Sex talk
Speaking of Uncut

Simon Sheppard,

Few dick-related issues raise anything like the furor that circumcision does. The debate rages: is it a monstrous mutilation, or a benign body modification? Does infant circumcision lessen sexual pleasure for a lifetime, or is that just a cock-centered canard? And arguments over the supposed health benefits of circumcision took a new spin when data suggested that being uncut increases the chances of HIV transmission – but then, cut or uncut, you're using a rubber, right?

Beyond the controversy, there's the foreskin itself, in all its wrinkled splendor. "God, I love uncut men," says a fellow who is clipped himself. "The longer the skin, the better. Watching a shiny head emerge from a nice nipple of skin is just so hot." If you, too, are poetically inclined, the foreskin may indeed seem to be guarding a fleshy little secret, one that heightens the contrast between "not-hard" and "boner" in a particularly sexy way. And there is, sure enough, plenty of porn that caters to foreskin fanciers.

Of course, not everyone's tastes coincide. One man who has a hefty foreskin says, "I prefer cut ones. Cleaner, sleeker, nicer. Just prettier." Well, as they say, one man's meat...

Foreskins can carry surprising social significance. Muslims and Jews are, of course, cut by divine fiat. But in the United States, circumcision has, until recently, been the overwhelming norm for folks of all persuasions. To Americans, an uncut penis often served as a marker of earthy working-class roots or, paradoxically, a sophisticated European background. (Sure enough, porn with the word "Euro" in the title pretty well guarantees prepuces.) These days, American foreskins can also connote "young," since increasing numbers of parents are, in line with medical knowledge, choosing to leave Willie's little willie alone. If current trends continue, an intact prick will someday symbolize as little in the United States as in much of the rest of the world.

Whatever a foreskin may or may not connote, it sure can be fun to play with. It can be goofily enjoyable to stretch the sucker out, sometimes way out. And once an uncircumcised shaft is stiff, it's just made for masturbation, as the sensitive skin slides slickly over the dickhead with no lube required. "I enjoy going down on an uncut man," enthuses one committed cocksucker. "If it's a loose or long skin, I can get my tongue up under it, or even chew on it gently." But of all the foreskin games, the best known is "docking" – an uncut man sliding his skin over his buddy's cockhead. It can be a hot, "joined at the dick" moment – though, regrettably, slit-to-slit contact can pass on a variety of STDs.

Foreskins are not without their drawbacks. Uncut men do have to take a bit more care of their dangles. Smegma, an oily substance produced by glands in the foreskin, serves as a natural lubricant. But after a while, it begins to ripen and smell, giving rise to smegma's common nickname, "cheese." A spot of soap and water solves the problem, though there are raunch fanciers who adore the smell of uncut, unwashed dick. And, of course, uncut guys who don't wear underwear have to watch out for zippers.

So does uncut meat get you hot? For all the noise generated by the circumcision controversy, there's no compelling evidence that uncircumcised men enjoy sex any more than their trimmed brothers do. Among some circles, though, uncut guys are esteemed as more "natural," and more than a few cut guys have foreskin envy. Sure, in these body-modified days of tattoos and piercings, the appeal of original-equipment genitalia is up for grabs. But if you want to grab onto a foreskin, rest assured that you're not alone.

Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion

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