Circumcision: Why your feelings don’t matter

By Jennifer Moose © 2013

Long after the days of newborn care have passed and your son is a man, living his own life, loving his own lovers and contemplating his own upbringing, he will still have the penis you may or may not have chosen to have circumcised.

If you DID have him circumcised as an infant/child and he has the luck of turning out 'fine,' it is very likely that he will still experience problems from his circumcision without ever knowing that they are caused by you having made that choice about his body. Some of the long-term complications associated with circumcision include: erectile dysfunction, desensitization/keratinization, premature ejaculation, painful intercourse due to the immobility of the skin on the penis and/or hair on the penile shaft, tight erections and the list goes on.

If he’s lucky enough to discover foreskin restoration, he may be able to bring back some of what was taken from him as a baby, but he will never have the complete function he was born with and he may be well into his 40s or 50s before he discovers that being kept intact could have spared him from many years of suffering.

If you thought you were doing him a favor to shelter him from something inane and subjective like social discomfort, or even made what you felt was an 'educated decision' based on risks/benefits, those were YOUR feelings, YOUR fears, and YOUR misconceptions driving the decision. They are not his reality.

How will HE feel if he discovers that your feelings about his penis caused the problems he is having?

How will HE feel if he knows that you could have kept him intact and let him decide whether or not having full genitals was right for him?

Why are your feelings more important than HIS reality?  The answer is: They are not.

If your son remains intact, there is good news: he can still choose any form of genital modification (including circumcision) for himself if he wishes. By waiting until he is a consenting adult, he will have less damage, better pain control options, and will understand what is happening to his body. He will be able to communicate his needs, and take care of his wound and quite importantly, take ownership of any bad or undesirable outcomes, should they occur.

Circumcision is a gamble with your son’s penis, your son’s life and your relationship with your son.

Equal weight cannot be given to the benefits argument and his human right to bodily autonomy. If you want to model respect and autonomy for your child, start now and keep him intact. Stand up for his rights when others may flounder. Protect his body -- his one sole possession -- and preserve it for him until he can assume control over it when he is able. That is your charge as a parent and why your feelings truly don’t matter.

Related Reading: 

The Ethics of Infant Male Circumcision by Brian Earp:

Circumcision Ethics and Economics, Psychology Today: 

Circumcision vs. Intact Outcome Statistics:

Foreskin Restoration Resources:

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