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Submitted on
September 17, 2012


23 (who?)

Original article by Lillian Dell'Aquila Cannon and Darcia Narvaez. I'm sharing what was posted via Psychology Today. This was not written by 8manderz8

When I was pregnant with my first child, I just thought that circumcision was what you did, no big deal, and that every man was circumcised.  Then one day I saw a picture of a baby being circumcised, and everything changed.  Just one tiny, grainy photo was enough to make me want to know more, and the more I knew, the worse it got.  It turns out, circumcision really is a big deal.

Part 1 - Circumcision Surgery Myths

Myth 1: They just cut off a flap of skin.  

Reality check: Not true. The foreskin is half of the penis's skin, not just a flap.  In an adult man, the foreskin is 15 square inches of skin.  In babies and children, the foreskin is adhered to the head of the penis with the same type of tissue that adheres fingernails to their nail beds.  Removing it requires shoving a blunt probe between the foreskin and the head of the penis and then cutting down and around the whole penis. Check out these photos:…

Myth 2: It doesn't hurt the baby.

Reality check: Wrong. In 1997, doctors in Canada did a study to see what type of anesthesia was most effective in relieving the pain of circumcision.  As with any study, they needed a control group that received no anesthesia.  The doctors quickly realized that the babies who were not anesthetized were in so much pain that it would be unethical to continue with the study.  Even the best commonly available method of pain relief studied, the dorsal penile nerve block, did not block all the babies' pain.  Some of the babies in the study were in such pain that they began choking and one even had a seizure  (Lander 1997).

Myth 3: My doctor uses anesthesia.

Reality check: Not necessarily. Most newborns do not receive adequate anesthesia.  Only 45% of doctors who do circumcisions use any anesthesia at all.  Obstetricians perform 70% of circumcisions and are least likely to use anesthesia - only 25% do.  The most common reasons why they don't?  They didn't think the procedure warranted it, and it takes too long  (Stang 1998).  A circumcision with adequate anesthesia takes a half-hour - if they brought your baby back sooner, he was in severe pain during the surgery.

Myth 4: Even if it is painful, the baby won't remember it.

Reality check: The body is a historical repository and remembers everything. The pain of circumcision causes a rewiring of the baby's brain so that he is more sensitive to pain later  (Taddio 1997, Anand 2000).  Circumcision also can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anger, low self-esteem and problems with intimacy  (Boyle 2002, Hammond 1999, Goldman 1999).  Even with a lack of explicit memory and the inability to protest -  does that make it right to inflict pain? Law requires anesthesia for animal experimentation - do babies deserve any less?

Myth 5: My baby slept right through it.

Reality check: Not possible without total anesthesia, which is not available. Even the dorsal penile nerve block leaves the underside of the penis receptive to pain. Babies go into shock, which though it looks like a quiet state, is actually the body's reaction to profound pain and distress.  Nurses often tell the parents "He slept right through it" so as not to upset them. Who would want to hear that his or her baby was screaming in agony?

Myth 6: It doesn't cause the baby long-term harm.

Reality check: Incorrect. Removal of healthy tissue from a non-consenting patient is, in itself, harm (more on this point later).  Circumcision has an array of risks and side effects.  There is a 1-3% complication rate during the newborn period alone (Schwartz 1990).  Here is a short list potential complications.

:bulletblack:Meatal Stenosis: Many circumcised boys and men suffer from meatal stenosis.  This is a narrowing of the urethra which can interfere with urination and require surgery to fix.

:bulletblack:Adhesions. Circumcised babies can suffer from adhesions, where the foreskin remnants try to heal to the head of the penis in an area they are not supposed to grow on.  Doctors treat these by ripping them open with no anesthesia.

:bulletblack:Buried penis. Circumcision can lead to trapped or buried penis - too much skin is removed, and so the penis is forced inside the body.  This can lead to problems in adulthood when the man does not have enough skin to have a comfortable erection.  Some men even have their skin split open when they have an erection.  There are even more sexual consequences, which we will address in a future post.

:bulletblack:Infection. The circumcision wound can become infected.  This is especially dangerous now with the prevalence of hospital-acquired multi-drug resistant bacteria.

:bulletblack:Death. Babies can even die of circumcision.  Over 100 newborns die each year in the USA, mostly from loss of blood and infection  (Van Howe 1997 & 2004, Bollinger 2010).

Isn't it time to think more carefully about whether we should be circumcising our boys?

Part 2: Hygiene and STDS

Part 3: Social, Sexual, Psychological Realities

Part 4: Circumcision Ethics and Economics

Part 5: What is the greatest danger for an Uncircumcised Boy?

Part 6: Why Continue to Harm Boys from Ignorance of Male Anatomy?

  • Mood: Disbelief
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fallencruxisangel Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I wish people knew this :( My boyfriend is circumcised and just isn't as sensitive as he'd like during sexual events. He feels like it's his fault he doesn't get turned on enough and feels bad because he worries I'll think it's my fault :( He has said many times he's not sensitive and it takes alot to get him off. I'm glad you're sharing the truth :) Maybe it will help some men in the future so they don't have to feel that way ever :)
8manderz8 Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm sorry for the late response. Thank you for sharing you and your boyfriend's story - it's rough enough that people think it's acceptable to violate a person's bodily rights when they're unable to fight back, but when people pile on saying that nobody cares about being circumcised, that no men really care about this sort of thing, it's always good for men and those who love them who actually DO care to speak out and share the truth!
fallencruxisangel Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
:) I'm just glad there are people out there who can make a difference where I cannot. Thank you for that!
yellowshinygoldfish Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012
I was arguing with a pro-circumcision person and he agrees with circumcision just because the sites he quotes have references, he doesn't even read opposing views and hangs on to circumcision religiously like a christian gambles all his/her hopes on the Bible but the difference is that after-death believes are personal while circumcision is something the baby has to go through by brutal force.
8manderz8 Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That sounds frustrating :( It's hard to try and keep an open mind about your opponent when they're trying their hardest to keep their own mind firmly shut.
yellowshinygoldfish Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2012
It felt like talking to a wall.
fivedollarponies Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012
I honestly never saw the logic behind circumcising a baby to make them more 'clean'. I mean, like, even if foreskin was inherently dirty, surely it's better than sticking an open wound in a diaper? :o
8manderz8 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ergh yeah, haha. That's the last thing anyone would think to do, wouldn't you think? Yikes
AnnikaLynn Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I saw a documentary about how this poor boy's penis got severed off during his circumcision and his parents decided to go along with some crazy doctor's idea of passing him off as a girl. He ended up with some serious gender identification issues and eventually found out what happened and starting living as a man. This doctor also decided to study him and I believe he molested him as his sibling. The saddest part is that he killed himself as a result of all the pain it caused him during his life. :saddummy: This isn't the doc I saw on it, but here ya go. [link]
8manderz8 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Mm yeah, I've heard of that story. So sad and an unnecessary death. :(
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