Tradition And Community Are Important...

I was not traditionally circumcised, although in my mother's family, for some reason which we were never able to discover, all males had for at least five generations been duly circumcised in early infancy (it somehow sounds like marranos in Spain!). I explained elsewhere my great frustration at having been kept Ā«foreskinnedĀ» by a pediatrician who seemed obsessed with making me suffer through endless dilating manipulations rather than do some quick, efficient cutting early on. What strikes me, however, in traditional circumcision is the great sense of community that goes with it. Of course, Jews cut too early for the baby boy to know it as such, but having the whole community, with family and friends, around you as your penis - your most intimate part as a male - gets snipped, both as an observer and as a witness, is a very important step in feeling part of a group, be it family or community. Can uncut males have the same? Of course not, how would they? Sure, they can be baptised, etc...but this leaves no physical trace on the body that you can relate to and that others can witness. Added to this is of course the notion, in Islam and in Judaism, that cutting your foreskin makes you clean and gives you the privilege of being a member of a faith - but even without that the sense of community is present. You will forever be close to anyone who has gone through the same, but also to anyone who was present there on the day of the cut. To some extent, and although it is a later and usually painful ritual, the cutting of African pre-teen boys also creates a major sense of community between the males and in connection with the females who expect circumcised men to start having sex with them sooner or later. As much as hospital circumcisions are a progress in terms of quickness, efficiency, cleanliness, painlessness, the traditional sense of belonging to a community should always in some way be part of the circumcision process.
Being circumcised and having a clean, improved penis is of course the end result sought by any circumcision, whether done in the hospital as a nurse watches and assists while the obstetrician or the pediatrician is cutting you. I miss, however, having had the privilege of a traditional circumcision. People assembling for a family celebration. Your mother and father offering your penis to the circumciser after undressing your intimate parts. Your aunts, uncles, cousins, male or female, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbours all hearing your little scream as the blade cuts your foreskin, looking at your beautiful naked glans for the first and, for most, probably the last time. Elder boys looking at you and knowing you're now one of them, your circumcision somehow reminding them of what happened between their legs long ago, although they don't remember. A feeling of closeness and collective intimacy, marked in everyone's memory. A highly erotic ritual too, since of course you don't cut the thumb or the nose, but the flap of skin covering the penis tip, a flap of skin that uncut men only ever use to pull it back, be it for peeing or for sex. You're ready to do both naturally...nothing needs to be pulled back any longer. Your senses are fully awake for the rest of your life, and everybody close to you knows about it...
Sekhmet96 Sekhmet96
61-65, M
2 Responses Jan 21, 2013

You make it sound deliciously erotic. I don't know how the Jewish family does feel about it as I am unfortunately not Jewish and was done myself in hospital aged 5. Clearly it is partly a tribal mark. But although God commanded it for males at age 8 days (or as soon as possible after that) we can't be sure he really did. It seems a little strange that God gives us something that we need to destroy. But I do agree the cut **** looks sexier and probably will tend to be cleaner. I suppose its like having a beard or tattoo: some like it and some have it but it is unlikely to become universal, although it is not going to die out soon. One wonders when it was that stone-age man first thought it would be fun to apply a sharp knife or flint to his penis. Could it be 10,000 years ago or 20,000 years ago?

Most myths dealing with it indicate that it is one or two things. Either the first circumcision was an accident - a naked man had his penis cut by a sharp grass or something sharp, and after the penis healed his wife loved it and gradually it spread through the women of the community requesting circumcised partners. The other one is that castration, and particularly removal of the penis, was a way to count the number of enemies dead or defeated, but it soon became obvious that cutting the whole penis doomed defeated males to death. So just taking off the excess skin was good enough for "body count". Then the custom became a mark (if the king was done, every other male would be) and the vanquished of yesterday being the victors of tomorrow, whole groups of men were soon circumcised, and women...finding sex better, found a way to ritualize it for their baby or teen boys. Why did women like it? It was cleaner, the glans stopped stinking, it was lovelier to see, and it usually felt a lot better inside with that beautiful rounded glans with it larger base (as of course they would gradually have discovered).

It is also erotic and educational, of course. In Turkey all the family attends the circumcision of the young boy, grandmothers can admire their descendent's penis and sisters and female cousins can watch, appreciate, laugh at the little dirty piece of foreskin as it lies on the table, and get prepared for the time when this little **** will become bigger, ready to deflower and impregnate them. Great fun. A little less for the boy being clipped, although pride in becoming a real man with all witnessing is usually much stronger on his mind than the litle burn from the cut.

Circumcision isn't about just medical reasons, but about family, faith, community. The tradition of the brit milah that i had, many members of my family and family friends saw me get snipped. There's a sense of being closer to my jewish family and friends knowing we all are together in such a sacred way when we were born and circumcised to mark who we are - proud jews. All the men in my family, my friends from my private jewish schools i went to, all circumcised and together as one. There's a paper given after the bris to mark the confirmation of the mitzvah. That paper is hung up in the hallway at my parents house. Everyone that goes in there has seen it and they know, which makes me feel pretty proud :P

People who have witnessed your circumcision and saw your little penis be snipped will forever be a part of your world, and you of theirs.