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Posted by Bob In California on March 09, 2000 at 01:39:25:

In Reply to: Circumcision posted by Tory on March 05, 2000 at 16:57:58:

: My partner & I have been discussing Circumcision.
: I realise this is not a health matter exactly, but I figured this would be a good place to get some feedback.
: He, being from the states, informs me that it is common practise for baby boys to be " snipped ".
: Here in New Zealand it is the opposite.
: Medical reasons aside, I am concerned about our unborn son being tormented by his peers if we were to go ahead and have this procedure performed.
: I have a 12 year old son who is uncircumcised and on the health front , he has had not a problem re infection etc.
: I can see this ' discussion ' of ours getting a little out of hand.
: Any feedback is welcome.
: Thanking You
: Tory

In the United States, approximately 60% of boys are circumcised at birth or shortly after. It is least common in the Western U.S., where the infant circumcision rate has fallen below 40%. Circumcision rates have dropped 11% in the U.S. in the past five years. In New Zealand, non-circumcised penises are probably more accepted. There are distinct advantages to not circumcising. First, the operation is medically un-necessary. Problems among non-circumcised boys are infrequent. Believe it or not, most of the problems are caused by parents and other care-givers who don't know how to care for the intact penis. You should never force the foreskin back over the glans. The foreskin will retract when the natural adhesions disolve under the foreskin. It can happen at a few months of age or not until a child is 13. The norm is at two to five years of age. The foreskin is a self-cleaning organ...just wash the exterior and the tip with warm water. When the foreskin is able to retract by itself, then wash gently with warm water...not soap. It takes just a few seconds a day! The second reason not to circumcise is that a child should have a right to decide for himself whether he wants a natural part of his body. What other body part does a doctor agree to excise without a good reason? None! The third reason is that the glans of the penis is softer and more sensitive, making sexual intercourse more pleasurable for the man and the woman. The foreskin has about 10 thousand nerve endings which bring additional pleasure to the man. Too often, the foreskin is mis-understood by people who haven't had one or haven't had to care for one or who haven't even seen one. In America, there was a whole generation which suffered from all three cases. Circumcision was natural to them. The non-circumcised penis looked "ugly". Today in America, there are still many doctors who don't understand the non-circumcised penis and there are many doctors who share in the billions of dollars spent by parents and insurance companies for this needless surgery. Doctors are also quick to circumcise children whose foreskins haven't become retractable by five years of age. A child can't truly suffer from phimosis until he is in his teens. And then there are other alternatives which are commonly practiced in European countries...such as foreskin stretching, the use of steroid creams, making a cosmetically unseen incision in the foreskin to allow more room for passage of the glans...etc. I guess you can see that my leanings are toward leaving your child as God meant for him to be...natural. There's reasons for the foreskin's presence. It's not there by accident. Something else to think about is the pain a child goes through both during and following the surgery. The majority of doctors performing circumcisions, would much rather do it without anesthesia because of the risks. If you have known a young school-age child, you know that the glans is extremely sensitive. Can you imagine how it feels to have the natural adhesions ripped lose, the skin either cut or crushed away and the "virgin" glans exposed at a day or two of age to feces, urine and the rubbing against a diaper? It must be unbearably uncomfortable. The child suffers for days or weeks. Don't think for a minute that the circumcision operation is without risk. Recent studies in Washington state show that many more circumcised infants have problems releating to their surgery than their intact counterparts have. Also, it is very possible for circumcisions to be too "tight" making erections uncomfortable as a child grows into adulthood. There are other complications as well. By leaving your child in his God-given natural state, you can't go wrong. Especially in America, but perhaps in New Zealand, too, people need to be more open about how to treat the penis...and need to not be afraid to question those who are quick to recommend surgery as the first or only option. I hope this long disertation has been useful to you and your husband.

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