Circumcision is a major decision that can have a lasting impact for every male. In some cultures, circumcision is a religious ceremony. In Judaism, the ritual is called brit milah, as is usually performed in the family home or synagogue when the baby is eight days old. The procedure is performed by a mohel who has both the religious and surgical training to perform the ritual circumcision. In Islam, it is called Khitan and is performed in a hospital before a boy hits puberty.

Sometimes circumcision is a medical decision. If a boy or man is suffering from balanitis (foreskin swelling), phimosis (inability to pull back the foreskin), or balanoposthitis (where the tip and foreskin of the penis are inflamed), it will likely be recommended by his physician to get a circumcision. Still some other times, it is done out of family tradition or aesthetic preference.

What is a Circumcision?

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin, which is the skin covering the tip of the penis. It is an ancient practice that originated in religious rites and caught on in the secular world. It is usually done within the first few days of a child’s birth, though it can be done at any time. It’s very common in the US and parts of Africa and the Middle East. It is less common in Europe and other countries according to information from the World Health Organization.

Pros of Circumcision

There are several pros to having a circumcision. Here is a list of the five most common benefits of circumcision.

1) Hygiene . Circumcision makes maintaining good genital hygiene a much easier task. It also reduces the instance of smegma, the build-up of oil, bacteria, and dead skin under the foreskin which can cause a funky smell, infection, and an unpleasant surprise for a sexual partner.

2) Prevents Infection. Circumcision prevents conditions like balanitis, balanoposthitis, paraphimosis, and phimosis.

3) Sexual Protection. It is said that circumcision decreases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including female-to-male transmission of HIV. That said, safe-sex or abstinence is the best way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

4) Men’s Health . Circumcision has shown a link to decreasing the likelihood of penile cancer and urinary tract infections.

5) Women’s Health . Circumcision has been shown to decrease the risk of some infections and cervical cancer in female partners.

Cons of Circumcision

Of course, with the good, also comes the bad. Here is a list of the five most common cons of a circumcision that men should consider prior to electing to have the surgery.

1) Pain . The older a male is, the more painful a circumcision tends to be. However, pain medication and cool compresses can be used to manage pain and swelling.

2) Down Time. All surgeries require downtown and circumcision is no different. Expect to take some time away from work, a few weeks away from intimate contact, and wear very loose sweatpants and shorts during the healing process.

3) Complications. While a small surgery, circumcision can still carry risks such as cutting the foreskin too long or too short, infection, bleeding, and slow healing.

4) Hyper Sensitivity. For men who’ve grown up with foreskin, sexual contact may feel very different now that the penis is no longer covered until playtime. A man who gets a circumcision will need to relearn his personal sensitivity ranges during self-pleasure and partner pleasure.

5) Few Health Benefits. There aren’t a terrible number of verifiable benefits to getting a circumcision. It can prevent some infections and decrease risk in some areas, but the health benefit isn’t overwhelmingly positive.

Penis Health

Regardless of whether a man decides to go under the knife or not, he should always practice thorough, regular penis cleaning and care. Men should wash with a gentle cleanser and be sure to stay away from products with rough abrasives and harsh additives.

After washing, a specially designed penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which has been clinically proven safe and mild for skin) should be used to keep the penis soft, smooth, and inviting. Look for a crème packed with vitamins A, C, D, and E, which are well-known for their skin-soothing and healing properties. Also, choose a crème that has a natural base like Shea butter which will lock in moisture, keeping it from dryness or irritation.