Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pieces of Adam: How your circumcised son may feel in a few years

I want to share with all the parents out there, the true story and feelings of a real  man that was circumcised as an infant.  Adam has been able to be honest and brave in a way that touches my heart deeply.  His story makes me weep for all the other men that are in his position, and for all the boys that someday will be.  To all the parents out there who have left their son intact, I'm sure you will be grateful that your own son will never have to struggle in the way that Adam has.

To all the soon-to-be parents, I hope that when you read Adam's story, you will realize he is FAR from the only man with these feelings and experiences.  I hope you learn that the prepuce organ (aka foreskin) has a purpose and a value.  It does not pose a risk to your child's health any more than any other part of their body does.  Please allow your child to stay whole and make cosmetic body choices for themselves when they are of age.

If you've already circumcised one or more of your children, there is hope!  You can educate yourself on foreskin restoration, so that when your child is grown, you can be emotionally prepared for their questions, validate their feelings, and you can also provide them with information about restoration if they'd like to consider it.  Also, if you have another son in the future, you CAN choose to keep them intact!  Many mothers have done this after learning more about the issue, and have been able to help their children understand.  (see this discussion from moms who regret circumcision, and how many of them have handled having both circumcised and intact children)

The pain, confusion, resentment, and scars I have seen in only a brief period of talking with circumcised men has been enough to shake me to my core.  There are so many products, support groups, and forums dedicated to helping all these men "restore" their foreskins.  Unfortunately, they will never be able to regain all of what was taken from them, but even regaining some can be very meaningful to them.  By sharing this story, I hope to make people aware that circumcision is far more than "just a snip", and the consequences can haunt your child for life.  Those who know better, do better, so please take the time to learn about this issue for the sake of your child.  I'll include resources at the bottom as usual. 

Adam's words:

" Circumcision for me has been a whirl of mixed emotions, over all of them I can assure that none of them are good. When I have to think about my circumcision I have to face a hard fact, I have been altered, and in a very personal way at that. I am reminded that as a baby boy being born as was, was just not good enough. Most people I have encountered don't tend to think circumcision can cut so deep, but it is a cut with much depth to it. I find people left and right, circumcising their children with no qualms, and who just think they're doing the best for their child, and that the foreskin is just a flap of skin, to justify themselves they'll say `it's just a piece of skin.' And thus with such reasoning they circumcise their children, they cut away a piece. However, from my experience, the effects of circumcision come to create much more, ultimately the results of being circumcised come to create in amount the equivalent of a mosaic, therefore it is not one piece, but thousands of pieces building up. This mosaic created out of me and many other men, is in all essence I think something ugly something which should not have been made, simply and graphically put it has come to make a mosaic created solely of blood and flesh, of torture and screams, of pain and psychosis.

     A lot of circumcised men are aware of their very personal unchosen alterations, but as men we are taught to not express our emotions, therefore it is rare you will hear a man express how he feels and especially if he is bothered by his circumcision. As men one of our utmost inner values is to build up security and confidence in ourselves, yet where can one have confidence if he knows he wasn't good enough from birth, that he had to be altered? It is no secret that as men we constantly fawn over our sexual prowess, and try our best to maintain our sexual securities, we worry if our penises are big enough to do the job right, if they'll bring our partners the best pleasure they can have, if they'll bring ourselves the best pleasure we can have, if they'll impress another, amongst many more manhood worries. Certainly, we shouldn't be so focused on our penises, but society has made us so, starting from birth when society was intently focused on our penises with the contemplation of circumcision, thus from the beginning we were spawned to constantly question ourselves in the penis department, for those men who were left intact they question their cleanliness and acceptance as society tells them they are dirty people and many have been shied away from for it, and for those of us who were circumcised we question our acceptance as well and our quality as men, part of our penis wasn't good enough, the foreskin, thus it holds strong possibilities that many other aspects of our penis might also not be good enough, and the whole folly of penile preoccupation is born.

     When it all comes down to it, circumcision is the removal of a piece, it all starts with a piece, a piece of skin, after the skin is cut, soon comes out is a piece of blood, with a piece of blood comes a piece of pain, with a piece of pain comes the pieces of screams, with the pieces of screams comes a cry for help which when not answered comes a piece of helplessness, a piece of helplessness in this pain resolves a piece of torture, with a piece of torture one alters the state of mind and thus finally in part takes a piece of the soul. But sadly the actions are long-lasting taking further in time more pieces. As I have matured, I've discovered from not having my foreskin there is a piece of my sexuality I will never know or discover, thus another piece is gone. As I research circumcision I learn there are tens of thousands of nerve endings with which I will never feel, a loss of sexual fortitude, there goes a piece of my strength. I read that these nerve endings bring the most pleasure to a man, thus I have learned there goes a piece of my pleasure. I read on, and learn that the foreskin helps protect the head of the penis from sensitivity loss and from becoming dirty, three pieces are now gone, a piece of cleanliness, a piece of my sensitivity, and most importantly a piece of my security. Then upon the knowledge of that I become angry as I recognize this surgery upon me was done without my permission, sadly so it was done when I could never have given permission even if I wanted to, for I could not speak, as no child comes out of the womb knowing to communicate with words and thus a piece of my voice was taken. Therefore my anger amounts to a piece of my emotions, which is more than just anger, there's more than one piece of my emotions, there's a piece for sadness at the loss, a piece for confusion as to why, a piece for jealousy as I learn of men whom I consider lucky to have been able to have the choice to remain whole. As I age I learn my sensitivity decreases greatly and I have much difficulty utilizing my penis, I can barely bring myself let alone my partner pleasure, there goes a piece of my confidence. In light of these sexual difficulties and with the intention to salvage this, I resort to pharmaceuticals for aid, for erectile dysfunction, there goes a piece of my joy in bringing pleasure to my lover, there also goes a piece of my success in the self-fulfillment of the acquisition of my own pleasure. After frustration of these I cast aside my manhood, my penis, it is still a part of my body, but of no use to me, other than to expel waste, another piece of me withers away my masculinity, the piece of what signified me as a man in the first place, what told the people of the world, `I am a man' upon birth.

     On top of what was taken away from the cut itself, the reasons for circumcision also take away many pieces of ourselves. The reason of "one has a lower STD acquiescence rate if circumcised" takes away a piece of my trustworthiness, in assuming I will not take precautionary measures to have safe-sex, as it is clear a condom is cheaper, more effective, and more reasonable than making a permanent cut to my penis. The reason of "it's cleaner" takes a piece of my intelligence that I am not smart enough to maintain my personal hygiene. The reasons of "it's tradition" and of "I want him to look like daddy" or "I want my son to look like me" takes a piece of individuality, for no two men are ever the same. Ultimately being circumcised unconsentedly, has taken a piece of my freedom, in having the choice of who I want to be. Over my lifetime my mosaic is slowly building, a mosaic which when all the pieces are placed together show only a tragic scene, of a victim, of an inner demon, a man-made creation gone awry, an atrocity. After all, it all starts with a piece, what is not realised I think is over the course of all the pieces taken in circumcision, intentionally and unintentionally, what stands is that of the pieces taken are the pieces of a man himself, the most important pieces removed I have previously mentioned all of which are those pieces which we attribute most to being a man: freedom, individuality, security, success, joy, trustworthiness, having a voice, intelligence, strength, confidence, and masculinity.

     Now, upon the personal reflection of my circumcision, assuredly I have felt the pain and heartache of the pieces of my self and soul damaged. Yet, I as a man still hold my virtues, I as a man, take pride in never giving up, and exerting dedication in being the man who betters himself. Though my circumcision has slighted me, I resort not to bitterness though I have experienced it. In my discoveries of life so far, I have learned I can restore my foreskin, sure it sounds downright silly a proposition and ultimately I wish I never was cut in the first place so that I would never have to endure this, but being a circumcised man when I think to myself, the restoration of my foreskin is my one saving grace to self-healing, to self-preservation, to not giving in to the bitterness of being damaged and instead turning my vision toward being hopeful, although I can never fully undo all the damage to my penis and the pieces of myself which were damaged in the result of that, I do have one choice, I can try my best to rebuild myself and in my awareness of self, I can also reach out to others to let them know about circumcision and to help them make informed decisions, so that others, the future men of this world will not come to suffer as I and many others have through our misfortunate tribulations of never having had the chance or choice to a whole and complete body. And in this case, finally, it starts with a piece, a piece of hope, a piece of knowledge, a piece of inspiration, a piece of altruism, and a piece of love, ultimately building piece upon piece to create a mosaic, this time of the celebrations of life."


Unknown said...

This is a very important topic and one not discussed very often. Thank you for blogging about it.
Adam, thank you so much for talking openly about how having the most private part of you altered (taken from) with out your consent has affected you. The way you explained it was profound and heartbreaking. I'm having a bit of trouble expressing how moved I was by what you wrote. And how sorry and outraged I feel that this violent and violating act is happening to so many right this second as I write this.
Also the relieve and gratitude I feel that I didn't inflict this horrid act upon my own two sons (or my daughter for that matter). I am extremely glad I knew better (and I humbly say this).


Anonymous said...

I suspect this blog is mostly read by women, so I would like to leave another guy's opinion.

I was circumcised as a newborn just like most boys in the US, but unlike your subject above, I have never missed it. I have never had any physical or emotional problems related to my circumcision. I didn't even know that I was circumcised or what it was until my late teens. Even then it didn't bother me. I'm sure billions of men have been circumcised over the years and very few ever have problems because of it.

That said, I do agree that it is an unnecessary, painful procedure that the public needs to be educated about so the blind acceptance stops. We chose not to circumcise our sons and after seeing a video of it being done (you can search online for them but I suggest you don't), I am even more supporting of that decision.

Britta said...

Whenever I post about circumcision I get blasted majorly so I'm so glad to finally have someone who shares my opinion!

TD said...

OMG, Rach. This post has me in tears.

Adam eloquently speaks what so many of us feel and cannot express in public without fear of ridicule.

Thank you both.

Anonymous said...

Circumcision Reduces the Risk of HIV Infection

That Freebie Place said...

"Circumcision Reduces the Risk of HIV Infection"

Pulling some of your child's teeth reduces the risk of cavities.
Doesn't mean it makes sense though.

What, is a parent going to say "Hey, I had you cut, so you're free to be a manwhore, I'm so glad I didnt have to teach you about condoms or morals"????

Aside from the fact that these "studies" done in Africa have been repeatedly debunked, reduced STD's shouldnt be an excuse for circumcision anyway. We don't cut girls apart to reduce their risk. A condom and some common sense will go a lot farther than amputating the entire prepuce organ (foreskin). If a guy is walking around thinking he can sleep around just because he has no foreskin, he will be sorely mistaken and at even greater risk of getting diseases.

Christi Nickey said...

I think this is great, thank you for sharing and for being so honest about how you feel! It was a long hard decision before my son was born if we should circumcise him and honestly like most Americans I really didn't know anything about it at all. We ultimately decided against it and I am so happy with that choice, I would never want to look at my son and have to explain why I didn't think he was perfect, just the way he is. I have to believe that there is a reason we are made the way we are, nature knows best, our bodies don't have non functioning superfluous parts, so how dare we decide to arbitrarily remove them. Its cruel and silly and outdated and if we were more open and honest about our feelings maybe it wouldn't still be customary! My fiance called his mother and yelled at her at one point that he wanted his foreskin back!

Supercuts said...

what about the fact that uncut boys get made fun of in school/gym etc? That can have huge lasting effects... Also, most women I have talked with prefer cut....

That Freebie Place said...


Even if vanity were enough of a reason to cosmetically alter a BABY, that reasoning no longer holds up in this day and age where circumcision rates are plummeting.

Nationwide, it is currently about 50/50, so when the babies now grow up, intact boys won't be in a minority.

In fact, in some areas, it will be the circ'd guys that will be "weird". Only about 26% of boys in my state get cut now, so they will be in the clear minority.

And like I said, "locker room syndrome" doesnt justify cosmetic surgery (like circumcision) on a non-consenting minor anyway. Should my parents have gotten me a boob job so I'd "fit in"???

Anonymous said...

so, my husband was not circumsized until he was 8. And ive been following ur blogs now for a while. Freakish story iknow. But he remembers getting quite a few infections, and he is happy that he was circumsized. Him and I are going back and fourth about if we ever have a son and what we would do about it. I never thought or knew about any of this until I read ur blogs. Good subject to know about.

That Freebie Place said...

Anonymous @ 12:30

Was your husband's foreskin forcefully retracted?

The foreskin is adhered to the head of the penis just like a fingernail is adhered to your finger. It stays this way until late childhood or even puberty.

Many doctors have NO idea how to care for an intact penis. They advise parents to retract the foreskin and clean under it. This is NOT what should be done. It is like breaking a girl's hymen and cleaning INSIDE her vagina. Of course she'd get an infection, and this is why some boys with foreskins get infections. If their foreskin is forced back, it is like an open wound and can become a real problem.

An intact boy doesn't need any special cleaning. You just wash the outside of the penis like you do a finger. By the time the foreskin can retract to be cleaned under, he will be plenty old enough to do it on his own.

It should also be noted that girls/women are FAR more prone to infection than boys are, but we don't ever propose chopping their parts off to "solve" the problem. If you leave your son's foreskin alone, it will probably be fine. If it isn't, some simple antibiotics will clear it up, just like it would if your genitals became infected.

hakunangovi said...

Adam's story is one of the most eloquent renditions of the roller coaster of emotions that many circumcised men feel. Thank you for sharing it.
I was absolutely shocked when, at the age of six, I discovered that part of my penis had been whacked off. At various times I felt emotions ranging from curiosity, to outrage, to diappointment to anger and distrust of the medical community. Nothing good or positive.
To all those men who state that they are happy with their circumcised penis, I say "just wait for a couple of decades and see how great it is then !!"

Van Lewis said...

Wow, Adam, wow. That's all I can say for now. I'm crying too hard.

Van said...

And thanks, WomanUncensored. I'll have more to say later. Thanks for giving Adam back some of his stolen voice.l

Slinging mama said...

Well, I live in the UK and we do not routinely circumcise our boys. I have always found the idea abhorrent myself. Fair enough if there is a medical reason but just because.............

Why would you want to do that to your baby boy? Speaking as the mother of three intact boys!

Pia said...

Wow. Very well said. I am a mum of two perfect and intact little boys. My husband also is one of the lucky intact ones. The decision to not have our boys done didnt even have to be made. It was never going to happen unless there was a big problem that meant we had no other option. I never really thought about it like this before and I'm grateful I have read it. I am more thankful that I have left it up to my boys to make the choice to stay as they are or alter themselves when they are old enough. I will be getting my family to read this one. Thanks for saying what a majority would be too scared to!

Anonymous said...

I heard a saying while watching Penn and Tellers episode of 'Bullshit' on circumcision - it was very poignant -
"Just take the WHOLE Baby home!"
You can watch the whole episode on youtube.

Gregor said...

I have experienced similar physical and emotional trauma. Yes, it runs to the core, far more than most will admit. What makes it so terrible is that so many try to justify it. The US government and insurance companies PAY for it. The denial that circumcision is mutilation and hurtful is what keeps me awake at night. The continuation of this violation on other babies hurts me the most.

Anonymous said...

More and more boys who are circumcised will find out what was done to them when they grow up. The sad thing is is that they have had a part of themselves taken away, and they can't get that back! Shame on anyone who perpetuates the myths about circumcision...the whole mess came to the USA in the VICTORIAN ERA, to punish boys for masturbation. The prudish Victorians thought masturbation was a sin and caused insanity, epiplepsy, etc. They thought that it would 'cure' masturbation as well (it didn't). To justify the torture, doctors started inventing other things that circumcision 'cured', yet they are always proven untrue. Now it's they are 'preventing STDS', which any thinking person can see is NOT true.

If the foreskin was 'bad', baby's would not be born with one! ALL mammals have FORESKINS, even dogs, cats, rats, etc. Only man is dumb enough to chop them off. Yet USA has the highest STD rate and highest circ rate. Wake up people, these studies are LIES.

Plus, if you are a woman and get sore during sex, chances are your husband is circumcised. Foreskins make sex not painful, it is way more enjoyable!

Trying to get my hubby to restore non surgically.

Gregor said...

When people say that so-and-so "had to be circumcised", I would laugh if unnecessary amputation were not so damaging. The facts are that circumcision cures nothing and it is an extremely invasive and destructive treatment considering that there are far less extreme treatments for EVERY situation.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous who said circumcision reduces HIV, I laugh in your face! The African studies are very flawed and this isn't the place to discuss them, but plenty of the circed men there got HIV too but they also had "down time" after the circ. It's not apples to apples. If you don't want HIV, wear a condom without fail and don't sleep around.

I'm a nurse (in the US, not in Africa) and I can tell you every man I've catheterized in the hospital who has HIV/AIDS has been circumcised. Obviously, having a cut penis in the US does not equate HIV protection in the US.

Circumcise your son or don't, it's not my call (although I didn't circ my own son and won't this one I'm pregnant with). But if you do circumcise him and don't stress the importance of condom use every single time, you are doing him a disservice. Losing his foreskin won't keep him from losing his life from AIDS.

Restoring Tally said...

The media keeps pushing that male circumcision reduces the risk of HIV. But, the studies cited only showed a reduction for men. Another study, Circumcision in HIV-infected men and its effect on HIV transmission to female partners in Rakai, Uganda: a randomised controlled trial, showed that women who have sex with circumcised men have a greater than 50% increased risk of getting HIV. Are women willing to accept the increased risk of HIV to allow men to have a reduced risk?

Anonymous said...

I was cut at birth 72 years ago and I HATE being circumcised. My poor mother was bombarded with all the usual propaganda in the hospital by mercenary staff and had no way of getting informed.
Also, with limited education, she had much too much trust in doctors and hospital staff. I forgive her for her gullibility. But I wake up in the night cursing the doctor and medical staff who mutilated me.

WiseWoman said...

Thank you for writing this important post. Gloria Lemay, Vancouver BC

Anonymous said...

January 8, 2010 6:21 PM
Supercuts said...

"what about the fact that uncut boys get made fun of in school/gym etc? That can have huge lasting effects... Also, most women I have talked with prefer cut...."

Supercuts, you are suggesting that intact men and boys should act like whimpering, weak, ineffectual wimps. Chopping off half a boy's penile tissue out of fear is just plain stupid. No. Cowardly.

And women who prefer mutilated men don't deserve the time of day. I mean, it says so much about their character, or lack, thereof. Why would any thinking person wish to court such a person?

Anonymous said...

I married late in life - in my mid forties. By the age of 39, I could not find a boyfriend who could perform with a condom on. Was I just unlucky? They were all circumcised, of course. How protective is circ if it numbs a man so much he cannot perform with a condom on?

I was lucky to get PG at my advanced age. My son is intact, and perfect. So distressed to notice, in the diaper years, that all his playmates were circed. One little boy, the sweetest nicest little kid, asked me why my son had more skin then him. It broke my heart. I just light-heartedly pointed out that his eyes were blue, my son's brown. He was content with that. Someday he'll learn more. And his mom, a good person. But her doctors failed her.

I am so angry with american doctors. How can they perpetuate this? Shameful. I have no trust whatsoever.

Thanks for this post.

Anonymous said...

This week, I spent an evening with a man in his 60s whose feelings about his long ago routine circumcision are very very similar to those Adam expressed above. His marital sex life ceased about 15 years ago. It took him over a decade to discover that the reason was that he had no feeling left. The discovery shattered him. He is now restoring, with great difficulty, because his circ was particularly brutal and scarring.

Most circumcised men have no issues with the fact. But some are devastated by it. Rest assured that Adam is not alone.

Circumcision removes the most sensitive parts of the male body. Those parts are minor from the standpoint of the whole body. But they are a major part of what engages with others during sex, and therefore of what experiences sexual pleasure and, dare I say it, gives sexual pleasure.

Natasha said...

I don't have all that many male acquaintances whose penises I've discussed with them, nor have I had all that many lovers, and yet about 1/3 to 1/4 of the men that I do know about have permanent problems from botched circumcision. One is scarred so badly that he has never been able to perform. One has very little sensation in the tip-- supposed to be the most sensitive part. Others are "just" scarred.

Needless to say I've had sex with both circumcised and uncircumcised men. Let me tell you something about a natural penis. It lives in a nice sheath of skin. When it is in a woman's vagina, or anywhere else for that matter, it moves back and forth within that sheath. The outside skin doesn't move much. Thus there isn't the friction on the woman's vagina that causes pain and lacerations. You know about AIDS? It can only be caught through your bloodstream. But sex with circumcised men causes cuts inside a woman's vagina. And I'm sure it makes it worse inside someone's anus as well. Those cuts are why we get AIDS. Not from semen on our intact membranes. We are not supposed to have this friction of back and forth in our vaginas. The feel of the penis is supposed to be from within the sheath. It's FAR sexier to have sex with an uncircumcised man. And the studies I have read have shown that 75% of women prefer uncircumcised. i didn't know that erectile problems are often because of circumcision, but now I know that too. And the point that someone made about this abusive practice being covered by insurance companies is right on. They don't cover many, many crucial and even life-saving treatments, especially for women. And they spend their money on this?

mariahswind said...

Adam, thank you for sharing with us your deep most feelings on this issue. It couldn't have been easy to initially put words to them but I am sure once you got going they started to flow. I know doing so will save many lives from being pieced away.

Anonymous said...

Much thanks to Adam, bravely baring his pain of what was taken from him at such a tender age. While I was pregnant with my son, I told my partner the decision was his, although I felt instinctively against circumsion. I made him watch a graphic video so that he would have to see and hear what our child would have to endure. He chose no cirmcumsion, to my relief, Most people in my family tried to sway me, my mother was agast, even yelled at me that I would cause him suffering because of his difference to other boys. Maybe so, we do live in rural pa, small town, some small minds live here, but at least my son will learn that genital mutilation is wrong, and his mother and father chose to leave him natural, untouched by the knife of conformity.

Holly said...

I love this. Thank you Adam for sharing your inner most feelings about your genital mutilation. I hope it impacts others how it has impacted me, and even saves a few penises.

Christy said...

Thank you Adam. I trust your brokenness will not be in vain. Your deeply thought provoking revelations will surely save others from the same fate.

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