October 17, 1998
Circumcised at 30
"I feel damaged on almost every level"
I was born in North Carolina in 1932, an only child. I knew nothing about circumcision until I began school. I noticed two boys in the rest room who always had their glans exposed, but I didn't know why. This seemed strange to me, but I didn't ask anyone about it. My father and all of my playmates were intact. My glans had always been extremely sensitive, and the idea of having it constantly exposed seemed unnatural and uncomfortable to me.
When I was about nine, one of my younger cousins came for a visit. He had just been circumcised by my uncle, a surgeon. His penis was raw and inflamed and needed ointment to ease his discomfort. I didn't know why he was circumcised, but I assumed it must have been for a good reason.
As far back as I can remember, I had frequent erections and discovered early that slipping my foreskin back and forth over my glans felt wonderful. My glans was so sensitive that I couldn't bear to touch it directly. I could stimulate it comfortably and pleasurably only indirectly through my foreskin. Each stroke was like a mini-orgasm.
I had my first ejaculation when I was eleven. For the next 19 years, I enjoyed every aspect of my sexuality but was unaware of how fortunate I was to have a strong sex drive and a fully functioning intact penis to enjoy it with.
With experience, I gained control over my super-sensitivity, but with no loss of pleasure. I learned to pace myself and used various techniques to extend or compress the time I needed to reach orgasm, as the occasion demanded. I discovered many different ways to slip my foreskin back and forth over my glans to experience a whole universe of indescribably pleasurable sensations. When I slipped my foreskin all the way back, the sensitive mucosal inside lining covered almost my entire shaft. I could trigger an orgasm that felt like no other just by retracting my foreskin and holding it all the way back. The exquisite tension pulled down the entire head and stimulated all the pleasure receptors in my frenulum, mucosa, head and shaft. I could also trigger orgasm just by gently squeezing my frenulum. I've known several intact men but no circumcised men who could reach orgasm these ways.
I enjoyed my full natural intact sexuality until I was 30. Then, during a routine physical exam, my doctor said my long foreskin would probably cause me future problems and recommended circumcision. Not knowing any better, I consented. He gave me no information and told me nothing about how much foreskin, frenulum and mucosa he would remove. He circumcised me in a hospital under general anesthesia. His fee was $50.
Getting circumcised turned out to be one of the worst mistakes of my life. I feel damaged on almost every level. My ability to experience sexual pleasure has been reduced by at least 70% both in intensity and range of sensations. I cannot overstate the regret, frustration, anguish and, yes, suffering my loss of sexual sensation, satisfaction and gratification has caused me. I feel sad and angry every time I see the scar.
The doctor cut me so tight that the skin he left feels as if it's going to tear when I have an erection. He cut away all of my frenulum and left only a half inch of my foreskin's inner lining. I had 22 stitches. I had to wear a condom for about a month because the friction of clothing against my now denuded glans kept me almost constantly erect. The process of desensitization began immediately, however, and continues to this day, 36 years later. By the time I was 50, I had difficulty reaching orgasm and needed extreme physical stimulation and intense concentration and fantasizing to reach what an intact man the same age reaches gently, easily and enjoyably. What had been an intensely erotic response from the first retraction of my foreskin over my glans is now, by prolonged concerted effort, a struggle to feel enough sensation to reach orgasm at all. Before I was circumcised, I enjoyed every step, facet and plateau of every sexual experience. Experiencing this pleasure required no conscious effort, only surrender to all-encompassing pleasure. The only intensely pleasurable part of sex for me now is the orgasm.
The penis has three erogenous zones: the glans, the foreskin and the frenulum. The circumcised male has two of these structures, the foreskin and frenulum, removed or rendered non-functional and the remaining structure, the glans, desensitized, its normal red, glistening, sensitive skin replaced with thick dry skin 4-16 cells thick. The skin on the glans of an intact male is only 2-3 cells thick.
For an adult male to be misled into circumcision is regrettable, but to inflict this permanent, irreversible, irreparable damage on an infant or child, who must live with the physical and psychological scars his entire life, is tragic -- and a crime.
The testimony of men who have experienced life with a foreskin and then lost it is perhaps the most damning of all arguments against circumcision.
If telling my experience saves even one baby from this mutilation, I will feel well rewarded.
I'd be glad to hear from anyone who cares to call or write.
[Yes, accounts like this are "just anecdotal." But why are they just anecdotal?]
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