Archive for November 21, 2011

Some thoughts on Male Circumcision

November 21, 2011 221 comments

One of the interesting things about running a semi-popular blog is that from time to time the blog community decides to take up a topic and run with it, completely without any stimulation from me.  This happened recently on the Academic OB/GYN Facebook page, where a group of concerned individuals carried on a serious and passionate discussion about the merits of circumcision.   As such discussions tend to be, this one was dominated by the anti-circumcision activists, with occasional interjections by those that were less concerned about the issue, including myself.

Circumcision is an interesting issue because it crosses multiple boundaries.  It is a social tradition in many cultures, and in some cases considered a religious mandate.  It is also an ethical issue for many, with some feeling that it is an assault on an infant with long term negative impact on their psychosocial health.  For some it is just cosmetic.

As a young person, I always thought that my penis looked like penises were supposed to look. It looked like my father’s and my brother’s, and anyone else’s I had ever seen.  For the most part, I was blissfully unaware that a penis could look any other way, until one day in high school when my world completely changed.  I happened to see a friend’s penis we were showering after wrestling practice, and in that flash of a moment all kinds of things went through my mind.  Did he have some kind of growth on his penis?  Could he pee out of that thing?  A few other choice thoughts.  I can still remember the shock to this day.  All I had ever seen looked like mine, and in that moment what I saw was foreign, revolting even.  You see, from my frame of reference he looked like an alien.  It took me a few minutes and SNAP! it came to me like a ton of bricks – he has a foreskin.  He probably doesn’t have an alien death ray then.   I can relax about that one.

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Categories: General
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