Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Intact: Bigger, longer, and uncut.



When I was 8 years old, my baby brother was born.  At some point soon after his birth, someone either told me, or I overheard, that he was going to be circumcised.  I also remember hearing something along the lines of "It's just a little piece of extra skin over the very tip".  In my young mind, I concocted this mental image of a minuscule piece of skin, just big enough to cover the pee hole, somehow just dangling there for no reason.  I pictured it being only partially attached, like a little trap door that would open to let pee out.  What an odd mental image, but "little piece of skin over the very tip" doesn't describe foreskin nearly well enough for me to have understood without seeing.  

I remember the day of his circumcision.  My mother had to take me with them to the doctor's office, because my grandmother couldn't babysit me that day.  We heard my brother's screams, like nothing I've heard in my life,  from across the building, and my mother bawled.

As I grew older, and had "sex ed" classes in school, foreskin was never even brought up.  Their diagrams listed every little part of the inner and outer male sexual anatomy and their functions, but foreskin was nowhere to be seen.  I didn't even remember that foreskin existed at that point in my life.  The world had washed it from my memory.  

It wasn't until I was pregnant with our second child that I began to have any clue as to what foreskin is.  We didn't know the gender of the baby, and someone mentioned that their insurance didn't cover circumcision so we'd better save up to get it done.  It was then that I finally thought "Oh, do we have to?  Why?"  

"Why?" is my favorite question.

It really is true what they say:  The more you know about circumcision, the worse it is.  Within 5 minutes of reading about it, I was horrified, and everything I learned after that just solidified it.  I tried picturing my beloved daughter strapped down with a scalpel coming at her genitals, and I nearly vomited.  How would having a boy make such a thing any less horrific and wrong?  

My husband was circumcised at around age 12, and to this day won't really talk about it.  He told me that it was excruciatingly painful, and would hate for our child to "have to go through that at an age where they can remember it".  Yes, yes, I know and have a million things I could say about that... he just doesn't get it.  No matter what I tried to say to him about it, he was utterly unable to comprehend or listen.  His pain still rages too loudly, and drowns out any reason.  At any attempt to discuss, my big strong husband would become like a wounded little boy with his hands over his ears going "I can't hear you!!!".  Not literally, but his tone and body language said it all.  It was difficult for me, wanting desperately to protect our possible son, but not wanting my husband to think that I looked at HIM as mutilated or incomplete.  I told him that I was ready to talk about it whenever he was, but I wouldn't take his pro-circ stance seriously until he knew everything about the issue that I do.  I'd be ready with resources if he didn't want to have to dig.  He never took me up on it.

I decided to wait and see IF our baby would be a boy before fighting any more.  I couldn't picture our child as anything but a girl, so I thought maybe I was right and we could just skip further arguments.  I hoped that if we did indeed have a son,  my husband would find himself unable to let any harm come to him once he was here.  If not, I'd simply refuse consent for circumcision, and tell my husband to bite me if he still didn't catch on.

When our baby was born and put in my arms, my husband said "It's a girl!" and I felt like I had always known that.  One fight was avoided, but someday, I hope my husband can come to terms with his circumcision enough to really let down his guard and talk about it.  I love him the way he is, but his obvious pain saddens me.

It also sickens me that, at least where I'm from, the foreskin is regarded with such disgust that it is abolished from so-called health and sex ed classes.  It sickens me that I had to learn what foreskin and circumcision are once I was already a grown-ass woman.  If I had not taken the initiative to figure it out for myself, I still would not know.  Even once I began to learn, it was hard to truly grasp what foreskin really is and what happens to it as the penis becomes erect.  What a unique part of the body it is!  The only thing that can really explain it is a good educational video, or seeing it in real life if you are lucky enough!  It certainly proved to be FAR different than I ever expected it to be.  The foreskin amounts to about 15 (Yes, FIFTEEN!) square inches of skin on the adult penis, and it does not just "hang there".  You can see a brief and educational description of that (here).  It is truly amazing and tragic what males are being robbed of.

I wonder how many people out there have had their sons cut without even knowing what they were paying for.  

For being "just a tiny flap of skin", people sure are scared of it.  


In fact, people seem to have issues with penises in general.  They claim that "bigger is better", but then reduce the size via circumcision and talk about how great that is!

Intact: Bigger, longer, and uncut.

Find out how you can help SAVE A PENIS!  (here) or on facebook (here)

11 comments:

Squishy Bum Mum said...

Your poor husband, I hope that one day he is able to open up to you about it too.
I want to thank you, your blogs have opened my eyes and made me a passionate intactivist (even though I'm still learning more and more about it every day)
Thank you for educating me and many others.

logansmama said...

thanks for this story.
I watched the video you have linked and the gentleman referred to a circed penis as unintact. I quite prefer that term, dont you?

Danielle said...

My entire family is extremely anti-circ. My father is intact and it was always assumed that I would also leave my child intact. When my husband and I found out we were having a boy, I thought we'd have an argument on our hands. My husband and his entire family are circed. I was pleasantly surprised that my husband wanted to leave our son intact. He said he had always wished he was left intact. I had no idea. Also, you are so right. The more you learn about circumcision, the more you are completely against it. I'm sure you are aware of this, but Massachusetts is set to vote on banning circumcision on March 2. I think most of the population is still far to ignorant for this bill to bass, but I pray it does.

filipa said...

hi.
I just came across your blog. It's amazing to see how cultures are so different! I'm from Portugal and here circumcision is only practised due to religion. All the men I dated were not circumcised and most of the male population is not. Mothers are even taught how to wash their son's penis and how to bring the foreskin down so that when they are older it doesn't hurt as much.
I will keep following your blog. I'm pregnant with my first baby - 9 weeks only how exciting! - and I want to get as much info as I can on anything!
all the best!

lostinrain said...

My husband and son are both intact. My husband is the only man I've been with sexually that is intact.

TMI to follow:
Over my somewhat disturbing sexual life, I have often had post-sex soreness. Especially after extended bouts of it, or multiple times in one night. My husband and I are often separated for weeks at a time when the PNW gets me too down and I have to get out of here. Even after weeks w/o sex, and then reunion sex, I am not sore. And it is not because my dh is small, quite the opposite. My area will be noticeably inflamed, and yet no soreness! The foreskin does more than benefit the owner. It makes sex generally less destructive on female parts!

When people say to circ for the benefit of the future wife, that is a load of malarkey! If they really cared about their son's future wife, they would leave him intact and comfortable. :)

AutumnJade said...

I married an intact man and had no idea his penis was any different than any other mans. It didnt become an issue until my father freaked out over my first son not being circumcised. Every other male in our family and social circle are circumcised and my boys could care less that they are different from them.
I hope your husband can come to terms with you wanting your future son intact.
Do you know why he was? 12 is an awfully horrifying age as it is with out being mutilated.

hotjai21 said...

My husband and I have just recently started discussing this. I, like you, would have never known a single thing about it until I set out on my own to learn. Now that I have I am shocked!! I completly agree with your post. It's crazy that its just the norm, and that no other option is ever discussed or taught in "sex ed". I have decided to leave the discussion alone for now until we have, if we have, a boy. Since at the moment we have 2 girls its just a "what if" discussion. However if that time does come I, like you, have told the hubs that we will both do our research and we will make a decision based on that- however I have already made my decision.

Joanne said...

Wasn't the original circumcision a sign of valour. Grown men did it to show their love of God. Surely they just do it to babies now because it's way too painful to contemplate as adults. Defeating the whole purpose of the rite.

RD said...

I am too old to comment on the state of mind of today's mothers, but can comment on my place and time, the midwest during the baby boom. In my white middle class world, circ was well-nigh universal. And not just boys my age, but also their fathers I saw in pool locker rooms. I was a very rare exception.

The boys of my world were a raucous lewd bunch, quick to crack wise about almost every possible genital and sexual subject. But conspicuously absent were the foreskin and its removal. I infer that parents said nothing to their boys about this tender subject. If I am correct, I assume that they said even less to their daughters. There was some worldly talk about circ in my university days but in retrospect, it was not well infomed at all.

I wonder if many women of my generation had no knowledge of foreskin and its removal until they took their first prenatal course. These women then asked their mothers, their siblings, and their spouses. Thus they learned what their husbands and extended families knew. Which usually was nothing more than "I'm circumcised and I'm fine with it and it's all I know." And so an incredible conformity dynamic was established.

My mother left me intact, but said nothing to me about it, because there was absolutely no support in print for her choice. It was impossible to obtain information on the foreskin and its removal until Wallerstein published his book in 1980, the event which started American intactivism.

newincs said...

I had my first son circ'd out of total and complete ignorance! #1 I didn't know what a foreskin was! I won't be graphic and explain exactly what I thought was a "seam" that was the leftover of a circ. I had asked NOT to be notified when my son was being taken to circ. I had NO idea it was an option not to do it and I hated the thought of my son being in pain (during the birth class we had been informed that one ped did it with a sugar dipped finger in the infant's mouth but most drs used NO pain meds. I knew my son would feel the pain and was devastated that he "must" go through this pain! I did give myself a mental reminder to check out his penis before they took him so at least I would know what was being removed. They did tell me before they took him and I stopped them so I could check it out. Instead of a few private moments to check "things" out I had a rushed few seconds with 2 nurses, my aunt in law, and my very unsupportive husband looking over my shoulder. I had a quick glance and he was gone. It wasn't until several years later that I had an uncirc'd boyfriend (after my divorce of course) that I got to experience an uncirc'd penis. Unfortunately he was not the best at cleaning it and I was completely disgusted. I was so glad that *my* son wouldn't have that problem! I couldn't see HOW it could be kept clean. Thankfully while pregnant with son #2 (child #5) I was shown the light and given good, accurate, clear information... albeit from a very aggressive source. I am proud to say my youngest two sons are intact. My FIL is very pro circ as he has several issues with his uncirc'd penis. He DEMANDED we take my now 2 year old "straight back to the hospital and get it done". We didn't. It helped me that hubby has two older boys and was actually present for #2's circ! He was in no hurry to put another child through all that!

RD said...

When Rachelle wrote the following, she was revealing how what I call the American Foreskin Holocaust came home to roost for her. I read dozens of intactivist posts every day. I have yet to read a SINGLE POST saying that the author was adequately informed about the natural penis via sex ed.

"It also sickens me that, at least where I'm from, the foreskin is regarded with such disgust that it is abolished from so-called health and sex ed classes. It sickens me that I had to learn what foreskin and circumcision are once I was already a grown-ass woman. If I had not taken the initiative to figure it out for myself, I still would not know. Even once I began to learn, it was hard to truly grasp what foreskin really is and what happens to it as the penis becomes erect. What a unique part of the body it is! The only thing that can really explain it is a good educational video, or seeing it in real life if you are lucky enough! It certainly proved to be FAR different than I ever expected it to be. The foreskin amounts to about 15 (Yes, FIFTEEN!) square inches of skin on the adult penis, and it does not just 'hang there.' "

Ladies, I very much agree that if you have never manipulated a complete penis in the flesh, it is hard to understand just how it "works"!

Robyn Israel is a Canadian Jewish stand-up comedian who does a skit about her first time with an intact dude. Her ending line is "It's so... so.... uh... retractable!" LMAO!

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