I’m a grower, not a shower.
When it grows, its length is average.
But before it grows, it looks so damn tiny.
When I shower in the gym, after a workout, it is barely visible. I am embarrassed, and I’m not embarrassed to admit I’m embarrassed. I know what people will say: “it’s not the length; it’s what you do with it. Length—erect or flaccid—should not matter.” I get it. But it still embarrasses me.
I don’t like this.
I’m not trying to turn on the guy in the next shower, but I just don’t like seeing these hoses dangling—they are majestic, don’t get me wrong—when I have what looks like a stub. So I stretch it out before getting in the shower. I never enter the sauna, anymore, if there are other men there. I am embarrassed.
This is all because someone decided they knew better about my body.
You see, I’m circumcised, and that’s why I feel it always looks so tiny. I feel my penis is desperately trying to retract to a safe space—to crawl back into a protective layer of skin that is no longer there. Some research seems to indicate that circumcised penises are smaller. But I don’t think they’re smaller; I think they retract and look tiny when they are not erect because the tissue has a visco-elastic memory of a safe space and is pulling back to find it.
My son is not circumcised. He is only twelve years old, but his penis actually looks longer than mine. It dangles like the penis of a horse; mine retracts, and all that’s visible is a calcified mushroom head.
I have also noticed that as I get older, my penis tries to retract even when I am sitting in an office meeting. It makes me physically uncomfortable—it really is an uncomfortable feeling—and I try to pull it out. On a few occasions, it is so irritating, that I leave the meeting, go to the bathroom and pull it out. I don’t think I would have to do this if there was skin around my best bud.
I don’t like this at all.
Sometimes, when I am in the sauna alone, and there is too much heat-conductive moisture in the air, the heat burns the glans of my penis. It hurts for a few hours, afterward.
I don’t like being circumcised. But what I dislike even more is being told not to worry about the appearance of my length, or being told genital mutilation is worse for women.
I don’t like it when feminists mock men who are concerned about the appearance of their penis when they themselves flock to the Vagina Monologues every year and rejoice in their sex organ. My penis is my most prized possession: a dearest friend, a loving partner with a mind of its own, a fire hydrant shooting into the sky, or a nozzle during winter nights when I’ve had too much beer and need to let whizz and can only find a quiet place in a dark alley. And someone cut my penis without asking me.
I don’t like being circumcised; I don’t like it at all.
It does not matter to me if genital mutilation is worse for women or men: mutilation is evil when done to both boys and girls. It was done to me. Why do feminists who abhor female genital mutilation either ignore or turn a passive eye to what we do to baby boys? Why is it that whenever I post on male genital mutilation during an article on female genital mutilation, I am told it is worse for women? Why do feminists point out that other men (who do not know what they are missing) approve of circumcision—as if that was justification? Why do feminists ignore the voice of men?
Feminists will say: “Men must learn that a woman’s body is her own.” But how can they expect any man to realize that a woman owns her own body when we teach boys they do not own theirs? Every time we cut a baby boy’s penis we teach men: “your body is not yours, and a woman’s body is not hers, either.” Every time we suggest that mutilation is worse for women, we turn a deaf ear to the screams of a baby boy and calcify the feelings of the man he becomes.
For the past seventeen years, I have been monogamous with my wife. Before then, I had been having sex with women and men. I noticed that those men who were uncircumcised were more sensitive—I gathered the data from direct experience. Also, it was easier for them to masturbate. But there is another issue.
There is something majestic about the appearance of the moist pink glans from the foreskin after the erection is in full bloom: a kind of emergent recapitulation of male pride; an erection, followed by another revelation of pink power and sensitivity—an echo; an opening of the rose to release the fragrance of masculinity.
I have seen this, but I will never know what it feels like.
I don’t like this, at all.
In those earlier years, I enjoyed my time with men. When the moment of orgasm is shared with another man, there is a comfortable reaffirmation of masculinity—an echo from a primitive cave dwelling, layered with images from the hunt, autographed by masculinity’s hand. With women, with my wife, that moment luxuriates in the beauty of women as my chest presses against life supporting breasts; it is an exciting sharing of difference and unification as a new one is born from each of us, and vaginas feel great and look beautiful—also a rose by any other name.
It’s now been over seventeen years since I have been with a man. When I am not with my wife, but playing with myself, sometimes, at the moment of orgasm, a thought enters my head that I am making love with masculinity—that my penis is every penis. At that singular moment, I know what every man feels. My orgasms are shared with masculinity’s orgasms—a bond autographed and ejaculated with masculinity’s hand. It is not a desire for an individual; it is a desire for masculinity. But my orgasms are not as sensitive as I age: the scraping of underwear calcifies the glans.
Anything that diminishes the power of even one male orgasm diminishes masculinity’s orgasm. All individual male orgasms increase the strength of masculinity’s orgasm—if you listen at night, you can hear the thunder of masculinity’s orgasm. When one man comes, masculinity comes.
Circumcision is not just a reduction of an individual man’s pleasure. Male genital mutilation diminishes the shared orgasm of masculinity, and as such, it is a sexual assault on masculinity.
I am angry about this.
Eve Ensler wrote a play—The Vagina Monologues—in which an old woman plowed a young girl with alcohol and raped her. In the same play, she compared male and female genital mutilation. She writes:
In a man [genital mutilation] would range from amputation of most of the penis, to “removal of all the penis, its roots of soft tissue and part of the scrotal skin.
She compared mutilations. She actually compared the mutilation of babies. What did she do—did she bring an acoustical device into a surgical ward to compare the decibels of the screams of baby boys and baby girls to assess who screamed louder? Tell us, Eve—you seem to be good at this—who screamed louder: the victims of the African American holocaust of slavery or the victims of the Shoah? Whose pain was greater Eve, the slave lynched from a magnolia, or the people in the gas chambers? Who screams louder Eve: the baby boy being cut, or the baby girl?
She decided that the mutilation of baby boys could be used as leverage—as an exploitive tool; a platform—to condemn female genital mutilation, alone; she uses male genital mutilation for an objective purpose. This is the iconic sexual assault.
And here is how she ignores it. In “The Vagina Monologues,” she brags that “there are 8,000 nerve endings in the clitoris—twice as many as there are in the penis”, she says. But she ignores that there were 20,000 nerve endings in the foreskin. First, she turns a deaf ear to the screams of baby boys, and then after most of the nerves are removed from the male baby, she brags that the clitoris has more nerve endings. Eve Ensler is not justifying the rape of an individual man, mind you. Through comparison, trivializing and disdain, she is justifying a sexual assault on masculinity.
Today she serves on the board of directors of the Center for Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook. It is such stunning appointment that one cannot even get angry—seriously, you cannot get angry: one has to see the humor in this—you can only laugh. One can only laugh at the Center for Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook, and anyone who emerges from that cesspool. Eve Ensler claims to improve masculinity while ignoring the screams of baby boys while she writes plays that trivialize collective masculinity’s anguish
I don’t like this.
She must step down from this position. But, like a feminist, she won’t.
Michael Kimmel must remove her. But like a feminist, he won’t.
Or, just like she removed the female on female rape scene from the play, Eve must remove the comparison of genital mutilation and the bragging on nerve endings. But she won’t do that either. She is a feminist.