Last updated on 7th October 2005
The following are all extracts from letters people have written to NORM-UK. They are presented anonymously.
WARNING: Contains some explicit and disturbing content
"My own personal situatIon is the result of an infant circumcision where I consider I was rendered mutilated by a crude deprivation of my foreskin. The result of the circumcision which I obviously had no control over did heavily restrict my confidence with potential young lady conquests due to the embarrassment caused by the appearance and condition of my deformed and bent penis."
"We pass through life once. No one can legislate to make sure we have all the right attributes and things we want. We can, however make it unlawful for anyone to take away anything that is already ours without our permission.
"I never really came to terms with what happened to me. I was told nothing before my circumcision. I was taken from my home by a stranger who left me at the hospital. No one spoke a word to me, two nurses undressed me and placed me on a board, they pulled my legs apart and fastened straps running up my legs and my arms and waist. I was then wheeled from that room down a passage to another room. There were three people there. A nurse placed a plastic plate in my mouth, put her hands under my chin to keep my head still and mouth closed. As each process of the circumcision was performed I felt the pain acutely.
"Having seen a reference in the Jewish Chronicle made to your published letter in the British Medical Journal, I write to agree with you! I have only just seen your BMJ letter and having myself been brought up as an Orthodox Jewess, I now question it in the 21st century. The last Bris (circumcision) I was invited to recently, I just could not go. Tradition is no excuse for continuing this practice. The only justification must be medical for the welfare of the boy. Why aren't boys left to make their own decision when they are eighteen?"
"I am writing to express my many thanks to you and your organisation in providing support and advice in dealing with the problem of my son's tight foreskin. The doctor you mentioned contacted me with advice after you forwarded her my son's details. She was very helpful and informative and I subsequently relayed her advice on to my GP who took on board all the information. As a result I treated my son with half-strength Betnovate and after only 5 weeks the GP is amazed with the result. His foreskin can now fully retract and he suggests we cease the treatment.
"Six years ago, when I was 19 years old, I was circumcised because I was having problems with constrictions of my foreskin when I had an erection. At the time my doctor recommended that I should be circumcised - no other options were offered to me. I have to say that, at the time, I was not aware of the possible consequences of circumcision.
"I am an English atheist and my husband is an Egyptian Muslim. My son was born with undescended testicles and at the age of two and a half had an operation to bring them down permanently. Even though I was completely against it as a form of mutilation, my husband was adamant that our son would be circumcised one day - definitely in Egypt when he was older and without anaesthetic. As I thought it would be safer for him in England, under anaesthetic, and to avoid any further family conflict in the future, I thought it better to get it over and done with while he was having his other operation.
"I was circumcised in infancy I suspect for no other reason than a matter of class or snobbery. My parents, or maybe even my grandparents, although not wealthy still wanted 'the best' for me and were prepared to pay for it or let the medical insurance company pay for it! I know that I was born in a private nursing home and I suspect that circumcision was an 'optional extra' that the nursing home could make an extra income from. Of course, my parents didn't wait until I was older and ask me if I wanted it, no doubt working on the principle that I should have what was good for me at the time. My father died when I was two so I don't know if he was circumcised and cannot ask him why I was. I have never felt able to ask my mother. Interestingly, her elder sister refused to have her sons circumcised, (she once worked in a hospital where a youth was in pain after circumcision, perhaps the experience was educational). It is a pity that she didn't talk her little sister into not having me done.
"Circumcision is not done in good faith by the medical profession. The 'medical' reasons given for circumcision are so absurd and phoney as to be utterly ridiculous.
"I am intact, but I first learnt what circumcision was when one of my friends in the last year of junior school was circumcised during the holidays. I can remember vividly how upset he was when all of us (me included I am afraid) made fun of him whilst he was changing at the local swimming pool. I can remember him showing me his penis just after the operation and it looked terrible. It was black and red, with several cuts, scars forming on it and with the glans totally exposed, it looked most odd to us all, it was also incredibly painful for him. He could barely even walk for a week and then, only if he held the penis away from his clothing and body. It took about two months for him to be able to participate in games again."
"I am a male aged 20 years of age. I was circumcised at 12 and it all went wrong. My penis was covered in weeping cuts and I couldn't go to school for a year because I could not wear ordinary trousers.
"I was circumcised in adulthood for a reason I have since found out was unnecessary. I was not advised on how it would affect me physically or indeed the possibility of psychological problems. I greatly missed the sensitivity and soon came to hate the 'exposed' feeling. Believe me, sex without a foreskin is only a fraction as good as with one!"
"I have four children of my own, two of which are boys. The youngest one is four months old, and my job in life is to get them to adult age as safely as possible with the minimum pain possible. Surely babies and children have enough obstacles and hurdles to encounter in life without the parents putting unnecessary suffering on them. What I would like to know is what are these mothers thinking of when listening to their little babies cry out in such agonising pain, probably in the hope that their mother will come to their rescue and comfort them? Little do they know that it was due to the will of their parents that they have gone through this horrific ordeal. What ever happened to a mothers love? It should be the greatest and most protective love of all. T.C, Plymouth"
"I wrote to you in June concerning my son Peter who, we had been told required a circumcision and for which a date had been set in July. You very kindly referred me to one of your doctors who sent me a number of leaflets. The information reinforced my view that this was not a procedure to be undertaken lightly. We went on a two week holiday and on our return I realised that things seemed to be improving, so I cancelled the operation, with the arrangement that we would return to the consultant in six months.
"I am circumcised, don't like it, would like to change it. Can you help?"
"I imagine the purpose of circumcision in a lot of cases is to do with bonding. Becoming a man amongst men. One of us. Well it didn't work with me because I've never felt 'one of us'. I was brought up to keep my naked body a secret. I didn't even know about circumcision until I was 14 and a teacher explained (to my horror). Whereas now I think what I've missed out on - little boys should be allowed to feel proud of their penises. I did try to tell my father once, that I thought it was horrible and wrong and he was furious that 1) I mentioned it at all, 2) I thought that way- other friends would be proud if they had been done 3) how would I like to be really deformed as in a cleft palate or club foot?
"My son is a member of your organisation and after hearing the pain that circumcision has caused him, I would like to become a member, and add my support."
"This year I will be 56 years old. When I was a child my mother took me along to our local GP. The doctor cleared his desk and performed a circumcision upon me. The operation went drastically wrong and left me embarrassingly deformed. I was left with a urethral fistula on the underside of my penis at the base of the glans. I was also left with a stricture so that even though the urine came out of the fistula and not out of the end as it should, nevertheless it sprayed everywhere under pressure.
"A couple of days ago my 2 year old son, developed a minor foreskin irritation with some redness and apparent soreness around the tip of his foreskin. My wife called our local clinic and a so-called "advice nurse" suggested that we should "probably just go ahead and schedule a circumcision." I promptly sent a letter of complaint to the supervising nurse and enclosed some of your literature.
"I was circumcised at the age of three in 1956 and ever since I became aware of my status, I have been fascinated and appalled by the whole subject. Even now, 40 years on it still horrifies me that my loving parents could have inflicted such torture and mutilation on a defenceless baby. My penis is badly scarred by a very uneven operation. I have been told by a Urologist that I was born with a mild Hypospadias; this is always a contra-indication for circumcision. The old family GP, however proceeded to circumcise me very tightly, leaving no flexibility of skin. I suffer from painful erections, painful orgasms and soreness following sexual activity.
"I was circumcised as a baby, back in 1968. Back then here in Canada, it was routine. Everyone did it, there were virtually no exceptions to the rule. Really, it wasn't a 'religious' thing...it was just the norm. And covered by our medical system. (not anymore, you have to pay...!) I know that based on seeing my counterparts at school growing up...everyone was cut. The one or two males who were intact were actually deemed a little odd by everyone else.