“I never wanted children, and when I met a woman who didn’t want children either, it seemed like the right time for a vasectomy. At the same time I decided to get circumcised as well.
I was born in 1974 and my brothers were all circumcised but I was the youngest and I think when it came to me my parents never got around to it. We lived on a farm and there wasn’t a maternal and baby health center nearby, so it just never happened. In many things it was the same; I am not baptized either.
I realized that when I was of school age I was different. There were camps and sports days and I could see that I didn’t look like other kids. At some point my father spoke to me – probably instigated by my mother – about what I should do about hygiene. But he was circumcised, so it was a little weird.
Then I hit puberty. Children aged 12 or 13 are always looking for something to choose from. I tried to hide in the locker room and hoped no one would notice.
As an adult it didn’t get any easier. What is missing from the entire circumcision debate is the practicality of not being circumcised. Staying hygienic is a daily and constant routine. And as for sexual spontaneity, forget about it.
A decision that goes both ways
I went to my family doctor and asked about the circumcision. He asked why I wanted it and I explained why and said, “Yes, that’s what most men say.” He told me that he was seeing more and more men asking for circumcision.
I had to decide whether I wanted the foreskin incision “high, medium or low”. [If you take off too little, you can get a “frilled-neck lizard” look, take too much and it can feel uncomfortably tight]. I chose medium.
I performed the procedure in March 2014. The first thing I noticed when I woke up in recovery was the pain – it was incredible. The vasectomy hurt me, and when I looked at my penis, it was bloody, bruised and looked sad.
The skin had been stretched over where the foreskin had been removed, and there were now 30 detachable stitches in a place on my penis that hadn’t existed before.
The nights were the worst. During the night, men get involuntary erections that they cannot control. I have never had pain like after the operation. Imagine pulling 30 stitches – some of them would burst and it would bleed.
It was over a month before I could even begin to think about normal relationships. It took about six months for my penis to return to normal.
After having sex as an uncircumcised and circumcised man, I don’t think there is much difference in terms of pleasure for the man. However, I think it’s better for the woman and there is a lot more spontaneity.
Being circumcised is definitely worth it – it made my life so much easier and it relieved a lot of the stress I had been carrying for years. “
Is Adult Circumcision On The Rise?
Jackson was born at a time when both doctors and parents were considering the circumcision routine for hygienic reasons. Nowadays, infant circumcision is frowned upon and is rarely performed on children for non-religious reasons. The latest statistics show that only 1 in 10 Australian male infants were circumcised in 2013.
However, there is a growing demand for adult circumcision. Medicare entitlements for the procedure (for men 10 years and older) increased 50 percent between 2000 and 2014.
What is the main reason for this? “Men who come to me and ask for circumcision fall into two groups – those who have a problem with their foreskin and those who don’t,” says urologist Dr. Conrad Bishop from Melbourne. “Medical problems can include recurrent infections caused by phimosis, shrinkage of the foreskin that makes washing difficult, or balanitis xerotica obliterans, a chronic inflammatory disease.
“Those with non-medical illnesses include men who have converted to Islam, some who believe sex will be better, and I even had a man whose girlfriend asked him to.”
Bishop admits he feels nervous when a man asks for circumcision for no medical or religious reason.
“Urologists are not able to create designer penises,” he says. “If a healthy man desires circumcision, it is important to know why. I spend more time advising these patients than operating on them. “
Bishop says most men are happy with the operation, but “some will find the penis too tender or have difficulty masturbating”.
2007: The year most public hospitals stopped free non-therapeutic infant boy circumcision.
85%: The percentage of boys circumcised in Australia in the 1950s, according to bupa.com.au
10.8%: The percentage of boys circumcised in Australia in 2013, according to Medicare data.
10,523: The number of Medicare applications for circumcision of Australian men aged 10 and over between 2000 and 2014.