Generally speaking, I've had better luck with circumcised men. Since my most serious relationship was with a Jewish man, I spent years assuming that my little baby boys would be circumcised. I gave some thought to it at that point -- what it meant as a sign of the covenant, whether it made sense even if the children wouldn't be raised Orthodox -- but since then I haven't had the opportunity to reevaluate my thoughts on the subject. The only way it enters my consciousness now is when I hear about anti-circumcision activism, which often likens the removal of the foreskin to female genital mutilation. That kind of rhetoric terrifies me. They're not comparable. Period.
So when a close friend told me this afternoon that his sons would never be circumcised, I was surprised. And nervous. I asked why, but I wasn't sure I wanted to know the answer. If he said anything about FGM, I was going to be pretty upset. Instead, he shocked me by offering an incredibly sensible argument against circumcision:
There was a recent study published that uncircumcised men are more likely to end up with STIs and I fear that parents will run with that. If your son knows how to protect himself he doesn't need to lose his foreskin for it. And if he's taught how to clean he'll be clean. And if he's taught that it's ok for his to look different than his classmates' he'll be ok with that, too. It doesn't make sense to change someone's anatomy for your own comfort.
And suddenly, my entire perspective shifted. He's right! Sure, circumcision can reduce the risk of STI infection in men. But using a condom can too, and if we would just instate comprehensive sexuality education maybe we wouldn't need to perform genital surgery on infants. How silly does it seem to surgically alter the bodies of our children rather than just educate them about safer sex?