This is a section for readers to send in their own experiences of, and views about, circumcision. Please, we want factual accounts, not fantasies, and while sexual matters have to be discussed we do not want 'steamy porn'. Photos are very welcome, but we will not post images of erections and for legal reasons (which we don't necessarily agree with) all contributors must be over 18.
We are starting off afresh, with all new postings, but in time we may pull out any old contributions which are still of interest. This is not a bulletin board, and is not open to discussions about the posted articles. If you want to join a discussion group we recommend the Yahoo group Intercirc - we have no formal connection but both have ancestry in the now long defunct Circlist group.
So, please send in your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Editor's Story
In post-war England, when I was growing up, circumcision was very much a class thing. At my large, crowded but very good state primary school I never saw a circumcised penis - and I saw plenty of penises since most boys made sure they were seen at the urinal. There was one Jewish boy in my year but he was quite shy. (Had I known then that Jews were circumcised I might have tried to get a closer look.) My family lived at the classier end of that school's catchment, and the boy next door was circumcised - and went to a private school. I was instantly impressed with the look of his penis.
My foreskin was a problem. When I was young my mother used to try to pull it back, with no success, and she often said that if it wouldn't come back I'd have to be circumcised. I had no objection to that but I never was, and had to solve the problem by myself, later. It was only years later, as an adult, that I realised my mother was pro-circumcision but my father was dead against it. As an officer's son I was from the demographic which normally would have been circumcised in those days.
By age 10 I knew enough of the facts of life to realise why I needed to be able to retract my foreskin (mother had always glossed over that bit), and I set to work in earnest. I was 11 before I managed it, and at first it was so tight it would insist on going forward when I got hard which was very frustrating. But I kept at it and before long it was quite well behaved. I'd always pull back to pee - partly for better hygiene, but also showing off!
By this stage I was at an English Public School (which would be called private anywhere else). Not one of the famous ones like Eton, Harrow or Winchester, but one with a good academic record, a liberal curriculum, and a friendly environment. It took both boarders and day pupils and I was a boarder. In this middle-class demographic it was 50/50 circumcised and foreskins. I was as envious as ever of the circumcised ones, but now at least I could find more out about them, and there was ample opportunity. Communal showers after PE and games were compulsory, there were 6 baths to a bathroom in the boarding house and in the pre-teen years there was plenty of horsing around in both environments. Boys would masturbate - not to orgasm, just to show off their erections, and most were very happy to have their dicks investigated and do the same to you. You got to see everyone in your year, dayboy or boarder, and since sports went by three age groups, junior, intermediate and senior, you'd also see a fair few from the years above and below yours. I (and everyone else) must have seen close to 100 penises in my school years.
And what a variety there was! Before puberty, the uncircumcised ones ranged from impressively long hosepipes, through the 'rosebud' bunch in front of the knob (the commonest type), short ones which just covered the knob and totally loose ones which left half the knob uncovered. Apart from the few totally loose ones it was impossible to predict how easily they would retract. Some of the hosepipes were dead easy to retract, some of the short ones were impossible. The rosebuds covered the whole spectrum from dead easy to impossible, but of course they were all working on the problem too, and most solved it. I was very interested in the circumcised ones, which also covered the whole spectrum from partial circumcisions with the knob partly covered to a couple of dead tight jobs with no trace of free skin. But just as rosebuds were the norm for the foreskins, the commonest circumcisions were moderately loose. Some had skin bunched up behind the knob when soft, others didn't, but erect there was still plenty of skin movement, with the scar (if you could see it at all) half way down the shaft. I still think of this as a typical English circumcision.
With the teen years, and puberty, that free and easy horseplay came to an end. But we still saw each other nude all the time. So what changed? In the case of the 'roundheads', not very much. Of course they got larger - much larger, and the 'half-circumcised' boys all now had bare knobs, but the loose circumcisions were still loose, the 'English circumcisions' still had plenty of free skin, the tight ones didn't get any tighter, and the ultra-tight ones, well, couldn't! The 'cavaliers' (uncircumcised boys) were a different story. In my case, the foreskin just covered the knob when I was soft, and completely uncovered it when I was erect. There were others like me, but some still had a covered knob even when erect, and even a bunch of skin in front when soft. On the other hand, many had fully bare knobs all the time - some because they deliberately wore it back, others because it simply went back, and even if you pulled it forward it wouldn't stay there. And there was no connection between the length of foreskin before puberty and the result afterwards - some with long skins had bare knobs afterwards, others with shorter skins were still covered. A few unfortunates still couldn't retract.
So, without that playing around in showers and bathrooms, how did we know so much about each other? The answer was mutual masturbation - forbidden, of course, and requiring discretion, but still a normal activity for most boys right through from 11 to 17. (Other sex acts were unknown.) Uncircumcised boys did it by pumping their skin in whatever position was most comfortable for them, which, in spite of popular cliché, was most often not the 'long stroke' moving the skin back and forth over the knob. Few boys at that age (14-16) had the combination of enough coverage and a loose enough skin. I, and many others, didn't have enough skin, and many of those who had the coverage didn't have the looseness. (They probably developed it in adulthood).
So to me at 16, and two things happened. One was that I spent a summer in the USA. Nothing sexual happened there but I did get to meet, and get interested in, girls. Beach and pool change rooms were places where, in those days, men and boys wandered around freely in the nude and I never saw an uncircumcised penis (I kept my foreskin back so as not to look too different). There tended to be a common style - no skin bunched up behind the knob, but visible wrinkles on the shaft – tightish but not totally tight. (I didn't know it then, but I was seeing Gomco circumcisions). The second was that I invented a new way of masturbating. I found some 'sunning oil' and used it to rub a lubricated fist over my glans and shaft, holding my skin back with my left hand. This was an attempt to simulate the feeling of sex with a girl, which I hadn't ever experienced, and it was also intended to get my knob back into the action.
It was too messy for school use, though I did introduce it to a circumcised school-friend in the holidays. Even at home it was only really feasible as a special treat. But once I left home it gradually took over as my normal way of doing it. Then, in my 20s, I moved to Australia to an academic post. Salaries were higher (then) than in the UK, and so were house prices, but food and wine were cheaper, so I reckoned I was on to a good thing. And I was, in more ways than one.
I never did anything sexual with other young men (why should I, I found that Aussie girls were very willing and available) but I did find myself among them a lot since I was very much into outdoor sports, and in a University context that meant that I was often camping with students, most of them male and all of them circumcised. And I realized that student jokes about masturbation almost always referred to lubricants. "His girlfriend's left him and now he keeps a stack of Playboys and a jar of Vaseline under his bed." My 'new' way of doing it was what everyone did here! And I soon saw why. Shyness among men was just as unknown as in the US 10 years earlier, and I realised that really tight circumcisions were the norm in Australia.
One immediate advantage was that if a girl didn't want to 'go all the way', my favourite hand job was exactly how she expected to do it. That was good. In England asking a girl to do it that way seemed a bit strange. But I now had a secure job, and the idea of getting my long wished-for circumcision was always on my mind. However, I got conflicting messages from my girlfriends - one would be urging me to get done, while another was all in favour of foreskins (probably because of the scarcity factor). So I realized that I'd have to wait until I found the girl I wanted to marry and spend my life with. Well, that happened, and we're still married so it must have been the right choice. In due course I mentioned the issue to her. Her response was 'Of course, but not for a year or two, I want to experience you both ways'.
That's exactly what happened - I was circumcised after a few years of marriage, by a leading urologist using the sleeve dissection technique. My wife was able to give me a gentle hand job after only 11 days, and we had full sex after a fortnight (very well lubricated in both cases). My circumcision was low, and fairly tight. The picture shows how it looks. I'm a 'grower' so this translates to very little movement when erect. I'm very happy with it.|
How did it affect sex? It was better, because the skin no longer rode up on the out stroke. Our sex had always been good - better than I'd had with anyone else – but this not only provided more sensation, it gave me more control since I knew I could climax more readily when I needed to, and so I could equally hold off when that was necessary.
About a year after the op, when everything was totally settled down, I tried to masturbate by stroking, as I'd done to my circumcised school friends 30 years ago, and wow! an orgasm as intense as the first ones I'd had as a young boy. It's harder work than using lube, but more intense. Both are better than skin pumping, which before my circ would produce an ejaculation without much sensation at all. Afterwards, tugging on my tight skin didn't even work (I wasn't a teenager any more). If my wife gives me a hand job it's always now dry stroking, and fantastic. If I do myself (only when we are apart, but we both have commitments so that happens) I tend to alternate between the two methods. Marriage and circumcision - two of the best things that ever happened to me.
Don't try a self-circ!
I'm Australian and now 48. I wasn't circumcised so I was the odd one out at school. I copped a lot of flack over the years about having a dirty sock as they called it. So at age 40 I took measures into my own hands and made a circ kit at work with a steel band & a rubber band. Once fitted and foreskin was numb I cut around the band removing heaps of skin. Everything was healing quite well until I slipped and pulled the steel band out. Lots of blood and off to hospital where a urologist cleaned it up and the rest is history.
You can see I was cut low and tight and the frenulum is still intact but I'm thinking of getting it removed. What are your thoughts ?
Editors comment: if you look closely at the frenulum it is clear that much of it already has been removed. It's your choice if you want to get rid of the remnant! But I hope this very honest post will put everyone off the idea of attempting a self circumcision. Just think how much easier it would have been had BT gone to the urologist first.
At what was and probably still is the best-known Preparatory School in Oxford in the 1950s, the ratio of "roundheads" to "cavaliers" was very roughly 50:50, perhaps 60:40.. Almost all the "roundheads" had a low and loose style of circumcision. Two brothers, however, had the highest and tightest cut I've ever actually seen. In the past, I believe, anthropologists have described such circumcisions as "flayed". Not so, 'flaying' circumcisions actually did remove the shaft skin totally. See our page on Islamic circumcision Ed.
At the minor Public School just down the road, the ratio was much the same. Having a rather short foreskin, I was untroubled by the problems one so often reads of. However as I grew older, the foreskin was forever retracting and in particular, being a keen cyclist, this became really quite uncomfortable – a definite nuisance.. After discussion with my wife, who was totally sympathetic, we decided on a circumcision. Fortuitously, a colleague of hers mentioned that he was going into the Radcliffe hospital for a minor operation which he delicately described as "a very ancient procedure" – what a tactful way of putting it!
But how to proceed, in those days before the internet ? Circumcision was regularly discussed at an intelligent level in "Forum" magazine and for those seeking the procedure, they recommended a Dr Newell, (who I'm sure has long ago hung up his scalpel). He had a very small consulting room on the first floor of a house in Harley Street. After an initial visit, an appointment was made. He wrote a prescription for tablets to be taken the night before, to prevent erections. On the actual day, I arrived at his place – he worked alone with no nurse and he gave me several injections at the base of the penis as local anaesthetics. Then after marking a line around the foreskin in red ink, he carried out the freehand procedure. I still remember the "click-click" of what I assume was the making of the stitches. Within less than an hour, I was heading for the Tube station, having paid (in cash) what today seems an incredibly modest amount.
I'd here like to strongly contradict what one so often reads – that adult circumcision is an incredibly painful procedure. In my experience, complete nonsense. I was back at work the next day (an office job). Walking around the house with no pants ? Rubbish! Painful walking ? - not a bit of it! A week or so later, Dr Newell removed the stitches, assured me that the local swelling would soon subside – as it did.
Since then, I (and my wife) have had absolutely no regrets and the many benefits one reads about in Circlist proved indeed to be true. One thing though, and again something one reads about in Circlist. Dr Newell did things his way. Thus he dismissed any suggestion of removing the frenum (which was already partly torn). Nor was the style of circumcision open for discussion. With hindsight, I would have preferred a slightly higher cut. Looking back, my abiding view of adult circumcision is that it really in no big deal. I cannot understand why people make such a fuss about it.
Our son was circumcised at birth (in the USA) and has never had any problems. As the years go by, the multiple benefits of circumcision become more and more established, the arguments of the intactivists ever shriller. Within a few years, pretty much the entire male population of Africa will be circumcised – and so far, we hear of no problems or complaints. The Chinese seem to be ramping up their rate of circumcision. Now that non-surgical circumcision (PrePex etc) has been so thoroughly proven in Africa, how long before such lower-cost methods become available over here ?
Editor's comment: For non-UK readers, in the private (fee-paying) system boys often go to a prep school from ages 8 to 12, then a public school from 13 onwards. However the public schools also take boys at 11 who have been in the state primary system, as in my account above.
In deepest Bavaria
Southern Bavaria, West Germany in the 1970s was a place where people simply had foreskins, and so did I. It was a place without any readily available information on the subject of circumcision, or any other information regarding the male appendage, come to think of it. I had an absolute odyssey trying to educate myself on the subject for the first part of my life, and crashed from one weird experience into the next, as you will see.
As a little boy of six, I was convinced to be the owner of one of the best looking penises going: Not too big, not too small, and with a nicely shaped, long foreskin.
Things came crashing down for me when entering primary school at that age, and seeing my classmates naked before and after swimming class. It revealed to me that, while I was largely right about my assessment compared to the average rival penis, there was one that completely stole the show. I could not get over it. It belonged to a nice, funny guy I had befriended earlier, and it was decidedly a different model altogether: It did not taper into a wrinkled hose of skin, but actually seemed to have a neat knob at its end, with a short cuff of skin around it that reminded me of a rolled-up shirt sleeve. A bit as if he was trying to make a fashion statement. A designer penis... wow.
I had never pulled my foreskin back until then, because my family's household maid had once warned me "not to do anything funny" with my appendage, lest it would "stay that way for good". I realize now she was probably alluding to the dangers of a possible paraphimosis and meant well, but the result was that I actually ended up living in mortal fear of my own organ, imagining it to be capable of all sorts of unpredictable actions I might unwittingly trigger by doing something funny, and that I would regret it, and that nobody would be able to help me.
And that is what I presumed to have happened to my classmate when I saw his thing. I truly believed that he had probably done "something funny", and the skin had sprung back like that, and stayed that way, true to the prophecies of our housemaid. I quietly commiserated and never said a word, but made sure to leave that foreskin well alone.
Years went by, I entered a monastery boarding school, and made other friends. Perhaps surprisingly for a catholic monastery school, two of them were from the Middle East – an Egyptian and an Iranian. Clowning around in the showers one morning, I realized that they also seemed to be victims of some folly, because they, too sported those rolled-up sleeve penises. Now I just had to ask what had happened to them. One was an accident, two was an epidemic. This was obviously spreading.
I was informed that the foreskin was a sleeve of skin that got habitually shortened at some stage in life everywhere in the Middle East, and that, to their eyes, we Europeans looked pretty ridiculous with ours. Somehow as if we were trying to give birth to tiny elephants. And in America, everybody had this done. This insight was a great liberation, because it meant that our maid had been wrong.
In religious studies class, it wasn't long before we studied Judaism. Circumcision was mentioned for the first time in my life, and the teacher, a Benedictine monk, described it as "removing only the very tip of the foreskin" to the class. It did therefore not seem to be the same thing as the designer penises of my two Middle Eastern buddies. Curious about this, I asked them promptly whether a circumcision was what they had had, which they confirmed. I put two and two together and concluded that removing "only the very tip of the foreskin" evidently somehow resulted in it rolling all the way back behind the glans.
To my surprise, I was not able to replicate this look through retraction by age 12, and subsequently soon found myself checked into a local hospital to have a circumcision performed. "Don't worry, we'll only remove the very tip of the foreskin," I was reassured by a nurse and a doctor, to which I nodded sagely. Of course they were. And I'd get a cool designer penis, like my friends. Deal.
Upon waking from the anesthesia, I discovered much to my delight a perfectly good rolled-up sleeve designer penis, but alas, with shocking looking, bloody stitches all around it. Still, I wasn't too worried, because I presumed this to be part of the procedure, as nobody was hopping around me with gadgetry, proclaiming life threatening problems; so I was presumably fine.
The nurse brought me ointment, which I was supposed to apply "every day to make sure no adhesions are forming." She demonstrated how, then, to my surprise, rolled the skin forward over the glans so that the stitches disappeared. Incidentally, another big misunderstanding was created in this way, and I continued applying ointment and vaseline and lotions for months afterwards, presuming it to be a necessary maintenance measure for this kind of penis. On the upside, this is how I discovered masturbation.
Everything was fine in the end, only that I never got to enjoy the rolled-up sleeve look for long before it decided to roll forward again by itself, covering most of the glans, and resulting in a sort of sleepy look. I assumed things would eventually be as they should be, and spent about a third of my days pulling back the remaining foreskin. I enjoyed the airy, new feeling, and felt like I had become part of something exotic and interesting.
I lived with this partial circumcision until my first meaningful encounter with a girl about four years later. "Aha", she said, "what's that?" I explained to her that I was circumcised. Then she explained to me that she was Turkish, and had three brothers, and as far as her culture was concerned, I was not circumcised. This irked me enormously. My Lawrence of Arabia Factor was being questioned.
I would not have it, and quite directly went to the father of my Iranian highschool friend, who was a doctor, and who had performed his son's circumcision. I told him about my issue, to which he nodded and ho-hummed in his wise way. He explained to me that German doctors have a different definition of what a circumcision is, and that he would gladly provide me with an advanced version. Medical justification could easily be found, which was required to convince parents and insurance companies.
And a few weeks later, I was again experiencing the entire hospital experience, including stitches and ointment, etc. It seemed oddly comical, even paradoxical, to be doing this twice. Friends and relatives alike were like "he got circumcised... twice??" It seemed a physical impossibility to most, and I, too found it quite Monty Pythonesque, on principle. The result was a low and loose freehand circumcision with partial frenulum remnant and permanently exposed glans, done by a German-trained, Persian doctor. To this day, I have to say it is absolutely great.
Reactions to it continue to amuse me as bedroom encounters continue. I went on to live in Canada, then England, and honestly quite relish the reactions I get from females.
None are the same. I've had French and Swiss girls commiserate ("oh no! Your poor thing...! Does that hurt?"); an Israeli girl found the stitch marks monstrous ("like Frankenstein! We don't do that...!"); Canadians and Americans alike found there to be "so much wobbly skin...?"
Whatever. In the end, what counts is that everybody is happy, which will eventually materialize if you keep trying.
and the Law