Follow Dan

Facebook    Twitter    Instagram    YouTube
Savage Lovecast
Dan Savage's Hump
It Gets Better Project

Savage Love Podcast

Got a question for Dan Savage?
Call the Savage Love Podcast at 206-201-2720
or email Dan at

Savage Love Archives

More in the Archives »

More from Dan Savage

More in the Archives »

Books by Dan Savage

Want a Second Opinion?

Contact Dan Savage

Savage on YouTube


Cock Sure

October 14, 1999

I'm too broke to buy a copy of your book, but I'm DYING to know what you decided to do about your son's circumcision! This is a big issue between my husband and myself. I'm all for circumcision -- I don't want to wash that thing! And what about infections? Teenage boys aren't exactly hygienic, ya know! He says, "genital mutilation" and "Let him choose when he's older." Now, come on... when you were 13, if someone asked you to lop off a bit of your dick, would you say yes?

Just Say No to Mud Flaps

Those of you who can afford to buy a copy of my book, The Kid, please skip to the next letter. Those of you too broke to buy the book, here's what my boyfriend and I decided to do about our son's foreskin: Nothing.

Sorry, JSNTMF, but I'm on your husband's side; pro-mud flaps, so long as no mud flaps wind up in my mouth. As for washing "that thing," well, when the time comes to roll back and wash underneath -- which won't be until age three-ish, according to Dr. Spock -- I can't imagine that washing under my son's foreskin will be any grosser than digging hard-packed shit out the crack of his ass and folds of his scrotum; mopping vomit off of floors, tabletops, car seats, highchairs, house pets, house plants, my boyfriend, my mother, and the top of my head; or sitting through multiple matinee screenings of Elmo in Grouchland.

After last week's riveting column about your new baby's circumcision (or lack thereof), all I can say is, good work, Dan -- you have struck a blow for gays everywhere by showing that they're just as self-obsessed and insane when it comes to their kids as straight people. Who cares if you circumcised your kid? What can we expect now? Delightful stories about his teething? First solid food? First haircut? You and your partner's squabbles about toilet training? I can't wait. Sign me...

Who Gives a Rat's Ass?

My boyfriend and I adopted almost two years ago, WGARA, and I hardly think mentioning the kid once in two years is evidence of straight-style, kid-induced, self-obsession. Rest assured that my son has already teethed, started solid food, and had his first haircut. Not only didn't I mention any of these milestones, but I wouldn't have mentioned the kid at all if I didn't have a book to sell, The Kid... An Adoption Story (Dutton). Mentioning the kid was a crass and commercial move, not motivated by sentiment, and if you buy The Kid you'll quickly discover that it's perhaps the LEAST sentimental book on making or buying a baby that you've ever read. In fact, I wanted to call the book $200 an Ounce, what the baby cost when we divided the expense of his adoption by his birth weight, but my editor -- the lovely and talented Brian Tart -- wouldn't have it.

I've met kid-obsessed hetero parents, and been subjected to boring teething, solid-food, and first-haircut stories. As I have a kid, they assume I'm fascinated, and go on at greater length than they would with a childless misanthrope such as yourself, giving me greater cause to dislike them than they could ever give you. Tell you what, WGARA, I'll promise not to bore you with boring details of my boring kid's boring life if you promise not to accuse me of sins I haven't committed. Deal?

The biggest drawback about having a foreskin has not been women refusing to suck my stanky dick, but rather, being teased as a kid in the locker room. Your son is not likely to escape this fate. Another disadvantage I recently learned about is that being cut reduces the spread of HIV in men. However, the advantages to having a foreskin are many. Masturbation is a snap. Work the skin back and forth, and voilà! None of Mom's messy hand lotion needed. Pulling up my "collar" can make entering a tight spot a cinch, and less painful for the delicate head. If I want to last longer during sex, again, I just pull up my collar, put on a condom, and I am a porn star for the next couple of hours.

Very Important Penis

Don't worry about my son, VIP. Only about half of the boys born in North America these days are circumcised, so uncut kids won't be an oddity in the locker rooms of the future. Cut kids may still gang up on the uncut kids, but the uncut kids will be large enough in number to retaliate, ganging up on the snipdicks and making them feel like the freaks.

Your "pro-cutting stance was never grounded in any sound medical... arguments" because there is NO medical reason for circumcision. The foreskin, as you fail to mention, protects and lubricates the penis. Further, it is atingle with nerve endings, making it one sensitive piece of flesh, much like the clitoris. This makes me wonder if foreskin envy is the real issue behind the push to circumcise. A man loses much of his capacity for sexual pleasure when he's cut, and doctors once recommended circumcision as a solution to the "problem" of masturbation!

Friend of Foreskin

The problem with most anti-circumcision activists -- besides how easily some slip into anti-Semitic rhetoric (one who read The Kid, in which I mention Jewish friends, asked if we considered circumcising our son as the result of pressure from the "Jewish circles" we were "enmeshed in") -- is a tendency to wildly overstate the anti-circumcision case.

Take your letter, FOF. When you claim that "a man loses much of his capacity for sexual pleasure when he's cut," all the cut guys out there reading your letter -- guys like me and my boyfriend and most every guy we know, gay and straight -- think, "Hey, I'm cut, and I derive plenty of 'sexual pleasure' from my cock. These anti-circumcision crybabies are full of shit." And comparing male circumcision (the removal of the foreskin) to female genital mutilation (the removal of the clitoris) doesn't help, either. Removing the clit is comparable to cutting off the head of the penis, not the foreskin, and comparing the two procedures comes off as cheap, "me too" victim mongering. A little less hysteria, a little less overstatement, and a lot less anti-Semitic rhetoric, and anti-cutting forces might change more people's minds.

Finally, I'm going to let someone else have the last word. In the cut-or-not-to-cut column, I wrote that nine out of 10 cocksuckers prefer cut cock. Here's a letter from one of the 10 percent....

As a 35-year-old who has had countless cocks in her mouth, I can honestly say that I love uncut cock. Owing to its protected life within the sheath of foreskin, the skin on the head of uncut cock has a silky, ultra-smooth texture that I adore, much like the texture of the interior labia. I also think that uncut cock tastes better; it actually HAS a taste, whereas cut cock skin tastes much the same as the skin on the rest of the body -- not much different from sticking a finger in your mouth. The only time an uncut cock has had a less than favorable review from me was when the owner had sleazy hygiene habits. If a guy can't manage to clean himself, he's not much use to me anyway.

One out of 10 Cocksuckers

Stranger Personals hosts a personals mixer for straight singles at Hattie's Hat in exotic Ballard next Tuesday night. To get in and enjoy the free food and fab flirting, you'll hafta bring a filled out Stranger Personals ad -- "I Saw U's" don't count -- or fill one out at the door. Our last mixer was packed with cool folks. Eyes met from across a crowded room. Liquor was consumed. Phone numbers were exchanged. Join Stranger Personals at Hattie's Hat, Tues Oct 19, 6-8:30 pm. Call 720-7855 for more info.


Commenting was not available when this article was originally published.

Comments (9) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
I think uncut is more fun. It's just one more thing to play with.
Posted by Nimue on March 23, 2009 at 3:33 PM · Report this
uncut dudes are you really having trouble finding head in the philly area let me
Posted by circus on May 3, 2009 at 1:56 PM · Report this
edodeweert 3
yes, dan, you may derive much pleasure from your cut cock, but you would have derived MORE pleasure, had you not been mutilated.
of course, ALL cut guys will say they get plenty pleasure, wtf do you expect?
as far as the arguments for the mutilation:
there is no medical reason to do the mutilation.
just religious: see god, this is how much i love you, i am willing to sacrifice some of my sexual pleasure for yoy.
stis, including hiv? bullshit.
personal hygene!
shake and wipe is my motto, if i want someone to give me a bj.
Posted by edodeweert on January 18, 2011 at 9:56 PM · Report this
Whether or not there is a "medical reason" for circumcision, I think the "let him decide when he is older" argument is crueller. My boyfriend is Jewish, and much more so than his secular, Sovietized Jewish parents, who had never even known about the practice (this was Soviet-Russia). Thus, he not only suffers from guilt for not fulfilling a commandment he didn't learn about until his 20's, he has to worry about being a sexually active 20-something who has the skin of his favorite body part lopped off. Additionally, many more men complain about being too sensitive than not being sensitive enough, and thus being circucized (and thus less sensitive) can make a man less longer. Finally, the HIV thing is true, of only because the extra, flappy skin is easier to tear, espeically during rough sex. It is no more "mutilation" than ear-piercing, and both are reversible! I was unwilling to go down on him for awhile, as the only other uncut man I had been with HAD had poor hygiene, and it tasted and smelled terrible! To all the circumsized men out there: were you traumatized by the surgery so much it affects your life now? I didn't think so
Posted by suthrn_belle189 on June 3, 2011 at 8:18 AM · Report this
Suthrn_belle, but you eventually did go down on him and found out that you were wrong about uncut penis, didn't you?

And if someone is going to feel guilty about his parents not having obeyed some bronze age superstition, he's basically a lost cause. People like him are going to find something to feel guilty about anyway, so this might as well be it. It would have been cruel if somebody was forcing him now to have part of his penis lobbed off, but nobody is. You're just full of nonsense.
Posted by cockyballsup on July 7, 2011 at 2:36 PM · Report this
Suthrn_belle, it's not "extra skin", it's an organ with multiple functions (protection, pleasure...) and an integral part of a penis. Why would you want to make a man LESS sensitive? That's why America, with its high circumcision rates, spends so much money on Viagra - circumcised men become increasingly numb over the years and suffer from erectile dysfunction. Did you know that foreskin contains nerves that help a man be aware of when he is about to climax, thus helping him control it and delay it? And it also contains specialized cells which help fight infection and kill germs. UTI and HIV studies have many flaws, and have pretty much been debunked.

Circumcision can only be compared to ear piecing as a possible human rights violation, since both are often done on unconsenting children... However, that's where the similarities stop. Circumcision permanently amputates up to a half of the penile skin and forever alters the function of the penis - so-called "restoration" (a long, arduous process) only stretches out whatever little foreskin there is left to cover the glans again, but nothing can ever bring back the 20,000 highly sensitive nerve endings. Piercings, which come with virtually no tissue or function loss, can even possibly close up if left alone, so they hardly compare to the severity of circumcision.

I always find the argument about "better done to children" horrible. Just because they "won't remember it" doesn't mean it won't leave permanent marks on their psyche, which they might be unaware of or in denial about. What is REALLY cruel is when you alter someone else's body and HE gets to live with it for the rest of his life. Besides getting to make a choice about his own body, the surgery in adults is actually less complicated, as the foreskin, which is fused to the glans like nail to a finger when a child is born, becomes retractable later in life, so the doctor doesn't have to scrape and tear it apart. Also, adults get adequate pain relief and don't have the fresh wound exposed to urine and feces inside of a diaper for a week or more until it heals.
Posted by Anima on November 6, 2012 at 8:10 AM · Report this
I fully agree with the 1/10 woman- uncut penises are to me, far more attractive than cut penises, because they actually taste like penis. Also the man will experience more sensitivity (as the glans has remained mostly untouched his whole life) which means he enjoys it more too.

I don't believe there is anything inherently wrong with circumcision. But it should be a decision a man makes for himself when he is 18 (any younger and he is subject to parent manipulation).

Something tells me though, if a man grows up with his foreskin, unless he has a medical problem with it, he will be far less willing to have it cut off
Posted by TheZephyr on December 13, 2012 at 12:43 AM · Report this
Allen Gilliam 8
The issue with circumcision isn't whether it's a good idea. The issue is who should make the decision. If a man wants to be circumcised after he reaches 18, fine. But parents shouldn't be allowed to make permanent changes to their children's bodies when there is no clear, medical need. Would you let Neo-Nazi parents brand a swastika onto their infant's forehead? It's a necessary evil to have parents make decisions for their children because the children can't make them for themselves. It's a parental job and responsibility, not a right or privilege. Parental authority over their children is not absolute. Parents must provide food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and education. They can't physically, sexually, or psychologically abuse their kids.

Circumcision being a religious tradition doesn't give it any special standing as something parents have a right to inflict on their children. Human sacrifice is also a religious tradition.

The hygiene argument is ridiculous. It's like saying you should cut off your arms so you don't have to wash your pits. Who would cut off a part of their body just so they don't have to wash it? As for STD's, if there's a chance of STD transmission, a condom should be used. It doesn't matter whether a foreskin slightly increases or decreases disease transmission without a condom.

Having been circumcised as an infant, I can't speak from experience, but it seems to me that the foreskin might mechanically reduce the sensitivity of the penis during intercourse by partially covering the head of the penis during the out stroke. This would be an adaptive function because it would make the man more likely to climax on an inward thrust so he deposits his semen as close to the cervix as possible thus increasing the chances of conception. If this is the case, circumcision reduces the duration of sex and robs women of orgasms. Perhaps women should be the ones up in arms against circumcision.

This article from Mothering magazine seems to cover the whole issue accurately and gives references:
Posted by Allen Gilliam on November 26, 2013 at 12:02 PM · Report this
"A little less hysteria, a little less overstatement, and a lot less anti-Semitic rhetoric, and anti-cutting forces might change more people's minds."

In the past year-ish time that I'm become one of those "anti-circ activists", I've garnered more ire than consideration with my tirades. Even though I have been cut for the two-&-a-half decades of my life and managed, the more I learn (or seem to; accurate information/reception is a...dynamic process), the more I'm set in at least this: I am missing something that only now I realize I'd've wanted to keep, and I want no other boy (or healthy intersex individual) to trod the "unhappy cut" walk of life.

I've done the exaggeration/hyperbole/misrepresentation, either from fervor or faulty information, but I'll still argue that forcibly cutting into any part of a unwitting or unwilling child's body without a pressing medical indication is a threshold that both male and female genital cutting pass. A threshold that parents should avoid, and that doctors should refuse.

Even with these and other convictions I'm still settling on (like a crash-course catch-up after not latching on to any sort of activism in my earliest adulthood), clashed against the disparate sensibilities of those who've suffered me, words from a sex columnist are currently some of the most potent in getting me conscious to avoid invalidation from sounding full of shit. So, hey, thanks for that much.
(I don't consider myself anti-Semitic, though, but my hardline stance would naturally be insensitive for those who regard it as paramount.)
Posted by TJF588 on May 28, 2014 at 2:52 AM · Report this

Add a comment