This one goes out to all my male readers, because I have a conundrum and I want your input.
When I was younger, I never really had a philosophical or moral “problem” with male circumcision. It was just a personal or religious decision made by the parents of a male child based on what seemed right to them. In the long run, it posed no serious medical risk and didn’t seem like a big deal.
However, having immersed myself in a lot of random, sex-positive literature, I’ve found that there is a large community of people who are strongly against male circumcision, citing reduced ability for men to self-lubricate, lessened sensitivity, hygiene issues, and a sense of bodily violation by men who were circumcised. Thus, while I don’t fault people for circumcising their kids (after all, they probably aren’t versed in the theoretical or medical arguments that led me to oppose the practice), I feel like the better option is to leave what nature created alone, and would suggest as much to people who were on the fence.
But Carnal Nation brought up an interesting question regarding circumcision in Africa, where HIV prevalence is so high. Apparently, the WHO recommends circumcision as a means of reducing HIV transmission. I am sketchy on the science of this, but you can read more about the general dialogue here. The good thing is, most African men are getting circumcised later, around age 15 or so, when they have the agency to decide for themselves about the procedure. But I imagine they have very little information on the subject, and have simply been told that it will prevent them from getting AIDS. Does this present a moral hazard- making kids feel even more invincible against the disease by circumcising them? And what about their own sexual and hygiene needs? Is the potential for preventing AIDS worth trading off the general health benefits of having the foreskin?
Granted, it is AIDS. And AIDS is a scary disease, and a prevalent one, so I am inclined to think the trade is worth it. But something inside nags at me….
Also, for guys who are comfortable sharing- are you happy, upset, or ambivalent about being circumcised? Has it affected you in any significant way? Looking forward to your input.
Stay cool, queer kids.