Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Circumcision: There goes your sex life!

` Believe it or not, I recently interviewed a man who once had a relatively normal sex life, with a normal penis, but tragedy resulted in a much less rewarding sex life when his penis was severely mutilated.
` ...Not to be overly dramatic or anything.

` I find this whole American obsession with circumcision to be incredible: How could anyone want for an erogenous zone crafted by nature for the specific purpose of sexual ease and pleasure (for both partners) to just be amputated, thrown away and incinerated in some hospital basement?
` Gah!
` This man I interviewed, let's call him 'Steve', was not at all enthusiastic about this procedure, and quite depressed for a while when he discovered just how much of his sexual experience is now missing.

` Most American men, however, are probably not at all aware of the fact that almost all negative publicity about foreskins is either entirely fictional or blown way out of proportion. This explains why most of them will agree to have it done to their sons - before they are even born! - for utterly vacuous reasons.
` (This is evidenced by the fact that today, over 50% of baby boys are still being routinely strapped down, slowly 'peeled' and cut, while screaming hysterically and flailing their arms wildly.)
` I know that some people cite supposed medical benefits. Keep in mind, the 'medical' circumcision that American doctors perform was started in the Victorian Era, and its purpose was to make the penis much less sensitive to sexual pleasure.
` That, it does.
` Being the 1800s, people thought that masturbation would weaken a man and make him ill, and so circumcision was prescribed for all kinds of completely unrelated ailments, from hydrocephalus to paralysis, in order to get him to stop!

` Today, some of the American public believes that being foreskin-less helps to ward off most STDs (even AIDS!), as well as cervical cancer in women. And yet, this is known to be untrue! However, circumcision does seem to have an effect on urinary infections in a baby's first year of life, so yeah, this is effective for a year. After that, circumcised boys tend to be at a disadvantage when it comes to UTIs.
` The other thing is that circumcision might possibly somehow lessen the risk of penile cancer, which is already much lower than the risk of male breast cancer to begin with - and how many men get that? (In other words, in this case it would actually be more logical to cut off male breasts, as that would have more chance of doing something beneficial!)
`
So, that's all medical science could find after more than a hundred years of research? Big, fat, hairy deal!

` In fact, there are so many myths asserting that the wildly popular non-medical circumcision is desirable that even comedian-mythbusters Penn & Teller have found it neccesary to devote an
entire episode of their show to this subject.
` Unfortunately, I have not yet seen any episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! as of yet, however, a summary is provided on the show's website:

Finally, an episode that will make every man feel regret, cringe with pain, and grab their genitals. What would make the male sex react like this? Two words - snip and chuck. If this alone doesn't make you cringe then this will: when your foreskin was removed thirty percent of your sexual pleasure went with that little piece of skin. Ouch!

We'll examine the historical, religious, medical and ethical arguments associated with circumcision. And we'll have a little hidden-camera fun with the topic, as well. After all we are talking about dick!


` Yes, executed with their usual blunt humor. Always working to expose the more dubious side of humanity, I'm glad they are at last reaching the public with information on this subject.
` And I'm glad I can too. I've been meaning to do this for a long time. Hence, my interview with this 'Steve' character, so without further ado:


` I don't know much about Steve, other than he is an artist, a sculptor, and a writer. I hear he also has a wicked sense of humor, though today he was quite serious while he discussed with me the history of his penis.
` He was born to a Jewish woman who - like a surprisingly large number of Jews - did not opine that amputating part of the male genitalia was in any way different from general barbarism. Soon after, Steve was adopted by an Italian family, ironically with the last name of Gentile ('gen-TEE-lei').
` I think I should note here that when a baby is born - male or female - the prepuce (called a 'foreskin' in males) is fused with the phallus (a.k.a. clitoris or penis), and generally does not begin to separate for a couple of years.
` However, as a little, naked two-year-old running around the house, Steve was tugging at his foreskin - for whatever reason that two-year-olds may do such a thing - and accidentally peeled back the section over the frenulum (which anchors the foreskin) before it was developmentally ready for that! This, he speculates, might have been what caused him problems later on.

` Now, growing up, Steve and his little friends all had perfectly normal penises, and accordingly, considered their penises to be perfectly normal. So, it was pretty stupid, he said, that when they went to Junior High, they were ridiculed in the locker room.
` "You got smegma!" the other boys would say. "Gross, dude!"
` He and his friends had some pretty logical comebacks for this: "Yeah, well, at least I have a whole penis!" or, "It's not a problem unless you don't know how to shower," and, "At least I'm a whole man! I'm all there!"
` It's like," he said, "why would it bother me that I have a whole penis?"

` Vaginal intercourse involving a normal penis (which is probably a complete mystery to most Americans), is supposed to go basically like this: On the 'downstroke', the foreskin slides over the shaft of the penis, exposing the head while bunching up into the labia; and on the 'upstroke', it rolls back over the head.
` So, not only is the foreskin itself a sizeable erogenous zone, but it is meant to stimulate
other erogenous zones in both the man and the woman!

` Steve's first sexual experiences were often painful, unfortunately, because his frenulum - which is just like the fold of flesh which keeps your tongue in place behind your front teeth - had a tendency to tear open. (Perhaps from its previous damage?)
` His doctor said that the frenulum could not be removed by itself - the foreskin wouldn't work properly without it. No, he would have to amputate it all.
` In Steve's own words: "The problem was getting worse and worse, so, though it was traumatic to think about it, sex would have been painful if I didn't get it done. I really didn't have a choice. I didn't want to not have sex for the rest of my life, and I didn't want to bleed, either."

` The appointment was scheduled for April of 2003. "I kept thinking; 'I'm going to get part of my penis cut off.' It's an important part of my body, so I thought about it a lot.
` "When it was going to happen, I didn't know what I was getting myself into, like I couldn't take it seriously because it seemed like a distant idea, and then afterwards, it was like... whoa! It's one thing to observe something, and another to experience it.
` "I woke up from the anesthesia in the greatest pain. I needed a lot of Percocet for that, and I was also really depressed for a while."
` Much of this depression came from the fact that he learned firsthand just how much sex, or even masturbation, would never be the same.
` "Even with it tearing, sex was way better beforehand. There was sensation in different areas which just aren't there anymore. It took away, like, a whole lot of what sex was to me. Like, my definition of sex... it was gone.
` "It's just not that sensitive anymore. Like, the head isn't even as sensitive. But in one way, it's like, the head is exposed all the time now, and it seems more sensitive that way, somehow, but in a way that just speeds things up, which I don't like.
` "Also, I used to be able to do a lot more things. Nowadays, I can be rougher, but I'm not as responsive because I can't feel... enough for that."

` "It really took awhile for me to get good in bed again. I had to recoordinate myself. It's like learning how to control a muscle again after it's been like... I don't know how to say it, changed.
` "When I had my foreskin, sex was more like, intimate. Like, it felt more intimate because it was more sensitive in my perception, and that let me be more sensitive to the other person, see?"
` "It's just like... more... smooth now. Plain. It's just a thing that goes in and out... like, there was more to work with before. And now there is just not as much to do. It's really hard to explain."
` Yes, hard to explain, and therefore, one can easily be wholly unprepared for such an experience.
` "It wasn't that shocking that it affected me that way, because I knew it would, but it really changed my life. See, I'm a sexual person, and it's important to me, and I think it had some kind of effect on me. I don't have a small man's complex, but before it happened, I was way more confident.
` "Now when I try to be confident, I end up getting kind of cocky. Well, not really, but sort of. I think it was an accumulation of things that were going on at the time, but I think [circumcision] has a lot to do with it."
` He also has become less productive in his art, and partly from that event.
` "I also used to be way more creative before then, though like I said, there were a lot of things that were going on at the time. I really haven't done that much."
` I'd guess this was because just trying to acclimate to this condition required him to keep remembering what had happened.
` "It was like when my friend died, and I picked up the phone and was getting ready to dial his number, and remembered that he wasn't there. It's like that here, I keep thinking about things [not usually sexual in nature, either], and then I think, 'oh no, it's not there anymore.' Or I'd look down, and it's not there. Just a big scar."

` "But I don't want to wallow in pity. It does suck, but I do have more confidence now than I did for the longest time. I've definitely been emotional, I couldn't... perform for a while. I was like being a beginner all over again.
` "The girl I was with at the time also said that sex was definitely better when I had my foreskin than when I didn't anymore. And with new people, I wasn't comfortable about my physical self, and it caused a lot of anxiety because I still didn't know what I was doing yet, and the scar was a little bit embarrassing.
` "For a while, I didn't want to have sex at all. I thought I wasn't meant to have sex, and I wanted to be a rabbi or something.
` "About six months after it happened, I just became totally Orthodox Jewish for a while. It definitely made me feel better about being circumcised, like it was a good thing, like there was something to back me up, because I could just read my Torah and stuff and try to decipher the scriptures because it's something to do, it distracted me, and did something for my spirit. It was therapeutic, I guess.
` "It gave me something to lean on, some support. And like, I've never really been the kind of person who picks out a religion, but it gave me a positive perspective on my penis. I didn't feel pressure to be sexual, and when I felt lonely, I didn't feel like it was my fault. Like it's not my fault that I'm lonely, because I'm doing it as a choice.
` "I also didn't get drunk, like a lot of guys might, so it kept me from drinking, too."

` "But I got more comfortable with myself. I've been able to accept it and get used to it and get past it, because there's nothing else I can do about it. Just learn how to use it. It's important for me to be able to use my penis.
` "Really, I don't think religions should be used as supportive things, I think they should be studied. I didn't have bad thoughts about circumcision, but I didn't advocate it. Why would I do that?
` "In fact, when conversations with couples who were having a baby would lead to the subject, and it turned out that they wanted to circumcise their boy, their reasons were stuff like; 'It's easier to clean,' though I learned through experience that there is no hygienic difference between now and then.

` "Another reason was; 'I think he should have the same as his dad.' Hey; if his dad new how good sex was with a foreskin, he would never say that!"
` Steve has also said to friends considering circumcision for themselves that; "There'a absolutely no reason, it's not worth it! No way, unless there's some kind of medical problem and that's your only option."
` Luckily, though Steve has had to go down this road, he's learned to cope with it. Upon reflection, he said: "I've never had sex without a problem, anyway, and I'm looking on the bright side. Luckily, I was young enough to adapt to this. It really is a big difference."


` Personally, I myself am quite glad to run into people with such sensible perceptions about circumcision in general. (And it's hard not to in Steve's position.) Sadly, most Americans are still doing this to their little
babies who doubtlessly have no idea what the world is and what's going on in it.
` That, of course, is illegal: It is severe sexual abuse, mutilation, torture and it violates a person's right to have a perfectly normal body, barring illness. I mean, come on, it's a baby. You're supposed to nurture and protect them, not send them to a torture chamber!
` This is why my friend Andie once told me; "If my baby turned out to be a boy, and some doctor asked me to make that decision, I would say; 'Sure, just get him to sign the consent form'."
` She knows full well about normal penises, and she ought to: The other component of Cosey Mo's DNA came out of one! *Ahem.* She prefers this one - Jason's - to the mutilated ones. (And yes, she is very much in love with Jason, for the strange, wise and adorable man he is.)
` I currently know at least twelve other people who will tell you the same thing - so I know that the opposition is really out there!
` For example, I remember that one of my friends in Ohio said; "Yeah, I think that's really creepy. Like if someone did that to me, you know, I'd be like... why? That's sick! And stupid. But luckily, they don't do that to girls. Here, anyway."

` I even happened to meet someone else is in opposition because when he was four, he saw his little brother being mutilated, and the screaming and blood was just overwhelming.
` Also, I couldn't forget, EdgeWalker - ever the ethical debator - said; "I'd rather have all my genital organs, thank you. It's not like I had a choice in the matter."

` Really, I trust sound medical science - which cannot provide justification for circumcision anyway - but doctors... as you know, they are another story. Though the routine circumcision rates in small babies has gone down quite a bit, many doctors here still come up with stupid reasons or excuses to perpetuate this outdated, largely superstitious and unscientific practice.
` One of the biggest excuses, I think, may be the fact that many doctors would rather be pseudo-democratic and let the parents just tell them what to do, rather than saying; "Hey, there's a reason this is not medically accepted all around the world."
` Um, like, they're doctors! What do the parents know? (Although, if a doctor tells such parents all the facts, they generally decide not to.) In fact, this is why there's an organization called Doctors Opposing Circumcision. They will not listen to parents who demand this operation of them on other, unconsenting people - their beloved children!
` And yet, if they insist? Consider that it's often not done for medical reasons of any kind so much as it's for show. A dried-up, thickened glans - which is actually meant to be an internal organ - oh yes, it's so damaged and attractive!
` In fact, around here, that's considered to look
more normal or natural by many, especially women. Which is why they would inflict it on their sons. It's sexy in their opinion!
` In that case, routine circumcision is basically harmful cosmetic surgery. And yet, if a father wanted some kind of female prepuce amputation done to his baby daughter - which has about the same effect as male circumcision - he would be arrested.
` That's American culture for you.

` That reminds me, back to the Penn & Teller: Bullshit! website... I just love how the 'Circumcision' video clip ends:

Doctor: "...So with this clamp, there's zero chance of hurting the baby's penis."

` Oh, I see, the foreskin isn't part of the penis. Is that what you're saying? I thought foreskins were part of all mammal penises! But not humans? Interesting. So, they're... there but not really meant to be there in some way?
` It is indeed true that in this country, many people tend to say; "It's just an extra flap of skin. We wear clothes now, so humans don't need it. That's all."
` This is what Phil had told me, once upon a time. He defended circumcision, promoting all its myths, proclaiming that the foreskin didn't even have feeling in it because it was 'just a useless sheath'!

` Really, I am sure that in places like all European countries, Japan, etc. - where this surgery is not done, barring emergency - the attitude is much different. For people who have never had to contemplate routine circumcision as a reality around them, there is no question of 'should you?', only strange looks.

15 comments:

cassie d said...

mmmm....

i like hoodies.....

they are yummy......;P

i knew a lesbian couple that had a baby boy, and debated over it FOREVER. I think they finally whacked it.

but i sure like them better! maybe it's because the majority of penises i've seen have been cut and the novelty is so appealing, but i honestly think that men with hoodies have a different experience with them - like your friend said.
At least, that's what that's what i've concluded talking to both sides of the fence.

Maybe it was just pillow talk, baby.

S E E Quine said...

` Hee hee. You and your sexcapades.

` Really, most people in the world do agree with you, me and Steve over this matter.
` And I think I know why anyone wouldn't. Now, I didn't bother adding this due to length, but this is something kind of mind-blowing I've worked out:

` a) The normal penis has a bit of smegma, though it's not even as much, or usually as pungeant, as what women normally have.

` b) The foreskin is very easy to clean just by pulling it back and rinsing it off for a second - it's easier than washing one's face!

` c, d, etc), This is the way that penises of mammalian species have always been, and there has never been a problem here, so if anything, you could not expect it to 'evolve away', etc, etc, etc. (Especially in humans, who use them for pleasure more than most species...)

` AND YET... some men, like my brother, are like; "Eeew. I'm glad I never had to deal with a foreskin. I'd never be able to clean it. I've seen photographs, it's so gross, and I'd get diseases! I don't care about 'feeling', that can't possibly be worth it! Don't you know? That's why they're atrophying away in our species."
` Once I also ran into this one girl who said; "Eeew! If I saw a foreskin, I would throw up. If my boyfriend had one, I'd have him cut it off before we had sex."

` This utter disrespect and disgust for something that is healthy rather than unhealthy stems from something called ignorance.
` That ignorance is caused by superstitions and 'brainwashing' by others who are also ignorant.

` You know what that's called?

` Think: If the subject was, say, men, instead of one part of them, that would automatically be defined as 'bigotry'.
` As it is, I think that word only applies to people, though 'intolerance' definitely fits.

` In other words, we can thank our 'cultural mythology' for causing people to discriminate against many things healthy and normal, one of them being foreskins!
` This explains why there are actually people who are hell-bent on 'exterminating' them whenever possible.

` So, whenever you hear someone say; "I won't let my baby grow up with that awful thing attached to his private parts!" (Attached?! The prepuce kinda grows there, as with girls!) or, "Ew, I won't have sex with that thing! Get rid of it!" you can be sure that this is part of that 'intolerance' thing people do so well.

` <./unprovoked lecture>

Aaron said...

I have no opinion on this matter. Ask Jason though...the foreskin becomes a major problem when you get older. NOT when it comes to sex, Cas, but it increases your chances of bacterial infection.

S E E Quine said...

` Don't know what you mean. Like, when you're really old, it gets infected more easily?

` True or not, I'd like to point out that this is not a logical argument for mutilating a baby's penis: If you did that to a baby, he'd have to go through his whole life like that, just for one potential benefit way after his sexual prime is over.

` If it's anyone's place -legally and ethically - to impose circumcision without illness or injury involved, it is the man himself. And men are what baby boys grow up into.

` If you'd like the opinion of actual doctors, here is one good place to start.
` (Hope I got the html right this time, though it won't let me use the 'li' tag... Hmmm.)

S E E Quine said...

` That's odd - this was the actual html I pasted in there:

http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org/info/foreskin.html

Aaron said...

I know what you mean Spoony. On top of that, there's no real purpose to being legally obligated to embalm a dead body either. Just culture I guess...

Here's the link to the article.

Spoony, you don't have to use the li tag when posting a post or comment. The 'li' tag stands for List Item, and should only be used when you've defined a list - like in the links section of your template.

S E E Quine said...

` You're right - Ugh! Embalming!? Who came up with that one?

` 'List item?' Ohhhh, DUH! Thanks, Aaron! Even though I've successfully made a link in a comments section one time, I don't remember how I did it - they tend to go somewhere in the blog rather than another website. Weird.

Galtron said...

I have fortunately escaped the knife myself, though my friend says that circumcision is the reason he knows his parents were definitely a little 'kafwibbity' in the head.

It's amusing that attracting ah, non-bigoted, horny women can be as simple as telling them about my ah... 'hoody', while wearing a bag over my head.

Genius!!!

Aaron said...

Ok people, it's not like you can't have sex if you're circumcised. The only people who aren't 'cut' are foreigners and children of hippies. Not only is circumcision part of our culture, but it's also a religious rite as well.

'To defy the laws of tradition, is a crusade only of the brave.'

cassie d said...

when i first encountered a hoodie, i was a little taken aback. but because i'm such an open-minded person, i decided that ALL penises deserved love - not just your average cut ones! Yes, i was a little hesitant about the bacteria, but most people with hoodies (galtron, back me up here) know how to clean them off. and if your about to enjoy felacio - you'd clean it off first if you thought it needed cleaning, right?

Well think about it like this, ladies: ALL boys should clean up a bit before little kisses are bestowed. your spit doesn't sanitize anything - so before you let ANYTHING touch your holiest of holies, make sure YOU are not the only one who runs to the bathroom to primp and make sure there's nothing in your teeth!

and as for religious nuts, hippies and foreigners, i disagree, A-ron. I actually know quite a few boys whose parents didn't fit into those catagories. Let's just say they didn't want to mutilate their babies......

Aaron said...

Wow Spoony! You really hit on a hot topic here!

Cas...are those the same people who don't want to mutilate their young girls by poking holes in their ears?

S E E Quine said...

` Aaron, about 45% of all Americans are disgusted enough with circumcision in order to not inflict it upon others. The number used to be much higher because it was 'trendier', and perhaps there were more superstitions decades ago.

` Are you saying that I shouldn't oppose circumcision, because it's tradition or trendy or cultural? (For the record, that is not at all logical.) Yes, people do these things because it's familiar and has a place in their society. Doesn't mean it's helping them.
` Really, it should have never been invented in the first place, just like the old-fashioned American practice of cutting off womens' and girls' clitorises in the Victorian Era. For some reason, people became obsessed with male circumcision and it became popular despite no demonstrable reasons to do it.
` In other words, I guess I could say that non-therapeutic circumcision is a type of 'alternative medicine', which a very large number of doctors also practice. Chiropractic does no more to cure diseases by removing imaginary 'subluxations' - which cannot even be observed with CAT scanners - than circumcision noticeably improves health. That explains why it is on the website of QuackWatch.

<./rant>

` OR, are you saying that I am pretty brave to speak out against this ludicrous practice? No world health organization is for it - that's why I call it 'alternative medicine' - and religious rite or not, it is still illegal to do to someone else without their permission or knowledge. This kind of thing is the ultimate form of sexual abuse. It also violates the human rights of security of person, physical integrity, physical and mental health, and self-determination.

` Yes, so ear-piercing does violate some of those rights, and yes, I think it's stupid.
` True as that may be, in most ways it is completely different: Poking pinholes in the insensitive earlobes (which may later heal up) is completely different than removing fifty percent of the skin on a penis. (Foreskins are pretty large - stretched out I think they're about a square foot in adults.)
` Poking tiny holes just makes tiny holes - something that would better be compared to circumcision is amputating both entire ear pinnae.
` There are many restoration techniques for circumcision, though this is not an operation one can reverse. It is PERMANENT. There is only so much one can do, and a lot to put someone through. Once it's done, a man has few options.
` A pierced ear, on the other hand, heals up quickly when the earring is taken out. Which I am glad for, because my ears were involuntarily pierced and they did heal - though one of them has a painful lump in it. Oh, big deal. Wouldn't affect my sex life if I had one.

Aaron said...

Spoony, don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating any position here. Far be it from me to try to push my opinion on somebody else. I'm just saying that most American men are circumcised. You would know so much better than I would about why it should or shouldn't be done. Personally, I don't like the looks of a penis with or without 'hoodies'.

Galtron said...

My parents were not hippies, dammit!

S E E Quine said...

` Heh heh... penises can be quite ugly either way, I admit. Though I think male genitals are more attractive than female.
` But this isn't at all about looks.

` Don't worry, I'm not going to bring up any more points.
` I don't neccesarily argue with people, but I like to lay the information out on the table as a way of 'stretching out' my posts.

` I generally don't even do the best job at this. For example, here:

` I said:
...about 45% of all Americans are disgusted enough with circumcision in order to not inflict it upon others. The number used to be much higher...

` Meaning of course, the percentage of disgusted-enough people (or whatever) used to be lower in earlier decades - especially the 1950's.