A circumcision question...seriously

First, I’m glad to be back; but who cares.
Secondly: After many years in the system, Mr & Mrs. Drollman have finally adopted a little droll. He’s 3 1/2 years old. We’re undecided about circumcision and would like the input of the TM. Is it necessary at his age? Will it hurt him? Are there benefits to being/not being circumcised? It may look like a joke, but we’re quiet serious about wanting some informed, educated opinions.

:: Why A Duck pulls up a lawn chair and a Zima.
Anyhow. Regardless of the merits/liabilites of cicumcision in general, I would think that 3-1/2 years old would be a terrible age to do it at. I don’t think kids that young have the self-control required to leave a healing wound alone, never mind a wound on one their most prized body parts.

If you’re considering circumcision for religious reasons, I can’t help you there. But if it’s just for looks, I’d say it’s too late.

I think most of your questions are answered here:


:: digs a foxhole next to the lawn chair, dons flak jacket and kevlar helmet…

I’d agree with Why a Duck - too late for it to be an easy procedure, too early for him to understand.

Benefits one way or the other is a highly contended subject, but I’d certainly recommend leaving well enough alone.

Just to help instigate this along, this morning on NPR on the way to work they cited a new study that showed that the female partners of uncircumcized men stood a significantly higher risk of developing cervical cancer. They didn’t give a reason why.

a few secs later… cool, I was able to find a link to a newsarticle on this study:

Please note that if you Google this topic you will find evidence which currently supports either side of this debate. Which is why people are pulling up lawnchairs. Could someone pass me a beer, please?

As you may or may not be aware, this is a topic of rather heated debate amongst some people. However, what you can glean from this is that if there is a whole subset of people out there who feel vehemently that circumcision is not necessary at any age, it’s probably OK to leave your 3 year old uncirc’ed. I think at that age it would probably be pretty traumatic, anyway.

The nocirc site that someone referred you to is that of a vehemently anti-circumcision group.

I have two little boys, both of whom are circumcised. However, in your son’s case, I would leave it alone.

I also heard the news story on NPR this morning about decreased risk of HPV in circ’d males’ sex partners. Another data point is that it’s been conjectured (is that a word?) that circumcision decreases the risk of HIV as well, and could be responsible for some of the vast HIV infection rate differences of Africa vs. the US.

I dunno about the cervical cancer argument–I mean, don’t they allege that a high proportion of sexually active adults have HPV anyway? Well, whatever, I’m no scientist.

I’ve got no problem with circumcision, but with a kid this old I’d leave it be. About half the people I know who have lately had sons chose not to circumcise, so it’s increasingly less likely your little guy will feel “unusual” in the locker room or at his fraternity initiation.

I’ll second that opinion. Well, my opinion is the same and my situation is similar anyway (I only have one little boy).

Actually I agree with Why a Duck, in that he’s too old to leave it alone and too young to understand. At this point, I’d say wait until he’s older and let him decide what he wants to do.

As the parent of three man cubs (can you tell Jungle Book is big at my house right now) I’d like to suggest that at 3 1/2 he’s too old to go through a circ if it is just elective surgery on your part. Lots of parents opt out of the formerly auto-circ. If you’re worried about future locker room confrontations,don’t, trust me he won’t be the only kid au natural out there.

This can be a rabidly fought out question though, don’t get upset by the hype on either side and make the decision that’s right for your son. Try consulting the pediatrician for his opinion.

If you’re not doing it for religious reasons, I’d say wait until he’s older and give him the choice.

If you are doing it for religious reasons, speak to a professional Mohel (Rabbis in your area could give you some recommendations) about how to handle such a thing with a 3-year-old. While rare, there are cases in which a child’s circumcision is delayed, and a professional Mohel should know how to handle them.

Back when I was living in Europe, where few men were circumsized, I knew of 3 different guys (over a period of about 10 years) who were rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night…
seems during a point of sexual excitment there was a “rip” that was rather painful and bloody…and the next day, they joined the ranks of circumsized men.
There was, however, a subtle surgical way to cut just the bottom part so that they had a choice of going covered, or topless - so to speak.

I hear these rips are not that uncommon and, if for no other reason, I thank my lucky stars I at least don’t have to worry about that little surprise happening!

But at age 3 1/2, as Ann Landers would say, “If it ain’t broke (ripped), don’t fix it.”

Arguments about supposed health benefits of circumcision should be put in the context of the fact that Mother Nature put the foreskin there. It moistens and protects the penis in the same way the eyelid protects your eye (though the impact of removing a foreskin is obviously minor in comparison).

Are there any other healthy parts of the body we would cut off in order to improve health?

As for the cervical cancer argument, would we feel comfortable cutting a healthy bit off a little girl in order to protect men from a supposedly higher risk later in her life?

IMO, there are only two reasons for removal:

  • religious
  • actual medical need

Otherwise, please don’t mess with it. Especially at age 3 or so.

Interesting history to this. The habit of circumsizing little boys caught on in English-speaking countries in Victorian times when “self abuse” was thought to be a terrible thing. (Being uncut myself, I must say I don’t know how a circumcized guy can masturbate, but I have no doubt the Victorian moral guardians’ efforts were in vain). It became normal in the US, UK, etc.

In the late 1940s when the UK established a socialized health care system, circumcision was ruled non-essential, so people had to pay for it. As a result, the practice died out, as seems to be happening gradually in the US.

If you’re worried about what other folks will think of him, don’t worry. By the time anyone gets to know a fellow well enough to find out the state of his equipment, they’re going to know him well enough to not care. And while it may be difficult to say what the medical benefits might be for either state, and which is better, the effects are certainly small either way.

With regards to the cervical cancer studies, I’ve heard it pointed out that there are a great many variables to be controlled for. For instance, there’s a correlation between women married to circumsized men, and women who keep a kosher diet. Maybe the real link is that pork causes cervical cancer, for all we know.

One of the reasons I, personally, find circumcision so non-offensive is because the 8 day old baby (when it’s usually done in the Jewish religion) really seems to have no concept of what’s going on the pain involved.

A 3 year old would be different, though. I agree with others that if you have no religious reason, you might as well not.

Boy, a circ thread with a broad consensus! The medical justifications for circ are slight at best. Circing a child this age is a bigger deal. And no one ever makes fun of a child’s noncirc status in the locker room, they’d have to admit to looking!

Look out for the pink flamingos.


where’s jack dean tyler when you need 'im?


I teach three year olds. About ten years ago, I had in my class a little boy (not Jewish) who underwent this late circumcision in the fall, at the beginning of our school year. It took him about a month to physically recover–there were occasional painful moments when he had to use the bathroom. After that month’s time, he was physically recovered. He seemed okay emotionally, but it’s not like I greeted him daily with “So how’s your penis?” The rest of the school year went merrily along, and he seemed fine, he was a bright and happy little boy.
By now he is in middle school. Of course I have no way of knowing for sure, but I have a feeling that his circumcision was not that traumatic, and is by now mostly (if not completely) forgotten.

I agree with the “Not broke-don’t mess with it” opinions here. I have 3 boys, all intact and there seem to be no problems. I personally would not want to subject my 3 year old to a painful procedure that is not absolutely necessary.

Hemlock, I use my right hand, but YMMV.


Hey, why should I care what you do? I mean, it’s no skin of MY nose…