Parents face this question when having a male child and adult men face it later in life: Is circumcision necessary? While there are plenty of reasons to get circumcised, very few of them could be classified as necessary. Generally, most reasons to get circumcised center around personal belief, medical issues, or social conditioning. Let’s look at some reasons that circumcision might be necessary and other reasons one may want to think twice before going under the knife.

What is Circumcision?

Circumcision is the surgical elimination of the foreskin, which is the skin covering the tip of the penis. This custom originated in several religious rites and, while unusual in ancient times, grew to become a societal norm. Generally done within the first few days of a child’s birth, circumcision can be performed at any point in a male’s life. A personal choice, the surgery is less painful as a baby but can be more intense as an adult.

Is Circumcision Necessary: Yes

There are a few reasons why a circumcision may be necessary for a man. Here are a few of the most commonly cited reasons.

1) Religious Belief. For some religions, circumcision is a godly thing. Specifically, it is a covenant between man and god. This is seen predominantly in Judaism and Islam, but other religions also make mention of the practice.

2) Issues with Smegma. Smegma is that funky build-up of oil, bacteria, and dead skin under the foreskin which can lead to a gross, sour smell and hosts a bacteria party (bacteria’s plus-one is almost always infection). Not only that, but it creates a hard-to-get-past moment with a potential partner. Some men get it to drastically reduce instances of smegma.

3) Infection Preventer. Circumcision prevents infections of the penile skin such as balanitis, balanoposthitis, paraphimosis, and phimosis. A man still has to properly wash and protect his favorite firecracker, but a lack of folds and hiding places for bacteria means less infection.

4) Men’s Health. Circumcision has been shown to reduce instances of penile cancer and urinary tract infections.

5) Diabetes. For some men, diabetes leads to greater instances of balanitis and phimosis, so doctors may recommend a circumcision.

6) Social Acceptance. In the United States, circumcision is pretty common. For men who aren’t cut, this can translate to some uncomfortable moments with partners who’ve never encountered an uncircumcised penis before. Some men opt to get the surgery to avoid potential embarrassment (really though – an uncircumcised penis is nothing to be ashamed of!).

Is Circumcision Necessary: No

While there are some bona fide reasons to get a circumcision, here are a few reasons why some men opt to keep their turtleneck.

1) Pain. Someone is cutting the penis skin off. It’s going to hurt. The older a man gets, the more it hurts.

2) Protection. The foreskin serves a purpose; it protects the penis and urinary opening throughout life from foreign invaders. It’s border patrol for the penis.

3) Ethical Concerns. There’s a lot of conversation surrounding circumcision, likening it to other genital mutilation practices around the world. In recent years, more and more doctors are also speaking up to tell parents it’s a personal choice, not a medical necessity.

4) Minimal Health Benefits. While it can help with certain issues and cleanliness, there aren’t a lot of empirical benefits to getting circumcised.

Penis Health for the Cut and Uncut

When it comes to penis health, penises of all shapes, sizes, and foreskin-statuses should follow the same rules. Get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, sleep well, and stay hygienic. Cleanse the penis thoroughly each day with warm water and a gentle cleanser. Pat dry with a soft towel. Finish off with a specially formulated penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which has been clinically proven safe and mild for the skin). Choose a cream full of natural vitamins and ingredients to not only soften the penis, but also keep bacteria at bay, encourage cell turnover, and provides ample hydration and elasticity for the healthiest member possible.