My Son Finally Asked About His Circumcision

Yesterday, my ten year old son asked me if we could look through his baby albums.  Every baby book has that one picture of the new baby, completely stark-naked, right? (Fingers crossed you just nodded to yourself.) When we got to that one, my son looked at it, then looked a little harder at it. Then he said, “Mom, what happened to my penis? It’s all red!”

I swallowed real hard. (My mom-pride doesn’t go down easy and we all know that I feel I made a mistake when I had my son circumcised.) Took a deep breath and said, “That’s where you were circumcised.”

He asked me what that meant.

I told him, “When you were born, you had a covering on the end of your penis called a foreskin. When you were circumcised, the doctor removed that covering.”

“What?!” He was shocked. “You let them cut off part of my penis off?! Why would you do that!?”

I explained to him that at that time most parents did, because doctors told us that we should. I told him they said it would prevent infection.

My ten year old said, “It would seem like cutting my penis could give me an infection. Plus, look at my face, I looked like I was in pain. It probably still hurt then, Mom.”

I said nothing, just listened.

Then he said, “Also, mom, I bet if that skin was there, it wouldn’t hurt sometimes when it rubbed against my underwear. I bet that was supposed to protect it.”

“You’re probably right,” I said.

I had this talk all planned out in my head, but in my mind, he was going to be older. There was more I was going to be able to say. More explaining I could do for myself. More intactivism I could spout about “When you know better, you do better!” that would make everything fine. In my mind, he was old enough that I could say, “Well, your dad was pretty determined,” and it wouldn’t matter because he was going to be mature enough to handle the fact that his dad and I argued about it. I couldn’t take it to that level with an ten year old though. I had absolutely no excuses that would work…

Because at ten years old, the counter arguments he used (when he wrongly assumed I thought I did the right thing) happen to be right. I wondered to myself, “It it really so obvious that even an eleven year old could see the value of being left intact and I was able to be talked into circumcising my newborn son?”

All I could say was, “Actually you’re right, Noah. I was wrong. I’m sorry. If I could take back the choice we made, I would. But I can’t.”

I can’t take back a choice that probably never should have been mine to make.






(Edit: When I first wrote this article, I wrote it saying he was eleven, because his birthday is like RIGHT NOW. But then, for the sake of being very technical, I went back and changed it to ten. Then changed it to eleven thinking I shouldn’t give the impression that he’s younger than he is. Then, I changed it back to ten because of being a stickler for technicalities. Only I missed an eleven at the very end. I hope that explains why it looks like I don’t know exactly how old he is. At any rate… Happy birthday to my son!)


  1. Christy

    What a powerful story. Your son may very well want to talk about this more in the future. You are right to tell him the full truth. Many men are choosing to try and restore their foreskin. While the actual tissue and nerve endings can not be restored, the skin can be stretched over time to cover the glans again, which would help to protect it from clothing friction and regaining sensitivity. It may even be faster for your son to try and restore when young due to more elastic skin, but I’m just guessing. There is much info online about this.

      • Dawn

        There is no way to restore the nerves, but I know many men in the intact community who believe there are benefits of restoring from first hand experience. I would imagine it doesn’t always work.

      • LucidFir

        I have looked at a lot of progress galleries for ‘restoration’, particularly at the before and after, and the comparisons of after to natural.

        Restored foreskin looks close to the real thing. It may not have the nerve endings back, or the ridged band to hold it in place – but it does provide a natural covering for the glans, and this is very important.

        You are incorrect in your belief that it further deforms the penis.

      • Scott

        I have a scar around my penis.
        A big brown ring about a half an inch wide.
        As a youngster I thought this was normal, and every other boy’s penis was the same.
        Turns out the nurse who cut my penis was just learning how to circumcise (butcher) little boys, and I was her first”patient”.
        Thanks Mom and Dad!
        Thanks for not questioning anything like fucking zombies.
        Good job!

      • Keith

        You do not stretch the skin, you encourage new cells to grow between others. I have restored a little, so that my erections are not as taut as a bowstring. Masturbation was then better, but no orgasm in intercourse, as all the Meissner corpuscles were taken away by a greedy ignorant doctor.

  2. Genevieve

    Thank you for sharing this Dawn. Not an easy thing to talk about or share. I felt so much emotion reading this, it made me want to cry. I’m so grateful my daughter was born a GIRL instead of a BOY because when she was born we were planning to circumcise if we had a boy. Now I know better and I thank God I will know better if/when we have a boy. You’re right, when we know better we do better. Hopefully this will be a conversation you have again when he is older and will help solidify for HIM what to do when he has sons of his own. Much love to you and your family!

    • Scott

      Don’t “thank God”.
      “God” is the reason why little boys have their penises cut off.
      This is a religious / Judaism ritual.

      Atheist’s, more than likely, do not mutilate their children.

      • Dawn

        Plenty of Christians and Jews do not believe in circumcision. At this point, it lingers because of money. The proper circumcision of older beliefs did not involve separation. It cut only the small amount that is at the very tip. Not that that is OK with me either for a number of reasons, but what we have now, is not what was once practiced.

  3. Kate

    This is why I was so glad I had a girl. We decided to not find out the gender but I prepared myself for either sex. I had tons of neutral everything. If it was a boy I wanted to opt out of the circumcision but my husband wanted to have it done. If we have a boy in the future I know I will definitely have to put my foot down and just say NO! Thank you for this post!

    • Scott

      Your husband would want his son to “be like him”.
      Your husband’s penis was cut off, so you husband wants his son to “look” like him.
      It’s a stupid guy thing.

      I your husband was a real man he would stop the insanity, and opt out of any circumcision of his son.

      • Dawn

        Please let’s not name call. Real man? I don’t think that is acceptable. I believe it’s fairly commonly understood in the intactivist community that the main reason why men want their sons to be like them has nothing to do with vanity or cosmetics, but because of a strong emotional suppression where they can not face what happened to them as being wrong or harmful, because of what that would mean.

        • Amanda

          Beautifully said Dawn. I think this whole story is great. Thank you for sharing. My husband was born with hypopadiasis and a short foreskin. He wasn’t circumcised because, as his mom said, “he didn’t need it.” She actually said that. Like any baby “needs” it. I praise God everyday for the minor birth defect that saved my husband and ultimately my son from circumcision. I was woefully uneducated about circumcision when my son was born and decided to leave the decision up to my husband. He said no, so I looked up how to care for an intact penis after we came home from the hospital. That started my journey to intactivism.

  4. dave

    As a male, I am so glad my parent’s had mine done. I hear way too many stories from my friends who are in their 40s complain that it smells like stinky cheese, it looks a pig in the blanket, and they have had numerous infections. These are very clean and professional men btw. One has even opted to have his foreskin removed at his age, which really pisses him off that it wasn’t done when he was a baby. Believe me, your son will never remember the procedure! I’m not telling you what to do, but ask a few adult men if they cry when they think of their missing foreskin and i doubt you’ll hear any complains.

    • Lesli

      Your friends with smelly problems are not cleaning themselves properly! More infant males are uncircumcised in the World than are………we are no longer nomadic tribal people who lack information and resources to keep ourselves clean. There is no more reason to remove the foreskin of an infant than to remove the breasts of a young girl………just in case she gets cancer.
      The choice should be made by the one who has the penis……..when he is old enough to know the facts, not just hear from his buddies………few men would choose to have it done so why would they think it alright to do it to a tiny boy who has no say in it.

      • Treena

        I”m sure women would smell gross down there also if we did not clean ourselves. I”m sure glad somebody didn’t cut off my genitals for fear of smelling bad, I simply shower everyday and clean myself, end of story!!!

    • Susanne

      //”I am so glad my parent’s had mine done”//

      Your opinion is invalid in this case, since you have no point of comparison. You have no experience of what it’s like to be intact, so how can you express a preference?

      //”it smells like stinky cheese”//

      This is a lie. The foreskin is not difficult to keep clean. Rinsing will easily prevent the buildup of any odour.

      //”it looks a pig in the blanket”//

      It looks like a penis. It looks the way a penis should look.

      //”they have had numerous infections”//

      I suspect this is also a lie – 80% of the world’s men are intact, and they are not dropping dead with infections, nor having to receive emergency treatment.

      The foreskin is no more susceptible to infection than any other body-part.

      //”One has even opted to have his foreskin removed at his age”//

      Good for him, if that’s what he chooses. It’s his body and he is the only one that should be making that decision.

      //”which really pisses him off that it wasn’t done when he was a baby”//

      That’s irrelevant. No-one can predict what a baby will want when he’s an adult. Your friend is saying that he’d rather *every* man, including those who do not want to be circumcised, had it forced on them just in case? That’s supremely and disgustingly selfish.

      //”Believe me, your son will never remember the procedure!”//

      It’s not about remembering. He doesn’t need to remember it – he will have a daily reminder for the rest of his life.

      //”I’m not telling you what to do”//

      But you’d tell an infant what to do by inflicting your choice on him?

      If you cannot respect the right of an infant to grow up and have a different opinion to his parents regarding his own body, then you are no respecter of different opinions at all.

      //”but ask a few adult men if they cry when they think of their missing foreskin and i doubt you’ll hear any complains”//

      You’ll hear very many men complaining if you bother to listen. Go to NORM, go to Men Do Complain. You’ll find lots of men wishing the choice had been left to them, rather than forced onto them.

      And further, you could do with speaking to some intact men, see how many of them want their foreskin removed. Because I know plenty of men who wouldn’t dream of losing that nerve-centre, and plenty of women who wouldn’t want their men to be circumcised.

    • Martin

      I’m in my 40s, happily intact (I’m living in Europe) and in contrast to your friends I know how to use water and soap. I would be very angry with my parents if they had cut off a part of my penis.

    • edouard

      I live in New Zealand, where most men under 40 are intact. I never hear about foreskin problems. Never hear of a man who regrets he wasn’t done. Never hear of unpleasantness under the foreskin. All reports of adult men regretting they weren’t cut at birth come from the USA, a culture where the natural penis is scorned as disgusting and sexually inferior.

      Susanne, it is astounding how you, a woman, think more clearly about the most sexual place on a man’s body, than Dave can. It is more and more evident that thanks to the internet, the sophistication of younger women now outstrips that of men.

    • Tristen Warner

      Men do complain, the general USA popluation hasnt thought about it. They have no mode for comparison, hell my husband “didnt care” or think it was a big deal until he read the research I did when I put my foot down.

      Its easy to keep clean, its easy to look at numbers world wide and see what the truth is. We dont need to do this to babies. No one is against circumcision, we are against it happening to children against their will. Not allowing someone to have a chance to speak their mind about a procedure that is unnecessary and permanent.

      Mama, that conversation sounds like it was really hard, and you being honest will help. Your son obviously knows he can ask you questions and talk to you. Dont beat yourself up for the decision now, congratulate yourself that you were able to build a relationship that nurtured honesty and trust.
      We all make mistakes, and no matter how hard we try we make really really bad ones. Your honesty though will only strengthen his trust in you.

    • @Dave, Smell? Do women likewise complain about not being circumcised because of smell and infections? (Those pesky UTI’s!) Face it your manhood is gone without your input or control. Would you feel the same if at, say, age 17, your parents drag you to the doctor to cut off half your skin and 65% – 85% of your erogenous fine touch receptors. Ski tight locking down the glans so the receptors it sits on is incapable of activating pleasure (Sex As nature Intended). Your logic is based on not KNOWING what a foreskin IS by not having one, really see one, touch one, see how it contributes to pleasure and orgasm. I knew right away my first girlfriend was having bigger orgasm that I. It was a divine moment when the same was true with my intact boyfriends. Now if a man doesn’t like his scent (musk pheromones), he can place one drop of baby oil under the foreskin. Everyday I remember what the procedure did to me to lessen richness of life – my penis, my body, my sex, my ability to communicate with my body, sperm mobility, pre cum, ejaculate, orgasm, having dissimilar intercourse rhythms. Wouldn’t you prefer to not have to spend dollars buying lube. The foreskin is a surrogate vagina. A healing center that maintains its proper pH and lysosomes, and nourishing emollient. It’s odd that you find scaring of the penis attractive and desirable. Infant circumcision makes the mucosa which includes the glans to have skin thickened scarring. This is evident from my experiences of oral sex, intact and cut. Circumcision removes 5 zones that are capable to reach orgasm with just a vibrating finger (Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project CAN-FAP). Circumcision eliminates the capacity of multiple 5-7+ orgasms with the same erection in 15 minutes- each with ejaculation. I’m angry my doctor didn’t tell me I would lose penile sensitivity when I chose to get cut. And doctors for money, and ignorant brainwashed people, even today, spout nonsense, non truths, and omission of facts (America Academy of Pediatrics AAP). Really, Dave, your comment has men’s bodies being so completely different from women, that women don’t need genital alterations at straightjacket the genitals. Male, like female circumcision removes as much as possible and still be able to procreate. Circumcision sexually handicaps.

    • Mary Lanser

      oh Dave…’s easy to say those things for a circumcised man because he doesn’t know any different and that’s okay because it is a very difficult thing to really think about when considering what is done to a baby boy when his genitals are unnecessarily surgically altered at birth without his consent and against his will. Of course you will defend it….why wouldn’t you? The alternative is pretty painful to acknowledge. Try watching a typical infant circumcision and tune into the emotions of the baby. If you cannot pick out the signs of trauma, stress, and pain……you are distancing your emotions in an attempt to justify what was done to you. Every person deserves the right to the natural normal body they were born with…..and NO ONE should have the right to proxy consent to an elective non medically necessary genital alteration surgery on another human being….no matter how young they are! It’s okay that you don’t “complain”…… but you don’t speak for other men who DO complain and feel violated as a defenseless infant. It’s a human rights violation to do this to another human being whether it be a male or a female….. and although in the U.S. it is actually illegal to cut the genitals of a female, the male infants in the U.S. are not equally protected which is very wrong. This isn’t about YOU….. this is about innocent infant boys who are unnecessarily surgically altered in their normal healthy genitals without any medical justification at all and it happens every day in the U.S.

      • Dawn

        “This isn’t about YOU….. this is about innocent infant boys who are unnecessarily surgically altered in their normal healthy genitals without any medical justification at all and it happens every day in the U.S.” I agree.

    • CircEsAdreim

      “As a male, I am so glad my parent’s had mine done.”

      Yeah, well – this is a common reaction among victims. Here’s why:

      “Why Most Circumcised Men Seem Satisfied”


      “I hear way too many stories from my friends who are in their 40s complain that it smells like stinky cheese,”

      Well, that’s just silly. Everyone’s genitals smell if they go more than a day unwashed.


      “it looks a pig in the blanket, and they have had numerous infections. ”

      Pig in a blanket – they wouldn’t say something like this; that is YOU talking.

      As far as the ‘infections’, most of the time – specifically in America – that is caused by ignorance with regard to the proper care of a whole penis, not by foreskin. Forced retraction and cleaning the genitalia with soap are the main culprits in so-called ‘foreskin problems’. Funny how the rest of the world’s intact men (which happens to be MOST men in the world) generally aren’t overwhelmed with all these horrible ‘foreskin issues’. Perhaps they know something many American men don’t, huh?

    • Lo

      oh bullshit, that’s just the excuses that cut men make to reconcile what’s happened to them. for many years, uneducated doctors were advising parents to retract the baby’s foreskin and clean it with soap which is what leads to infections, the foreskin is NEVER to be retracted until it happens on it’s own which can take many years. my 22 year old son is perfectly, normally intact and he is thankful and grateful that his mother protected him from the KNIFE and the greedy doctors who cut and traumatize our children because of the profit it generates for them. do you know that foreskins are sold and used in many products? do you know that the majority of the world’s male population is intact? how come they’re not all dropping like flies from all these so called infections? are american penises inherently problematic, that our boys need surgical correction at birth? no, i don’t think so. this barbaric assault on our precious newborns continues for one reason…….$$$$$$$. WAKE UP.

    • Roze


      For the same reasons I recommend you to encourage your wife to get circumcised

      I am a happily circumcised Muslim woman. I don’t have a smelly piece of skin covering my clit and am better off without it. I chose to have it removed when it gave me some problems including a bad smell which my husband found irritating and often complained about when we had oral sex. It also gave me painful irritations once in a while. My sex life has since improved greatly. And its good to know that my religion Islam demands it, Even western women are going for it under the name of hoodectomy. Here’s a great site about it –

  5. Tiffany

    HUGS Mama. Sounds like your son is pretty wise for his age and even though it doesn’t change the situation I’m sure he (or he will when he’s older) understands that you made the best decision you could with the info you had at the time.

    • Natasha

      I caught that 10 year old to 11 year old discrepancy too. Good story though, and I do think most boys/men would be or are shocked and horrified to realized that a part of their genitals have been surgically removed. As for Dave’s friend’s, I can guess that if they are american males in their forties, they could very likely have issues with being intact since our culture, to this day, loves to talk about how nasty and infected natural males are. The reality is though, that natural male genitals are not nasty or more prone to infection. Natural, intact male genitals work as they are designed to and provide a wide array of benefits to the males and females in a sexual relationship. Now, for the stinky ones, I am sure they are having hygiene issues, a diet that needs adjusting, or they are just having issues with the natural smell of genitals. Women have certain smells too. It should never be repulsive though, so if it is, he needs to evaluate his diet, health and hygiene and possibly see a dr. because being intact does not equal nasty or smelly for men or women.

    • Dawn

      Hahaha! He turns eleven tonight. So, I wrote eleven at first then thought, well, he’s technically still ten, I should go back and put it in there because of technicalities. Hahahaha! Thank you! I can’t edit it now though because then your comments won’t make sense. 😉

  6. Cynthia

    Hi Dawn 🙂
    You gave great answers to your son. You’ve apologized. I think that’s the best anyone could ever do 🙂 Remember to forgive yourself 🙂 and someday in the distant future when he is expecting a child, you can gently remind him of the opportunity to make a different choice for his son 🙂
    Hugs 🙂

  7. Cynthia

    Hi Dave,
    I’m sorry you feel horror and fear about possibly having an intact penis. Since I’m in a relationship with an intact man I can tell you I have never encountered the ‘stinky cheese’ or ‘pigs in a blanket’ dread you seem to express. Cleanliness seems no problem with my fiance, and visual beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. I wonder why you seem to have no memory of the circumcision? Or why your reaction is so strongly negative about the intact penis? Just askin’ !

  8. wherever

    Dave, if you’re American, I seriously doubt that you have 40 year old friends who aren’t cut, unless you’re living abroad now. Men that age in America were almost always circumcised. “Stinky cheese” and “pig in a blanket”? Sorry, you sound like a troll that is making this up. Infections in men are rare. Women get them at a much higher rate than men (intact or cut) do. 80% of the world’s men aren’t cut. Do you really think that millions of men around the world all hate their foreskins?

    Stop treating a natural part of the human body like an abberation in order to justify your mutilation.

  9. Krystina Eron

    I feel this story to my deepest core. I also had my son cut due to pressure from his father and the medical community. Every time I think about it now I want to cry. I KNOW I made the wrong choice and took something away from him that was his choice to make. I dread the day when my son ask more details. We are getting to that point and he is only six. I babysit a intact little baby and he has asked me why his penis looks different. So I just simply told him that he has skin that didn’t get taken off because it is healther to leave on. He didn’t ask more questions yet but I could tell he was thinking about it. I feel your pain momma!

  10. gae

    Thank you for your honesty. I do NOT understand why anyone would circumcise. It is barbaric and cruel. I have two sons AND I was married to a Muslim. I did not allow ANYONE to touch my boys. Their father wanted circumcision and I SAID NO. I respect religious beliefs but this was not a matter of ideology but of me altering a part of my boys’ bodies to make a deity happy? When we separated, the no circumcision rule was put into the custody orders – and yes, the judge was happy enough to agree to it. He has lived with the decision and it doesnt stop him loving his sons. My boys are now 11 and 15 – both happy and healthy. Neither has ever had infections. Teach proper hygiene and there should never be a reason to practise mutilation.

    • edouard

      Americans are circumcised when they are 1-2 days old. Most adult Americans never saw an intact penis when seeing a diaper being changed. Most American men saw nothing but cut in school and pool locker rooms. Most American women have only dated cut guys. The result is a mindset that views the natural penis as sexually offputting, even disgusting. Parents assume that if their son keeps his foreskin, he will be ridiculed and bullied by other boys. Women will reject him as a date. Snooki recently said on the Kimmel show that she will circumcise the boy she is pregnant with, in order for him “to have a normal sex life.” Snooki said out loud what millions of American parents think but dare not say.
      My mother did not circumcise me because having grown up in Europe, she found the circumcised penis weird and sexually off putting. But she said nothing to me until I was 19, and did not really open up until I was nearly 40. I felt very self-conscious for years, but am now very glad I have all the sexual equipment God intended me to have.

  11. Melissa

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s women like you and their willingness to share their stories of regret that helped save my son (and me) from going through that.

  12. Emily

    Thank you for sharing. Its very powerful. My husband also felt strongly about getting our 1st son circ’d. He worried he would be teased when he got older. I stood up for my belief that circ is wrong and we ended up leaving both boys intact. I don’t know how he feels about it now, we don’t talk about it any more, but he never pressured me to circ our 2nd boy. I have many many friends who circ their boys and i hope in time people will become more educated on the topic and it will stop all together. I also hope they ban it just as they have female genital mutilation.

  13. I have seen this post going around and around. I have seen it get all sort of commendation. Still, I have put off reading it. I just could not bring myself to do it.

    My son is 5 and it has been only recently that I learned the truth about what I did to him and it is painful and still raw.

    When I saw this come around again today I decided to read it. I knew I would sob. I did not though. Instead, I was left with a heart sick feeling of the deepest regret that sits at my very core. I dread this conversation and have no idea how I will explain it either. You have reminded me though, to be honest and to apologize.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Somehow, knowing that I am not alone helps.

    • Dawn

      Thanks for YOUR heartfelt reply. I really think that when it came down to it, I didn’t want him to feel like I thought there was something wrong with him either. So, I tried to keep things less emotional than how I felt inside. You know?

  14. Thanks to the author for sharing this personal account of her son’s reaction. I was seven years old when I learned that I’d been cut, and the knowledge when through my body like a horrible physical shock. memory of the event perhaps?

    I tried hard while my mother was alive to converse with her about this, but the level of denial and guilt was difficult to break through.

    These experiences caused me to become an intactivist, working hard to prevent this from happening to others; working toward a day when children are rightfully protected from strangers surgically tampering with thier still forming genitals.

  15. Aaron

    When I finally started researching circumcision I was pretty devastated; I didn’t speak to my mom for almost two years. It took until I was in my twenties to gather the nerve to even read about it. I liken that to a person who used to have a disease, and rather than going back to the doctor for a follow up they avoid it because they’re scared to know what the doctor might say. I was scared to research circumcision because I didn’t want to know what I had lost. Of course, I can only imagine now. I empathize with the young boy who is hurt by his underwear. I can only wear certain kinds of underwear or it pains me to walk. Why would anyone in such an advanced society even conceive of hurting a child like this?

  16. januar

    its so tragic. but hmm… those don’t completely sound like a 10 yr olds thoughts and words. and it’s not a “probably” as far as a parent not having the right to make that choice for a boy! yes, infants are people too… even males!!!

    • Dawn

      Januar, if you followed the blog regularly, you’d know that my son has exceptional gifts. He reads at college level and is going into sixth grade. So, perhaps not a normal response for a boy his age, but never the less the EXACT response. I did not alter for the sake of the story. He is ridiculously gifted and also a highly sensitive boy as well.

      • Elisabeth

        Sounds pretty normal to me… but then, I’ve always talked openly with my children as well. My boys gifts are more in the math and science area than reading, but I understand the fun and challenge of raising gifted, sensitive children. They certainly do make us start talking about serious issues long before we think they should!

        Hugs to you, Mama. You did well in your explanation to him. The topic will recur over the years as his level of understanding (even a highly gifted 11 year old is still an 11 year old… some areas of understanding still require time and maturity) increases and deepens. Keep doing what you are doing… being honest, being real. And it’s okay if he sees you cry. Our kids need us to show them these examples… that it is okay to cry, that it is okay to know you were wrong, that it is okay to apologize. It makes them better people to know their parents make mistakes, too, and to have a proper model for how to handle it when they make the mistakes they will inevitably make in life (we always hope different mistakes than we made, but all humans make some mistakes).

        • Dawn

          You know, even since that last discussion, he has asked more about it. And when I’ve been on websites learning, he asked me to click on the restoration info, though he didn’t ask me about it at all. I do know he was curious and has more questions. I don’t want to push it and I don’t want my feelings/beliefs to impact him. I don’t want to push any questions. When he’s ready, I know we have a good enough line of communication… Thanks for bringing that up.

  17. Todd Boyle

    Circumcision is a part of the religious insanity. The “god” thing. I didn’t circumcise my two sons. The idea seemed idiotic and completely unnatural.

    That being said, circumcision reduces the transmission of AIDS by some percentage. They’re doing circumcision programs in some African countries for that reason. I never knew this until recently. Still, seems like an unjust, invasive, unnatural thing to do to a newborn and I still wouldn’t do it.

    • Susanne

      Todd, you may be interested to know that the studies showing the “benefit” of circumcision in the halting of HIV have been heavily criticised within the scientific community for showing very heavy bias at virtually every stage (sampling as well as methodology). Condoms still need to be used, which means that circumcision is irrelevant. Sadly, education (which is PROVEN to stop the spread of HIV) is being neglected which has meant an INCREASE in cases of HIV in areas that have seen this circumcision drive, as men wrongly think they’re protected by circumcision alone. They’re not being educated, they’re not being informed that they still need to use condoms – intact or circumcised.

      And why is education being neglected? Because keeping people in the dark is probably the only way you’re going to get them to part with one of the most sensitive parts of their body. If you tell most men they can either keep all their sensitivity and use a condom or keep only some sensitivity and still use a condom, with virtually no difference in protection, what would most choose?

      There’s absolutely no rational justification for circumcising a healthy infant. If an adult man is convinced it will reduce his chances of contracting HIV, the choice is his to make then. No-one should be forcing this decision onto anyone else.

    • Hawk

      Don’t believe the hype. Follow the money trail. Circumcision as an ‘inoculation” to prevent the transmission of HIV is a sham. Indeed, it has been statistically proven to help spread the virus both because of a lack of education (circumcised men believing they have a lower chance of contracting the virus) and the fact that Langerhans cells in the foreskin may actually help fight viral infection. Check out all the great work the Whole Network has been doing to help spread the word at the International AIDS Conference 2012.

      • Lindsey

        I just want to clarify The Whole Network was not at the AIDS Conference this year. I was there in person, no one from that organization was in attendance. Our Sons, Stop Infant Circumcision Society and Intact America were there. It was a great event!

      • Intactivst Mom

        Dr. Momma and Saving Our Sons are the public voice of intactvism. Their pages within The Intact Network are going strong, I would encourage everyone to find your local chapter and get involved! They are who you will see at public events, sharing true and factual information with the public!!

        • Melanie

          Dr.Momma, Saving Our Sons,The Intact Network..LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Kind, caring, helpful, RESPECTFUL…they go above and beyond to spread the baby saving love. My go to’s for any and all intact related info!

    • PP

      Would recommend checking out some of the research collected at on the topic of circumcision and HIV (and the trials in Africa).

      And yes – the International AIDS Conference as others mentioned was an exceptional event. We had individuals outside all day, every day (in the scorching heat!) from several of The Intact Network chapters ( as well as from SOS ( and peaceful parenting ( and David all the way from Florida – We had 6 interviews with the Washington Post, 2 with Reuters, and thousands of conversations with those at the conference. It was a powerful, life-altering week!

      You can view photos from the event at Saving Our Sons:

      • Dawn

        Peaceful Parenting- I’m super annoyed because your comment ended up automatically being sent to the spam box by the “spam filter” with wordpress… which means… Well, you know what it means. I’m so sorry that people are so afraid of your message of truth that they have to look away from it.

  18. Lia

    I’d be really interested to know if your husband has talked to your son about his circumcision since the father is the owner of a penis and the one apparently who was so adamant to have the procedure done on his son. I’ve noticed in the comments a number of mothers who refused or regretted having their sons circumcised, but their husbands wanted it done. It sounds as though American men are the ones who need to be drawn into this kind of conversation and educated about the realities of circumcision.

    • Dawn

      My husband is not the child’s father. I was married before. I really have no idea of my ex-husband’s view on it. I am fairly certain he hasn’t given it another thought. My HUSBAND deeply wishes that he was not circumcised and would not have circ’ed either if our daughter had been a boy.

      • Dawn

        Also, there are many intactivist fathers and males out there, but our readers are primarily female on this blog, which is the reason for most of the maternal responses. 🙂

        • edouard

          Dawn, on the whole, American women are ahead of American men, when it comes to understanding the most masculine thing there is, namely the tip of the penis. Women use the internet to learn more about penis and foreskin. Men assume they already know everything, simply because they have a penis. Nearly everything I now know about the sexual drawbacks of circumcision, I learned after I turned 40, mostly by reading posts and comments by women. In now way does my being intact guarantee that I understand the advantages of being intact. I had to think and learn like you ladies. In fact, being a str8 man is a major handicap, because the only penis I will ever experience is my own. Any woman who has dated 3-4 intact men probably knows more about intact than I do.

  19. Michael

    It’s not exactly clear from your story that your son understands that it wasn’t your fault. It’s so important that he not blame you. Obviously you can’t blame dad for his ignorance, but you can blame your doctor for not telling you what s/he should have. We trust our doctors to inform us about things like this. If you had asked to have an equivalent procedure done to a daughter, the doctor would have refused and no doubt would have told you why it was such a bad idea. It’s a weird gender discrimination our culture’s adopted. It’s also a little harder because understanding this issue requires effort because everyone just acts like it’s normal in America.

  20. Annie

    I have 3 boys – the first was circumcised, the next two were not. I didn’t know what circumcision was until I found out I was pregnant with a boy. I knew immediately I did not want to put my baby through an unnecessary procedure. My husband insisted on it being done. I will forever wish I had had the strength to protect my child from this. The circumcision was extremely painful and traumatic, and our baby ended up with stitches in his penis to stop the bleeding. My husband was with our son during the surgery and described it as inhumane. He now regrets making the decision to circ.

    I recently talked to all 3 of my boys together about the difference in their penises. They were 7, 6, and 4. I explained why we choose circ for son1 (dad wanted it done, dr said it’s healthier) and why we didn’t circ son2 & son3 (found out it’s not medically necessary, wanted to leave decision up to them). Son1 asked to see a picture of what his penis looked like when we was born. I apologized to him for taking away his choice. He said, “It’s ok mom, I like the way I am.” I did not mention any of the harsh realities – how the procedure is done, what is lost, etc as I don’t want him to think there is something wrong with him.

    • Annie, I knew eventually that circumcision was the biggest mistaken choice I have ever made. I can point to the many diminishments and slight erectile disfunction at age 21. Still nothing prepared me for the truth became available o the www. At age 45, I recall I could only read 2 truths of Gary’s Lost List which had me running aimless around the house until I calmed down enough to read two more truths.

      I suggest amassing all the information leading to the circumcision of your 1 son. So common to have lost medical records. What tool was used. The cost. Just maybe anything that would be useful if he chooses to sue. A consent form can be signed but that doesn’t necessarily mean proper consent was given.

  21. Pingback: “My son asked about his circumcision | Coffee and Kids

  22. Pingback: For Parents who Regret Circumcision: Knowing More

  23. Tora Spigner

    As an RN and a mother, I chose to leave both my daughter and son intact. They have a right to keep the body parts that nature gave them and to use them when they are adults like nature intended. They are only children for so long but adults for a much longer time. When you alter someone’s genitals against their will, they will never experience their body as it was meant to be. I want my children to have a better life than me and their father, that includes their sexual lives. Keeping them intact is the first step and keeping dialogue open about sexuality is the 2nd.

    • Dawn

      Feel free to explain why and I can give you more information. I am not a liar. And even though I am all for people questioning what they read on the internet, I encourage you to ask more questions before making such judgement about me. One of my most important policies is to live a life of integrity and I ALWAYS follow through with that in my work as a writer.

        • Dawn

          Well, unfortunately, you are incorrect. I wish it was me trying to make a point but it was not. This is how this happened. My son’s intellect is improbable as well. He reads at a 12th grade level (perhaps beyond at this point) and is in the 99th percentile for every kind of test in school year after year. He is a very intellectual child, a skilled communicator and highly emotionally sensitive. He was also raised AP style in that he trusts me and knows he can talk to me about anything and usually does. I will give you that this response would probably not be one every mother should expect, but it never-the-less, exactly how it happened.

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