Friday, 12 April 2013

One skin, two skin, red skin, blue skin

Okay, someone (preferably someone from America) please explain this one to me, because I am dumbfounded.

Foreskin: why remove it?

That's not as idiotic a question as it sounds. I understand that it's removable with a very small operation, and it has been removed many times over the years, to people with religious (Mini's husband) or medical (Mane) reasons. Those I can both understand and accept. But I've noticed, again over the years, that there appear to be a lot of people - again, Americans; I'm not entirely sure if it's merely a transatlantic phenomenon, but apart from the exceptions above I don't actually know anyone - who have no foreskin. It's removed at birth, seemingly for no reason.

Why is this?

I love my foreskin. It's a brilliant shape and it's absolutely fascinating, not only to me, but to all four girlfriends throughout time. It defines the rest of my penis for me - its contours, its size and, especially, its feel in my hand. It bamboozles me as to how one might masturbate without a foreskin to grab and shift back and forth (American Dad! suggests it requires lotion, which seems both risky and expensive!) - although according to Mane there's a way - and, although it's probably made my penis less sensitive over the years, it's a part of my body and my sexuality. I can't imagine life without it.

The no-foreskin thing didn't really bother me until I noticed some sort of dichotomy in seedier parts of the online sex world about it. "Cut or uncut?" was something asked of a friend on a sex chat room, to which she replied: "What's that?". I saw it in increasing volumes on adult dating websites (when I still did that...), usually expressing a preference for one or the other (usually "cut", for some reason), and even on Twitter it's been mentioned, such as @youporngirl once expressing a sentiment similar to, "no uncut cocks for me! they totally gross me out!".

Which brings me to my next question: why the foreskin hate?

What's wrong with it? It's not unclean, it's not awkward, it's not dirty and it's certainly not unnatural - we're all born with one (unless we are of the female persuasion, in which case I apologise and stipulate the clitoris as a bonus that we males don't have). And it rolls back when there's an erection, so it shouldn't be something that gets in the way in any case (and if it does, it's easy to pull back yourself!) - what, exactly, is wrong with it?

So can somebody please answer this one for me? Why remove the foreskin... and, for that matter, why dislike it if you don't?


Ruby Goodnight said...

For some, it's religious reasons. A number of different religions require the removal of foreskin. For others, it's a health issue. There are a few studies out there that show a reduction in cancer / STI spread when the foreskin is removed. Still others see it as a cosmetic or sexual enhancement thing. I've got two nephews back in the USA - one cut, one uncut.

Innocent Loverboy said...

Thanks. For the first two reasons, those I am aware of. As I said above:

I understand that it's removable with a very small operation, and it has been removed many times over the years, to people with religious (Mini's husband) or medical (Mane) reasons. Those I can both understand and accept.

The spread of STIs is an interesting one... I hadn't considered that before, although to be honest I don't see why it would increase the risk. I'd have to read some medical papers before I'd admit to that (although I do have access to such a database!), but I'd think that keeping the whole of your genital area clean (and playing safe) is the best way to cope with that...

I don't see any cosmetic value though!

capon_uk said...

Had mine done in my 20's... Due to being particularly tight ended up splitting during sex (painful, and scary for both of us).

Personally mine looks a lot better, performs better and can deal with (erm) rougher treatment than it did before

Becky Whee said...

I live in America. I have two sons that my husband and I decided we want to circumcise.

As an American, I've never seen an uncut penis aside from the birth of my sons and in images. And I've held my fair share of penis'.

The only person I ever knew to be uncut was my grandfather. Everything was fine with it until he turned 55ish. When he developed Balanitis xerotica obliterans. The cure for this is a circumcision. He went through hell with the heeling process from the circumcision. It takes more time to heel when you are an adult, which is why people opt to do it when your first born.

Our decision to circumcise our boys was based purely on the brief in the medical benefits of circumcision.

I can't say that an uncut would "gross" me out and I can't say that it wouldn't. I do know that it would surprise me to see one because I never have. I can't see it mattering too much when picking a mate.

Great article.

cammies on the floor said...

Being in America, I had seen no uncircumsized penis (and I'd seen more than fingers and toes combined) until my husband's. Women I knew talked about how awful they looked, how horrible they felt. At first, I didn't know what to do with him. It was so odd to me. It added to the space he occupied inside of me - and he already is the largest I've had. How did I give him head?

Well, I just dove right in. Before we even began our intimacy, he was considering getting cut. To date, we've only had one encounter where he's bled due to sex, and I've just learned to practice so many kegel exercises to reduce the risk of that. When we found out how long the recovery time was for being cut: I was appalled at having to wait that long for sex. And I didn't mind it at all - which I think he was worried about.

As a mother, I received so much criticism for not circumsizing my son. Doctors, nurses, society, friends and family all push for it. I researched the medical risks for both decisions, and read men's experiences with both. We decided to not circumsize him simply because I left it up to my husband, and my husband didn't want to put our tiny baby through it.

Since then, we've had two more pushes to get him cut - both medical. He has very tight foreskin, and when still in diapers, we had to push down the foreskin to help "loosen it". (I'm still unsure if that did any good.) He also had two bladder infections within a close period of time (I can't remember if he was still in diapers or right out of it) and the doctor said that if it became a habit then circumcision would be recommended to decrease his risk. It was only those two times.

In America, it is an agonizing decision to NOT cut, and one often criticized for. I've been told he'll be disgusting, women won't him, he'll be picked on by other men (my husband is teased from time to time from his coworkers), he'll smell, he'll get STIs...the list goes on and on, and many of these statements have come from family and close friends.

Jess Carlson said...

As you know, I'm an Australian. Of the six men I've been with none have been cut. My brother has had it done for medical reasons as an adult. He said the healing process was painful, but not to bad in the end. With this in mind I won't be circumcising my future sons. They can have it done as an adult if they really want it.

An uncut penis is not disgusting. They are fascinating and great fun to play with. I assume most men would agree with me on that. Like ILB, I just don't understand the point of cutting it off.

Innocent Loverboy said...

I've read in several places since I wrote this post that having an uncircumcised penis increases the risk of getting STIs (in addition to other conditions, but mostly STIs), and that (in some cases - Becky's comment above is a good example) that is a reason for circumcision. However, although I don't doubt the veracity of (most) medical papers, I'm still more inclined to comment that safe sex and personal hygiene are better barriers against STIs than removing one's foreskin! Nobody's mentioned this yet, so I thought I ought to!

@Becky: This is something I've had said to me by a lot of Americans - it would be a surprise to see an uncircumcised penis IRL. As a Brit, I still find this statement dumbfounding to a large degree! Culture, and all that, eh? But glad to see you wouldn't be grossed out by one... as some people have said they would.

@Cammies (I'm assuming you are M since you mention a husband): Thanks for the comment. I hadn't even considered criticism as a factor before. Bullying is a big thing in the UK - it happens to both children and adults and ridicule is one of the worst things that can happen. However, nobody's ever been teased for having a "cut" cock in my experience ("Jew" is a racist insult, but for a different reason). Your experience is a different world entirely.
I fail to see the reasons behind the taunts though. Women won't want him - why not? He'll smell - why? He'll get STIs - why? My penis isn't circumcised and I've never had an STI, my hygiene's good and the only reason women haven't wanted me is because I'm a hopeless social misfit (although not everyone, I will admit, has seen my penis)...

@Jess: I think I'm going to consider circumcision as being like Christian baptism. I don't agree with infant baptism, but I've seen plenty of adult baptisms (including my own) as a "consent" thing. If you want it, you can get it.
Like you, I think they're fun to play with - at least, mine is. But then again, I would say that, wouldn't I?

And so to my next question - how do you masturbate without a foreskin?

Anonymous said...

I imagine it might be trickier to adapt to masturbation without a foreskin if you're circumcised as an adult, but when it happens to you as a child (I was 5 - medical reasons), then when the time comes I think you just figure out what works for you in the same way that an uncircumcised teenager would. For me, asking 'how do you masturbate without a foreskin?' is like asking 'how do you swim without gills and a dorsal fin?', or 'how do you light a fire without tinder and flint?' - essentially meaningless.

Does it involve lube for me? Normally, but not always. Lube is enjoyable (and really pretty cheap!), and using it regularly also led to some of my more enjoyable formative experiences with anal play; however, I can just as easily enjoy a very sensual and satisfying masturbation session with my hand alone. Fundamentally, our bodies are pretty good at having orgasms - the whole question basically feels a little redundant.

As far as aesthetics are concerned, it's horses for courses, I guess. Some women prefer beards, some prefer their men clean-shaven - neither group is right, neither group is wrong, and the same applies to the cut/uncut issue. You may not see any cosmetic value in a circumcised cock, but that's just one of many physical preferences that make up your understanding of 'attractiveness' - you shouldn't feel the need to hyper-analyse those preferences, or indeed to question the opposing preferences held by others, in the same way that I don't question those who prefer men with tattoos or women with hairy legs.

A couple of quick final points:

1. My understanding is that being circumcised helps prevent UTIs as well as STIs - certainly in my case, it was done to cure chronic cystitis...though this was the mid-80s, so medicine may have moved on since then!
2. You may not have experienced anyone being teased for having a cut cock, but I can certainly confirm that it does happen - kids will pick up on and expose anything that's different about someone, and I was the only boy in my swimming class who was circumcised. There are worse forms of bullying, but still, I can't say it was fun.

Innocent Loverboy said...

I agree with you insofar as the "horses for courses" stuff is concerned.

I think I'm confused as to how a circumcised man can masturbate because I'm looking at it from the position of someone uncircumcised, whose penis (underneath the foreskin, so the head and small amount of shaft which isn't covered by it) is a tad oversensitive when not covered. It should have occurred to me that it's not that sensitive for everyone, especially when they've grown up without a foreskin, but that's something I can't really imagine! (When I first planned this post, I had a strange vision that a penis without a foreskin was basically the erectile tissue. I know there's skin holding it together, but nevertheless!) Fortunately, now I have a better idea about it from the amount of people who've told me about stuff.

I never let my penis be glimpsed in swimming class. I took a quick shower in my Speedos, and then changed from trunks back to pants with a towel covering any essential areas, being very careful not to let anything show. Mind you, I didn't look at anyone else's cock either, so it's not like I was comparing myself to anyone. I've just always done it that way.