The Foreskin Dialogues

(Or, for those who prefer technically-correct terms, we could call this The Prepuce Dialogues! Imagine the possibilities: P-Day, for one!)

SomeFred’s comment on my previous post got me thinking: One of the amazing things feminism has succeeded at is helping women think about and talk about their bodies. I’m thinking of 1970s consciousness-raising groups, of gurus like Betty Dodson (who, by the way, does an incredible job of drawing the internal anatomy of the clitoris and explaining how women get erections too), and of contemporary writers like Eve Ensler and her “Vagina Monologues.” and the women behind Vagina Verite. Such cultural, educational and personal efforts have helped women to shift their perspectives on women’s sex organs. It’s an ongoing battle, but we are, I’d wager, less likely to be grossed out by our genitals and more likely to be comfortable talking about them than we used to be. (Of course now that we’re comfortable acknowledging that they exist there are efforts to shape our feelings about how they should look and to cosmetically alter them with such procedures as labiaplasty and “laser vaginal rejuvenation” so that they fit some bizarre construct of “normal.”)

But what about men? How do men feel about their penises? I know we assume that all men worry about is size, but I think all this circumcision talk points out how little we know about how men (and women) feel about men’s penises. We reflexively think of the penis as a power symbol but they also seem to be the source of a fair amount of anxiety for those who possess them. And while we assume men are comfortable with their cocks, do we really know that? Would men tell us if they weren’t?

And why is the surgical cutting of the penises of baby boys still taken so largely for granted in the US when even doctors no longer recommend it for ordinary health reasons? How do you feel about foreskins?

I am opening this thread to encourage readers — regardless of gender — to write about how they feel about penises, whether whole or with foreskins removed.

SomeFred sparked this post with his reflections on his own uncircumcised experience. Please post your own thoughts in the comments section below. I’ll add my own thoughts on penises and foreskins here:

I remember the first time I saw an uncircumcised penis. It was in a porn magazine when I was in college! I remember thinking it looked, well, odd. Exotic. I didn’t think it looked “gross” but I wondered what the skin underneath it would look like, feel like, taste like. I did have a vague sense that it must be moist and maybe kind of icky under there.

Around that time I also started becoming sexually involved with women and learned to enjoy the different textures, scents and tastes of my girlfriends’ labia and all that was hidden behind them. Later, when I first encountered an uncircumcised penis “in the flesh” that early experience with women was the first thing to come to mind, actually. There was something about gently playing with this man’s foreskin that was remarkably similar to my early explorations with my first girlfriend’s cunt. And yes, he did taste and smell somewhat different from the uncircumcised men I had known, but not in a way that was “unclean.” Really it was just like the variety of scents and tastes I associate with women. (This isn’t surprising given the incredible parallel structures of male and female genital organs.)

I love uncircumcised cocks. I can’t think of a single bad thing about them. In fact, I recently had the occasion to encounter a circumcised cock for the first time in many years and it looked, well, scarred.

Please contribute your own thoughts and feelings about penises in their whole or altered states below.

  • If you possess a penis I’d love your stories about how you learned to think about it (good/bad/indifferent; clean/dirty/dangerous/wonderful/etc.), what your anxieties about it are, what you like about it, how you feel about the way that your society treats penises in general. You get the idea.
  • If you don’t possess a penis yourself, I’d love to know how you’ve learned to think about or feel about the penises of others. Do you like them in general? Do they make you uneasy? What do you think of uncircumcised penises? Circumcised ones? Do you ever think about the similarities between male and female genital organs? Do you have any stories about or memories of encountering penises that help illustrate how you feel about them?

(Also, please feel free to circulate this widely. I’d love as many stories as possible!)

Meanwhile, here are some other links you might check out:

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63 Comments

Filed under Circumcision, culture, feminism, Gender, Health, public discourse, sex, sex and health

63 responses to “The Foreskin Dialogues

  1. I feel that it is a good idea to get it done. Hygiene is the only reason I can relate to though some have mentioned aesthetics as well!!!

    hOPE tHAT hELPS…

    Ra.

  2. Alex

    Rahul, cleaning under the foreskin takes about 15 seconds while your in the shower. If a man can’t manage that do you think he can handle washing regulary, clean clothes and deoderant? Much more pressing problems to my mind.

  3. I know this is likely to be a thread that people have strong feelings about. Alex, I agree that hygiene is not difficult to manage with very little attention. We don’t have a difficult time cleaning the rest of our bodies, and penises are not especially dirty to start with.

    Still, I’m hoping mostly for comments that will tell personal stories and report on personal experiences or opinions (in other words, the comment will be about the commenter, primarily). And of course it is especially important that commenters here be encouraged to disagree with each other, but when that happens it needs to be managed by attacking the idea and not the person giving it voice. To pick on Alex, for a moment (whose sentiment I actually agree with), I’d prefer for her comment to read “I’d be afraid that a man who couldn’t manage that [washing under his foreskin] couldn’t handle washing regularly or cleaning his clothes…” Then the comment is about what she thinks, and not simply a generalization about certain kinds of men. (Note: deoderant is a culturally disputed element of personal care and not really a matter of cleanliness)

    I’d love to gather stories and ideas from people from a wide range of places. We already have one comment from India and one from Australia. I promise, after the thread has had a while to unwind, that I’ll put together a summary post. But first I’d love to read more stories and discussion. Alex, Rahul, thanks for starting us off.

  4. My boyfriend and my brother are the only males I have ever seen naked, and both are circumcised. I still don’t really understand how an intact penis looks. It seems to me that nowadays many children are circumcised to look like their fathers, and because it’s simply accepted as the norm. I hadn’t really thought about the practice until about a year ago, but now I am firmly of the opinion that there are no good reasons to circumcise.

    I would never want to make my boyfriend or any man feel bad about his penis, so I don’t make a big deal out of it. I’ve never asked him whether he would have preferred to be circumcised, because it’s not like he could change anything if his answer was yes. But my sons will NOT be circumcised.

  5. Alex

    Sorry Rahul. I didn’t mean that as an attack.
    Elizabeth I’m actually an (uncircumcised) man. Don’t worry, I’m not bothered. I’ll try not to generalise.
    I’m glad my parents didn’t decide to get me or my brothers circumcised. I don’t know why they didn’t, though as my father is circumcised it’s not Sarah’s idea in this case. I have found no reason in my life to be circumcised, and I would rather keep my foreskin.

  6. Alex, mea culpa: I can’t always help be generalize, either, apparently! I’m not sure what it was that made me think you were a woman. The compulsion to assign a gender to a person is something I try to avoid and in your case I never even thought about it! Ironically, assigning gender was a topic of dinner conversation last night. Perhaps that deserves a post of its own soon.

    Thanks, meanwhile, for adding some personal detail to the dialogues. Do you know anything about how common (or uncommon) circumcision is in your area? Have you experienced any surprise on the part of other men or women that you are not circumcised? I’m just curious about the norms in your area.

    Rahul, I’m curious too about the norms in your area. Is it typical for boy babies to be circumcised? If not, do many teenage or adult men get circumcised?

  7. I am circumcised, and so is my son. If I were to sire another son, I’d not hesitate to have him circumcised as well.

    I wrote two blog entries about this topic some time ago (indeed one of them is my most-read blog post of all time), so I’ll simply direct you to these entries instead of re-writing all what I said here:

    http://confessionsofalibertine.blog-city.com/circumcision.htm

    http://confessionsofalibertine.blog-city.com/circumcision_response_to_comments.htm

    These two entries are still open to comments, if anyone is interested.

  8. i’m an un-c man and glad about it. i believe our bodies are most beautiful and functional when most unadulterated. i have no tattoos, no piercing, no enhancements, and am 100% intact. i haven’t cut off my external ears because–although i may not fully understand their purpose–they naturally exist on my head. foreskins are like that. my mother taught me how to clean under my f-s around the same time she taught me to clean inside my ears. i’ve never experienced health problems from my f-s. no partner save one has ever had a problem with my f-s, and her objection stemmed entirely from her cultural bias. the more she pressured me to get c’d, the less i was enamored of her. i find this sudden move to adopt circumcision as the norm outrageous. i’m very skeptical of the quality of the science that will motivate parents to circumcise their baby boys in greater numbers.

  9. One of the things I continue to be disturbed by is the way that this is done to baby boys who by definition can’t consent. A question I have: How many of you who are uncircumcised men would consider consenting to the procedure? And what about any of you men who have had the procedure as teens or adults? What was your experience after the fact? And what prompted you to do it?

  10. Of about 20-odd penises I’ve encountered, only one was uncircumcised. At the time, I didn’t have much comparison, so I did not find it strange, and I do not remember any unusual or unpleasant smells that went with it. I suppose handjobs went a little differently, but you know? Men actually vary widely on handjob technique preferences.
    That’s partly why I jumped into this extremely interesting discussion. I’m a huge advocate of talking about vaginas and how very individual they and their pleasures are–and I don’t think that conversation is anywhere near over, since I’m still encountering men (and women!) who seem convinced that womens’ bodies are all alike and will respond to the same stimuli. But it’s about time people started discussion penises in the same way, because as much as we’re bludgeoned with male sexuality daily, we’re usually bludgeoned with an imaginary homogenous male sexuality.
    I’ve met one man who vociferously advocated circumcision for hygiene, and one who occasionally expresses resentment over his infant circumcision. The latter man convinced me that it should be a decision left to adulthood, but I imagine few men would take that option!

  11. My father was not circumcised, because he grew up in a time and place where anti-Semitism was a common attitude. Boys were not circumcised because we ABSOLUTELY would not want to do anything that would confuse our happy W.A.S.P. boys with… you know… them! Though my father (and his area) outgrew such attitudes it’s still uncommon in that region for young boys to remain uncircumcised, simply because that’s the way we’ve always done it.

    I was born in a military hospital. My father was an enlisted man, and the doctors, who enter the service with the rank of captain, told my father I should be circumcised, so I was. There was as little question for me as there was for him, just in the opposite direction.

    I remember, as a young boy, seeing my father’s penis and being thunderstruck by how different it looked from mine. By the time I had to shower with the other boys in gym class I was sufficiently inured to the different appearances of men’s penises that I thought nothing of it, though some of the other boys initially thought it was a divisive issue (until, that is, they learned to always look up in the shower!).

    At this point in my life I see nothing in particular to recommend circumcision as a practice. Hygiene is a specious argument, since a man who can wash between his toes can wash under his foreskin. And while I suppose you can make the cultural or biblical claim, well, that’s a load of malarkey if you eat pork and mow the lawn on Sunday, as many American Christians (and Jews!) do these days. I think we continue to circumcise boys because it’s what we’ve always done and we see no reason to change our habits now.

  12. Max G. Faraday

    I am 100% man, just like the creator intended. I did remember feeling like I was the odd man out as I would hear girls comment on whole penises and say that they were gross. My father, also a 100% man, would tell me… “Son, I don’t know what people’s problem is. What is it with man’s arrogance to think that God made a mistake when he created us. They act as if God made a mistake and sent only them the updated manual.” I feel that having the additional cover keeps my penis sensitive to the lightest touch and heightens my sexual experience. I couldn’t imagine having my penis so utterly exposed and desensitized. I love my penis, my girl does too and I have never ever ever had a woman complain afterward though I have been amused by many of the expressions on their faces when they see my penis for the first time. Priceless. Please… Keep your son’s whole. Hmm…. maybe that’s why some folks are so violent and repressed… cause they have been robbed from birth of the additional sensation that makes everything oh soooo gooood. I’d be pissed too!!!
    🙂

    Be well

  13. I’m intrigued by the different words people are using to describe penises with foreskins still attached: “Un-c man,” “a 100% man,” “whole,” “intact,” and I imagine the list could go on. These are all quite different from the dominant culture way of talking about penises with foreskins still attached as “uncircumcised,” as if they are neglected somehow.

    Any thoughts on this? And, in places where circumcision is not the norm does anybody know what are the common words used to describe penises either with or without foreskins? Just curious.

    Max, Kevin, Tanglethis, thanks for adding more voices! I hope you’ll all stick around, and I’d love to hear from yet more people!

  14. Max G. Faraday

    Well, Elizabeth, I am a 2nd generation Jamaican. I grew up there for all of my early years. In Jamaica most of my countrymen are whole men. Interestingly enough, there isn’t really a term used for cut men, certainly nothing disparaging (err… for the most part). They are kind of looked at as, eh… those other guys.

    I have always treasured my dad’s decision to keep me whole. The only time I ever felt negatively about it was when I was the tume when I started having sex. It added about 2 years of delay to my start time. As I said in the other post, I got over it… and looking back through my relationships, my wholeness has added and interresting dimension to the intimacy. After my relationships my ex-girlfriends and I still have this little inside ‘thing’ between us (oh goodness forgive any puns) since getting over the initial reaction is something that we both can look back on and inwardly chuckle about. They often look at it as such a silly issue that they were ignorant about and now ‘know better’. I soft of get additional points for being that guy that did that for them… made them more worldly (or something). Many of them have expressed to me that they would prefer to be with a whole man again, but since it is not a deal breaker for them, they take what they get. They would tell me after the fact that they appreciated being with a whole man and grew quite fond of the ‘wholeness’. For many of them I have been one of the few if not only whole men they have been with. I post this post to help fellow whole men not to be ashamed nor afraid of womens’ reactions. If you are clever you can actually turn that reaction into a very special start to the beautiful exploration of eachother’s bodies.

    I truly feel the additional sesitivity is just as the creator intended, I loooove sex. The cutting has seriously handicapped so many men. I have read stories of men attempting to undo their circumcision… complaining about the lack of sensation…, yikes.

    Wow, Elizabeth… this is a hell of a thread. 🙂

    P.S.
    The downside to the sensitivity is that the first time… Hmmm… Let’s say that calling you a minute man would be giving you credit. Over time you when you get your mind to take the reigns and you get to ride the wave of sensitivity and really squeeze the juice out of the love making as you and her both ‘arrive’ at that special place. Thank God for sex!

  15. Max G. Faraday

    errata & corrigendum:

    s/soft of/sort of …
    s/Over time you when you/Over time when you …

    I was so into this thread I just james joyced it all the way through. Forgive the mistakes. I hope you got my drift. Be well…

    -mgf

  16. Alex

    In Australia I’ve heard it described as uncircumcised or circumcised. I’ve also once heard helmets and socks. It might be old slang as it was from a 50ish teacher at school.
    The reaction of the few people who have seen me naked, excluding family, has been disinterest. No one has ever commented.

  17. Elizabeth: you are right about the different words we use. I am both amused and frustrated by our culture’s seemingly infinite creativity in creating euphemisms, especially in light of our disdain for creativity in poetry or art. I think an important part of the reason our society has such difficulty discussing issues of race, religion, gender, and sexuality is because we have muddied the lexicon so badly that we no longer have a shared vocabulary to discuss these themes.

    In my childhood my parents (who had very old-fashioned ideas about sex) taught me to use the dictionary to call things what they are called. I remember being on the playground in second grade having difficulty talking with a fellow student because he had never heard the word “penis” and I had never heard the vernacular synonyms he used. We eventually had to excuse ourselves to the boys’ room and zip down our jeans to verify that we were talking about the same thing.

    How much easier if we called each other, and our body parts, by our proper names.

  18. somefred

    When I read all the comments just now about lack of circumcision, all I could think of was Popeye.

    “I yam what I yam, I’m Popeye the sailor man”.

    Being a hard-core boater all my life, I guess that applies to me too.

    I yam what I yam. If ya don’t like the way I was created, then stay outta my bed!

    I once attended a jewish orthodox Bris .. the ritual circumcision in the temple. Scarey event for a tall blond german immigrant like me. Lots of chanting and prayers followed by the new Mom bringing the baby boy in on a pillow and then fleeing. This was followed by the Rabbi chopping off the end of the boy’s “winkie” (another expression for ya, Elizabeth) and then a massive outcry and cheering from the 150 men in the room as the Rabbi held up the bloody foreskin in one hand and the bloody knife in the other. I felt slightly panicky, hoping I wasn’t next.

    Yepper … I yam what I yam.

    Fred.

  19. monopolyblog

    What about the recent reports that being circumcised can reduce the risk of contracting and spreading HIV/AIDS? Any thoughts on this?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/28/world/africa/28africa.html?ex=1303876800&en=ddc5294f31df4cc1&ei=5088

  20. Andy

    In the UK this seems to be very much a non-issue, though this could be because here it is seen as a practice of the Jewish faith and their is a comparatively small Jewish community within the UK. Therefore most men in the UK are (I’m assuming as I generally don’t look at other guys penisis) uncircumcised and I’ve never had my uncircumcised penis commented on when I’ve been seen naked.

  21. glendenb

    I’ve been pondering this topic for days now and I’m still not certain how to respond – there’s almost too much to be said.

    I remember asking my mother why she had me and my brother circumcised – she said when we were infants, “it was just done – and it’s cleaner.” (She and my father never had a choice in the matter – this was 1969 and 1971 in Salt Lake City – I suspect had they been given a choice they would have chosen circumcision. )

    The concept of being “clean” found its way into my consciousness. In a strange way, I associated the need for cleanliness with my penis. During puberty especially, I was bothered by the idea that I might possess any sort of scent – especially that my genitals might have a natural scent – bothered me deeply.

    I don’t recall many conversations other with my parents about my body or body parts. My father once tried to teach me about sex by taking me out – we lived in a very rural area – to see pigs breeding. He said, “See, the boar’s . . . tallywhacker goes into the sows . . .” That was the entire conversation. My mother was insistent on using the correct words (“It’s not a pee pee – it’s a . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . .. penis.”)

    At about that time I went for a week long swimming camp at the University of Utah. At the time there was a football camp taking place. Our camp was mixed gender – there’s was not. We walked into one of the classrooms after the football players and one of them had drawn a picture on the board of a football player with a hugely exaggerated erect penis having sex with a cheerleader and had written the words “fuck fuck fuck” – one of the male swimmers blushed beet red, and erased the penis – leaving everything else behind. When our coaches came in they saw the faint outline of the penis on the board and quickly cleaned the chalk board with water.

    I think my parents reflected accurately both their generation and our society’s attitudes toward the penis – afraid to say the word, almost afraid to acknowledge the darn thing exists unless you have to – somewhere between seeing it as funny and seeing it as sacred and never quite sure which. Our society is way to sensitive to the penis – show one in a movie and you’re almost guaranteed and nc17 rating. But at the same, we find penises fascinating, funny, and uncertain. In its flaccid state, it seems harmless almost comical, erect somehow scary.

    A few years back, I read an account from a father -he had taken his son on a backpacking outing. They found a natural hot tub and were soaking in it after a hard days camping. He saw his son – about 7 at the time – had an erection and had a moment of panic thinking his son was sexually aroused before he realized that an erection just means your body is having a good time, not necessarily a sign for sex.

    I know there’s more to say but I’m out of time right now.

  22. Having never had the experience of an intact foreskin, I can’t comment on that. Having zero recollection- and, hence, no trauma, of the procedure itself, I really can’t summon up any outrage over the practice. Having never had any obstacles to my own sexual pleasure or any complaints from my partners about my presentation, I can’t say it’s been a stigma of any sort. And, having never really given much of a shit what others looked like or what they thought about what I looked like, I’ve never even contemplated circumsizion as an issue at all.

    Seems to me that it’s only really an issue for heterosexual women and homosexual men. You know, those who are gonna be up close and personal with the member in question. Taste and preference- beauty, really, is in the eye of the beholder.

    Likewise, as a hetero man, I’m endlessly fascinated by the topography of a woman’s vulva- and nearly apoplectic at the notion of society giving women one more delusional reason to be ashamed of their sexual parts(to whit, the labiaplasty abomination you mentioned in this post). Ah, just when women were getting over the bullshit need for “feminine” deodorant and the dreaded “scent o’ mountain herbs” douchery…

  23. Grand Inquisitor

    Interesting thread. I’ve never had any kind of issue or hang-up with my penis. I am comfortable with my body and don’t attach any value to it other than practical. But about 2 years ago I developed a skin condition on the foreskin called Lichen Sclerosis. This required removing it, so I gave this a fair bit of thought. My worry was what you might expect: how would it affect sex, how would it affect masturbation?

    I did some web research and was surprised to find the very emotional arguments made (mostly by Americans) for and against circumcision. I understand it has been customary in the US to circumcise and that today there is a bit of a rebellion going on against that custom.

    Having had the chance to make good use of a penis pre and post circumcision, I’d like to add my voice to those calling for cooler heads (um, no pun intended…;-).

    By all means, don’t circumcise your kids – one day they’ll thank you when they want to masturbate. Having a foreskin makes that easier (dare I say better).

    Or, circumcise your kids – one day their partners will thank them. (raindogzilla* hit the nail on the … [ouch, there I go again]… head). My partner enjoyes my circumcised penis better (better for blow jobs and aesthetically pleasing) – she’s told me as much.

    The operation, btw, was quite undramatic and the healing process not nearly as painful as I had been made to believe by what I had read.

    So, bottom line: A little more skin, a little less. It makes no difference. Either way is fun! Oh, did I mention, both sex and masturbation are still fantastic. No, no, really, I’m not obsessed…

    * What a totally fantastic blog raindogzilla has – applause, applause!!!!!!!!

  24. When my husband and I learned we’d be having a boy, I asked him what he thought about circumcision. (He comes from a culture outside of the US that doesn’t usually circumcise boys). I had read some arguments for and against in different baby books, and had noted a passionate anti-circumcision treatise at my midwife’s office, but wanted to hear his position.

    His position was “Absolutely not.” The hygiene issue, according to him, was an easy one to resolve with early lessons in how to keep himself (ha!) clean.

    I looked at this the way I would look at any proposed surgery – will this solve a problem, or make his life quantitatively better? His little body was so little, so perfect. And as the practice wasn’t part of my culture or that of my husband – nor has no circumcision ever gotten in the way of my husband’s erotic pursuits – we chose not to cut. Or, as I said from the delivery room, in the haze of the epidural “No cutting! No one cuts my little boy!”

  25. Welcome to the new commenters. Some interesting perspectives! Grand Inquisitor, thank you for contributing our first pre- and post- circumcision comparison. GlendenB, I do hope you find time to get back to some of your thoughts. And I hope you find a place for more of them around here.

    MonoPolyBlog, your question is exactly the question that started this whole thing. I first posted on the NYT article that mentioned NYC advocating circumcision as one strategy in fighting HIV here (based on the WHO recommendations in Africa). That struck me as odd. That started this thread.

    And speaking of that, the NYT printed a letter to the editor from Thomas Frieden, M.D., Health Commissioner of NYC, in which he corrects the impression that the city is creating a campaign to encourage circumcision. He says that instead they “are encouraging people to discuss and study this issue” and that they “hope that men who choose the procedure will have access to it.” He goes on, stating “A campaign to promote circumcision in this country would be premature without stronger evidence, but the time is right for a communitywide dialogue.”

    I’d love to see the dialogue continue here!

  26. Average Alaskan

    While my foreskin has always been handy for masturbation (not to mention that it is a totally erogenous zone unto itself); I never really appreciated it until I began having sex with other people. It contributes its own dimension to foreplay. I’m glad my parents chose not to mutilate me at birth. Likewise, I chose to leave my sons intact.

    As for the hygene argument, I wash everyday so I wouldn’t know what an unwashed one looks or smells like. An entire multi-million dollar industry is built on the hygenic control of the female genitals but men can take care of their own genital lavation in 15 seconds a day with ordinary soap and water. There is no reason to amputate a part of the anatomy just to keep it clean.

    Regarding the African study on AIDS/HIV: there does seem to be a correlation in the reduced contraction of HIV by cut African Males. Keep in mind these findings come from a study in a third world area with third world hygene and sanitaiton where almost 25,000,000 people are infected with AIDS. If you or your sons expect to spend time in Sub-Saharan Africa and plan on having unprotected sex with multiple HIV infected partners (as many of the participants did — according to the study) then, by all means, whack off the offending prepuces. (But you might just start with education, instead; it’s much less painfull and not nearly as bloody) And, while you’re at it, ask yourself why there are not data that support similar HIV/AIDS statistics for males in Europe, South and Central America and Japan where almost all males are uncut.

    I like my normal penis (as does my wife) and I don’t care what other adult males do with thier own genitals; I just wish people would allow thier sons to make the choice for themselves when they are old enough.

  27. Michael

    Thanks to a small-town doctor who wouldn’t do circumcisions, I was left intact in 1966. Thanks to my parents’ avoiding the issue, I grew up feeling anxious that I was the “only” boy not circumcised.

    That changed when I met the woman I would marry. She’d been with only one other man, and he was cut. She didn’t realize my status until she confronted me about why the sex was so much better with me. Her words: “It’s not because I love you and I don’t like him anymore. There’s something going on with you. I have an orgasm every damn time! But I can’t tell what you’re doing different.”

    I really didn’t know what to say, so I showed her my flaccid penis and demonstrated what circumcision would have done to it. She was horrified.

    It was then that we both realized the “ribs” many condom makers put on their product are a lame attempt to mimic the ridged band, a critical part of male anatomy cut away in circumcision, which gives pleasure to male and female.

    Me, I think it’s even more complex than that. E.g., science only recently learned there are receptors for estrogen on the inner foreskin. Why? No one knows. But we do know that tiny doses of estrogen
    lower men’s risk of heart disease. As our knowledge grows, what else are we going to discover about how interdependent we are?

    Now my wife goes out of her way to make the case against circumcision with every pregnant friend of hers.

    Me, I just enjoy the ride, so to speak. 😉 And I make sure to talk with every friend of mine who’s expecting a baby about why they shouldn’t circumcise.

  28. consa

    I am an intact American Baby Boomer because I was born in a European hospital. My American father asked that I be cut, but the European doctor who delivered me refused. During my first examination by an American pediatrician, my American grandmother kicked up a fuss about my foreskin. The pediatrician invited my European mother to have me cut, but she refused. And thus I became the only member of my family of origin to sport a whole penis. My younger brother was cut without my parents ever being asked whether they consented.

    But my parents never spoke to me about this until my mother broke down one day when I was 19, and told me what’s in the previous paragraph. My father’s reticence was perhaps for the best; he had no talent for dealing with delicate human situations. My mother was often shrewd about many things, but in this tender area, she kept her own counsel until I was grown up. I suspect that she simply did not know what to say to an intact boy growing up in a circumcised culture. She very much respected American medicine but like most Europeans of her generation, found circumcision distasteful.

    I was very ashamed about the fact that the most personal part of my body, the tip of my penis, looked quite different from that of my father, brother, and the boys I knew in school and summer camp. At the same time, I looked like the nude men in Old Masters, and like my European cousins. I was utterly baffled until age 13, when I chanced on an encyclopedia article that informed me that all boys were born looking like me, and that the men and boys around me looked different because they had been surgically altered shortly after birth.

    I can only recall hearing the word “circumcise” spoken by another boy only once before going to college. The boys I grew up with, who were all to quick to joke and boast about so many bawdy topics, apparently did not know that they had undergone minor genital surgery shortly after birth. They did not know what “circumcision” meant in the Bible. To this day, only two persons have spoken the word “foreskin” in my presence (one is my wife).

    Very soon after learning about circumcision, my doctor queried me about it while examining me. He seemed mainly concerned that I was at risk of ostracism. When he asked me whether the boys with whom I went to school were circumcised, I lied and said I didn’t know (in fact, all were but one). No other health professional has ever commented on my foreskin.

    I did not learn that there was no pressing hygienic reason for me to be circumcised until I was 19. I di did not learn that American obstetric practice was mistaken in this regard until I was 31. But I was so nervous about my foreskin that I did not lose my virginity until I was nearly 37, to the woman who is now my spouse. I was quite lucky; she had had previously two intact lovers. Even though she is of my generation, for her circ is cosmetic surgery, not a medical necessity. Moreover, she discovered the foreskin at 13 years of age, while poring over diagrams in the Britannica, and looking closely at male nudes in art. For her, the foreskin is quite erotic.

    I spent about 20 years of my life burning with heterosexual lust, but not daring to indulge that lust for fear that a young American woman would either have no clue that my foreskin was normal, or would break up with me because my penis disgusted her. A complicating factor was that Jewish women excited me most of all. I assumed that Jewish women simply could not be intimate with an intact man, unless they were very much on the left and the man was black. Only much later did I learn that there are secular Jewish women who are foreskin fetishists.

    I now live in a nation that used to circumcise, but has given it up. That I am intact is a matter of no moment whatsoever for anybody except my wife, who very much enjoys foreplay with my foreskin.

    If circumcision reduces AIDS, why is there a lot more AIDS in circumcised USA than in any other North Atlantic nation? It is also very easy to forget that the equation is not intact = disease, but intact + trashy sex life + no condom = disease.

    I predict that the foreskin will come to be seen as a nontrivial enhancer of intercourse. Whether or not that is true doesn’t matter and may be unprovable; I am only saying it will come to be thought true. And when that day comes, routine infant circumcision will vanish from the USA. The reason is that all too many women have mediocre and unsatisfying sex lives. These women are ripe for a scapegoat, and a ready one at hand is “I often/sometimes don’t climax because my DH doesn’t have a foreskin.” By no means does this have to be true; I am only commenting on the likely future course of urban myth.

  29. Jeremy

    I’m an intact male born in the western US. I’ve never had a physical problem with having a foreskin, but psychologically, it is a different story. Growing up in the US during the 90’s to me was somewhat hostile. I can remember several occasions when I would be hanging out with various girls from my high school and every so often the subject of being uncircumcised would come up and the reactions were always the same no matter which group of girls I seemed to be around. Gross, nasty, dirty, especially ugly, and too many more to even name seemed to come up so frequently that I was almost too petrified to ever have sex. Therefore, in my whole high school experience I’ve only ever gone on dates, dances, etc with girls from the three or four other high schools in my town, and I’d only slept with one girl who I knew I would never see again. I’ve past up so many opportunities because of this hang up. Some of these opportunites even came from some of the girls who had talk down on men with foreskins.
    As for cleanliness, that has never even been close to an issue. When I was in the Marines, I would have to spend weeks, sometimes a month and then some sleeping in the dirt going without showers, and of course we all smelled, but again never a problem with being intact. To me the whole issue of being clean has to do with looks and nothing more. When I was at my university as a microbiologist major, I’d learned that the male genitilia has no normal flora (resident microorganisms), but the normal female houses anywhere from a couple of dozen to two hundred different species, yet the stigma of being dirty is confined almost solely to the intact male. Please, do not mistake this as saying the female genitilia is dirty because it is not what I am saying. The normal flora that I mentioned is almost all non-pathogenic. The point I am trying to make is if men walked around complaining about how dirty the vagina is there would be hell to pay, but only let a woman say that to a man and it’s head line news. Case in point, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears said in an interview talking about “Harry Potter.” ‘Radcliffe’s uncircumcised genitals are also a source of perplexity for the two women. “What is that, a hoody?,” asked Spears.”Eew!” Lohan chimed in. “That’s so gross.”‘ http://www.thisjustin.com/2007/03/01/clip-of-the-day-well-always-have-paris-and-those-ninety-days/4 Not only were there no repercussions to this, but countless scores of impressionable prepubscent girls and teens who may not have ever seen an intact penis will probably already have an opinion now. If he were black instead of intact and they had given the same reaction, you know the media would have torn into them.
    I’ve had girlfiends that have been with both intact and circumcised, and they have all nearly said that they had preconceived notions before seeing, or experiencing one, but after, they said their really wasn’t a difference that they noticed. Sorry this rant was so long, I just wanted to get my opinion out there that to me, the only real difference is apperance.

  30. Jeremy, thanks for your comment and no need to apologize for the length. It isn’t a rant and I hope you’ll be back!
    Thanks too for the Lohan/Spears quotes and for your observation that men pubicly declaiming the dirtiness of natural female genitals would not have gone so unnoticed. I wonder if other readers have parallel examples of famous men or women commenting on the “grossness” of genitals.

  31. BR

    This is a very interesting point. Personally, I divide (and keep mutually exclusive) into two realms my perception of my penis and the image of it I like to project onto others: sociological and sexual.
    I am perceptive of the role (widespread or personally infered) of the penis and the cultivated concept of masculinity in our American society. We come out of a tradition of male-dominated arenas of politics, business, and academia, where the men, some 5,000 years after civilization’s inception, still hunt for meat while the women bear the children and collect meagerly, as it were (or this mentality exists to a large extent).
    The power and dominance that have come to define manhood are manifested in the penis. If it is big, one is strong; if it is small, then one is weak. This same framework effects sensativity about penis size, sexual prowess, and sexual orientation. Effectively, the male is forced to defend his own “masculinity” while repudiating homosexuality, abstinence, and, in some cases, women. While this brief outline is incomplete, it highlights some of the points tied up in our history and current social construct surrounding the penis and male-female relations.
    I have chosen, whenever possible, to avert penis-derived self-agrandizement, and to debate proactively the social worth of the penis. I feel the concept of the omnipotent cock reinforces false notions of manhood and subordinates the penisless woman to something lower than a male. Such a mindset, biological disparities notwithstanding, is deeply sexist (one of the many -ists from which we must free ourselves socially).
    Sexually, I approach my penis differently. In the bedroom, I relish the opportunity to be the dominant partner (and I’ve found most of my girlfriends/lovers enjoy having me dominate, as it were). I derive my feeling of dominance not merely from being physical with my partner; the possibility to feel socially powerful as a result of a sizeable cock that I reject outside of the bedroom, I take full advantage of inside.
    I am significantly larger than average and I know it. This awareness coupled with my partner’s acknowledgement imbues me with a sense of power, worth, and ability. Further, I cum a lot (albeit this is a serious account, I am invariably told by lovers, “like a porn star”), and I LOVE to exploit this ability in certain acts e.g. “facials” (an act, I feel, is grossly underrepresented in bedrooms, and I’m curious to hear how others appraoch it), when I’m receiving oral sex my partner sometimes has difficulty swallowing me and I get turned on by it, etc.
    Now, these acts and charecteristics are of themselves sexy, though I cannot doubt that they also fill me with a sense of power and dominance.
    Of course, it could be argued that while I try to seperate the sociologicsl from the sexual, these two are intertwined at some point. Might a women, who is submissive in bed become socially submissive? Possibly. Would this be negative. Possibly. But, I approach the two arenas as I see fit, with the intention of being socially gender-egalitarian, while maintaining a sexually dominant and partly penis-powerful sex life.
    (As for circumcision, I am circumsized and I’ve seen penises that are not. I feel there is an aesthetic, geometric quality in the circumsized penis. Whereas the uncircumsized cock seems to continue indefinitely, sloppily, and weakly, the circumsized one appears rigid, bold, and with purpose.)

  32. j

    The mutilation practiced on me left hardly any skin. When I was a teenager, erections were so painful I would cry, and tearing and bleeding skin was my reward. I didn’t know exactly what was cut off until I saw another man with whom I shared a hotel room in Hong Kong when I was 35. Silly as it sounds, that’s when I put 2 and 2 together, and understood the significance of the scar tissue that rings my penis. Until that time, I had never seen a foreskin.

    I feel cheated and robbed, and the wretched dark scar is a constant reminder that I don’t have a whole penis.

  33. J, thank you so much for sharing your feelings so honestly.

    BR, thank you, too, for describing the way that you compartmentalize your thinking about your penis. It is difficult for me to imagine that separation! And thank you for copying your comment into the forums on the sexinthepublicsquare.org . I hope others of you will do the same!

    If you’re interested in this thread, please surf over to this forum on the new site and take part in the discussion!

  34. Joshua

    Greeting everyone! My name is Joshua, and I can relate to this subject. I’m uncircumcised, and I love the way I am. Unfortunately, most people today are not educated properly on the subject of circumcision.

    As a young boy, growing up, I was always aware that my penis was different. My mother was the one who decided against circumcision at my birth. She saw it as nothing but a religious tradition. She figured if there was a God, and he created me a certain way, what purpose does changing things serve but to appease cultural fads? My mom’s an eccentric lady.

    Yet, I’m glad she did what she did. She taught me a valuable lesson. I was raised to see things differently. Instead of looking for things to worry about, I looked for things to be grateful for.

    So I turned being uncircumcised into a good thing. It’s all about mental outlook anyway. Some women will say an uncircumcised penis isn’t as pretty as one cut. I think this is due to our perception of beauty being distorted by a deteriorating society. For reference, go look at a cover girl. 99.9% of the time, 90% of her was photo enhanced (photo-shopped). Meaning pretty much every thing about a magazine is computer imaging (not authentic beauty). That’s why depression is so through the roof. We’re trying to keep up with impossible standards. That might even contribute to divorce. Everyone always wants something or someone better.

    But back to circumcision. I think it’s ridiculous. It’s nothing but a tradition. It’s about conformity. Everyone else did it, so we’ll do it to. You know, there were ancient tribes that believed in cutting of the female clitoris to symbolize her assent into adulthood. What if men started saying, “O’ The snipped clitoris looks prettier.” Honestly, ladies, would you really give a rats ass what they thought? Seriously, if I have to cut myself to appease someone; it just isn’t gonna work.

  35. David

    hey im uncut n am happy, i grew up in a muslim country, i’m an aussie but growing up with muslim friends, sometimes they would tease me and say it was gross or whatever. it bothered me for a short time when i was about 12 or 13, but then i got my first girlfriend and things changed, she was muslim too, and funnily enough the ex girlfriend of one of the boys who made fun of me. we were together for 5 yrs and my foreskin was a tiny issue right at the beggining of our relationship but after she found out how it worked and that it’s normal and that circumcised boys were the ones who were different. she had no worries and loved it from then on. since her ive been with 6 girls, im 20 yrs old now and i always try and get head from girls to see their reaction, no girl has ever said anything about it, i guess it’s cos im back in Australia now and girls here know what a natural penis looks like. but anyway, for people who have issues about it, just relax, it’s the way u were born and if a girl won’t accept that then she doesn’t deserve you. and also, all the guys who make fun of uncut guys do it cos they need to feel normal, if they were the uncut ones, they would probably be making fun of you for being cut. which is kinda the way it should be cos they are missin out on better sex…but nevermind that, i have no thought on the issue and weather cut or not i couldn’t care less, just as long as i’m uncut:)

  36. Art

    It is the perception of penis size rather than the actual size that affects men. until I measured my erect member at age 14, I really did not think about it too much. when I realized i was significantly smaller than average, I let that piece of info depress the hell out of me. It only grew a half inch more as I became an adult.

  37. Joshua, David, Art, thanks for your comments! This thread has been one of my favorites because of the way that it’s gotten people to talk about penises in a new way!
    A common theme in all these comments is the way that perception of one’s own body is so shaped by cultural forces. We’ve become good at talking about this as it relates to women’s bodies (though not so good about changing the cultural forces!) but we’ve not done a lot of it as it relates to men. Thanks to all of you for continuing to share your thoughts. Again, if you feel inclined, please contribute also to the Foreskin Dialogs thread on the new SexInThePublicSquare.org site.

  38. t

    I am an American woman in my late 20’s who has seen both cut and whole penises.
    Greek man: whole
    Aussie man: whole
    South African men: whole
    USA men: most I’ve seen are cut

    Although my partner is cut, and I am very happy with him sexually, I do wish he wasn’t. (I don’t feel comfortable telling him exactly why, but I have said that I would NOT circumcise a son.)

    I’ve observed that for uncut men, hand and blow jobs are easier and considerably more sensitive. Intercourse requires less lube and results in less friction. Better for both partners.

    I don’t know the reason for my emotional reaction to this issue, but I feel empathy and sadness when I see someone’s circumcision scars. He just doesn’t know what beauty, and what fun, he’s missing.

  39. Suzanne

    I grew up in the US, with very conservative European parents, and apart from what I could glean in 10th grade Biology, no sexual knowledge. No dates during high school… my first memory of actually seeing a penis was a guilty look at “Playgirl Magazine”. Long time ago, I don’t remember much except that I found the photos off-puttingly “polished”. In my early 20s, the (American) men I slept with mostly were circumcised, in my late 20s, the (European) men I slept with were mostly uncut. I didn’t have any strong feelings one way or the other, as both versions were strange und unfamiliar. After a very long celibate period, now in my 40s, I am finally feeling comfortable and happy with my sexuality. My partner is uncut and I find this beautiful and “whole”.

  40. Anthony

    I was born in Australia at a time when all males were ‘done’, my mother once told me I was the only one not in the ward of 20 or so.

    I grew up knowing the difference and I would be lying to say that it did not make some sort of difference to me. Certainly I think it put me off getting involved sexually for a little longer than some of my friends. By 17 though I was involved with my first serious GF and she actually preferred a foreskin, having seen both. It certainly never stopped her from giving head, that’s for sure!

    At 21 I moved to the US and had several more GFs, one form South Africa, a French girl and an American. While I thought that the ‘skin’ would be an issue, it never was, no matter where they were from. Actually not one cared or did/did not do something sexually because of it, though it might have taken that bit longer for it to happen.. there was always a little hesitation at first and ALL asked if I had washed first (even my first GF) even though they all knew I always showered and stayed very clean!

    That all said, I found sex to be less that great, no matter who I was with. I had a longish, thick foreskin that did not stay retraced like so many seem to think they do so sex, with or without, a condom was like masturbating myself! I was also finding no matter how much I washed, it always had an odour soon after. But perhaps the most interesting thing that made me decide to have it ‘done’ at some point was one night with the French girl. During intercourse, she reached down and held my foreskin back. Immediately I noticed the difference, someone turned on the light and I saw what all the fuss was about! The kicker though was right after she did it she said that ‘that feels so much better’….

    After several more years, I came back to Australia and decided to have it done. It’s now been over ten years since the operation and I have to say sex has never been better and the odour has vanished. Do girls care? No but in that vein I found the willingness to do certain things much greater or lacking hesitation. I can honestly say that I have not lost a single bit of sensation in anyway.

    I had a son last year and we had him done. Certainly after seeing just how little fuss it caused him (no crying and slept like a log afterwards) and how fast he recovered, I wish I had it done at birth – recovery as an adult takes a lot longer and the healed result is never as good as having it done as an infant.

    I make it sound like it’s all about the sex though, which it’s not. Sure, the improvement feeling wise that came with having it done is great but to me there is something that I just prefer. I lived for 25 years with a foreskin and 12 without and I much prefer the without. It is cleaner from a day to day point as well as a sexual health one and to me more aesthetically pleasing. I like the idea that I don’t always have to maintain it. Not a lazy thing, there are just instances in life where washing or ‘normal’ hygene is not possible and not not having ‘things’ grow under the skin is nice.

    My partner has no strong views either way and has experienced her fair share. At a pinch though she told me she thinks a circumcised penis is better for oral and the like but it’s a minor thing. To her they both feel the same and it’s what they are attached to that makes the difference, same with most women from what I have experienced.

    I understand where all the near hysteria comes from on the anti side. Forcing an issue on people like they did in the US and here was bound to cause the backlash it has. There is also nothing better to get a guy all worked up than to tell him that he’s been ripped off because the tip of his dick has been cut off… as if most, if not all guys don’t have some sort of self doubt about what’s between their legs. But it is hysteria and makes life difficult for new parents. There is nothing wrong or abhorent with modern circumcisions. My son’s was a simple, controlled procedure that seemed to cause him little or no distress – no more than trying to get used to the world he was brought into. I think there needs to be a balance and people need to be allowed to make their own choices, as there is really nothing wrong with either choice.

    As for being ripped off, I find though the best article of all on that topic can be found here: http://www.slate.com/id/2136062/

  41. Brewer

    Hi, I am an uncut British male of 35 years.

    I am very glad to be intact, and the thought of perfect little boys having the most intimate and treasured part of their body tampered with without consent appalls me.

    When I first researched the subject, it surprised me how vehemently some cut men defended the practise. But then I realised, the reasons for this are complex, and deeply emotional. To consider that your penis may have been detrimentally modified, without your consent, at an early age, must be a terribly frightening thing – so I am sure there must be an element of denial with these men. Kind of a blind ‘brand loyalty’ perhaps.

    There are risks of complications, some very serious, with circumcision. That’s a terrible thing to subject a child to, for a totally unnecessary procedure. How could you explain to your little boy why he will never experience a normal sex life, or an orgasm? What reason would you give him for giving the nod to the surgeon on that fateful day?

    There are NO compelling arguments for it, but many against. And I worry about the motivation for it – is it parents, doctors, and religious leaders that refuse to concede they themselves may have been somehow compromised? Is that a good enough reason to continue to surgically modify the genitals of small children without their permission? Is there any truth in the rumour that foreskins are worth a lot of money to pharmaceutical companies that require human cells – and that there is a financial incentive for hospitals to recommend the ‘minor’ procedure?

    If men want or need to have their foreskins removed, then let them make an informed choice about it and consent to the procedure later in life. Let’s not subject them to it and deny them the basic human right not to have parts of your body removed without your permission.

    I love my foreskin, my girlfriend loves it, it has many nerve endings and we both like to play with it. The thought of it being removed without my consent horrifies me.

    When you consider the extent that some men go to to try and ‘reconstruct’ their foreskins, I find it very sad that modern hospitals (and religious men) in ‘developed’ countries can continue to perform this act on what seem to be the weakest of justifications. It should stop.

  42. Funk

    Hello

    Well, I have read a good number of your comments and questions regarding being normal or circumcised.

    Question 1 = do I agree with circumcision? For legitimate medical reasons, yes. As a routine operation to a child not old enough to consent to, no. For either religious, esthetics, or so called hygiene reasons = yes if the person is over 18,
    is paying for it out of his own pocket and is not expecting governments or insurance companies to pay for it. Also, no if he is being pressured into it by
    friends or partners.
    No, I don’t agree a man should have it done later in life to please a girlfriend because
    A) it’s not reversible if she leaves
    B) no woman who asks you to do that is worth the relationship, because she obviously has other issues that need to be dealt with. If you marry someone, you marry them for who they are and how they are.
    Anyone I have known who has changed anything for their future wives or mates have never come out of those relationships a happy person. That includes women who’s boyfriends asked them to have a breast enhancement etc.
    It goes both ways. A man who can’t accept a woman for who she is or how she looks, is just as shallow as a woman who asks a man to be circumcised.

    Question 2 = No, neither I or any of my friends who have remained untouched, have ever been teased or refused sex by women in our lives and we are now in our mid 40’s.

    None of my foreskin friends have ever had any penis or penis related problems.
    Amongst my friends (about 6 foreskin and 8 circumcised) we discovered during conversations, my foreskin friends were always told they had to keep clean and that they were more susceptible to diseases. We now know it’s not true, but that is what they taught in schools back then.
    Like me, they all wore condoms during sex and were more monogamous in their relationships.

    Except for 1 of my 8 circumcised friends, the other 7 tended not to want to use condoms.
    All for various reasons. The most ridiculous one being that they thought that they were impervious to disease because they were circumcised !
    Approx ½ of them contracted some kind of VD (all but one curable)
    In our conversations, over 30 years of friendship to most, I have never encountered any regrets from those left whole at birth. I did find the foreskin guys felt a special bond with other foreskin friends.
    Not because we were teased, but because there were so few of us growing up.
    I really don’t know. But I’m relating it to how the Italian kids , like all other ethnic kids, would hang together in the English kid schools. Familiarity or something.

    Not all, but a good number (3 or 4) of my circumcised friends did mention not being happy with their status and amazingly enough only 2 out of the eight wanted or had their children circumcised. Some of the circumcised friends have asked advice from the intact friends about what they needed to do to teach their
    kids how to keep clean or why his foreskin wouldn’t retract in the tub.
    (for those not aware the foreskin is fused to the head until as early as 2 and
    as late as 15 years of age depending on the child)
    One of my foreskin friends son was circumcised because his wife asked for it
    at the hospital without his knowledge.

    Question 3 = Would I ever consent to circumcision? = again, not for any other reason then it was injured or infected beyond repair. Only for a legitimate medical reason nothing more. None of my other foreskin friends would have it done according to them either. We are all quiet happy being normal.

    Question 4 = do I agree with circumcision as a strategy for preventing AIDS in Africa? Hmmmm. I think if anyone read the entire article from the French Dr who suggested it, they would have found even HE didn’t agree it was the solution. Over-all, the problem with aids is a social problem.
    Unprotected sex, multiple sex partners, types of sex, etc. etc.
    It’s really a poor hygiene, multiple sex partner, unprotected sex, and varying style sex problem. Correct their thinking and practices and the foreskin issue would be so far down the list there wouldn’t be an epidemic.
    Note also in that study – it related 60% less risk of contracting aids in circumcised men WHO ONLY HAD VAGINAL SEX. In all other types of sex
    such as oral or anal, etc the rate of aids was pretty much equal.

    Question 5 = Do I like the word uncircumcised? NO
    I find it demeaning. It suggests I am incomplete or unfinished and should have had it done to make myself complete.
    When in fact, it is the other way around! Throughout the world it is very seldom done. It is not NORMAL but rather a man made modification that TAKES AWAY something leaving us minus something rather than finished. It leaves one incomplete.

    Conclusion;
    A foreskin is a normal part of the anatomy like your hands, feet, mouth, arm pitts and your butt. Keep them clean, learn your not a stud if you have had more partners in your life than your buddies and you should have a long healthy and happy life.

    Legally, many parents and doctors have been successfully sued
    over the last 10 years. MEDICAL LAW states it is illegal to remove a functioning part of the anatomy. Many have disputed it’s nothing more than a
    piece of skin, but since it has been determined that it has a sexual and protective function, it is equated to eye lids and such. Therefore Its not just a flap of skin
    according to the law.

    If you want to have a circumcision, I hope it’s for your own reasons, not because of outside pressures, money, cut crazy doctors or a partner.
    Do it because you BELIEVE in your religion and wish to follow it (not something an infant can decide in it’s first week of birth). Do it because you think you would benefit from it medically.

    My father lived by the old adage, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”
    I’m glad my parents didn’t like the idea,
    85% of the men in the world have their foreskins = it says something about American thinking compared to the rest of the world.
    Here in Canada it was about 76% circumcision rate back when I was born in the early 60s. Today it’s less than 20% according to some and less than 15 % according to others and the rate is still falling.
    The US is down from over 90% to lower than 55%.
    Soon this will become only a religious subject.

    Hope this seems informative to some.

    My apologies to those whom might take offence to my comments.
    I have no intention of making circumcised men feel poorly about their
    status anymore than some uncircumcised men have claimed to be teased for being complete. I believe like my father, who lost his leg to diabetes, it’s not always a choice nor medically intelligent to keep a foreskin if it has problems.
    If you feel strongly for your religion it is your choice again.
    We are all adults and should learn to grow up and accept people and their
    decisions for their own bodies, but I don’t believe unless again medically necessary we should have the right to make the decisions for our kids or anyone else.

  43. Alden Turnipseed

    First:
    Historically, circumcision was the sign of slavery and submission.
    A ritual of blood-letting and sacrifice to the violence that mono-theistic religions represent.
    It is a violation upon a man’s body binding him to this jealous god’s demands: total surrender.

    The control that state and religious institutions demand by having control over one’s body, and particularly the genital region is tantamount in understanding the necessity of preempting man’s human nature. A healthy orgasm is essential to a proper spiritual, mental. and physical existence. To exercise control over the body in consideration of the importance that the genital region was understood to play, in the creative and productive drives within man, necessitated the radicalization of the state and religion in mutilating the body in service to the religious state and its interests.

    To even attempt to quantify circumcision as an issue on health, is to demonstrate the control the state and religion wishes to have upon the body-corpus of man. Note the inordinate interest state and religious institutions have on the issue of reproduction, sexuality, intimate relations between people and the guilt and shame associated with bodily functions.

    The penis and the clitoris are the symbols of power that demand to be clipped. Note the genital amulets and shrines erected to such symbolic constructs historically. Only when men and women will appreciate the beauty of our bodies, will we possibly free ourselves of the tyranny of oppression and mind-control.

    And More thoughts:

    Being abused and exploited with religious, social, and medical policies is counter-productive to the general well-being of men.

    Foreskin removal represents a bio material waste management issue. The profitability of foreskin tissue is BIG BUSINESS. Like human yogurt kits, your foreskin fibroblast is used in all kinds of medical procedures. One foreskin can be used for decades to produce miles of skin and generate as much as $100,000, and that is not the fee from a one-time sale, but the fees from the fibroblasts that are created from those original skin cells.

    Males are victims and have been used as victims for years. Clueless, mothers who do not possess a penis, have found it useful to enter into a decision about their man’s body or their child’s body. Perhaps if we circumcise females as they do to our equal sisters in civilized Africa, that dark continent that now would become a light unto our planet.

    Where are the public health programs to stop circumcisions? The mutilation of the male has no rational basis in society. Religious cults practice this barbaric practice as a sacrifice for their bondage to their god.

    Where is the proper science to justify circumcision? The data presented by advocates remain inconclusive and dangerous where the studies were not designed to test a hypothesis about circumcision and did not report their methodological details for evaluation. Their studies represented bad science.

    This a policy of exploitation and has major political, medical, spiritual and social ramifications.

    For those who believe that circumcision is healthy, beautiful and pleasurable, note this fact: uncircumcised penises have up to four times more sexual sensitivity compared to circumcised ones. There are numerous examples in tribal entities where physical mutilation of the body is practiced. Physical piercings pervade our current culture. Lower social development cultures have always practiced these types of rituals and found means of rationalizing these practices within current cultures.

    Higher development societies revere the body in its arts. Less developed cultures defame, disfigure, debase their self-image.

    These revolutionary radicals that practice circumcision do not consider their bodies to be divine and will practice abuse, torture and defilement of others. When one has no self-respect, no awe of their own physical being, then there there is no respect for others.

    The preoccupation with genitalia is centuries old. The dysfunctional behaviors we observe with matters pertaining to our bodies is of paramount interest. Mutilation is unhealthy and represents a vestigial superstitious practice.

  44. dale

    I think circumcision is a barbaric form of genital mutilation and has no medical basis. All mammals have foreskins , if ther was an advantage to circumcision then evolutiobn would have mad us have shorter or no foreskins. Be realistic guys and dolls it is only a social issue and what one is used to seeing. in america we have made the norm, that is an intact penis , become the abnormal and the abnormal, that is a circumcised penis be the norm.

  45. Saneman

    Let’s pose this question in a different fashion.
    If it is acceptable to cut off a section of skin containing a fair number of pleasure receptors at birth for little more than cosmetic reasons, why should one stop there?
    I find it regrettable and somewhat infuriating that body altering operations are done to others without their consent.
    I believe strongly in one’s right to live one’s life as one wants.
    There are no holes in my body. I have no tattoos or piercings, there is nothing missing.
    Should I choose to reproduce the only changes to their body that will be made are those that they either do to themselves or have done to themselves.
    As to my genitalia thanks to my heritage I know that it’s there. I know that it’s fine to do with it as one sees fit and that when I achieve success romantically my partner will take from it as much pleasure as I can give her.
    Do to yourself as you see fit.
    Only remove flesh from others upon _their_ request.

  46. Sandra

    In response to J’s post, there was a true story that I read about a man that had the same thing happen to him, except they cut almost the whole penis off. He was a twin, so the doctors asked the parents what to do and they made him into a girl. He always felt weird, until they told him and he was made back into a man. Im sorry for the doctors hurting you too.

    I am married to an uncircumcised man and I have absolutely no problems with it. I have been with circumcised men more than uncircumised men and the ones that were cut, failed to bring me to orgasm. Once I slept with my husband, orgasm everytime. I find nothing wrong with being cut or being uncut. Giving oral sex to both kinds of men is just the same to me.

    My son was born 2 1/2 years ago and the hospital wouldnt circumcise him so I had to go to his doctor and told me it would cost $150 which I didnt have at the time. After he was 2 months old, his doctor said that my insurance would have covered it. They told me that it wouldnt before. Anyways, he told me it would be $300 to have it done then. I didnt have the money then either. So consequently, my son is uncut too. Im glad I didnt have it done because I could not even imagine them doing that to my son.

    Cut or uncut, a penis is a penis to me.

  47. D

    I am an American male, son of an immigrant (and uncut) father, and I deeply resent being cut. (It was done in the 70’s without any parental notification; welcome to the USA.) To be totally frank, it is the one ‘body issue’ image that I have – and I really do suffer from it. I don’t like to see myself naked in the mirror because of it. My penis doesn’t look “right” to me – and I can accept all the other differences that I have from other folks, except that one. I’d do just about anything to change what happened – wish I could go back in time or something. I’m middle-aged now, and growing old with style – don’t mind my greying hair or slight pauch, any of that. But what I do mind – and have minded since the time I was a little boy and discovered it – is that someone took off part of my body for no reason, and without even asking.

    I am in a supportive, settled relationship with a great woman who’s had lovers of both varieties, and tells me not to worry – though if we have any children, they are remaining uncut (as we both agree). I think I’d kill anyone who tried to harm my child in this way.

    To all those folks, cut and otherwise, who think it’s not a “big deal,” I say fine – for you it may not be. But if there’s a small chance that your kid will have a reaction like mine, you shouldn’t play with fire. It’s just not fair to him – if he wants to be cut later, he can go ahead and do it, no big deal – I WISH I could reverse the process and heal the scar so easily. But he can’t get back what you take from him as a baby, and he may decide that he wants it back very much.

    Our feelings about our genitals are such basic, private, and personal matters. Even family members will never really understand what’s at stake for any individual, and parents shouldn’t be so arrogant as to imagine otherwise. You feed your child; you don’t feel for him, certainly not once he’s grown up and out of the house. But your actions can have continuing consequences. Parents, doctors and religious leaders are merely guardians for us while we’re small; they won’t ultimately live in the bodies they are supposed to look after. It seems painfully obvious that they should do no harm while they have power over smaller people.

    It’s too late for me – I realize that I will probably die unhappy about the fact of my circumcision (even though happy about many other things – my wife, job, etc.). There’s just no way I can easily get over this in my head, though believe me, I’ve tried. Don’t do that to anyone else, even if it’s only a small risk they’ll end up feeling like I do.

    Hope this is an appropriate comment and not too confessorial; seems like that’s what was invited. Thanks for this string of posts. I was sad reading many of them, but appreciate the effort you’re making to start a taboo conversation.

  48. It’s a very appropriate comment, D, and I thank you for leaving it. It is not too confessorial. Like many of the comments here it blends the personal with the social so that people can understand the issue in a more complex and multifaceted way. Thank you for your addition!

    Elizabeth

  49. Pingback: BOINKOLOGY: Insightful analysis of sex and culture.

  50. I’m a midwestern American male born at the end of the 1970’s when routine infant circumcision was at its peak. I’ve been against circumcision ever since I learned what it was. My family was watching a National Geographic type program about an African tribe in which the young men were undergoing a circumcision ceremony on their jouney to manhood. I think I mentioned that I was glad that we didn’t have anything like that where we lived. The conversation continued and I learned that my brothers and I had been circumcised after birth. It turns out my grandfather had not been circmcised, but as a physcian all of his sons were circumcised. My mother did mention that she had considered not having us circumcised, but that she ended up figuring things would just “be easier” if we were circumcised. I was not convinced am still somewhat angry I was altered. It was not until years later that I even saw an uncircumcised penis in real life–circumcision is remarkable common where I grew up. I’ve never known what it would have been like to be intact, so I don’t know what I’m missing, but I would have liked to have had the chance to decide for myself. I’m quite envious of the intact men I occasionally see in the showers.

    Help to stop routine infanct circumcision and let individuals decide for themselves whether to alter their bodies.

    I noticed that TLC Tugger is sponsoring a ProIntact poetry/video/song contest! Applications are being accepted for 2008! Be creative and come up with an entry to share!

    http://tlctugger.com/Song_Contest_Gallery_2007.htm

  51. Ellie

    I’m a female. Heterosexual for the most part and I think cutting off part of your little son’s penis is realy really twisted. I would never do this to a babt if I were a parent. I am not saying this to be judgmental about someone who has done this to their child – I know people get all into it because of cultural norms and think it’s just something you do like go to the OBgyn. And once you do it, you have to live with it and just realise that you made the best decision you knew how to make at the time. However, I think it is really a questionable thing that we should start to look at as the generation now having children. It’s not a given and not neccessary and maybe we should ask ourselves if we really believe this is a good thing to do before just doing it because everyone else does it. I have been with both circumcized and uncircumsized men and I prefer uncircumsized although it is not because of the man – it is because I feel bad for a circumsized man and with an uncircumsized man, I feel like he has always been loved and appreciated. I wonder about circumsized men. In addition, there is much more to play with and much more you can do for a man with an uncircumsized penis and I like this. I have NEVER seen one that was not clean or had any weird anything on or in it. It is not gross, not slimy, and the texture is very similar to the rest of the penis but perhaps with a softer skin (softer as in more like youthful skin, not as in it does not get hard).

    I maintain that if we did this same genital operation to girls in the US, there would be an incredible scandal. But because we do it to boys, it is acceptable. Men have a bad deal, if you ask me.

    A close friend of mine, a man, was so upset about not having a foreskin that he tried to cultivate one by stretching his penis skin. I just think this is so sad. Such an emotional scar as well as a physical one. If I knew my parents did that to me on purpose (if I were a man), I’m not sure how I’d feel about that and if it might cause me to question their love. That surely WOULD have happened to me had I been a boy so I am grateful I never had to think about this.

    That said, I have heard that the rate of cervical cancer is higher in women with partners who are uncircumsized. I do not know if this is true and – if it is – I do not know what the reason might be. However, it it worth it to me to go to the Dr once a year and get a full workup (which is neccessary anyway) if it means that whoever I am having sex with (who, ostensibly I love or at least like) did not have to have their genitals mutilated. I am US born, Californian. So this is not coming from someone who is in a country where this practice is not normal. But I still think it is wrong.

  52. Ellie

    PS to D

    You are awesome, Man! I think you are a beautiful person, cut or uncut. Your courage to address these issues and talk about them openly is really touching. I almost cried when I read your posting. As with all injuries, we form around them and what you have formed is a really beautiful and poignant person. Maybe this injury has contributed to your courageous compassionate character although, I am sure, you would have these characteristics to begin with. You don’t get to hear about these things from men very often and I am so thankful to be able to read this.

  53. Jon

    I too have been pondering this topic and the views and attitudes towards circumcision.

    Religion and the father/son relationship
    —————————————-
    Personally I am an uncircumcised male, and my views towards circumcision are that it should not be performed without consent (which you cannot get from an newborn boy). However, I am also a Christian and as such are familiar with its roots in the Jewish faith and as such I must respect the practice among that faith as it was an instruction from the same God that I worship.

    The subject of religion then got me thinking about this topic and the fact that most children are raised in the faith of that of their fathers/mothers, and therefore the same beliefs are often held between the generations. Therefore on a topic such as this I get the feeling that it MAY seem to many to be disrespectful or some kind of betrayal not to raise your children the same as you may be raised (i.e. either circumcising or not circumcising your baby son). If you were not doing to your baby son what was done to you you are making a statement, if only to yourself, that you disagree with your parents and the way you were raised. Coupled with the fact that grandparents are often around when many babies are born, and actively take part in raising them then it could become an area of conflict between father and son as to why the infant was/wasn’t circumcised and a direct criticism.

    Women in the circumcision decision
    ———————————-
    Moving on from this first thought, I was then intrigued by the female thoughts on the topic. I believe that both husband and wife should share the decision of whether to circumcise their baby son or not, however I believe this decision should be led by the information and experiences of the father. Why? Because women do not have penises. I am not saying that to provoke a reaction from the women reading this topic, but without a penis a woman can only comment on three aspects: aesthetics, hygiene, how it feels.

    Aesthetics
    ————
    Regarding aesthetics, everyones genitalia is different, if you love someone this should not be an issue, but in todays society sex has to many become a pasttime rather than an act of love. Unfortunately we live in a vain world where many become obsessed with appearance. My personal opinion is that no genitals, male or female, look particularly nice, but jsut because something does not look nice doesn’t mean im going to get surgery to remove whatever it may be, nor would I dream of asking anyone else to remove anything. I would be deeply offended if someone asked me to be circumcised because they thought it would look better.

    Hygiene
    ——-
    So many talk about hygiene – men and women. I can tell you first hand, just like many uncircumcised men, that it is not hard to keep clean. The foreskin is very similar to the clitoral hood if you look at genital development in the womb. Men and women should clean these folds of skin regularly and are both just as subject to smegma as each other. I have read many posts where men and women have encountered members of the opposite sex with genital hygiene issues, therefore using this as a reason for circumcision seems ridiculous. The benefit is that it makes it easier to clean but so marginally it is not worth mentioning.

    Feelings
    ——–
    Many posts online talk about how foreskin feels in sexual activity from male and female perspectives. Some women prefer the feeling of a circumcised penis, others an uncircumcised penis. On the other side, many men say that their way is the better way, but again i believe this a preference issue that can ONLY be studied among the experiences of men that have undergone circumcision later in life experiencing sex with and without the foreskin, but again what I have read points to a preference issue. However the feeling, or sexual gratification, should not be a reason for circumcision of a baby boy because there is no sexual function of a penis until later development supporting the balanced approach to defer the decision until later when they can decide themselves.

    Female Genital Mutilation
    ————————-
    This is a very concerning topic but i believe directly parallels male circumcision. I don’t think anyone in this discussion here would agree with that, which i believe is jsut as unnecessary as male circumcision for exactly the same reasons as above. However, I have noted that my views on circumcision in the Jewish faith so I accept that I am not the best person to comment on FGM as often it is for religious pruposes too. BUT I still believe that male and female circumcision are wrong.

    My conclusion
    ————-
    This will always be a debate, people will agree with me and disagree with me on certain aspects. On the topic of infant circumcision I believe this is a decision for the parents that should be considered carefully viewing the various viewpoints found in discussions such as there. Regarding adult circumcision, both men and women should consider whether it is really a subject that is so important…if as a man you want to be circumcised then by all means it is your body…but men and women should have no expectation over the other to remove parts of their body for them.

  54. Annonymos

    Hello there. I am a circumcised man.

    When I first read up on circumcision and learned how much was taken from me, I was very angry and sad. I felt as if my life was suddenly worthless, and that I was cheated out of the best thing that was my right to have. I have learned about foreskin restoration, which, while not restoring the rigid band or frenulum, it still covers the head of the penis; restoring it’s full sensitivity and providing the added sexual feelings for women that only a circumcised man can provide.

    To make myself feel better about the circumcision, I’ve decided to look at it as a rights of passage. I bare my scar proudly, to show what has been taken from me, but that I am still strong and persevering and pleasurable. Men who were not circumcised have the incredible luxury of an intact penis, and never knowing what it’s like to have the head completely exposed to the elements 24/7. Men without their foreskins have endured this, and I think that makes them stronger.

    All of my girlfriends have been very pleased with my penis, and I have always pleasured them immensely. I have however noticed a lack of sensitivity, which although allows me to last longer, is also annoying (this problem is most severe when I am wearing a condom).

    I do not condone circumcision at all, but for those of us who are, I think we should look at it as something that makes us stronger.

  55. Tim

    I am an uncut American male at the good age of 33. I have never had any problems with my penis, and never had any complaints from my girlfriends. I am now married and we have a son that is also uncut. That was already decided by his mother way before she ever met me. She said that she has been against this crazy idea since she first heard over it. I understand the statements from some posters about the females having a “Better” time during sex with an uncut verses a cut penis. I have had girls say the same things to me during sex. One was very upset that she had not been with one before me! I think the idea of cut first and ask questions later is going by the way side. WE ARE THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE FREE WORLD THAT STILL CUTS THEIR BABY BOYS WITHOUT ANY REASON. THIS MUST STOP…..

  56. It amazes me that in a civilised country like the USA that people are choosing to circumcise babies. I think the people are deciding for cosmetic reasons, or because dad is rather than actually considering what they are really doing. my penis is uncut and I cant fathom why someone would cut my foreskin off. When its not erect my skin protects the head from the “wear and tear”, and when it erects I feel my foreskin stretch as it opens to allow my glans to pass through. This feels amazing!!! The head is shiny and moist ready for action, no lube required. I just hope that people will really go beyond the superficial before they alter there cherished child forever.

  57. Jim

    You may find this a bit interesting. I was well into my 40s before I learned whether I was circumcised. I really had no basis for comparison (no children of my own) so asked a girlfriend who had experience with several different partners and also had a son. It’s not something my parents ever talked to me about and it’s difficult to find photographs depicting the difference. Now, I can truthfully say: I didn’t come this way. Having read other comments, I wish I had been given a chance to express my opinion – though I probably would not have appreciated the difference at the time. Oh, well . . .

  58. Thank you so much for all your recent contributions to this thread. I continue to be fascinated by the range of experiences that are voiced here. I’m touched by your willingness to share your stories and your ideas.

  59. consa

    (good/bad/indifferent; clean/dirty/dangerous/wonderful/etc.),
    * The penis looks indifferent but feels intense.

    what your anxieties about it are,
    * Not size! Because only the first inch or so of the vagina is rich in feeling. My other does not like it all when I get a little carried away on my glans touches her cervix. Not performance. I get hard often and easily, like a 20 year old.

    what you like about it,
    * I, unlike nearly all men of my age, have a foreskin.

    how you feel about the way that your society treats penises in general.
    * Except for circumcision, I do not see how the penis gets a raw deal.

    Do you like them in general?
    * I worship pussy.

    Do they make you uneasy?
    * Only to the extent that they cause unwanted pregnancy and spread disease.

    What do you think of uncircumcised penises?
    * They are more than a bit feminine. It must be so easy to come on to an uncut man: simply slide his foreskin gently up and down. Massage his foreskin and frenulum between thumb and index finger. Kiss and suck on the very sensitive tip. I sympathize with women and gay men who are foreskin fetishists. I do not see how an intact man can remain impotent when he is in the hands of a foreskin friendly woman. However, wash under the foreskin before attempting any intimate acts.

    Circumcised ones?
    * They do NOT look mutilated. In fact, the many cut penises I’ve seen in locker rooms, summer camp, etc., all looked quite normal to me. Have never seen a circ scar in the flesh.

    Do you ever think about the similarities between male and female genital organs?
    * The clitoris is like a very small uncut penis. The inner lips are like the foreskin. There is one difference. Contemporary porn suggests that women take more pride in their pink bits than men do. If men were polite enough to refrain from oggling and perving (dream on!), I think that millions of women would do their summer recreation in the nude. Betty Dodson’s genital pride message has made a lot of headway.

  60. Wannabe Amazonian

    While living in Brazil at the start of their marriage, my parents purchased an illustrated coffee table book about an Indian tribe in Amazonia. The adult Indian men were photographed wearing loincloths, but prepubescent boys were naked and sported tapered foreskins. I remember leafing through that book before I could read and being deeply puzzled by what I much later learned was the foreskin, because I was the only uncut male in my family of origin.

    Unlike most boys, I dutifully looked at classic painting and sculpture, with its many male nudes sporting the tapered look. Why did I look like the little boys in the Amazon jungle, like Michaelangelo’s David, like the infant Jesus in Renaissance depictions of the Madonna and Child? Why was I embarrassingly different from the flesh and blood males around me, my father and brothers, my schoolmates and playmates around me? Why did I encounter a tiny number of exceptions? My parents went to their graves without ever saying anything to me about why I was intact. I was too embarrassed to ask a doctor, and no doctor who examined me volunteered any information. For years, I dreaded the prospect of having to undress and shower in front of other boys after high school gym. I was never teased after age 8 or so, when I learned to pull my foreskin back before urinating and while undressing.

    I was deeply shocked to discover in my teens that every boy was born with a foreskin, and that nearly all males around me had had it cut off at birth. The resulting confusion in my mind lifted only when I started reading 20 years ago about the movement to stop routine infant circumcision in American maternity wards.

    Very recently, I chanced on a webpage, put together by a pro-circ group, that included a number of testimonials by men and medics who had been in the Service in their youth. These testimonials made clear that many Army docs during the Cold War were blatantly hostile to the foreskin. The page reproduced an extract from a medical journal article, written by Army docs, claiming that inflamation under the foreskin was rampant among soldiers, especially under combat conditions. The authors were of the opinion that their experience fully supported making infant circ routine. This could explain why it indeed became routine in the 1940s and 50s, when the prestige of the US military was much higher than it was post-Vietnam. But I also have trouble making sense of this claim. If a soldier has a canteen with drinking water, he can wash under his foreskin 1-2 times a day, easy as pie. To unzip a fly, pull the tool out, skin it back, and rinse off the end in clean water is really no big deal at all. (For a woman to rinse off her labia requires that she undress below the waist and towel off afterwards.) Also, I know of no other national military that concluded that the foreskin reduced one’s effectiveness as a soldier.

  61. Having a foreskin is great unless like me, you have severe problems. At about 8 years old I started to have problems retracting and could not wash properly because it hurt to pull back the skin. My father was overseas in the service and I lived with my stepmother and stepbrother. My stepmother was a R.N. and when she learned of my problem we went into her bedroom and I had to drop my pants and let her examine me. Unknowen to me she made an appointment with a OBgyn who was a personal friend of hers. This lady doctor was supposed to just examine me. After arriving at the clinic, I was given a small pill to take and my stepmother helped me into a paper gown. I was instructed to lay on the examination table. I became very sleepy and could barely remember the gown being pulled up and my legs being put into the stirups. After I started waking up I soon felt the bandage and knew something had occured. My stepmother told me later that she had instructed the doctor what she wanted. My frenulem and almost all loose skin had been removed. I had been in such pain before the surgery that I was just glad that everything was over. I healed up OK and that was the end of any trouble of that sort. Personaly, I am pleased with being cut and when erect, the skin is streched but still comfortable. Sometimes it is just nessasary to have this surgery. Often boys and men have to have it later.

  62. vikinggirl

    Elizabeth i really liked your comments about labia and i too relate these parts to the foreskin, which i love.

    I’m a woman with a lot of sexual sensation which i attribute in part to being blessed with rather large dangly labia which i love to have manipulated by my partner in lots of different ways. You can’t help but notice though that people who are less comfortable with themselves or with sex itself find large labia dirty and ugly (many women in the US and UK are now having them cut off and plastic surgery specialists are using their websites to encourage a view of the labia as dirty ugly and prone to infection – google labiaplasty or labia trimming if you want to check this.) I do make a point of going to the bathroom to wash (although i shower each morning) before anyone gets near them but i feel that’s enough just as it’s enough to wash a foreskin regularly.

    Lou in the comments points out that foreskin is delicate tissue that can be damaged in rough sex providing an entry point to HIV and that its sensitive mucous membrane can also provide an easier entry for HIV. He/she suggests damaging the male parts by exising the bits which are most delicate. Well that’s one option Lou, but if it’s such an exciting development to find that making the genitals smoother and more leathery, more like the skin on your arm and less like sexual bits, protects against HIV, why not push for an investigation of the benefits of a parallel degree of damage on female genitals? After all male circ, whatever you think of it, protects women not at all, and in some cases puts them more at risk.

    As for the general value of foreskins to sex, as a woman i just want to say, they are great. I don’t experience orgasms with circumcised men, but with my intact partner (as with intact others) i have a simultaneous orgasm almost every single time. This makes biological sense as the dorsal ridges of his retracted foreskin rub on the ridges of my gspot. I can’t believe that nature DIDN’T intend the most sensitive part of the penis and vagina to collide in this way.

    When i encounter a man who has been circumcised without reason or informed consent (this includes most medical circs) I feel sorry for him, because he’s lost something really special. And when i read of men who feel freaky because they’ve grown up with a foreskin in a puritanical society bent on its excision i feel enraged.

    With a foreskin you can experience magical sensations that a circ’d man will never have. Such as having someone run their tongue around the underside of the foreskin while it’s pulled up over the glans in erection…

    My final comment is in relation to one by Jack – he thinks if a child’s foreskin hasn’t retracted by 8 it should be forced or cut off. WHAAAT? The mean age of first foreskin retraction in societies with a normal healthy attitude to the male body is 10.4. Many young men experience a normal happy first retraction much later – just as many girls have their periods start at ages ranging from 10 to late teens. No one thinks, oh my 12 year old hasn’t started yet i must have a fiddle around down there and then subject her to surgery.

    It’s a pretty sad state of affairs that after millenia of enjoying foreskins, thanks to a few nutty Victorian doctors many people now haven’t a clue how to deal with them or why they are there and in the absence of knowledge they become fearful and choose pre-emptive assault….

  63. norm

    i would like to point out that no parent or anyone else has the right to have part of a babies penis removed surgically except in the case of a life saving situation / serious disease arising ,the penis should be left untouched and if the baby wishes to be circumcised when he is an adult then thats his choice .circumcising a defencless baby should be considered as a hostile act toward that baby. i can also say from experience keeping an intact penis clean is not that hard to do and it has more parts to play with. as for hiv protection this is not as
    good as it sounds the surveys carried out are not conclusive and a few other surveys have found circ not to be an advantage at all so we will see it could all be exagerrated,after all the u.s. is largely cut and has the highest hiv figures in the west and the other countries dont normally circumcise so work
    that one out .also why is it the u.s. is driving the surveys and promoting the idea that circ reduces hiv cos thats suspect in itself ? i too had a tight foreskin as a teenager which took a good while to work loose and had a few cuts or rashs but i was patient and it streched ok . no if i have a son he will not be touched by the sickos with their knives.