The point of circumcision is to dull male sexuality, and it has been a huge success.
Until the late 1800s, circumcision was only practiced by Jews and Muslims and was abhorred by westerners. Men knew that their foreskins were the best part of their penises. Read what two medical textbooks from the 1700s had to say about the foreskin:
“The glans cover’d with its prepuce, which is at one of its extremities, has such tender and sensible [sensitive] flesh, that nature hath there established the throne of sensitivity and pleasure in women’s embraces.” [Venette, The mysteries of conjugal love reveal'd, 1712.]
“The glans, which is at the end of the penis, [is] covered with a very thin membrane, by reason of which it is of a most exquisite feeling. It is covered with a preputium or foreskin, which in some covers the top of the yard [slang for penis] quite close, in others not so, and by its moving up and down in the act of copulation brings pleasure to both the man and woman.” [Aristotle's complete masterpiece, in three parts, 1749.]
In the 1800s, Christian moralists and doctors began to promote the idea that ejaculation weakened men and that masturbation caused all sorts of diseases and health problems. They did not understand most of human physiology and they thought that humans had a limited amount of “vital nerve force” and that if you spent it on masturbation, you would become weak. They tried to stop boys from masturbating by writing moralizing pamphlets, but this had limited success as masturbation is a normal and healthy activity very common in adolescence.
To understand why they targeted the foreskin to curb masturbation, you need to learn how the intact penis functions in sex and masturbation. Intact men can masturbate without lubrication by moving their foreskins up and down over the glans (head of the penis.) This gives immense pleasure in several ways:
- The nerves and muscles of the ridged band at the end of the foreskin stretch and relax as they pass over the head of the penis. This stretching is very pleasurable in much the same way as it feels good for a woman to have her vagina stretched by a penis or fingers.
- The foreskin alternately covers and uncovers the coronal ridge (the edge of the “mushroom cap” head of the penis. This controls how close the man is to orgasm as it switches up the sensation and gives the nerves time to rest in between sensation.
- The frenulum (the “string” that attaches the foreskin to the underside of the penis) stretches and then “snaps back” as the foreskin moves up and down.
- The fine-touch nerves in the inner foreskin give a fine type of sensation that you can feel in the palms, fingertips and lips.
For several animations and photos showing the gliding action of the foreskin, please see this site: http://www.circumstitions.com/completeman/ WARNING: These are videos and photos of adult penises.
The reason why the foreskin had to go was because the foreskin was the best part of the penis that provided most of the pleasure.
Don’t believe me? Hear the doctors in their own words (taken from the site Circumcision Quotes):
“I refer to masturbation as one of the effects of a long prepuce; not that this vice is entirely absent in those who have undergone circumcision, though I never saw an instance in a Jewish child of very tender years, except as the result of association with children whose covered glans have naturally impelled them to the habit.” [M. J. Moses, The Value of Circumcision as a Hygienic and Theraputic Measure, NY Medical Journal, vol.14 (1871): pp.368-374.]
“A remedy for masturbation which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision. The operation should be performed without administering anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutory effect upon the mind, especially, if it is connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases.” [John Harvey Kellog, creator of the Corn Flake, Treatment for Self-Abuse and Its Effects, Plain Facts for Old and Young, Burlington, Iowa: P. Segner & Co. 1888, p. 295.]
“Measures more radical than circumcision would, if public opinion permitted their adoption, be a true kindness to patients of both sexes.” [Jonathan Hutchinson, On Circumcision as Preventative of Masturbation, Archives of Surgery, vol. 2 (1891): pp. 267-268.] Note that he is actually suggesting that castration would be good!
“Clarence B. was addicted to the secret vise practiced among boys. I performed an orificial operation, consisting of circumcision… He needed the rightful punishment of cutting pains after his illicit pleasures.” [N. Bergman, Report of a Few Cases of Circumcision, Journal of Orificial Surgery, vol. 7 (1898): pp.249-251.]
“Finally, circumcision probably tends to increase the power of sexual control. The only physiological advantage which the prepuce can be supposed to confer is that of maintaining the penis in a condition susceptible to more acute sensation than would otherwise exist. It [the foreskin] may increase the pleasure of intercourse and the impulse to it: but these are advantages which in the present state of society can well be spared. If in their loss increase in sexual control should result, one should be thankful.” [Editor, Medical News. Our London Letter. Medical World,(1900).vol.77:pp.707-8] (Note that by “sexual control,” he means having less sex, not control by the man of his sexual response during sex.)
“It has been urged as an argument against the universal adoption of circumcision that the removal of the protective covering of the glans tends to dull the sensitivity of that exquisitely sensitive structure and thereby diminishes sexual appetite and the pleasurable effects of coitus. Granted that this be true, my answer is that, whatever may have been the case in days gone by, sensuality in our time needs neither whip nor spur, but would be all the better for a little more judicious use of curb and bearing-rein.” [E. Harding Freeland, Circumcision as a Preventative of Syphilis and Other Disorders, The Lancet, vol. 2 (29 Dec. 1900): pp.1869-1871.]
“Another advantage of circumcision… is the lessened liability to masturbation. A long foreskin is irritating per se, as it necessitates more manipulation of the parts in bathing… This leads the child to handle the parts, and as a rule, pleasurable sensations are elicited from the extreamly sensitive mucous membrane, with resultant manipulation and masturbation. The exposure of the glans penis following circumcision … lessens the sensitiveness of the organ… It therefore lies with the physician, the family adviser in affairs of hygiene and medical, to urge its acceptance.” [Ernest G. Mark, Circumcision, American Practitioner and News, vol. 31 (1901): p. 231.]
“Circumcision not only reduces the irritability of the child’s penis, but also the so-called passion of which so many married men are so extreamly proud, to the detriment of their wives and their married life. Many youthful rapes could be prevented, many separations, and divorces also, and many an unhappy marriage improved if this unnatural passion was cut down by a timely circumcision.” [L.W. Wuesthoff, MD. Benefits of Circumcision. Medical World, (1915) Vol.33. p.434.]
“I suggest that all male children should be circumcised. This is “against nature”, but that is exactly the reason why it should be done. Nature intends that the adolescent male shall copulate as often and as promiscuously as possible, and to that end covers the sensitive glans so that it shall be ever ready to receive stimuli. Civilization, on the contrary, requires chastity, and the glans of the circumcised rapidly assumes a leathery texture less sensitive than skin. Thus the adolescent has his attention drawn to his penis much less often. I am convinced that masturbation is much less common in the circumcised. With these considerations in view it does not seem apt to argue that ‘God knows best how to make little boys.’” [R.W. Cockshut. Circumcision. British Medical Journal, Vol.2 (1935): p.764.]
The purpose of circumcision was to destroy the man’s sexual pleasure. So why, 150 years later, do so many people think that circumcision does not change a man’s sexuality at all? Circumcision became a “tradition” separate from the anti-masturbation motivation, one passed down from father to son in a sort of sad and ignorant repetition compulsion. This was from a confluence of psychological and cultural factors which I have explained in greater detail in this post. Then, in the 1960s, the sexual revolution happened and sex stopped being a bad thing. It was no longer taboo to discuss sex, and sexual enjoyment became a legitimate goal. No one thought anymore that masturbation and ejaculation weakened a man’s vital essence, so that motive was forgotten. Around the same time, Masters and Johnson published their landmark 1966 book Human Sexual Response in which they claimed that there was no difference in sensitivity between circumcised and intact penises. This claim was very influential but was completely wrong, as explained here. In a 2007 study, scientists tested circumcised and intact penises at several points all over the penis and concluded:
“The glans of the circumcised penis is less sensitive to fine touch than the glans of the uncircumcised penis. The transitional region from the external to the internal prepuce [ridged band, removed in all circumcisions] is the most sensitive region of the uncircumcised penis and more sensitive than the most sensitive region of the circumcised penis. Circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of the penis.“ [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17378847]
The foreskin contains a type of nerves called Meissner’s corpuscles that give the same type of fine-touch sensation which is found only in the foreskin, lips and fingertips and palms. They are not in the head of the penis, and they provide all of the “flavor and color” of sex for the man. Sure, most circumcised men can still orgasm, but they are missing all of the pleasurable buildup that as a woman, you take for granted. Some men, however, are unable to orgasm at all because they have so few nerves left. Here are some quotes from men whose sexuality was destroyed or lessened by circumcision:
“ive had painful erections, frequently torn tissue, and can count the number of partner induced ejaculations on one hand, and have lost every girl ive been with because of sex problems.” [http://www.moralogous.com/2012/04/10/loving-and-gentle-intactivism-is-the-most-effective/#comment-892]
“i had an average (tight if anything) circumcision. i feel like most other guys who are circumcised have no problems having sex. i have a long term relationship with my girlfriend and even though we have sex without condoms (birth control pills) i still cant have consistent successful sex with her. i get inside her and im thrusting and it gets to the point where im basically feeling nothing. my circumcision is seriously limiting my sex life and putting a disconnect in our relationship. it takes an unusually large amount of effort to orgasm when she is giving me blowjobs/handjobs. circumcision gets me depressed every day.” [http://www.reddit.com/r/Intactivists/comments/rz19l/so_who_else_has_had_their_sex_life_ruined_by/]
“My circumcision is a very bad example, too much skin taken away resulting in erections that can sometimes be uncomfortable, scrotum skin almost half way up my shaft, very bad scarring, skin bridges, some lumpiness and the most uneven cut I’ve ever seen. WHY? did this have to be me. It’s pretty hard being at university with a botched circumcision in a society that doesn’t cut. Also I had some sex the other day and ohh… what do you know I cant feel shit.” [http://foreskin-restoration.net/forum/showthread.php?t=9739]
“Whenever I was fortunate enough to get a blow job, my penis would go limp after about a minute. I never felt enough stimulation to stay hard, let alone to orgasm or even ejaculate. I never understood the fascination with blow jobs. I attributed all the blow jobs in porn to acting and being just another facet of erotic fantasy.” [http://www.restoringtally.com/blog/2011/05/what-big-deal-about-oral-sex]
“I remember in my twenties when I ejaculated I could not bear to have my glans touched because it was hypersensitive at that time. As I reached my late thirties and early forties, I noticed that my glans did not have the hypersensitivity after ejaculation. As my forties flew by I noticed it became more and more difficult to ejaculate during sex. My glans was turning dry and leathery. I had much less sensitivity in my glans and penis. There was only one small spot on my corona where there was any sensitivity. The rest of my glans was less sensitive than a finger. During sex I would pump and pump and, finally, I would ejaculate. Sex took a long time. My wife confessed that I took too long during sex. That did not help at all. I had no trouble masturbating because I could easily stimulate myself with my hand. But, when I was inside my wife, there just was not enough stimulation. Sex became a lot less pleasurable than it was 20 years earlier, even 10 years earlier. As I approached my 50s, I started having trouble keeping an erection during sex.” [http://www.restoringtally.com/blog/2010/01/i-am-circumcised-man-hates-his-circumcision]
“By age 43 I had lost all glans sensitivity. It became difficult, at times even when I was alone, to reach orgasm and ejaculation. This is the big secret here. But of course most cut men don’t even know why they have difficulty with, or lose interest in, intercourse or masturbation with age. Due to the awful damage to my penis, there is just no more physical sensory input to achieve or produce much or any pleasure, and the neurological triggers that lead to orgasm and ejaculation are severely damaged or not even present.” [http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/circumcision-secret.html]
The vast majority of Americans are ignorant of the purpose of circumcision, and when confronted with it for the first time, often feel angry. That is understandable, but the only rational thing to do is to realize that you should be angry at the doctors for not telling you or your husband’s parents the truth. You can even be angry at fate for being born in the one time and place that circumcision was popular for non-religious reasons. The one thing you cannot do is to get angry at the bearer of the facts, because whether or not you like it, whether or not you blame me or whoever told you the truth about circumcision, the fact remains that the purpose of circumcision has always been to curb male sexuality, and it has been enormously successful. Do not circumcise your sons – give them the gift of complete and normal sexuality.
If you or your partner is circumcised and this makes you very sad, what can you do? You can restore your foreskin. You do this by yourself by slowly stretching the remaining inner foreskin until it can cover the head of your penis. There are several devices you can buy and use in privacy to stretch the skin. It is completely safe and no one has to know but you. Once your restored skin can cover your glans when flaccid, the inner skin will get softer, thinner and smoother, which will provide more sensation, and you will have restored the gliding action that provides so much pleasure to both partners during sex. You will never get back the ridged band at the tip or the frenulum, but men who have restored say that it is completely worth it, and that they could not have imagined ahead of time the increase in pleasure a restored foreskin provides. For more information, see these sites: