85 thoughts on “Hello

  1. Wow!

    This seems to be a fairly new site?

    Finally one of landmark books on circumcision has been made available online, thus granting access to this valuable resource and groundbreaking book to readers in foreign countries where it has never been published.
    I realize just how rare any information on this issue was back then, and what a monumental effort you must have undertake to write this book, roaming through the archives, researching the literature on the subjects then available, selecting and evaluating the relevant information and formulate into easily understandable words and phrases, creating this all encompassing yet thorough and detailed analysis of circumcision almost out of scratch.
    Truly a pioneering book written by a human rights pioneer

    This book IS not “just” good, it has done and still DOES good, helping to spare countless defenseless boys from the degrading, painful, traumatizing, sexually and physically damaging penile operation euphemistically termed “circumcision”.

    Thank you

      • Thanks so much for the awesome book, Rosemary!

        As a (mostly) uncircumcised man, I finally understand my penile anatomy. Since I mostly learned about sex from Internet pornography featuring circumcised men, I didn’t even know I could expose my ridged band by retracting my foreskin!!!

        Finally learned how to actually use my penis, and also that the big pink patch on circumcised men is a scar. Holy shit.

        Thanks so much for the great book. Is it in print? I want to throw money at you.

  2. This book has a powerful human consequence. One can a sexually conservative American wife and mother, married once for life, with limited sexual experience, no training in health care, austerely respectable in all ways… and be adamantly opposed to routine infant circumcision. Ms Romberg blazed the trail.
    If there is one event in my life which made me an intactivist, it is reading this book in 1985. Over the subsequent years, I found myself most comfortable with what I call the intactivism of concerned mothers. I suspect I owe that inclination to having read Romberg’s book several times, with great excitement and with awe at the author’s humanitarian passion.
    30-35 years ago, about 90% of baby boys born in USA maternity wards were circumcised in the first few days of their lives. The rate has declined to 50-55%, Medicaid in 18 states no longer pays for RIC, and RIC has pretty gone out of fashion west of the continental divide. Further progress is difficult, however, because most of the USA east of Denver remains deeply uncomfortable with the natural penis. That part of the USA acts as if though this book had never been written. This is why its message remains so timely.

    • Myrick – I don’t know if I’m quite as prim and proper as you describe, but I greatly appreciate this wonderful feedback about my book. I’m working on updating it now (so much has happened since 1985!) and hope to get it back into print as soon as possible.

      • Hi rose i was wondering if you blame anyone for the lack of knowledge and the pain and psychological / physical damage your first 3 children suffered. The doctors? yourself? your husband? society? the medical community in general? your friends? ect.
        Great info btw its not a subject i have ever thought about before i just assumed stuff…the ignorant you when you had your first child was me before i read this book

  3. I have read extensively on male circumcision and I have to say your book is absolutely wrong and I feel religiously bias. The actuality of male cancer of the penis is so minescule as to be even less than male breast cancer. Additionally the risk of cancer would most likely coincide with the size and shape of foreskin as well as sexual encounters and occurence of HPV. I feel it is a travesty that you base your information prodominantly on opinion and distorted numbers than actuality.

  4. I will come again to read in more detail what promises a really interesting read.

    One note: I was looking for information on deaths from circumcision and i read the following: ” I have found no record of deaths from post-circumcision hemorrhage in the modern literature that I have reviewed.”

    You might have found some now. Otherwise, google Ryleigh McWillis.

  5. As a victim of a particularly gruesome circumcision your writing had a powerful impact on me.
    Have read most of your publication; was somewhat taken aback that you did not mention that modern hospital circumcisions are actually a variation of brit periah, an aggressive procedure that removes most, if not all of the inner and outer preputial tissue. A crime by any measure. Brit Milah is just the lesser of two evils. Neither are legitimate surgery, as there is no compelling.medical condition.or a defined outcome. Consent forms are vague at best and assuredly will not fully describe all associated risks. The forms are used more as a documentary hurdle rather than a vital step to ensure fully informed consent. Any mentions of prophylactic or cosmetic benfit will be conspicuous by their absence.

  6. There was one kid out of about 30 in my class in school who wasn’t circumcised and every other kid made fun of him in the locker room until he cried. No kid remembers their circumcision. Get it done, save them the embarrassment of being made fun of for the rest of their life.

    • The kid should have taunted them right back – telling the bullies that their circed peckers would remain small b/c there was no room left for them to grow into

      • That doesn’t even make sense Paul. Despite the propaganda coming out of San Francisco liberals, the vast majority of American’s find uncircumcised penis awkward and weird.

      • Wasn’t intended to make any sense – just as your comment doesn’t.
        BTW – I subscribe to the Libertarian principle of non-aggression.
        Very different from the Libertines that inhabit San Francisco.

      • I’m libertarian as well, although I’m not sure what that has to do with it.

        Circumcision benefits greatly outweigh the risks and if you don’t circumcise you are going to subject your child to years of ridicule from their peers.

      • On the contrary. Today it’s about 50% circumcision newborns, as more and more parents study the research and make informed choices. So in the locker-rooms our babies change in, they will not be “different”. They will be “average”, just like half the other kids. They will also enjoy much more sexual pleasure, and will have avoided the risks of circumcision (which by the way kills more male infants than SIDS each year in the US). But hey! If you want to cut your baby’s penis so he can point at you and say “yay I have an ugly scar like daddy on my penis!” go right ahead. I just hope he comes out without lasting trauma.
        Because, the boys who ARE traumatized by bad circumcisions aren’t out there talking about it. They’re (with the exception of a brave few) hiding their shame and embarrassment over their damaged genitals from all but their close family & their lawyer. You know there are lawyers who make their living off botched circs, right?

      • Agree that the kid should have teased them right back! My kids had no experience of teasing, and come from a family with a mixed history of intact and circumcised men.

    • I attended 2 high schools, and did all sorts of sports. I had one of the only two intact penises I ever saw. I was never made fun of, because the foreskin (unlike the absence of foreskin) is very easily concealed: just retract, and it disappears. 45 years later, I have been married 25 years, to a woman who prefers intact.

      Just Do It: what you allege does not justify altering a newborn’s penis, but does justify changing American culture so that it respects the natural penis. I have never known of an intact males being made fun of after high school. America has learned to respect Jews, AAs, Latinos and homosexuals. It can learn to respect the long sleeve on the short arm.

      “…the vast majority of American’s find uncircumcised penis awkward and weird.” How can anyone possibly know that? If one does not actually have an intact penis, how can one know that having one is awkward?? Millions of Americans, having grown up in families where all males are circumcised, never have occasion to think about What Nature Intended. Also, while the opinion in quotes may have been true in the past, who is to say that that opinion will prevail 20-25 years in the future, when a son born now begins his sex life? Fashion is fickle, you know!

  7. Seems you are convinced of the contrived benefits of circumcision. I’m not here to change your mind.
    You may be unaware that there are different styles / procedures – ranging from brit milah to brit periah.

    While I don’t have a huge argument against the former, I’m fiercely opposed to the latter.
    FYI – Virtually all “modern” hospital circumcisions are very invasive, i.e., periah style.
    Read more here: http://www.covenantcircumcision.info/milah_vs_Periah (Warning – Mature content)
    Obviously a touchy subject for both of us, so I’d rather abandon this debate.

  8. “Moses, who was raised by the Egyptians who did not circumcise infants,” – This is wrong; the Egyptians did practice circumcision. However, Moses was brought up by the daughter of Akhenaton (Amenophis IV) who had abandonned circumcision in his holy city of Aket-aton.

    • Sigismond – Your name sounds familiar. I think you and I have communicated before. Would you believe that I have just now discovered that this section of replies to my book existed? (I am not the one who originally set up the site and made it available. I have been fortunate to have much generous help from others who are far more computer savvy than I am.) I will be sure to save your comments and take them into consideration as I continue to work on updating my book. – Rosemary

      • Hi rose im shocked that anyone would do this to their babys without knowing anything about the procedure or the functions of the foreskin…i mean it just seems like pure common sense that its there for a reason (no offence). Im curious to know did your husbands opinion on circ change with yours? and how has all this affected him if at all? did he oppose you leaving your last son intact? and what are your sons opinions on it? do you think they will have their (possibly future) sons cut due to being cut themselves? after all the biggest deciding factor is apparently the fathers status according to studies and do you think their childhood affected them in adulthood at all?
        Also i have a unique perspective on your last 3 sons if you left them intact and you where still ignorant and never researched it you would have probably tried to force the foreskin back scrub it and bleach it everyday causing a lot of damage then it would have got infected then you would have ended up circumcising them anyway thinking its due to the foreskin (like that woman on page 8 you interviewed…surprised you didn’t call her out on it…did you not know yourself that the foreskin and the glands of children were connected at the time?) you would have had them cut thinking “darn foreskin infected my son i knew they should have had it done” and your 4th son would have also been cut without hesitation and you would be pro circ right now and this book would have never been made. Either way your sons would have been in pain anyway.
        So arguably in retrospective when you look at it like that its better like this. (ideally of course no one would have had to get cut for you to learn this but i know it was a different time back then)

      • Thank you Zoe for reading my book and for your comments. My children are all adults now so I don’t wish to try to speak out for them or for my husband as to their levels of interest or support for my work. It is important that I respect their privacy. As of this writing I have only granddaughters so have not yet had to face that concern with the next generation.
        As to the mother I interviewed whose son was circumcised at age 3, the interview took place very early in my research before I knew very much about the normal non-retractibility of an infant’s foreskin or the potential harm done by over vigorous retracting and washing at this age. In retrospect I wish I had been able to advise her. Fortunately her new baby was a girl. I do plan to clarify this information in future editions of my book.

      • Thank you for reading my book. I am what is called a “regret parent.” I had to learn through my mistakes and then dig up the necessary information so as to help others and get this out into the public. The circumcision question is a “dilemma” for many of us who have grown up brainwashed by cultural expectations and myths to accept circumcision but emphatically do not want our babies harmed.
        I did leave my fourth son intact after having researched and written this book.

      • Who knows how some people get pressured or bullied into agreeing to circumcision. Or they just don’t do research and find out the facts. When I wrote the original book back in the ’70’s and ’80’s I honestly thought this battle would be over before the new millennium.

      • Exactly if he/she was too lazy to take 7 seconds to google something that could affect their sons well being and life then i blame them more. (not saying the doctor doesn’t share the blame for not telling them everything though but at the end of the day its their child so its their responsibility and they had the final say on it…i hope).
        i have hope that mgm will end some day soon i mean fmg in america only got illegal in 1997 and germany temporally banned mgm in 2012 not to mention the european union recently recognizing it as a breach of the child’s rights and mutilation

      • my husband was a lot like yours trying to pressure me into cutting our son kyle due to false concerns over infections luckily i won the argument although it was a bit of a culture shock im from the uk he is from texas and im surprised that he brought it up at all when there was nothing wrong with him the thought had never even crossed my mind nor did the doctors ever mention it…when we find out we are having a boy we dont really have a “circumcision discussion” in the uk we just have them and take them home just like our girls simple…i think thats because the health service is free here so there is nothing to gain from them preforming it (although in most parts of the uk circ is not free the parents pay out of their own pockets in private clinics) but in america the doctors get paid so i think thats the reason its much more common in the us compared to other developed countrys and why they recommend it at every opportunity is for the almighty dollar and they want to keep people in the dark about the procedure so it doesn’t hurt there pockets.

  9. You mean to tell me americans are so dumb they need to be TOLD not to cut off part of their freshly born childs penis for no reason? and they need to be TOLD not to bleach the inside of the foreskin?… jeez yall treat your babys like fully customizable dolls enough “designer baby” penises

    • Yes, unfortunately, for Americans we have had to unravel and re-arranged a lot of our brain cells around genital cutting just to realize the horror and wrongness we have been facing for so many years.

      • yall intactivists are the biggest hypocrites on earth why do you write a book saying why i am evil for having it done to my only son when you did it 3 times? not only that but i had a legit reason he had an infection you and your partner did it for 100% cosmetic reasons 3 times so if by your logic people who circumcise are monsters and child abusers then you and your partner are the biggest monsters of all.
        the further i read into the book the more i see you turning into an intactivist you started neutral. and no it doesn’t reduce pleasure as far as i know….how would you even know if it did or not anyway? your husband is circed and you have never even been with an uncirced guy from what i have read so you cant know or have anything to compare it to. (that goes for the “more pleasure for the woman as well” argument too. again you cannot possibly know)

  10. I don’t know how this fits in your book but the most disturbing thing I’ve come across in my time talking with the public about our favorite topic is children being caught in marital discord. One man came to me and knew I would be one person that would understand his plight. His wife agreed and all his friends knew what he wanted for his child, the part of his body he was denied. As events unfolded he finally got shared custody of his infant boy. His ex delivered him the bundle. She arranged to meet him in a parking lot. When she arrived she motioned for him to role down his window so she could place the boy in his shotgun seat. She did not make eye contact with him and made an excuse as to why she needed to be on her way. Upon cuddling his boy and further caring found gauze and fresh surgery to his boys special organ.

    • Wow! This is so sad. So many times I have found it to be the other way around. Mom wants to protect her child but Dad insists that his son “match” him (as if dads and son have penis comparing sessions!

      • In a way, yes, this was my experience. Had I known better, had all the facts and strongly objected I’m sure I could have convinced my husband not to circumcised (even though he is Jewish.) But in the absence of any concrete information, even in my position as a childbirth educator, I decided that he shouldn’t be “different” from his brothers or his daddy. (Sob!)

  11. yeah i had my son done back in america for the same reasons you and your husband had yours done…to look like daddy (me) thought it was cleaner and i thought he wouldn’t get made fun of ect. looking back it didn’t make a lot of sense but as you say whats done is done nothing i can do now…it really made me depressed though i moved from the U.S to the uk and the kids here at his old school were horrible to him calling him “half dick” “pink dick” “mushroom dick” ect it really hurt me and him and it was all my fault (im sure this is just a very isolated incident though he has moved to a new school and no one even acknowledges it)

  12. To SilverFang – I am from what is called the “baby boomer” generation which describes the many of us who were born shortly after World War II ended. My birth year was 1947. In the U.S. almost all of the males of our generation were circumcised as infants, sometimes automatically in hospitals without even asking the parents. I guess every penis I happened to see during my growing up years looked the same. It was simply something I never thought about, even after the births of my first two sons in hospitals during the 1970’s. I guess every once in a while I’d see another mom changing her baby’s diaper and notice that the baby’s penis looked different than those of my own babies and figured out that this meant he had not been circumcised, but it was honestly something it never occurred to me to focus on until my third son was born at home in 1977. That beautiful, peaceful, perfect birth and subsequent horrific experience a week later was what woke me up and changed my life forever.

    • Josh, welcome to intactivism. I implore you to be more accepting and understanding of people and the mindsets and situations that we may have ben in. There is not a person in this world who has never made a mistake or had regrets about something. Much of the power and energy within intactivism has been fueled by regret parents like myself and Marilyn Milos, RN (who also is a mother of 3 circumcised sons.) I have been in contact with hundreds of regret parents like ourselves who now know better and work hard to educate others about the facts. We even have doctors on board who at one time cut babies but eventually heard the babies’ screams and have chosen to no longer perform this relatively simple and lucrative procedure. For most of us it has taken a lot of strength and courage to admit that our decision at one time was wrong and face that regret headlong. We are ALL “true intactivists”, some of us are the founders of intactivism so please don’t leave us out.

      • I read somewhere that intactivism has been around for hundreds of years idk if thats true though but im pretty sure even back in the 1800s there were a lot of people strongly against it like now…lol my journey to intactivism was kinda strange i really wanted to know what being circumcised felt like once someone told me what it was so i did an experiment where i loosely taped my foreskin back and went on about my day i lasted 6 min the pain/irritation was unbelievable so i googled more into it looked at it being done on youtube and bam here i am.

      • i still find it kinda hard to accept them since their poor cut sons are probably going to circumcise their own sons too due to being cut themselves so the cycle will continue….im big on animal rights too and i would find it just as hard to accept someone into the group that used to torture animals

  13. Jive – I agree, it is of utmost importance that parents and medical professionals alike must know the proper strategy of care for the intact child is simply to leave it alone. This is as essential as getting the overall facts available about the damages of circumcision itself.

  14. Vahn, your attitude of non-acceptance is a rejection of countless hard-working intactivists who at one time agreed to or participated in circumcision before realizing the truth. Some of us have been among the strongest voices that have powered the energy of intactivism. The anguish of regret can be a considerable force for good as so many of us now know. Please try to understand.

    • (Vahn / Josh here) To be honest i wouldn’t call you an intactivist per se…admittedly i have only just read the first 2-3 pages and you seem very neutral on the issue and surprisingly misinformed from what i have read…your piece about retracting for example you are not supposed to separate the skin from the glans at all at any point nor are you meant to do it “to see how far the foreskin would retract” (why would you want to know? i think thats more foreskin curiosity on your end than anything else) if it feels like im attacking you im sorry i dont mean it to come off like that but the first 3 pages really left me confused since it contradicts what “brother k” wrote (from what i hear he is kinda the granddaddy of the entire movement and the one who got it all going apparently)

      • Vahn, I don’t know what “first 2-3 pages” you’ve read. Please pinpoint the pages in which you’ve seen misinformation about retracting? And do read my book in its entirety before you decide whether or not I’m an “intactivist.” I’m considered to be one of the “grandmothers” of this movement, although my awareness and opinions definitely have evolved and changed along the way.

      • I clicked on links to your other work and you said it was okay to pull it back to see how far it would retract…(i have no clue how old that page is mind you).
        “Byron Vetrix” ill try my best to be more accepting of people that consensually had their children mutilated without a second thought but its hard…ill try though i dont want to damage the movements image

      • Was that page in my book or elsewhere? My knowledge on this has changed over the years and if I find it I’ll modify that statement.
        Intactivism is filled with regret parents and even regret doctor and other practitioners who at one time did circumcisions. We all learn and change throughout life. You’ll have to accept us the way we are despite what may have happened in the past when we didn’t know. Marilyn Milos and I are considered two of the major founders of modern day intactivism and we both happen to be mothers of 3 circumcised sons. We don’t have a time machine, so we cannot go back and change that.

      • You BOTH have 3 circumcised sons? thats crazy…thats like finding out the queen of england is actually german…i dont think i could ever forgive the doctors that turned a new leaf though just like i couldn’t forgive a child abuser for the actions he did in the past. I have more sympathy for the parents since they were probably clueless but the doctors knew that it was wrong they were there they seen what happens and they still did it they were not clueless. Hopefully my opinions will change with time once i have politely talked to some of these people in person. (Thanks for talking with me sorry if i come off as aggressive its a really emotional subject even for someone who isn’t cut)

  15. Great read good on you rosemary…never mind josh brand new intactivists once they find out what “circumcision” REALLY is tend to be overly emotional / angry (understandably / rightfully so) Even if they are intact themselves like josh. He will learn that its easier to get people to listen with honey not acid

    • Think about how we all felt after hearing about it (or the truth about it) for the first time we felt angry too for example when i first heard about it i thought that anyone who made the consenting choice to cut their child at any point was the enemy period no matter the circumstances or current actions ect. but i have learned a lot since then and became much more accepting / polite for the good of the cause as being mean doesn’t help it just serves as a deterrent for possible future intactivists / future misinformed parents.

      • I guess I just don’t get what the fuss is all about.

        I just had my 2nd son circumcised a couple weeks ago, and just like the first one, it wasn’t a big deal at all. The only time either son cried was when they immobilize their legs. I don’t know if the numbing shot really even bothered them that much. When they are that young they are so unaware of what is going on it’s just an insignificant part of their day, let alone their life.

        I totally respect a parent’s decision to do whatever they want in regards to circumcision but in ours and my friends’ experiences it’s been fast, easy and just simply not a big deal.

      • we need to teach new intactivists that people like yourself are not one of the “monsters who consented to mutilating their children” but rather regretful mothers who did what they thought was right and are so sorry about what they did that some dedicate their lives to the cause.

      • Why did I circumcise my sons?

        Well, if I’m being honest it was mostly because everyone else in our family and extended family is circumcised and I didn’t want them to feel like oddballs for being different. My husband was also very adamant after having some bad locker-room memories of the lone uncircumcised kids getting made fun of relentlessly. If everyone in our family was uncircumcised then we probably would have gone that direction. Who knows.

        I feel like the medical/factual/logical debate points from both sides kind of balance out. The medical/sanitary reasons for circumcision are important to me, but are balanced against the odds of a botched circumcision. I “shopped around” and found a lady who has done over 1,000 circumcisions without a single complication so that’s who I went with for our sons.

      • exactly you did it because its the only thing you have ever known. dont you care about what your son would feel like when he is older that you made the permanent choice for him? who knows he could even grow up to be an intactivist or you could become a regret mom who knows….regret moms are usually created when the cut adult son tells his mother his displeasure with it or if the doc botches it.

      • even the pro circ AAP had to admit they feel the pain by measuring there heart rate ect and if you google “circumstraints” you’ll see stains where the baby defecated due to the pain. the only way you can know the difference in their attitude is to leave one intact and find out…you have only known cut penises but you dont have to do anything at all to an intact penis no vaseline no special cleaning nothing

    • Frankly I’m just not that worried about that. I’m sure there are just as many “regret moms” that wish they would have circumcised their sons when they were infants. I actually have one friend who had a son and convinced herself not to circumcise him to save the money for the circumcision (they aren’t cheap you know). Now a couple years later she is pregnant with another son and completely regrets not circumcision the first son and is considering circumcision he 2nd son. What a terrible situation to be in.

      Regret is a double edged sword.

      • but the only “regret” he and you can never change is the cutting. if you left him the way he is meant to be then he could have it done later in life if HE wanted but if he grows up wanting to be intact there is nothing he can do….i have heard plenty of sons asking “why did you cut me” but none asking “why didn’t you cut me i wanted it”

      • I simply disagree on both counts.

        Infant circumcision isn’t even comparable to adult circumcision as far as pain and stress go. I watched my friend’s son get circumcised and he slept through the whole thing. It’s not nearly the scary nightmare that the internet leads you to believe it is.

        I read all of the horror stories on the internet as well and went in to my first son’s circumcision a little freaked out but a few minutes in I was thinking “THIS is what the fuss is all about?” The baby barely cares and it’s performed as routinely and zero-stress as anything could possibly be.

        Restrict the legs, snip snip, a little Vaseline for a few days on the head of the penis and you never think about it again.

        Again, I respect everyone’s bad experiences and everyone’s right to do whatever they want, but come on… no one is a bad person for circumcising their boys. A couple websites makes it sound like it’s an incomprehensible absurd evil that ruins men’s lives, when in reality it’s just simply not that big of a deal either way.

        This is the last hill I’d want to die on either way.

      • For some men it does ruin their lives 10000s as a matter of fact just look at all the men upset and angry about being forcefully cut. Babies are not immune to pain and stress they cant talk to tell you about it or complain about it but they can feel it. Babies who “sleep” during the procedure actually just shut down from the shock and pain. similar to an adult passing out if they experienced an extreme amount of pain.

      • “Babies who “sleep” during the procedure actually just shut down from the shock and pain. similar to an adult passing out if they experienced an extreme amount of pain.”

        That is pretty much typical of the internet fear-extravaganza. That is the biggest load of bull I’ve ever read. I just read that to my husband and he just rolled his eyes lol.

        There is mild discomfort from having their legs immobilized, and then again from the numbing shot. After that they don’t even feel it.

        Maybe some kids are different than others. I had one baby cry through the PKU and the other didn’t even wake up. The third just nursed straight through and didn’t seem to care at all.

        All of the myriad of pokes, prods and tests we give newborns are far more stressful on the parents than the newborns.

  16. My 55 year old husband just had to get circumcised for medical reasons. While researching adult circumcision it looks as though up to 50% of men with foreskins will have some form of complications with their foreskin at some time in their life. My husband wishes he would have just had it done as a baby because it’s way more complicated as an adult. Thankfully we had daughters or I’m afraid I wouldn’t have circumcised our sons and now regretted not circumcising them as babies.

      • If you’re trying to compare female mutilation to male circumcision (and I think you are?), that’s not being intellectually honest.

        Cutting off a woman’s clitoris equates to cutting off a man’s entire penis. If male circumcision was cutting off an man’s entire penis that would be just as vile as cutting off a woman’s clitoris. But no one is getting their penis cut off during a circumcision.

        If you want to go fight against the people who cut off a woman’s clitoris I’m right there with you buddy.

      • nope your wrong i wasn’t i said “a lot of woman with an intact vulva will have a lot of vulva related easily curable problems in there lives” i never mentioned “clitoris” and for the record people do sometimes get their penises cut off during a “circumcision”. my wife and i have both had genital infections both easily cured your point is null and void. If you want to go fight against the people who cut ANYTHING off a babys genitalia I’m right there with you.

  17. A maelstrom of thoughts run through my mind as I write.

    To begin with, I truly hope I’m wasting my time writing this.

    Parents get very protective when it comes to their children.

    If I say something to them, will they will take it personally? Will they say “Let us deal with our kid in any way we choose?”

    Anyway – On with my musings…

    Circumcision is likely one of the the most traumatic things any child will ever experience.

    I can only hope for forgiveness for what I did not know. What’s important now is the regret that inspires these scribbles.

    What is viewed as a simple, accepted practice has significant long-term consequences which we all need to understand.

    The benefits of circumcision are questionable and the risks potentially everything.

    There are many unanswerable questions and just as many questionable answers.

    Please read on…

    Notwithstanding religious or cultural issues neonatal circumcision cannot be classified as a legitimate surgery. Simply put there is no specifically pre-defined outcome of this medically unwarranted and non-therapeutic procedure other than that some or all of your baby boy’s prepuce will be removed. It is an imprecise procedure at best.

    Yet you as the guardian/consentor will have no say in the outcome.
    For those of you who might be disinclined to care about details…

    Do you know that are many types of circumcision methods? Do you want it cut tight or loose? High or low? Ablate the frenulum or leave it intact? Chances are that asking any of these these questions will be met by a blank stare. Don’t even ask about the differences between Brit Milah or Brit Periah.

    Consent forms are vague at best and assuredly will not fully describe all associated risks. The forms are used more as a documentary hurdle rather than a vital step to ensure fully informed consent. Any mention of prophylactic or cosmetic benefit will be conspicuous by its absence.

    Circumcision styles are very subjective, depending upon the preference, skill and/or experience (or lack thereof) of the practioner. The overwhelming majority of doctors, interns, residents, nurses and other healthcare providers have little or no knowledge of the anatomy of the intact penis or the function of the prepuce. Currently any number of devices are used, each with purported advantages; all with variable results. That said, the singular and inevitable outcome is significant loss of healthy, highly innervated and vascularized tissue and permanent scarring of the penis. At least one-third to as much as one-half of your son’s penile skin will be amputated.

    (As the Rabbi said, “It won’t be long now.”)

    The most frequent long-term complication of male circumcision is meatal stenosis. This commonly occurs only in circumcised boys because once the foreskin is removed, the sensitive and delicate glans penis comes in direct contact with abrasive diapers, urine and feces. Abnormal tissue growth, scarring or ulceration across the urethral opening are not unusual. Meatal stenosis may also be caused by ischemia resulting from damage to the frenular artery during circumcision The problem is usually not detected until your son is toilet trained or later. Never mentioned are the iatrogenic issues of excess skin removal, penoscrotal webbing, preputial adhesions, skin tags, skin bridges and scarring – all directly attributable to circumcision.

    The complications of circumcision (by some estimates as high as 10%) range from disfigurement to death and are usually ignored in favour of the contrived benefits – of which there have been many. The circumcision wound is an open portal to hospital-acquired infections. MRSA and Acinetobacter infections come to mind. Virtually all complications go unreported, as most do not become evident until years afterward. A recent Canadian study found that for every adverse event that is reported, 20 to 25 others are not.

    In my opinion any reason for circumcision is highly questionable, i.e., a solution looking for a problem. The “Pro” advocates’ dialectic ranges from a predominantly middle-class social/cultural/religious status marker (a tattoo, if you will, in my opinion) to “it’s cleaner”, to allegedly preventing UTIs and STDs of all sorts. Medicalization claims during the last century included prevention of precocious sexuality, masturbation, cancer, acne, mental debility, crossed eyes, heart disease, blindness/diminished vision, epilepsy, spinal paralysis, bedwetting, clubfoot, elephantitis, spinal curvature and tuberculosis. All have since been soundly debunked.

    Truth be known it’s all about intolerance protecting dogma, dismissing skepticism and of course, money.

    So think carefully about circumcision, and be aware that if your doctor is advocating it as a routine procedure, he or she is swimming very much against a strong tide of enlightened medical opinion.

    I implore parents to not mindlessly, routinely circumcise their sons. Reserve the procedure for valid medical reasons (circumcision under such circumstances having always been allowed by the Church). Study this issue and learn about the medical, psychological and sexual ramifications of this highly invasive and painful procedure. Dispel the malicious myths about “hygiene” and “aesthetics.”

    We should try to remember the words of the late P. J. Bailey (in Festus: A Country Town): “Where doubt, there truth is – ’tis her shadow.”

    “Tradition will accustom people to any atrocity.” George Bernard Shaw.

    Further reading:

    The Ethical Canary, Margaret A. Somerville
    Marked in Your Flesh, Leonard B. Glick

    • Paul, thank you for the concise post. To my knowledge, nobody has documented the various methods of circumcision technique. It is one of the elephants in the living room. Surgical technique is extremely variable with circumcision. That the practice continues at all is a badge of shame on the AMA and all who perform it. I hope someone documents the many techniques. Once done, I predict we will see a rapid reduction of the number of practitioners willing to perform it. We know the deaths are under-reported. It should come as no surprise that complications are also under-reported.

      People who defend circumcision might not be aware that all mammals have foreskins. Take your dog to the vet and ask for a circumcision, and you’d be reported for attempted cruelty. Our bodies are born exactly as they are meant to be, a masterpiece of design. Why harm it, or change it — especially at birth? The only person who should be giving consent for circumcision is the owner of the penis, upon reaching adulthood.

  18. Wow… I have protested with Rosemary. She is ABSOLUTELY an intactivist. A good one too…She is an amazing woman and regret mother who has helped me through my initial findings. Maybe he should read on before he opens his mouth. To speak on few pages…. was a bit premature. Keep reading bud. You spoke too soon.

  19. Hi rosemary i apologize for my other comment that you’ll unfortunately find up there somewhere i have learned a lot since then from reading the entire book and from other sources. guess i was just feeling guilty about mutilating my son too…what makes it “worse” is im not even cut myself i just genuinely and blindly thought it would make him safer like a lot of regret parents….do you think genital mutilation has an effect on the bonding processes? The one son you left intact you seem to have the strongest bond with

  20. American Hero – are you the same Vahn that posted earlier? It sounds like you are growing and progressing in your knowledge of the spurious motivations behind circumcision and becoming more familiar with what goes on within intactivism.
    As to bonding, there are many factors here, but infant circumcision can cause difficulty in bonding not unlike the way a mother animal with an injured or defective baby may kick it out of the nest. More plausibly, the trauma of circumcision can create a more cranky, fussy baby that is difficult to soothe or care for. As for me, I totally love all of my children and successfully nursed each of them. It is true though that my fourth son and I have a special bond in that his birth helped heal me in multiple ways. He is the only son that I left intact and he was the baby that I carried to term and birthed naturally after having lost two others, both at 19 weeks gestation, during the two previous years. He was what is now called a “rainbow’ baby.

    • No i posted here a long time ago you can probably find my comment in the middle of the page somewhere…im just afraid that he will hate me for it…did any of your 3 hate you for it at any point or was it fine? also how did you talk to your 3 about it and at what age do you recommend me to talk to my son about it?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s