New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Should a Man Get Circumcised for His Wife?

A lot has been said about male circumcision. Some people say it is trendy, it is a good hygiene practice, while others think a man who is 'cut' apparently lasts longer during sex. Others say most women prefer a circumcised man.

According to the joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, circumcision reduces the risk of HIV transmission from males to females by about 60%. In Uganda today, many men are embracing male circumcision, but it is uncommon for these men to involve their spouses in making decisions on whether to 'cut' or not.

Recently, health officials in Tororo said women were discouraging their husbands from undergoing circumcision, fearing that they may take long to heal, thereby denying them sex. So, should a man seek his wife's or fiancé's consent before going for the 'knife'?

According to Rita Zemeyi, a student at Kyambogo University, a man should not do anything without involving his wife.

"Circumcision is a sensitive issue. It is better if both partners talk about it. How can you be so selfish not to tell her?"

Zemeyi argues that if a man does not consult his wife, it may 'kill' the trust in the relationship and even go a long way in determining whether the relationship lasts or not.

This argument is shared by Catherine Mercy, who also thinks that a 'good' man must discuss most of his plans with his wife or fiancé.

"Circumcision involves surgery which requires some time for the man to heal. I think he should discuss the matter with me, after all it is me who will be taking care of him."

Meanwhile, Anita, a business woman at a shopping mall in Lugogo, says she would not be hurt if her man went for circumcision without telling her.

Moses Arinaitwe, a business man, says: "Nowadays, there is a lot of propaganda about the benefit of circumcision, the gesture may be misinterpreted.

"You cannot blame a woman for thinking that the reason you decided to secretly circumcise is because you want to cheat on her. It is common knowledge that circumcision can reduce the risk of contracting HIV among men."

Arinaitwe also thinks it is good for a man to get circumcised because circumcision helps to lower the risk of cervical cancer among women.

"I do not think any woman would object to the proposal if her husband or boyfriend discussed the topic with her," he adds.

There are many reasons a man may want to get circumcised- for health or because his peers have influenced him, but whatever the reason, women need to told about it," he adds.

Joseph Musalo, a counselor at Uganda Christian University in Mukono, observes that it also depends on the reason why the man wants to get circumcised.

"The recent campaign on safe male circumcision can mislead the woman to think that he got circumcised because he wants to cheat, but you need to discuss these issues."

According to Musalo, the couple should talk about the reasons why the man is getting circumcised. The reasons may include hygiene and prevention of sexually transmitted infections. They also need to understand that getting circumcised does not guarantee that a man cannot contract HIV.

"It is important that every man in a relationship or marriage first discusses issues with his fiancé or wife, to bridge the communication gap. Remember, if you want to get circumcised without telling her, she will still be the one to take care of you when you are nursing the wound.

"Marriage is between two people, not an individual. For all those days you cannot have sex with her because you are healing, you are sexually starving her; you need to discuss the topic with her," he adds

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