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Cut It Out!

Some ladies like a turtleneck
Some ladies like a turtleneck

Author Michael Chabon—who’s known for writing a bit about his tribe, the Jews—is railing against the perversity of circumcision. He writes in his new memoir Manhood for Amateurs, "Mutilation [is] the only honest name for this raw act that my wife and I have twice invited men with knives to come into our house and perform, in the presence of all our friends and family, with a nice buffet and Weekend Cake from Just Desserts.”

Recently, when talking with our expecting friends, circumcision came up. When I said I’d be for it, my husband, who is circumcised, gave me a horrified look, as if I’d just said, “Let’s watch NASCAR,” or “I’m going to grow dreadlocks.”

Most adult males born after the ‘50s are circumcised, though more and more parents are choosing to leave their son with a turtleneck. To be honest, I don’t know that I’ve seen an uncircumcised penis outside of an unfortunate incident involving a friend’s dad and his inability to lock the bathroom door. (This is not an invitation, creeps.)

So, would you snip your kid?

Public Comments (25)
  • yeah, you get 'em snipped.  [ Wed Jul 29 2009 3:48 PM ]

    It's easier to keep clean, and there's enough other bullshit busywork endless child-rearing crap to worry about without that. Plus, it's the norm - the last thing little boys need is to get teased because their dicks look different.

  • Not sure ...  [ Wed Jul 29 2009 4:53 PM ]

    It seems like a pretty archaic practice, yet, I dunno ...

  • uncircumcised.​  [ Wed Jul 29 2009 4:57 PM ]

    I'm actually amazed at how much this has come up in recent discussion. The topic must be floating in the ether.

    If it was just me, I would leave my son uncircumcised. But, not being a boy, I think I'd let the father have a heavier hand in the debate, since he knows what it's like to grow up in a boys locker room.

    I do think there's an increasing trend to not circumcise these days. So it may not be so uncommon among future generations.

    I do know that *almost* all the circumcised men I know have told me they would circumcise their sons, and *all* the uncircumcised men I know have told me they wouldn't. They didn't seem terribly traumatized.

    I've also noticed that many women tend to be terribly opinionated on the matter. Women are either all about circumcised penises, or all about uncircumcised penises ... until they're with someone with a different dick than they're used to, and then they just don't care.

  • circumcise it!  [ Wed Jul 29 2009 5:31 PM ]

    Easy for me to say as a woman, right?. I dated an uncircumcised man. And as a grown man he didn't keep it clean how is a young boy going to? It got all cheesey and stinky and also harbored a yeast infection that he kept giving back to me.

    He wasn't a gross guy, he showered daily, but you really have to take care of that area. You can't just jump in the shower and think it takes care of itself.

    Sorry to be gross but there's a need for honesty here.

    Other than the harboring of bacteria and stuff, I didn't mind at all how his penis looked or felt.

  • Snip it  [ Wed Jul 29 2009 6:02 PM ]

    What about the health risk? Supposedly there is a link.

  • The penis cheese smell  [ Wed Jul 29 2009 6:14 PM ]

    did it for me. Snip! I mean, women get their periods for 40 or so years. That's pretty traumatic, still. (Comparing casaba melons to bananas? Yes.)

  • snipsnip!!  [ Wed Jul 29 2009 9:23 PM ]

    keep it clean. i can not recall it.

  • Health risk?  [ Thu Jul 30 2009 11:19 AM ]

    Do you live in Africa? Do you know how to use a condom? Did you overlook the part of that article which states "people who are circumcised can still be infected with HIV and any awareness campaign would have to be extremely careful not to suggest that it protects against HIV or is an alternative to using condoms"? In the first world that rhetoric is superfluous.

    Yeah, when you're in a country where regular hygiene is a problem and STI information is scarce, or you're just a dirty ass then circumcision might be a good choice.

    Tell me that without a really fucking good reason you want to do this to your child.

  • to briefly stick up for the uncircumcised male ...  [ Thu Jul 30 2009 11:24 AM ]

    I've dated three men who were uncircumcised. There were no cheesy smells or yeast infections to speak of ... impeccably clean.

    That's more information than you probably want to know or I want you to know about me. But someone has to speak on these guys' behalf ... geez. Anti-uncircumcists, the lot of you.

  • It's up to the father  [ Thu Jul 30 2009 12:40 PM ]

    is my view. But if I were a single mother I would have it snipped. I find it hard to believe it traumatizes them much more than the day it happens and it's just easier health wise.

  • Ultimately, it's up to  [ Thu Jul 30 2009 12:46 PM ]

    Lilith, the Earth Mother, and her healing crystals.

  • Madmammajamma-​-  [ Thu Jul 30 2009 1:35 PM ]

    that clip just turned all the eggs in my uterus female. Don't talk to me about science: a mother knows.

  • No way!  [ Thu Jul 30 2009 2:18 PM ]

    It's a serious alteration to a person's genitals, and when you're a baby, you don't get to make a choice about it.

    And seriously, does anyone NOT get made fun of in the ol' locker room for something? Kids are assholes.

  • Well, Darcy, your eggs pretty much are female.  [ Thu Jul 30 2009 2:32 PM ]

    It's up to us schleps with dicks and y chromosomes to fuck that up for you.

    FWIW I have no foreskin or envy thereof, but IMO it's a pretty barbaric practice. My boys will be un-snipped until such time as they choose to embrace the covenant of the living God.

  • MadMJ--  [ Thu Jul 30 2009 3:43 PM ]

    How many times have I told you to leave "science" out of how my uterus feels?

  • Uhhh...  [ Thu Jul 30 2009 4:20 PM ]

    Twice. And, no offense intended to the sensitivity (emotional or otherwise) of your uterus, but technically I think this is pretty close to how it feels:

    See what I did there? Nyuk nyuk.

    Last edited [7/30/09 4:23 PM]
  • why is it ok to cut the prepuce off a boy, but not off a girl?  [ Thu Jul 30 2009 6:39 PM ]

    It's illegal to cut off a girl's prepuce, or to make any incision on a girl's genitals, even if no tissue is removed. Why don't boys get the same protection? People should be able to decide for themselves whether they want part of their genitals cut off.

    It's worth remembering that no-one who wasn't Muslim or Jewish would even be having this discussion if it weren't for the fact that 19th century doctors thought that :

    a) masturbation caused various physical and mental problems (including epilepsy, convulsions, paralysis, tuberculosis etc), and

    b) circumcision stopped masturbation.

    Both of those sound ridiculous today I know, but if you don't believe me, then google "A Short History of Circumcision in North America In the Physicians' Own Words"

    Over a hundred years later, circumcised men keep looking for new ways to defend the practice.

  • Ask the one who doesn't know...?  [ Thu Jul 30 2009 9:31 PM ]

    Greenlee and Christie: You'd ask someone who can't remember having a part of his body whether it should be cut off someone who still has it?

    " I find it hard to believe it traumatizes them much more than the day it happens" One study showed circumcised babies have a different reaction to vaccination months later.

    "and it's just easier health wise." A circumcised penis requires regular attention till it heals. An intact baby's penis needs no special attention, in fact many of the infections that are given as reasons to circumcise later are caused by meddling, especially trying to retract the foreskin before it is ready.

    Health risks? The latest news out of Uganda is that male circumcision does nothing to protect female partners from HIV and may increase their risk by as much as 50%. And women are at greater risk already.

  • ask the one who knows?  [ Fri Jul 31 2009 11:33 AM ]

    My wife and I have raised two boys. Their doctors recommended snipping, we followed that advice and it's been smooth sailing in the dick department. Now, it's possible that leaving them uncircumcised would have presented no problems, either, but the doctors made a compelling case to the contrary and I subscribe to it.

  • HIS body, HIS decision  [ Tue Aug 4 2009 8:22 AM ]

    Sorry but anyone taking this choice away from the one person affected by it is a monster.

    Foreskin feels really good. Over 80% of the world is intact, and the infant cutting rate in the US is down to about 50/50.

    The foreskin includes over half his pleasure-receptive nerve endings and about 15 square inches of sensual interface. It protects the glans and mucosa and allows an exquisite frictionless rolling/gliding action during intimacy for him and his partner.

    Your child will grow to be a sexual adult who can make his own choices about hygiene and how to thwart STDs from data then available. My choices would be 1) Wash, and 2) Use a condom and other proven safer sex practices rather than give up a huge measure of sexual fulfillment for a supposed slight reduction in risk.

    Every mammal on earth has been evolving a prepuce for about 65 million years. Why do humans suddenly in the last few thousand years need surgical correction at birth?

    Even a pin-poke to draw a ceremonial drop of blood from a female is an illegal outrage for 94% of the world's people. How can it be legal to do significant cosmetic genital reductions on boys?

    It's HIS body, and it's HIS decision.

  • smelly cheesy uncut penises  [ Fri Dec 30 2011 12:47 PM ]

    yes, the woman who says it takes more than a quick

    shower is right. It's next to impossible to keep

    an uncirc'd penis clean.

    Just think about it. Whatever it is that ultimately

    makes it filthy is happening continuously.

    Clean it now but it's starting to get unclean

    right after it's cleaned.

  • parent's decision  [ Fri Dec 30 2011 12:51 PM ]

    It's not "his decision". He's unable to decide.

    There are lifelong health benefits of circumcision

    that far outweigh the risks. Doing it at birth

    is the least risky time to do it. And as recommended

    by the AAP to use a local anesthetic, 90% of boys

    sleep through the procedure according to an OB/GYN


    Would you let him decided if he should be vaccinated

    or not?

    Would you let him decide if he should be religiously indoctrinated or not?

    Would you let him decide which grade school to attend?

    These are far more important decisions for parents

    to make.

  • Re: Health risk?  [ Sat Dec 31 2011 6:57 AM ]

    Vaccines aren't necessarily 100% protective.

    But they're a lot better than not getting vaccinated.

    Condoms aren't 100% effective either.

    "people who are circumcised can still be infected with HIV and any awareness campaign would have to be extremely careful not to suggest that it protects against HIV or is an alternative to using condoms"

  • John777 this is soooo stupid, and uninformed.  [ Sat Dec 31 2011 3:06 PM ]

    yes, the woman who says it takes more than a quickshower is right. It's next to impossible to keepan uncirc'd penis clean. Just think about it. Whatever it is that ultimatelymakes it filthy is happening continuously.Clean it now but it's starting to get uncleanright after it's cleaned.

    And I speak from experience. Seriously, keeping your ass clean is way more of a challenge.

    I think a lot of circumcision advocates are freaked out by pleasure and are trying to conform to the american cultural idea of what a cock is supposed to look like. Guess what? They all look the same when they're hard.

    And the disease prevention argument is ridiculous. Whatever, JAMA.

  • I should know  [ Sun Jan 1 2012 7:10 AM ]

    having had an uncir'd penis, I can tell you that

    the stench starts to return shortly after cleaning.

    i'm not freaked out by pleasure at all. I find my

    cut cock much more pleasurable and if that nasty

    foreskin grew back, I'd have it cut off time and

    time again.

    No they don't all look the same when erect.

    It's easy to spot an uncut one.

    Disease prevention isn't ridiculous. There's

    a whole lot of research showing the health benefits

    of circumcision.

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