What and Why?
This page is about my personal experience with being circumcised as an infant and how it has affected me. Of course, everyone is affected differently so I do not pretend my experience is the norm, but I think many people have either repressed or simply not bothered to look into what was done to them, why it was done, and how it is affecting them and their partner. Possibly the only real unique thing about my experience is I discovered many things early. I would like to think if men really researched the issue, most of them would, at least, see the value of leaving the choice to the individual.
So my initial suspicion that something was wrong with my penis actually came before I even started researching circumcision, during puberty. I remember looking at the scar line and wondering why it was uneven, darker, and why the skin above it was a different color. I also noticed how the frenulum ended awkwardly into the scar line. I didn't really put much thought into it then, but it is interesting to think I knew something was wrong at that age. I also remember when I would masturbate and end up causing sores, I thought I was just being too rough. I started using the technique many intact guys seem to use, thumb on top, fingers on bottom... not a fist, just the ends of the fingers. Perhaps guys are hardwired for this technique :) Anyways, this didn't work because the skin wasn't mobile and I was just rubbing it raw, after which I couldn't masturbate for several days or the sores would reopen. The glans was uncomfortable to stimulate and the main stimulation was from the frenulum when pulled down. When I finally did the fisted approach it helped, but was still rough on the skin.
It wasn't until later I realized how much better lube worked, and how much better the orgasms were. I also remember when I would use saliva and rub the frenulum to orgasm, which is probably the only indication I have of what the sensation from the foreskin is like... and around half of circumcisions remove the frenulum. I also remember the irritation caused to the glans while running or drying off with a towel, something I had just assumed was normal... something I managed to ignore.. When I think back on all of this I am saddened it was more of a struggle and that many guys go through the same thing. I wish I could have experienced the normal development, even if it can have its own possible nuisances, like the foreskin separating from the glans, at least there was a purpose.
When I first heard about circumcision I thought I was intact and circumcision actually meant removing the glans. I even remember feeling sorry for a friend that was truly intact because he was 'deformed'. It wasn't until around 6th or 7th grade did I actually come to find out I was the one that was altered. I initially thought the shaftskin was still rigid while the foreskin would come up from the scar line, I just didn't know how it should really work. Again, I put it out of my mind and it wasn't until 8th or 9th grade did I actually look it up and learn how it was suppose to work. It all seemed to click about why I had the problems I noticed earlier. I still thought the flaccid appearance of an intact penis was awkward, but it made sense... something mine never did.
At this point I started resenting my parents decision, and during my junior year in high school I started looking into foreskin restoration. When I finally decided to take the plunge, I wanted to take some before pictures. We owned one of the digital cameras that took a floppy disk so I took pictures while flaccid and erect and somehow during it all I forgot to actually delete the photos after transferring them. My mom must have found it while I was at school and confronted me about them that night. I am not sure how, but she knew I was researching restoration. I told her I wish I was left intact and she said well your are the first out of my 3 boys to feel that way so it must have been the right decision, she said this as if there was something wrong with me. Of course, it was a horrible response for many reasons, but she just didn't want to accept the decision caused me harm. When I said I was going to do restoration she was worried I wouldn't like the results... which is ironic because if she truly worried what I would want, I would have been intact. I told her I didn't want to stay the way I was. At the time, she was pregnant with another boy and I couldn't convince her to leave him intact. We didn't really end this conversation on the best of terms, but I don't think either of us were ready to fully confront it.
When I started restoration, the standard technique at the time was to use T-Tape, which uses medical tape to go around the shaft and allows you to tug on the skin causing it to expand, growing more skin. You have to prepare the tape each day and must first get an erection or the tape comes unstuck easier when the skin stretched. A clasp is attached to the tape and then, with a certain amount of tension, is attached either around the waist clipped to your underwear or to a knee brace. It is quite a hassle to setup, and every time you go to the bathroom you use a stall, unclip the clasps, pull the skin back carefully (sore from the tension), go to the bathroom, make sure urine is drained, reapply tension properly, and hope the tape doesn't start to come off during the day. Certain movements would put extra tension so you had to be mindful of what you were doing. You often have to sneakily adjust or unclip the clasps if you applied too much tension or the tape was coming unstuck. The worst part is this is an extremely slow process, it can take years of doing this every day to actually get coverage of the glans while flaccid. When I started, the shaftskin could barely move and I ended up being able to roll the skin just past the edge of the glans before I just couldn't do anymore. Although the benefit of extra mobility and keeping the glans internal to improve sensation helped strengthen my belief that intact would be better, restoration was too much stress and hassle.
During college I was kept so busy since it was a full time school I only did minimal research. However, I came back after graduation before moving away for my job and ended up bringing up circumcision with my dad who is actually intact. I told him I didn't want to be circumcised and asked why he didn't let me choose. He said you would have wanted it done anyways. When I said, well I don't, there is no point, he briskly walked away to his shop, almost out of fear. I stood there for a second stunned, then followed him. I was annoyed because first my mom brushed me aside, then my dad tried to. I told him I wanted to talk about it, and he said he didn't know what I wanted. I said, how about an apology. Then he said he was sorry, but that he 'knew' I would have wanted it and that I wouldn't do it later. How he said this made me realize he was actually talking about himself. He grew up when infant circumcision rates were over 80% and felt out of place, but never got it done. Oddly enough I grew up with over 60% rates and wanted to be intact, which I guess just shows you can never really tell what your kid would want. Anyways, I said, no there is no reason for it, and you shouldn't feel ashamed, you are natural. He said no, you would have wanted it done. Then I said well you can change whenever you want, I'm stuck. He didn't say anything after that.
This same visit the issue also was brought up briefly with my brothers. Neither of them knew people were against it, but they seemed relatively supportive and at least understood my point of view. My older brother even brought up how he wished he didn't have his tonsils removed and suspected it caused him problems, but he thought that was more severe then circumcision. My other brother had a friend who was intact and got circumcised later, I said that is my point, he got to choose. We didn't really talk much more about it and I just didn't know enough to fully convince them. I just hadn't been in enough discussions to fully articulate and defend my position.
It isn't surprising that confrontations with my parents didn't go so well, I didn't really know how to express how I felt and my parents didn't know how to respond. I don't think they ever really thought about what would happen if I was against the procedure and how it would affect me. Although my dad may have thought he was doing what was best, he was looking at it the wrong way. Instead of looking at as we would share a bond with being intact, he let his insecurities blind him to something we should be grateful to have, a natural, healthy body.
This started me thinking about how his decision to have his boys circumcised probably affected him. Although he may have tried to take comfort thinking he did what was best, there must have been many situations where he was reminded about his own status and brought up negative feelings and insecurities. Diaper changes, baths, swimming, going to the restroom, etc. There are also two main situations when I was maybe around 6 or 7 where he may have tried to hid his intact status. One was when we were out doing something in a crop field and he went to go to the bathroom... I didn't know until I walked over and saw what he was doing, I remember seeing him retracted. He could just have always fully retracted to urinate, or he could have been making sure I didn't question why we were different. The other time was when he was sitting on the toilet going to the bathroom and I asked why he was holding his penis, he said so I make it in the toilet. A noble goal, but when you are intact the foreskin might roll back over the glans, so is typically held back, a circumcised guy would just need to make sure he is aimed properly. Although these aren't the clearest examples, I am sure they reminded him about being intact. I guess my point is nothing good has really came from him running away, suppressing, or deflecting his problems with being intact, all it did was blind him from realizing that he is normal, that his kids may not feel the same way, and perhaps more importantly created a point of tension, instead of a bond.
When I moved and started my career, I became more active in speaking out against circumcision through internet forums, discussion areas, and even close friends. It really wasn't until this point that I truly understood the whole topic, but actively speaking out is really a double edged sword. On one hand you help educate others (and yourself) and stop infant circumcision, on the other hand it is on your mind more and can cause mental stress. It certainly makes me appreciate those that continue fighting against it. However, soon you realize there are common threads in reasons people give to be for/against it, which is why, later on, I ended up creating this site. One common practice I noticed is many people make conflicting issues into personal attacks... like they follow the general motto 'people are stupid'. Instead of discussing the topic, they digress into useless bickering. Although with some effort the conversation can be redirected, sometimes it is a lost cause. Most importantly though, you realize people really do want to do what is best for their children, but often you must first break past the initial barrier they put up... and be respectful as possible... which can be difficult on such heated topics.
At this point my younger brother was going to have a baby boy and knew I had to try and convince them to leave him intact. And with help from my mom, we were able to convince him and his wife that letting their son decide would ensure he would be happy. My mom said if she could go back she would not have had the procedure done. Hearing her say that meant alot. I also respect my brother for following through and listening to what I had to say.
Between this and speaking out on the internet I started to realize I could make a difference. However, working so closely with the topic also made me look into restoration again. It had been about 4 or so years since the short time I spent restoring in high school and the community had expanded quite abit and there were devices on the market that attempted to make it easier. however, I started again with the same T-Tape method as before and eventually tried one of the devices, but they typically squeeze the skin for grip, which I found they can come loose more often and cause their own sort of discomfort. I kept with T-Tape for a few months then tried a mixture of tape and manual stretching, then mostly manual stretching. Manual stretching was a nice change because you didn't have to wear straps and apply tension all day, but you had to spend about 15-20 minutes twice a day applying tension. I kept with this technique for most of my restoration and managed to spend just over a year doing it. Despite that much time, I was still not covered while flaccid and it would probably take at least another year, maybe two to reach my coverage goal. However, the shaftskin had much more mobility, enough to pull the skin over the head while erect. Being able to do this was a great milestone and again let me experience a glimmer of the benefits of being intact, but the realization I could never get back what was lost set in even more. My restoration efforts sputtered out the following months and I turned my focus again to speaking out.
Later on a close friend was having a boy and I brought up how I was against it with him, we talked about it a bit, then I offered to write up an email with more thorough reasons. He read it and did a bit of research on his own, but they did not plan on leaving him intact, tradition seemed to win over. However, the baby actually came premature and with all the extra pressure and stress from it they decided against circumcision. I think this happened because their son (and them) had already gone through so much, they didn't want to put him through more. I am not going to say I am happy it happened that way because I know how stressful complications like that can be, but I think it puts into perspective what truly matters, the health and well-being of your child. No one wants to see them suffer at the hands of a complication or pain from an unneeded surgery.
Going through all this gave me first hand experience with the struggles one strongly against the procedure would feel. I bring up how an intact guy can always change because it is so much easier to get the results you want. A guy circumcised as an infant can spend years restoring with limited success or hope regeneration technology starts showing promise... then spend what is probably a large amount of money for the results. One might argue that it isn't worth the hassle, you should just accept who you are. That concept is perfectly valid in many situations, but with infant circumcision we are talking about a forced permanent alteration to the genitals, it is not that simple. Even if someone stops speaking out against the procedure, things happen every day to remind them of the procedure, the best they could do is try to force it out of their mind. But imagine how difficult that can be. Basically anything relating to sex, relationships, children, or the natural body can be a reminder. These things happen numerous times every day. This isn't a typical struggle many people try to relate genital cutting to. Wanting something back that was forcibly and permanently taken away is something hard to let go of.
I began to realize I seemed to keep my distance when it came to a romantic relationship. It wasn't really a matter of fear or talking myself out of it... it was almost like I would lose motivation. I would think about how circumcision would affect not only our sex life, but situations where I knew I would think about it. It was almost like a subconscious self-defense mechanism .. the idea would pop into my head, I would push it away, but still didn't act. Many times I would think of simple situations that were suppose to be joyful or even neutral and that would bring up circumcision in my mind... such as \taking a shower with my partner or changing clothes or meeting another couple or even the quick flashes of thought during sexual activity. Despite how I would see the possible joy and compassion, the negative thoughts would somehow break their way through.... making it not seem worth it. But I know the joys would ultimately enrich and improve my life. There are much worse things that could happen and everyone has their own struggles, but the worst part is knowing I cannot do anything about it. I don't know if the negative thoughts will ever fully go away, but as things enrich and occupy your life, these issues fade as you learn to deal with them, at least temporarily.
Our bodies are designed to adapt to changes, short term, long term, or permanent. It does this so well that it can even be misleading. This was revealed when I kept the glans covered. Despite my previous attempts at restoration it wasn't until recently that I kept the glans covered throughout the day. I don't have enough skin to cover naturally, so I actually used a hair band to remain covered. Kinda annoying, but how else would I see the difference? During the first week or two I noticed a stronger smell, but this actually was only temporary. Perhaps it wasn't accustomed to being internal or maybe shedding of the kernalization (slight "barrier" of skin to reduce irritation from the glans being exposed) produces this. Regardless, the smell actually reduced the longer I kept covered. About a month into it I noticed increased sensation, mainly in the form of more irritation when the glans contacted something like clothing or blankets. What is interesting is my body seemed accustomed to these incidents and I noticed slight subconscious anticipation, perhaps amplified by the increased sensation. For example, when I would dry off my upper body the towel could brush the glans and I would flinch/tense right before. Subtle, but something my body had learned to deal with.
By the end of the second month the smell was minimal and I could notice not only a color change in the glans, but also slight moisture... it actually looked healthier. In the third month I began to notice the normal pressure I applied during masturbation felt more uncomfortable and reduced pressure felt better... almost like I could sense the gliding more easily and accurately. During a shower, the water from the nozzle would cause discomfort if it hit the glans, something I never noticed before. I also began to notice when the glans was uncovered that I could actually feel the temperature change, and began to realize how the moisture not only would keep the area healthy, but how it affects stimulation. For example, your inner upper and lower lip can glide across each other without any discomfort or irritation, but if you were to rub your finger along it, even if you licked it first, there would be slight irritation. The foreskin, glans, and moisture work together to create the sensation, removing the foreskin and moisture from the equation changes it from how it was designed to work together to provide pleasure and sensation... and not only to the male, but also the female. However, it wasn't until I started my restoration did I have a glimpse of how shaftskin mobility would affect sexual activity and it wasn't until I kept the glans internal as designed did I get another glimpse. Our bodies may try to adapt to something like genital cutting even to where you can still enjoy sexual activity, but you would be lieing to yourself to assume there are not drawbacks.
One issue with trying to remain covered when you do not have enough skin (or the elastic nature of a foreskin) is that the nightime erections cause the skin to roll back and once it subsides, likely leaves you with no or minimal coverage. If you attempt to use something like a hair band to keep covered, it will slow circulation and the discomfort will wake you up... at least it did for me when I forgot to remove the hair band. This also means there is a chunk of the day where I was not able to remain covered, which may explain why my progress seemed to slow at the fifth month. The main thing that I noticed was the moisture would return fairly quickly. It also felt uncomfortable to be uncovered, especially if it happened after moisture had built up.. Interestingly, although the smell was minimal, it would actually nearly disappear by the end of the day. I also found showering every other day instead of every day not only helped to minimize smell, but in general my skin and hair seemed healthier. Of course, everyone is different, but this did make me wonder how many other people would benefit from a reduced frequency of showers.
Wondering how I could be covered at night, I tried using the outer cone of my TLC tugger, which with the inner cone could be used as a tugging device like T-Tape. Although it could cause some discomfort if applied too tightly it seemed to work well. Keeping covered constantly for over two months
During this time I realized an interesting part about how the foreskin keeps the glans covered, essentially creating something internal. During foreplay, simply the appearance can arouse and entice a partner. The covered and erect state shows interest, and almost invites your partner to come over and play with it, to uncover what your foreskin is hiding. Yes, the circumcised penis is similar, but always looks erect... it loses the hidden allure and almost instantly requires more effort and more intimacy. While the foreskin could easily be moved and touched for pleasure with little effort, to receive similar pleasure without the foreskin, your partner would need lubricant, oral, or even more intimate sex. This can be related to how a female's partner wants to uncover and play with the clitoris, or even vagina. Imagine if the clitoral hood or labia were not there... not much to play with. So although it can still be enjoyable, people are probably more likely to spend less time during foreplay. Perhaps a strong factor for couples that struggle with intimacy. Having an internal part of the penis can also create even more intimacy during penetration, you are essentially giving and receiving pleasure with something normally internal, truly exposing yourself to your partner. This general idea is why many people enjoy kissing during intimacy.
Even how I see religion has been affected. To be fair, my family wasn't really big on religion when I was growing up. The only time I ever went to church was with friends, other family members, or to a wedding. That isn't to say it was something I never gave thought, I would even consider myself a spiritual person. But when it comes to a religion, nothing feels quite right. Part of this is rooted in how some of the widely accepted religions have or at one time had a favorable relationship with genital cutting. One could argue points such as, "that is only in the old testament", "that's a misinterpretation", or similar points, but the fact it was not demonized, shunned, or even deterred from the get go creates a general mistrust. Another issue is that religions typically ask that this be done on infants or children, it is not left to the adult to decide... which makes you wonder about the origins of the religion. Maybe it was really just a cult, maybe it was created to make people stray from the truth, maybe it was just an attempt to control people and many other scenarios you could think of. Of course, I am not saying it is only because of genital cutting rituals or that religions are inherently bad, just that there are many concerns and issues you began to wonder about.
In a way, I almost feel disconnected from the natural order and beauty of the world.... something so intricately woven together that I feel less a part of. For some this idea may seem somewhat foreign, and I have struggled to fully understand it. Whether we evolved or were designed one can't help but feel a sort of connection. Having part of this connection broken away, while still being able to see the value can be difficult. It may start to seem like this can weigh heavily on a person. And really, balancing speaking out, research, and trying to put it out of my mind has been a challenge, but I like to think all my efforts have ultimately improved the lives of others. However, many of the issues I bring up here were simply discovered along the way... not all dumped at once.
My goal in sharing all this is an attempt to show people there are valid reasons one could have for wanting to be the way nature intended. Even if you find things you do not agree with or see having minimal value, realize everyone has their own opinion. All people fighting against genital cutting want is for parents to take a neutral stance and let their child decide.
This was a long read, and I hope it helps you understand that psychological damage is not a trivial issue... there are people that struggle even more severely. Perhaps worse yet is those that experience difficulties during sexual activity and think they are doing something wrong, when really it may simply be the result of circumcision. I encourage you to read other areas of the site to get a more complete view. I also believe the image and video galleries help to make the issue more relateable and grounded... a picture speaks a thousand words.
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