Erections for Circumcision
This is an uncomfortable topic to write about, but I believe it needs to be said. If you weren't aware, male infants get erections. Why do infants get erections? Physical sensations on their penis such as running water, a diaper or clothing rubbing against their genitals, or as they get older, self-stimulation. If you are the parent or caregiver of an intact male infant then you already know that when an infant gets an erection, the glans (head of the penis) can be distinctly seen under the foreskin. Keep in mind, it is this exact skin, the skin covering the glans, that is removed during circumcision.
There has been speculation from those fighting against circumcision that healthcare providers might be purposely giving newborns erections before circumcising them in order to see where the glans (head of the penis) is located and thus be able to know where exactly to cut the foreskin off. It would take a lot of the guess work out of the "procedure." There is certainly no proof of this. Healthcare providers are not going to tell parents, "First I'm going to give your son an erection which will enable me to locate the exact position of the head of his penis which will make cutting off his foreskin at the right spot a lot easier." My guess is it's one of those things that circumcisers do, but no one talks about it. Here's the disturbing part: On the one hand, you might hope your son's doctor does give him an erection before circumcising him because it will help to ensure that the foreskin is removed at the right spot to expose the head of the penis. On the other hand, you'd be hoping that a doctor was not giving your newborn son an erection, because doctors shouldn't be sexually stimulating newborns. See how disturbing that is? Do you want a doctor giving your son an erection so that he can have the "best" circumcision possible or do you not want a grown man (or woman) purposefully giving your newborn an erection?
Here's where it gets even more disturbing. There's no proof that doctors are in fact doing this; it's just a common sense inference one can make when familiar with intact male genitalia. However, there is evidence that at least one person has done it. In his book, The Surgery of Ritual Circumcision, Dr. Snowman states, "When the penis of an infant is in a state of erection the operation is more easily performed and the dressing more efficiently applied. The manipulation of the organ necessary to grasp the prepuce is generally sufficient to stimulate the increased blood supply requisite for an erection... The Mohel will now, at a glance, observe the exact disposition of the mucous membrane covering the glans." It is not a stretch of the imagination to see how this method would be adopted by medical professionals in order to more easily and successfully cut the foreskin off of a newborn.
There is no other "surgery" I am familiar with where stimulation of the genitals of an infant is acceptable. In fact, in any other situation, this would be considered the sexual abuse of a child. I also find it to be an incredibly vicious thing to do to a baby to give them a pleasurable sensation on their penis and then follow it up with what will probably be the worst pain they will ever experience in their life. If you are planning on having your son circumcised, you need to weigh your options, do you want him to be sexually stimulated so that the doctor can do the best job possible and the chances of negative, painful side effects will decrease, or do you want the doctor to not sexually stimulate your son and make his best estimation as to where the head of the penis is and how much skin to remove? Or, perhaps you could skip the entire dilemma and leave him with a whole, intact, fully functional penis.
Article by Jennifer Williams.
Learn more about the many valuable and pleasurable Functions of the Foreskin.