Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Just a Little Off the Top

There are many things to write from the past few days. I could discuss the trivial: Like my disappointment with X-Men III (I can still taste the suck). Or I could discuss the chilling: Like the anniversary of AIDS and the fact that we have a government just as indifferent as we did 25 years ago. Or I could talk about the evil: Like Bush’s attempt to turn loving couples into a threat to national security and good, clean heteros everywhere. These things all have their due.

Instead, though, sometimes it’s good to think about less lofty issues. Even I can get tired of the gravitas. We all know that GayProf has a tendency to over think things sometimes. “No, GayProf,” I hear you saying, “You are just an introspective guy. We await your ascent into the heavens where you will be seated at the right hand of our goddess. We believe in the one and true GayProf.” Okay, maybe you don’t say that last bit – except on holy days.

Let's think about a less serious issue that still occupies gay men’s thoughts quite often in the U.S. This is not a major issue. Actually, I think it’s such a minor issue that I am surprised that it gets so much attention. I just don’t quite get some gay men's quasi-obsession over circumcised verses uncircumcised.

Having lost my foreskin long before the soft spot on my head closed up, I can’t really talk about the benefits or drawbacks of being uncut first-hand. Of course, being a historian and all, I can mention that one of the reasons that medical doctors promoted circumcision in the 20th-century U.S. was because having foreskin makes it much easier to masturbate. Bastards.

I remember distinctly the first time that I saw an uncircumsied penis. It was my best friend from second grade and I marveled at the difference. Still, then (as now) I was just happy to see a penis of any type and didn’t really put too much effort in cataloging the differences.

In my limited adult experience, I have had some valuable hands-on time as a participant-observer with both of these two options. Both the hard-top and convertible penis seem like they each have equal pluses and minuses.

Maybe I am just indiscriminate desperate slutty open-minded, but my concerns with a potential partner’s penis are pretty minimal. Basically, all that I am looking for is a cock that can have an erection and toss a load without heroic efforts. What? Hey – The Center of Gravitas ain’t a blog for children. Go somewhere else of merry-go-rounds and bumper-cars.

Yet, many gay personal ads out there state explicit requirements for one option or another. Some gay personal sites even have a prearranged check box to indicate your foreskin’s current status. Are people really turning down random sex dating men based on this tiny distinction? Does having or not having foreskin make up for other attributes in your man? “Yeah,” one can imagine somebody saying, “My man is missing two fingers, hasn’t held a steady job since 1994, is hooked on tina, and likes two or three guys as well as me. What’s important, though, is that his cock is still in its original packaging.”

Again – I am not saying this desire for one or the other is wrong. Whatever gets you going is fine by me. If only foreskin will do it for you, that’s fare. Dock away.

If you just can’t handle the different taste of an uncut penis (and they do taste different), that’s cool with me as well. Whatever works for you. GayProf doesn’t judge -- on this issue.

I can understand having a preference for cut or uncut, but making it a deal breaker? Really? I prefer drinking TaB over Diet Coke, for instance. If Anderson Cooper offered me a Diet Coke in his bedroom, however, you better believe I am going to drink it.

Unlike gay men, you rarely hear straight women express a firm-line stance on this issue. If questioned, they might make their druthers known. Quite frankly, it seems that many straight women avoid having to look at a penis very much at all. They don’t want direct eye contact with that mess, from their perspective. Cut or uncut, therefore, is just not on the top of their list.

What does seem to be on the top of straight women’s lists? The guy needs to be taller than them. It’s true. Sorry hetero guys, if you are short, you just aren’t making the list. A straight guy could be toady-ugly, but if he is over six-foot, straight women will consider him a bonus-find because they could wear heels. I'll leave it to the hets to debate the pros and cons of this issue. I am just observing.

Some gay men, though, seem to spend a great deal of energy thinking about the foreskin/non-foreskin issue. There are entire sex parties devoted to only uncircumsied guys (no cutsies allowed). I guess I just don’t like the idea of excluding people. Everybody wants to be invited to the party.

I have also met many gay men who bemoan their cut status. An entire minor industry exists of products that try to “regrow” one’s foreskin. Most of these contraptions seem to involve stretching the skin on the shaft of the penis (!). This sounds both painful and incoveinent. Does it really matter that much? Really?

Until 1980, almost 70 percent of male infants had their foreskin removed at birth in the U.S. for non-religious reasons. Even today, when circumcision has started to lose favor, over half of infants still have the procedure. It seems like these men just need to get over it. Your foreskin is gone. It's not coming back to you. Let it go.

It’s not just gay guys, though, who have some psychological issues over the turtle-neck. As much as many gay men eroticize foreskin, some straight guys seem to fear it (even those who are uncircumscised themselves). You often hear straight fathers talking about their reasons for having their sons trimmed up. They usually offer, “I want him to look like all the other boys in the locker room.” What exactly was going on in these men’s teenaged locker rooms? And why wasn’t I ever asked to join in on the compare and contrast moment when I was young?

I once had a straight-male acquaintance from Europe who spent part of his young life in the states. He actually was embarrassed by his foreskin even as an adult. When questioned directly about still having a flip-cap, he disavowed it. He only used the stalls in men’s rooms. Now, I never really asked what happened in his youth (we just weren’t that tight), but, damn, there was a man who didn’t want his penis to be different from the others around him.

It all reminds me that men are not as secure in our bodies as we are lead to believe. During the height of the feminist movement, women spent some serious time discussing their bodies and coming to self-acceptance in a conscious way. I wonder if men (both queer and non-queer) wouldn’t benefit from similar introspection. More than just contemplating if we have enough precious inches, we could use some greater security in using what we got. I am not saying that I am going to draft a new play entitled the Penis Monologues (Although...). Still, let’s work it out boys. We have what we have – Be happy.


tornwordo said...

I'm with you. I'll take any kind as long as its ready and willing ; )

I know a guy who had himself circumsized when he turned 18. He despised being "different".

Personally, I resent that "pleasure skin" was cut off. That sensitive pleasure spot below the glans on the underside is also along the cutting spot. I wonder how much pleasure I've missed.

Signalite said...

I think most fathers are trying to mold mini-versions of themselves, and I'd like to believe it's subconscious and not so intentional. I certainly didn't think about it what it will look like to other guys.

Michaelrbn said...

What I don't get are these circumcised guys who have decided that they are among the most victimized folks on the face of the earth, how they've been terribly mutilated and "Something must be done!"

MEK the Bear said...

I agree, it doesn't really matter, though that extra skin is very fun to play with. I do sort of wish I was still uncut, but I'm not going through those ridiculous procedures to 'restore' it. Mr. Happy works just fine the way he is, perhaps he needs a little extra help from Mr. Lubey but it's all good. Errmmm... was that too much information?

pacalaga said...

Can a gal post? ;-) I have never seen an uncut penis on an adult male, but I didn't have my son cut. I figured that if my mom made me wait until I was old enough to really understand what it meant to have my ears pierced, that maybe a more significant procedure should involve the consent of the one most affected. My husband protested, but in the end, neither of us could stand the idea of hurting our baby to remove a perfectly healthy piece of skin. The only stipulation DH made was that, if The Bug ever asked, I had to explain why his looks different from Daddy's or from the other boys'.
(When I asked why he'd know what Daddy's looked like, he said, "Someone has to teach him to pee like a man." Really? Did you guys get to see examples?)

MaggieMay said...

"Quite frankly, it seems that many straight women avoid having to look at a penis very much at all. They don’t want direct eye contact with that mess, from their perspective."

Um, I beg to differ. Many het women I know *love* looking at penises-- cock aesthetics are v. important for some of us!

(I agree with you, however, on the circ/uncirc issue: not at all a deal-breaker, or anything even close.)

Dorian said...

For me, whether or not a penis is circumcised is fairly low on my list of "what makes a man desirable." It's really more of a "bonus" if a guy I'm with happens to be uncut. It's a nice change of pace.

(Of course, I also tried very hard to talk a friend of mine out of getting circumcised, so I'm not utterly indifferent to them.)

This topic has actually come up a number of times with my straight female friends, so it is something that at least some straight women give thought to. The prevailing opinion, as I was told it, was that my female friends generally preffered cut to uncut. Aesthetics was usually cited, but "hygiene" worries were cited as well. The stigma of uncircumcised penises being "dirty" still persists today.

Roger Owen Green said...

You're right about the heterosexual women and the height of a man, for the most part. My sister's 5'9" and I chastized her for her heightism. She HAS relented (she once dated a guy her own height).

Kalvin said...

I have no idea why this is so important, but to each his own. As for deal breakers, I don't think this is a high priority for people actually looking for something long term, but I guess if you're just expecting short term to turn to long term, then well, maybe it is selective.

GayProf said...

Pacalaga: Can a gal post? Of course! The Center of Gravitas is for everyone -- who recognizes that GayProf is the most desirable man on the blogsphere.

MaggieMay: I appreciate your sentiment, but do you really love looking at a penis? In the same way gay boys do? Really? Do you buy glossy magazines filled with nothing but pictures of a penis in various states of arousal? Do you search the internet for penis content? Were you one of the first kids on your block to find that Jude Law photo that day it was announced that it existed? Now that’s loving to look at a penis. Being mildly amused at seeing your partner’s penis is just not the same. I am not saying, I am just saying.

I tend to be a bit clueless about the world around me, so often I don’t even notice how tall people are. Yet, many straight women have all of their friends and acquaintances organized by height.

MzUnderstanding said...

I agree with Maggie. I too appreciate looking at a penis. *sigh* Remind me not to read GayProf's blog when hubby is workign 12 hour shifts and I'm not getting any!

Of course, there are moments when one does not want to look "that mess in the eye"...say... when the gun is about to go off...and it's dark..and one can't see it coming...

Chad said...

I too have a touch of the heightism when it comes to being attracted to men, which supports my friend's theory that I'm not so much a gay man as a straight woman trapped in a man's body (but I admit it does suck, since I'm 6'0!)

I've also decided that I wouldn't date someone who doesn't like "Seinfeld" and Wes Anderson movies. He can not like one or the other, but both? That's just too much for me to handle.

But as far as the circumcised/uncircumcised...I've never even thought about it. Then again, I've never seen an uncircumcised member.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Gay prof - you have made it into my black book as "penis connoisseur" so that when people ask for the definative answer regarding penis from a world class expert - I know where to send them.

I believe Josephus as well as historians dating back to the third century BC record a "reattachment" operation the greeks had for Jewish lads who wanted to go "turtleneck" - so this is obviously not trivial but a critical and long standing historical issue - one which almost begs to be written up as a proposal for funding which, if granted would drive the flag-pushing historians probably into heart siezures.

Anonymous said...

In my conversations with women it seems there is really a preference for cut. And they get downright militant about it. Sometimes even angry. Like circumcision is payback or something.

MaggieMay said...

Oh GayProf, you underestimate my love of penises (peni?).

I do, truly, looooove looking at penises. Here is a MaggieFactoid you may find interesting: when I bought my first Playgirl, at age 12, I was disappointed b/c almost all of the men in it were these big, beefy, muscley guys... and when you see a giant naked guy, and his penis, his bulk makes the penis look really small by comparison. So I started thinking that girl-porn should be MOSTLY about penises, and maybe hands, and backs, but definitely penises.

And yes, I did seek out the Jude Law picture the minute I knew it existed. So, am I really a gay man?

GayProf said...

MaggieMay: Perhaps I did underestimate your love and devotion. My apologies. Though, you are the first straight woman that I know who bought Playgirl for something other than the articles. Be happy, though, that by the time you purchased Playgirl they even showed a penis. Back when it started, they used to avoid showing full-frontal (I know!).

Now, feel free to share those surplus penis images with your old buddy GayProf anytime you like.

Frank said...

I'm with you, gayprof, I don't understand those who are really adamant about it one way or another. If a penis is nice, a penis is nice, no matter its circumcision-status. I must admit, though, I've yet to see an uncircumcised penis "live and uncut." (HA! Aren't I a riot?) Sadly, I've seen very few penises live thus far in my life. *sigh* But even once I go through a slutty phase, I doubt it's going to really matter to me one way or the other, as long as everything's clean and I'm into the guy to whom the penis is attached.

Personally, I'm cut. While masturbation sounds like more fun with foreskin, I'm really fine with not having one. I'm certainly not one of those guys who bemoan their cutness and feel "mutilated." Love your penis whatever it looks like, I say!

Oh, and I totally want to collaborate with you, gayprof, on The Penis Monologues!

secretadmirer said...

Hi Prof...secretadmirer here. I like cocks of all kinds (I'm not fond of the clinical term "penis"). The person attached to the sexual organ is who counts. I wouldn't care if you had a 1-inch uncut stub, so long as you would respond positively to my ministrations to same. But I am sure that you are more than amply endowed, need I say. Sure, a big juicy uncut porn-star honker is nice to LOOK AT, but just try spending 20 minutes sucking on it! I know...my first lover had an eight-inch perfect cock...and trying to satisfy him was nearly impossible! (Among his complaints was that I spent too much time "looking at it". But just the sight of that gorgeous stud cock got me off, although that didn't do HIM much good, heh).

I used to think uncut cocks were "ugly", but after viewing a few Bel Ami videos I came to the conclusion that au naturel was perfectly cool!

jeremy said...

Truthfully, I don't care either way, but the act of discussing foreskin makes me think of the "un-circumcision" scene from Europa, Europa! and makes my balls do that pull up/cringe-y-stomach-feeling thing.

Ancrene Wiseass said...

Joining MaggieMay as a straight woman who does really like looking at penises. I think they're pretty. Circumcised or otherwise.

I also don't really suffer from heightism, but I sure have encountered plenty of straight gals who do. Then again, I'm not quite 5'4", so there aren't a whole lot of men who aren't taller than I am . . . .

Oso Raro said...

I'm not a size queen or anything, but secretadmirer, really?!? A one-inch stub? Huh... Takes all kinds I guess.

In terms of cut v. uncut, each has its own benefits. Sometimes ya feel like a nut, sometimes ya don't.

H said...

Beyond the matter of attraction to uncut or cut penises, I think the principle thing to remember is that there isn't much logical reasoning behind circumcising a newborn baby. It is genital mutilation. Once it's gone, it's gone. Why cut it if there is nothing wrong with it? It's almost as bad as female genital mutilation in some parts of Africa. Even when it's for religious reasons, what if the boy does not grow up to be a practicing Jew or Muslim?

Gay Erasmus said...

*stutters in admiration at your forensic self-analysis*

Am I right in thinking that the whole circumcised/uncircumcised thing has traditionally been more of an issue in the US than it is in, say, Europe or Australia? A generation ago, most Australian males had their penises circumcised for reasons of health, but it's about 50/50 in my generation (I was gonna say 'split down the middle'...ohh, I just said it!). Very few babies get circumcised nowadays.

Da Nator said...

As a lifelong lesbian, I've not had much experience with penii, aside from watching gay porn, so I can't profess to have an informed opinion either way. I do think that if Mrs. Nator and I ever have a boychild, we'll let him stay as is. Because, really, who wants him bitching back at us later that we robbed him of natural boyparts, etc.?

That said, having been told several times that being uncut makes men more sexually sensitive, I sometimes wonder. Don't y'all have a hard enough time keeping your willies under control as it is? Maybe a little less stimulation could help you concentrate on other things and last a little longer. I'm just sayin'. ;o)

I do have to get serious for a moment, however, about what h said. Male circumcision is not remotely comparable to female genital mutilation. One allows millions of men to function perfectly satisfactorily. The other deprives women of all sexual pleasure and leads to severe pain and lifelong emotional and physical complications, including infection and, far too often, death. Please do your research before you toss off a comment like that.

Thank you. [Stepping off soapbox.]

H said...

in response to da nator...that's why I said it can be "almost as bad" as female genital mutilation - I know it's not the same exact thing, but it can be comparable...especially when one considers the serious damages (penises needing to be reconstructed, inabiliy to hold erections, etc.) that can result from botched circumcisions and the infections that can come as a result of such serious medical operations...in fact, there was a recent newspaper article about how STDs (I believe either herpes or syphilis) were being spread in a conservative Jewish community in New York because the mohels sucked blood from the circumcised penises with their mouths! this is an extreme case, but it happened on more than one ocassion...

Da Nator said...

h, I would counter that that sort of thing is far more rare (and perhaps argue with the phrasing "almost as bad"), but I take your point.

As for the mohels/STD thing... damn. That's not an image I'd ever thought I'd have stuck in my mind!

Atari_Age said...

Well, this conversation took an unexpected turn.
Anyway, yeah I agree.
Once hard, who cares? Right, some do. Not me, though, like you.

One can argue if it should be done, but to make a fuss over one's cut-ness after the fact seems strange (unless one way or the other just toots your horn more).

BTW, this may be the most erotic GayProf post I've seen.

Da Nator said...

BTW, I think we're all forgetting the important fact that Jesus was circimcised. And, according to Dan Brown, He had a perfectly normal sex life.

Jesus = hott.

Christopher said...

GayProf, did you really think X3 sucked that hard, or is it just that the other two were so good that the third sucked in comparison? I'll say this much, they need to bring in a better drag queen to do the wigs in those movies because those are horrible.

Re: the cut/uncut debate, I love mid-century modern design in part because it is so streamlined, reflecting the designers' vision for the future. I have to say, I like my penises the same way. Then again, I had a baaaaad experience with a turtleneck, so I may be biased.

partygirljessica said...

I guess there are people who can make us really insecure. And I say, to hell with them. That's the reason why a lot of people have a hard time finding dates. I'm glad it's a different case at webdate_dot_com. People can just be themselves and be comfortable with who they are.