My wife and I are expecting our first son in a couple of months, and I was wondering if anyone had any pertinent advice/experience regarding circumcising a newborn.
I grew up in the States and am circumcised, as it seems were most of my peers growing up. My wife is from South America, where we are currently living and where circumcision is not the norm.
Some of the factors weighing on my mind are:
-the lack of circumcising experience of the surgeon, being as it's not a standard procedure here;
-possible effects of our son being the only guy who's circumcised (in S.America) or the weird uncircumcised guy (if we're in the States);
-possible effects of him being different than me (if we choose not to circumcise);
-the cost (circumcision is not covered by our health insurance);
-possible health benefits of circumcision;
-possible psychological damage from circumcision (there are lots of fear-mongering anti-circumcision sites on the internet which purport this; I'm not sure how much credit they deserve).
I realize it's probably not that big of a deal either way, but if there are any fathers out there who would offer some sound advice, I'd be grateful to hear your opinion.
It has been pointed out that females would avoid many "problems" if they had their labia removed soon after birth, but no one would do that because it would be considered barbaric.
Unfortunately, male circumcision has a history in religions in several parts of the world and in cultures like the U.S. culture so it's not going away anytime soon (and it is indeed true that anti-Semitic regimes frequently persecuted Jews by banning circumcision, so it's a very touchy subject in some circles).
As I learned in the last 10 months bringing a child into the world is essentially an extended exercise in evaluating risks and making decisions you think will do them the most good. I went back and forth on this for awhile, but then a few months ago we finally got a clear ultrasound pic and my bundle of joy was a girl so I can stop thinking about this for now.
I was raised in a Catholic family but now I do not subscribe to any religious faith. My Dad chose to have me circumcised at birth probably because that was the American norm in the early '80's, and because that's what he knew. I had friends in Catholic school that were not cut so it really had nothing to do with our faith at that time I think. I also agree with the commentor above who stated that nudity in the locker room used to be a complete non-issue. Somewhere along the way boys learned to feel weird about our bodies and that is too bad in my opinion, though I do like that no one talks to me at the urinal anymore.
As a teenager I felt too much sensitivity and had a hard time not cumming to quickly with my girlfriends so in that way I'm glad I was circumcised because if it was even more sensitive I probably would've been uber self-conscious, less adventurous, and too hung-up on worrying about cumming to quick to have been any fun. As it was I had to get creative with foreplay to buy myself time. In my mid-20's I found my staying power but before then it was a struggle. I still don't think now that I would want heightened sensitivity, but like other guys commented above you only know what you got.
It's weird. For as much as is medically known about the penis, we know nothing about it but what we experience and that's clouded with all sorts of misinterpreted social cues combined with youthful hormones and naivete to leave us wondering "Is it normal?"
Once you're a man in healthy sexual relationships you realize that you're just fine physically and any improvements that need to be made are in the way you touch someone and connect with them mentally. If I had foreskin I would probably like it. I don't so I like it without.
If my next baby is a boy, I will probably have him circumcised because that's what I know. Lots of traumatic things happen to babies in their first days. They get a vitamin K shot in the ass within minutes of life. I don't think it is terribly cruel if they are infants. I think it would be way hard to stomach if the little guy was 4, and I can't imagine anyone signing up for that at 21.
The comparison to female genital mutilation is no comparison for me whatsoever. That is ideologically-based means of social control and oppression of women by intentionally removing their ability to feel sexual pleasure and is a topic too loaded and horrifying for this thread.