Category Archives: Guest Posts

Reader Submission 1 -Parents Choice

This is posted as written, with no edits.   Any submissions are welcome though I won’t post vitriolic rants with vile language or threats.  Simply leave the post you’d like me to post in the comment section and write ‘guest post’ or ‘reader submission ‘ or something similar somewhere visible.

I think we are all aware of the tactics employed by the intactivists, they are certainly vocal enough to ensure we all know exactly what they think. But what about the rest of us? Shouldn’t we have a voice too, why don’t we speak up for the right of parents to choose, or those that fully support circumcision. I guess the truth is that for most of us it really isn’t that big a deal. Intactivists like to claim that some men are unhappy being circumcised. I don’t doubt that, there are posts on the web that show some men are unhappy. But we must remember that they are small in number, most men who are circumcised are happy with it. They are happy with their parents’ choice. So should we stop circumcision because a few are unhappy? No, just as everything else in a democracy, the majority makes a decision and circumcision is a perfectly legal parenting decision. Why not wait until the child is old enough to make a decision? There is a claim that it is painful for an adult. It is probably painful for the child too, but they won’t remember it. I am sure that most men are glad they don’t have any memory of their circumcision. There is also a good argument that it heals quicker in an infant. So it heals quicker and there will be no memory, we’re good to go… right? Wait, here comes another intactivist argument, circumcision totally desensitizes the penis (or according to a comment I read recently, it weaponizes the penis…. Wtf? Weaponizes? What does that mean?). The truth is that most men only know their circumcised state, so have no reference. Well, again most men seem happy with what they have, and again the democracy rules. What about those that are circumcised as adults? What do they say? It seems that most of them are happy to be without their foreskin. In both cases they report happy and fulfilling sex lives. But if we can’t rely on the evidence from the largest group of men, because they have no reference, who can we ask? Well in America most men are circumcised, so what about the women? What do they say? Of those that have experience of both circumcised and uncircumcised, most will either say they prefer circumcised, or have no overall preference. Only a small percentage will say they prefer an uncircumcised man. So what about another claim from intactivists that it ruins sex for women too, well they would be voting for uncircumcised if that was the case. Even in the UK, which is not a country where circumcision is common, women have been known to prefer a circumcised man. So another claim that doesn’t add up. Jews, Muslims and some Christians perform circumcision as a religious requirement, something that has happened for thousands of years. Would it still be required if circumcision was the debilitating action the intactivists claim? No. The religions would have adapted to remove the requirement. After all, it wouldn’t be good for the population as a whole if procreation was almost impossible as they like to claim. So it comes down to a choice for the parents, and as I stated at the beginning, it is a perfectly legal choice for parents to make. Intactivists like to say that the boy should be free to make his own choices, but parents have a duty to care for their offspring. The other choices they make have a much bigger impact on what that boy becomes as an adult. Feeding can affect development, schooling will affect knowledge and social skills. The parent’s attitude will have an impact on the person they bring up too. All of which are more important than a small piece of skin. What do you do if you have (or will) circumcise your son? Well, make sure you are happy to talk about it when the inevitable questions arise. Be able to give good reasons why you circumcised him. That might mean researching and understanding the benefits of circumcision, or it could be that it is required for religion. He will understand that it was done for good reason, not just because the doctor said it was a good idea. That way it won’t be something for him to worry about, and it will be forgotten, just part of life. Another large part of the intactivists tactics is to deny the many studies that have taken place into the benefits of circumcision. They claim the evidence is flawed, the studies are flawed, the medical organizations that publish them are biased towards circumcision. Really? I doubt these large medical organizations are trying to brainwash us into circumcising. They risk losing all credibility if they cannot back up the studies, would it be worth it? Finally when they cannot persuade parents that their arguments are right, they start the personal attacks. Why do this? If they genuinely wanted to stop parents circumcising their sons they should go to the law makers, governments, these large medical orgs and persuade them to outlaw it. But they know that they cannot change the law, their arguments are not strong enough for that, as I have shown. So instead they go after the vulnerable new mother (mostly they attack the women, not men) telling her that she has harmed her child. So we are back to the start again, gone full circle. Do most circumcised men feel unhappy? No, they are perfectly fine being circumcised. So it is definitely not a problem and should (will) remain a parent’s choice to make.





Another Perspective – Guest Blogger #2

This was sent to me from something posted in a private group.  A person who read my blog asked the author for permission to submit it to me, and after getting it, sent it to me to post.  Here is the post, unedited, as it was sent to me:


I seriously wish I would have thought about circumcision more b4 my son was born. We didn’t know his sex until the day he was born and for some dumb reason I figured while I was pregnant that the time between when he was born and when they asked if we wanted him circ’d or not would be plenty of time for my husband and I to discuss and decide. Unfortunately, we chose to circ him, mostly because my husband is and figured why not (it’s still sinking in how ignorant and nonchalant that sounds), but at the time we were just that ignorant. Now after researching and reading all these posts on the AP boards, I really regret not having thought about it much sooner so we would have been able to make a better decision.

Okay, I said all that to really say this… when I was pregnant I went out to lunch with 5 of the guys I work with. The topic came up with the 60 something year old part time guy about if we knew the sex of our baby, I said no, and he said well, “if it’s a boy you’d better not cut him!” And he didn’t say it quietly! So we started talking about circ’ing and he very strongly apposed it, BUT he wouldn’t give a good reason. From there we ending up talking about the history of the penis and the foreskin and it’s purpose. That discussion ended in a loud debate over religion and by the end of lunch I walked away thinking my God that man must have had his penis hacked off by a terrible doctor or something. It never once made me think about leaving my son intact. I really upsets me one: that he didn’t give any good reason to not circ, if he had I probably would have began researching in time to save my son, and two, because I completely missed the huge lesson of the whole lunch and that was that there were two options… that had never occurred to me before.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that a totally over the top approach might steer people in the circ’ing direction out of pure fear of the unknown (I think that’s where I was when we decided for it), the guy at lunch just seemed like a freak and I didn’t want my son to be like him! As you all have said a gentler more informative approach would have been GREAT! I would have much more likely listened to someone who gave me unbiased info and references. And isn’t it kind of going along with AP to respect other parents and help them make informed decisions using the same kind of techniques we all use with out kids? We can’t force parents not to circ by trying to control them through manipulative guilt tripping, excessively overdone poems, etc… coming from someone who wishes she’d gotten advice, I really wish someone would have just been open and honest and out loud about it… its like people don’t talk about circ’ing because it’s like politics and religion times 100 because it’s regarding a penis. I just wish I had heard a lot more about it from a lot of people… friends, doctors, in my birthing class… but definitely NOT in the form of a holier-than-thow-you’re-ruining-your-baby-forever-if-u-circ mass email/personal conversation/bulletin board post slaughter of anyone with genuine questions. Make any sense?

Guest Blogger Sums Up My Position Better Than I Do

I believe this was copy/pasted from a forum last night.  I certainly got a lot of people from there last night.  In any case, this gem was sent to me by the author of the comment, and for anyone left wondering exactly what this blog is about, if this doesn’t clear it up for you, you’re going to have to start commenting.



Resorting to Ad Hominem…doesn’t do anything to discredit the validity of their arguments.  You do realize that’s a logical fallacy, right?

I read a large part of the blog in question and I largely agree.  Here’s how I see it: convincing people to not circumcize based on misinformation is not much better than convincing them to circ based on misinformation.  That feeling of being “tricked” into doing or not doing something only creates pushback when the information is disproven, and only hurts the cause in the end.

I am strongly anti-RIC, for the record, but I do not consider myself an “intactivist.”  When I think of “intactivist” I think of the individual that refuses to acknowledge any evidence presented in favor of circumcision, discrediting not only the information but also the source of the information.  The same intactivists also refuse to admit when their own sources are biased or exaggerated, and some admittedly use bogus or inflated statistics because they deem it to be “for the cause.”  That is disingenuous, deceitful, and cheap.  I not only acknowledge that it is a difficult decision, I also acknowledge that there is compelling information on either side, as well as a strong division even amongst medical professionals.  I can see, in other words, how someone could research the issue and decide to circumcise.

When it comes to argumentation, if you can’t make an argument in favor of your position without using misleading, biased, or even admittedly exaggerated statistics, and logical fallacies, then you have to consider that perhaps your position isn’t as strong as you think it is.  On the contrary, perhaps it is an indication that the argument against your position is stronger than you think it is.  That is my approach to logic and argumentation, anyway.  If you have to resort to Ad Hominem *ahem* to discredit the argument, then I basically conclude that you must not have a real leg to stand on in the debate.

The first thing you learn in Statistics is that the same statistic can be used to argue almost any position.  Take the penile cancer statistic.  One could make the argument that because RIC reduces the incidence of penile cancer, that it is justified.  The opposite side could take the same statistic and say that because the incidence of penile cancer is so low within the population anyway, that the slight reduction in the incidence of penile cancer is negligible and not worth the inherent risks of RIC.  So the very same statistic could be used to support both sides of the issue.

As such, I give very little weight to the medical “facts” and statistics when it comes to the topic of routine infant circumcision.  Not only am I skeptical about the sources and the accuracy of the information, and feel that on both sides some of the numbers thrown out are just being parroted from one internet poster to the next without any real source, but I recognize that even if the information is accurate, depending on the context in which it is presented, it could be supportive of either side of the debate.  As such I have said many times that I feel the Bodily Autonomy argument is by far the most convincing and hardest to refute.

One of the ways I encourage others to think about circumcision is to consider the potential outcomes of either decision, a Pascal’s Wager of circumcision, if you will.  This is admittedly an oversimplification, there are shades of gray, but generally there are two choices the parent can make, and two basic outcomes for each choice which are as follows:

You do not circ/Child is happy
Outcome: All is well.

You do not circ/Child is unhappy
Outcome: Man can reverse the decision and circ, all is well.

You circ/Child is happy
Outcome: All is well.

You circ/Child is unhappy
Outcome: No adequate way to reverse the decision, individual remains unhappy.

The only choice in the above scenario without a positive outcome is to circumcise your child, and for him to grow up unhappy with that decision for whatever reason.  All other choices either leave nothing to be unhappy about or at the least leave a valid remedy to cure the original decision.  To not circ therefore is to err on the side of caution and leave a valid remedy for your decision intact (no pun intended).  It is the safest “wager.”

In summary, I agree with the overall stance of the blogger: love the message, hate the tactics.  Relying on exaggerated statistics to argue against RIC is no different than exaggerating the benefits of breastfeeding to get more people to breastfeed or to shame the people who don’t.  In the end it does more damage to the cause because it calls your credibility into question and makes you appear to have an agenda, which automatically makes people skeptical and defensive.  One must also consider what it says about the position, your bias, and your emotional attachment to the outcome if have to resort to false information to persuade others.

Until irrefutable and convincing medical evidence comes out to support either side, I’ll continue to fall back on bodily autonomy.

An Open Call

I’d like to hear from you, dear reader.  The furious intactivist.  The circumcising parent (both religious and secular).  The moderate.  I’d like to post your opinion on my blog.  So please, feel free to submit a post in comments, with the words ‘Blog Post’ in it, and I’ll post them.  I’m not going to post redundant comments, so please don’t flood me with ‘his penis, his choice’ or ‘your right to religious freedom ends where his body begins’ posts.  I’ll post anything that hasn’t been posted yet.  You’ll get your very own shiny blog post, right here on The Case Against Intactivism.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled blog.