Circumcision of males involves the removal of the foreskin of the penis. It is practiced in many cultures, ethnic groups and religions as a ritual or just as a social expectation. Some groups circumcise males for religious or cultural reasons, but there are also hygienic reasons that other groups circumcise male infants. In uncircumcised males, “if good hygiene is not practiced, smegma, secretions from small glands in the foreskin, can accumulate, causing a foul odor and sometimes infections” (Carroll, p. 147). However, routinely cleaning underneath the foreskin can prevent this. There have also been some scientific studies showing that circumcision can be advantageous. It might offer some protection from HIV. A study done in Africa found that “the risk for HIV infection in circumcised men was 44% lower…” (M. S. Cohen et al., 2008; Drain, 2006; Morris, 2007; Thomson et al., 2007; Weiss et al., 2000; Carroll, p. 174). Circumsision might also lower the risks for chlamydia, penile cancer, UTIs, and cervical cancer in female partners.
However, circumcision has its risks. Sometimes, however rarely, a surgeon can mess up even the most routine of operations, such as an infant circumcision. In which case, the penis may become deformed and/or dysfunctional. In some cases this could lead to reconstructive surgery, and possible gender reassignment. After evaluating the risks and benefits of male circumcision, I have concluded that if I were to have a son today, I would probably have him circumcised. Factors that influenced my decision are the fact that his father was circumcised, that it is much more sanitary, and it is generally accepted as the norm in our society.
Carroll, Janell L.. Sexuality now: embracing diversity. 3e [ed.] ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.