May 11, 2021

Circumcision anyone?

I wrote this up for my weekly column(s) but decided to post it here too:

In America a man with an uncut penis is thought of as different, or strange. Here we have this tradition, generally at birth, or in the Jewish religion eight days after that, where we snip a little off the tip and call it a cut. Being raised Jewish, Iíve been to a number of bris and the older I got, the more I got to thinking.

I saw my first uncircumcised penis at the age of 24. It was the penis of a man I worked with, and not the penis of the kind of guy I had expected to be uncircumcised. He was white, middle class and handsome, the kind of guy I assumed would just get it done because thatís what everybody else did. When one night after two many dirty martinis, we found our way to his apartment in Queens, I uncovered his extra skin. My first thought when he unwrapped his sausage was, oohÖan uncircumcised penis, Iíve always wanted to play with one of these things, because they look a bit different than a neatly trimmed one. My second thought was, like my martini, isnít this dirty?

I had so much fun that night, using the foreskin as a tool to help me help him grow. I loved watching the skin move up and down over the head and around the shaft. It was like a game of peek-a-boo and it kept me interested in a hand job long after most other women would have given up. I also loved how much more sensitive he was, how the head of his penis stayed lubricated and how his penis felt somehow more connected to the rest of his body.

The next day I called my mother. ďIf I ever have a son,Ē I told her, ďIím not going to circumcise him.Ē She was shocked, upset and adamantly opposed. ďIíll sneak into the hospital and do it myself,Ē she warned me. The thought of my mother making the news, and possibly going to jail for trying to mutilate a newborn son I didnít even have freaked me out. But I was pretty sure that I meant what Iíd said.

See, my night with Bill had showed me that thereís more man to love when a penis isnít forced to lose its protective covering. And now on a mission, I wanted to save as many other penises as I could. I found those websites dedicated to reclaiming the foreskin. They were a bit radical for my tastes, I mean if itís gone, itís gone, and thereís no use trying to get it back. But for the next generation, I believe, thereís still hope.

I found that, in talking with people, they believed, otherwise. They thought uncircumcised penises were filthy and wrong. I did research and found that there was no logical data to suggest this, and that it was mainly social conditioning that brought out this fear. I found that in 1999, and again in 2005, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a statement on circumcision saying that the benefits of circumcision were not significant enough for them to recommend circumcision as a routine surgical procedure. This gave me hope, and I knew if other people could see this data that they too may see the light.

However, Iím not blind to the benefits of circumcision either. In fact if I lived in someplace like Africa Iíd probably snip part of my dick too. Circumcised penises may have a lower rate of contracting STIís and HIV and apparently the male foreskin is made up of cells that absorb HIV. My argument for this is bag that baby unless you are truly faithful to one box (or bum as the case may be). Then I read that circumcised men offer more protection to their female partners against cervical cancer, the cancer that comes from another STI, HPV. But I also noticed one other thing. Thereís no discussion on what happens if a guy actually washes his dick and keeps it clean. Does that make a difference in the rates of infections?

So while I donít have a son, and I donít have a penis, I still ponder what to do if I did have one or the other. Even if it cuts down on STIís (so does abstinence and masturbation), and even if he has to make sure to really wash his dick every day (shouldnít he do that anyway) isnít it the guys choice to remove a part of his body? When did it become a parentís right to make that decision? If you break it down into what it really is, male genital cutting, than it deserves the same disgust and outrage reserved for female genital cutting. The foreskin on a guy is sensitive and it makes the head of the penis even more sensitive. So, why donít we see it that way? It is after all, a violation of oneís body, most often, without their consent. And I understand if itís a religious thing, although so is female genital cutting in some parts. So is it right, am I right, or is there some middle ground in all this?

Posted by jamye at May 11, 2021 12:58 PM