Intact America [relative prevalence of circumcision]

Is it true that that circumcising boys in Europe is unheard of?

No (after all, there are Jewish and Muslim communities in most European countries), but the so-called secular circumcision - where boys are circumcised for the medical benefit (either real or alleged - there’s a lively debate about the medical pros and cons) is much rarer in Europe than it is in the U.S.

A couple of differences in culture between the U.S. and the U.K. that most Americans and Britons aren’t even aware of is that most American men are circumcised while most British men aren’t and most Americans are buried when they die and most Britons are cremated.

Unheard of? Of course not.

Other than religious circumcisions, though, it’s much rarer than in the US. I’d be pretty surprised to hear that any of my friends were - not that it’s the sort of information that comes up in everyday conversation.

Well, this european had never heard of circumcision for anybody except Jewish boys. I was quite shocked and appalled when I learned about the American practice (on this board no less).

I saw cemetery’s when I went to England…

Yeah, but didn’t you notice that most of the graves looked pretty old? Here’s a Wikipedia article with statistics on cremation in various countries:

I have a clash in my family. On my Dad’s side they go for burial, on my Mum’s side cremation.

My Mum always say if she goes first and my Dad buries her she will haunt him in retribution :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, he did say “most” and not “all”.

Sounds like a burning issue.

They’re all fairly full. Crowded country = more cremations.


And by the way, you might be surprised how many American men aren’t even sure if they are or aren’t circumcised. It’s so common, many Americans have no idea how it looks uncircumcised.

(French male here)
Are you guys telling me that most American males are circumcised ? :eek:

That’s my understanding (and, from what I see out of the corner of my eye in locker rooms, experience), though, I gather that it’s not done to baby boys as automatically now as it was a few decades ago.

Most. For most of the past half century, the vast majority.

Edited thread title to indicate subject.

General Questions Moderator

Quoth Schnitte:

I’m not sure that’s an accurate description: I imagine that most American males were circumcised, not for any alleged health benefit, but for more nebulous reasons like “so he’ll look like Dad”, or even just “because that’s the way it always is”, with no deep thought put into it at all. And even the folks who claim it was because of the health benefits, at least some were just shopping around for a reason why they did it for no particular reason.

Was it started as a way to “cure” masturbation?

Yes. Often done when the boy was older (say a preteen or teen) and still without anesthetic as punishment. Girls got their clitoris sprayed with acid for the same reason. Girls now have the right to intact genitalia while boys do not.

Supporting anecdote:

I remember as a teenager at summer camp, we had a sex education lecture (I’m not sure why that was appropriate for summer camp, but, whatever). I remember the guy talking to us discussed the fact that some guys were circumcised and others weren’t. But he didn’t exactly draw pictures or anything, so I wasn’t sure which I was. But I didn’t remember anybody chopping off bits of me down there, so I was starting to convince myself that I was uncircumcised until eventually I realized the truth, that I had been circumcised at birth. (Nobody ever told me that they’d done that to me. And it just never came up. And my penis didn’t look different from any of the others I ever saw.)

And whenever I’d seen an uncut penis in art (a painting or sculpture, for example), I’d think how odd that those artists must’ve felt a need to censor themselves or something (since they didn’t make the penis look like any penis I’d ever seen before, but instead made it look much more nondescript, i.e., uncut).

It was a quite a long time until I found out what an uncut penis looked like, but I’m sure these days with the prevelance of internet porn, young American men must surely know better than I did back then!