The question many parents ask themselves when they realize they’re having a baby boy: to cut, or not to cut, that is the question. [Well â€“ maybe they don't ask it in Shakespeare-dialect, but you get the picture.]
Yet findings from a recent study may help in swaying some decisions.
I recently read an article that was drawing a parallel between circumcision and a lower incidence of penile cancer. Research from the University of Sydney in Australia claims that penile cancer is higher in countries in which circumcision isn’t regularly practiced; and this could be due to the tightness of the foreskin, making it difficult to clean, thus resulting in inflammation (a common cause of penile cancer).
According to the piece, another factor attributed to the link between cancer and uncircumcised men is the prevalence of HPV (which has been linked to about half of the uncommonly diagnosed penile cancer). Apparently men who are uncircumcised have a better chance of contracting HPV because the foreskin provides a warm, moist environment allowing infection to occur.
Yet despite what the recent study states, there are clearly both pros and cons of circumcision.
Much of the content I’ve read through (pertaining to uncircumcised penises) suggests that many people – at least in some countries, like the US – are turned off by the “un-cleanliness” of the foreskin. Yet deeming foreskin unclean seems a bit subjective, considering personal hygiene all depends on the individual. Just because a man has a foreskin doesn’t mean he’ll be any less motivated to clean his prized possession than a circumcised man. And some people find foreskin highly sexy.
Whenever the topic of circumcision comes up, it makes me think back to a gender studies course I took during my undergrad – where we spent a significant portion of the semester discussing genital mutilation (for both males and females). Clearly many people within the states do not look at circumcision as mutilation; but we read a ton of PDFs explaining both the pros and cons of circumcising baby boys â€“ and many of the articles took the anti-snipping stance.
Interestingly enough, prior to taking these courses â€“ I had no idea that circumcision was tied so deeply to history.
Not only is the act intertwined throughout numerous religions â€“ it was also highly practiced in the Victorian era as a means of halting masturbation. Circumcision literally dates all the way back to ancient Egyptian culture, where it was used as a right of passage into adulthood.
Yet despite all of this information, I still think if I ever have a child (and it’s a boy), I’d like to opt for the all-natural route. When I really think about it, I don’t have any specific (or personal) ties to the tradition of circumcision and honestly I think it’s a bit cruel.
I suppose in a way, I am a bit biased considering my partner is uncircumcised and (after getting past the initial shock), it’s really not as “odd” as many think it would be. In fact, now that I’ve experienced both – I’d prefer uncircumcised (but clearly that just has to do with personal preference).
What about you MSP-readers, what’s your take on the matter? Any of you prefer one over the other?
What about the parents reading – what helped you make the decision (that is, if you had a baby boy) – either way?
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