Circumcision: An Introduction

If you, like me, are a male born in Canada, the US, or certain other countries around the world, in the 20th century, you are more likely to have been circumcised than remain intact (if you are one of the lucky ones who has remained intact, credit to your parents and doctors in keeping you that way). First of all, what is circumcision and why is it bad? Circumcision is basically the removal of the foreskin from the penis of a male. It was done as a common procedure on male babies just a few days after birth from about the mid 19th century to the end of the 20th century. It was done for a variety of reasons: cultural, the false belief that the body is more hygienic without the foreskin, the false belief that it reduced the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (sexually transmitted infections today), religion, aesthetics, etc. Despite all these reasons people gave and continue to give, however, the procedure is completely unnecessary and there is no real reason to perform it, except perhaps for extreme medical reasons (and here the operative word is extreme) and even here I have my doubts if such a real medical reason exists.

But circumcision is not only unnecessary, but harmful. Despite people, including doctors, thinking that the procedure is beneficial, it is completely the opposite. It reduces sexual pleasure both for the male who had it done to him and to his sexual partner(s). Now if you’re a circumcised man or the sexual partner of one, you might object at this point and point out that your sex life is great. “Reduction of sexual pleasure?” I hear you ask. “We have no problems whatsoever with our sex life.” That may be true, and I certainly wouldn’t blame you for thinking that way. In fact, I suspect that it’s partly why circumcision took a strong hold in first world countries like Canada and the US. If your father was circumcised and you were circumcised too, for instance, your father probably thought that sex is great too even if you’re circumcised.

But as I will argue in this blog, this is only because a circumcised man does not typically know what he is missing. Yes, sexual activity for a circumcised man can still be great, but sexual activity for an uncircumcised man is incredible and absolutely amazing. Consider this analogy. Let’s say instead of a procedure to amputate the foreskin at birth, we had a procedure to go colour-blind that we had babies undergo after birth for whatever reasons. Everyone is colour-blind. You might think such a world would be a sad one to live in, but would the people who live in such a world feel the same way? Remember they have no concept of colour. They don’t know what they’re missing. To them seeing things in black and white and shades of grey is perfectly normal and satisfactory. A novel that illustrates this idea perfectly is The Giver by Lois Lowry. The book is about a community where the people have no choices, there are no colours, there is no pain or suffering, etc., yet they remain perfectly happy and content with their lives. A 12 year old boy, Jonas, is chosen as a receiver of memories, meaning he is to go to The Giver on a regular basis. The Giver is the current holder of memories and has Jonas experience what he is missing from being in the community. Circumcision I argue works the same way.

I would also like to point out a lot of men have problems with their sex lives, problems that are caused by being circumcised. Still others, such as myself, have feelings of loss, resentment, and betrayal by our parents, doctors, society, country, etc., contributing to psychological harm as well. Finally, besides these sexual and psychological harms, there are personal things about my circumcised penis that make me additionally unhappy about it and that I will elaborate on in another post.

Despite all this bad news about circumcision, however, it is fortunately becoming a less common thing to do. Moreover, for us men who have already been circumcised, it is indeed possible to reverse much of what was lost and to re-grow another foreskin through a process known as foreskin restoration. I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of such a thing. I didn’t know that it was possible to reverse circumcision until last spring. In the posts that follow, I give details on this process, how it is working for me, as well as say everything I believe needs to be said on the subject of circumcision and intactivism (the movement against non-concentual circumcision).

Love always, Jake Norman (pseudonym), foreskin restorer and intactivist.




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