There are two reasons a parent chooses to circumcise their child. One is cosmetic, the other is religious. Yesterday I posted about the religious reasons. Today I will address the cosmetic reasons.
Circumcision was first introduced in the Old Testament. As a token of the covenant between Abraham and God. There was no medical reason. It was spiritual.
In today's society its commonly seen as a hygienic procedure. While at times, circumcision may have helped a small portion of the population with hygiene, there is no real basis to this. Circumcised or not, male or female, you have to be sanitary and clean.
I hear many different reasons justifying the decision to circumcise. For me, I cannot justify any reason to sexually mutilate a new born baby. But that's just me. When I hold my newborn the last thing I want to do is cause unnecessary pain by removing part of his delicate body.
The most difficult explanation for me is that a baby feels no pain. What a truly ignorant thing to say. If I came over and bit your child's finger, they'd feel it. And you would probably hit me. There are about 100 touch receptors in your fingertip. The foreskin contains over 20,000 nerve endings. Many moms report their son never even cried. Maybe they were in shock, maybe they didn't respond by screaming. How ever they respond doesn't make it any less horrific. I have seen enough videos and heard stories of babies who were screaming or went into shock.
Many parents want their child to look "normal". First only 25% of the worlds population is circumcised. So "normal" would be in intact foreskin. They want their child to look like dad. Well dad is a fully developed adult male. Dad's penis looks alot different than Jr's, no matter how you look at it. Along these lines, are you going to match all your child body parts to mimic Dad's? Will you surgically alter his ears to match his fathers? Will you send him in for a nose job? How about body and facial hair? How do you explain that to Jr? Intact or not, no two penis' look alike. When a child is of age to even notice, a simple explanation is all that is needed. Its not a big deal.
Another argument is sanitation. When a male is born his glans is closed shut. This protects him from the "dirty diapers". It starts to loosen about the age of two. Coincidentally(?) this is about the age a child begins to potty train. All children should be taught proper hygiene. The biggest medical reason seems to be UTI's. There is a decreased risk of UTI's in a circumcised male. Most studies show its about a 1% decrease. 1%. However, infections from circumcision make the rate of infection higher in circumcised males. The other concern when it comes to circumcising infants is that this is a medical procedure with risks. Taking your newborn home with foreskin intact has a 0% rate of incidence. Circumcising offers a procedural risk of about 5% or more. This includes death.
As males grow into adulthood other issues involving circumcision surface. The most common one, meaning the most notable, is the reduction in risk of STD's. I can think of much safer, more effective ways of preventing STD's. Consider this. Would the matter of circumcision be the only factor in how one contracts a STD? If you took 100 intact makes and 100 circumcised males, all STD free, and had them have intercourse with infected women, that would be a fairer assessment of the reduction of contracting STD's. HOWEVER this particular kind of study is not performed. There is just not enough evidence to use as a base for routine circumcisions.
We also have another issue circumcised adult males face. There is aesthetic/physical damage. Have you ever drawn a straight line on a balloon then blown it up? There is no way to know how newborn male penis will look in 20 years. Therefore its quite difficult to make a "perfect" cut on a foreskin. Many men are left with scarring, skin tags, sometimes too much skin is removed, sometimes too little. Men are physically and emotionally harmed by these. Circumcised males are also more likely to have sexual dysfunctions like impotence, premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. These issues are hardly worth the unproven benefits some claim circumcision has.
My last point here is on consent. Physically altering a persons body for cosmetic purposes without their consent is one of the biggest infringements of personal rights. Especially one so delicate as the genitals. If an adult male chooses to be circumcised that is his choice. Most of us in the western world agree that female circumcision is sexual mutilation. Why can"t we give our sons that same genital integrity?