Should Circumcision Be Mandatory?

Julie Ryan Evans wants to know is cirsumcision should be mandatory or not?
1 / 2

Should Circumcision Be Mandatory?

Possible CDC recommendation in favor of circumcision fuels flames in an always heated parenting debate.

-Julie Ryan Evans

mother and son

Wanna stir up some heated debate in a room full of mothers? Just mention the word “circumcision,” then stand back and watch the room sizzle. Issues involving religion, sexuality, mutilation, torture – all pack this debate with a polarizing punch.

Now adding even more fuel to the flames is news that the CDC may issue recommendations that all infant boys be circumcised to help prevent the spread of HIV. The potential move – expected to be announced by the end of the year – is based on evidence in Africa that circumcision can lower the rate of HIV by as much as 50 percent in heterosexual males.

“What we’ve heard from our consultants is that there would be a benefit for infants from infant circumcision, and that the benefits outweigh the risks,” Dr. Peter Kilmarx, chief epidemiologist for the CDC HIV/AIDS Division, told the New York Times.

There’s lots of debate over the studies being considered by the CDC, how high the prevention rates are and more. But if there is evidence that circumcision could in some way – no matter how small – prevent your son from getting HIV someday, why wouldn’t you do it?

Plenty of moms will give you plenty of reasons why not.

Among them is Melissa Barger Baern, mother of twin boys, who takes great issue with the potential guidelines. “I simply do not understand the American attachment to circumcision, which the CDC seems to have fallen into,” she says. “I am not a particularly crunchy-granola kind of mom. I’m pretty strongly pro-western medicine, generally. But the idea that human boys are born with a body part that must be immediately removed is nonsensical.”

Even if it could prevent HIV? “I’m confident that my two intact boys can learn to avoid HIV by behavioral practices,” Baern answers.

follow BettyConfidential on... Pinterest

Read More About...

21 thoughts on “Should Circumcision Be Mandatory?

  1. Like you Julie, I never gave it much thought either. My boys are circumsized because their father is, and personally, I think uncircumsized penises look yuck. I know that’ll make a lot of moms mad that I said that, but that’s my opinion. Plus, I’ve never been personally around an intact penis, so it seems foreign to me. I know, I know, start throwing the tomatoes, but this is a place to share our opinions, right? What does everyone else think? I would like to know the current numbers of percentage of boys who are circumsized to those not.

  2. I don’t have kids but I think when I have them I would leave them uncircumcised. My bf is cut but I actually like an uncut penis and don’t really see the point of putting them through that for nothing. I agree with those that say education for your kids are key. I’m curious to see what my bf says about it!

  3. blondeelicious: In my honest opinion, as a mother of 2 boys who ARE circumsized, I don’t believe they’re being “put through” anything.
    My oldest had it done in the pediatricians office when he was just a couple of weeks old. A child that small is going to cry, of course, but they also cry when they get shots. Should we stop giving babies shots because we might be putting them through pain? They’re also not going to remember it. Just the same as they don’t remember the prick of the needle during their first vaccinations. It’s not as if we are taking our 5, 6, 10 year old sons and having them cut. It’s a highly routine, safe, quick procedure. Only takes a few minutes and it’s over.
    Personally I would have never considered leaving them intact. Like Manicmommy, I’ve never even seen an intact penis. It wasn’t something I put thought in. And if I had it to do over, I’d do the same thing. I don’t care what the crunchy mom’s think. They don’t like my opinion, I don’t like theirs, but everyone is entitled to their own thoughts.

  4. During birthing classes, we had a guest speaker, an ob-gyn. One of the women brought up circumcision. He asked if we all had running water in our homes. We all of course answered yes. He then said that if we could teach our boys to wipe their butts, we could teach them to keep their penises clean. The reason the procedure started at all was that men without access to clean water had problems…can you imagine living in the desert and getting sand under there? Ouch.

    When my son was born, he was the only boy child out of 5 that didn’t cry almost constantly the first 12 hours. I asked the nurse why mine wasn’t crying like the others. She said plainly, “It’s because you didn’t have your son circumsized.”

    My husband was cut. He always resented his parents for making that decision for him. We in America are conditioned to the look of circumsized penises. It’s simply not normal. I know those parents that have already made this decision for their boys, will keep arguing their points, but maybe future parents can think about this and learn a bit more before deciding on this permanent disfigurement.

    For more information,

    I don’t work for them, just sharing info.

  5. Well…as a woman I have always found that I, along with most of my friends, very much prefer circumsized men. I think it saves men potential embarassment to just have it done.

  6. Potential embarrassment? Because his parents didn’t have a doctor lop off a natural, normal part of his penis (a highly sensitive part too I might add) without his permission? I’m also used to circumsized penises. What the heck else is there in America? I’ve had one uncut lover and he was from Germany. I survived the “trauma”. Your preference should have nothing to do with it. There are places in the world where the men prefer their women to have clitorectomies and worse. While obviously female genital mutilation is much more extreme, circumcision is still removing a perfectly fine part of an infant’s body for no real reason, especially in countries with sanitary conditions and access to information about STDs.

  7. Men and boys are soooo conscious of their penis! I don’t think most women understand the psychological aspect of a kid being uncircumcized in this culture.
    Imagine some poor young guy getting the “OMG” treatment from his young lady!
    If the CDC also recommends it, I don’t think I’d hold out just because I think it’s more natural. Who’s gonna have to live with it…the ‘naturalist’ Mom, or the baby boy, anyway?

  8. European view here….WOW i cannot believe this is so common in the states!! Circumcision just simply does NOT happen here unless there is a medical reason (foreskin too tight, et cetera). And when it is done, its done when the child is old enough to handle anesthesia, making this no more painful than any other necessary surgery. And SOMEONE COMPARING THIS TO GETTING A SHOT!!!! Have you ever gotten a shot? No more painful than pinching your underarm LIGHTLY, pinching it hard is much more painful…and with the shot, the pain is gone in 20-30 seconds. Now, try slicing the skin on your underarm OFF. Yeah, that’s the same…

    This is a cruel unnecessary procedure and all the “benefits” can be achieved through much more modern and dependable means.

  9. My son will “live with it”, yes. And I’m not some crunchy naturalist mom.
    He is fine. The other boys have seen it, he’s not embarrassed, it’s no big deal to anyone. His big brother (24 and engaged) has no had no problems. No one has PSYCHOLOGICAL problems for gawds sake, except obviously some of you women! Eeek! A penis as it was meant to be! I run frightened from the room! Feel bad potential lover, feel baaaaaaaaaad!

    The CDC is recommending this based on an African study, where sanitary conditions are poor and little information is given as to how to prevent Aids/Stds. Thank the Bush Admin for some of that, with their abstinance only programs rather that helping with condoms and information.

    Frankly, it’s a barbaric practice, based on real reasons (sanitation in the old days) that got turned into a religious thing thousands of years ago and is no longer a valid reason to damage your baby boys.

    Psychological aspect….Geez.

  10. As an American mother of a 7 year old boy who has lived in Europe (Currently we’re in England), I have to say that Americans seem to think that everyone circumcises. NOT SO. As the other poster said, in Europe, pretty much NO ONE circumcises unless for religious practices or severe health issue. We didn’t circumcise our son – mainly because I see no point in it – But I think that circumcising your son because you as a mother think it looks “icky” when “uncut” is utterly ridiculous. To make a major decision based on what YOU visually prefer on men seems really immature and silly. Not to mention that in most parts of the world, men are not circumcised, so American men are the minority in looking “non-icky” (circumcised). To circumcise your son on the chance that a future lover might laugh or think an uncut penis is gross is ridiculous – That’s like giving a flat-chested daughter breast implants so that men won’t laugh at her flat chest in bed. We should teach our kids to love themselves and their bodies the way they are.

  11. When and if I have a son, he will be circumcised. Manly it's because I am Jewish and it is our tradition. To the comments that the baby feels the cut, he doesn't the nerve endings do not grow until the baby is at least a month old. Before then he cries because of all the hoopla and excitement around him. If you've ever been to a bris, it's loud and full of cheer and prayer. I sat with my best friend as her son got his circumcision done and when he came back no crying. Sure both of my nephews were sore for a day or so but after day 3 they were fine.

  12. There is a huge bullet point that many of you are missing. Judaism. In the time of Moses, boys were circumcised to prevent disease, just like the CDC is trying to do right now.

    My fiance and I have had this discussion many times. He likes the fact that he is circumcised because of the connection he has with his Jewish heritage. He is still unsure if he would do the same for his son, because now, there really isn’t the health risk in places that have easy access to running water, and the education in place to keep that part of the body clean. But an uncircumcised Jewish boy might loose a connection with his religious tradition. We are still looking for a solution.

    As for being teased in the future, most sex-ed classes talk about the differences between circumcised and uncircumcised penises. Just like most show a picture of different vaginas (and girls, your vagina looks different from some one elses, imagine being teased about that!) But since sex-ed isn’t even taught in some schools, we as parents or perspective parents, must teach our children about all the idiosyncrasies of sex, and hope our children are more open minded then we are.

    I believe that circumcision should be a choice, and not mandated, but there are situations beyond our control. Moses made circumcision a mandate for the Jews in order to prevent disease, and that is what the CDC is trying to do. In the States, in Western Europe, and places where hygiene standards are different than that of the desert, there is no need for required circumcision. But in a place where lives could be saved if this was done, and there have been studies showing that circumcision helps, then why not save lives by cutting off a little piece of skin.

  13. I have been a nursery nurse for 22 years. I work in newborn nursery and nicu.I have assisted with hundreds of circumcisions. I don’t think it should be mandatory. but I think it should be a choice. I have 4 sons and I had them all done. I personally think it is the best thing. Where we work the Dr. deadens it and the babies don’t even cry during the procedure.When my oldest son was about 10 he came home from school and thanked me for having it done. He saw someone at school that wasn’t done and thought it looked gross. About 90% of the parents do it. And the other percent have it done in a ceremony after they get home or are from another country.

  14. My husband is not circumcised and actually he is the only guy I had been with that was not and I was not grossed out or embarrassed by this. For me it really helped me to understand human development better. Men’s foreskin is the female equivilent of the hood of skin that women have over their clitoris. Obviously because of hormones men develop a penis and women a clitoris. Women, think about how you would feel had your parents decided to cut off the skin that protects your most sensitive part full of thousands of nerve endings. Circumscised men lose sensitivity because of having their penis constantly exposed in comparison to men who are not circumcised. I can tell you that from personal experience. Teaching our boys to clean themselves properly is not difficult, it just takes time. Not cleaning any part of your body properly will raise the rate of infection for said body part. Clean it, don’t cut it off!

  15. Neither of my boys, who are cut, cried for any longer then 10 minutes. They were brought back to me and i held them and they were fine. They cried no more then my girls. I fail to see, how the foreskin would aide or prevent the spread of HIV anymore then say, getting your tubes tied would.

  16. Should Circumcision be Allowed?

    Circumcision is male genital mutilation.


    All the same arguments are used by proponents of female genital mutilation: religion, culture, health, cleanliness, etc.

    Can you see your hypocrisy?

    Can you see that your/our cultural bias is exactly the same as that of supporters of female “circumcision”.

    Why are you not horrified, as you no doubt are when the gender is switched?

  17. After reading all these comments I couldn’t help adding one of my own. Not one of the comments mentions the mans veiw. My husband and son were not circumcised. It was a act of congress to keep my son’s penis intact while at the hospital. They kept bringing me forms to sign and I kept refusing. My son penis remained as designed as well as my grandson’s. The skin is there to protect the penis and to keep it from losing it’s sensitivty. Sex is much more enjoyable for a man once he learn some control of the sensitivty as well as for his partner. You ladies who have never been with an uncircumsised man have no idea what you have been missing.

  18. The CDC never recommended the routine mutilation of baby boys, and never will. A pesky little thing called “logic” killed that idea. Sorry, Julie. You sexually abused your little boy, and sure, it will be a while before he understands that. It took me a while too. But once I understood how I had been mutilated, it changed my opinion of the woman who raised me. Whether he tells you or not, your son will feel the same way. Congratulations on being a child sex abuser.

  19. I never realized what a sensitive subject this has become, but we all have our own opinions and reasons for having our sons circumcised or not circumcised. I personally believe in circumcision, but I do respect the opinions of people who are anti-circumcision, but for me, I think the pros outweigh the cons. Circumcision has become an American custom. It looks so much better and is so much cleaner and healthier to have a boy circumcised. It is very foreign to me to see an uncircumcised penis, and unaesthetically pleasing. My father was an uncircumcised man from Italy, and the first thing he told my mother when my brother was born was to make sure he gets circumcised because he himself was not happy with being uncircumcised, but that is not uncommon when living in America when the majority of males are circumcised. If I lived in Europe where the majority of males are not circumcised, I would probably feel more comfortable with it- “When in Rome.” My fiance is an American born male, and he himself doesn’t understand what all the controversy is about and is perfectly happy being circumcised. He also thinks that if his parents would have not had him circumcised at birth and he had to grow into adulthood being uncircumcised he would have had a real issue with it. His father wasn’t circumcised either and was American born, but made sure all three of his sons were circumcised as infants. Last but not least, as an American woman, I find it repulsive at the thought of being with a man that isn’t circumcised because that is not the majority in this country, and I would never want my son to grow up feeling self-conscious with women or his peers because of a decision I made. Personally when I see a good looking celebrity and it comes out that he is not circumcised, I find it to be a major turn off…….

Leave a Reply

top of page jump to top