Women should encourage male circumcision

by robin muchetu | Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 | 7256 views

male circumcision kitRobin Muchetu Senior Reporter
“CIRCUMCISION improves options, possibilities and opportunities,” wrote one contributor to an online debate on whether women prefer circumcised men.
While no woman will reject a man for being circumcised, some women now refuse to have sexual relations with men who are intact.

The advantages are plenty: it reduces the risk of cervical cancer, HIV infections, the likelihood of premature ejaculation, greatly improves stamina and circumcised men are always cleaner.

Some married women are now advocating for circumcision not only because it improves sex life, but because of the health benefits. The good sex is just a bonus.

Various organisations have tipped women to be the biggest drivers of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) as they play a colossal role in encouraging their husbands and partners to get circumcised.

Recently, renowned Bulawayo poet Albert Nyathi and his son Mthabisi got circumcised in Bulawayo and one of their biggest supporters was none other than Mrs Caroline Nyathi, Nyathi’s wife and Mthabisi’s mother.

Nyathi said his wife played a leading role in his decision to get circumcised.
“My wife and I debated over circumcision for a while. We looked at the pros and cons of the procedure and even sought medical advice from doctors and after we were convinced about the procedure we decided I should go,” said an elated Nyathi.

He said his wife gave him a push in the right direction and he managed to get circumcised and is now serving as an ambassador for the VMMC programme.

Mrs Nyathi she said she saw the need to get her husband circumcised as she had also seen that the advantages outweighed the disadvantages.

“I realised that there were more benefits in him getting circumcised and they were benefits for me too. As you know it reduces the risk of cervical cancer in us women which is a plus, thus the encouragement. Again the issue of HIV is very important,” she said.

Mrs Nyathi said it was vital that women play a leading role in this drive to promote circumcision as there were a number of benefits to it. She said even those women with sons should encourage them to go for the process as there were long term benefits.

But are the majority of the women able to convince their husbands to get circumcised looking at the patriarchal set-up in most communities?

The reality is that some men still view women as a minority that have no say in many issues, sex being one of them.

Women are caught between a rock and a hard place when they have to sell an idea such as circumcision to their husbands as some fear being reprimanded if they bring up such a topic.

Women are supposed to bind the family together and assist in making important decisions in the families but when this role is compromised it becomes a challenge.

Mrs Kumbirai Chikotore, the director of social marketing at Population Services International (PSI), said women should strive to convince their partners to get circumcised.

“Women have a huge role to play in encouraging their husbands to get circumcised; they just have to find a way to bring about the issue as they are also beneficiaries of the process. They are the drivers of change and should strive to see that men come in their numbers,” said Mrs Chikotore.

Mrs Mavis Mashoko said she was afraid of approaching her husband telling him about circumcision.

“I have heard of this circumcision thing but being a woman I am afraid I will get a nasty reaction because where I come from, women are supposed to be careful of what they say to their men and issues of sex are not openly discussed,” said Mrs Mashoko.

In some communities, women are not allowed to openly share their opinions on sexuality. Women tend to be more conservative in this area.

Bulawayo Mayor Councilor Martin Moyo said it was necessary for all males to go for circumcision as it was beneficial to both the men and the women.

“I recommend that all males go for this process as it is beneficial to both,” he said.
He said communities like the Xhosa in Mbembesi in which circumcision was part of tradition, did not recognise men that are not circumcised as it was part of their way of life. He said even young women did not fall in love with uncircumcised men (inkwenkwe).

Sexual changes, besides pain, are one of the greatest fears that men have when it comes to the issue of one getting their foreskin removed.

Several misconceptions have been made that circumcision takes away the sexual pleasure but experts say life goes on once this process is done.

Some women who spoke to the Sunday News said they had found that uncircumcised men tended to have a stronger odour which is detestable. Despite best efforts to keep clean, any skin that is folded on top of other skin would tend to sweat and smell rather quickly even after a good shower.

Hygiene is an essential component life and above all love-some women who commented indicated they were in total support of male circumcision for its contribution to hygiene.

“The campaign should not leave us out as we can influence men to respond positively in this drive. At times society says the men are hard to convince but if the message is put across to them in a good way I am sure we can convince our husbands to get circumcised,” said Mrs Grace Gondo from Bulawayo.

Circumcision is a tradition that dates back centuries ago. However, the origination of male circumcision is not known with certainty. Circumcision generally refers to the removal of the foreskin on the male organ and this has been done for traditional and now medical purposes.

Traditionally it began as a religious sacrifice, as a rite of passage marking a boy’s entry into adulthood and now it has added value and is being done as experts realised that it reduces the chance of one getting the HIV virus by 60 percent. It also reduces the occurrence of cervical cancer in women and improves the levels of hygiene in men.

 

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  • What a load of biased pro-genital-cutting propaganda! Most men in the world are not circumcised. We are not dirty, we do not smell, we are not dying of horrible diseases and we are not giving cancer to our womenfolk.

    All of the evidence that circumcision has any health benefits originates in circumcising cultures, such as the USA. When you examine it critically it falls over. The reductions in diseases are slight or non-existent, or the diseases are rare or readily treatable.

    At least two countries, New Zealand and Australia, did the experiment, circumcising almost all babies in the 1950s. Then they stopped and there were NO outbreaks of any of the diseases circumcision was supposed to be good against. New Zealand’s HIV rate is one of the lowest in the world.

    In 10 out of 18 countries for which USAID has figures, more of the circumcised men have HIV than the non-circumcised. (Zimbabwe is one of those countries, and the did the survey twice, once before the circumcision campaign began and once after, with the same result both times).

    Circumcision is a “cure” looking for a disease.

  • joseph4gi

    Sick, disgusting propaganda that twists and spins facts and reality. Let’s turn the tables and switch the sexes. What if “research” showed there to be “benefits” in circumcising women? Would this publication ever publish an article calling for the men to try to convince their wives and girlfriends to get circumcised?

    “The women are caught between a rock and a hard place,” the article says.

    Circumcision is supposed to make this better HOW?

    Women have a hard time convincing men to wear a condom, which even the most outspoken circumcision advocate must admit is what actually offers protection. Reports are already coming out saying that men are refusing to wear condoms because they believe their circumcisions have made them immune. If the women are “stuck between a rock and a hard place,” how is it going to make it better for them if their circumcised partners believe they don’t have to wear condoms?

    What a despicable disservice in the fight against HIV/AIDS this is.

    How absolutely sexist and hateful towards men. These campaigns are going to go down in history as the most horrendous crimes against humanity.

  • joseph4gi

    This should be an insult to Africans. If a man is faithful to his wife, why does he need the “protection” of circumcision? Can’t trust him not to sleep around?

    It is absolutely sexist that African women are being asked to view circumcision of MEN as “beneficial” to men. Imagine, if you will, a campaign to get men to have their wives and daughters circumcised because “studies say it reduces prostate cancer.”

    Pure disgusting quackery, sexism and misandry dressed to look like “medicine.”

    • Robin-Frans Winkel

      And what about the partial clitoridectomies on intersex-children in the West?

    • Jake H

      I think it is good that women in public health policy and changing circumcision culture. I think the more women decide and play central roles in the upscale of male circumcision the safer and better it would be for young boys and their way of viewing the roles of women in a modern society.

  • Robin-Frans Winkel

    European Atheists need circumcision more than African Christians do.

    • Robin-Frans Winkel

      And here is why:

      http://www.whale.to/a/circumcision1.html

      “Finally, circumcision probably tends to increase the power of sexual control. The only physiological advantages which the prepuce can be supposed to confer is that of maintaining the penis in a condition susceptible to more acute sensation than would otherwise exist. It may increase the pleasure of coition and the impulse to it: but these are advantages which in the present state of society can well be spared. If in their loss, increase in sexual control should result, one should be thankful.” Editor, Medical News. (A Plea for Circumcision) Medical News, vol. 77 (1900): pp. 707-708.

      “It has been urged as an argument against the universal adoption of circumcision that the removal of the protective covering of the glans tends to dull the sensitivity of that exquisitely sensitive structure and thereby diminishes sexual appetite and the pleasurable effects of coitus. Granted that this be true, my answer is that, whatever may have been the case in days gone by, sensuality in our time needs neither whip nor spur, but would be all the better for a little more judicious use of curb and bearing-rein.” E. Harding Freeland, Circumcision as a Preventive of Syphilis and Other Disorders, The Lancet, vol. 2 (29 Dec. 1900): pp. 1869-1871.

    • Robin-Frans Winkel

      And here is why:

      http://www.whale.to/a/circumcision1.html

      “Finally, circumcision probably tends to increase the power of sexual control. The only physiological advantages which the prepuce can be supposed to confer is that of maintaining the penis in a condition susceptible to more acute sensation than would otherwise exist. It may increase the pleasure of coition and the impulse to it: but these are advantages which in the present state of society can well be spared. If in their loss, increase in sexual control should result, one should be thankful.” Editor, Medical News. (A Plea for Circumcision) Medical News, vol. 77 (1900): pp. 707-708.

      “It has been urged as an argument against the universal adoption of circumcision that the removal of the protective covering of the glans tends to dull the sensitivity of that exquisitely sensitive structure and thereby diminishes sexual appetite and the pleasurable effects of coitus. Granted that this be true, my answer is that, whatever may have been the case in days gone by, sensuality in our time needs neither whip nor spur, but would be all the better for a little more judicious use of curb and bearing-rein.” E. Harding Freeland, Circumcision as a Preventive of Syphilis and Other Disorders, The Lancet, vol. 2 (29 Dec. 1900): pp. 1869-1871.

  • Jarard

    Hi Robin
    This was a good read thanks for it. I was circumcised when I was 11, the school encouraged it for HIV prevention and my mom agreed and made me have it even if I didn’t want it. Not only was it my mothers choice, but it was also done by female nurses. But even if I protested at first, I am glad my mom made me have it now. Often moms must make choices for boys even if boys don’t like it at first. Every girl friend I had loved the idea that my mom had it done and women did it.
    You are right, women should play a much bigger role in male circumcision policy, decisions and practices. We could see here in South Africa by including women not only help to upscale circumcision but it also made is safer.

    I think intactivists and men’s rights groups which always troll circumcision posts should be blocked and banned, they just troll.

    From all the boys at school i knew who also had to go, none liked the idea at first, its normal to be scared, but all were happy with it once it was done. We don’t see it as a violation of our rights or that women cannot have a fundamental and central role in the decision and practice of it.