Good intentions; bad results
By Lillian Dell’Aquila Cannon
In thinking about circumcision, I am often reminded that no parent has their child circumcised with the intent of hurting him. They always have the best intentions, often thinking that circumcision is vital to prevent infection or to cement paternal bonding or social status.
Sometimes, however, the circumcision results in greater than normal harm to the child, though this harm is often not seen until adulthood. To what am I referring? Sexual harm, of course. The very nature of circumcision as a modification of our most private parts means that the harms are rarely recognized, and even more rarely discussed. Adult men usually have not seen very many other penises in real life, let alone discussed how they feel or function. They definitely are not discussing any of this with their parents, and even if they did, it is too late to do anything about it. There is a feedback disconnect..
Circumcision survives because we do not discuss such things, but we need to. As a parent, my goal is to do my absolute best by my child. If I knew that something I intended to do might ruin my child’s sex life, I would be obligated to avoid it. In defending circumcision, some might say that “fitting in” or “matching dad” is worth the risk of severe sexual dysfunction, but that is not the parent’s decision to make. The harms and benefits will be borne by the child alone; thus he alone should make the decision.
A mother’s remorse