Letter to send to a pregnant friend regarding circumcision

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Dear ______________,

I know that we talked about this topic a little the last time that you
visited, but I wanted to give you some more information for why we
chose not to circumcise our son.

I apologize, in advance, for this being such a long email!  But I hope
you read it!  This subject has become very close to my heart and I am
in no way trying to offend, but want to shed some light on a topic
that you may or may not have researched.  We decided to keep his
penis whole, the way God created him, because we realized that his
penis is part of his body, and it is not ours to alter or cut without
his consent.

Are You Fully Informed?

50 Reasons to Leave it Alone

First of all, I always thought that we would circumcise a son, it
seemed “weird” not to, after all, his dad and whole extended family
is circumcised.  But upon further research, we realized that
only about 32% of the United States families circumcise their sons
now, so he will be in the majority of boys, and he won’t feel
“weird” in the locker rooms.

Steep Drop in Circumcisions, New York Times

Also, only about 10% of the world’s population of men are circumcised,
and only in the cultures of Israel, South Korea, Muslim world, and
here in the US is circumcision a routine procedure for newborns.

Fact Checking Routine Circumcision

There is a ban on both male and female circumcisions in the
countries of Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, and more European countries
are also seeking a ban.

German Court Bans Circumcision

There are many reasons that we chose not to cut a part of our son’s penis
off.  First and foremost, I thought I wanted to circumcise because God
called Abraham to do so to his son Isaac.  Upon further research, and
extensive conversation with my Hebrew professor, who wrote his thesis
on Hebrew circumcision, I discovered that Abrahamic circumcision
(Milah) cuts only a small portion of the tip of the foreskin, like a
small gash.  This was a blood sacrifice, but was not foreskin
amputation (Periah) which is practiced today.  If they had practiced
entire foreskin amputation (which was introduced in Victorian timesand
is what American doctors practice today with infants), many children
would have died from blood loss or infection.

Milah v. Periah Circumcision

Motivations for “Medical” Circumcision

Today, still, in the US, about 110 boys die of circumcision surgery
every year. Also, many circumcisions can be “botched.”

Neonatal Circumcision Death Rate Higher than SIDS and Auto Accidents

Here is a thread on Baby Center for moms whose children have had to
undergo re-circumcisions and penile adhesion surgeries:

Re-Circumcision and Penile Adhesion Surgery

Of course the blood on the cross took away God’s command to cut male
penises (and the other blood sacrifice commandments of the Old
Testament.)  I wanted to make sure that I understood God’s commands
properly.  And these passages helped:

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means
anything, but faith working through love.”  Galations 5:6

“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with
his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge
according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither
Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian,
slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3:9-11

It is estimated that over 20,000 nerve endings are cut off when the
foreskin is cut.  (While female circumcision cuts only 8,000, but is
illegal in our country.)  This takes away a lot of sexual pleasure in
the future, as well as can be argued to contribute to erectile
dysfunction.  As you may know, the American Association of Pediatrics
classified male circumcision as a “cosmetic procedure” until about two
months ago when they changed their position to be neither for or
against the surgery.  They did so, in my opinion, so insurance
companies would again pay for the surgery, because insurance companies
had stopped paying for circumcisions due to their previous position.
But it is very important to note that male circumcision is not
actually endorsed by any medical or health organization in the world.

In terms of cleaning an intact penis, we have not had any difficulty.
The foreskin and penis are forged together as one (as a fingernail is
on a finger), so there is no need to retract the foreskin to clean the
penis.  (And also, our son never “sprayed” us on the changing table,
because the foreskin lays his penis down, rather than being exposed
and “up”, if that makes sense).  The foreskin and penis will come
apart naturally when child is between 1 to 10 years, and sometimes later, during puberty.  Every
child is different.  It is actually harmful to retract the foreskin
before it is ready, because this damages the nerves.  The foreskin is
highly functional – cutting the foreskin from the penis eliminates
thousands of nerves that God created for male sensitivity and
pleasure.  During a circumcision, as you can see in the video of the
surgery, the foreskin is forcibly torn off the penis (again, as a
fingernail to a finger, but with many more nerves), and then cut.

(Also, statistics show that there are less cases of STDs in Europe, a
mostly non-circumcised area of the world, than here in the US where
circumcision rates are highest.  And there are no reputable studies
that can affirm the claim that circumcision can lessen your chances of
contracting HIV.  The campaign to circumcise adult men in Africa is

Circumcision and STDs

Intact Infant Care

Here are links to see an actual circumcision to understand the

On Dr Momma and on CIRP.

One of the big reasons some decide to circumcise is that they want the
baby to look like their Dad.  _________, if you ever want to talk to _________
about this, I know he would be very open and happy to give his
opinion.  It came down to the fact that baby penises don’t look like
adult penises anyway, whether intact or circumcised, and when he is
old enough to “look like Dad,” they won’t be comparing penises
anyways, because that would just be strange.  (Or I like to use this
analogy: my husband’s ears are attached and our son’s are lobed, like mine,
but we aren’t going to cut his ears to look like his father’s, so why
would we cut his penis.)

I want to say that, whatever you choose, of course, you don’t have to
defend your decision to me or anybody.  However, I wanted to write
because I thought we would always circumcise, but once I began talking
to a couple people about it and researching circumcision, we realized
that we have the power to give our son this choice over his body.  And if
he chooses to do so, he can when he is 18 years old.  I just wanted to
make sure I knew everything before we made a very informed decision.

(However, adult circumcision can be very traumatizing to men who have
it done because all those mature nerve endings are severed.  Ben
Affleck, the actor, is a man who was circumcised in his twenties and
he has spoken out against circumcision and about the huge differences
between being uncircumcised and circumcised.  His infant son, Samuel,
is uncircumcised.  There are many famous men, actors, politicians who
are not circumcised, too.  Will Smith, Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling,
Heath Ledger, Denzel Washington, James Dean, etc.)

Intact v. Circumcised Penis Sensitivity

Ben Affleck on The Daily Show

Famous Intact Men

I will not ask you what you decided or follow-up to this email; I want
to respect your choices as parents as much as possible.  But please
let me or _______ know if you would like to talk about this further.

Thank you for reading this.

I love you three!,
Amy (with _______ and our son)

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing this letter- this is the exact sort of summarization that I have been looking for. I will definitely be using this with several friends who are expecting baby boys in the near future. I did want to point out, however, that the average age of retraction is TEN years old. This is critically important to note, since many parents may try to force retraction thinking their one-year-old is abnormal. Additionally, doctors who believe this erroneous statistic may push parents to force retraction or recommend circumcision due to “phimosis” when, in fact, their child is perfectly normal. Many men do not even retract until their teenage years when hormones kick in, and some men are never able to retract (normal as long as it is not painful). PLEASE correct this information- thank you again for sharing!

    1. Thank you Joy, yes, I will correct it! My son — I have heard it can go as late as 13 or so, but you’re right, it is critical to be correct on all fronts, so parents aren’t swayed into unnecessary correction. Blessings.

  2. Hello! I love this letter… I just wanted to ask before sending it along if there are any photos of adult penis’ in the links you shared above. I know some people would be extremely offended by this and its something I don’t want to be browsing as well :) Thank you!

    1. Hi, Ryan, I’m glad it’s been helpful. I don’t think any of the links contain graphic material — I agree with you — I don’t want to see that either! I think it is helpful to watch an infant circumcision to understand the careless brutality of it –those links are included. However, it would be best to scour each website to make sure!

  3. Wow!
    You cant imagine how much i looked for something as summarized and authentic sounding as this! I happen to be in a country that never had mutilation of boys but WHO, USAID and UN have just dropped it in (though with lots of criticisms) saying it prevents HIV.
    I’ve had first hand conversations with friends that went into the government “SMC” (thats the brand, i hear, safe male bla bla). All of the3 have confessed the dissadvantages and this would be a good article to their girlfriends who also happen to be friends.


    1. Thank you, David, for taking the time to write a reply — I’m so happy that this post was helpful to you!! Please pass it along!! It breaks my heart that adult men are being told that circumcision will prevent disease transfer, nothing could be further from the truth. Blessings to you and yours. -Amy

  4. thank you for sharing this this letter. I was looking for this kind of content. glad I found. Thanks,.

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