This post is about circumcision.
This topic comes up in conversation or the media from time to time, and whenever it does I find that people say some really horrible things and frankly it pisses me off. I’m not going to be coy about this – I’m circumcised, I had the operation when I was about 7, and it was for medical reasons. I also happen to quite like my penis.
The problem that I have with the comments people make about circumcision is in part that often these people are not circumcised themselves, so they don’t really know what they’re talking about. Examples include “I’m not circumcised, because my parents didn’t hate me”. Someone has actually said that to me. Well that’s charming. You don’t know me, and you don’t know my parents.
But what I find far more annoying are comments like this one, which I saw recently on Facebook.
When people say things like this, they obviously don’t stop to consider that men who are circumcised are going to read it. How do you think it makes me feel to be called mutilated? It’s not very nice. I don’t consider myself mutilated, or ugly, or defective simply because I was circumcised for a good reason. If I had a scar from another type of operation, would you call me mutilated? No, I don’t think you would. Because that is horrible and unkind.
The comments are not directed at circumcised individuals themselves, and I realise that. They refer to child circumcision for religious or cultural reasons, often where the decision is made by parents and the child had no choice, and the commenter is speaking more to those parents. I agree that child circumcision is often unnecessary, and I think circumcision should at least only be performed when a man is old enough to choose it for himself. If he wishes to observe that particular religious or cultural custom, it should be up to him.
But not all circumcisions are carried out for that reason, and once it has been performed that person has to live with and love their body for the rest of their life. It does not help them to hear it publicly scorned and derided as inferior. Address your views at parents considering circumcising their child if you wish to convince them otherwise – but phrase it like that. Don’t say ‘Your penis is mutilated and doesn’t work properly’. Say ‘This decision affects your son for the rest of his life. It should be his choice not yours.’
And just so you know, I happen to prefer my penis how it is, and I prefer circumcised penises on other men. They are easier to keep clean, and every foreskin I’ve encountered has had a slightly unpleasant (albeit perfectly natural) sweaty smell caused by its innate secretions that I am not sorry to be missing out on. And if we’re going to talk about sensitivity, a lot of men seem to have trouble lasting longer than a few minutes after penetration anyway so a little less sensitivity might do them and their partner some good. I’m not arguing for circumcision; but there are advantages I’ve learned to love, and if people are going to comment on circumcision it would be good if they showed a bit more of the sensitivity that they’re apparently so fond of.