Falsehoods & Facts – Newborn male circumcision (genital cutting) is the most common surgical procedure performed in the U.S. But it is a common misconception that there are health benefits to it. The truth is no medical society in the world recommends it, including the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Falsehood – Circumcision is safe and harmless.

Fact – Surgically removing part of a baby boy’s penis causes pain, creates immediate health risks and can lead to serious complications. Circumcision complications can and do occur in even the best clinical settings. This invasive procedure carries serious health risks, including infection, hemorrhage, surgical mishap, death, and life-long sexual difficulties.

Falsehood – The Foreskin is Gross

Fact – Intact America often hears from women that the foreskin is gross looking. We call this the “Eww” factor. The fact is, both the male and female genitalia are a marvel with many qualities worth admiring. Many women wonder, “how does a foreskin feel?” Women who have experience sex with a man who possesses an intact penis say that it feels much more pleasurable. The gliding action aids in intromission (insertion) because the foreskin rolls back with its internally lubrication and without the rubbing that a woman feels with a circumcised penis. Also, penises with foreskins are slightly larger in girth. This stretches the vaginal wall a little more. Most woman say the prefer a chubbier penis to a longer one, which can sometimes strike their cervix. But more importantly, an intact man, with his greater sensory input, can delay orgasm as long as he wants.

Falsehood – Circumcision is just a little snip.
Fact – Surgical removal of the foreskin involves immobilizing the baby by strapping him face-up onto a molded plastic board. In one common method, the doctor then inserts a metal instrument under the foreskin to forcibly separate it from the glans, slits the foreskin, and inserts a circumcision device. The foreskin is crushed and then cut off. The amount of skin removed in a typical infant circumcision is the equivalent of 15 square inches in an adult male.
Falsehood – Circumcision is recommended by doctors.

Fact – While newborn male genital cutting (a.k.a. circumcision) is common, no professional medical association in the United States or anywhere else in the world recommends routine circumcision as medically necessary. In fact, leaving boys intact is becoming the norm in the U.S., as parents realize the risks and harms of circumcision

Falsehood – Circumcision is painless.

Fact – Circumcision is painful. Babies are sensitive to pain, just like older children and adults. The analgesics used for circumcision only decrease pain; they do not eliminate it. Further, the open wound left by the removal of the foreskin will continue to cause the baby pain and discomfort for the 7 to 10 days it takes to heal.

Falsehood - He won't remember it.
Fact – About one in five men say they have an early recollection, “snapshot,” or night terrors that they believe are about their newborn circumcision. But whether remembered or not, it is still traumatic and permanently alters the developing brain. Many people can’t recall horrific events in their lives, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t suffer at the time, nor that they would have avoided the experience if they could have.
Falsehood – He'll be ridiculed if he isn't cut.

Fact – Times have changed and so has people’s understanding of circumcision. Today, although the popularity of circumcision varies across geographical areas, many baby boys born in the U.S. will leave the hospital intact. Most medically advanced nations do not practice child circumcision. Three quarters of the world’s men are intact.

Falsehood – A boy should look like his father.
Fact – Children differ from their parents in many ways, including eye and hair color, body type, and (of course) size and sexual development. If a child asks why his penis looks different from that of his circumcised father (or brother), parents can say, “Daddy (or brother) had a part of his penis removed when he was a baby; now we know it’s not necessary and we decided not to let anyone do that to you.”
Falsehood – Circumcision cannot be compared to female genital mutilation.

Fact – Rationales offered in cultures that promote female genital cutting—hygiene, disease prevention, improved appearance of the genitalia, and social acceptance—are similar to those offered in cultures that promote male circumcision. Whatever the given reasons are, forcibly removing healthy genital tissue from any child—male or female—is unethical. Boys have the same right as girls to an intact body.

Falsehood – Opposing circumcision is religious and cultural bigotry.

Fact – Many who oppose the permanent alteration of children’s genitals do so because they believe in universal human rights. All children—regardless of their ethnicity or culture—have the right to be protected from bodily harm.

Falsehood – Circumcised boys are healthier.
Fact – There is NO link between circumcision and better health. In fact, cutting a baby boy’s genitals creates immediate health risks from hemorrhage and infections. The foreskin is an important and functional body part, protecting the head of the penis from injury and providing moisture and lubrication. Circumcision also diminishes sexual pleasure later in life.
Falsehood – Male circumcision helps prevent HIV.

Fact – Claims that circumcision prevents HIV have repeatedly been proven to be exaggerated or false. Only abstinence or safe sex—including the use of condoms—can prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.