Biting your elbow: Russian immigrant to the United States bitterly regrets decision to get circumcised
following letter was sent to this site by a Russian immigrant to the
United States who agreed to get circumcised when he was in his mid-20s.
As he reports in telling detail, it was the biggest mistake of his life.
a 24-year-old man, originally from the former Soviet Union (Ukraine),
where circumcision was not practiced (and was discouraged for that
matter). When I was a toddler, I had a severe case of phimosis. My mother
asked Soviet surgeons to remove my foreskin to cure the condition, but
they refused, insisting on topical treatments. Eventually, treatments
helped. And so the foreskin stayed.
At the age of seven, I
attended one of the first Jewish schools in Ukraine. My mother would
get visits from Rabbis insisting that I undergo the surgery and
offering a myriad of reasons why: health, spirituality, heritage,
everyone in the almighty United States of America does it, etc. My mom
did not want to aimlessly hurt me and the foreskin survived again.
emigrated to the USA and I came to New York City at the age of 11 and
went to a Jewish school again, but being raised in an academic family,
I gave little heed to religious dogma and never practiced or cared
about religion or anything unscientific. High School ended and I went
to college. It was a technical school where social life was limp, but I
still manage to date some cute girls and sex was amazing. To summarize,
a good orgasm was “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Continuous,
prolonged scream, followed by an “all body” sensation that tickled and
sent “waves” all over me, leaving me “high” for a while afterward. For
a similar orgasmic account, see this testimony at notjustskin.org.
passed and I was on route to law school. A few traumatic events
happened in my family (funeral). I missed an entrance examination
deadline and had to wait a year to reapply. That left me with a lot of
free time. I live in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, and one day I
randomly decided to attend morning synagogue services (out of boredom,
I guess). One thing led to another and before I knew it, I was suddenly
going about wearing a head-covering, keeping Sabbath and all other
laws. I met a nice, charismatic Rabbi who befriended me and I became a
frequent family guest at his house for Sabbath and holidays. I also
went to Israel and read a bunch of literature aimed at reconciling
religion and science, which appealed to me.
I fell in love and
dated a Jewish girl from a similar background and after she broke up
with me, I experienced such intense anguish and grief that in my
depressed mind began attributing it to guilt, sin, Divine retribution
and a bunch of similar reasons that my pain-stricken brain went
through.  As a result, I started getting curious about the most
fundamental ritual in Judaism -- circumcision.
explained it to be the most fundamental and sacred commandment that
shows that one has a covenant with G-d. In my foolishness, I had shared
with my Rabbi that I was uncut and the brainwashing had begun. His
point was that despite being such mark of the covenant, circumcision
puts a “stamp” on “that which can take control over us.” In other
words, it’s a symbolic “lock” that we put our animalistic desires unto
and learn to channel them in a directed way (only in marriage). Judaism
as a whole is aimed at making a “soldier” out of a person, and many
people would agree that strict discipline in life often leads to more
pleasure than chaotic life of disorderly regime.
I’m not mocking
that explanation because Judaism is indeed concerned with sexual
pleasure, and the Rabbis have many books written on how husband and
wife ought to bring each other to ecstasy. Judaism also has marital
purity laws where the husband and wife separate for about a week and a
half during menstrual cycle. The point is that couples live as friends
for some time and the break allows them to renew sexual hunger for each
other and decrease desensitization. Furthermore, a lot of emphasis is
placed (written since ancient literature) on making sure a woman has an
orgasm (talk about modern society finding out what a clitoris is not so
long ago). “Look at an average religious woman,“ my Rabbi would say.
“Does anyone look dissatisfied? Does anyone need to find tips in
Cosmopolitan about 39 orgasmic tricks? They are more satisfied than
secular people who get desensitized with everything, especially through
porn.” All of these contemplations appealed to me in terms of living
according to religion.
While researchers have a disagreement
as to whether it’s true, indeed I have personally noticed that modern
secular world seems to make so much emphasis on sex and exposure that
people could get desensitized easily. Speaking from experience, porn
would often desensitize me to real women to the point of having serious
quarrels with ex-girlfriends. (For an interesting book discouraging
pornography, see I Love Female Orgasm, By Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller).
looked at many anti-circumcision websites, but most of them pointed to
no more than “decreased sensitivity.” That definition seemed ambiguous
and suggested that it related to sensitivity experienced while
thrusting. Who cares, I thought. Condoms diminish sensitivity, but the
orgasm is what counts! I spoke to some Russian buddies at a local
synagogue who got circumcised as adults, and they favored that
explanation. “Yes sensitivity decreases but it won’t hurt either you or
her,“ said one. “Idiot, you last longer. What are you waiting for? Go
I also understood that the sliding function would be
gone. In a chat with a law school roommate, he once asked me, “Have you
heard about this new lube? It lets you bang her in the breasts for a
while, and it won’t hurt one bit!” “Oh yeah? I don’t need to use lube
and have never even understood why it’s selling, aside from using it on
girls to help with vaginal lubrication,” I replied. I also told him
that I had never fully understood a famous American expression “Get
your dick wet”, as natural men have normally moist organs all the time.
However, that must not have stuck in my head enough. My roommate (who
is not religious) replied, “Well dude, but circ is something millions
of Americans do. Does anyone seem unhappy?” Why I never capitalized on
the point that it’s only because they don’t know the difference, I
Another factor that got me off-track were these two
pro-circ websites: www.circumcisioninfo.com and www.circlist.com.
These sites have many alleged reports from men who claim to have
experienced an increase in sexual pleasure following circumcision.
There are many more anti-circ sites out there with negative reports,
but in the mind of a confused, semi-brainwashed person, they did enough
to turn the tide to the dark side.
Such contemplations finally
moved me to do the unreasonable and remove my foreskin. I remember
worrying too much about pain, but that was needless. An experienced
Jewish surgeon (called mohel) performed everything painlessly, and the
wounds healed fast. A big feast was thrown in my honor, and I have
become a “hero” in the community; in fact, I’m still proclaimed as such
every time someone from my community gets a chance to introduce me to
another person, especially a famous Rabbi. Yet, no praise in the world
can cure the scar of losing that which I’ve dreamed about since Bar
Mitzvah: Powerful Orgasm.
To cut my long story short (no pun
intended), orgasm decreased tremendously. The continuous
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” described above turned into “ah ah ah” at most.
Masturbation (which I’m not a fan of for personal/desensitization
reasons, but I realize many people like it) lost pleasure altogether.
Barely a sound comes out. Ejaculatory force decreased, with loss of
propelling powerful Orgasm, and indeed the penis is dry and
uncomfortable. It’s been a year now, and I can’t wear boxers because it
hurts when my uncovered head rubs against clothing. I bought the Manhood protection device,
and it does help somewhat. I realize that soon my head will lose all
sensation and it won’t hurt anymore, but that’s not consoling one bit.
grandfather once told me a story about how they used to train them to
ride horses without a saddle before World War 2, which hurt a lot and
after a while, a layer grew on buttocks that made such riding painless.
That’s what eventually happens to cut penises. Everyone always made an
argument to me that it doesn’t matter much for women, and they’re
(thankfully) not dissatisfied. But as beautiful and wonderful it is
that some women like uncut men and experience great pleasure
regardless, no one thinks enough about whether the man is satisfied.
Even in (American) porn, a woman is the sexual moaning creature that
gets “out of this world” multiple orgasms, while a man is someone who
just needs to “get off”, release, and go home. That may be so, and the
foreskin alone doesn’t get a man to have multiple orgasms; but as far
as INTENSITY is concerned, I used to scream and get such a reaction
that made my girlfriends (none of whom had ever experienced a natural
man) wonder whether “I’m OK”, and “how did I get to have such a
powerful reactions that made me keep on moaning with closed eyes after
My only solace now is that had never experienced
unprotected sex before and hopefully, at least that new experience
would compensate for the loss, though I’m expecting it to be worse than
natural sex with a condom as far as orgasm is concerned. Also, it would
always keep me wondering what it would feel like to have had natural
unprotected sex, as I had always dreamed.
you’re an adult considering circumcision, THINK AGAIN! As the Russian
saying goes, “You’ll be biting your elbows,” meaning you’ll be making
an irreversible mistake that you could regret for the rest of your
Please contact me if you have any questions: CutAsAdult@gmail.com
never grew up as one of those popular teenage boys who are successful
with girls and used to get overly emotionally attached to whatever
relationship I would acquire -- thousands of “socially inept” men
(inspired by some best-selling motivational authors like Neil Strauss
) have formed a vast online “seduction” community where men share
tips/strategies on how to become natural at attracting ladies - e.g.
www.fastseduction.com. It would have paid better to spend the time and
effort improving my “game” rather than falling into religion.
This is not the first time men have felt injured by circumcision
British men seek compensation for circumcision injury
In October 2005 the British newspaper The Guardian recently ran a major feature article, “Sore Point”, on the resentment felt by men who had been circumcised as children:
Circumcision – beloved by the Victorians … can be a cause of great anguish. Richard Johnson meets men finding ways to reverse a cut they wish they’d never had.
In response to a letter agreeing that circumcision was immoral but questioning the comparison with female genital mutilation, the Guardian published the following letter from John Dalton.
As a victim of male circumcision and a subject of Richard Johnson’s article (Sore Point, October 29), I have no wish to belittle the suffering of circumcised girls. I would, however, like to respond to Catherine Long’s objection to male circumcision being compared to female genital mutilation (Letters, November 5). Male and female circumcision both remove normal tissue from normal children without therapeutic need or personal consent. The time has come for children to be protected from non-therapeutic circumcision without prejudice in respect of race, religion or gender.
The following letter signed by twenty English men was published in the British Medical Journal in 1996.
Circumcision of children
EDITOR, We are all adult men who believe that we have been harmed by circumcision carried out in childhood by doctors in Britain. We are concerned about the ethics of this surgery on children and that it is commonly carried out when it is not essential. We have read the BMA’s ethical guidelines, which give no guidance to practitioners who are faced with a boy who has been referred for circumcision.  The possible future wishes of the patient should be considered.
Although it was shown 28 years ago that preputial development continues to the age of 17 and that only three of 1968 boys needed surgery,  many British doctors still seem to be ignorant of this research.  The European charter for children in hospital states that every child must be protected from unnecessary medical treatment. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children have rights to self determination, dignity, respect, integrity, and non-interference and the right to make informed personal decisions. Unnecessary circumcision of boys violates these rights.
A non-retractile foreskin in a boy can be managed conservatively. [4, 5] Circumcision should therefore rarely be necessary. It would be helpful if paediatric urologists could produce guidelines to advise doctors how foreskin problems in boys can be managed. Preferably, circumcision should not be done until the patient is adult or at least old enough to understand what is intended; then he has a right to a full, illustrated explanation of the nature of the operation and the reasons for it in advance, with the opportunity to ask questions, and help in coming to terms with the alteration of his anatomy afterwards. If the patient is not satisfied with the explanations his views should be taken into consideration.
It cannot be ethical for a doctor to amputate normal tissue from a normal child. In the case of disease, circumcision should be used only when there is evidence that conservative treatment is unlikely to be effective or when it has failed. Avoiding surgery may even be cheaper for purchasers of health care. Doctors should approach the child's foreskin with a combination of good ethics, a recognition of the rights of children, and advice based on evidence.
John P Warren, P David Smith, John D Dalton, Graham R Edwards, Marc Foden, Robert Preston, Philip Stewart, Adam Roberts, Philip C Cookson, Joseph Elliott, J S Phillips, James Williams, Matthew Mallinson-Read, Ian Morris, John Bowring, Rob Warburton, James Blazeby, Tony Peters, John Moore, John Stevens
1. BMA. Medical ethics today: its practice and philosophy. London: BMJ Publishing Group, 1993.