I was circumcised at eight days – I have regretted it as long as I can remember

This story was originally posted by PrinceBishopofFulham On the Guardian Website on

Born into a christian family, I was circumcised at eight days, and my mother as an anglican was ‘churched’.
I have regretted it as long as I can remember, and feel deeply about it.
I have read all nine pages of comments up till now, and am not surprised that some circumcised men have claimed ‘it never did me any harm’ or boasted ‘none of my partners have ever complained’ as to admit otherwise is difficult and embarrassing.
It has caused me problems throughout my life, from minor discomfort at school where only the jewish boys were cut, to continuing problems of sexual dysfunction.

Circumcision is an intolerable abuse of children, it is permanent and irreversible, as against the laughable comparisons with hair cutting etc. A sensitive and functional part of a child’s body is removed without their consent.
Many of the apparent arguements in favour from medical sources are not applicable till a boy is sexually active, by which time simple hygiene and condom use are much more effective. At an age of 16/18 a young man can give informed consent to circumcision if he freely wishes. Many, [but not all], of the quoted medical conditions like phimosis etc can be solved in other ways including gentle stretching as some parents have commented here earlier, but if infant circumcision is ever necessary on strict medical advice then alone there is a case for it.

What there is no justification for is any religious grounds in this day and age to continue this practise.
Religions have gradually changed their rituals and beliefs over the years: by debate, by simply ignoring their more stupid and outdated rules and customs, by eventually catching up with science and humanity or by being dragged kicking and screaming by the rule of civil law.

When the long overdue outlawing of infant circumcision becomes law and childrens’ bodies are able to grow as nature intended, those who cling to ancient religious beliefs must look to their consciences. If they still insist on circumcision then they must leave it until the age the state allows a young person to freely consent. If they insist on breaking the law because their god demands it, they must accept the civil consequences, as indeed saints, martyrs and others have done in the past, and as many men and women who have opposed religious societies themselves have done.
Religious beliefs are used too often as a get out clause, and the special privilege they claim get far too much consideration in areas of outdated dogmatic belief.

The essence of this debate is surely simple and obvious:
no child should suffer physical mutilation until they themselves are freely able to consent.

Read original at: Circumcision: the cruellest cut?


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