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4 Guys Get Real About Being Uncircumcised
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You might think that circumcision is pretty standard in America, but the truth is, the stats of uncircumcised folks with penises and those with circumcised penises are actually very close. A 2010 CDC study showed that in 2007, 55.4% of newborn babies with penises left the hospital circumcised, which was 10% less than in 1979 when that percentage was 64.9%. FIfty-four percent is just a smidge above half, so why is foreskin still seen as so different? Here, four anonymous men explain what it’s really like to be uncircumcised (hint: not that different at all, so don’t believe any stigma!)

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How old are you?

Man A: Thirty-Three.

Man B: Twenty-nine.

Man C: Twenty-six.

Man D: Thirty-five.

Were you born in the US?

Man A: No, I was born in Sweden, and moved to the US when I was seven.

Man B: Yes, I was born and raised in Dallas.

Man C: Yes, in Seattle.

Man D: Yes.

In general, how do you feel about being uncircumcised?

Man A: Normal. I didn't even realize I'm considered a minority in this respect until I went to college. Then it sparked a bit of curiosity in the subject at the time. I’ve never had any particular feelings about it apart from that period of college curiosity. I'm happy the way I am.

Man B: I was raised Catholic and had only heard about circumcision from the Bible. I thought only Jewish people did it, so I figured that's why I wasn't circumcised. Later, as a teen, I would watch porn and think ‘Wow...I guess everyone is circumcised.’ I know many people label uncircumcised penises as "disgusting" or "unclean". But after watching an Adam Ruins Everything episode about circumcision (and how it became popular because it was believed to prevent masturbation), I now feel I've been saved from an archaic tradition of child genital mutilation.

Man C: I’m grateful that my parents made the decision not to carry out an irreversible surgery on my favorite appendage. A lot of circumcised men reading this can probably feel the blood rushing to their head, but understand that it’s my opinion. I don’t judge any man for the cut of his baloney, so don’t judge me.

Man D: I don't feel really anything about it. It's something I never even consider as an adult.

How do you think sex might be different if you were circumcised?

Man A: I've read I probably have more sensitivity so I definitely wouldn't like to lose that. On the other hand, I suppose with less sensitivity one can carry on longer in some situations.

Man B: From what I've read online, people who are circumcised have less sensitive penises. Even people who have had an adult circumcision report feelings of regret for having the procedure done because sex now feels significantly less pleasurable. After experiencing the joys of uncircumcised sex, I can't imagine how awful it would be to desensitize my penis.

Man C: It’s impossible to tell! But I imagine I would lose sensitivity, need additional “lubrication,” and not enjoy head as much. But I’d like to hear the perspective of a man who got circumcised in adulthood.

Man D: I would probably not feel as good. Circumcised men have less sensitivity then uncircumcised men.

How do your partners usually react when they find out you’re uncircumcised?

Man A: Most partners had previous experiences with uncircumcised guys prior to sleeping with me, so I never really had any strong reactions about it from them.

Man B: I've only had one sexual partner, my current girlfriend of four years. When we met, she didn't have a ton of sexual experience, so she had only ever seen circumcised penises. Later on in our relationship, after we started having sex, she confessed that the first time she saw my uncircumcised penis, she called one of her girl friends to complain because she was confused and "didn't know what to do with it". Not a great initial reaction.

Man C: Mild surprise. Most don’t notice right away because we’re busy doing other stuff, and I’ve had a few partners say it “feels better.”

Man D: Honestly no one has ever said anything about it during or after. Some women I've been with were surprised when I said I was.

What’s the best reaction you’ve ever gotten from a partner about being uncircumcised?

Man A: Not sure if that counts (as not from a partner) but it was actually in the guys locker room at college when it turned out after practice that I'm the only uncircumcised guy taking a shower. There were 6 or eight of us and everyone just started applauding. Weird but one of the team-bonding moments I won't forget.

Man B: Well, we are still going strong after four years and have a pretty active sex life. So I guess she got over her fear.

Man C: She compared it to that acid spitting dino from Jurassic Park.

Man D: After months of sleeping together, I mentioned in passing to a woman that my aim is bad when I pee because of being uncut. She literally didn't believe me, and told me to drop my pants and show her. We had been intimate many times, but she had no idea.

In the US, circumcision rates are declining, but it’s still fairly prevalent. Given that most guys here are circumcised, have you ever had a partner react negatively or surprised?

Man A: No, not at all. Unless you count a comment like ‘Oh, you're uncircumcised’ but there wasn’t much discussion after those times.

Man B: N/A

Man C: A couple have been surprised because it was the first time for them, but I’ve never had a negative reaction. Period. Pro-tip: ALL penises look weird!

Man D: Never, not once. I had partners balk at the idea of being with an uncircumcised while joking around in a social setting only to find out that she had been with me multiple times and just didn't know

Have you ever considered adult circumcision?

Man A: No, the very idea of cutting anything down there gives me chills.

Man B: Yes, before and after meeting my girlfriend. I just assumed being circumcised was the norm, so women would expect me to be circumcised. My girlfriend eventually confirmed that assumption. But she assured me that it did not matter to her, so I no longer feel self conscious.

Man C: Only when I was younger and more self-conscious.

Man D: No, I have wondered if it was a thing, but I love being uncircumcised, it's how men are naturally. Plus my family is from Europe so it's part of the culture I am from, so I would never think of changing that.

If you have sons, would you want to circumcise them?

Man A: 100% no. I have an uncircumcised son and he's got every right to discover all of his body himself.

Man B: Not at all. I am still in the camp of this being terrible genital mutilation under the pretense of archaic religious traditions. A baby cannot consent to mutilation and should not be subjected to it.

Man C: Absolutely not. I don't make choices based on what everyone else does. This isn’t just like snipping the umbilical cord—you’re cutting living flesh off.

Man D: No, why put them through that. It's archaic and probably extremely painful for a little kid to go through, it's literally genital mutilation.

What advice do you have for a woman who has started hooking up with an uncircumcised guy for the first time?

Man A: Just keep calm and carry on! I don't think any uncircumcised guy would ever pay attention to this and would certainly expect for it not to be a big of a deal for anyone else.

Man B: Don't let uncircumcised penises deter you from sex. I know it looks different, but uncircumcised penises are nothing to be afraid of. Some people just have the extra skin. It doesn't affect performance in the bedroom.

Man C: Don’t make fun of him or make him feel weird for being uncircumcised. You can comment on it, but know that it’s perfectly natural.

Man D: Enjoy yourself and try not to dwell on it. Odds are good that you may have even already slept with an uncut guy and not even have known.

What’s a misconception that you want to clear up about being uncircumcised?

Man A: It kills me when someone claims that it's not hygienic. If anything, parents of uncircumcised boys definitely put extra emphasis on hygiene so we know very well what needs to be done.

Man B: That uncircumcised penises are ‘unclean’. I'm not sure if it's a religious misconception or if it's related to smegma. But I, and I'm sure other men as well, take great care to clean myself thoroughly in the shower. So don't assume someone is ‘unclean’ if they aren't circumcised.

Man C: There’s a lot of miseducation around this subject. I would encourage any expecting parents to do their research. Circumcision is primarily a cultural practice—most people do it because it’s so ingrained in society. Also, I don’t care what your dick looks like: if you don’t clean it, you’re nasty.

Man D: That there's a difference, or that somehow they are less clean. Unclean penises are attached to unclean guys, cut or not.

What do you want Cosmo readers to know about dating someone who is uncircumcised?

Man A: If you're curious - just ask. But bear in mind that he may be as surprised with your question as you might be with his uncircumcision.

Man B: From what I've been told by my partner, an uncircumcised penis does not feel any different than a circumcised one during sex (both penetrative and oral). It's just extra skin and isn't a big deal. And remind your partner that it isn't a big deal. I'm sure many men feel self conscious about it because it's not the societal norm.

Man C: He doesn’t think it’s a big deal, so don’t treat it as such. He might be passionate about the subject—it was definitely a sensitive topic for me at one point. But really, a penis is a penis.

Man D: Whether he's cut or not, showing that you appreciate him exactly as he is, is always good.

Answers have been lightly edited for clarity.

This post was originally published in February 2017 and has been updated.

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Carina Hsieh Sex & Relationships Editor Carina Hsieh lives in NYC with her French Bulldog Bao Bao — follow her on Instagram and Twitter • Candace Bushnell once called her the Samantha Jones of Tinder • She enjoys hanging out in the candle aisle of TJ Maxx and getting lost in Amazon spirals. 

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