Get a Second Opinion Before You Cut

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 09:06
Submitted by Carlin Ross

When I tell people that I'm having a baby boy, the first question they ask is whether I'm going to circumcise -  I answer with a resounding "no".  Then they'll share some story about a friend's child whose foreskin wouldn't retract and they ended up circumcising at a later age. 

A little science: all baby boys are born with their foreskin attached to the glans of the penis.  Their foreskin doesn't retract and you should never try to retract it yourself.  This is normal until they get older.  By 6-10 years old, their foreskin should detach from the glans naturally and retract all on its own. 

This is true for 95% of all intact boys; however, in 5% of cases the foreskin doesn't automatically retract.  You can race to your surgeon OR you can take the approach this mother did (bravo, mom):

"I feel for the couple with the seven year old whose foreskin won’t retract. We went through that with both of our boys. My husband is cut, but I put my foot down and demanded that both of our boys be left intact. The older of the two started having problems with his foreskin when he was around four (he’s eight now). It wouldn’t retract and the doctor thought it was very tight. The urologist gave us some steroid cream and said, basically, “good luck, it probably won’t work; see you back in two weeks to schedule the circumcision.”

Two weeks later his foreskin was retracting like it was supposed to. Yea! Problem solved.

Fast-forward two years to when our youngest was two. Same problem. We went to a different urologist (for insurance reasons). He spent less than two minutes looking at my son’s penis and said: “He’s fine, leave it alone. A lack of retraction isn’t an issue until he is at least eight or older.”

Guess what: both foreskins now retract normally. I’m very glad I pushed for alternatives and didn’t immediately agree to a circumcision. So definitely get a second opinion before you cut."

Why not let the body take care of itself?

Editor in Chief & Keeper of All Things Betty Dodson

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Retraction occurs sometime before adulthood

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:18
CM (not verified)

Thank you, Carlin, for speaking out in support of keeping babies intact! Here is a page with references showing that retraction of the foreskin occurs sometime before adulthood for nearly all men.

At ten years old, only about half of boys are retractable. If a male reaches adulthood and is not retractable, and if it bothers him (some men are perfectly content to be non-retractable), then there are stretching exercises that can be performed. Steroid cream is also a less invasive step to encourage retraction. If a man chooses to have surgery to become retractable, the doctor can perform a dorsal slit, where the foreskin has a small cut made to allow retraction. Amputation of the entire foreskin is not necessary. 

Another important piece of the puzzle is to recognize that a diagnosis of phimosis can only be made in adulthood, but that the vast majority of phimosis diagnoses are misdiagnoses in childhood. The man with true phimosis in adulthood is almost always the result of improper care of the intact child during his youth. Forced premature retraction (any retraction before he is naturally retractable) causes scar tissue to form and can lead to problems with the natural retraction process. Penises of non-retractable intact boys can simply be wiped from base to tip like a finger. The first person to retract a male's penis should be the male himself. 

my little man is intact. my

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 02:16
damali (not verified)

my little man is intact. my mother-in-law tried having her two cents about it. to which i just happily ignored.
i do see the benefits of circumcision. it can cut (no pun intended) the chances of contracting HIV down immensely. that doesn't change that it's not my choice for my son, whether or not he should be mutilated. he doesn't and probably will never live in an area with high HIV statistics. he will also always have proper sex education. he will always be very safe.
i wouldn't cut up a little girls' clitoris. why on earth would i cut up a little boy's penis?

Thank You for Posting

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 20:05

Thank you for posting this!
Even the second doctor was wrong.  Phimosis cannot be daignosed until after puberty.  Here is a good link:
We need to keep posting things like this to help people recognize both the value of foreskins and the rights of children to bodily integrity.


"Purpose of male circumcision is..."

Sat, 11/22/2014 - 10:03
Jeffrey65802 (not verified)

"Judaism, however, is not entirely free of its heritage of repressive sexuality as is evident in Moses Maimonides' The Guide of the Perplexed; and the Code of Jewish Law (Chapter 150: Laws of Chastity; Chapter 151: the Sin of Discharging Semen in Vain). A brief quote from Maimonides is illustrative:

Similarly with regard to circumcision, one of the reasons for it is, in my opinion, the wish to bring about a decrease in sexual intercourse and a weakening of the organ in question, so that this activity be diminished and the organ be in as quite a state as possible.... The bodily pain caused to that member is the real purpose of circumcision (III:49)."

Just came across this doing some reading for other things.

retraction foreskin

Thu, 11/27/2014 - 12:23
ManCan (not verified)

I remember when I was 13 or 14, my foreskin was tight. I never thought something is wrong. I pulled it back as far as it would go whenever I had a shower. And some weeks later the foreskin went back fully. Never thought something is wrong.   

My son has had a

Tue, 03/08/2016 - 01:13
MAMA1115 (not verified)

My son has had a circumcision, and mostly the whole reason I did (besides the HIV comment) is because my understanding of a penis that wasn't was prone to germs and infection and I thought I was helping prevent any problems, since it's so common I thought it was actually nesscessarry and now I know know that isn't the case. I know though.. A beautiful love life is up for him haha he's so darn handsome

The BEST reason to circumcise!

Ron The Logician's picture
Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:22
Ron The Logician

Hello Carlin,
I know you've decided NOT to circumcise your son Grayson and I won't argue with you. But since the issue of circumcision always arises, I hope you'll do me the courtesy of spending a mere two minutes to listen to the wonderful, educational children's song published online at explaining the very best reason to circumcise!
Ron The Logician