Naturally uncircumcised

Comments and experiences from readers

When our son was born eight years ago, the attending doctor gave
no feasible argument for circumcision.  The labor room nurse
simply brought in a consent form, and informed me that he would be
'laughed at' in gym class if I didn't sign!  I hardly felt this
was ample persuasion!  We have advanced thousands of years since
circumcision was an innovative idea.  Health conditions and public
awareness have so improved, in civilized countries, that the need
for primitive rituals must be personally re-evaluated.  The normal
uncircumcised boy can be cared for with little extra effort and be
easily instructed in personal hygiene.
The reasoning that the protective foreskin of such a delicate and
sensitive organ could be considered 'unnecessary' and 'expendable'
is puzzling to me.  If this is so, why after all the centuries of
newborn generations, are circumcised men still fathering
uncircumcised sons? Is it a freak of nature? If the foreskin has
no valid function it seems reasonable to assume that it would have
been 'phased out through atrophy, by Nature, long ago.

                                                  Lil Comstock

Probably the oldest known surgery, except for severance of the
umbilical cord, is circumcision.  Which as the Latin meaning
(around, cut) implies, is the cutting off of the protective
foreskin covering the penis.  Usually this is done shortly after
birth. but sometimes  is performed during adolecence or at
premarital rites.  It is an ancient practice that dates back to
Egyptian times, serving mostly as a religious or tribal ritual
among many peoples.
The Jews justity their routne circumcision by the interpretation
of Biblical script Genesis 17:9-27.  In this account Abraham (age
99) and his son Ishmail (age 13) were commanded by God to be
circumcised.  And even today circumcision is performed on all
Jewish male infants 8 days after birth, as a token of the
everlasting covenant between God and the seed of Abraham.  This is
a symbolic and humbling act, to insure protection against the
wrath of God (Exodus 4:24-25).  It also serves as a sign of
belonging to the community of Israel.  No uncircumcised male was
allowed to marry a daughter of this community.
(It is coincidental that many religions choose to follow the
Jewish rule that circumcision should be done on the eighth day
following birth, or later.  According to modern science Vitamin K,
which makes the blood coagulate, enters the blood stream of an
infant on the eighth day, after birth.)
Female-circumcision is a relatively rare folk custom practiced in
ancient and modern Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Africa, Indonesia,
Australia, South America, and in some Indian tribes.  It is the
excision of the Labia Minora and the clitoris, (clitorectomy). 
Similar to male circumcision, it is performed in infancy,
adolescence, or as a premarital rite.  It has also been deemed a
'curative' measure, a medical procedure to diminish sexual desire
(nymphomania) and excessive masturbation and was used even in this
country up until two decades ago!
It is apparent that social and religious pressure have been the
greatest motivating force behind the custom of routine
circumcision, and not medical fact.  Some medical authorities
believe that this operation is an unnecessary and traumatizing
experience, with doubtful advantages.  There are certainly cases
which call, for surgical attention, but perhaps this should be the
exception and not the rule.

                                        Debbie Kubinyi
                                        Lil Comstock

I never seriously considered having Christopher circumcised.  My
approach was more of wanting to find the best way instead of
following the " 1.2-3" procedures.  So, I just let it be. 
Whenever it came to pulling his foreskin back, I would check for
any white smegma that collects and pull the foreskin back as far
as it would go.  There is a membrane around the top of the head
that must be broken through before the foreskin can go all the way
back.  Here is the difference between doing it yourself and going
to a doctor's office to have it done.  Usually the doctor will
break the membrane forcefully and all at once, causing a whole
bunch of unnecessary roughness.  A mama and papa can feel out the
situation.  Gradually they can work the foreskin back and forth
further and further until the membrane breaks, using what feels
right to guide them.  By pass an uncomfortable, against the grain
situation, for a confident good and loving experience.

                                             Bonnie Chapman

We had decided before our son, Uriah was born, that he would be
uncircumcised.  I was told to push the foreskin back as far as
possible, and to clean the uncovered penis with soapy water and
cotton daily.  When I first started to try this, a couple of days
after he was born, the foreskin was a little tight and wouldn't
easily slip back.  I gradually pushed it back, a litle more each
day until it would easily retract and return to place.  I cleaned
out any little particles of smegma that had accumulated. (Smegma
is a white, creamy substance which is sometimes secreted by the
oil glands of the foreskin.) By making a practice of this his
uncircumcised penis gave me no problems.  Uriah is over two years
old now and easily pushes back and cleans his own penis while
bathing.  We have always felt this was a natural and good thing to
help him learn about and have never regretted our decision to
leave him as he was born, uncircumcised.                           

                                        Linda Shaffer

Mothering magazine:  Volume 2

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