It seems that the general public is quite skeptical and tends to snicker at us...we, of course, though each holding our separate reasons, totally understand the urge, want, or sometimes even need to restore.

I want to share my story.

I was not circumcised at birth as I was born in Russia, where the practice was unpopular and perhaps even unheard of or even illegal. My family emigrated to the USA when I was 8, and as soon as we got here, the home of the brave and the land of scalpel wielding surgeons willing and able to disfigure young boys, everyone around me started putting on the pressure to go and "get cut." I come from a Jewish home and my natural whole penile status was seen as a mistake, an error that needed to be remedied immediately. Physically, there was absolutely nothing wrong with me, and yet every time I went to the JCC (Jewish community center) pool and got in the showers, I was made to feel embarrassed or ashamed. For years before it actually happened, circumcision haunted me. My family made jokes about "the axe" and I, being only 8 or 9, would cry myself to sleep sometimes, shaken by horror. I had nightmares about it. In fact, one of the reasons I let them talk me into it, much later, just before my BarMitzvah at the age of 13, was to finally get it over and done with. To rid the specter floating constantly over my head (no pun intended).

I have since pretty much renounced my Jewish roots, but 6 years ago, when I was much more impressionable, ignorant, and naive, I was going to Hebrew school and kind of digging this whole religion thing. Part of me actually wanted to go through with the "covenant with god," I wanted to sacrifice whatever necessary to have him on my side, and for the Jewish community to consider me "really Jewish" and "really a man."

So I let the rabbi and my father talk me into it. The night before the hospital appointment, I remember having crazy doubts, and then letting my father write the whole thing off as "just a snip," a routine procedure, like getting a nail clipped.

We get to the hospital, me and another friend in an identical situation (another reason I let myself get talked into this, a good friend of mine was also doing it). This part is a bit difficult for me to think about but I guess I should just get it all out. Skip the initial proceedings and they're strapping me into the surgery bed. Yes, strapping me in, so I can't struggle. They talked me into doing it under local anesthesia, I'm not sure how...something about money and possible complications. My dad didn't like the idea of me getting drugged up. This part drives me insane. Before any anesthesia is applied, a female nurse comes up and begins the torturous preparation process. God this is awful, she's got a bottle of antiseptic in one hand and a firm grip on my poor, sensitive glans, which had until then never even seen the light of day. To tell you the truth, I don't think it had even fully separated from my foreskin yet. So here I am, howling like a madman, while this heartless woman is tearing the hell out of my penis, forcibly retracting the skin and dousing the head with abrasive chemicals. To add insult to injury, she not only ignores my complaints but blames it on me! Accusing me of being a dirty uncut unhygienic kid! How would she like it if I pulled out her clit hood and deadened her most sensitive parts with rubbing alcohol! God I think I've been slightly and unwillingly misogynistic ever since.

Anyway let's get to the actual thing of it. The rabbi shows up the surgeon shows up and they get to work. I get a blindingly painful shot in my scrotum, yes you heard me, let's all wince, another one in the base of my penis, and another one someone else, I don't remember. I don't think the anesthesia fully set in before they started but then again that's what I always think at the dentist's as well. In either case, what the doc called "not pain but just pressure" amounted to the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life. A whole lot of tearing, screaming, cutting, and sewing up later, I was done and stumbling back to the car. I was relieved and traumatized at the same time. I hadn't realized that the worst was yet to come.

My exposed glans had been wrapped up in tape, and within two weeks they expected me to take it off. Think about this, a primarily internal organ, which had been kept moist by the body for 13 years, is suddenly exposed to the elements and covered in dry cloth. What do you think happened? It fused. That's what happened. It took me 5 hours in a bloody bathtub to tear the cloth off, one painful millimeter at a time, and with each pull I remember seeing raw bits of my old glans coming apart and floating away. For weeks even a sudden blow of air would hurt. Don't even mention showering or urinating.

For me, that initial pain is hardly the worst of it though. In principle, that's how the glans should be, ultra sensitive. What maddens me is the fact that after all the trauma it underwent, the tearing and bleeding and exposure, it was forced to act in self defense and changed form, became essentially calloused. Forget the foreskin itself, it's important of course, but I realize now that more important to me was its use in keeping the most sensitive organ of my body in its proper state.

Every time I look down at my dried up, wrinkled, bumpy glans I'm reminded of what they did to me. And that is why I'm doing what the rest of you are.

Personally, I feel like I'm trying to right a wrong. This isn't a silly caprice. This is redemption.


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