Hot Topic: Circumcision

Circumcision really wasn’t a topic that came up much in my life until I was faced with the responsibility for making a decision about whether to cut my own child or not. How do you make a choice like this? It seems weird and incestuous to be contemplating the future sexual gratification of your unborn son.

The choice not to circumcise has become increasingly popular - you know, the way vegetarian meats have become popular - not that pork farmers have anything to worry about, but people don’t look at you sideways (as much) if you pack it (for lunch). There are even movements amongst Jews that are questioning--circumcision, not pork. Some say the originally prescribed circumcision was only meant to be the very tip of the foreskin and not the more severe version of circumcision today, which, they claim, is barbaric.

I run with the crowd that is fringe enough to consider not circumcising, but in the end not quite fringe enough to keep the fringe on their boys. The main reason seemed to be locker room phobia - not wanting their little peters to be made fun of. Considering that many men get castration anxiety if you so much as stare daggers at them, I was surprised that, it was the dads who seemed to lean more pro and the moms who had a hard time imagining inflicting any pain on their poor innocent Mr. Pickles.

A recent New York Times Magazine piece reported that doctors have confirmed that circumcision reduces the chances of a man contracting HIV by 60 percent. Tina Rosenberg makes the argument that this is as good as any vaccine we are ever likely to develop for the wily HIV virus.

Will this end the mini-trend to not circumcise? In 20 years will uncircumcised adolescents and tribal-tattooed middle-aged men look like left-overs of short and foolish fashion sprees? And knowing this fact would anyone who didn’t circumcise do it now that their babies are toddlers?

Since I think there is a lot of overlap in the don’t cut and don’t vaccinate demographic I don't think the new evidence will change things much for this group, but I think it will keep the trend from going mainstream.

On a side note, my husband was having lunch with a bunch of gay colleagues. Somehow the conversation turned to circumcision (don’t ask) and when the guys found out that we had not circumcised they literally applauded. I guess it has become a cause celebre for the gay community - which is ironic facing this new data.

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