The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
What have you heard about circumcision? What’s your opinion on it?
I write this article from an American perspective, and in my culture there is a stigma around natural/ intact/ uncircumcised penises. If you’re an American, then you likely think it’s necessary. You probably think that male circumcision is cleaner, and just more appealing. While you’re entitled to those opinions, I doubt you know why we do it at all, and I doubt you’re aware that uncircumcised is actually better!
Isn’t it cleaner?
Not at all. The foreskin is actually a necessary protective layer for the head of the penis that allows for a natural lubricant and can protect from infection. If the foreskin isn’t pulled back to wash off natural bacteria, then yes, it’s unclean, but adult males should know full well how to wash their genitals, and “cleanliness” shouldn’t be a reason to remove a layer of skin.
True, there are studies that support circumcision can reduce the risk of STI’s, but protected sex can offer the same protection. I personally don’t think that genital cutting could prevent STI’s, but rather offer more opportunities for discomfort. In fact, foreskin offers a layer of natural lubricant to a penis, and without that lubricant, sex can be painful and often create friction.
Years ago, I discovered a video by a YouTube content creator, Adina Rivers, on the topic of circumcision. She explains why natural (uncircumsized) is actually better, and how the process of circumcision is actually damaging to a baby. I’ll embed the video here:
Why do we even do it?
Now that’s a long answer. If someone isn’t circumcised for religious reasons (i.e. Jewish or Muslim), then it’s quite foolish to have it done at all. In my first anthropology class, I learned that Americans have a history of circumcising baby boys to keep them from masturbating. This is silly, but it’s where it comes from. In fact, mostly all the information I learned in that class was summarized in an Adam Ruins Everything Youtube video. Each time I find myself in a conversation about this topic, people always reference this video; it’s quite well known. I’ll embed it here so you can be educated on it.
wait, isn’t circumcision necessary sometimes?
True, there is a condition in which the foreskin is too tight (Phimosis) and circumcision is medically necessary, but this is rare. When men have lived their adult lives with foreskin, and later without it, they attest that there is a strong loss of sensation and they find sex less comfortable. If men are circumcised in their adult lives, they often come to regret it. For this perspective, I’ll embed another YouTube video of one man’s experience with this:
Why does it matter?
Sadly, in American society, genital mutilation (circumcision) is so normalized. There’s a lot of judgment around it, and knowing the facts about it can save someone a lot of hurt. If you’re educated, not only on why it’s done, but also the pros and cons of it, then hopefully you can fight back against offhand comments or ignorant remarks like “that’s gross” or “that’s not normal.”
If you are someone that plans to have children one day, there’s a chance that that child will be born with a penis. You should have the information and knowledge to know whether or not circumcision is a choice you should make. Better yet, you should have the information to know it’s not a choice that should be made without the child’s consent.
If you aren’t someone that plans to have children one day, you still might live in a society where circumcision is the norm, and the natural penis is shamed. You may have partners that are uncut, and hopefully you don’t react in a hurtful way or with disgust.