Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

Circumcision is still incredibly common in developed countries across the world. For many families circumcision has religious meaning, and for others it is either a matter of tradition or personal preference. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks, but the procedure is not recommended as routine. It’s left to parents, often starting debates among even the closest circles of friends.

So where does this leave us? Let’s get a few of the misunderstandings out of the way.

Myth #1: An uncircumcised penis is dirty.

If you’re going to circumcise, fine, but don’t do so because you think your child is incapable of cleaning themselves. If a vagina can manage to stay clean, so can an uncircumcised penis.

Myth #2: Circumcision will prevent STDs and other infections.

Nope. Sorry. While an uncircumcised male can be more susceptible to infection, they are no more likely to catch an STD than any other male out there having unprotected sex. The foreskin snip won’t save you.

Myth #3: Circumcision will dull sexual pleasure.

If you’re trying to keep your son more chaste in his future, circumcision isn’t going to do it. There is no proof that circumcision dulls or enhances sexual pleasure.

Even the Mayo Clinic won’t swear that the benefits of circumcision are proven, stating that circumcision might have benefits like easier hygiene and prevention of problems. The Mayo Clinic goes on to say that the risks of not circumcising are incredible rare and 100% preventable.

The reality? Circumcision is an elected medical procedure in most cases. It is not medically necessary, nor is it recommended for newborn males across the board. It is a matter of preference, flinging circumcision into the dramatic camp of genital mutilation and infant ear piercings. So, yes, it gets dicey in general conversation.

Whether you circumcise your son is completely up to you but go into it with eyes wide open. Know the facts and not the fears, because although your son won’t remember the pain, there will be pain. As with any medical procedure, complications are possible. Circumcision typically heals in 7 to 10 days, so luckily the discomfort doesn’t last long. It’s a standard procedure, so problems aren’t usually anticipated.

Preventative health care is important, and family traditions are as well, but the jury remains out on if circumcision is truly necessary. You’ll have to decide for yourself what feels right but be ready: This is motherhood, and people are nosy. It’s very likely that someone will ask, and you won’t walk away without the debate.