To Snip or Not to Snip?



Male circumcision is a divisive issue. Only a couple of generations ago, circumsion in male babies was a relatively common procedure and the risk factors were generally considered to be minimal. As time has progressed and society has evolved, more and more doctors refuse to circumcise babies, and more and more parents view circumcision as totally unnatural and unnecessary. There are religions that require circumcision, but in western culture this procedure has become less commonplace and more frowned upon as some feel it is a form of genital mutilation.

“Why mess with nature”? That’s the argument I hear. I don’t have kids and I don’t have a particularly strong stance on this subject. I do have experience nursing people that were either incapable of looking after themselves, or were genuinely unaware of how to maintain hygiene in their nether-regions. I often wondered if it was a matter of ignorance or laziness that led to some of the poor genital hygiene I have witnessed in males who were responsible for taking care of themselves before being admitted to hospital (not all of these men were ‘old’ or senior citizens.)

Like breast-feeding, I think circumcision is a personal choice for parents to make. I don’t feel they have to justify themselves. I would put forward these two thoughts though.

  1. If you are going to have your son circumcised, do it sooner rather than later. The incision heals quickly in infants, whereas the risk of infection increases the older the child is.
  2. If you aren’t getting your son circumcised, don’t be afraid to show them how to clean themselves thoroughly. Use the proper terminology: ‘foreskin’ is not a dirty word.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m not a parent. But I’m regularly dismayed at how critical parents can be of other parents. Can people agree to make decisions they deem best for THEIR family, without projecting these opinions onto others? Isn’t parenting supposed to be difficult enough without supportive communities? Sometimes people need to agree to disagree. Some will choose to bottle-feed. Some will choose cloth nappies over disposable. And some will pursue circumcision for their child. Is it really the business of others to get on a soapbox and tear new parents apart?

What is your stance on circumcision? Has it ever been raised in a critical way?


  • Tamsin Howse

    I think I’m pro, but I’m really not 100% on that. I have heard horror stories of the hygiene difficulties that can come from not cleaning properly, but do I feel it’s cruel mutilation, I’m not sure. Do people who don’t have their foreskin miss it? I’ve never heard that sentiment expressed by any man I’ve known, but I’m sure it’s out there. I don’t know… The Viking can deal with that one if we ever have a son. He’s the one who has the necessary equipment to judge.

  • 26 Years & Counting

    I don’t have either a penis or kids, with no plans for either, so this probably isn’t an issue I’ll come across.
    But I do think that on a logical basis, if you are going to be against genital mutilation, then male circumcision should be included in things you’re against. Just because we’re more “comfortable” with male circumcision than female doesn’t make it not a form of genital mutilation. Just because it has been done for so long that it may be a norm doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t change.
    My only caveat to this is if there is an identified medical need, discussed between the appropriate combination of medical professionals, patient and/or parents depending on age.

  • Mazi Grey

    I would disagree with that. Female genital mutilation leads to a loss of pleasure during sex and has severe medical consequences, Male Circumcision doesn’t.
    Male circumcision also has a lot of health benefits, Rotary is funding circumcision in many developing nations to fight the spread of V.D.

    • FHB

      This is patently wrong.

      The removal of the foreskin leads to significant desensitization during sex. Also, it depends on if you’re comparing like for like for like mutilation, whereby male penile subincision and superincision could be considered significantly more brutal.

      The fact is, circumcision for female labial removal would not be acceptable if it were done for preventative reasons, so why should it not be considered sexist and raise the same ire amongst the public?

      I think I know why.

  • An Idle Dad

    The idea that guys don’t know how to clean their dicks is pretty far fetched. There’s not a man in the world who doesn’t play with it daily – that alone would most likely clean the sucker. I’d like to see actual data around this so-called hygiene issue.