Extract from:
Scheer, R. Aboriginal Magic in the Land of the Quinkans, published in New Age Travel

The oldest rock paintings... are in the Cape York peninsula of Australia’s tropical north Queensland. They were made by Ang-Gnarra Aborigines as long as 35,000 years ago and were unknown to whites until the 1950s.

Most of the pictures were blood red, finger-painted with hematite (powdered iron ore). The pigment had permanently bonded to the sandstone, to remain visible for millennia. An archaeologist from the University of New England led a scientific excavation of a site near Jowalbinna and concluded that it was first used for religious ceremonies 40,000 to 60,000 years ago, although a severe drought caused it to be abandoned about 32,000 years ago and it wasn’t used again until about 12,500 years ago.

To understand some of the rock paintings requires a knowledge of secret Aboriginal traditions. One gallery seemed to have an especially mysterious aura. There was a rock wall with a deep undercut at the bottom that formed a shallow cave. Many silhouettes of small handprints stenciled near the entrance indicated that this had been a boy’s initiation place. Allan [the Aboriginal guide] used his walking stick to point out the strange tableau of humanoid figures painted on the ceiling. We had to crouch very low to see them. “Look at this monster”, he said. “A boy would be brought to this place to learn about sexual taboos. Elders would tell him the legend about some poor fella who committed incest and was turned into a hideous creature!”

Some of the other figures included a circumcision scene, a voluptuous woman and a man with one of his front teeth knocked out. The coming of age of an Aboriginal boy involved an elaborate ceremony, during which he would be pushed through a dark, narrow opening. There, he was met by tribal Elders, including one dressed as a spirit, who circumcised him. Following the operation, he was not allowed to talk to anyone or touch anyone until his scar had healed. Afterwards, he would be taken away by one of the older women of the tribe, who would teach him about sexual intercourse.

© 2005, Robert Scheer and New Age Travel. All Rights Reserved.

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Extract from:
Tonkinson, R. The Mardudjara Aborigines. New York:Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1978

Waga is led to the center of the ground by his visitor Activist "Grandfathers", one of whom lights the main fire while the remaining Mourner men lie down facing away from the ground. Some of the Activists sit nearby, softly singing. Two Visitor Activists leap to their feet and do a rapid dance up and down the ground, holding shields. They then crouch over the weapons near the big fire, to be joined by six more local and visitor Activists, who crawl beneath them from both sides and raise them on their backs to form a human platform for the operation. One of the assistants carries Waga and lays him on his back on the table, then sits on his chest, facing his penis and the large fire. He pulls up the foreskin and twists it, being careful to keep the head of Waga’s penis under the thumb of this other hand. The other "WB" operator supports his head and gives him a boomerang to bite on during the cutting. Several "grandfathers" (both "MF" and "FF") circle the table to watch the cutting and comfort Waga, while the rest of the Activists quietly sing, and the Mourners softly wail.

The Two "MB", each with his own newly sharpened and magically prepared stone knife, take turns at cutting the foreskin. Waga neither utters a sound nor struggles in any way, but his teeth have sunk into the hard mulga of the boomerang; he lies inert, as if self-anesthetized, betraying his suffering with an ocasional grimace. Beneath him, the men forming the table joke with one another, complain of the discomfort and Waga’s weight and urge the operators to hurry up and get the job over with, while the "grandfathers" hover and keep up a chorus of reassurances, for the benefit of Waga and the Mourners, saying that the operators have almost finished.

Once the foreskin is finally severed, the "MB" who finishes the cutting pushes what remains down to reveal the head of Waga’s penis. Then the operators retire to a small fire that has been set for them, and the "grandfathers" lead Waga to a small fire they have lit close to the two circles of Men. He is told to kneel on a shield over the smoke, with an "EB" supporting him on each side. The "Grandfathers" inspect his penis and report to the rest of the men present that the operation was a good one and that there is little bleeding. The Mourners sit up and view Waga from a distance, and the Activists recommence singing. The operators collect several hair belts and weapons they had left near the ground earlier, and then file past him.

Waga sits over the smoke fire, dazed and in pain, but silent. One of his "EB" tells him to open his mouth and swallow some "fat" or "good meat", but without chewing on it. The foreskin is dropped into his mouth and he swallows it, gulping at the effort. His "grandfather" Diludu now tells him that he has eaten "his own boy" and that his foreskin will grow inside him and make him strong, and will give him the ability to become a skilled cutter himself when the time comes.

Nine months after the circumcision Waga is subincised. Several 'grandfathers' stand nearby to comfort him, and one gives him a boomerang to bite on. One of the operators then sits on his chest and holds his penis upright while the other carefully cuts it open, while the Activists sing and the Mourners quietly wail. The operation takes about ten minutes, since great care must be taken to center the incision, and cutting delayed while a small wooden rod is inserted into the urethra to act as a backing for the knife as it cuts. As soon as the operaton is completed, Waga is led to a small fire that has been made nearby; he sits astride it so that the heat and smoke will stop the bleeding.

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Badger, J. The First Cut. Australian Penthouse, Sexfront section, 1990

“The first cut is the deepest” sang Cat Stevens, and for many boys of his generation the 'first cut' was the doctor’s knife stripping off their infant foreskin. Just how deep does that cut go? How does it affect their life, health and (above all) sexual relations? Recently, thanks to Forum magazine and the Family Planning Association, I conducted a survey of almost 200 Australian men, women, boys and girls, aged from under 15 to over 60. The results were most revealing, and held quite a few surprises.

We started off with some routine medical questions. Balanitis (inflammation of the knob) was unknown among roundheads, but had afflicted 14% of the uncircumcised men; the latter were also four times more likely to have suffered from urinary tract infections. 5% of the naturals had suffered from a tight foreskin which got stuck in the retracted position. This is a medical emergency - if it is not seen-to dire things can happen to your pride and joy - and all were subsequently circumcised. However, in spite of many claims which have been made, there was no difference in the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. These results are pretty much in line with other studies around the world. (This was before the AIDS-circumcision connection had been discovered - JB.) Medically, then, the benefits of circumcision are clear cut (sorry), though the consequences of staying natural are hardly life-threatening.

The health of the little fellow isn’t usually our major concern - unless something goes wrong. What is far more important is how Percy performs when pointed at the pudenda, and that topic seems to have been too touchy for other studies. This doesn’t stop people from having preconceived ideas! Three points came up again and again in the men’s answers:

  1. Women prefer a circumcised cock,
  2. Most Aussie women have never seen an uncircumcised one, and
  3. It is women who insist on boys being circumcised.
Many men and women also believed that a circumcised organ is less sensitive and therefore reduces sexual pleasure. Our survey showed that all of these notions are totally false.

Firstly, what do women prefer? Certainly some (but only 23%) did have a marked preference for the clean-cut cock, but a substantial group (10%) strongly favoured the natural member, and many of them were vehemently anti-circumcision. The majority - 67% - had no overall preference; this didn’t mean they were uninterested, just that they saw different virtues in each sort. The circumcised cock won on appearance, with a 63% vote, and was also the clear winner for oral sex. On (or with) the other hand, there was a very strong vote for the skin for a hand job. Both sorts were equally popular for regular sex. So whichever sort of cock you have it will be acceptable to most ladies, and, if it is really important to you, you should be able to find a lover who believes passionately that your sort is best! However, if you have your skin you are more likely to be offered a hand job, while if you want head you’d be better off without it.

Secondly, women do know what they are talking about - three quarters of them had played on both types of organ. Circumcising sons (or not) was generally a joint decision by both partners; if they differed it was just as likely to be the man that favoured the cut.

When it comes to sensitivity things get ticklish. Men can’t swap members for comparison, so we let women be the judges. Half reckoned there was no difference in sensitivity, while the others voted equally both ways. So there really is no overall difference, though individual knobs doubtless vary. It’s often claimed that a roundhead’s supposed loss of sensitivity makes premature ejaculation less likely. Not so - circumcised men were more likely to shoot too soon, though the difference was not huge. However, they were less likely to have difficulty reaching orgasm.

Which feels better? 22% of the circumcised men had been cut as adults and their vote was unanimous - sex is better without the skin. Women mostly said that both sorts of cock felt the same, but in fact the survey revealed that with circumcised lovers they reached orgasm more often, and it was more likely to be a simultaneous climax. Circumcised men, and women with circumcised lovers, made love more often than uncircumcised. Roundheads’ women obviously liked it that way - they wanted sex as often as their men, while naturals’ ladies wanted less. Roundheads are certainly not wankers - they masturbated less often than naturals, and using different techniques (details in a plain brown envelope, if you must). Gentlemen of the jury, the evidence is clearcut - the clean-cut knob has the edge when it comes to sex.

Is there a downside to circumcision? The biggest negative must be the likelihood of a botched job. One roundhead in five was unhappy about the way he had been cut, and the same percentage of women had had lovers with maltreated members. So if the previous paragraph makes you want to rush out and get circumcised, make sure you pick a doctor who can cut straight! (You might get a funny response if you ask to see samples of his work, though).

One word of caution. Cultural, social and ethnic factors can all affect whether or not a boy is circumcised. They can also affect his sex life. We asked no questions about these things, so it is impossible to tell how much they may have influenced our findings. Remember, too, that circumcision is a one-way street - a natural who wants a change only needs to see the medico and make an appointment for the snip, but a roundhead who wants his skin back has a real problem. Think before you chop!

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Chulov, M. Babies at the cutting edge. The Sun-Herald (Sydney), 25th April 1999

Circumcision of male infants is making a comeback, reports Martin Chulov. After years of declining rates in Australia and opposition to the procedure from doctors, a growing number of parents are asking for their baby boys to be circumcised. And, for the first time, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons has formed a policy position - it does not oppose the procedure.

Thirty years ago more than 60% of Australian males were routinely circumcised; that figure has fallen dramatically to less than 10% of male babies born. However, hospitals have reported a recent surge in requests for the procedure, which is typically performed when baby boys are about seven days old. A report released recently showed that pediatricians were receiving requests from parents to circumcise up to 20% of newborn boys.

The College of Surgeons said performing the procedure was at the discretion of parents and could be performed for religious, cultural, medical or social reasons. It said it should be performed only by “a competent operator... under sterile conditions designed to minimise hazards... using appropriate anaesthetic”.

The procedure is leading to widespread division among GPs and medical lobby groups with the Australian College of Pediatrics saying circumcision should not be performed until babies are at least six months. It said “neonatal male circumcision has no medical indication. It is a traumatic procedure performed without anaesthesia to remove a normal functional and protective prepuce”.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) opposes routine circumcision and will only endorse it on “therapeutic grounds”. AMA New South Wales president Peter Thursby said: “And then we would need to be convinced of the reasons for exposing seven-day-old infants to this”. Dr.Thursby said Australians’ access to hygiene reduced the risks of penile cancers or diseases which were associated with non-circumcised men in some first and second world countries (sic). “Penile carcinoma rates have fallen dramatically in Australia over the past 50 years and are continuing to do so”, Dr.Thursby said.

But Professor Brian Morris from the University of Sydney’s Physiology Department claims, in a new book, that there are benefits to be had from the procedure at any age. Dr.Morris says lack of circumcision is responsible for increasing the rates of urinary tract infection by up to 12 times and offers increased exposure to penile cancers. He also says it increases the risk of acquiring the HIV virus and other sexually transmitted diseases.

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