To cut or not to cut? That's the choice parents of newborn boys face when deciding whether circumcision is the right choice for them. It's a choice that a lot of people, often referring to themselves as "intactivists," don't feel parents should have. Anticircumcision groups in San Francisco gathered over 7,000 signatures in support of a ballot measure that would essentially outlaw circumcision for most male children. The measure was shot down Sunday night when the governor signed a bill prohibiting local governments from banning the controversial practice, leaving the decision to the parents.
These days it seems like circumcision is the new abortion, at least if you compare the heated rhetoric surrounding the debate. Russell Crowe angered some fans after he took to his Twitter feed this week to call circumcision "barbaric and stupid." While Eli Roth, the Jewish director of Russell's new film, says it was just a joking exchange between friends, the reaction to the tweets offers more evidence that circumcision is a hot button issue.
Russell tweeted: "Who are you to correct nature? Is it real that GOD requires a donation of foreskin? Babies are perfect." He also wrote to Eli Roth, "I love my Jewish friends, I love the apples and the honey and the funny little hats but stop cutting yr babies @eliroth." He has since apologized for any distress he caused and said he was very sorry if his tweets were seen as "mocking the rituals and traditions of others." And Eli Roth has subsequently said that he and Russell were just teasing each other.
Joke or not, the Oscar winner isn't the only one to use harsh language against the practice. In San Francisco, one anticircumcision advocate has successfully put a measure on the ballot that would ban the practice, which he calls "genital mutilation," within the city limits. Anyone who violates the law would face a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail.
Parents have to weigh various factors when deciding whether to go forward with circumcision, and in fact, the rate has dropped in the US to only 32 percent of baby boys. But as one San Francisco rabbi says, taking away that choice from parents "threatens a liberal society; it's so dictatorial; it's so over the top." Do you agree?
I'm dating this guy I'm into, but just had a chance to see what he's packing. And he's uncircumcised! It sort of took me off guard, but I really don't want to be turned off. Any advice??
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Hearing "It's a boy!" is a thrilling experience for parents who hoped to raise a son, but one of the first major decisions a mom and dad has to make is whether or not to circumcise their son. A San Francisco man wants to outlaw this practice because he believes it be genital mutilation. While the procedure is a common one when performed shortly after the boy's arrival, it can be more complicated if the parents choose to hold off until later in their son's life. It's a choice that shouldn't be made lightly so we've rounded up some issues to take into consideration.
When it comes to circumcision, recent American parents have a clear-cut opinion: they overwhelming oppose it. In 2009, only 32.5 percent of baby boys born in America we're circumcised, down from 56 percent in 2006. While the data presented at the international AIDS conference last month has yet to be published, officials say it does represent a sharp downward trend.
Those who favor the procedure worry that more men will be at greater risk of contracting STIs and HIV, although the health benefits of circumcision have been disputed. The anti-circumcision camp has welcomed the trend against what they call non-consensual genital mutilation.
Despite the trend, today 80 percent of American men are circumcised, one of the highest rates in a developed country (compare that to two percent of Spanish men). So if you live in the US, it's likely that the majority of your partners have come sans foreskin. When it comes to your guy, do you care if he's circumcised or not? If you had a son, would you join the movement against circumcision or would you go through with it for cultural or health reasons? Do you think it makes more sense to let adult men choose to undergo circumcision, rather than let parents decide? Share your thoughts in the comments.
The circumcision debate aside, how does a new mom feel when it's time for her sweet baby to get snipped? Parents decide to physically alter their son's anatomy for many reasons including cultural and religious traditions and health concerns. Though a mother may be confident in her choice to have her child circumcised, it doesn't mean she won't feel bad while he's undergoing the procedure at his bris or in the hospital. How did you respond?
Should the government help decide if your son is circumcised? Ten years after the American Association of Pediatrics issued a policy statement suggesting that circumcision of newborn boys is not necessary if they are taught proper hygiene, the Centers for Disease Control is considering making the procedure routine in an effort to prevent the spread of HIV.
After studying the effectiveness of circumcision in reducing the spread of HIV in Africa, US officials are looking into changing their recommendations by the end of the year. The biggest obstacle in their decision is that "there is little to no evidence that circumcision protects men who have sex with men from infection."
lilsugar readers have talked about their views on circumcision, but would a new CDC recommendation and a reversal of the AAP policy change your mind?
There's been a big push in Africa to get men circumcised in order to reduce their risk of contracting HIV. A recent study dedicated to evaluating the health benefits of male circumcision in Uganda decided to go further and see how the practice impacted a patient's sex life. The results show that 40 percent of women said that they had more satisfying sex after their partner was circumcised. (Note: 57 percent reported no change and three percent said sex was less satisfying.)
Women credited a variety of factors for their increase in pleasure, including improved hygiene, a longer period before their partner climaxed, and an increased sex drive from their partner.
I've heard anecdotal evidence to support a wide range of opinions on the topic. Some women say sex is much better when a man is au naturel, while others are turned off by the foreskin. And some women I know don't have an opinion either way. What about you?
Source: Flickr User Brains the head
In 1960, 90 percent of American boys were circumcised. Today, studies put the rate at about 57 percent.
Since circumcision is not a given anymore, parents struggle with the decision of whether or not to snip a tiny piece of foreskin from their sons' penises. Some families point to religious or medical reasons for circumcision (uncircumcised males may have a higher risk of health problems in the future), but other parents consider the practice unnatural. The dilemma is even the subject of Partly Private a documentary debuting at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Since parents are having a tough time making a decision, I thought I'd let you all weigh in. Does it matter to you if a man is circumcised?
Following babysugar's tale of circumcision woe, our lil team was buzzing about the procedure and the specific circumstances in which fellow mamas found themselves after giving birth to bouncing baby boys. While some had a hard time deciding whether to get their son snipped, others didn't give it a second thought for religious or personal reasons. One colleague said she'd do it again if she had another son though there were issues with her firstborn's circumcision.
One colleague told us the following tale:
There really was no decision to be made when it came to circumcising our son. Given our religious beliefs, he would go under the knife on his eighth day of life by a mohel, a man trained by rabbis and cantors to perform circumcision on Jewish children. Though I was nervous about the procedure, as most new mothers are, I was comforted by the fact that mohels traditionally use a Mogen circumcision clamp which has been found to reduce the time of the procedure as well as the pain compared to the one used by most doctors. On the day of the ceremony, I was probably the one who cried the loudest, and the longest, and after receiving our after-care instructions, took my baby home and cared for him with gauze pads and ointment for about five days.
To see what she discovered at their next doctor's appointment, read more