I will post this on the Debate board, too. Please reply there.
"Education is the discovery of our own ignorance." Will Durant
"Almost any manmade phenomenon i
Wendy, I suggest that your post may be better placed on the Circumcision Debate board, except for the fact that Tony is unlikely to see it there - or if he does, may not wish to use it to reply there. That's his prerogative.
I do not presume to put words in his mouth, but you can be sure he has come across all the common arguments against infant circumcision that abound on the internet.
But I must, from my own perspective and knowledge, make it clear that UTIs in young intact boys are probably less common than those who are circumcised. The notion that the foreskin somehow 'invites' UTIs springs from a flawed American study many years ago which has gained popularity among those who promote circumcision. I think Tony might well agree with me, but that's for him to say. Think of it this way... a boy's foreskin positively protects his penis from infection. That's why it is initially fused to his glans (head of penis). And even when it eventually becomes retractable, its natural secretions fight infection.
English boys, who are rarely circumcised, live with their foreskins intact, healthily and happily into old age - but for occasional problems that may occur as in any part of our anatomy throughout our lives. When a problem occurs with a penis it is treated and healed. A UTI is easily resolved with antibiotics, as you said. Circumcision is a last resort for other much more serious matters.
Tony (I keep thinking I'm talking to one of my brothers whose name is also Tony!), we really should be exchanging our posts on the Debate board. But I must say it's refreshing to be debating issues on a Support board even if it must eventually stop.
Like you, I also accept that it's a parent's right to choose what they believe is best for their children within the law of the land where they reside. Male child circumcision is not yet outlawed in any country across the world, though some are close to strict limitation legislation. I was not for a moment suggesting your beliefs were compromised... it was your statement of actual happiness for boys left intact that seemed incongruous to me. You may indeed be happy for their parents' freedom of choice, but since you believe so passionately that the foreskin is best removed, why would you as a caring parent yourself not feel a twinge of regret or sadness that their boys will not enjoy the same "agreeable experience" you did?
Your tale of obstruction at every turn by NHS professionals was inevitable. For about 18 months into our National Health Service's early history, boys were circumcised at no cost at point of source - along with just about everything else 'from the cradle to the grave' under our newly established Welfare State in 1946. It was Dr Douglas Gairdner's famous article The Fate of the Foreskin in late 1949 that began the trend away from male non-therapeutic circumcision, as I'm sure you know. Circumcision was finally dropped from NHS inclusion like the proverbial hot brick. Nonetheless I will never forget overhearing Mum ask my Dad, "Should we have Chris circumcised?" when they became aware I was suffering severe phimotic retraction problems. I didn't understand what it meant, I was 7 years old. My twin and younger brother had no such problems. Thankfully, he said, "No, not yet..." adding some explanation I can't remember.
You asked me to imagine an opposite situation to yours. I can - and have frequently acknowledged that if I had been brought up in a circumcising culture I may well have had my son 'done', and encouraged my children to do the same to their boys. But many American parents have spoken of the pressure to choose circumcision against their better judgement - yet stuck to their convictions. I like to think I would have the same courage to fly in the face of normalcy. You have, from the opposite perspective.
Your point was well made, but so I hope is mine. I believe in the efficacy of nature's gift to every newborn boy. You see the foreskin as expendable. Evolution has historically rid our species of unneeded parts (our coccyx - tailbone - is an example). It may be argued that nature makes mistakes. Is the foreskin a mistake yet to be resolved? Or is circumcision a purely man-made anomaly as per the second line of my signature quote below?
**Please let me know it fhis is posted on the wrong board, and where I can post it if it is!**
Hi Tony. I don't want to get in your face at all, and if that's how this comes across I'm very sorry.
I really don't get how you can feel that your experience of being circumcised at eight years old gives you a true "before and after" experience. I also don't understand what health benefits you perceive in the procedure.
The fact is that, at 8 years old, you were not engaging in sexual activity (at least I hope not). Yes, you were most likely experimenting with yourself, as most children do, but you weren't having intercourse. There's a big difference between masturbation and intercourse, no? If not, you're either not having intercourse right, or you're really good at masturbating :smileylol:.
I can leave that alone, however, as a matter of personal preference. That said, don't you think it should be a matter of personal preference, and every man should be able to determine his preference? Do you not see RIC as taking away that decision from the person to whom the penis belongs?
Also, your experience of needing to be circumcised at 8 is not typical. Most intact boys grow into intact men and have no issues to speak of.
The "health benefits" you claim: what benefits? Do you truly think it's cleaner? If so, why is the vast majority of the world's men intact with no problems? If it really were an issue, don't you think the men or their partners would be pushing for them to get circumcised? Don't you think there would be a large number of men getting circumcised voluntarily? But there aren't.
Do you believe that circumcision prevents STD's? The numbers, and many studies, certainly don't uphold this claim. The U.S. has one of the highest rates of RIC in the world, and one of the highest rates of STD's. If there were a protective factor from circumcision wouldn't the numbers be different?
Is it a matter of UTI's? Yeah, maybe more intact boys get UTI's, but girls get them much more and we don't advocate having them circumcised. UTI's are no fun (I should know), but that doesn't mean we should go around removing perfectly healthy body parts to try to prevent them. While I'm not a big fan of antibiotics (and their over-use), there are times when they're very helpful, such as with UTI's.
I would have to guess that at 8 you were put under general anesthesia for the procedure. Were you retractable yet? If so, that's a big difference from a newborn. Newborn boys foreskins are never retractible. When they are circumcised, the foreskin is pulled off of the head of the penis, to which it's attached much as your fingernail is attached to your finger. This causes an incredible amount of pain, redness, and swelling of the glans, as you can imagine your finger tip would be sore and inflamed and red if you pulled the fingernail off.
I'm just sincerely very confused as to why you have the stance you do.
Why do you think it should be up to the parents to take away the basis for comparison? A person can always choose to become circumcised, while there really isn't a good option for those who weren't given the choice.
Hi Again Christopher
I will answer your rhetorical question...LOL :-)
My beliefs are not compromised by being happy for parents who don't want their boys circumcised and leave them intact. Neither am I disappointed.
"There I go! You lured me into a debate! LOL! This must cease - on here."
Ah, Tony. there you go indeed! :smileywink:
Christopher, I know we could meet and have many a long and friendly conversation on this subject without falling out and parting with agreement to differ. I think we both have respect for each other's point of view and long may that remain. For years I had a close uncircumcised friend of that disposition, sadly no longer with us.
Tony, any attempt on the debate board to behave like that would receive short shrift from me. If it continued I would flag it as inappropriate. I'm determined to make circumcision debate in iVillage worthy of caring parents or individuals who hold opposing views in love for all boys worldwide.
It's a make or break issue. If debating the subject fails in its new iVillage slot under 'Circumcision', it will not advance the practice nor hasten its demise. It will leave it in limbo, unanswered and bereft of persuasive points of view which could either stem the current tide to keep boys intact or release the tide in full flow, leaving a great many more boys intact.
I can argue the health benefits of a foreskiin. You can turn the coin flip-side and and argue the opposite. Your beliefs as an Englishman, where circumcision is rare and not a product of cultural habit, has some credence beyond that of American normalcy.
We need your input on the debate board when you have the time. With the courage of your convictions it could be persuasive, my friend.
Christopher, I agree. We who believe in and support circumcision for its lifetime health benefits hate this sort of ting as much as you do. I won't be going to debate, it only enciurages them.