The Editor's Story

In post-war England, when I was growing up, circumcision was very much a class thing. At my large, crowded but very good state primary school I never saw a circumcised penis - and I saw plenty of penises since most boys made sure they were seen at the urinal. There was one Jewish boy in my year but he was quite shy. (Had I known then that Jews were circumcised I might have tried to get a closer look.) My family lived at the classier end of that school's catchment, and the boy next door was circumcised - and went to a private school. I was instantly impressed with the look of his penis.

My foreskin was a problem. When I was young my mother used to try to pull it back, with no success, and she often said that if it wouldn't come back I'd have to be circumcised. I had no objection to that but I never was, and had to solve the problem by myself, later. It was only years later, as an adult, that I realised my mother was pro-circumcision but my father was dead against it. As an officer's son I was from the demographic which normally would have been circumcised in those days.

By age 10 I knew enough of the facts of life to realise why I needed to be able to retract my foreskin (mother had always glossed over that bit), and I set to work in earnest. I was 11 before I managed it, and at first it was so tight it would insist on going forward when I got hard which was very frustrating. But I kept at it and before long it was quite well behaved. I'd always pull back to pee - partly for better hygiene, but also showing off!

By this stage I was at an English Public School (which would be called private anywhere else). Not one of the famous ones like Eton, Harrow or Winchester, but one with a good academic record, a liberal curriculum, and a friendly environment. It took both boarders and day pupils and I was a boarder. In this middle-class demographic it was 50/50 circumcised and foreskins. I was as envious as ever of the circumcised ones, but now at least I could find more out about them, and there was ample opportunity. Communal showers after PE and games were compulsory, there were 6 baths to a bathroom in the boarding house and in the pre-teen years there was plenty of horsing around in both environments. Boys would masturbate - not to orgasm, just to show off their erections, and most were very happy to have their dicks investigated and do the same to you. You got to see everyone in your year, dayboy or boarder, and since sports went by three age groups, junior, intermediate and senior, you'd also see a fair few from the years above and below yours. I (and everyone else) must have seen close to 100 penises in my school years.

And what a variety there was! Before puberty, the uncircumcised ones ranged from impressively long hosepipes, through the 'rosebud' bunch in front of the knob (the commonest type), short ones which just covered the knob and totally loose ones which left half the knob uncovered. Apart from the few totally loose ones it was impossible to predict how easily they would retract. Some of the hosepipes were dead easy to retract, some of the short ones were impossible. The rosebuds covered the whole spectrum from dead easy to impossible, but of course they were all working on the problem too, and most solved it. I was very interested in the circumcised ones, which also covered the whole spectrum from partial circumcisions with the knob partly covered to a couple of dead tight jobs with no trace of free skin. But just as rosebuds were the norm for the foreskins, the commonest circumcisions were moderately loose. Some had skin bunched up behind the knob when soft, others didn't, but erect there was still plenty of skin movement, with the scar (if you could see it at all) half way down the shaft. I still think of this as a typical English circumcision.

With the teen years, and puberty, that free and easy horseplay came to an end. But we still saw each other nude all the time. So what changed? In the case of the 'roundheads', not very much. Of course they got larger - much larger, and the 'half-circumcised' boys all now had bare knobs, but the loose circumcisions were still loose, the 'English circumcisions' still had plenty of free skin, the tight ones didn't get any tighter, and the ultra-tight ones, well, couldn't! The 'cavaliers' (uncircumcised boys) were a different story. In my case, the foreskin just covered the knob when I was soft, and completely uncovered it when I was erect. There were others like me, but some still had a covered knob even when erect, and even a bunch of skin in front when soft. On the other hand, many had fully bare knobs all the time - some because they deliberately wore it back, others because it simply went back, and even if you pulled it forward it wouldn't stay there. And there was no connection between the length of foreskin before puberty and the result afterwards - some with long skins had bare knobs afterwards, others with shorter skins were still covered. A few unfortunates still couldn't retract.

So, without that playing around in showers and bathrooms, how did we know so much about each other? The answer was mutual masturbation - forbidden, of course, and requiring discretion, but still a normal activity for most boys right through from 11 to 17. (Other sex acts were unknown.) Uncircumcised boys did it by pumping their skin in whatever position was most comfortable for them, which, in spite of popular cliché, was most often not the 'long stroke' moving the skin back and forth over the knob. Few boys at that age (14-16) had the combination of enough coverage and a loose enough skin. I, and many others, didn't have enough skin, and many of those who had the coverage didn't have the looseness. (They probably developed it in adulthood).

So to me at 16, and two things happened. One was that I spent a summer in the USA. Nothing sexual happened there but I did get to meet, and get interested in, girls. Beach and pool change rooms were places where, in those days, men and boys wandered around freely in the nude and I never saw an uncircumcised penis (I kept my foreskin back so as not to look too different). There tended to be a common style - no skin bunched up behind the knob, but visible wrinkles on the shaft – tightish but not totally tight. (I didn't know it then, but I was seeing Gomco circumcisions). The second was that I invented a new way of masturbating. I found some 'sunning oil' and used it to rub a lubricated fist over my glans and shaft, holding my skin back with my left hand. This was an attempt to simulate the feeling of sex with a girl, which I hadn't ever experienced, and it was also intended to get my knob back into the action.

It was too messy for school use, though I did introduce it to a circumcised school-friend in the holidays. Even at home it was only really feasible as a special treat. But once I left home it gradually took over as my normal way of doing it. Then, in my 20s, I moved to Australia to an academic post. Salaries were higher (then) than in the UK, and so were house prices, but food and wine were cheaper, so I reckoned I was on to a good thing. And I was, in more ways than one.

I never did anything sexual with other young men (why should I, I found that Aussie girls were very willing and available) but I did find myself among them a lot since I was very much into outdoor sports, and in a University context that meant that I was often camping with students, most of them male and all of them circumcised. And I realized that student jokes about masturbation almost always referred to lubricants. "His girlfriend's left him and now he keeps a stack of Playboys and a jar of Vaseline under his bed." My 'new' way of doing it was what everyone did here! And I soon saw why. Shyness among men was just as unknown as in the US 10 years earlier, and I realised that really tight circumcisions were the norm in Australia.

One immediate advantage was that if a girl didn't want to 'go all the way', my favourite hand job was exactly how she expected to do it. That was good. In England asking a girl to do it that way seemed a bit strange. But I now had a secure job, and the idea of getting my long wished-for circumcision was always on my mind. However, I got conflicting messages from my girlfriends - one would be urging me to get done, while another was all in favour of foreskins (probably because of the scarcity factor). So I realized that I'd have to wait until I found the girl I wanted to marry and spend my life with. Well, that happened, and we're still married so it must have been the right choice. In due course I mentioned the issue to her. Her response was 'Of course, but not for a year or two, I want to experience you both ways'.

That's exactly what happened - I was circumcised after a few years of marriage, by a leading urologist using the sleeve dissection technique. My wife was able to give me a gentle hand job after only 11 days, and we had full sex after a fortnight (very well lubricated in both cases). My circumcision was low, and fairly tight. The picture shows how it looks. I'm a 'grower' so this translates to very little movement when erect. I'm very happy with it.

How did it affect sex? It was better, because the skin no longer rode up on the out stroke. Our sex had always been good - better than I'd had with anyone else – but this not only provided more sensation, it gave me more control since I knew I could climax more readily when I needed to, and so I could equally hold off when that was necessary.

About a year after the op, when everything was totally settled down, I tried to masturbate by stroking, as I'd done to my circumcised school friends 30 years ago, and wow! an orgasm as intense as the first ones I'd had as a young boy. It's harder work than using lube, but more intense. Both are better than skin pumping, which before my circ would produce an ejaculation without much sensation at all. Afterwards, tugging on my tight skin didn't even work (I wasn't a teenager any more). If my wife gives me a hand job it's always now dry stroking, and fantastic. If I do myself (only when we are apart, but we both have commitments so that happens) I tend to alternate between the two methods. Marriage and circumcision - two of the best things that ever happened to me.