The next morning I woke up and was mortified to discover I had doubly fouled my bed. It was the same the next morning and the next and the next... and so on. I feared waking up each morning with a soaking wet bed and the sensation of dried feces cracking apart between my buttocks. "No, nooo," I pleaded, burying my head in my pillow, "please, please no!" I was ashamed. I was bad.
Initially I was cared for with a detached, matter of fact manner: bathed, dressed and left to live each day with all the other children. I felt imprisoned (I still recall the high walls that surrounded the tiny playground). Finally, one 'carer' lost her patience. I was dragged to the showers, scrubbed with a floor brush and... this is hard to retell... genitally abused. My foreskin had not naturally retracted. Suffice to say, she took violent exception to that - and saw opportunity to punish me more. I saw blood wash away in the water. My memory of anything that ensued after that terrible morning is lost - except this:
We were eventually taken back home... and to this day, I remember in vivid detail the moment I saw my mother standing, waiting at the front door. I ran down the long path, crying out in joy, "Mummy, Mummy, Mummy!" And fell into her open arms, sobbing uncontrollably, released from that little girl's lies and the terror I had lived through.
There were a few frightening occasions when my foreskin stayed retracted, leaving the glans exposed and unbearably sensitive to touch.
Inevitably though, there came a point when even penetrative sex was no help - until one night when I withdrew with my foreskin totally trapped behind the coronal rim. Nothing I or my wife did to try to release it was successful. It began to swell with engorged blood, I was in great pain. My wife rang 999. I was rushed to hospital. I remember an incision to release the edema. Two days later, I was circumcised, accompanied in the hospital by my eldest daughter - a newly qualified nurse at the time - who was my rock through it all. This was in March 2002.
The circumcision itself was painless; so much so that when one of the attending nurses asked, "Did you feel that?" I replied, "No - not a thing. "Just as well," she retorted, "you'd have kicked him!" Does any baby boy ever receive a local anesthetic as effective as that? I think not, because it's used at that strength for adults whose metabolism can accept it. Moreover, babies fortunate to receive even a milder injection of anesthesia will feel the pain of the needle in the base of their penis. I received two on either side and it hurts. But I was an adult undergoing a necessary circumcision: big difference.
The recovery period was not painless, nor is it for an infant boy. Initially, the now permanently exposed glans is excruciatingly sensitive to the slightest touch of a finger or light brush of clothing, not to mention the sutures at the site of the removed foreskin which ooze drops of blood and stick to clothing. The sensation I speak of is not erotic in any way; it's similar to the pain when we knock our humerus (funny bone), but made more intense because it's a sexual organ. A rather foolish piece of advice I read from a list of do's and dont's after the surgery was to avoid erections, as if we somehow have any control with this - and did the compiler of the list not consider 'morning wood'? I also had to visit my local hospital outpatient department with an infection of the wound. It was cleared up with an antibiotic, but it still meant yet another examination. Not every man or boy goes through complications like mine. Many do.
However, there is one absolutely inevitable consequence of circumcision: increasing loss of sensitivity as the years go by. Imagine this from boyhood, let alone from a mere nine years ago as in my case (almost to the day). Nature designs the penis perfectly: the glans as an internal organ within its protective sheath which is filled with nerve endings designed to interact in a shared partnership of exquisite sensual pleasure. Cut off its sheath and nature goes into a desperate attempt to simulate its protective foreskin. It grows a covering of toughened tissue, incrementally as the months and years pass by. Nature doesn't 'think' of sexual compromise, it simply protects an injury - and the penis is finally left a shadow of its former self.
My glans is now unable to detect heat from cold: both are equally neutral under very hot or icy water. The only sense I have is of pressure. It was a shocking discovery for me. Yet guiding the flow of water onto my shaft made me recoil.
Sex? I can masturbate and ejaculate, of course. But it was a learning curve in the absence of a foreskin (I won't go into detail, publicly). With a foreskin it is natural and so very easy. Sexual intercourse? Not good - for her or me. It takes me so much longer to achieve climax... and she is sore before I ejaculate and is left in a state of "Just lie back and think of England," as she puts it. It distresses her AND me. We rarely try anymore.
I'm aware that most American adults, men and their partners, have lived with circumcision for many years and learned to enjoy sex, regardless. But I do wonder if they ever give a thought to the ultimate pleasure of natural sex. I once had that pleasure.
Nature gives every boy his birthright - together with the equal right of every girl who is now protected from genital mutilation, almost worldwide. Boys are no longer 'fair game', to put it brutally. Even American routine circumcision of its boys has dropped suddenly and fast in the last year.
It was a different world when I was a small boy.