What it's like to get circumcised as a 33-year-old man
Although the debate around infant circumcision is heated and intense, talk around adult foreskin removal is not.
After all, an adult man can do what he wants with his dick. Whereas infants — the more common and controversial recipients of circumcision — cannot consent, any Kyle over the age of 18 can, and does, voluntarily shed his skin. Currently, the WHO estimates that one third of circumcised men have the procedure as adults.
The question is why they'd want to.
With over 20,000 erotogenic nerve endings specially designed for maximum pleasure, an intact foreskin is one of evolution's greatest gifts to man. Not only does it protect the penis from the elements and keep it healthy with increased circulation and immunological protection, but it also provides a pleasurable gliding sensation both men and women can enjoy, reduces the need for lube and makes the penis appear larger than it really is ... something no lifted monster truck can do.
Still, though, many people want it gone. The practice is a revered rite of passage in many societies (especially Judaism), and health officials have found that it can be a smart public health move — while the CDC does not recommend default circumcision, they did note in 2014 that it decreased a guy's risk of contracting STDs via heterosexual sex: HPV by 30 percent, genital herpes by 30 to 35 percent, and HIV by 50 to 60 percent.
Meanwhile, "intactivists" fighting against circumcision argue that it's wrong to rob a non-consenting infant of such a personal choice. Intact America, a prominent intactivist organization, refers to circumcision on their website as "painful, risky, unethical surgery that deprives over a million boys each year of healthy functional tissue." In fact, it's such a contentious issue amongst defenders of foreskin, that intactivists actually took it all the way to Congress in 2014 with the introduction of something called the MGM Bill, which called for an end to "male genital mutilation in the U.S." Some foreskin-philes are so hell-bent on leaving things how nature intended them that they've invented ways to re-grow foreskin for circumcised men robbed of their fleshy dicks.
It's hot topic, no doubt. And both sides are pretty even — in 2007, circumcision rates in the US fell to its lowest number in decades, at just 55 percent.
That said, there are three reasons a grown-ass man would want to slice off his little slice of heaven: for cosmetic vanity, for religious reasons, or because there was something seriously wrong with his dick.
Movses Shakarian, a comedian living in Los Angeles, had a bad case of the latter. After a lifelong struggle with a painful condition caused by the inability of his foreskin to retract over the head of his penis, he decided, at age 33, to become a new man.
Adult circumcision can be a big deal for men, many of whom describe it as akin to "learning to walk again." So, curious about Moses' experience with grown-up penis remodeling, I called him up to find out how he adapted to having a brand new cock and what it was like to fight with both sides of the sword.
Why were you never circumcised as a kid?
I'm Armenian, and it's not traditionally part of my culture. I guess Armenians stopped practicing it because it was a way to separate themselves from Muslims during the Armenian genocide. After that, we all wore turtlenecks.
Did you wish you were?
I went to an predominately white Christian school where everyone was circumcised, so I grew up with a lot of confusion about why I looked so different. I was the only person I knew who had an uncircumcised penis. I genuinely thought there were two types of penises, and you just got born with one or the other.
Personally, I've never been a fan of uncircumcised penises myself because of the hygiene thing, so I kind of wished I was cut, but ... it wasn't a huge deal.
Why did you have the surgery?
Most of my life, it was painful to have sex because my foreskin was so tight. It wouldn't retract over the tip of my penis. There was a lot of tearing, and it would get infected. If someone grabbed my dick and started yanking on it, I’d yelp in pain. I had to actually train people how to approach my dick, because if they treated it like any other dick, I would get hurt. The first time I ever had sex, it was excruciating. I felt like a girl losing her virginity.
Eventually, it got infected so often that it started collecting oil and gland secretions from my penis, and little lesions started forming. It looked like I had syphilis. I went to all these doctors and they thought it was an STD. I had to do a biopsy, which sucked, but when it came back negative, they suggested I have a circumcision.
At that point, I was like ... fuck it. I'd been dealing with painful sex my whole life and I just didn't want to deal with it anymore. Looking back on it, it was honestly one of the best decisions I've ever made.
What was the surgery like?
It was terrifying. It was worse that I thought it would be. They strap your arms down (not sure if the doctor thought I was going to start jerking off during the surgery?) They could have just numbed the area and done while I was awake, but I had them knock me out. I couldn’t deal with it.
Afterwards, I had these huge, old-school stitches that would stretch and even pop if I got an erection, which I did. I guess the typical male gets 8-12 erections while he’s asleep, so I’d periodically get woken up by excruciating dick pain. There was this huge bandage on it — it looked like it got the shit beat out of it, all black and blue and bleeding. I was scared it would never come back to normal, and that I would lose sensitivity.
For a while after the bandages came off, it was super, super sensitive. Like, wearing pants was a problem. Guys that are circumcised build up a callus on the head of their penis, but since my head was just newly exposed at that point, I couldn’t even wear underwear without putting some Vaseline or something on it for a month.
Holy fuck … and what about now? How’s your new dick? Do sex and masturbation feel any different?
The process was excruciating, but I’m much happier now. It’s so much better. It used to take me forever to come because sex usually hurt, and that would totally kill any chance of orgasm. Now, I come at a normal time. And hygienically, it’s so much easier to deal with. It’s nice to not have to think about cleaning it out all the time. And now I don’t have to worry about being lubed up before someone touches my penis.
Sex and masturbation are way better. I don’t know if it’s better because the pain factor is gone or because my head is still so sensitive but … man. The first time I had sex after the surgery, it was like losing my virginity again.
Do you notice whether your partners are any more attracted to your cut penis than they were to your uncut penis?
Well what’s funny, is that there are definitely fetishes for uncircumcised penises, and I exploited that for a long time. But by the same token, there are people who think foreskin is gross.
I will say though, that there is scarring. That part, I’m a little self-conscious about. There are little vertical lines all around the head where they cut the skin. I like to call it my “crown of thorns.” It’s biblical. I have Jesus cock. He has risen!
I am more confident sexually now, but it’s more because I can have sex without it hurting than how my dick looks.
What’s it like to have had both an uncut and a cut cock?
Well, when there wasn’t pain with my foreskin and it was working right, there was a certain type of pleasure to be had from having a foreskin, which is a type I don’t have now. But, I would say it does not outweigh my feelings about this being a good decision. But, it’s cool to have experienced both. Not many people get to say that.
Do you miss your foreskin at all?
No, I’m totally fine with it … although I did have phantom foreskin syndrome for a little. There would be times where I thought my foreskin was itching, then I realized I didn’t have a foreskin. It was weird!
Would you recommend this to other adult men as well?
If they’re having the issues I was having, yes. Definitely. But if you’re doing it for aesthetics or just because you think that a circumcised penis looks prettier, then no. There’s scarring. A lot of people out there love uncut cock. There’s a market for you.