I LOVE foreskin. I wish that were all I had to say. Unfortunately, there’s a comparison to be made, and it isn’t one of two different naturally occurring penises. If it were, I wouldn’t bother to tell people why I liked one and not the other. But, because there is force involved, and because I’m an activist opposing that force, I must also say that I can’t fully enjoy circumcised sex, and why. This is my personal opinion, and not something that anyone has to agree with in order to understand that forced circumcision is wrong; but it is just another example of how forcing amputation on one body effects more people than just the one who was cut.
When I first became sexually active, I wasn’t comfortable touching my boyfriend’s penis. Something was just wrong about it. Even though he said he enjoyed it, I felt that what I was doing must be painful. I didn’t know how hard my touch should be, and the friction creeped me out in a way I didn’t even understand. All it took was ONE stroke of an intact penis and I understood everything! There was no hesitation or worry that I was doing something wrong. It was sexy and fluid. I realized that there was a big difference and I started paying attention. I’ve been lucky that a good percentage of my lovers have been intact, and this is what I’ve learned about myself, and both types of penises.
Feeling connected is what I enjoy the most about sex. In fact, it’s probably 80% of my arousal. Intimacy is the point; the physical acts are just how I get there. So, if I don’t feel connected, the physical act is literally less pleasurable.
I am really oral. Meaning, using my mouth is a huge sexual turn on for me. There is something incredibly intimate about it. This is why I cannot date a smoker. Kissing should be deep and sexy, and the taste of unhealthy lungs really gets in the way of that. When I am giving head, I am not performing a service for the sole purpose of stimulating the penis. I am connecting, and making love with my mouth. I am right there, enjoying everything in the moment. I love to look at it, and smell it, and feel it, and taste it. I’m engaging in a dance with lots of different moves. If the foreskin is gone, my dance has fewer moves; that’s less enjoyable, but not actually the problem.
I’m a very compassionate person. That’s why I speak out against violating human rights. I see a crime against someone’s rights almost as a crime against myself. I’m sensitive, and the idea of pain causes me distress. The idea of a baby being forced to endure pain . . . well, you get the point.
When I discovered how a circumcision was achieved, I was VERY disturbed (read: cried all night). After that, when I gave head to a man who had been circumcised, the physical proof (a scar instead of a foreskin, and possibly other damage) of the torture he endured as an infant was an immediate mood kill. How could I connect with that? I quite literally had to regress myself to an immature place. I had to be me before I understood how circumcision was done. I had to forget what I had learned for a little while. Forget what I was seeing when I wanted to connect by seeing. Forget what I felt when I wanted to feel. This was like a numbing of my senses, a wall against reality. It worked, and I was able to feel connected and enjoy myself, but I was pretending to be a different person. It wasn’t ME connecting; it was the me of a few months, or years before.
As I am further removed from that person by time and change, that task has become harder and harder. The intimacy in that moment is about being fully immersed in the other person’s body. Trying to connect with a constant reminder of parts being forcibly removed from a screaming infant is impossible. Finding someone inside me who can do it is now so difficult I’m tired of trying.
The changes circumcision brings to sex are drastic and vast. I won’t state them all here, but I’ll go over the mechanical ones that affect me the most. Once the man has penetrated, the skin is pulled back to the base of the penis and when there's outward motion, the foreskin is what slides up the penis, NOT the vaginal skin. This keeps the wet inside, whereas, without the foreskin, it is dragged out with every movement and exposed to the air where it dries. Not only is there a risk of drying, but there’s friction too. By the way, the sexually responsive nerves in the vagina are pressure sensitive, not friction sensitive. So, while some women may find friction to be a psychologically arousing sensation that reminds them of what’s going on down there, I find it distracting and often painful.
The foreskin has tens of thousands of nerve endings. When it is pulled back the man has sensation down his shaft, so his strokes are deep and short, which keeps the partners close and intimate. A circumcised man usually wants to stimulate the head by pulling it out to the tighter vaginal opening, because it is the most sensitive part of the penis after the foreskin is removed. These longer strokes create a feeling of being further away, and can cause air to be pulled into the vagina (something I hate).
When I am distracted by all of these uncomfortable sensations and worries, then I am not really connected; I’m not really there. I’m dealing with the stress of the situation in my head instead of being intimate. So, since intimacy is a big part of what makes my sensations pleasurable, then I’m just not feeling as good, sometimes to the point of it not feeling good at all. And don’t forget, all of these differences remind me of WHY, and I’m back again to screaming babies.
It breaks my heart to think that what I have to say would make a man feel bad. Naturally there’s a variable in all men, circumcised or not, and there are lots of other things that make sex good or bad. For a lot of women, the issues here may not affect them as much, or at all. But I have to honestly say that as the genital integrity movement grows, more and more women are realizing why they have at times found sex to be uncomfortable or painful. I share because it’s the truth, and because it needs to be shown that the pain of circumcision isn’t momentary, or exclusive to the circumcised.
Discovering the truth was a pretty dark and painful moment, but luckily I found out about foreskin restoration that same night. It gave me the tiniest bit of solace to know that a man who feels this loss can do something about it. I know it’s not a perfect fix, but when I have to be the bearer of bad news to a man who doesn’t know what he’s lost, I’m so grateful that I can give it to him wrapped in the bright side: it can get better!