Why do some parents have their sons circumcised, while others do not? Why do some uncircumcised men wish they were circumcised, and some circumcised wish they were not? The subject generates quite a lot of heat on both sides.
An email: Recently I saw an article observing the difficulties faced by both parents in having their sons circumcised and emphasizing how unnecessary it is in almost every case. Surely it is about time that this cruel mutilation of the male genitals was made illegal unless and until the young male is both physically and mentally able to decide for himself (as in the case of tattooing); except possibly when a principle or family religion is involved. As a mutilated male I can only add that the pleasures of receiving fellatio are completely unknown to me, owing to the almost total insensitivity of my glans due to constant exposure and dryness, despite the fact that my frenulum is intact.
Furthermore, the intense and prolonged activity required to reach orgasm is both frustrating - an interesting admission of having delayed ejaculation - click here for more information on this - and induces a feeling of despairing inadequacy throughout. None of my uncircumcised colleagues have wanted the foreskin drawn back at the start of sexual pleasure, even fellatio, since the glans itself is too sensitive for preliminary direct stimulation, and this quickly results in premature ejaculation. I feel sure that most would agree that the most sensuous sensations are achieved when the foreskin is drawn forward and back over the moist erect penis, only partly exposing the glans in the process. Complete exposure of the glans should only occur after penetration and as the climax of the vigorous and involuntary thrusts to this end. From this I conclude that the longer the foreskin the greater the sensations and pleasures of sex positions and lovemaking. Continued below the pictures....
Foreskin Retraction Sequence
Another view in response to the above: Many men would agree with him that circumcision is a mutilation. All the handicaps he mentions, caused solely by this damnable interference with our sexual efficiency, are very commonly maddening to a vast army of silent suffering victims. The decision regarding the destruction of this very important and very useful appendage, most often left to the whim of the mother, should very definitely not be the prerogative of the parents.
At least 90 per cent of the unfortunate males who have been so cruelly deprived of the foreskin would not have elected to part with it if it had been left to them to decide for themselves. I for one would readily join the throng of men who would queue for the re-grafting of a new foreskin by surgery, if it ever became a real possibility. The advantages of this fold of skin on the end of the penis (provided so benevolently by nature) are numerous and manifold.
It is of vital importance for the full enjoyment of tactile feelings during sexual intercourse. There is, of course, considerable debate as to whether or not circumcision has a role to play in slowing down premature ejaculation. (Many men have claimed that a glans which is constantly covered with the foreskin is much more sensitive than one which has been exposed to the rubbing of underwear, and consequently has become keratinized (thickened) and less sensitive. This may cause delayed ejaculation. You can find protocols for delayed ejaculation treatment here.)
Therefore, anyone with a long foreskin which is perhaps a full inch beyond the tip of the glans is indeed lucky, by virtue of the fact that he should be able to achieve full erection with the glans still remaining completely covered by the skin. The inner layer is thereby a somewhat larger 'area' of delicate sensitivity to come in contact with the moist vaginal surface as it rolls off the knob during the initial thrust of the penis. I feel sure a large number of the lads who are so clamorous in their endeavor to become circumcised would surely think again about it if they really knew what they lose when the foreskin is destroyed by this barbaric and inhuman operation. (Some men, of course, have resorted to foreskin restoration in an attempt to overcome the damage done to their self-esteem and possibly their sexual sensitivity by circumcision. There's a whole website on the subject of foreskin restoration and the sensitivity of the penis here.-Ed)
Pain is indeed a really heavy handicap to any attempts at sexual relief and satisfaction. As he says, the loss of the foreskin nerves makes longer and more vigorous friction of what is left of the responsive areas of touch necessary. The usual result is the loss of erection due (in my own case) to pain around the corona of the permanently exposed glans (a horrible feeling indeed!) even if it is the soft fingers of a wife doing the manipulation!
This means frustration and disappointment for both parties, a very sorry state of sexual relationship. My feeling of despairing inadequacy is definitely shared by millions of other unfortunate victims of this barbaric butchery. I wonder when a little compassionate (and sane) thinking will be able to put an end to this brutal and disgusting practice!
On the other side is this letter:
As a result of a number of childhood incidents I acquired an acute feeling of inferiority over being uncircumcised which eventually developed into a full blown neurosis resulting in mental difficulties. Our doctor was very understanding, fortunately, and he arranged for me to have psychiatric treatment under the N.H.S. The specialist told me in the course of treatment that I had made things very much more difficult by not seeking it sooner, and I would urge anyone with a psychological difficulty ... to seek help before it becomes overwhelming. I was eventually circumcised as part of the therapy and in my case this has certainly proved beneficial.
I feel that had I had the operation before my problem became serious I should never have needed to see a psychiatrist but it may equally be the case, as the psychiatrist claimed, that if I had seen him earlier I would not have needed the circumcision. Given the choice, I should choose the operation. After discussion I decided to have go into hospital to have it done privately under a local anesthetic, which at the most only meant taking a day off. The doctor did it one morning at his surgery. I do not suppose I was there more than an hour altogether and I went straight on to work afterwards. No one apart from the doctors and my wife knew anything about it. I experienced no real discomfort. My judgment is that, when performed by a competent doctor, circumcision is a very trivial operation, and I should advise men unhappy about their uncircumcised state to lose no time in arranging it.
With the exception of the clitoral versus the vaginal orgasm controversy - see here for more on the clitoral versus the vaginal orgasm controversy - there is no subject in the field of sex more controversial than circumcision. Why is it that the retention or removal of a small piece of skin should be so contentious? Why do some men who have been circumcised as children in later life regard themselves as having been mutilated, why others, who have not been circumcised, get into such a psychological state about it that their doctors recommend the simple operation on psychological grounds when no physical grounds exist?
Both in Great Britain and in the United States to circumcise or not to circumcise has gone in cycles. What I mean is that circumcision has been 'in the fashion' in some periods, 'out of fashion' in others. On both sides of the Atlantic during the first four decades of this century, circumcision in infancy, usually within a short time of birth, was widespread among the upper and professional classes. The Second World War, however, had a very pronounced effect on the performance of the operation both here and across the ocean. Because of the medical requirements of the vast armies which both Great Britain and the United States put into the field, there was a shortage of doctors to attend the civilian populations.
This shortage led to a review of medical procedures. Applied to circumcision it was found that healthy babies could be circumcised immediately after birth with a quicker healing of the wound, fewer subsequent complications and with no shock symptoms; in other words, with complete safety. This policy was adopted in America. In Great Britain, on the other hand, because of the constant risk of air-raids interrupting operations and because of the lower level of medical sterility that was inevitable in partially damaged hospitals, the tendency was to eliminate all absolutely non-essential surgical procedures. Except in those cases where circumcision was deemed to be a medical necessity, it was rarely carried out at all.
After the end of hostilities, a fresh look at circumcision of the newborn was taken in the light of wartime experience, and two clinical studies were made. The conclusions drawn from these studies were diametrically opposed. The main reason for non-religious infant circumcision was a foreskin that would not retract. In Great Britain, Professor Douglas Gairdner was able to show that the non-retractable foreskin was a normal condition in newly born babies. (As if mothers had not known this for years...)
As between 16 and 20 babies were dying every year as a direct result of circumcision and as there were numerous cases of post-operation complications, Gairdner decided that the possible benefits of circumcision were not so great as to warrant risking the deaths of a score of babies. He was supported in this view by the great majority of doctors in the UK, with the result that infant circumcision became virtually unknown except in very special cases, or when the parents insisted, for their own reasons, and were able to find a doctor prepared to operate.
The exactly opposite view was adopted in America based on the study of Professor Harold Speert of New York. He investigated half a million circumcisions over ten years, and found that there had been only one death, and scarcely any post-operative complications. Because of the almost one hundred per cent safety of the operation, Speert advocated that circumcision at birth should be routinely carried out on all male babies except in those cases when the parents had conscientious objections. The benefits made such a routine practice well worth while. So we have the situation today that in America over 50 per cent of all males are circumcised before they leave the maternity hospital, whereas in Great Britain it is rarely performed at all.
Well, what are the benefits of circumcision? First, men who are circumcised in infancy very, very rarely get cancer of the penis. The number of circumcised men who do get this dread disease, which at best means amputation of a large portion of the penis and eventual death, is so small that it is scarcely computable. But there again, almost no-one gets cancer of the penis anyway - in Great Britain, a mere 160 men die of it every year. As I have suggested above, the only practical reasons for circumcision are to delay ejaculation, although some would say that this was an emotional issue anyway, not a physical one. Therefore, my advice would be that circumcision is unnecessary, and to adopt it as a way to develop greater staying power is ridiculous.
Second, the number of circumcised men who get cancer of the prostate is considerably lower than the number of uncircumcised men who do. Third, the wives of circumcised men rarely contract cancer of the cervix.
Benefits two and three are subject to argument, but the many studies carried out into both diseases, and particularly cancer of the cervix, have all reached the conclusion that there must be a strong connection between the disease and the presence or absence of a foreskin, with associate factors in connection with the presence of the foreskin. The chief evidence in connection with cervical cancer is that Jewish women are almost totally immune to it, and though to a somewhat lesser degree, so are Muslim women.
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