Rethinking Circumcision

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Men’s Health

Having done hundreds of circumcisions in the past, I know first hand how painful (and sometimes dangerous) the procedure can be. It is also completely unnecessary. A growing movement across the planet (including people from all faiths) is recognizing the psychological and physiologic damage done to boys from this procedure and trying to reverse the current thinking.

Circumcision is a huge issue for many people. Though I certainly don’t recommend it, I realize that many people still feel strongly that they want the procedure done. If this is the case, here’s how to proceed: Make sure that your son’s foreskin is anesthetized at least one hour before the procedure with a topical anesthetic, such as EMLA and ELA-Max. These can be obtained without a prescription in some areas, and neither requires an occlusive dressing. Then when the time comes, ask the surgeon or the mohel (the man who performs circumcisions for Jewish families) to take off the least amount of foreskin possible. A friend of mine had the mohel make just a small cut in the foreskin for symbolic purposes, leaving the rest intact. Because she had used EMLA, her son slept through the entire procedure, experiencing no trauma at all!

Periodically, an organization called Save the Foreskins will march on Washington to raise awareness for this issue. I applaud this effort. For more information, visit their web site. To help explain the mystery of why circumcision persists, take the Circumcision Quiz developed by the organization Doctors Opposing Circumcision.


Last Updated: September 3, 2008

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


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  1. daniela
    14 years ago

    As a teacher of social Argentine Tango I see the amazing effects this dance has on people’s lives.. including my own.

  2. Bobbi
    15 years ago

    My husband and I took ballroom dancing lessons for 7 years, and tango was always one of my favorites. I loved the Argentine tango, too, but my husband was too uncomfortable with both dancing it himself and with me dancing with the instructor. We only dance together occasionally, but i still dance whenever I can.

  3. Lois
    15 years ago

    My romantic partner and I have been studying tango for 21 months. It is a love-hate thing. The good part is learning to love the process and to become patient with it all. The tough part is that it is challenging and a fairly long learning curve. I am determined to be an old tanguera some day dancing in my nineties.

  4. Andrea
    15 years ago

    My husband and I had our biggest fight (of 31 years of marriage) at a Tango lesson. It was so sad since we attempted it with intentions of your blog above: pleasure, fun, support, love. It is a pity that some men have such a hard time dancing with a partner. The people you have written about are lucky!

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