Circumcision Decision

You know how you take certain things for granted and just assume that your worldview on a particular subject is universally shared by all … or at least by the man you married and who supplied the other half of your kidlet’s DNA? And then you find out that that’s totally not the case … that in fact, said DNA-Contributor has a completely different take on something that’s so diametrically opposed to yours that you can’t even believe anyone would think that way.

That pretty much sums up my pre-baby discussion about circumcision with Stewart. I had taken it as a given, in the way that I take it as given that the sky is blue, the grass (when we remember to water it) is green and that Paris Hilton will eventually do something even more crass and unbecoming than flash her hoo-ha at the paparazzi. In other words, we’re having a boy, so, duh, he’ll be circumcised.

Stewart apparently, was of a different mind altogether.

Here’s me: So after the baby’s born, we’ll get him circumcised in the hospital.

Here’s Stewart: Um …I don’t think we should.


Now that was a head-spinning conversation stopper. I haven’t been stunned so speechless since The Usual Suspects when you find out at the end that KEVIN SPACEY IS KEYSER SOZE! I mean, I just didn’t see that coming! Same here. You have a boy, you circumcise him. Just like you have a bag of double-fudge-chocolate-chip cookies, you eat them. You have a 10 and a face card, you sit tight at the blackjack table. There’s no discussion. You just do it. And frankly, it never occurred to me that we wouldn’t do it. But Stewart was weighing the anti-circumcision point of view. His rationale went something along the lines of: “Foreskin comes standard equipment; why should we make after-market changes?”

He pointed out that foreskin retention was gaining traction. Who knows. For guys, maybe it’s the new black. Actually, it’s thought that 90 percent of guys around the world are unshorn . Even in the U.S., it’s guesstimated that there’s about a 50-50 split between cut and uncut. Of course, I understand man’s natural desire — even pre-Lorena Bobbitt – to avoid sharp objects in that region at all costs. I don’t even have a penis (well, if you don’t count the one I keep in my bag for “emergencies”), and I wince and squeeze my legs together when even imagining this. But damn! Squeamish or no, I was going to do right by our son.

But clipping was clearly going to be a tough sell. You’d think this would be a no brainer since I’m Jewish. But you can hardly play the whole “Covenant between God and Abraham” card when you’ve been a confirmed atheist since … oh, about age 9. And it certainly wasn’t like I was campaigning for a bris. (For those not In The Tribe, that’s when you throw a fabulous party where the baby gets trimmed as the guests eat canapés.) As if. Now I love, love, love to throw parties. You can ask my sister; I’ve been campaigning for Ground Hog Day to be a black tie-worthy event for years! But it had to have been a guy who came up with the brilliantly sadistic idea to throw a major catered affair at your house, a scant eight days after you’ve squeezed a basketball out of your vagina … or been sliced stem to stern and had it removed. Either way, you hardly feel like putting on your party shoes.

Still, it’s not like you can skimp, right? On Junior’s first public outing? Hell no! You’re going to pull out all the stops. And that’s hardly trays of crudite from Costco. So no, I was looking for any way out of the bris. If we were going to do a whole shindig for Junior, we’d wait till his first birthday when I’d be back in my skinny jeans.

But if not religious tradition, I was hard-pressed to figure out what else I could possibly stand on. The standard argument — So That He’ll Look Like His Daddy Down There– held no truck with Stewart. Neither did my point that he wouldn’t look like his peers when he stripped down in the locker room after gym class either. Or that guys also have major body image issues and carry plenty of self-doubt that their peckers are “up to par.” I’m sure even Ron Jeremy had days when he wondered if his alter ego was “sponge worthy.” In the face of all that, did we really need to give our son one more reason to worry that his penis wasn’t good enough?

I even tried to appeal to my husband’s inner rational scientist and broke out the medical research. Studies do show that circumcised boys and men have fewer urinary tract infections, a lower risk for penile cancer and for STDS, including HIV compared to intact guys. Okay, so the risk for UTIs and penile cancer is miniscule to begin with, and you can probably do more to protect against HIV and other STDs with good, consistent condom use. But shouldn’t we set our boy up to have every single advantage possible?

Then Stewart placed his ace. There must be a reason the package came wrapped, he argued. He’d heard that uncut guys reported much greater sensitivity and pleasure during sex. Actually I don’t know how you measure that. Ask uncut guys to have lots of sex, then clip them and have them rate the difference? Frankly, I don’t see a lot of volunteers lining up for that study. But Stewart admitted he sort of wished he’d had more of a say in his own circumcision. “I might,” he argued, working himself into a Clarence Darrow lather, “enjoy sex even more if I had it au naturel.” He floated this idea: By clipping Fletcher at this tender age, maybe we would be shortchanging his sex life … forever. Dangling a little Jewish guilt in front of me — proof positive that he’d been taking notes from my mother! — he deftly pulled this one out: “You don’t want to be responsible for ruining our son’s sex life, do you?”

Ruin our son’s sex life? YES! THAT WAS IT!

And that’s when the most persuasive argument I could possibly muster came to me … the sure-fire way to finally persuade Stewart that in the “snip or not to snip” debate, circumcising would be the kindest cut of all.

“My love,” I said to my husband, sweetly, pragmatically. “If you ever want your son to get a blow job — circumcise him.”

Four weeks after our son came into the world, we did just that. In the pediatrician’s office, with little fanfare, no mini quiches and a whole lotta wincing.

To Fletcher’s future girlfriends: You’re welcome.


  1. I LOVE IT! It all boiled down to the bj’s… Go figure. :)

  2. Ha! Here’s another perspective, though: My gay brother-in-law said that IF I have a son, and IF he turns out to be gay — he’ll be very popular. I didn’t press for more details.

    I’ve actually made the decision that I don’t want my (possible) boy circumcised. Which leads me to the opposite quandary: as a practicing Jew, how do I explain this to Abraham? Harder still, since that conversation is ersatz, how do I convince my very funny, very great, and very liberal rabbi to give the thumbs-up to a bris where there’s no main event?

    Jewish girls (Reform ones, anyway, and I think some Conservative and Orthodox people do this now, too) have naming ceremonies, welcoming them to the religion. I basically want that for Sluggo, with no knife. I have no idea if this’ll fly. But given the choice between keeping a covenant with someone I only know in my heart versus someone who’s swimming around in my belly, my choice seems clear. Sorry, G-d!

    Apologies to anyone who reads this here and finds it in a more expanded form on my blog (or in the Forward, who knows?).

    And Norine, dahlink, as for the uncircumcised bj’s — don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Semicolon, close parens.

  3. Good work! Thank you very much!

  4. your journal so good, it was very useful for me..

  5. That’s actually a terribly sad story, and unless you are going to be giving the blow-jobs personally, what you like to suck on has no importance.

    Have you considered trimming your daughter’s vulva down to what your husband likes chewing on? If guys have to dig their way through vulva flesh to find that little sweet spot, I’m sure a girl can handle a little foreskin. Girls want bald male knobs? Why can’t guys ask the same of girls?

    No matter how well-written, the subject matter should be seen as revolting and stupid as I’m sure an essay on FGM would be. (Yes, I know FGM is frequently far worse. However, it doesn’t need to be worse for anyone to still be repulsed by it. The strange fact is, any suggestion of alteration on a girl is as alien and weird to us as *not* altering a boy. )

    For giggles, just reverse the genders and perhaps the religion of the subjects:

    “My wife was pregnant with a daughter, and though I’m not a strict, practicing Muslim, I still assumed we’d circumcise her. My wife was appalled, having read propaganda about the dangers of female circumcision in western literature.

    No matter what I said, about how much healthier and better it was to circumcise daughters, my wife was adamantly opposed. ‘It makes sex worse for her’ my wife claimed.

    That argument had me beat. But then, in a stroke of genius I said: ‘If you want anyone to marry her, you meed to circumcise her! If you want anyone to suck her clit, we need to cut all the skin away from it!’

    Boom! Argument won! My daughter was circumcised!”

  6. Whisper says:

    What a clever, compelling argument. I’m going to use this if my wife doesn’t want to have our daughter circumcised.

    I’ll just point out that men will be less likely to go down on her if she still has all that weird labia-and-clitoris nonsense.

  7. Oh Norrine… I know you’ve probably got a few emails and such lambasting you for what you did, and I hope you were just spinning a story instead of recounting something that really happened… but if not, maybe something from me will help you see just what you did.

    I had to be circumcised at 20, due to an operation… for months afterwards I had to endure the agony of the most sensitive part of my body rubbing against not exactly smooth material all day long. Do you have any understanding of the pain you get as such a sensitive part of your body is rubbed up and down on any kind of surface all day long? I’m not sure you do… For an example, imagine rough fabric being rubbed over your clitoris all day long… not over the hood, but the clitoris itself. Making you wince a lot? That’s what you put your son through.

    It took months before the skin finally thickened enough for that pain to subside, and when it finally did I was frankly overjoyed. But it’s not just that pain that’s a problem… along with a thicker skin, the nerves become a lot less sensitive.

    You mention about asking uncut guys to take the snip and rate sex afterwards? I’m one of a group who had to be cut after the start of my sex life, and I can confirm for you that it is nothing near as good as it was… the amount of pleasure I receive is crippled now.

    You say that your sons future girlfriends are welcome… but what are you going to say to your son? “Sorry I made sure sex for you was a lot less pleasurable than it could have been because I was determined to have you cut”? I sure hope it’s going to be better than “I did it so you could get blow jobs, because no un-cut male ever gets them!”

  8. This is sickening. I’m at a loss for words.

  9. My humor doesn’t appeal to everyone. I write for those it does. But I appreciate your taking the time to visit my site and comment. Thank you.

  10. Thank you for your very thoughtful comment.

  11. This piece was fabulous. I enjoyed reading it for several reasons. Your writing is witty, friendly, and spot-on. I loved the subject material. As a mother of a (circumcised) boy, I relate to your point of view on every level. I think circumcision is a personal decision, but one I chose too – not from a religious standpoint but from a social standpoint. I think it is probably more of the norm in this country and I want my son to feel anatomically included if he can. Additionally, I think women in this society, as a whole, expect to see a penis circumcised and perhaps are more comfortable when in fact it it. KUDOS on a great essay

  12. Thank you Lisa! I’m delighted you enjoyed the essay. I hope my writing continues to entertain you. Please come back again and see what’s new!

  13. @Amy K, thank you for revealing that you are an observant Jew who questions brit milah, and for putting your daring thoughts in the public domain. Although I have never been a gay man, and live in a provincial town where I seldom encounter gay people, I am nevertheless aware, thanks to the internet, that many gay men prefer intact partners. I do grant that up to now, the vast majority of American Jewish women are likely to be nonplussed when they date a Jewish looking guy and discover that his short arm has a long sleeve. But that could change over the next 30 years. At any rate, an anteater always retain the option of becoming fireman later in life should he wish to remain onsides with the frum.

    The Koran is totally silent about circumcision. If you do not believe in one or more of a personal God, a Chosen People, or a Covenant between God and his Chosen People, then there is no religious reason to circumcise. One thing is certain: in the USA, 100+ years of circumcision among the gentiles means that having a penis that is bald 24/7 in no way signals that the owner was born a Jew.

    There is more to being Jewish than Torah obedience. There is also medical and sexual sophistication. Tolerance of homosexuals. Many great feminists have been Jewish women. Kindness to all living things. Tikkun olam. Brit milah has been on a collision course with much of sociological Jewishness, and the collision has begun. Many Jewish families outside of Israel and North America no longer circumcise, and “intact American Jewish boy” is no longer an oxymoron. If you give birth to a boy and wish to spare him the bris, contact Rebecca Schwartzmann Wald in Facebook. An observant Jewish mother, she owns the blog Beyond the Bris.

    @Dana: your analogy is apt, however blunt the language you employed to exposit it.

    @Norine: the fundamental premise of your narrative is, to put it bluntly, that “no woman will go down on an uncut dude.” American men with PhDs have told me that, but it is nevertheless mistaken. And if it were true that American men who retain all their factory installed moving parts are denied the full range of sexual activities, that would be something to deplore rather than to adapt to. It would be a situation that should be blamed on the superficiality of their sex partners and not on their supposedly socially inappropriate male anatomies. When it comes to the tender moving parts on the end of the penis, the sexual education of Americans, especially the sex ed consisting of conversation with one’s parents and whispered among one’s school friends, is, through no fault of their own, defective and incomplete. The internet has done much to remedy this lacuna, and this is perhaps the main reason why the popularity of American routine infant circumcision is in decline. Hence we can’t be sure that his future ladyloves will all be grateful to you because you pruned his tree branch.

    To all: when anatomy and attitudes are in conflict, I say reexamine the attitudes. Mother Nature deserves the benefit of the doubt.

  14. Assuming this actually happened, and it isn’t a work of satire, I’m not sure I understand this lady’s determination to have her son cut. Usually it’s the father who demands it, and the mother who does everything she can to spare the child. In such situations, I understand that it’s a matter of paternal vanity. Though irrational, I understand that some men’s egos outweigh their reason and compassion. I can’t, however, fathom why a woman would be adamant that her son be circumcised.
    Mrs Dworkin-McDaniel, claims to be an atheist, albeit one who was raised Jewish, so what exactly is her motivation? I’m genuinely confused here. Regarding her statement that women won’t perform oral sex on a man who still has his entire penis, while this might be true in some cases, it certainly isn’t universal. Is this, in fact, her own prejudice that she’s assuming all women share? Anyway, in those scenarios, the problem is with the woman, not with the penis. Circumcising your son to pander to the preferences of women he may meet in the future is foolish indeed. If Mrs Dworkin-McDaniel had a daughter who wanted breast enhancements to appear more attractive to men, I’m sure she , like most mothers, would try to dissuade the girl and convince her that she’s fine as she is. Altering your son’s genitals on the basis that all women are ignorant isn’t fair to him, not to mention it does a great disservice to women in general. It’s her son’s opinion that Mrs D-M should be concerned about, not those of some faceless girls. An intact man can get circumcised whenever he wants, and if he regrets it, then the onus is entirely on him. A man circumcised in infancy can do nothing about it. He has to live with what his parents have done regardless of their motivations. This is perhaps the chief reason why parents should leave well alone, they aren’t the ones who will have to bear the brunt of their decision. Even if they regret it, they can’t undo it, and the chances are they won’t regret it nearly as much as their son will resent it.

  15. Thanks for your measured comment Jason. I appreciate your stopping by. Not everyone enjoys my humor, but I write for those who do.

  16. I appreciate your polite response. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about me, Norine, I read your article and I didn’t understand your motivations. Perhaps I didn’t read it thoroughly enough, but they don’t seem to be faith-based so much as tradition-based. Would this be inaccurate?

  17. Well, I appreciate your polite comment. So thank you. This was never an op-ed piece. It’s a light essay about my husband and I sparring together that I played very broadly for laughs. There was never any real discussion about whether we would or wouldn’t circumcise. Circumcision was always the plan. But that doesn’t make a very interesting or funny story. So, since my husband and I had this mock debate going, when I wrote the essay, I exaggerated our “debate” for its comic value. Sadly, a certain segment of commenters took the essay as absolute truth — as if getting a blow job was the actual reason we circumcised — and didn’t quite grasp that I was trying to win a debate with my husband, by any means necessary. When I told the story, I went for laughs, not absolute truth. Laughter was my ultimate motivation here. Not everyone appreciates my humor and I respect that. I write for those who do. Thank you again for stopping by and commenting.

  18. It’s a very well-written essay. It’s really too bad the writer didn’t have the courage to put her real name on her viewpoints. She wrote this under a pseudonym. I think if you’re going to call someone out by name, you should be brave enough to use your own name when you’re doing it.

  19. Sara Eslava says:

    To put this all very bluntly, my husband is intact and enjoys blow jobs frequently.

  20. Excellent news! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  21. You’re a good writer, but I don’t think you should make light of this subject. Don’t you see that infant circumcision is painful and traumatic? Please open your heart and mind to the truth, become better informed about circumcision, and then use your writing skills to do a piece where you apologize to your son and advocate for the rights of other baby boys. Thank you.

  22. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  23. Kelly McLane says:

    you may have written this for a certain group of people (folks that think genital mutilation is somehow funny?) and your writing style may be witty but the topic at hand is anything but humorous. your husband was right, you should have left his penis alone. you violated his human right to bodily integrity. unless you are the one planning on giving your son blowjobs, you really should have stayed out of his sex life.

  24. Thanks Kelly for stopping by and commenting … and for being civil. Just so you’re aware, my husband and I didn’t really disagree on this. But sometimes a little intellectual sparring between spouses makes for a much better story. Again, thanks for reading and commenting.

  25. Jason Petersen says:

    Anonymous? You’re absolutely positive that Nina Cohen and the short little bio that followed is pure fabrication, or was that simply the best rebuttal you could muster when called out on your nonsense? Even if this was in fact the case, does it somehow negate it?

    Strange how one who saw no problem with having blades taken to the genitals of someone else too small to defend themselves somehow must feel they’re in a position to comment on what constitutes bravery.

    With any good fortune, Fletcher will grow to honorable manhood. Just be prepared for the likely event that he will one day want to know why his own mother wished this done to him, in a day and age when we *did*, in fact, know better. There’s no excuse for ignorance any longer, and for your own sake, I hope you’ve got something better to say to him by that point than your charming rationale you’ve spelled out here.

  26. As it happens, Jason, I know the writer. She and I had many conversations about this topic before she published her essay. So the fact that she chose to address me in an open letter on a public forum and then didn’t use her own name strikes me as cowardly. She could have chosen another form of writing in which it would have been appropriate to use a pseudonym. But I think if you’re going to call someone out, you should do it in the open. I appreciate your stopping by and commenting … and helping to make this particular essay the most popular one on my blog. Many thanks.

  27. I want to thank you Norine…

    Your tongue-in-cheek article about the genital mutilation of your son has prompted me to do something that I have wanted to do for a while now. I have officially become a member of the SOS Baby-Saver club at Peaceful Parenting (

    Also, due to your making light of this extremely sensitive and personal topic, I have also finally become brave enough to get myself an info-pack ( so that I can truly understand what happened to me when I was only days old over 40 years ago.

    Finally, due to your attempt at humor at the expense of yet to arrive, wonderfully intact boys and those boys/men who are unfortunately already altered, I am finally ready to do something about the sense of loss I experience by making sure others are fully aware of the damage a decision such as yours (both the event and the article above) causes to many boys and men in our society.

    My sincere thanks for the push to do the right thing,

    E. Brian

  28. That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing that. I’m so glad I could be a catalyst for your change. Everyone should have a passion. I’m thrilled my writing helped you find yours. Good luck in all of your endeavors!

  29. Well, to be quite blunt, I wasn’t a fan of the essay. But that aside, can someone please explain to me what they mean by a “personal choice?” I always hear the arguments for parents that circumcising is a “personal choice.” It seems to me that what they’re trying to say is that it’s a parental choice. If it was a personal choice, the owner with the body in question (whether it be abortion, circumcision, tattoos, or any cosmetic surgery) would be the one making the choice. I need clarification on this one.

  30. Hi Frank. Thanks for stopping by and responding and contributing something to the conversation other than vitriol. You raise an interesting point. And I’m posting your comment because it does add something new to the discussion. But that’s a conversation that will need to take place on another blog. Much as I’ve entertained the often nasty comments on my essay, in the spirit of a free, open press, to allow everyone who wanted to take a swing at me a chance to do so, this blog isn’t about circumcision, so I won’t be hosting that debate here. Circumcision Decision is one essay of many that I’ve written about being a late-in-life mom and if you took a moment to click around to see what else I’ve written, you’ll know that I’m not on a soap box about this. There’s exactly one essay about circumcision because I’m not advocating for circumcision. I’m all about finding the humor in everyday situations and telling good stories. But go ahead and ask your question on one of the many anti-circumcision blogs. I know you’ll find plenty of answers. Thank you again for stopping by and helping to make Circumcision Decision the most popular essay on my blog. Appreciated!

  31. “Thanks for stopping by and responding and contributing something to the conversation other than vitriol.”

    You’re welcome. As much as I find the practice to be wrong, I do not agree with the slander or vitriol that is placed against parents who decide to do this (as much as I understand and agree with their arguments). Parents do what they think is best for their children. People should not attack the writer for such an essay, but rather ponder the environment we have created where cosmetic surgery on a child’s genitals is not only acceptable, but subject to an essay that makes light of the subject. It is amazing the stuff we find acceptable because of tradition. Also, it is very interesting to note that we find it acceptable to think and write about our infant sons’ penises and future sex lives, where we would cringe at such a topic for infant daughters.

  32. Frank OHara says:

    “but rather ponder the environment we have created where cosmetic surgery on a child’s genitals is not only acceptable, but subject to an essay that makes light of the subject. It is amazing the stuff we find acceptable because of tradition. Also, it is very interesting to note that we find it acceptable to think and write about our infant sons’ penises and future sex lives, where we would cringe at such a topic for infant daughters”

    Yes, I wonder if Norrine would consider writing a similar essay on circumcising girls? Surely, she is up to the task.

    However, I suspect she won’t. That’s a taboo subject while she sees the same thing for a male as entertainment material. I was circumcised shortly after birth and I don’t find entertaining people with it any more acceptable than entertaining by writing about FGM in a comic way.

    Now, let’s see if this makes “the cut” and gets published in the blog.


  33. My husband is not circumcised. And guess what? I thanked his mother for that. Might be too much information, but he also gets blow jobs.

  34. Lucky man! Thanks so much for stopping by to read and comment.

  35. Norine,
    Hopefully this will make it through to the board. You mention that your sense of humor is not appropriate with everyone. I don’t believe that to be the problem as I also have a similar sense of humor as yourself. However, I’d like to explain why so many of us were “disturbed” for lack of a better term. I”m not good at writing, so this article will summarize what I’m trying to say.

    Now let’s suppose I perform electrolysis on my infant daughter’s privates or paid for my teen daughter’s brazilian bikini wax and wrote about it in a witty essay. Let’s say I did this based on my sexual preference as well as the sexual preference of my buddies and the guys I talk to. Let’s say in that essay I wrote “it’s all about the cunnelingus. For my daughter’s future sex partners, you’re welcome!” Think about how creeped out people would be. I’m pretty sure you’d be one of them also. It’s amazing the hypocrisy we allow.

  36. Your comment posted because you’re so polite. Thank you very much for sharing your point of view.

  37. Ed Holcomb says:

    You get me laughing every time. I lost your web address for a while and just found it again. After raising 2 children of our own, we crack up over your stories. Asking the guys to volunteer for the study made me laugh out loud. Please don’t stop because of a few people with no sense of humor and a large sense of importance in the scheme of things. Everybody gets to do it their way. Thats what makes it so good.

  38. Thank you, Ed! I really appreciate your reading and taking the time to comment. It warms my heart that I made you laugh. I hope you’ll visit often!

  39. Greetings again, Norine. And hello fellow commentors! I enjoy all of what so many of you have to say, and am glad to see that Norine has once again opened up this blog to commentary.

    I am the “Nina Cohen” who wrote the essay referred to several times in the commentary above:
    Thank you for sharing it here, friends!

    As I explained to Norine multiple times in our email correspondence, I used a pseudonym not out of cowardice, but out of respect for the men in my life whose penises I discuss in my piece – particularly my brother. I am proud of my writing, and shared my response to Norine’s oh-so-hilarious essay about MGM with friends and family alike.

    Google my real name enough and you will find that my brother’s penis already has its place in academic writing, a fact he does not particularly appreciate.

    But I grow weary of Norine’s derisive attitude towards my choice to protect the privacy of others, and as it is partly on my brother’s behalf that I became a genital integrity advocate, I come out here and now to stand loud and proud by my first published work.

    As for the bio credited to my alter ego Nina, it is true in its entirety, and outs me as me to anyone who knows me in real life. The name “Nina Cohen” is intended to identify me as Jewish (my real name leaves no doubt about that!) as well as to echo the name “Hannah Rosin”, for my own personal amusement. Rosin is a popular journalist who penned an essay on circumcision for The New York Times Style Magazine in 2009, which I am sure you will all find as delightful as Norine’s:

    For more of my activist work, please visit:

    Thanks for reading!

  40. Comments were never “closed” so I didn’t need to open them up again. As the editor’s note on this essay indicates, I’ve always welcomed any commentary that respectfully moved the conversation forward and have posted all comments that were thoughtful, not vicious. Regarding Emily’s contributions to the conversation, here and on other sites, I’ve always maintained that if you’re going to call someone out publicly, as Emily did, you shouldn’t hide behind a pseudonym, no matter how well-intentioned your reason. As I’ve stated before, her original comments, written as a “Dear Norine” letter posted on a public anti-circumcision site, could have been written in so many other ways in which using a pseudonym would have been most appropriate. And if it was that important to protect the privacy of the other men in her life, a straightforward essay laying out her views while concealing her identity and thus those of the men around her, would have sufficed. But when you address someone personally and very publicly, you should step up and sign your real name. I could have “outed” Emily myself. Instead, I’m happy to see that she finally did the honorable thing and put her real name to a position she holds dear. Very well done. As for me, I’m flattered and delighted to be put together with Hanna Rosin, a wonderful writer with a new book out The End Of Men.

  41. Hanna Rosin is indeed a very fun writer to follow. She also wrote a piece called “The Case Against Breastfeeding.”

    She makes it clear where she’s coming from; nonetheless I can’t help but wish she’d switch her cases and write “The Case Against Circumcision” and the “The Case Against The Case Against Breastfeeding”.

    But each to their own. Breastfeeding is one thing; circumcision is quite another.

    I deeply look forward to the day when “parental choice” no longer includes the right to have healthy erogenous flesh amputated from children.

  42. lol, that was hilarious! nice final “blow” to his argument! I don’t have any boys, so thankfully I’ll never have to have this debate, but you are probably right about the future girlfriend.

  43. Before you accuse me as “anonymous” from being cowardly, let me explain why.
    My husband and I easily chose not to circumcise our son. We both believe that it is his choice, not ours (and I believe someday soon, will legally be his choice alone), and in the words of my husband, “it’s barbaric.”
    Ever since he has done his research, he has been unhappy about his parent’s decision to circumcise him, and not necessarily because of a lack of his own pleasure, but for mine. I have suffered for some time now from vaginal pain during intercourse, likely brought on by being a little older and estrogen levels slightly lower (I’m in my 30′s), requiring more lubricant in order to not feel that pain. Research shows that for many women, this issue is worsened because men who are circumcised pull the natural moisture from the vagina while intact males do not.
    I’ve talked to women who have been with both and they overwhelmingly tell me that intact men just feel better than circumcised. I am well aware that their are exceptions of course. But the things they tell me have made me wish I knew what that was like, and I wish I knew what that was like with my husband, who in every other way is perfect.
    My husband is frequently reading posts like these and I do not wish to make him feel worse by seeing my name with this post in the comments. He already feels insecure enough as a result of our research, which is difficult because he has always been a confident lover.
    Leaving our son intact has caused us some pain and grief for what was done to my husband. But as they say, the buck stops here. It is our job to protect our son and be grown ups about it. I know you meant just as well by the choice you made, but more than ever, when I see my son’s beautiful body left whole, I want just as much to say to his future wife, “you’re welcome.” My husband and I are paying for his parent’s choice. So whose pays for my “choice” when it comes to my own son down the road? Certainly not me.


  1. [...] Circum-Decision You know how you take certain things for granted and just assume that your worldview on a particular subject is universally shared by all … or at least by the man you married and who supplied the other half of your kidlet’s DNA? And then you find out that that’s totally not the case … that in fact, said DNA-Contributor has a completely different take on something that’s so diametrically opposed to yours that you can’t even believe anyone would think that way.That pretty much sums up my pre-baby discussion about circumcision with Stewart. I had taken it as a given, in the way that I take it as given that the sky is blue, the grass (when we remember to water it) is green and that Paris Hilton will eventually do something even more crass and unbecoming than flash her hoo-ha at the paparazzi. In other words, we’re having a boy, so, duh, he’ll be circumcised. [...]

  2. Cougar Love says:

    [...] *Circum-Decision [...]

  3. [...] a few weeks ago, on a whim, I entered my essay Circumcision Decision – about convincing my somewhat skeptical husband to go along with circumcising our [...]

  4. [...] And Incredibly Kind April 19, 2012 By norine Leave a Comment Tweet Last month, one of my essays won a writing prize. I’d written a broadly comic account of the “debate” I’d had with my [...]

  5. [...] all we bloggers do is complain about our kids and whine about how hard parenting is. When I wrote a broad humor essay about talking my somewhat reluctant husband into having our newborn circumcised — not really [...]

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