Saturday, January 28, 2017

Am I Circumcised or Intact?

This should be a no-brainer, but the fact is that some men don't actually know whether they have anatomically correct genitals or not.

Because the nature of the subject is taboo, male genitals, let alone the topic of circumcision, are rarely openly talked about.

As a consequence, some men go for much of their lives not knowing the status of their genitals with certainty.

Some parents have their children circumcised and hope that the question never comes up. Others keep their children intact but still don't bother to tell them important information about the facts of life, information about sexuality and how their anatomy functions, what kind of country they live in, what prejudice they might encounter, etc.

Men go about their lives not knowing, not giving too much thought to the status of their genitals, until one day, it catches the men they become by surprise.

Perhaps they have a sexual encounter with a partner who comments on the presence or absence of a foreskin.

I've seen cases where guys were so sure they were intact until they asked their parents, and their parents told them, much to their disappointment, that they were circumcised at birth.

Strangely enough, some women don't know how to correctly identify their partner's penises either. While they've heard of circumcision, they couldn't tell whether a penis was or wasn't.

That's where blogs like these come in to shine some light on the subject.

Anatomically Correct Genitals
All boys are born with a fold of flesh that covers the head of their penis called a "foreskin."

In early childhood years, this is usually fused together with the glans, or head of the penis, until a child nears puberty, and the foreskin becomes retractable.

Extensive research conducted in Denmark, Japan, and other countries shows that the foreskin retracts at different ages, ranging from infancy, to about the age of 17, the median age for foreskin retraction being about 10 years of age.

In most intact males, the foreskin covers the glans, or head of the penis, when the penis is in its soft, flaccid state. As the penis becomes erect, or "hard" during arousal, the foreskin tends to retract, thereby revealing the head of the penis.

Of course, some men have longer or shorter foreskins than others. In some men, the foreskin is so long that it covers the glans, even in an aroused state, and some so short that the glans protrudes from the foreskin, even in an unaroused state.

Most men can glide their foreskins back and forth, covering and uncovering the glans, or head of the penis.

Circumcised Genitals
Circumcision is the surgical removal of the fold of flesh that covers the glans, or head of the penis.

In most circumcised males, the foreskin has been completely removed, permanently exposing the glans, such that the glans is always exposed and visible, even when the penis is in a hanging, flaccid, unaroused state.

Side-by-side comparison of intact and circumcised penises, flaccid

 In most intact men, the head of the penis is covered in a flaccid, unaroused state.
In most circumcised men, the head of the penis is permanently exposed, even when flaccid.

A flaccid, intact penis with its foreskin retracted.
Some intact men can retract their foreskin in a flaccid state.
Not all intact men are able to do this, however.

Side-by-side comparison of intact and circumcised penises, erect

Erect intact and circumcised penises for comparison.
 Note the head of the penis is moist, shiny and glistening.
In comparison, the head of the circumcised penis is dull and faded.

Permanent exposure and keratinization
Because the glans is permanently exposed, the normally moist mucosal membranes on the glans and inner mucosa of the foreskin become dried out. Without the protection of the foreskin, the surface of the glans builds layers of dead skin cells in a process called "keratinization," giving it a dry, faded, leathery appearance.

 A side-by-side comparison of the glans in intact and circumcised penises.

In contrast, the mucosal tissue of the glans and surrounding areas in an intact male are usually shiny and glistening with moisture.

Personal lubrication
One of the most notable differences between circumcised and intact males is that circumcised males must often employ the use of artificial lubricants to enjoy masturbation and/or sexual intercourse.

When masturbating, some circumcised men may choose to "go dry," using whatever loose skin they have left.

Some men, however, have had so much skin removed that this quickly grows uncomfortable, and in some cases, men cause themselves to bleed if they continue without the aid of lubrication.

The history of the origins of male circumcision in the Western world attests to the fact that making masturbation difficult was precisely the intended purpose of circumcising males.

Because the mucosal surfaces of the glans and inside of the foreskin are usually always moist, most intact males don't need lubrication to masturbate or have sex; their own natural lubrication is enough.

The moist inner mucosa of the foreskin glides back and forth over the moist, slippery surface of the glans without much effort.

So am I circumcised or intact?
I feel sad for you if you're reading this, and you still don't know the answer to this question with certainty. Your parents should have told you what they allowed to happen to you in infancy. It's sad when guys have to crawl in the dark looking for answers concerning their own genitals.

If you're too ashamed to ask your parents, or if you simply don't want to, the descriptions and pictures on this blog might help.

If the head of your penis is covered when flaccid, chances are you have intact genitals. I say this because there are varying degrees of circumcision; some men were cut "tighter," some "looser" than others. Some men had so little foreskin removed that they could pass for "intact," even though hospital records show they were circumcised at birth.

Yet others had so much skin removed that it actually hurts to have an erection. In some cases, so much skin was removed, that hairy skin rides up their shaft, making it look as if hair grows along the shaft of their penises.

 Hair on the shaft like this is not normal. Were this man intact, he would
be able to pull this hairy skin back. Now, it's stuck where it is, just behind the glans.
Men with hair growing on their shafts have no choice but to shave or pluck, because
the hair could irritate their partner's genitals, or it could get in the way of oral sex.

If the head of your penis is permanently exposed, chances are you were circumcised at birth; I say this because some men actually have foreskins so short they could pass for being "circumcised."

In fact, being born without a foreskin is a congenital deformity known in medical literature as "aposthia."

A telltale sign of circumcision to look for is a ring-like scar around the shaft of your penis. If you can see this, there is no doubt.

 The circumcision scar is the dark ring of skin about an inch below the corona of the glans.

If you want to be certain, however, probably the best resource for this would be your own parents, or if possible, you could try searching through your medical records.

Why don't males know about their own genitals?
Part of the problem with the information blackout that we have in this country concerning male genitals is the fact that people are so uptight about sex.

We live in a paradox where we are more sexually liberated than before, and yet we still can't seem to be able to have a serious conversation about our genitals unless it's some kind of joke.

We need to break this taboo and open up the lines of communication.

Fathers need to talk with their sons about their sexual development, what was done to them as infants, how their genitals work, what they might encounter, how to deal with prejudice etc.

Otherwise, males grow up in the dark, learn misinformation about their genitals, spread it, and we stay in these dark ages of sexuality.

*On this blog, we refer to male organs as they are in nature as "natural," "normal," "anatomically correct," and "intact," because that is what they are. In every day speech, unaltered male organs as they would normally be left up to nature are often referred to as "uncircumcised," or "uncut." This is erroneous, however, as it normalizes circumcision, which is actually an artificial, forced phenomenon. We do not refer to women with breasts as "unmastectomized," or people who haven't had nose cosmetic surgery as "unrhinoplastied." We do not refer to women who haven't had labia reduction surgery as having "unlabiaplastied vulvas" because we don't automatically assume that they should be. We simply call an unaltered vulva, "the vulva." One of the goals of this website is to allow men with unaltered genitals to feel comfortable in their own skin, as it were, and to raise awareness of the fact that actually, having unaltered genitals is "normal" and this doesn't have to be described with a negative verbal clarifier.

External Links
How intact, or how circumcised are you? I've included a link to a resource if you are interested in finding out. The Foreskin Coverage Index page at is a page that can give you a ballpark to determine where you stand on the intact/circumcision spectrum. Like this blog, the page is explicit, and shows intact and circumcised penises in their erect and flaccid states.

Foreskin Coverage Index

Are you circumcised and you want to reverse some of the damage? It's possible to gain back some foreskin and foreskin coverage through tugging and stretching. Some men have been able to reverse the effects of keratinization; by restoring coverage, the dead skin cells slough away, regaining sensitivity in the glans and surrounding mucosa, and restoring to it its shine and luster.

This is the same penis before and after restoration.
Notice how the shine and luster return to the glans.

For more information about foreskin restoration, visit:

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