Like nearly all white Midwestern Americans born in the late 1970's, I was circumcised at birth. It bothers me that I had no say in the matter and that the procedure is still performed on millions of American infants each year, largely for cosmetic reasons. I am vocal in my opposition to the procedure, but my boyfriend can't comprehend why it bothers me. He thinks I should just forget about it and let life go on and let others do as they want. I don't want to sit back and let the same thing happen to others. What makes things worse is that there is widespread speculation that the American Academy of Paediatrics may actually begin to recommend the procedure in a new policy on male circumcision that is expected out this summer. What is your opinion on the matter? We are not in the middle of Africa were HIV is rampant, and I don't buy the cleanliness argument in this century where there is ready access to water for washing. I've heard that many Britons that think we are crazy in the US to continue the procedure. Would a recommendation for male circumcision make Britons think Americans have gone completely off the deep end? Now that circumcision rates have decreased in the UK for a few generations, do you think there is any danger that Britons will begin to adopt the practice widely?
Thanks for your advice,
Although I've had this blog about gay life for over 5 years now, I've actually never blogged about circumcision. So I guess this post is long overdue :-).
Over the years, I've enjoyed activities with both cut and uncut guys. Looking back, it would have been interesting to have kept a record of what types of guys were cut and what types of guys were uncut, but of course I haven't done that. In terms of enjoying the activities with all the different guys, I'm being quite honest when I say that it's never made much difference to me, because I've always focussed on the guy himself rather than the details of his apparatus. The only thing that I can think of is that I've found it easier to give unfamiliar equipment a hand job when the guy is uncircumcised!
America certainly isn't the only country that routinely circumcises its male children. Although my impression is that British and other European guys tend to be uncut, I'm pretty sure that some East Asian countries also circumcise most of their boys, although since I haven't kept records I'm not absolutely certain. It's also obviously the norm in Islamic countries and Israel. However, I'd be very surprised if it were to become standard in the UK during my lifetime. Perhaps because it's not standard over here I don't think British guys think about it very much, so I doubt that we'd think that Americans are crazy if they do start recommending it. For me, the fact that Americans still can't spell 'colour' after all these years is much more curious.
I can't help wondering what grounds there might be for the American Academy of Paediatrics to make circumcision the recommended policy. I've heard that circumcision makes HIV transmission slightly less likely. Apparently the HIV virus quickly dies when it's outside the body, but when it ends up on a guy's helmet underneath his foreskin, I think it's easier for it to find its way inside his body before it dies. As the reader says, in a modern society where guys wash regularly and change their underwear more than once a week, the cleanliness argument seems a bit weak. In terms of aesthetic appeal and cosmetic beauty, I suppose again I slightly prefer guys to be uncut, in the same way that a car looks better when the engine is under the bonnet rather than out in the open.
I've always wondered if there's any difference in orgasmic sensitivity between circumcised and uncircumcised guys. The fact that an uncircumcised guy's helmet is protected under his foreskin might mean that it's more sensitive than a circumcised guy's helmet, so perhaps it's more fun to be uncircumcised because one might expect that a circumcised guy's helmet gradually becomes slightly desensitised. It would be interesting to hear from any readers that were circumcised during adulthood whether they think there's an effect on sensitivity or not.
Regarding circumcision on religious grounds, I'm very much against it. More generally, I'm against anything that differentiates one set of people from another set of people, because that leads to divisions and ultimately wars! So I support the French for banning religious headscarves on girls in schools, given that most female French students don't wear headscarves. But perhaps in terms of circumcision, that means that all guys need to be circumcised, because I don't see how families can be banned from circumcising their male children.
Another thought is evolution. After several billion years of evolution, guys are born with foreskins,. Presumably this means that there's a good reason for them to be there. This means that unless there's a very good reason to cut them off, surely it makes sense to leave them alone.
Finally, perceptive readers will realise that I've written this entire posting without divulging whether I'm circumcised or not. So you'll all just have to guess!
Do any readers have any views on circumcision?