Friday, June 28, 2013

Circumcision interactions

Question:

"I'm curious why this is such a big issue all the sudden. I would have rather had it done while I was young. I don't regret being circumcised, and all my equipment works fine. I cant imagine it being more sensitive than it already is."

My answer:

It's not all of a sudden. "Medical" circumcision in the U.S. and English speaking countries started in the 1870's as a way to stop boys from masturbating. Some medical doctors opposed routine circumcision even in 1900. Intellectuals have been protesting circumcision at least since the 60s (see In the name of Humanity, 1967 book) and the intactivist movement can be traced to 1970 in Tallahassee Florida with the brothers Van and Benjamin Lewis. The only difference is that this information has been gaining momentum and more and more people are becoming aware of it.

When Europeans or Latin Americans come to the U.S. and find out that this is done to babies here, we are just shocked. I was circumcised in my country, and yet when I came to the U.S. I couldn't believe it when I learned this was done to most of the babies here. It just doesn't make sense to us.

Think about this: female circumcision was also advocated by those same British and American doctors in the late XIX century. The U.S. performed clitoridectomies of girls up to the 60s, although not in the same quantity as male circumcision. Then, in the 70s, "all of a sudden" people started talking about that thing that was done in Africa to girls. Nobody wanted to remember it had been done here too. And soon, it became almost universally condemned through the Western world, with the United States banning it in 1996, and a 2012 U.N. resolution to try to ban it globally. And yet it's still done in Africa and the Middle East.

The problem with these "cultural customs" is that it is difficult to break the inertia. Tradition has a power to obfuscate rationality, to see the harm. You can see it in Spain where people defend bull fighting as an art form and a sport. There are so many examples.

Circumcision here is mostly a social custom. Doctors say they do it because parents request it. Parents say they do it because doctors offer it, or because they want to prevent some horrible infections that don't appear to occur in the rest of the world, or because their son will be made fun of if they don't do it.... It's a vicious circle.

Oh and you say you can't imagine being more sensitive than you already are. I understand that. But let me explain something: the Meissners corpuscles in the foreskin are different from the nerve endings in the glans. They specialize in soft touch, in other words in the subtle sensations, while the glans needs stronger stimulation (pounding). They complement each other, like the bass and the guitar complement each other in a song. It's the quality of the sensation, not the amount of sensation.

In fact, in the uncircumcised penis, the foreskin moves over the glans up and down with each stroke. When this happens, the glans stimulates the foreskin and the foreskin stimulates the glans. They work together. But if you take off the foreskin, this mechanism is gone. Now the glans needs more stimulation, which often means more pounding, stronger strokes. I know this because I'm restoring my foreskin, and although I'm not finished, I have enough skin now to have been able to experience this mechanism at my age of 40, which I never experienced before. And yet I will never have those Meissner's corpuscles, I will only have regular skin that can glide over my glans, but I take what I can.

There's nothing wrong with enjoying the equipment that you have, but that's not reason to perpetuate a practice that removes some of the sexual function.

And you say "I would rather had it done while I was young". But what if you didn't need it at all? What if your foreskin, like the one of the majority of men, was perfectly normal and didn't need any kind of treatment to be able to retract? If you had experienced having a normal foreskin at your age of sexual debut, most likely you would never had wished to be circumcised. But once they circumcise you at birth, they took away your chances to ever know that. And that's not fair, it wasn't fair to you.

Question:

"I know a small handful of men that were circumcised later in life and they love the fact that they are now circumcised, wishing it was done as an infant. Not one of them say they've lost sensation or now, all of a sudden, sex just isn't good. Honestly, I think if we stop calling men mutilated, then they might be proud of themselves. No man should feel ashamed. But this is what many do, call men/boys mutilated. Circumcision is not mutilation."

My Answer:

Well, my own experience was going through this at 5 years and wishing it was never done.

I never questioned it until I started restoring, at 40. What I found, 6 months into restoration, is that having the ability to move the skin over the glans makes all the difference in the world, and I can only wish I had started restoring before. Once you experience the sensation that comes with being able to move the skin over the glans, you realize that taking away that ability from someone who has not even experienced it yet is definitively a mutilation, sorry to say.

I understand there are people who have pathologies and conditions of the foreskin where it cannot retract, this is something that is usually found out during adolescence and early adulthood, and for those people, circumcision can become a necessity and they will definitively appreciate becoming circumcised. However, they are a minority, and that's not justification to do it to newborns "just in case" they would grow up to need it. In fact, some men with phimosis (but not all) can overcome the condition in a more conservative way, without removal of tissue.

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