The following letter was sent to the History of Circumcision 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.
I’m 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.
We 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.
College passed, and 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.
The Rabbis 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).
I 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 do it!”
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 don’t know.
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 the loss of the previously powerfu, propelling 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 little bit.
My 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 ejaculating”?
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.
If 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 life.
Please contact me if you have any questions: CutAsAdult@gmail.com
Note: I 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.