The Absurd Reason Why America Circumcises Baby Boys

The key is to not let faulty reasoning and a bunch of 19th century prudes be the motivating factor.

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FACT CHECK TIME. Here's what our fact checkers found:

  • America didn't adopt the practice of circumcision until the sex-phobic days of the 19th century, when puritanical doctors promoted it as a way to stop kids from masturbating. Psychology Today (Sept. 2011)
  • Cleanliness is no longer an issue thanks to modern hygienic standards. Psychology Today (Sept. 2011)
  • Circumcision has been found to significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission but provides only "partial protection and should be considered as only one of several other prevention measures," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The foreskin is a natural lubricant, contains millions of nerve endings, and prevents desensitization. Psychology Today (Sept. 2011)

UPDATE 1/12/15: The CDC's stance on circumcision recently changed. The CDC originally said that circumcision only "marginally" reduces the risk of HIV transmission, but it now recommends the procedure, saying that the benefits outweigh the risks.


We still like this video's history lesson on circumcision in America and its call to understand why we choose to circumcise babies or not. But we updated the post to reflect that there are tangible health benefits to the procedure.

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