Cosmopolitan Reports on the Decline of Circumcision in the United States

We commend Cosmopolitan for reporting today on the dramatic decline of circumcision surgery in the United States, and for highlighting the fact that the U.S. (and some parts of Israel for Judaic and Islamic reasons) are the only two nations in the world that needlessly cut healthy newborn babies.

[Note that in 2006, 2% of the United States' population was Jewish and many of the most outspoken intactivists today are Jewish men, women, physicians, rabbis, historians, film makers, etc. (1, 2) Many Jews today opt for a Brit Shalom in place of cutting their sons. We therefore cannot assume that any specific portion of the 32.5% of boys cut in 2009 in the U.S. are within the Jewish community. In addition, even if all Jewish parents circumcised their sons in the U.S., this would represent a circumcision rate of less than 2%.]

It's slightly amusing that it may just be pop media women's sex magazines making intact men look all the rage for parents to finally wake up before the birth of their sons and end the needless cutting. Maybe it is a result of my own naivety that I expect [most] parents to make educated, informed decisions - especially when it comes to the surgical amputation of their newborn baby's genitals. But, I guess whatever it takes to reach the remaining 32%... Those 1 in 3 boys deserve to keep their whole penis too.

I'd also encourage pop culture journalists to start using correct terminology -- intact instead of 'uncut' or 'uncircumcised'... after all, we do not say a woman is 'unclitoridectomised' or 'unmastectomised.' All men and women (like all mammals) are born into this world with a prepuce organ (nicknamed 'foreskin' or 'clitoral hood'). It is normal for them to remain intact and atypical for them to have this organ cut off.

Read and comment on Zoë Ruderman's full article in Cosmo here (pasted below).

For additional information on the prepuce, intact care, and circumcision, see: Are You Fully Informed?


1) Ira M. Sheskin and Arnold Dashefsky, Jewish Population of the United States, 2006.

2) American Jewish Year Book 2006, Volume 106, Eds: David Singer and Lawrence Grossman. NY: American Jewish Committee, 2006.

Circumcision Is on the Decline
by Zoë Ruderman for Cosmopolitan

Just a few generations ago, pretty much every baby boy in the U.S. was circumcised—aka, had the foreskin of his penis removed.

Now, new statistics presented at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna last month suggest a steep drop in the number of males getting this, uh, unkind cut. Last year, 33 percent of infant males were circumcised, a big drop compared to 2006, when 56 percent underwent this surgical procedure, according to stats reported in the New York Times today.

If the trend continues, uncut guys will soon outnumber circumcised ones, and a dude with a foreskin won’t seem weird or odd at all. And really, why should it? Sex feels just as good for a man with a foreskin as it does for one without. Same goes for the woman hooking up with him. And condoms work equally well on both types of penises.

It’s also important to note that the United States and Israel are the only two countries where baby boys are routinely circumcised. And while many urologists recommend it because it can cut down on STD transmission risk, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend it. Part of the reason why: it causes a whole hell of a lot of pain to newborn baby boys.


  1. WOO HOO nice article Cosmo!! :D I hope women read it and think twice before automatically handing off future sons to be mutilated.

  2. That's an excellent sign, to have the topic picked up by such a mainstream outlet. If logic, compassion and science can't convince parents, then I guess we'll just have to make circumcising uncool. Which it most definitely is, and should forever after be.

  3. YAY!! I hope this will change women's closed minded attitudes about the "weird" natural penis, and save their future babies from this needless, harmful, cosmetic surgery!!

  4. On the rise. Heh. Yes, I am a third-grade boy at heart.

  5. It is a sad fact that one article in Cosmo or Glamour can save a lot more foreskins than a crunchy Mom's website. A fear that Sonny would look odd was the main reason for circumcising last century. That psychological mechanism has a reverse gear.

    Quite a few Jewish secular families outside of Israel and the USA no longer circumcise. That fact is less than evident because such families do not put their preference in the public domain! The 1990s saw intactivism emerge among some secular Israeli families. There are Israelis who say that the only reason to circumcise is that intact men are ridiculed in the Israeli Army. There are Israeli young men who got themselves circumcised when they were of high school or college age, and have said on YouTube or FaceBook that they regret it.

    Islam requires that boys be circumcised before the onset of puberty. Some Moslems circumcise during the neonatal period. This is common in Iran, and among some educated urban Moslems.

    I caution readers that all the talk out there of a major recent decline in the fraction of baby boys circumcised in USA materity wards is based on a snapshot of a PowerPoint presentation by a CDC researcher. The scientific paper upon which that presentation was based has yet to be released.

  6. Jema - ME TOO! I'll be snickering about that all day...

  7. The interesting thing about Jewish circ is that originally circ was a ceremonial cut, NOT the complete removal of the foreskin that medical circ is today. It was so slight that when Israel became Hellenized, the boys could pull their foreskins down to look uncirced. That's when the more radical trimming began, so they couldn't disguise it.

  8. Wow! What a big drop. That is SO great. I had my son circumcised due to outside pressures on a fuzzy new mom just moved 3,000 miles across the country brain and it was terrible. My baby boy would suddenly shriek in his sleep in the middle of the night like he was having nightmares and him being my second child I knew that was a cry/sound NO normal newborn should make. I'm having another son in October who will remain beautifully, naturally, intact and unharmed. Any links on information for cut and intact brothers, or explaining/apologizing to cut sons when they are old enough to ask questions?? I would much appreciate it.

  9. Anon -

    You are not alone. You can find information and others' stories/experiences having both circumcised and intact sons (as well as some apology letters) in the links on this page:

    There are also other groups/pages for parents to gather and share on this subject:

    Keeping Future Sons Intact

    2nd Son 2nd Chance!/group.php?gid=131060030242746&ref=ts

    Thank you for being wise and brave in your parenting. :)

  10. It would have been nice if Cosmo had gone into some of the details of the sexual functions of the prepuce. As the wife of a man whose parents chose intactness, I for one, am grateful for their choice!

    And I'm pretty sure "on the rise" was meant to be dirty.

  11. reoger desmoulinsApril 19, 2011 3:24 AM

    @Brittany: Cosmo got the sex part wrong.

    "Sex feels just as good for a man with a foreskin as it does for one without."
    ME. Wrong. Having foreskin almost surely makes sex better for men, esp. after age 40.

    "Same goes for the woman hooking up with him."
    ME. Many sexually sophisticated women have argued eloquently that intercourse is better when the man is intact.

    "And condoms work equally well on both types of penises."
    ME. It's trickier getting a condom an intact penis. But the greater sensitivity means more fun despite the condom. A condom on a cut penis can be a harsh combination. When he's intact, the give and take of the penis skin does a lot to offset this harshness.



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