Tue 06-Aug-13 22:59:47

Thanks Prima, it's the worst, this time particularly so as it has been two years if trying, wanted so much and physically the worst by a mile, I am sorry you have been through it too. I guess I brought it up because I started worrying about how I would feel when it came to circumsition from the minute I found out I was pregnant as was convinced I was having a boy

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 23:14:18

sam so what you are saying is that you are morally superior to me because you don't care about my children where as I do care about yours?

odd way of looking at it...

I think all children everywhere should have autonomy over their own bodies. What THEY chose to do to themselves once adult truly is no business of mine.

You certainly do have to make certain decision as parents on behalf of your children. You have to make decisions on acute health issues (like vaccination against childhood diseases) because the decision cannot be put off. But there is no timeliness element here and you actually can't decide on their religion...they will do that themselves...so mutilation for that reason is unquestionably wrong.

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 23:15:18

norma so sorry to hear of your miscarriages. thanks

ICBINEG Tue 06-Aug-13 23:17:10

Sorry didn't mean to disrupt the truce...it was massive phone call interrupted x-post.

I will also leave it there and hide the thread.

stylenadlife Tue 06-Aug-13 23:23:00

1. It' cleaner and more hygienic. Most men don't clean under their foreskin so this does everyone a favor.

2. Helps prevent him getting cancer and various STDs and prevents a female partner getting cervical cancer

3. Prevents problems later on with the foreskin

4. Boys and men who are circumcized masturbate less

5. When it's done at birth, he will not remember it later in life.

I really don't know why it isn't compulsory.

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 23:23:56

Sam- I think that was actually meant for me.

Icbin - but there IS a timeliness element. As has been said. Repeatedly.

Primafacie Tue 06-Aug-13 23:25:18

Style, I really doubt 4 is true grin

stylenadlife Tue 06-Aug-13 23:30:29

It is true. That was the main reason for circumcision decades ago. Hygiene is the main reason now apart from religion.

Style - is 4 meant to be an advantage?

Do you really believe in that list?

Sallyingforth Tue 06-Aug-13 23:52:53

Most of that is rubbish. But thanks for sending me off to bed.

Sallyingforth Wed 07-Aug-13 00:12:07

"1. It' cleaner and more hygienic. Most men don't clean under their foreskin so this does everyone a favor."
An uncircumcised foreskin is not less hygienic than uncircumcised labia. Some women don't wash properly - do we cut their genitals too?

"2. Helps prevent him getting cancer and various STDs and prevents a female partner getting cervical cancer"
So if my DP gets circumcised, that will prevent me getting cervical cancer. Yeah right.

"3. Prevents problems later on with the foreskin"
Cut off the labia - prevent problems later on.

"4. Boys and men who are circumcized masturbate less"
Victorians may have believed this, but that doesn't make it true. Evidence?

"5. When it's done at birth, he will not remember it later in life."
If it's not done, he won't have anything to remember.

"I really don't know why it isn't compulsory."
Now I know you're not serious.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 00:29:19

So imagine this scenario.

You give birth to a beautiful baby girl. Except she has a huge birth mark covering half her face. Doctors say no medical necessity to remove although some small medical benefits.

You can remove it with a relatively easy procedure as blood vessels haven't yet fully grown while she's a newborn or you can wait until she's a teenager and then she can decide to have a more painful operation with a lot mire complications.

What do you do?

Don't forget that feminine beauty is a cultural concept so the fact that she'll be considered ugly with a huge birth mark on half her face must not be a consideration.

Will you deprive your child of the right to a birth mark? Once gone, you can't get it back! And she can decide herself if she wants the birth mark when she's a teen. I'm sure she'll thank you for not having decided that she shouldn't have had the relatively painless, easy and straightforward procedure as a baby and now she can have a more risky, complicated and painful one.
Don't forget that nature gave us birthmarks for a reason.

MoominMammasHandbag Wed 07-Aug-13 00:45:23

But a foreskin is nothing like a birthmark - it's more liked an eyelid. Who the hell would have their kid's eyelids removed? It is utterly barbaric.

justanuthermanicmumsday Wed 07-Aug-13 00:55:07

I haven't read the entire thread it's manic, but I will say this live and let live that's the attitude in this country, well it seems to be as long as we live like everyone else and agree with the masses.

So the masses are insisting its barbaric and has no benefit so I'm supposed to agree. Well I must be barbaric and the dr who carried it out on my son must be barbaric too. Millions of Christians Jews and Muslims do this as do other non religious groups, whom I can't speak for.

Not very long ago the NHS offered this for free, it's only in recent times has it stopped. now NHS guidelines say although there is benefit there's no great need for it. Ironic before the needs were extolled.

i don't know the situation in America but if its high over there perhaps it's because America likes to put itself out there as being a Christian country. Also a huge Jewish population over there and Muslims to a lesser extent, maybe that explains the figures.

But please cut the crap about it being insisted upon. Who insists you carry it out? No doc mentioned it to me in the uk, it's something I would naturally want for my son as a Muslim mother. My son had it done at 3 months he was awake and he peed on the doc whilst it was being carried out, and he was busy playing with the nurse, he was completely unaware . He did have a anesthetic and yes it did bring tears to my eyes but there was no harm done it was just a tiny bit kf foreskn removed. Doc said it would wear off after an hour. It did and he cried for an hour or less but as advised we sat him in a bath and that calmed him down. The next day his behaviour was normal no crying due to pain. We went on holiday the next day he gave us no problems he was fully healed in 1 week vacation.

Jewish followers circumcise immediately after birth . Muslims don't have a set time but soon after birth is encouraged.

Bottom line no one is forcing this upon you if you don't like it don't do it. If its so barbaric take it up with the government.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 01:15:19

A foreskin is not analogous to an eyelid. Don't be silly.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 01:17:40

I think the point is that even if you wouldn't remove a birth mark for non medical reasons, you wouldn't cry that parents who did exactly that were barbaric and depriving their child of her right to a birth mark. You'd respect the fact that even if it wasn't a medical necessity, we live in a culture where a child with a facial disfigurement would feel out of place. Exactly so for a non-circumcised boy in Jewish/Muslim culture. Yet Jewish/Muslims parents are barbarians hmm

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 01:19:43

And I've said it before but I'll say it again, a reason for doing it as a newborn is not so the child can't fight back (because of course a 6 month old could overpower me!) but because up to 2 weeks old, the blood vessels and the central nervous system haven't developed in that area so you can do the procedure quickly, simply and with only topical/local anaesthetic.

So please do stop with the pearl clutching 'won't you think of the little newborn mites'!

Mimishimi Wed 07-Aug-13 01:22:29

It's a tradition, not medically necessary. My brothers don't seem to have suffered any long term psychological or physical damage from it. They understand why my parents had it done.

curlew Wed 07-Aug-13 01:33:34

"And I've said it before but I'll say it again, a reason for doing it as a newborn is not so the child can't fight back (because of course a 6 month old could overpower me!) but because up to 2 weeks old, the blood vessels and the central nervous system haven't developed in that area so you can do the procedure quickly, simply and with only topical/local anaesthetic. "
Yes,this might be a reason for doing it to a newborn.....if there was thenremotest benefit to the newborn concerned. Which there isn't,

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 01:35:52

Well, actually, curlew, there is. As already discussed. My husband is VERY glad his parents chose to do it to him as a newborn.

You may not choose to do it to your child, others make the perfectly legitimate choice to do it to there's.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 01:36:21

or rather theirs!!

justanuthermanicmumsday Wed 07-Aug-13 02:01:08

I can think of many things that r barbaric but overlooked here

Face lift

Breast enlargement

what about kids who have ears taken back because they stick out? Parents give permission for this operation. Cosmetic kids may be bullied but not always.

Also dropping eyelids although it can be a problem if its blocks vision, however parents often opt to have it done when it is mild for cosmetic reasons. Am I to believe cosmetic procedures are exempt from being barbaric?

Don't get me started on killing animals for meat, If you eat meat please visit a slaughter house and then tell me I'm barbaric thank you.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 07-Aug-13 02:25:00

A foreskin is not analogous to an eyelid.

And neither can it be thought of in the same way as a huge facial birthmark!

As others have said, removing a birthmark of this kind would be seen to be in the best interests of the child. How can genital mutilation possibly, ever, in any context, be regarded in the same way?

Ericaequites Wed 07-Aug-13 03:13:17

I'm an American, born in 1970. Nearly all men my age are circumcised, but only about half of baby boys born now are snipped. It became nearly universal in American hospital births after WWI. Since circumcised men are less likely to contract venerial disease and HIV, and their female partners are less likely to have cervical cancer, I would definitely have my son done. That is, if I chose to have children.
On the other hand, nearly all gay male porn I've seen features uncircumcised men.

nooka Wed 07-Aug-13 03:48:52

We moved to Canada fie years ago and circumcision is much more common here than in the UK, for much the same reasons as the US (ie historical perception of hygiene) although for the last 30 years it has not been covered by the insurance system, so has to be paid for. ds has not reported any issues at school from his natural penis, although he is only 14 so hasn't been showing it to any girls yet. So I suppose he may have cause to curse us potentially. I can' really imagine that happening to be honest.

As a sort of bit of parallel thinking, dh has just had his wisdom teeth removed. In the UK routine extraction of wisdom teeth 'just in case' is now very unusual (wisdom teeth removal was the subject of the first piece of NICE guidance), but here (and in the States) it is a common procedure. Generally done in your teens because removal is easier before the roots get too established. However only a small proportion of people actually have problems with their wisdom teeth, and although dh had a fair bit of pain with his infection/removal I would not have ds or dd's teeth removed essentially to slightly lessen the pain of a procedure that they may never need. Particularly as the side effects / risks associated are significant. But here although the risks are discussed wisdom teeth removal in teens remains common.

nooka Wed 07-Aug-13 04:01:57

Erica would you not instead advise your son/daughter to wear a condom? Or to be vaccinated against HPV? Both are far more effective, with other benefits and fewer risks.

Re penile cancer it's interesting to note that incidence is slightly lower in Denmark where circumcision is rare than in the States where it is common. In any case the biggest risk factor (for what is a very rare disease) is smoking, so again there better ways to protect your child with fewer risks and other positive benefits.

It would be interesting to look at the reported benefits of circumcision and then compare the UK and South Korea, as the UK saw rates drop dramatically whilst South Korea saw the opposite. However I suspect there would be too many confounding factors for any reasonable comparison.

Meanwhile apart from in high risk areas of Africa there are no medical bodies that recommend routine new born circumcision.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 04:20:06

The point is that sometimes its in the best interest of a child to do a very low risk medical procedure, especially if the risk of the procedure layer increases greatly, for socio-cultural reasons.

I'm not religious. I am also thoughtful and not brain washed. If I had a boy, is more than likely circumcuse him.

It seems an equal balance regarding health benefits if you do it as a newborn and I belong to a culture where male circumcision is very much the norm. In fact, my stomach turns at the thought of a foreskin. Also all the adult circumcised men I know and have discussed with are pleased they were done as babies.

So, on balance, in the best interest of MY child, I'd probably do it. I am neither barbaric, not stupid, nor evil, thank you.

nooka Wed 07-Aug-13 04:34:32

See Kungfootea that just seems an odd thing to say, I know many men (not in the biblical sense), the majority of them uncircumcised and have never heard them talk about the state of their penises. I asked dh and he said it had never come up as a topic of conversation for him either (he has talked about his vasectomy though).

I would suspect that for most adults it is a non issue except if they have some related issue, or if they have a son and it is suggested/ the norm. I know that my sister was just quite glad not to have had a son with her (non practicing) Jewish partner as she knew it would kick up a storm.

I don't think you (or my BIL) are barbaric, stupid, or evil, or at least not solely on the basis of your views on circumcision but for me the idea of cosmetic foreskin removal turns my stomach, so I struggle to understand how you/he could believe it is in your child's best interest, although I understand that you do.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 05:18:05

Well, it appears that medically its evenly balanced. In the absence of strong cultural or religious reasons I can see why you wouldn't. I also wouldn't if I thought it harmful regardless of culture but I don't see the evidence

TheRealFellatio Wed 07-Aug-13 07:36:53

Prima I am sceptical about your assertion that it is much less likely to lead to complications on newborns than on older boys and men. I'd be interested to see where you got the 'evidence' for that - but of course cited 'evidence' is rarely without bias. I fail to see how a qualified surgeon operating with time on his side and a patient under GA can be more likely to lead to complications that a conscious, wriggling tiny baby with a teeny foreskin and only a second or two to get it right. confused

Why do you think the analogies are tedious? I think they are entirely valid. They are only tedious if you can't think of an argument to blow them out of the water.

TheRealFellatio Wed 07-Aug-13 07:50:40

If the medical advantages of circumcision were really significant enough to make it worth having, I think it would be available free of charge on the NHS and all parents would be given at least the choice to have it done. So it appears that in the UK the medical advantages of non-medically indicated circumcisions are not significant.

I would have more sympathy for the religious/cultural argument if the parents had a bit cut off without adequate pain relief at the same time as their infant son did.

I completely agree.

Just imagine ritual/routine circumcision had never been invented, and was only ever carried out upon medical need later down the line. If someone (either medical or religious) announced that from now on it would be a good idea to do it routinely to all newborn boys, and it would be carried out not by a doctor but by a religious leader who has been given some training, and it would be done without pain relief - what do you suppose your reaction would be?

And what about your girl children? Inner labia are nothing much more than thin flaps of skin - not especially fleshy. Would you think it was fine to trim them down with a scalpel and no anaesthesia if you could be convinced now that there was a benefit, like so many Sudanese and Indonesian parents for example? And if not why not?

Doobiedoobedoobie Wed 07-Aug-13 08:00:42

kungfutea or indeed anyone, do you have a link for the theory that a newborn's nervous system/ blood vessels don't mature in the genitals till 2 weeks? I'm a neonatal nurse and have never heard this!

I'm a British muslim convert and had a lot of sleepless nights about this when I was pregnant (and ultimately am very glad I had 2 girls and avoided the issue!). Most men I know are circumcised, including my brother, ythough his was for medical reasons. I actually think there's a case for having it done at a young age purely though seeing my nephews in law and friends babies having it done with no ill effects and barely a whimper.

Having said that, I personally wouldn't have circumcised my newborn as I feel that although I agree any son may not have thanked me for leaving it till he was older, I could justify the decision to do that better than I could justify the other. Plus, I literally don't think I could do it, I hate when my babies cry! It took a bit of persuading my dh as be is born muslim and its so entrenched in his culture but ultimately he agreed. Our plan was to offer it the summer before he went to secondary school the first time in case he wanted it at that point for aesthetic reasons. If not, whenever. I think DH would be disappointed if he'd chosen not to get it done at all but figured I'd cross that bridge when I came to it. The way I see it, if he chose not to do it, it's justified our decision to not get it done as a newborn to be the right one.

I am interested to hear about this nervous system/ vessel thing though!

SoulTrain Wed 07-Aug-13 08:03:31

My DH is circumcised due to hyperspadius and reckons his is far less sensitive.

DS has been circumcised as part of an operation to correct megaprepuce.

I would never chose to circumcise.

Kungfutea - you are not religious, but you would have your son circumcised. Of all the bits of your religion to keep hold of, why this one? It seems to me like a really odd choice. Why not let your son be and just don't wave his penis about around people who might take an interest?

curlew Wed 07-Aug-13 08:48:55

"Don't forget that nature gave us birthmarks for a reason."

The birthmark analogy is stupid. Unless you are saying that foreskins are a genetic "accident" that bizarrely all boys are born with......

5madthings Wed 07-Aug-13 09:13:57

if i believed in a religion and the other followers of that religion would shun a baby/small child and make them feel an outsider or not accept them as jewish etc because they werent circumcised i would be seriously questioning my beliefs and my relatiinship with those who felt that way.

ds1 almost had to be circumcised for medical reasons, thankfully othrt treatments worked.

and with regard to birthmarks etc both ds1 and ds2 have a birth mark (ds1) and ds2 a small hernia which gives him am outy belly button. both were offered surgety for cosmetic reasons as babies. we declined ad we felt it was not worth the risks and was their choice to make when older. ds1's birthmark is on his head, he has a largish bald patch because of the birth mark. they are now 14 and 11, they are aware they could have these things operated on if they want. neither if them want to. if they change their minds then we will see the gp and get the referral they need but we wpuld not force them to have it done. when ds1 had issues with his foreskin he knew circumcision was an option but he wanted to try othet techniques before doing that, again his choice at the time.

lots of cultural and religious practises have or are dying out as we learn they are unnecessary, hopefully circumcision will do the same.

TheRealFellatio Wed 07-Aug-13 09:16:10

I don't understand the asthetics argument either - we shouldn't be fiddling with the aesthetics of small children - they are born perfect just as they are.

5madthings Wed 07-Aug-13 09:18:39

and all you saying your husbands/brothers dont mind, how will you feel if one day your sons do mind? plenty of men actually do mind and are distressed and upset by it. there are forums devoted to the issue and all sorts of techniques tried to repair the issue. how will you feel of your sons end up feeling that way. how will you explain why you felt it necessary?

5madthings Wed 07-Aug-13 09:23:45

me neither fellatio technically you could say ds1 and ds2 have a small 'defect' but we certainly dont feel that way and i wouldnt choose to put them.through an operation for 'cosmetic' reasons. both operations are offered on the nhs, i asked the drs why they would do them and they said it would be for cosmetic reasons, no medical benefit. so we said thanks but no thanks. if there are compelling medical reasons then fine weigh up the pros and cons but there are not compelling medical reasons for circumcision.

TheRealFellatio Wed 07-Aug-13 09:41:43

Well I don't know specifically what you are refering to, but I'll compare it to having ears pinned back. I can understand that the child might choose to have it done if they feel self-conscious, and I can sort of understand the parents getting it done in anticipation of the child experiencing teasing etc. But foreskins are not a 'defect' - all little boys are born with one. In fact they'd be defective if they didn't have one. And people see your ears day in, day out. No-one needs to see a man's penis unless he chooses to let them. I find it odd that people think their sons are going to have other Jews/Muslims laughing and pointing at their willy their whole lives. confused

FingerPicker Wed 07-Aug-13 09:44:44

Read the whole thread.

I can't really get overly het up about it, but the foreskin is in place from birth, therefore I'm assuming it exists for a reason?

Style your list made me LMFAO. What's wrong with masturbation?

5madthings Wed 07-Aug-13 09:48:39

ds1 has a birth mark that means he has a largeish nald patch on his head and ds2 an outy belly button caused by a small hernia. both were offered surgery as babies. but in both cases there was no medical benefit, it was offered for cosmetic reasons. and i wasnt prepared to run the risks of surgery for cosmetic reasons. the boys are 14 and 11 now and are not bothered by their 'defects'and dont want surgery, if they did we would see gp and get it arranged as they are old enough to choose for themselves.

Primafacie Wed 07-Aug-13 10:10:00

Fellation and others, linky to the WHO manual on infant circumcision here: whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2010/9789241500753_eng.pdf

It's 140 pages long, so I'm cutting and pasting for ease of reference:

A WHO expert review meeting on neonatal male circumcision held October 2009 in Geneva Switzerland concluded that the procedure is easier to perform and associated with less pain and fewer complications when performed within the first two months of life.

It also lists the following benefits (footnotes removed):


If infant male circumcision is being performed for reasons other than the treatment of a specific medical problem, the health benefits are primarily preventive and may only be realized long after the procedure has been carried out. Circumcision may reduce the risk of acquiring some infections and related complications but does not guarantee complete protection. Some of these conditions are not as common as others, and the degree of risk may depend on the behaviours of the individual and the community to which he belongs. The benefits of male circumcision include the following.

• Decreased risk of HIV infection – male circumcision has been proved to help prevent female to male transmission of HIV, reducing the risk of transmission by 60&#8722;70%.
• Decreased risk of urinary tract infections – male circumcision decreases the risk of such infections in infants19 and adult men. Uncircumcised male infants are estimated to have a 1% chance of acquiring a urinary tract infection. This type of infection is 10 times less
common in circumcised male infants, who have an estimated 0.1% chance of developing such an infection.
• Prevention of phimosis – this condition results from scar tissue that makes a tight opening in the foreskin and prevents exposure of the head of the penis and the normal retraction of the foreskin.
• Prevention of paraphimosis – this is an extremely rare condition that occurs when the foreskin is pulled back or down and trapped in the retracted position below the glans. The tissue can become swollen and obstruct the blood flow to the tip of the penis, requiring urgent surgery
to correct the problem. Male circumcision can prevent this complication.
• Prevention of balanitis and posthitis – under certain circumstances, dirt, sand and other irritants can collect under the foreskin and cause inflammation of the glans (balanitis) and foreskin (posthitis). Male circumcision helps to prevent these conditions by making it easier to
keep the head of the penis clear of possible irritants.
• Decreased risk of other sexually transmitted infections – male circumcision has been shown to help protect against contracting genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) and human papillomavirus (HPV).
• Decreased risk of cancer of the penis, which, in some populations, occurs in 1 per 100 000 people and is much more common in men who are uncircumcised. Male circumcision markedly reduces the risk of developing this type of cancer.
• Decreased risk of cancer of the cervix in female sexual partners – cervical cancer occurs less commonly in women with male sexual partners who are circumcised. Sex with either uncircumcised men or men circumcised after infancy increases a women’s risk of cervical cancer.
• Decreased vaginal infections caused by Trichomonas vaginalis and decreased bacterial vaginosis in female sexual partners.

Male circumcision provides several medical benefits. In 2007, UNAIDS and WHO concluded that the efficacy of male circumcision in reducing female to male transmission of HIV had been proved beyond reasonable doubt. "

OP, you asked what are the advantages of circumcision. HTH

curlew Wed 07-Aug-13 10:17:58

All those "benefits" can be gained by proper hygiene and using a condom. Except the balanitis one- and I would question whether removing an infant's foreskin as a preventative measure is rational and proportionate.

Primafacie Wed 07-Aug-13 10:24:23

The analogies are moronic because eyelids, toes, breasts, ears, teeth, tonsils etc are all organs and body parts which perform an important function. The prepuce isn't - as shown by the fact that one man in three had his removed, and they aren't dropping like flies. There is a huge body of evidence that removing it is both safe and has benefits.

Removing the appendix at birth or in infancy would be a major internal surgery. Circumcision takes minutes and no, it is not generally done with rusty kitchen knives but with sterile instruments. I do not condone butchering babies with inappropriate instruments, and my personal view is that the baby should receive pain relief, although I am aware that sadly this is not always the case. But that is not the question the OP asked, is it? She asked whether there are any advantages to circumcision. The answer is yes - see above.

The analogy with FGM, as has been pointed out above, is also entirely inappropriate. FGM has no health benefits: it only causes harm. Other WHO link here FGM

curlew Wed 07-Aug-13 10:49:41

"There is a huge body of evidence that removing it is both safe and has benefits. "

Performed properly of course it's safe. It's minor, if painful, surgery. Minor surgery is very safe indeed. The benefits thing is a very grey area. There are no benefits, as far as I am aware, which are not also conferred by proper hygiene and condom use.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 07-Aug-13 10:57:37

A one in five hundred risk of complications doesn't really feel all that safe. Esp when you consider the liklihood of a man needing a circumcision when he's an adult.

In the UK its not common to be circumcised and yet the men aren't dropping like flies, crippled with UTIs and the clap. We just teach our boys to wash their knobs and have sex responsibly. Somehow we've all survived the plague of foreskin that others seem to find so repulsive. I'm sick of this attitude that the body is this disgusting thing that needs sanitising and altering to make it more appealing.

katieAashley Wed 07-Aug-13 11:02:40

Yes it "can" reduce the risk of the HPV, although so dose the HPV vaccine for girls which I think we should be more bothered about promoting and so dose practising safe sex, I have only ever slept with circumcised men yet unfortunately have had HPV and have had abnormal cells removed so I guess circumcision isn't that effective after all, also my husband is circumcised and says to me yes it dose reduce sensitivity and he is strongly apposed to our baby boy having it done.

TedMoseby Wed 07-Aug-13 11:21:36

My exP had been circumcised as an adult for medical reasons. He said his penis was much less sensitive now and wished he hadn't had to have it done.

curlew Wed 07-Aug-13 11:26:24

Basically there is no good medical reason to circumcise a healthy baby boy.

And as there is no good reason apart from medical ones to perform surgery on a person unable to consent, infant circumcision should be banned.

sashh Wed 07-Aug-13 13:44:17

OP - You are right it is odd that circumcision still persists in the US as cultural norm. I find it astounding actually.

I don't, because there is a bill to be paid.

How many American woman have a uterus over the age of 60? And how many of those don't have health insurance?

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 15:01:49

When circumcision is performed as part of religious practice / tradition I'd be suprised if the majority of men concerned expressed any regret.

(all male members of my family have been circumcised, including my 4 DS's, not an easy decision but made easier by my DH, DF, DB etc all confirming that they had no negative feelings about the process)

I know that this is a very contentious issue and can understand the opinions expressed on this thread.

SamG76 Wed 07-Aug-13 15:25:25

Lowry - thanks for your honest post. I must say that I found each brit difficult, as all parents do, but I'm delighted we did it, and particularly that we did it at home surrounded by the family. No-one says that there's no pain at all, although my DS's were far more upset about their vaccinations than the brit. The order of the service acknowledges that it's not really a celebratory occasion....

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 15:41:26

SamG76 For me the first brit was terrifying and the guilt i felt was all consuming.

At the seudat mitzvah i could hardly speak to anyone and found no joy in celebration.

All my boys have been through this now and it got progressively easier for me.

Did you have alot of family pressure or did you just accept the situation?

SamG76 Wed 07-Aug-13 15:56:02

Lowry - we're quite observant and were always going to do it, so family pressure didn't come into it. If we'd said we wouldn't we would have got the third degree from our parents, of course, but we'd also have had to leave our shul and change schools.

Both DS's jaundiced, so britot on Sunday of sukkot, so people just came, had a bagel and then left. I couldn't have coped with a 400 guest sit-down brunch in shul.

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 16:00:55

I'm guessing you're Orthodox, no ?

I'm overseas and live in an area where we are very much in the minority.

We're (lapsed) Reform and would have had no problems (i presume) had we not gone ahead with the whole shebang.

Seems very OTT to be forced to change schools etc especially if you observe all other religious practices.

curlew Wed 07-Aug-13 16:30:08

"All my boys have been through this now and it got progressively easier for me."


SamG76 Wed 07-Aug-13 16:30:38

When I say change schools, I meant that we wouldn't have got in in the first place. We're middle of the road orthodox, as is the school. I doubt if it has a policy on that specific point, only because I can't imagine anyone would try to send a child there without a brit. I've got family at less orthodox schools, and the position seems to be the same there.

We are in the "ghetto" as you correctly surmise, but having been brought up outside a traditional Jewish area, and having spent a lot of time abroad, I have a lot of respect for those who "fly the flag" in more difficult circumstances.

Sallyingforth Wed 07-Aug-13 16:40:47

Yes curlew I was thinking the same.

I'm amazed that people really want to be in a "club" that has cutting bits off your infant child as an entry requirement.

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 16:53:58

Words on a screen can be terribly misinterpreted......it did get easier for me, i kind of got my head around accepting it.

I'm not condoning or condemming my reactions or actions.

This thread has made me think hard about what our community does on a daily basis.

I'm not proud for "mutilating" my sons nor am I ashamed.

My sons appear to be ok with the situation and certainly don't hold what we did against us.

I am soon to be a Grandmother. My DS 1's partner is Catholic. I am somewhat relieved that the question of circumcision is not one that my DIL will have to face.

( ps. we love our kids just as much as you do)

SamG76 Wed 07-Aug-13 17:13:33

breathe slowly - I'm pleased that you've learned something. I was astonished on a trip to Kenya to learn that the Masai have initiation ceremonies involving drinking lions' blood, but it seems they do. Maybe if I'd told them that I was surprised about it, they'd've given it up and replaced it with a round of Pimms down the local pub.

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 17:23:52

SamG76 Ooh, I'd sell my children to the local shamen and chop off DH's head for a Pimms right now. wine

curlew Wed 07-Aug-13 18:29:01

Many cultures and tribes have initiation ceremonies. I am happy to stand up against any that involve surgical procedures on people too young to consent.

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 18:52:49

curlew I know of no Jewish man who is unhappy with the "procedure".

Why did all male members of my extended family willingly participate in my DS's bris if they had been so scarred themselves?

I think we need to agree to disagree.

This is a question of religious practice and those who hold no religious beliefs could never comprehend such a deep seated tradition.

There is no middle ground on this and that i understand.

(I am torn myself but religion, tradition and heritage won me over)

BookFairy Wed 07-Aug-13 18:58:31

If they don't know any different surely they would have no reason to be unhappy?

Impossible for me to understand, really.

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 19:03:56

BookFairy*If they don't know any different surely they would have no reason to be unhappy?*

There's your answer!

mrsravelstein Wed 07-Aug-13 19:07:04

lowry "( ps. we love our kids just as much as you do)"

i wouldn't suggest for a moment that you don't. my mother had my brother circumcised because it was entirely the norm for her for religious & cultural reasons. she is not an evil person and she loves her children (and we love her).

but i still believe that the act (not necessarily the person) is a "barbaric mutilation".

my mother was horrified that i didn't circumcise my own sons because to her it made them 'abnormal'. over the years though i believe she has come to see it from my perspective. she has seen that actually my 12 year old and 5 year old do have not hygiene problems or health problems as a result of not being circumcised. i would like to think that if she was making the decision now, she might make a different choice... not least because my brother finds it horrific and has actually never really been able to forgive her for having made the decision to permanently alter his genitalia.

BookFairy Wed 07-Aug-13 19:07:13

But does that make it right?

My ex is circumsised and I do believe it effected him wrt DTD.

It's so contentious, I'm backing right out!

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 19:12:06

mrsravelstein It's not for hygiene reasons.

God commanded the Biblical patriarch Abraham to be circumcised, an act to be followed by his descendants:
10 This is My covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee: every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant betwixt Me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male throughout your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any foreigner, that is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised; and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken My covenant.

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 19:15:13

BookFairy Why would you say that it affects men DTD?

I have been impregnated 4 times with no problems.

My DH and I share a happy and fullfilled sex life blush

ShellyBoobs Wed 07-Aug-13 19:17:31

Since circumcised men are less likely to contract venerial disease and HIV, and their female partners are less likely to have cervical cancer, I would definitely have my son done. That is, if I chose to have children.

Well looking at it from that viewpoint, it's hard to argue against cutting a baby boy's cock off altogether.

He certainly won't catch an STI then or be interfering with anyone's cervix.

Win, win.

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 19:21:32

ShellyBoobs Seeing as it reduces risk of cervical cancer weighed up against increased risk of breast cancer in Jewish women , I'd say it's a win/lose situation.

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 19:23:30

As for making all future generations eunuchs, surely you can see that's a step too far.


mrsravelstein Wed 07-Aug-13 19:25:35

yes, i'm aware it is not primarily for hygiene reasons, but my mother, i would imagine in common with many other jews, justified it to herself, at least partly, on the basis that she was certain that having a foreskin would lead to all sorts of vile problems. the point is that i understand why cultural/religious traditions are very strong, but that doesn't necessarily make them right.

curlew Wed 07-Aug-13 19:26:01

"curlew I know of no Jewish man who is unhappy with the "procedure".

Why did all male members of my extended family willingly participate in my DS's bris if they had been so scarred themselves?"

Because they are all equally brainwashed.

Oh, and I don't think I said anything about them being scarred, did I?

mrsravelstein Wed 07-Aug-13 19:28:13

and there are plenty of jews who don't actually keep kosher, and who don't always observe shabbos but still consider themselves jewish.... it would be nice to think that circumcision could become one of those things.

curlew Wed 07-Aug-13 19:29:42

The supposed health benefits are minimal. And can be reproduced by adequate hygiene, condom use, HPV vaccine take up and health education.

Apart from balanitis. Which can be treated if it occurs.

RibenaFiend Wed 07-Aug-13 19:30:59

My DP is going for a circumcision in two weeks at the ripe old age of 30. He has a very very tight foreskin which never retracted as it normally should when he was growing. His DM and DF basically ignored it. hmm fury at them for another day.

It causes us problems.

I finally convinced him to see a dr when I accidentally hurt him again during sex. He was referred, consultant, specialist, pre OP and OP within 4 weeks. Either the urology department in our local NHS trust are bored or it's actually classed as serious.

It's a general anaesthetic procedure. HOW can it be general anaesthetic for an adult but baby boys have NOTHING save a drop of wine at a bris?

I'll find out for you if it changes his sensitivity in two weeks (plus the 4 weeks recovery time shock)

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 19:32:19

curlew No you didn't say anything about them being scarred, I said that they weren't!

How very respectful of a religion (of which i presume you know next to nothing about), to infere that those who practice are (in your words) "brainwashed".

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 19:36:12

curlew I stand corrected, you didn't infere, you stated brainwash. (nice)

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 19:45:38

mrsravelstein I don't keep a kosher kitchen, we attend temple 4/5 times a year, we try to respect Shabbat etc but often other social engagements get in the way.

We're Jewish in the sense that there's history and tradition and DNA.

No mother wants to put their newborn through this.

It's primarily the men who push for a bris, go figure.

You were admirable to go against family and refuse to do it.

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 19:47:00

RibenaFiend Good luck to your DP.

mrsravelstein Wed 07-Aug-13 19:48:15

so you're doing it purely because of your religion and because all of your ancestors for centuries have done it, because it is 'normal' in your community. isn't that pretty much exactly what 'brainwashed' means? that you're conditioned to think that something abnormal is actually normal?

mrsravelstein Wed 07-Aug-13 19:50:34

i consider myself jewish (i'm sat here eating my mum's boiled gefilte fish out of tupperware as i type, seriously) but it wasn't difficult to go against it because it was so completely abhorrent to me to hurt my child.

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 19:52:59

mrsravelstein It's called "faith" not "brainwashing".

Do you have a real faith? Do you believe that God will welcome you into his house after death? Do you feel His presence everyday? Do you worship Him and pray to him? Do you abide by His laws? Do you thank him for the myriad of daily joys you encounter?


You will never get it.

Moxiegirl Wed 07-Aug-13 19:53:22

If it has to be done, with anaesthetic surely? That video was horrible, it looked like torture sad

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 19:54:22

(enjoy your fish!)

mrsravelstein Wed 07-Aug-13 19:56:21

no i don't have any faith at all. and i can't understand wanting to have faith in a god who wants you to do that to your child.

Lowry Wed 07-Aug-13 20:13:22

mrsravelstein Then we must agree to disagree.

Faith is a powerful thing. It affects our every move. It makes me appreciate simple things. It binds our small community.

I believe in God, i try to abide by his laws and dictates. It comforts me.

I have chosen to opt out of certain conventions.

We are not kosher for example.

Holding a brit is a sensitive thing for a mother, for all mothers.

You stood your ground and all credit to you. I could not have been so strong.

Family pressure was phenominal throughout pregnancy with DS 1 , i gave in and therefore set a precident.

Would i cave in now? Probably.

SamG76 Wed 07-Aug-13 20:44:19

Mrs R - it's sounds as if your brother has issues with your mum far beyond the brit.

I'm interested - when you say you consider yourself Jewish, do you think your children will consider themselves Jewish? Do they know any Hebrew? Are they members of a shul? Do they keep any of the festivals? You're perfectly entitled to give up the religion, of course, or even take up another, but waht you've said so far doesn't strengthen your case that people can be practising Jews without a brit.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 21:25:20

Regarding the advantages of circumcising in infancy rather than later:

Medical benefits of circumcising esp for neonates

So, the way I see it, there's an opportunity as a newborn to do the procedure which disappears later when it becomes more complicated and risky. There are real health benefits. Of course, no one is suggesting that uncircumcised men are all dropping dead from their festering penises, but the fact remains that there would be fewer infant UTIs, fewer deaths from penile cancer, fewer of the foreskin issues which emerge later, fewer cervical cancer deaths, fewer HIV deaths. But I also accept that on its own, maybe the medical benefits wouldn't be reason enough to circumcise, especially outside of some parts of Africa where there's a generalized HIV epidemic (in the west, very little HIV is in the general population).

However, put together medical benefits, a very straight forward procedure for a newborn and circumcision as a strong cultural preference, then would probably decide to circumcise, if I had a son, IN THE BEST INTEREST OF MY SON.

You may not agree, that's fine. We all parent differently. I breastfed my children until they were both older than 2.5, one of them was 4 when she stopped. Other mothers don't, often because culturally it's not accepted. Fine, I don't think it's in YOUR children's best interest to stop before they are two. I wouldn't call you barbaric or brainwashed for doing so.

People here need to tone down the hysteria and the hyperbole - child abuse, mutilation, barbarism, evil etc etc. Puh-leez. Just because you might not choose to do it, doesn't mean you're necessarily right.

Sam - when I say amazed, it doesn't mean I have learnt something. I have known this for quite some time. Perhaps disgusted would be a better description as I wouldn't want to be part of a group that insisted on me harming my infant.

I also don't get the Jewish people who aren't very observant but choose to do this. Of all of the bits of a religion to follow, this is surely the obvious part to omit. Or is eating a cheeseburger that important to you that you can't be bothered to keep kosher but mutilating your son is ok? Why don't people believe either in the whole lot and fulfil all of their religious obligations or not believe and drop at the very least the one that should not be their decision to make?

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 21:33:08

It's not mutilating your son.

Can you please stop using such loaded terms as it's becoming extremely offensive and, to be honest, I'm quite sick of it.

I'm a non-religious Jewish person who would circumcise. I've explained my reasons above but if you are going to use terms like 'mutilate' then you're not really interested why, you just want to offend.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 21:38:48

You can read the links above to see the very real medical benefits of circumcising.

Being Jewish involves belonging to a culture, not just a religion. Circumcsion is a strong cultural identifier.

Since there are medical benefits to circumcision and since circumcising as a newborn provides an opportunity to do it with the least complications and only a local anaesthetic and since there are cultural benefits to doing it, even if I don't believe in the religious aspect, I would circumcise.

I would not circumcise my son if I felt that the medical risk outweighed the benefit, regardless of cultural benefits. In such a case, we'd deal with losing out culturally. However, that is not the case. We cannot wait until he is old enough to decide since he cannot go back to being a newborn and having a much more straightforward and safer procedure.


I still think that it would be offered on the NHS if the medical benefits to a boy in the UK were significant. Really you are using the fairly flimsy medical benefits to back up a cultural stance. And if I consider it to be mutilation then I don't see why I shouldn't call it that. I don't see why I should spare your feelings when you are willing to cause harm to newborns.

Primafacie Wed 07-Aug-13 22:11:35

Breatheslowly, what amazes me is your almighty, unquestioning, one might say almost religious, faith in the NHS.

They do get some things wrong, you know. Like killing 8 patients a day out of poor care. www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/jun/21/jeremy-hunt-nhs-errors-patients

Individual care on the NHS may not be perfect (I still have the scars to prove it and have and use private healthcare wherever possible as I want to see a fully trained consultant, not a junior doctor). But on the epidemiology side and with national guidelines I think the NHS is very strong. That is not a religious stance, but an evidence based one. Are there any developed countries that recommend routine circumcision for neonates on a medical basis?

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 22:36:52

No, I've said there are cultural benefits and I'd guess it's equally balanced between medical benefits and risk with probably more of a lean towards benefits.

If there were medical harm, I wouldn't do it regardless of cultural benefits.

The reason you shouldn't call it mutilation is that you are simply wrong as well as being offensive (which I think you're trying to be). It is not mutilation but a procedure which has medical as well as cultural benefits

I probably wouldn't do it for the medical benefits alone but the fact that it is not harmful and does have some benefit means that I am comfortable giving credence to the cultural importance.

I've linked above to reviews showing the medical benefits. I'm sorry you don't agree with them. I do.

curlew Wed 07-Aug-13 22:38:14

"Breatheslowly, what amazes me is your almighty, unquestioning, one might say almost religious, faith in the NHS."

What a very odd thing to say. Of course the NHSgets things wrong. But the fact that routine circumcision of I f ra isn't even up for discussion suggests that the health benefits are questionBle to say the least.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Wed 07-Aug-13 22:42:00

On the basis of my "research" (reasonably extensive but not, alas, conducted under the most rigorous scientific conditions) I would say uncircumcised penises are much more responsive than circumcised. Don't see how that couldn't be the case, frankly. The notion that you would do something to a child that has this effect without clear medical indications boggles my mind. The fact it is still legal only shows how fucked up we are about religion.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 22:45:07

Not quite, cost comes into it as well with the NHS. For example, the chickenpox vaccine has excellent health benefits but cost prevents the NHS rolling it out.

Some PCTs do offer it though.

Also, I don't think the health benefits are so great that it's an issue for the NHS - just that the benefits DO outweigh the risks. But there are many things for which such a statement is true whcih might not be funded.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 22:46:17

I'm not religous KArlos and I will still circumcise my sons if I have. Based on empirical scientific research that it is not harmful.

And your 'research' is just conjecture and opinion. Not 'research'.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 22:47:36

There is no reason for it not to be legal. It is not harmful because the health benefits outweigh the risk. It's a personal decision, thankfully.

Kungfutea - I think your reading of the medical benefits may suffer slightly from affirmation bias.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 22:50:40

Really, how so?

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Wed 07-Aug-13 22:53:08

There is quite a vocal anti-circumcision lobby comprised of men who feel that they have been damaged by the procedure, actually. I used to have a job which, rather oddly, involved fielding quite a lot of correspondence from such people, and they were jolly upset about it I can tell you. As would I be, if my sexual responsiveness had been adversely affected by a wholly unnecessary procedure.
it's the old "first do no harm" principle. Surgical intervention should only take place where there is a clear benefit to be secured. in the vast majority of cases there is no medical need for this procedure. So, you don't do it. Really don't get why people find this hard to grasp.

Actually I have paid for the chicken pox vaccine for my DD as it isn't provided on the NHS. It is a routine vaccination in some other countries. Where are the people in the UK who have no cultural or religious reason to circumcise, but see the health benefits alone and choose to have it done privately? Where are the developed countries which recommend routine circumcision for medical reasons only? I think the chicken pox vaccine is a poor analogy.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 22:56:15

It's an example of the NHS not funding something because of cost, I think the benefits of the chicken pox vaccine are far greater than circumcision!

You may a snide comment about affirmation bias but haven't yet explained it. Why should I be subject to affirmation bias any more than you, for example?

You really want the medical benefits to be sufficient to justify your cultural decision to circumcise. So your reading of those benefits appear to give them more weight than for those without your cultural background.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 23:00:05

None of the men in my life feel like that, Karlos. It may be anecdotal but all of them (who have mentioned it!! it's not a common topic of discussion) are pleased they were done.

You have to make a decision either way, you hope you make the right one. You may get it wrong but you plump for the scenario which you think will be in the best interest of your child and the adult he will become.

If you had a baby girl with a hugr disfiguring birthmark (but not medically harmful) whihc could be removed very easily as a newborn but with a more complex and difficult procedure later, would you do it? Or would you stick to your principles - only when medically necessary!

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 23:01:28

And you, breatheslowly, equally want there not to be medical benefits to justify your cultural decision not to circumcise.

BTW, I haven't circumcised anyone as it happens. SInce I don't have boys, it wasn't an issue. But it was one I considered with an open mind when I was pregnant.

But if the only thing stopping the NHS from providing routine circumcision was the cost and the medical benefits were considered to be significant then doctors would encourage it privately and people would have it done, regardless of their cultural background. The reason the NHS does not provide the CP vaccine is not only cost, it is a balancing act between the risks of CP and the risks of shingles in the older population. It is an epidemiological issue, not just an individual one.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Wed 07-Aug-13 23:04:54

A foreskin is not equivalent to disfigurement. You are not helping your argument by drawing such silly analogies.
In the vast majority of cases, there is no medical need for this procedure, which deprives the penis of numerous nerve endings, which play a role in sexual enjoyment. it is an unnecessary and unfair thing to do to a child and of course people daft enough to think it's good idea should be prevented from doing it by law.

curlew Wed 07-Aug-13 23:07:46

"If you had a baby girl with a hugr disfiguring birthmark (but not medically harmful) whihc could be removed very easily as a newborn but with a more complex and difficult procedure later, would you do it? Or would you stick to your principles - only when medically necessary"

Are you really comparing a foreskin with.a huge and disfiguring birthmark? Really?

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 07-Aug-13 23:10:38

Breathe - absolutely agree with your last post. I'd also like to ask what is wrong with the term mutilate???

It stems from the 16th century Latin 'mutilat', which means 'maimed, mutilated, lopped off' according to the OED. Which is exactly what happens when a defenceless child is pinned down and a piece of his anatomy is removed at the will of others and before he is of an appropriate age to give informed consent.

Kungfu - are you one of those people who would also call beating a child 'just a tap'? It's rather interesting that you can't bear the practice you're so in favour of being called by its real name...

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 23:15:51

Ah, so you would do a non medically necessary procedure on a baby for cultural benefits.

Ok, good to know.

No, not really. I can appreciate that the medical benefits exist and in less developed countries they are significant enough to make it a valid preventative measure. However the mitigation factors int the UK are sufficient to make the risks and importance of respecting a child's autonomy over their body outweigh the risks of routine circumcision.

In the UK, unless you come from a culture where circumcision is routine, there is no choice to make. There is no leaflet in the bounty pack giving the pros and cons along with contact details of doctors who will whip your newborn's foreskin off for you. I am not looking for a justification of my position because the medical profession have effectively made it for me by not offering this service beyond those cultural groups where it is a norm. Getting DD a chicken pox vaccine was really easy, a quick google and I found a provider. Finding circumcision providers would probably be possible if I contacted my religious members, but to those outside those groups it isn't really considered.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 23:17:54

What is and isn't disfiguring is a cultural construct.

Primafacie Wed 07-Aug-13 23:18:56

Wibbly, it has a name - it is called circumcision. You are the one with taxonomy issues.

Are you seriously accusing Kungfu of being a child beater now? hmm

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 23:21:53

Circumcision has never been terribly popular among white Christians in the UK. In the US, very easy to find Dr to do routine circumcision.

Although I'm not sure if health benefits alone would be sufficient to convince me. They outweigh any risk but both are small (risk very small for newborns)

Primafacie Wed 07-Aug-13 23:23:14

Breatheslowly, it is extremely easy to have your son circumcised in the UK, outside of any religious or cultural groups. Google it if you don't believe me.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 23:24:49

Or an apologist for child beaters since I'm an apologist for child mutilators!

Even in the US the popularity is falling. And if it is any help, I don't come from a white Christian background. it isn't that cultural environment that has caused my stance on circumcision.

curlew Wed 07-Aug-13 23:32:55

Ah, so you would do a non medically necessary procedure on a baby for cultural benefits."

Actually, if the birthmark concerned was on a part of the body that was in practically all circumstances covered by clothes, then yes I would leave removal until the child as old enough to decide for themselves

I still don't see it as a 'choice' made by the majority of the UK population. I just doesn't occur as a question. You don't find people discussing it with their NCT group or at baby classes. It just isn't there at all. While you could say the same about chicken pox vaccinations, most vaccinations are offered by the NHS so the idea of another one is normalised. When I mention that DD has been immunised I tend to get one of two responses, 'that's a great idea, where can we get that done' or 'I wish I had known about that, my child was really poorly with chicken pox'.

I'm with curlew on that.

Kungfutea Wed 07-Aug-13 23:47:29

But if the disfiguring birthmark was on the baby's face? And the drs said, OK, remove now as a newborn in a quick and easy and safe procedure or wait until she is a teen and needs a far more painful and complex procedure?

curlew Wed 07-Aug-13 23:56:30

Since when have foreskins been on faces?

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 00:00:24


Can you just answer my question please?

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 08-Aug-13 00:03:54

No, I've said there are cultural benefits and I'd guess it's equally balanced between medical benefits and risk with probably more of a lean towards benefits.

If there were medical harm, I wouldn't do it regardless of cultural benefits.

The reason you shouldn't call it mutilation is that you are simply wrong as well as being offensive (which I think you're trying to be). It is not mutilation but a procedure which has medical as well as cultural benefits

I probably wouldn't do it for the medical benefits alone but the fact that it is not harmful and does have some benefit means that I am comfortable giving credence to the cultural importance.

Where do you stand on female circumcision Kungfu? That has great cultural importance too.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Thu 08-Aug-13 00:04:36

I didn't accuse anyone of being a child beater hmm. But - attack is always the first form of defence, isn't it?

What I actually did was point out that it's easy to minimise a number of unsavoury practices by using a euphemism or refusing to call them by their real names.

curlew Thu 08-Aug-13 00:11:38


Can you just answer my question please?"
If my child had a huge and disfiguring birthmark on his face then I would have it removed if possible.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 00:16:06


I think you'll find, if you bothered to read what i wrote and that you actually quoted (!) that I stated that if it were shown that the risk of male circumcision outweighed the health benefits then regardless of cultural significance, I wouldn't do it. (however, the evidence points to the benefits actually outweighing the risk, albeit both small. )

For that reason, in my opinion, female circumcision cannot be justified as there are no health benefits and substantial risk, depending on the type. There are also a lot of issues around controlling female sexuality but that's a whole different can of worms. Parts of the female anatomy that are important reproductively and essential for a fulfilling sex life are removed which is not the case for male circumcision (hence why one is called mutilation and the other isn't).

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 00:18:05

Therefore, Curlew, you would be willing to have your child undergo an operation which is not medically necessary for cultural reasons?


How do you not know that your child won't turn to you as an adult and regret removal of the birthmark?

5madthings Thu 08-Aug-13 00:18:52

Foreskins are not a disfigurement tho.

I answered earlier, my ds1 has a birthmark on his head with a substantial bald patch, we left to and the decision to remove it or not is his, he is now almost 14 and doesn't want it removed, tho he knows the option is there.

Funny all all true insistence that Jewish men dotn mind, I goodled men against circumcision, one of the first links is www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 00:19:49


It is equally possible to demonise an innocuous practice by using inflammatory terminology when there is a perfectly good word to describe the procedure which clearly isn't value laden enough for you.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 00:20:57


Disfigurement is a cultural concept.

Maybe in other cultures foreskins are considerd a disfigurement. Just like there are cultures where birthmarks are considered a sign of good luck.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 00:22:18

I'm sure there are Jewish men who wish they hadn't been circumcised. There are millions and millions of them and most of them would have been done.

In my own experience, the vast majority dont give it a second thought!

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 00:22:54

Disclaimer: based on my own biased sample and considering that it's not usual dinner party conversation!

curlew Thu 08-Aug-13 00:23:12

So you think of a foreskin as a disfigurement? Something that every single boy baby is born with and which has a function? Which is part of a normal healthy male body?

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 08-Aug-13 00:25:05

I would imagine that circumcision carries considerable risk in places where it is carried out by non medically qualified persons.
If this needs to be done for a persons religion, then the person it is being done to, needs to be able to acknowledge that need. How does a baby give any kind of consent?
So, if the person involved, has a part of their anatomy removed for non medical reasons, to suit the religious beliefs of another, then how can this be anything other than mutilation?

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 00:26:57

I didn't say how I think of it.

Just that disfigurement is a cultural construct.

And that clearly you are prepared to have a baby undergo a medically unnecessary procedure for cultural reasons. SO it's not quite as black and white as people like to say (can't remember if it was you CUrlew, I think it was Karlos who stated that no non medically necessary operation is acceptable)

Although I do think you're exaggerating the role of the foreskin, it clearly has its downsides as well and I think, on balance, babies are better off without them, although the advantages are admittedly small.

Aesthetically - nah, don't like them but fully prepared to admit that's culturally influenced! However, if they were necessary for any function and removing it was detrimental to health and wellbeing, I wouldn't do it regardless of culture or aesthetics.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 00:32:59


It's getting a bit repetitive but here we go.

1) CIrcumcising a newborn is a simple, safe and straightforwad procedure (although should be done by someone qualified to do it!). THis procedure is far riskier and more complex when a child is older. Therefore, if circumcision is ever an option, it's better to do it as a newborn.

2) The foreskin is not necessary for any bodily function. You can do just as well with it as without it. There are some health benefits to removing it. These benefits are small but they are there and outweigh the risk. This is why it is not mutilation.

3) In many cultures and religions, being circumcised is the norm. Given that the medical benefits outweigh the risk, and given that there is a window where you can do the procedure simply and safely, it makes sense that many parents, who are not brainwashed, abusers or barbarians, make the choice, in what they perceive (whether you agree or not) to be their child's best interest, to circumcise their newborn babies.

Snatchoo Thu 08-Aug-13 00:41:39

I find it really hard to wrap my head around anyone that would do it for anything other than medical reasons, even if the medical reasons are the 'it's cleaner', 'no HIV' etc etc stance.

But then, I find it hard to believe that anyone could take seriously a book that told you that you are out of heaven for not being circumcised, or for wearing two different types of cloth, or eating meat on a Friday, or for touching a menstruating woman.

Just my thoughts. I'm really not trying to ridicule anybody's religious beliefs , but for me, be kind to one another and treat others as you would be treated yourself (and a few others which I'm sure will come to me!) seem to be enough.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 08-Aug-13 00:43:22

The perception of disfigurement is not cultural. Persecution, ostracism and different treatment of an individual who is disfigured is common throughout nature. Treatment for a disfigurement is a way of averting this treatment. Treating a disfigured person differently is totally wrong, but it happens everywhere and anywhere. A child with a large unsightly birthmark is sadly bound to be subject to a life being treated differently because of it. Treating a disfigurement is forestalling a life of being treated differently.
Circumsision is private and hidden. There are a few tenuous health benefits, otherwise, its done by parents purely to appease their religion. A baby is hardly likely to be persecuted by their peers for not being circumcised, theres a good chance their peers will never even know, and is never asked their opinion. If its that important to them, surely they can make the decision when they reach majority.

Snatchoo Thu 08-Aug-13 00:45:09

I mean, why?

As the great Jack Reacher would say (grin) when it all boils down to it, who does it benefit? Really?

I'd say nobody. I'm not an atheist, I don't follow a religion, but I refuse to believe in a god or God who legitimately thinks it's a good idea.

Snatchoo Thu 08-Aug-13 00:46:49

(Sorry to be flip, I think it's time for bed!)

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 00:51:18

Circumcision isn't private and hidden. Have you never been to a brit milah or a khitan party? Ain't nothing private OR hidden!!

The health benefits aren't tenuous. They are there and they are real and the evidence for them is strong. It's true that the benefits aren't great but the magnitude doesn't make them tenuous.

And of course the perception of disfigurement is cultural! What one culture considers a disfigurement, another considers quite beautiful. And I never said a foreskin is a disfigurement, just that people ARE prepared to do procedures which aren't medically necessary for cultural reasons, except they have a mental block seeing past their own culture

If you are part of a culture or religion where circumcision is expected and the norm, then not being circumcised could really put your marriage prospects in jeopardy. It's not as simple as waiting until majority since you've missed the oppotunity to carry out the procedure simply and safely as a newborn. Doing it as an adult is far more complex, risky and painful. Many parents who circumcise their babies wish to save their children from the increased risk of circumcision when older.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 00:51:58

I'm an atheist as well and I'd probably circumcise. God does much worse things in the bible than circumcision!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 08-Aug-13 00:52:37

x post with kungfu
There are cultures where it is the norm, where circumcision is not performed by a doctor in a sterile environment. Id speculate that in those cultures, the risks are much greater and aren't necessarily outweighed by the benefits.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 00:56:56

That's probably true Saggy but hardly relevant to the debate.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 08-Aug-13 01:04:19

If you are an atheist, what do you care what God did? Atheists don't believe in God!
The health risks of not circumsising are also counteracted by teaching good hygiene and sensible use of barrier contraceptives. Surely a much less brutal path and one that the owner of the penis can take responsibility for themselves.
There is no earthly reason in the first world for the removal of a piece of your child in the name of religion.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 08-Aug-13 01:06:27

And plenty of medical reasons in the third world for not letting some witch doctor remove a part of your child and expose them to infection.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 08-Aug-13 01:16:19
Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 01:16:34

That's not quite true Saggy. For example, circumcised infants are 100 times less likely to get a UTI. And SOME of the health RISKS (good that you acknowledge that there is a risk) of not circumcsing can be mitigated by good hygiene and barrier contraceptives....and yet somehow there are many STIs which could be prevented by barrier contraceptives and are still around today. Funny that. Nonetheless, the benefits of contraception, while small, are still acknowledged in the medical community.

Yes, those 'third world' witch doctors who go around removing parts of children....yes, they are very relevant to this thread. I suspect that statement belies the general narrow minded thinking I've seen on this thread. Still, not to worry, I'll keep those witch doctors away from my boys ifI have any.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 01:17:40

And while one may not believe in God, one may still believe he is mentioned many times in the bible hmm

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 08-Aug-13 01:18:42
SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 08-Aug-13 01:21:39

more debunking
The whole site is very interesting. Especially the page on circumcision and HIV.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 01:26:05
SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 08-Aug-13 01:26:09

Id suggest you check the above site out. Especially the bits about the effect of circumcision pain on newborns. And the invalidity of the research into HIV. Quite a lot of which was carried out in Africa. Where those witch doctors you are avoiding hang out.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 01:28:07

Did you not think it interesting Saggy that that last page you linked to they ended by saying 'references available on request'. Why not put down your references? I know you think it's interesting - so do I, but perhaps in a different sense of the word.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 01:29:59

I suggest you look at this page where they actually cite their references (generally considered good practice unless you have something to hide)

Not that I think HIV prevention is really reason enough in developed countries as heterosexual sex is not the main mode of transmission.

Are you aware that Africa is not a country?

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 01:30:16
Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 01:31:53

Oh, I looked at the HIV page you suggested. References available upon request they say there as well. So basically we don't know if they're making it up as they go along. If you could actually see the references, maybe I'd take them seriously. What a joke of a website!

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 01:37:20

And the picture of the stern looking doctor at the side grin As though that is going to give them some authority rather than actually citing their references!!

This is what you rely for information? It actually explains A LOT!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 08-Aug-13 01:37:51

Ah, but you aren't in Africa. You are citing your own evidence based on African studies then rejecting mine because you aren't in Africa. Which I never called a country BTW. Which has no bearing on the argument anyway--
Im sorry, but nothing you can say or do will ever convince me that radical surgery on a child to prevent something that can be prevented with decent education and a simple course of antibiotics is a good idea.
Its horrible. You inflict pain on a baby. You cut off a part of a baby. Its pointless and cruel.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 01:41:06

What on earth are you talking about? All I'm asking is that they CITE their references.

Ah, going back to the name calling. OK, I think that sums up the essence of your argument.

I don't need to convince you. I've seen what you base your arguments on. I prefer to base mine in scientific evidence rather than hyperbole and conjecture.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 01:44:03

I don't reject your evidence because I'm not in Africa (WTF?). I reject the 'evidence' you linked to because they don't cite the references which means we don't know if they're making it up. Which they probably are. Which is why they don't want to cite their references.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 08-Aug-13 01:45:39

You can mock, which BTW weakens your argument and makes you look foolish, or you could request the references.
At least one of your links is clearly aimed at Africans. Do you live there?
Did you read the page on pain in newborns? Do you care? No.
Ive had enough now. Ive got better things to do.

GOLDENLiquidAngel Thu 08-Aug-13 07:13:06

Did I seriously just see someone use the Gilgal society and Brian Morris as proof that MGM is a good thing? Those well known circumfetishists? Seriously?

I'm also still unsure on the 'its a less complex procedure' on a newborn...

Newborn circumcision: foreskin is totally fused to the glans, so a probe has to be forced between the two structures to tear the adhesions leaving the entire glans an open wound (much like sticking a nail file between your fingernail and nail bed and ripping it off), considering the penis is on a newborn the doctor has absolutely no idea how big said penis will grow to, so has to take a wild stab in the dark as to how much he can remove, and if he removes too much foreskin, it can lead to tight, painful erections, curved penis and hairy shaft where the skin from the scrotum moves up the shaft during an erection to compensate for what is missing, that's on top of the removal of 20,000 fine touch nerves, alongside the protective, immunological functions of the foreskin and keratinisation over time of what should be an internal surface. The open wound is then kept in a nappy during healing, warm, damp, tight against the wound, and in contact with urine and faeces. Newborns do not need to lose much blood before going into hypovolaemic shock, only an ounce or so, and in a nappy it is difficult to assess blood loss. It's very easy for a newborn to bleed out. All with little to no effective pain relief during and maybe paracetamol afterwards.

Adult circumcision: foreskin is already seperated and retractable, so no damage needed to the glans through forcible separation, penis is fully grown so correct amount of foreskin can be removed, avoiding the chance of a too tight circumcision,although there is still the high risk of hairy shaft etc considering the foreskin is a large area of skin and one function is to allow the penis to increase in size during erection - that skins gotta come from somewhere if the foreskin is removed. Surgery carried out under effective anaesthetia and effective painkillers are available. Post op wound can be kept in loose, airy clothes and isn't sitting in excrement. An adult male is less likely to bleed out as quickly as a newborn.

Yeah, I see where you're coming from, aside from the lack of consent, newborn circumcision is much less complex and risky than adult.

TheRealFellatio Thu 08-Aug-13 08:00:06

What an excellent post Golden.

foreskin is totally fused to the glans, so a probe has to be forced between the two structures to tear the adhesions leaving the entire glans an open wound (much like sticking a nail file between your fingernail and nail bed and ripping it off)

This is exactly what happened to my son. Before a nice private consultant finally agreed to circumcise him aged 10, we had been back and forth to the docs with his phimosis since he was two. They were extremely reluctant to even discuss it until he was around eight, saying that these things changed all the time, left to their own devices, and that he would learn to retract his foreskin himself all in good time. Any fool could have told you that was never going to happen if you'd seen it!

Anyway, first port of call was to a consultant appointment on the NHS when DS was about 8. We thought we were just going for an initial consultation and were not expecting any treatment, so I had not researched what was about to happen. He put some local anaesthetic cream on his penis and then rammed said nail file/crochet hook type thing down there to separate the glans from the foreskin just as you say. Poor DS screamed out it pain and shock and that was with some painkiller.

and within two months it had healed up and was back to 'normal.' hmm

TheRealFellatio Thu 08-Aug-13 08:01:00

Of course someone will no doubt use this as evidence that he should have been circumcised at birth. grin

mrsravelstein Thu 08-Aug-13 08:28:06

i'm late back to this, but just to echo another poster above, that if jews can pick and choose which bits of the religious instructions to follow, it seems quite bizarre to decide that god doesn't mind if you don't keep kosher, and if you only go to shul when you don't have more pressing engagements, but does mind if you don't circumcise. the mind boggles.

mrsravelstein Thu 08-Aug-13 08:29:28

(i hasten to add, i am fully aware that there are tons of catholics who have pre marital sex and muslims who drink alcohol etc, and that all religions seem to have an element of 'picking and choosing')

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Thu 08-Aug-13 08:33:26

How dreadful for your poor DS TheRealFellatio

Our GP was trying to sell us the same procedure? She said that with LA cream it would be painless. We knew this simply couldn't be true.
In the end my DS went for a postoplasty this week (where the foreskin is cut vertically and restitched) we hope that will work to cure his phimosis.

TheRealFellatio Thu 08-Aug-13 08:44:32

of course they do mrsr. The trick is in deciding what really matters and what is really right and really quite wrong or no longer necessary or relevant in the modern world.

TheRealFellatio Thu 08-Aug-13 08:52:19

To be honest the more I think about this the more I am convinced that going back many centuries, when it was clear that a small but not insignificant amount of males would eventually experience problems with their foreskins, someone (probably a medical person) decided that is was easier to hold a tiny baby down and get the job done than to hold down a large boy or a grown man, when anesthetics were not available. So obviously without knowing which men would need this intervention they decided to crack a walnut with a sledgehammer and just take a knife to each and every one of them.

I am sure over the history of time, routine but poorly executed circumcision has damaged as many a perfectly functional penis as it helped a potentially dysfunctional one.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 08:53:13

I've linked to the scientific evidence showing that newborn circumcision is the least risky. Not as dramatic as emotional but untrue accounts of nail files etc.

curlew Thu 08-Aug-13 08:57:40

All these links to whether infant or later circumcision is better are irrelevant. The point is that circumcision of a healthy male of any age is unnecessary. The argument is about doing it at all, not when.

5madthings Thu 08-Aug-13 09:23:52

do the risks of newborn circumcision include long term effects kungfu i have read quite a lot about how it can seem fine at the time and heals ok but it is only as boys go through puberty etc that they realiae there is a problem ie too much skin was chopped off etc

and you keep saying the benefits outweigh the risks... but you dont need to be circumcised to lower risks you can teach boys to wash properly, use condims etc and the risks of things such as penile cancer are so low anyway that carrying out circumcision to stop it is riddiculous, you would have to carry out thousands to stop one case of cancer.

why take the risks of circumcision at all when you.dont have to let alone make the choice for a newborn baby who cant give consent.

you keep saying you would get your sons done even if you were not religious, which i find baffling. how would you feel if they were not happy. if they felt disfigured and that you had consrnted to this. seriously how could you look a son in the eyes and say you thought it was better, that you thought it was ok to lop off a bit of their penis?!!

god we are facing the possibility of having to consent to surgery for ds3 at the moment, and its for bloody good reasons, eye injury and i still want to make sure i am making the best possible decision. the idea that i would makw a choice to give my child surgeru based on the minimal if any benefits such as in the case of circumcision is mind boggling.

SHarri13 Thu 08-Aug-13 09:36:03

When I was training we'd see a few babies postnatally that had already been circumcised, it wasn't a pretty sight. Poor, poor babies.

Anyway, the HIV risk interests me. According to the WHO the evidence is 'considerable'. This goes against my feelings on the matter.

Are foreskins just something evolution hasn't yet get rid of? There must be some reason for them even if that reason is no longer valid in the modern world?

SamG76 Thu 08-Aug-13 10:03:09

I'm not against picking and choosing, Mrs R. If there were people who keep kosher, observe the major festivals and raise their kids with a solid Jewish identity without having a brit, I'd say well done. But I've never come across this. What I have heard of is families who essentially kept nothing at all deciding to give up on a brit. This strengthens rather than weakens my hypothesis that a brit is necessary for anyone who wants a Jewish identity for their sons (which i do).

Sallyingforth Thu 08-Aug-13 10:43:37

Are foreskins just something evolution hasn't yet get rid of?
Interesting question. I think if they were really superfluous and a serious cause of infection they would have disappeared long ago.
I haven't yet had a son, but if/when I do there is no way I will allow him to be ritually mutilated.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 11:02:38

Evolution takes a long time, it doesn't happen overnight. Why do we still have an appendix? Ever wondered why our trachea is BEHIND our oesophagus and therefore we risk choking when we eat? We do have design flaws!!

The level of ignorance on this thread is really quite astounding.

I wouldn't allow my son to be ritually mutilated. I would allow him to have a circumcision. No need for hyperbole, thanks.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 11:06:21

Yes, sallyingforth, I'd also make the best decision I could in the best interest of my child.

Never heard of problems in puberty because too much foreskin was chopped off. Actually, there are often problems in the other way and then circumcision becomes necessary when it is more risky and complicated.

When I speak of benefits, I'm talking of long term benefits.

People who circumcise their boys love their children no less than you and they are just as educated and enlightened. In the country my family is from, nearly all boys are circumcised. It's not an issue.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 11:07:03

sorry, above was to 5madthings

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 11:09:07


No, the argument has been to wait until a child is older and can decide himself. But then you can't go back to being a newborn and having the procedure done easily and with the least risk.

I've already explained, ad infitum, why I'd choose circumcision.

Snatchoo Thu 08-Aug-13 11:09:07

Can anyone objectively look at your statement and not feel it is ludicrous?

A circumcised penis is necessary to confirm you are Jewish, when all other rules are given up?


Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 11:10:56

No, Sam said that IF you keep other rules then you'll circumcise and that it's only families who have stopped keeping other rules that stop circumcising.

It's just emphasising the central place that circumcision has as part of the Jewish identity.

Guess it's hard to understand if it's not your culture and you haven't been part of a minority persecuted for millenia

Sallyingforth Thu 08-Aug-13 11:13:56

Is there any evidence at all that evolution is working on foreskins?
Mutilation isn't hyperbole. It's applied to cutting female genitals and is equally applicable to male genitals. Your sincere religious belief cannot change the physical fact.

curlew Thu 08-Aug-13 11:14:31

I've already explained, ad infitum, why I'd choose circumcision
No you haven't. You have talked vaguely a out long term benefits but you have not been specific.

Sallyingforth Thu 08-Aug-13 11:15:48

And mentioning persecution of a minority in an attempt to gain sympathy doesn't work for me.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 11:17:46

Sympathy??? Goodness, heaven forfend.

In any case, that post wasn't directed at you.

Sallyingforth Thu 08-Aug-13 11:18:07

Looks like we agree to disagree.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 11:18:48


I've linked above to scientific evidence demonstrating the benefits. I'm sorry you don't agree and I respect that but the evidence is specific not vague.

curlew Thu 08-Aug-13 11:19:29

The WHO doesn't agree.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 11:19:56

I've explained above why male circumcision is not mutilation and why female and male circumcision are not comparable. You just prefer the word because it's more emotive.

Snatchoo Thu 08-Aug-13 11:20:10

No, it was directed at me.

As you know nothing about me but am surmising I am not Jewish, then you have no idea whether I am 'part of a minority persecuted for millenia'.

So no need to be snarky.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 11:20:39

Please link to the WHO report which refutes the stated benefits of circumcision.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 11:24:05

If you are Jewish, snatchoo, then you'd understand how important circumcision is as part of a Jewish identity.

I never made any reference to your own background.

You may be a satmar chassid for all I know.

thebody Thu 08-Aug-13 11:32:54

If a procedure has to be done for medical reasons then it should be done in a hospital under anaesthetic.

if its mutilation of a baby, without medical reasons or without anaesthetic then the practitioner and the parents should be prosecuted for child abuse. that includes male/ female genital mutilation.

curlew Thu 08-Aug-13 11:33:55

The WHO has only ever said that there is a compelling case for circumcision protecting against HIV. That is the only concrete health benefit. There is a vary slight protection against penile cance- which is incredibly rare. There is some protection for women against cervical cancer. But the same protection can be given by proper hygiene- and better protection can be given by HPV vaccination.

I would not want a son of mine to rely on being circumcised to protect him from HIV or any other sexually transmitted disease.

Snatchoo Thu 08-Aug-13 11:34:52

You are correct - I don't get it.

I never will. I think it is bizarre to say the least.

And apologies, I assumed your response was to me and not to everyone.

Kungfutea Thu 08-Aug-13 11:39:19

Can you link to this report CUrlew?

TheRealFellatio Thu 08-Aug-13 11:42:03

While I can't argue with the evidence that is seems very helpful in reducing HIV and Aids, it can hardly be cited as a good reason for doing it historically, given that HIV and Aids is a very modern problem and overwhelmingly affects countries most where the majority of the population are neither neither Jew nor Muslim.

Prevention of HIV would hav been no justification at all for 99.99% of the times where this has been being routinely practiced.

5madthings Thu 08-Aug-13 11:44:17

The WHO and other medical groups have said there is not enough evidence of benefits to recommend circumcision as routine.

It has a place as a medical treatment and in some areas to help lessen the spread of HIV. My children do not have any issues with their foreskins and will be taught how to protect themselves against HIV and other STDs. It is not in their best interests, its not recommended as routine because of this.

Also it may lower chances of contracting HIV but actually raises their chances of contracting other STDs.

Medical evidence does not show enough benefits for me to choose to circumcise my sons.

curlew Thu 08-Aug-13 12:02:24

You're the one citing medical benefits, lungful- you tell me what they are!

curlew Thu 08-Aug-13 12:02:57

Sorry, kungfu- not lungful!

Lowry Thu 08-Aug-13 12:26:25

And mentioning persecution of a minority in an attempt to gain sympathy doesn't work for me

The persecution of a minority group is fact and not an attempt gain sympathy but rather to explain the need for a sense of community and a solidarity in religious/cultural/traditional values.

You will find very few Jews who would use the attrocities of the Shoah to gain any kind of sympathy.

curlew Thu 08-Aug-13 12:30:19

Not an attempt to gain sympathy.

But possibly an attempt to shut down debate? I have no idea what it's like to be part of a persecuted minority. But if I was, I hope that I would have the strength to resist peer pressure. There are many ways to show identity and allegiance to a religion/culture that so not involve needless surgery on people unable to consent.

Lowry Thu 08-Aug-13 12:34:32

This is pointless.

There is no debate here, just round and round the same tired arguments.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 08-Aug-13 12:38:42

Guess it's hard to understand if it's not your culture and you haven't been part of a minority persecuted for millenia
I thought you were an atheist?! hmm

Primafacie Thu 08-Aug-13 12:47:23

Lowry - I agree this is pointless. It reminds me of the very funny How to Be Persuasive guide. I think most if not all techniques described in the guide are illustrated on this thread.

Lowry Thu 08-Aug-13 12:54:41



Biting is a last ditch effort. You use this tactic when the other person has been given every opportunity to conform to your opinion and still refuses. It is normally best to go for an important artery or organ. The jugular vein is recommended, as it is located roughly at mouth height.

(sorely tempted wink)