Circumcision is a hotly debated and controversial topic as far as sexual health is concerned. It brings up issues of prevention, consent, education and cultural beliefs to name a few. The debate is as sensitive as the body part in question, but we think that a basic outline of the two points of view may be helpful for those trying to decide how they feel about circumcision.
I am going to avoid the religious and cultural aspects in favor of circumcision. The other primary reason that people argue in favor of circumcision is health and hygiene. It is has been proven that circumcision can minimize the spread of HIV, HPV and Herpes. Some men have a medical condition in which the foreskin is too tight and causes discomfort, called phimosis. Conditions like this one are treated by foreskin removal. Circumcision’s rate of side effects is small as is the amount of real evidence for the claim that it reduces a man’s ability to feel pleasure.
The other side of the argument, which sometimes seems extreme but has some merit, is that routine circumcision is not a necessary surgery and essentially amounts to genital mutilation if there is not an immediate medical need for it. Circumcised infants are being deprived of their right to an intact body before they are able to consent. The issue of consent is a major one on this side of the argument, particularly because if circumcision is delayed until adulthood it can still yield the health benefits and STI prevention.
Much of this information was taken from the website of Dr. Justin J. Lehmiller a doctor of Social Psychology at Harvard. As he puts it, “…there are compelling arguments on both sides of this issue that make it difficult to state whether circumcision is categorically good or bad. The important thing here is to educate yourself about the different perspectives so that if and when the time comes for you to decide whether circumcision is appropriate for your own child, you are prepared to do so.”