Hoodwinked, one father’s take on the circumcision debate

Guest post by Jesse Bartke


Have you thought about circumcision? This is a question that I have heard more in the past 3 weeks then I have ever expected to hear in my entire life and it all started when we found out my wife was growing a penis.

When we first discovered we were having a boy, we were thrilled. Not that a little girl wouldn’t have been great, but the thought of it made all of those horrible Disney movies where the father puts his daughter up in a tower until an appropriate guy comes along make a lot more sense.

Boys are tiring, but girls are tiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrring, people kept saying. We walked around with our heads in the clouds for the next day, until the very question snuck into my brain — what do I think about circumcision?

I asked my wife what she thought about the process, and she responded with “I don’t really care, honey. I will let you make this decision. I’ll share my opinion on the subject, but you have the parts.” And just like that I am responsible for the fate of what makes our son a son.

Now, this is not an easy decision and it makes me wonder if having boys is truly “easier” than having girls. Parents in this culture are never asked to alter their unborn daughter’s anatomy in the wee stages of life. It’s not like birth isn’t traumatic enough for them. It is like coming back from a Caribbean vacation to a blizzard, and then someone cuts off your toe in the airport.

It would be so much easier if this was a decision that could be made for you. When your young son is delivered you hold him up to the crowd and all present give you a thumbs up, “Hey that looks great the way it is,” or a thumbs down, “Ohhh that should go.” You can’t even just give into societal pressures, given that it is about 50/50 cut versus uncut in the US now.

I understand all of the arguments for and against circumcision, which makes this decision even more difficult. There a lot of things to take into account; religious, societal, medical and familiarity.

Many fathers that I have read about made the decision based on wanting themselves to match their sons. Personally, I think that if that is your only reason, then you need to look at more practical approaches – haircuts, shirts, matching tattoos, but leave the boy’s poor penis out of it. I can’t imagine there will be a time that my son will look upon my penis with a glimmer in his eye and a smile on his face and exclaim, “Daddy look, we match!” It’s just not that important to me.

Medically, there has been some research that suggests that circumcision may reduce the likelihood of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, but so does keeping your pecker wrapped and away from dirty partners. Accidents can happen with or without foreskin, but they don’t change the effects of poor judgment.

I fully expect my son to sexually experiment, but I also expect him to be smart about it, and if he is not, to deal with the consequences. Having a hooded penis will not change that.

Circumcision does aid in hygiene practices and you get to avoid the cursed smegma. This is not reason enough for me. There are lots of things that would aid in hygiene, most of them are things that I choose not to get into, but removing a piece of anatomy to make it easier to stay clean – that seems to me to be a bit overkill. We will teach him to stay clean and how to do it himself properly, from head to toe and under skin.

My insurance company views circumcision as elective cosmetic surgery. This may be what is the biggest factor for me. I have a hard time electing to get my newborn cosmetic surgery, and then footing the bill for it. It makes you wonder if they have a catalog of different styles, like picking out a new nose, chin or breasts.

I can imagine having the conversation with the doctor — “Can you just make it a bit perkier? I like the one on page 14, but with the shaft of the one on page 47.” If my son decides that he wants cosmetic surgery, on his man parts or any of his other ones, he can foot the bill himself. There are a lot of things I will pay for that I don’t have to, but elective infant penile surgery is not one of them.

So when the next person asks me, “Have you thought about circumcision?” I can answer yes, I have … and it does not make sense to me for my son.

Comments on Hoodwinked, one father’s take on the circumcision debate

  1. It is a matter of large debate about whether circumcising a male has an impact on sexual pleasure… however, I doubt circumcised guys are too concerned, because most don't know what they are missing if there is a difference at all.

  2. Fantastic! My fiance and I are years from having children, but we’ve already had this discussion and decided against circumcision. It’s nice to read such a thoughtful, humorous exploration of your decision.

  3. During nursing school I had the "privilege" of observing 3 circumcisions and decided during the first one that this is something I would NEVER put my son through. Very few moms or dads actually see the circumcision procedure (unless they are jewish and have a brit – sp?), and I do not know if so many people would do it, if they did have the opportunity to see it.

    In my experiences, the procedure seemed VERY painful for the baby boys! Some doctors applied a numbing cream before the procedure and some didn't. Aside from the numbing cream, they give the baby a nipple full of a sucrose solution (sugar) and performed the procedure. The babies definitely felt it (as evidenced by the crying and look of pain on their poor day old faces), and it is not exactly a gentle process.

    I just found out a week ago that my husband and I are having a boy. It wasn't even a question in my mind – no circumcision! Teach your kid to clean it properly and have safe sex, and he'll be good!

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