Routine Infant Circumcision
(Often abbreviated to “RIC”)
Circlist Member Opinions and Experiences
Possibly the greatest controversy surrounding the issue of male circumcision is this: ‘Should infant boys be circumcised routinely, or should the decision to circumcise be deferred until each individual reaches an age where they themselves decide?’
The process of rationalising that decision is discussed in CIRCLIST’s chapter Considering Circumcision, linked via the Navigation Bar at the foot of this page. What follows here is discussion of the subject in the light of the cultural and religious norms of the individual contributors. The views expressed below do not necessarily conform with those of CIRCLIST.
When young, my friends and I could not determine why some boys had a foreskin and others were missing; it was one of the first things that boys checked, after size, when observing the penis of other boys. Probably both camps worried about it because of what our future girlfriends desired.
I was never jealous of foreskins but wondered what one would feel like. I was in high school before I discovered that my skin had been removed by a doctor. I recognized that I had a scar on my penis but never thought about it. Since then, I have observed penises with better circ jobs and those with worse in the eyes of the beholder. Only recently have I become aware that circumcision has become a controversial topic. Mine has never been a problem and my penis has functioned very well. I was surprised to hear some men complaining about lack of sensitivity. My wife hopes that the controversy ends because she definitely prefers for men to be circumcised.
Al - USA
I was circumcised at birth and have never regretted it for one moment. The circumcision was however not very well carried out. Not enough skin was removed and while the head was clearly exposed there was quite a lot of loose skin around. When erect the skin on the shaft was fairly loose and in fact there was a small flap on skin on one side.
At fourteen my mother took me to the then family doctor to sort out the problem. His attitude was to leave it to nature, so nothing was done. It was not a big problem because at fourteen no one was seeing my penis erect anyway.
When I became sexually active things changed. After the fifth girl friend had commented on the flap of skin, I had had enough and arranged to be recircumcised. Ten days later I was back in action, so to speak.
I discovered that a marked change had occurred. Firstly the skin on the shaft was now tight when erect. I also found the sensation on penetration breathtaking. But perhaps best of all I found my orgasm was now much more intense. Incredibly so. I was amazed at the positive effect tight skin on the shaft had.
With this background, you can imagine how amazed I was when I read an anti-circumcision article which told me that my penis had been "mutilated" and had lost a lot of its sensitivity. What a lot of rubbish! I am absolutely happy with the look of my penis. If was a fraction more sensitive it would be painful. Where are these anti-circumcision people coming from? Who are they and what is their agenda?
Promoting an informed choice in favour of safe
The cry goes out that in routine newborn circumcisions there is a high risk and a lot of pain and suffering. Well I don’t believe newborn circumcision should be routine. Parents should carefully screen the competence and experience of the surgeon, as they would before themselves undergoing any operation. The current risk of death directly attributable to newborn circumcisions of one in 16.6 million in the US and as such is hardly any risk at all. The odds can be further improved by carefully selecting the surgeon. The use of an analgesic reduces the pain suffered to the same level of routine infant vaccinations. Do the opponents of RIC really believe parents wish to harm their children?
I notice with some interest that all research that produces findings in favour of the anti circumcision view is termed ‘rigorously controlled’, while that which finds in favour of circumcision to ‘have been largely invalidated’. How do they arrive at these conclusions?
On th positive side, I accept that the anti-circumcision lobby has forced me to review my position and become informed on the issue. My conclusion? I am happy to be circumcised and any future male child of mine will be circumcised for both aesthetic and preventative health reasons.
Dave - USA
My penis is circumcised loosely. When it is soft, there is a ring of skin that touches the coronal ridge. Sometimes when flaccid, the skin will separate slightly from the coronal ridge. When my penis grows erect, the skin remains loose along the shaft. There is a distinct difference in color at the circumcision scar approximately 1" below the head of my penis. I believe that my circumcision removed more inner foreskin than outer foreskin. I’ve been left with enough skin so that I’m able to pull it about half way up the head when hard. I’m able to completely cover the glans when soft (although it rolls back immediately).
I’m still undecided on how I ultimately feel on the practice of routine infant circumcision. I am, however, happy that I was circumcised at birth. Nearly every boy where I live has been circumcised. In the showers, I have only seen one boy from our area who was uncircumcised and one other who was an exchange student. Therefore, to be similar to my peers, I am glad that my parents chose to have me circumcised.
Also, I think that the girls here prefer circumcision. I was talking with a group of girls one night. We got onto the subject of circumcision. Of the four girls, only one was familiar with the terminology of cut and uncut. She said that she has heard uncut penises are hard to keep clean and smell. There was general consensus that circumcision was the only option.
Seth, age 19 - USA
I was circumcised at birth, as I’m sure all of my friends were as well. I really never knew any different until I heard the word circumcision while in my religious classes. I was interested in what it was exactly, and since it talked about boys, I definitely wanted to look it up. I was quite shocked to read the definition. It talked about the cutting of the foreskin of the male penis. I read a number of medical books to find out more...including what an uncircumcised penis looked like. This was all before leaving elementary school.
In middle school, I was amazed at how many of my friends were ignorant of the subject. I remember one in particular. He talked about how he couldn’t imagine being circumcised and having his penis cut; this while he was himself circumcised. I can also remember another time, this while in high school, when one friend cut a hotdog in half and said “Let’s make it a Jewish hotdog.” I’m not sure what his status is, but it certainly amazed me how little he knew on the subject. Perhaps it is because almost all of my peers are cut. Maybe because we just don’t talk about the subject much. I’m probably much more informed compared to any of my friends. I’m 19 now, happy to be circumcised and I am glad that I’m similar to my peers. If not, showertime would possibly be quite awkward, especially considering the ignorance of my friends.
Adam - USA
Psychologically, I like to make contact with people who are ‘like me’. I am not very interested in race or color, though. I am more preoccupied with shared experience.
I was circumcised in the UK, either at birth or early enough in infancy to have no conscious memory of it. However, no one told me I was circumcised, so much of my early circumcision history was the discovery of my circumcision.
Circumcision is really two things:
- An event (the cutting away of the redundant flesh) and
- A state (having an exposed glans with a ring-scar along the cut-line etc.)
In infant circumcision the event
assumes less importance (no memory of it - unless an operation performed without anesthetic leaves something in the subconscious), no sense of transformation, no knowledge of ‘before’), while the state
(cleanliness, appropriate masturbatory techniques when the time comes, knowing whether other boys are the same or different) is everything.
As a child, I remember wondering why the skin on my penis changed colour at a certain point and why there seemed to be a line round it. When I was 4, I remember playing with a neighbor who was 6 who asked to see my cock. I refused. I do not know why - I was too young to be offended or morally outraged. He then got his cock out and immediately I recognized it as being like mine. I then produced mine, all my reticence suddenly gone. This is my first memory of the real pleasure of ‘being the same’. Was my initial refusal motivated by a suspicion that not everyone was the same?
I soon knew that not all cocks looked the same. However, not all faces or noses looked the same, so I put this down to the diversity of nature. Although I had friends of both sorts, I was aware of a preference for ‘boys like me’.
One of my school playmates suggested that some boys had their cocks shortened and that this was what had happened to me and the friend who had shown me his when I was 4. I was sceptical, on the grounds that I could not see how one would define ‘too long’, unless it hung out of the bottom of the short trousers we used to wear, in which case, I thought, it would be easier to have longer trouser legs.
When - in secondary school, I suppose (so these memories must be culled from over a period of years) - we studied anatomy, the penis was shown with a bulbous thing inside the skin covering the end. I went home and spent some time trying to look in through the end of my meatus, but no matter how far I looked down (how agile I must have been!), I could see nothing but tube! Was the teacher wrong?
Finding myself in a dormitory on a school-organized holiday, I chose a bed at the end, next to Graham. One day, a boy from further up the dormitory said: “David and Graham are circumcised”. I had heard the word before, in Church, but thought it was one of the many abstract words I did not really understand. Thankfully Graham (an amiable clown) did all the talking: “What does that mean?” he asked. It means,” said the other boy, “that you have had the skin cut off the end of your cock.” Graham threw himself under the blankets of his bed to check. I was already aware that there were two sorts of cock and knew straight away that this must be the real explanation.
I have always been grateful to Graham for being next to me when the discovery came. There was a sense in which I became aware of being circumcised, 12 or 13 years after actual cut. These memories occupy an important place in my life, being the day when I came to think of myself as circumcised. I’m glad I was circumcised as an infant!
David - UK
Enjoy the penis you have
I don’t buy the argument from some circumcised men who claim to have been traumatised for life as a consequence of being circumcised in infancy. Life is full of traumatic experiences and to attribute your problems to one very early event that you can’t even remember seems like an easy cop-out. Where we also traumatized by immunizations, or perhaps the experience of birth? I have gotten as much pleasure from my circumcised penis that I could have ever asked for. My advice to everyone is to enjoy the penis you have. And, if you aren’t circumcised yet and want to have it done... go right ahead. It works great! If you were lucky enough to be circumcised at birth, don’t look at part of your body as damaged goods -- love it, and get all the pleasure from it you can get. I would wager that you will get as much, if not more pleasure, from your circumcised penis as any foreskin covered knob can deliver.
Anonymous - USA
An old tactic used by anti-circ’ers: Make the opposition’s viewpoint unspeakable
Increasingly, anti-circ propaganda leads us to feel that it is not so much circumcision that is targetted but the circumcised. It is suggested that the best a man circumcised as an infant can aspire to is a life of shame or foreskin restoration. I for one suspect that the majority of men circumcised as infants do not buy this argument!
It has now become near-impossible for those of us circumcised as infants to say that we do not feel betrayed, diminished or victimised but are happy, confident and grateful for our circumcisions. I hope it will be understood what a sense of loss this represents - the loss of freedom to express our views.
David - USA
I was circumcised at birth, like most Australian boys of my generation. I was then, and I am now, very glad to be circumcised. However, when I had my son I decided to leave him ‘natural’ as had become the more liberal fashion. He could always choose to be circumcised when he was adult, I thought. But after having to have him circumcised at age 9, I don’t think I’d make that choice again. I don’t plan to have any more children but if I did have another son I’d have him circumcised.
Jim - Australia
Let me start off by saying that I don’t think I believe in infant circumcision. I think boys should have the operation and its risks and benefits explained in a rational, truthful manner, and be allow to have themselves circumcised or not when they’re old enough to make a reasoned, informed decision. The biggest benefits come when you start having sex, and you should wait that long for that anyway.
That said, I’m very pleased with my circumcised penis, so pleased I heartily recommend the kind of circumcision I have to anyone considering getting cut. Now, it was pure luck I got the circumcision I did - I was cut at birth - and, as I’ve never had sex or even masturbated with a foreskin, I can’t speak to the benefits of other penile options. I can, however, tell what I love about the particular way my penis was cut.
From what I’ve read, I think I have a somewhat unusual circumcision; it’s definitely different from the way most adult men seem to elect to be trimmed. I was cut high and loose and I have a good deal of inner skin left. It bunches up a little right behind my head when I’m soft. I also have a fair amount of outer skin, enough that I can pull it half way over my head even when I have the kind of erection that comes from watching my wife finger herself. It’s also loose enough that my inner skin rolls under when I don’t have an erection and is kept protected and sensitive. VERY sensitive. My inner skin is completely dry, but I can easily empty my balls using a light touch between my head and my scar. I can’t stress the light part enough; when I masturbate that way I almost tease the cum out of my dick.
My circumcision ensured I learned the joys of masturbation early, first by rubbing my exposed head against my leg (it was, after all, getting stimulated accidentally all the time) and soon after by sliding my skin up and down over the exquisite nerve endings in my corona, head and frenulum. My loose cut made it so easy to get rid of extra sperm that I masturbated dry exclusively until my twentieth year. (My second girlfriend taught me about lube when she started giving me handjobs.) By the way, I still have my frenulum. Though its sensitivity changes - don’t ask me how - it’s one of the most enjoyable parts of my penis. Much of the time, it’s more sensitive than my head. Now that I know the right touch for it--almost the same as what I would use on my wife’s clitoris--it can make me cum by itself, too. I know a lot of adult men get their frenulums cut off; all I can say from my own experience is just don’t do it!
How do I know I’m glad I was cut having never squirted with the help of a foreskin? Simple: I can’t even fully describe how I love having my dry penis touched and teased, either by my hand or my wife’s. I really only lube up when I haven’t had access to her pussy or mouth for a while and my dick needs to be jerked extra hard. With my smooth, dry head and inner skin, I feel EVERYTHING, even the slight touch of my hand, her hand, her toes, her mouth or her inner sanctum itself. I can cum as hard from a lubed fist or a nice, wet vagina as much as the next man, but there’s something irreplaceable about the way a gentle touch on my dry dick makes me just long to cum that the orgasm’s much better if I’ve been teased liberally, taking full advantage of my cut penis.
Anonymous, age 29 - USA
I got myself cut when I was 25. Since I can remember I wanted to be cut. One of my cousins was cut and another was wearing his foreskin permanently retracted. I was about 9 when I started retracting my foreskin to try and keep it back but had the same problem than everyone else gets who tries to keep theirs back when only trying it in later years. I couldn’t understand why my nephew’s would stay back and mine wouldn’t. I also tried tape, glue and elastic bands, all without success. I asked my nephew who was a year younger than me how he manages to keep his back who said his has always been like that. I persuaded him to ask his mother who told him she retracted it while he was still a baby and left it like that since. My mother started going out with a man (my father died when I was 8) who also wore his skin retracted.
When I was 12, I managed enough courage to ask him how he gets his skin to stay back. He told me his mother retracted it when he was a baby. He said he did the same with his own 2 sons when they were babies. When his two sons who was about 13 and 11 at the time came to visit us for a holiday a few months later, I saw that they were still wearing theirs retracted. I also asked them if they had any problems
keeping theirs retracted and they said no. They showed me that if they pushed their skins forward over the glans, it wouldn’t even cover the whole glans and just a little push on it, will return it to its position behind the rim.
When I was 19 I lived with an old lady who’s 2 grandsons who were about 10 and 6 came to visit for a holiday. When getting changed to go to the swimming pool with me, I noticed they were also wearing their foreskins retracted. By now I was desperate to keep mine retracted all the time. A few months later, I asked the 2 boys mother when she retracted the boys foreskins and she told me when they were still babies. I was quite shy about it and it took a lot of courage before I was eventually able to go for the operation and I was never sorry I did.
I would have preferred a tighter cut but nevertheless I’m very happy to be cut and feel sorry for men and boys who are still walking around with cocks that looks like elephant trunks.
When my first son was born, my wife and I discussed circumcision and I suggested we first try to retract his skin. He was about 2 weeks when we tried it. The opening was far too narrow and my wife asked the doctor how we should do it. He explained to her how to stretch the foreskin a little at a time. The skin was also still stuck to the glans and we had to tear it loose a little bit every couple of days. Eventually about weeks after we started, his skin was fully retracted. We continued to retract his foreskin each time his diaper was changed and he was bathed. This was necessary to train the foreskin to stay full peeled back off of the glans. This ‘regular skinning’ went on for some years and even has he got older he had to be regularly checked and reminded to keep his foreskin peeled, lest it be necessary to have him circumcised.
He is now 18 and never had a problem keeping his skin retracted since he became a teen. Because the skin was retracted all the time when he was young, it grew less than his cock during puberty and he now only has a very short foreskin that only covers about a quarter of the glans when flaccid if pushed forward and the glans is completely uncovered when partially and fully erect. Fortunately his frenulum is not short and tight like, and so many others are, so to permit the foreskin to peel completely back on the shaft exposing the inner lining fully when he is erect.
My second son was born 3 years after his brother and we did the same with him when he was a baby. He also had no problems keeping his foreskin retracted through the years but when he was 11 he said he would prefer to be circumcised because it looks nicer so we had him done. I asked the doctor who did him to give him a low and tight cut and it came out very well.
Anyway, it seems that if the foreskin is retracted when the boy is still a baby, it gets used to staying in the retractable position and therefore stays like that. My wife has given advice to many of her lady friends regarding the matter through the years and we have a number of friends who had tried with great success. I myself and many other men and women still prefer the tight look that comes with a well-performed circumcision but for those who wouldn’t like to put their sons through it at birth, or who don’t have money for it, or who would just like to wait until the boy is old enough to decide for himself, could try the retraction method. Remember, though, that it has to be done while the boy is still unable to move around to much.
It would just get in the way
I am circumcised and can’t imagine it any other way. I personally feel that the foreskin would just get in the way. I have a friend who isn’t circumcised and he says the sensations could be better if he didn’t have his foreskin. However, I’m sure there are many out there who would argue this point.
Anonymous, age 20 - Canada
I was circumcised at birth, as were my brothers, father and all other family members. The same is true of all of my friends, although there were several guys at school who were not. You couldn’t have paid me to be one of those skin heads; while none of us ever said anything to them about their uncircumcised state, we often talked about it behind their back and unanimously stated we were proud and glad to be circumcised. Most of the girls we knew felt the same way. I cannot understand the great debate that goes on the Internet about circumcision. It is my feeling that this anti-circ crowd is a small but vocal minority of mostly gay men who are into the ‘kink’ and ‘raunch’ a foreskin can provide. I suggest that expectant parents ask their friends (both male and female) what they prefer. I would guess that 99% of all of the men and women will tell you they prefer a circumcised penis. I’ve had my own son circumcised and if we have more they too will be circumcised at birth.
Bob - USA
I don’t miss my foreskin
I was circumcised at birth. For a long time, I thought I had been deprived of some greater sensitivity. When my son was born, I didn’t want him to be cut. But my wife was afraid he would be teased when he got older. I tried to suggest to the doctor that he be done just halfway, but to no avail. When he came home from the hospital, he was totally cut. I don’t think he has suffered for it, though. Since he became sexually active, he has enjoyed sex A LOT! Over the years I have known some nurses and medics who have assured me we did the right thing in having our son circumcised. Also, lately I have decided that although I might have had slightly different sexual sensations if I were left uncut, I certainly have had my share of very pleasant sexual experiences that included the most exquisite orgasms! So I don’t spend much time missing my foreskin.
Anonymous - New Jersey, USA
What does being circumcised (at birth) mean to me? No need to feel embarrassed - this circumcised man isn’t - but the problem is that we have no direct apprehension of someone else’s feelings or thoughts: the advantage of an institution like circlist is that you can talk to guys you don’t have to explain these things to. So, it is difficult.
For a lot of Circlisters, circumcision is a memory, an event: they remember psyching themselves up to get it done and the discovery of the results and the satisfaction at having achieved an ambition.
For me, having been circ’d at birth, it is a state. Describing it is like describing having having blue eyes or fair hair. It isn’t accompanied by a peculiar sensation or lack of sensation. Close my eyes and imagine me - and there I am, cut. If someone says “apple” I have a mental image of a green and red fruit. If someone says “penis” I imagine a circumcised one, because that’s the way I am.
It is not so much a question of certain kinds of feeling, alarming feelings or no less disturbing sense of lack. It is an identity. I identify with cut guys because they are identical to me.
It is also a series of discoveries. Discovering that I was circumcised. I knew I was after someone else applied the word to me. And I knew what the word meant when I had it explained to me. It was the discovery that some friend or other was cut, that a colleague was, that a woman’s husband was and that she had fond memories of it.
The discoveries are important because it is a secret - and in the main, an unwanted secret. If you walked past me in the street you could very well think I was uncircumcised and the smug look on my face is because I know that I am not.
It’s a disappointment, too - the disappointment that comes when you go into a sauna or onto a nude beach and see that some poor guy isn’t cut - ought one to go over and tell him?
Are you interested in sensation? OK I have no way of knowing - and neither do most of the guys at whom it is aimed - that the anti-circ propaganda that the foreskin is uniquely stuffed with high-performance nerves give tremendous sensation undreamt of by the ordinary cut-guy in the 501s. I’m dependent of those who came to circ as adults and who generally agree that getting cut was a pretty smart move. I’m grateful to them for telling me and I believe them.
The main area of sensation is around the glans between the sulcus and cut-line and along the site of the frenum (whatever that may be!). The addition of lubricant or saliva will transform the head of the glans into a sensitive area.
Do cut men take a long time to come? I think so! Patience is one of our many virtues and so is perseverance. Get a porn video and watch cut guys in orgasm. When the face contorts, they aren’t faking.
Regrets must be situated in the foreskin, because when they cut one off, I didn’t have any of the others either. Why don’t you come and join us? It’s warm in here.
David - USA
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