Wise Guys: What Do You Think About Circumcision?

scissors1photo by The_Artifex

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.


  1. There are many web sites, like circinfo.net, that chooses the medical studies it wants and conveniently ignores studies with the opposite conclusions. The dirty little truth is that real unbiased medical reporting is an on going series of reports, each, with concussions, conflicting with other reports from many sources. The more sure and unequivocal the medical source is the bigger the bias.

    Here, in America, circumcision is a multi-bullion dollar industry and no one can make a cent opposing it – hence there are far more pro-circ sites than anti.

    Another example of the bias selectiveness of circinfo.net; circinfo.net wants use to believe that Christianity is pro-circ. To the contrary, the New Testament has a moratorium on circumcision. “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” Galatians 5:2 King James

  2. I chose to get circumcised at age 42. The removal of the foreskin permitted better contact to the rim of the corona and to the sulcus area behind the ridge- really noticeably better!

    I do enjoy the look of the exposed glans- not just reserved for a minority of time when foreskin retracts. It is obvious that this is a more disease free environment with the glans exposed to air for drying. less smell.

    Why not remove the unnecessary foreskin and enjoy that “ready to go look)!

  3. I think it boils down to a matter of asthetics and preference. I was uncircumcised until my early 40’s when I decided to have it done. Why? Primarily for asthetic reasons. I like the look of my helmet headed fellow better than the elephant’s trunk. I was not instructed on penile hygiene as a child so when I had a problem “down there” and the doctor pulled back my foreskin for the first time I was aghast at the smegma that had accumulated there. Of course, after that, I was meticulous in my hygiene(after I found out tht the darned thing retracted) but was always self conscious in the shower rooms at high school and college and secretly wished that I had been circumcised. So, I just had it done. There was absolutely no loss of sensation, in fact, the exposed glans probably keeps me in a greater state of arousal. It has now been over 30 years since the operation and as sexually active as ever in my 70’s so the idea that somehow you will lose sensitivity is, I believe, all in your head, and I do not mean the little one.

  4. How will you rub your prepuce over her clitoris? What about her… she needs a little for-play.. Sex is not for pleasure? Meissner’s Corpuscles are a strong indicator… How do you feel loosing 20 thousand of them… I would say the reality is: that is one thing money can’t purchase. Maybe in due time we can get a neurosurgeon to load us up with meissner corpuscles.. Lets pray stem cell research works out (quickly) We will buy meissner corpuscles on the black market …Fresh pickings… I ran out of room so I started getting grafts on my forehead .. It looks like I’m thinking really hard doesn’t?

  5. Bettyboo, the HIV studies done in Africa were not only flawed, but are not applicable to people living in Industrial Nations. First of all, it is believed that the strain of HIV in USA and Europe is different and actually transmitted slightly differently than the strain common in Africa. (The African strain is VERY contagious via heterosexual sex, and the American/European strain is actually LESS likely transmitted via hetero sex, NOT IMPOSSIBLE, just not as virulent via hetero sex (intercourse, mostly) than the African strain.)

    You also have to look at the lifestyles in Equatorial and Sub Saharan Africa, (NO judgments here, this is just fact, and why HIV may be transmitted VERY differently there) The average man in his 40s has had over 400 partners, not the case in USA and Europe. Also in Western Nations, the common use of prostitutes, who refuse to use condoms has fallen precipitously. It is also beleived that adolescent homosexual acts are much more common in Equatorial and Subsaharan Africa than most admit to. Also, the killing and eating of “Bush Meat” Gorillas, Monkeys and other primates) is VERY common (although usually illegal) in these areas of Africa, and this may well add to MORE HIV being added to the human population. All this adds up to: “What may work in parts of Africa usually cannot be simply used as a template of how to “prevent” HIV in the West.” Circumcision included.

  6. Dan, if you were developing phimosis, and you had tried at least a month or three of Diflucan each (at the same time) and were using a cortisone ointment for the impending phimosis,(which is standard treatment for such a problem) I guess could see why. It’s a little bit of a drastic procedure, but if the Diflucan and the cortisone WERE tried, with no effect, maybe.

    As a nurse, I’ve actually never seen a circ performed for a yeast infection. A few weeks or months of Diflucan usually clears it up, but everybody is different. (After a few years in postpartum and the nursery, and seeing what I saw, I refused to assist in infant circumcision, on moral grounds. A LOT of nurses feel this way, and an increasing number of doctors do, too.)

    But, I have to disagree, it is NOT “the parent’s choice.” No one has a right to take away a foreskin, but the owner of that foreskin.

    You are very lucky. Most men who get circed in adulthood REALLY miss the sensitivity the foreskin gives them. Actually, you are the first man I have heard who said “It makes no difference.”

  7. I had my foreskin removed in my mid thirties after my wife and I traded yeast infections back and forth for 6 years. Phimosis was developing. Prior to that, I had not had any trouble. After the surgery, the infections stopped and sensitivity did not change. I don’t understand why people are so adamant one way or the other. Most men function fine with or without a foreskin. This is for the parents to decide. There have become way to many “experts” on this topic. When you only see a situation through the prism of your own ideology, then you will never be able to see the other perspective. Relax people.

  8. whoops, not final thought, in this much touted HIV study, it strikes me that there could be plenty of reasons why a newly circumcised guy might be less likely to get infected. 1) did they take account of healing time? if the study is over a set time starting when they’re snipped then i’m guessing for at least the first few weeks they’re definitely out of the game. NO one is going to want sex when their cock has just been operated on. So it could be comparing 1 year to 11 months or less depending on the aftercare. 2) if circumcision detrimentally changes how sex feels for a man (very likely given the amount of nerve rich skin lost) then he may well seek it out less thus also reducing his likelihood of infection. if either of these are contibuting to the results then circumcising infants will have zero effect on HIV as obviously the wounds will be long healed before sex is an issue and he will never know any different so he’ll not have a diminished sex drive because of it. In fact, if he knows he was circumcised to prevent infection he may feel a false sense of security making infection more likely.. i’d be interested to see the paper and whether any of these issues were taken account of and whether follow up studies were done, i.e. does the difference still exist after x no. of years, or whether there is any difference in infection rate between men circumcised at birth, men circumcised as adults and those never done.

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