A Male Perspective on Circumcision

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: What do you think about circumcision?

Gay Engaged Guy (Joel Derfner, author of Swish): I know one person who was circumcised as an adult, so he’s the only guy I can think of who knows what it’s like both ways — sort of the Tiresias of circumcision — but he’s also a famous actor and I have a huge, huge crush on him, so if I tried to ask him about it I would probably die of embarrassment.  From a purely objective standpoint I suppose I’d say it’s a barbaric practice, but as a Jew I can’t imagine being uncircumcised. A gay Jewish friend of mine was the sperm donor for a Jewish lesbian couple, and when the issue of circumcision came up (in the event that they had a boy) it almost ruined the whole thing — my friend wanted his son to look like him, which I think is perfectly understandable, and the couple wanted not to mutilate their child, which I also think is perfectly understandable.  They had a girl, so the point was moot, but I myself intend to avoid the whole issue by remaining blissfully childless forever.

Straight Single Guy (L.A. Chris): My friend recently asked whether he should circumcise his boy, and we found we were both passionately for it. But his wife was strongly against it (and she’s Jewish, go figure). We all did some research and found out that it’s generally healthier to be circumcised, so they decided to do it. But it’s a strange internal debate, because if you consider yourself anything close to a naturalist, then it’s almost hard to convince yourself of such a permanent and personal alteration of our time-honored design.

Straight Married Guy (Fred): As an adult you can’t really do anything about your own situation (grown men who get circumcised are nuts), so really what is there to discuss when it comes to sex?  They both work great.  It only really becomes an issue when you’re about to have a baby boy.  “To cut, or not to cut” becomes your decision — and it’s a biggie. On the one hand, no one wants their kid to be singled out and branded a weirdo in the locker room if they’re in the uncircumcised minority; on the other hand, why would you ask someone to take scissors to your baby’s penis? Ultimately, “normal” is what you know, and so I think most fathers want their sons to be like them, which means in most cases the clipped will opt to cut and the sheathed will choose to let it be.

Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Gay Engaged Guy is Joel Derfner, author of Swish.To ask the guys your own question, click here.

photo via Flickr


  1. Having a vagina increases your risk of contracting a number of STDs. If at all possible, I think I’d choose to conceive a boy instead of a girl. But there’s a dilemma – if I have a girl, should I cut her vagina out? Also, I’m a real suck freak when I “dine on the vagine”, but reading about the above STD info, with all its bacteria and moisture talk, may have squicked me – should I knock off that shit?

  2. We’re with you Nikki. The CDC recommends it, but that’s based on research done in sub-saharan Africa where condoms are hard to get and religious campaigns actively inhibit condom use — and forget about comprehensive sex education! But for westerners, having good hygiene and using condoms correctly and consistently should mean there’s no need for what is, essentially, genital mutilation (albeit “acceptable” genital mutilation). While the CDC is focused on the medical benefits, they don’t address what might be the physical and even emotional drawbacks. One of the best pieces of anecdotal evidence we’ve heard in favor of not circumcising is the difference in intercourse styles between the circumcised (jackhammering due to the decreased sensitivity that comes with removal of foreskin) and the un-circumcised (gentler penetration that’s more conducive to female pleasure since it takes less intensity for the man to climax thanks to the protective and nerve-rich foreskin).

  3. Except…it’s not really healthier. There is seldom any medical reason to circumcise (there are some rare conditions for which circumcision is an appropriate remedy). One of the major “medical” reasons supporting its use in the United States was that it would prevent masturbation. Yes, circumcision has been shown to reduce the transmission of HIV. But you know what works even better? Consistent condom use.

    My point is, the biggest reasons to do it are religious and cultural, not medical. And those are individual and personal reasons, but at the same time, it’s not like the baby gets a choice. If I had a son, I would leave well enough alone. But I’m not going to scream at others for making a different choice.

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