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From Today's LA Times

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One of the few choices parents still get to make regarding their male children, all else seems to have been legislated. Of course by the time a young man reaches the age of legal decision it is too late to make any changes to this most important part of the body.

I have met several young men who did not know how to keep the area of their foreskin clean and healthy, but that was a soap and water issue easily taught. The medical issues were something I did not recognize, thanks for the heads up, Cole.

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Poppycock! It's institutionalized maiming and disfigurement where the victim has no say. Of course, the same is true of parents' imposing religion on unsuspecting children, but at least imposed religion can be reversed .

Circumcision should be elective surgery when the child reaches majority and not be imposed by his parents!

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Somehow, if a young male reaches 13 and the choice is then given to him to have part of his favorite part hacked off, I think the percentage of youngsters jumping up in glee and saying, "Yes, yes, yes, and it's about time, too!" would be less that infinitesimal.

I liked the fact I looked like my father did. And like most of the boys in the shower room. I've never regretted the loss of a part I never remember having. I've read about men who are sorely perturbed that they no longer have this part, and men who've had reconstructive surgery performed because they so missed this part they wanted it back. I've never understood this.

But there is certainly vehemence on the side of the non-cutting faction. I've give you that.


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at least imposed religion can be reversed .

Well, since you raised the subject, I have to state that religion indoctrinated into the unsuspecting child can never be fully reversed.

The reason for this is that the natural development of the child includes basic (parental and cultural) instructions for survival into which the religion (whichever one it happens to be) is incorporated as part of the survival instructions.

Even in adulthood, conscious rejection of the religion, its dogma, and its rituals will not enable the individual to react wholly independent of the influences of basic religious doctrines. Converts to other religions, or even to atheism, often exhibit their new found belief with the same kind of operational strictures of their rejected religion. Puritan atheist converts can be quite as adamant of their position as are Catholic Anglican converts.

It is quite possible to alter one's belief, but living without religious doctrinal influence is a never ending effort to sustain one's own personal independence in cultures that really aren't accepting of non-conformity.

As for the cut of unkindness, I know adults who underwent circumcision as late as 60 years of age, and they report that the loss of sensitivity isn't even worth considering as the least bit significant to their pleasure.

Here again, we might consider that male circumcision is very common in many native cultures as a rite of passage into manhood, with almost as many variations as there are cultures. To get back to religion, one can reasonably say that both uncut and cut men have attitudes towards circumcision that are held with conviction that is reminiscent of religious belief.

The moral question of whether parents should decide if the cut should be made or not, is almost paralleled by whether God exists or not. I find it hard to believe that short of a painfull constriction of the penis' sheath, that the idea of cutting one's pride and joy would be at all popular. So the idea of leaving the decision to the individual when they have grown up seems to me to be ingenuous, but that is not an argument to validate the parents making the decision.

The real question posing some bafflement is, why do we humans constantly mix religion and sex?

The answer to that is both anthropological and psychological with moral and philosophical implications.

What we need is really extensive scientific studies on the nature of disease in both the uncut and cut male appendage. At the moment the there is too much emotion attached to the unattached skin, and not enough research into those who have not left the hood behind them.

Research assistants should be easy enough to find. :wave:

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Sorry, I don't believe it. You can get statistics and report writers to say what you want - besides, they're projections, how can they be otherwise. It sounds more like doctors scaremongering because they'll lose x million dollars of circumcision money. I like my foreskin, we're good friends and provided you wash I really don't see a problem. If the foreskin was truly a problem we'd have lost it by this stage of our evolution.

Circumcision should be elective surgery when the child reaches majority and not be imposed by his parents!

Abso-bloody-lutely! :flasher[1]:

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I had a quick read of the article and I noticed they used those African studies on how circumcision reduced the chance of HIV and other infections. However, as was pointed out near the end, in many countries there are other more effective ways of reducing STDs - such as using condoms. Picking some figures out of the air (because I'm too lazy to track down the African studies to get exact figures), you have a choice: get circumcised and reduce your chance of picking up an STD by maybe 5%, or use a condom and reduce your chance of picking up an STD by maybe 95%. Which one do you think is the better option?

Even though I'm circumcised, we didn't get our boys circumsized. In Australia, I believe it's now the minority that do so here - it's out of fashion, though it's still done if the parents ask.

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I agreed with Dude on this. I have regretted this irreversible decision by my parents to have the doctor perform an irreversible procedure. It is a decision in which I had no say and with which I have to live for the rest of my life. If this issue of cleanliness, then, for goodness sake, teach a boy how to properly clean his willy. Don't disfigure him.

As for other health issues, the usual precautions against STD's will eliminate or greatly decrease those risks.

There was also report on the news many years ago that indicated that anesthetics are not used during the procedure because doctors don't believe the boy feels pain at that age. What nonsense! Of course, boys can feel the pain there! They are inflicting unnecessary torture on a child for no reason other than religious or social convention.

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I'm circumcised, but I guess that I had what might be called a "partial circumcision" meaning that I still have a foreskin, it's just not as long as it would have been. When I'm flaccid all but the tip of my glans is covered by what's left of my foreskin. There's a picture on Wikipedia that isn't my penis but is similar foreskin-wise at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e9/Penis_with_Labels.jpg.

Colin :icon_geek:

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Very much the same as my husband, thanks for sharing, Colin.

I am a classic full cut with two-tone skin where the scar would have been.

I'm actually an equal opportunity kind of guy where the penis is concerned. I treat them all with the same amount of loving care.

It is very important to let your partner know how you like your penis treated as there is a distinct difference for cut and and uncut handling for some people.

Some prefer the gentle caress of the surf bubbling onto the beach, whilst others prefer being in the grip of a perfect storm.

This is very encouraging. In sixty years we have gone from never mentioning the penis to describing it in detail, and how we like it tricked or treated, on the Internet for the whole world to read. Some days I think it is a miracle our parents ever dared manage to have sex.

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Studies also show that castration leads to a 100% decrease in all forms of testicular cancer. But that doesn't mean I'd support that medical procedure.

The study sounds limited in scope and incomplete. Data is data, but I'd like to know several things: What is the incidence of the aforementioned diseases in uncircumcised men, and their partners, who have been taught, and regularly perform, proper hygiene as opposed to those who do not? What is the incidence in both circumcised and uncircumcised men in the aforementioned diseases in the countries where the study was performed as compared to my country? What social and cultural issues impact those differences, particularly those regarding sexual mores and hygiene? What is the incidence of other, non-sexually transmitted, diseases in those countries not impacted by insect or rodent infestation or water purity, but focused particularly on social issues?

Studies are great. But context is everything.

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In Britain it was never as popular as it was Stateside, I think. It's a very sensitive part of the anatomy, with an abundance of nerve endings, and so can contribute to enjoyable sex. I'm very glad I've still got mine. My mother taught me as an infant to pull it back to pee, but I wish she'd taught me to push it forward again when I finished. I never did this, and as a result mine isn't tight enough to settle back covering the glans. Like the Wikipedia pic someone above linked to, mine never fully covers the glans and I wish it did.

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The real question posing some bafflement is, why do we humans constantly mix religion and sex?


And, an even better question... why do people associate sex with the bathroom? I have never done it in a bathroom, unless you count playing in the showers. I have always thought of that room as a place for getting rid of bad stuff, not enjoying life!

As for the other stuff... I am for some unknown reason, and Paco is all there.

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And, an even better question... why do people associate sex with the bathroom? I have never done it in a bathroom, unless you count playing in the showers. I have always thought of that room as a place for getting rid of bad stuff, not enjoying life!

As for the other stuff... I am for some unknown reason, and Paco is all there.

So from your reference to 'playing in the showers', I assume that when you say "bathroom" you are talking about a public toilet.

To answer your question then, as to why public toilets were used for sex, or at least as places for gay men to meet, it is necessary to understand just how utterly horrid life was before the law prohibiting male homosexual activity was changed. Please bear with my longish reply as this is an important question and needs to be answered.

There were no dating services in those days (before 1973 here in Australia). In fact there was no Internet, and the local newspapers would refuse to print any personal notice which even remotely hinted at male sexual liaison. The closest you could get to a "Men seeking men" type of notice in the newspaper was in the "Flats to share" column usually in Saturday's paper, and reading something along the lines of:

Flat/room share, to let to broad minded man. Phone: 555 555.

The words, Gay, or homosexual were banned from appearing in print by the newspaper owners.

In addition, there were, at the most, only one or two 'coffee lounges' which tolerated 'camp' male clientele. The police watched them very carefully to make sure that the males were not getting too friendly, or horror of horrors, dancing with each other. Two males kissing each other, in public or in the privacy of their own home, could, and did get them arrested on a charge of 'Gross Indecency' which carried a penalty of up to two years imprisonment with 'hard labour'.

Social contact for gay men was a little easier in larger cities like Sydney where 'gay nightclubs' (with drag shows) paid the police to leave them alone. Even so, they were expensive places to visit, and only existed in the sections of the city set aside for female 'strip clubs'. Some employers would fire you from your job if you were seen attending one of those places.

Because of the difficulty in making contact with other gay men, only a few places existed that were relatively 'safe' to 'hook up.' The advent in the sixties of steam rooms and saunas for gay men were a boon, but still the owners had to pay for protection from the police, and that made them more expensive.

There were, certain streets which were known as being frequented by guys who were 'cruising' for sex.

Also, parks and beaches (especially at night) were popular places to meet someone.

Hitch-hiking was another method of getting 'picked up', often with danger of being mugged or worse.

Very few people had a place to go after they met someone.

Parking in a car was dangerous because the police constantly investigated anyone sitting in a car on the side of a road, or in a car near a park.

You had to be able to provide a reason as to why you sitting in your car, or you could be arrested for "loitering with intent."

So you might be able to understand that quick, anonymous sex in a public toilet was reasonably 'safe' because you had a reason for being in there...to pee.

The toilets and the streets, and the parks and beach fronts that were popular for picking someone up were known as 'Beats.'

It's important to emphasise that few people had a place of their own. Young men in particular still lived with their parents, and coming out was not even an option. Few employers would tolerate an effeminate manner in their staff, and unmarried men were looked at with suspicion.

Parents were known to have reported their sons to the police if they found them having sex with another man. They would send their sons to 'aversion' therapy clinics where electric shock treatment was used to try to make them heterosexual.

Public toilets became meeting places for guys looking for sex, and often were raided by police, who also used police 'decoys' to entrap males into making a 'lewd' approach to the decoy who would then arrest them.

Generally though, the public toilet was safer than being caught by your parents behind the family home's garage or in the bedroom, or by police patrols hiding in the bushes of a park.

If you're thinking that guys should have just masturbated to porn in the privacy of their own bedroom, then think again. There was no porn in those days, except for scantily clad models in muscle building magazines, and even those were enough to give narrow-minded parents a cause to throw kids onto the streets.

Gay liberation and the decriminalisation of homosexual activity enabled most guys to have some kind of social interaction in clubs and bars. Older men had a more difficult time adjusting to no longer needing to 'do the beats' in order to meet someone. For many of them, the beats had become an addiction that would prove difficult to give up. The threat of becoming infected with HIV was one of the main reasons many guys stopped going to the beats. Given the aggressive nature of the police arresting gay men, just imagine what society would have done to us if the law had not been changed to permit same sex activity between consenting adults in private. As it is, HIV is still considered a gay disease by the religious right, even though it can be shown to infect all people regardless of their sexual orientation.

So before condemning anonymous gay sex in public toilets as being icky or unclean, do try to understand there really were very few alternatives where gay men could meet and discover each other for sex, let alone with a view to finding a life partner.

Does promiscuous anonymous sex in public still exist? Yes it does. Should it still exist? I'm not prepared to judge the sex lives of others. We already have far too much condemnation of our sex lives from the narrow-minded zealous conservative right wing, who would, by the way, not even hesitate to criminalise homosexual activity again if they could get away with it.

Rather than worrying about the nature of 'bathroom' sex, I think we need to actively promote the freedom of consensual sexual expression as a universal human right. There are still far too many places and cultures on the planet that need to be liberated from the oppression of individual freedom to love and express that love sexually with those who agree to love in return.

Such liberation and acceptance will do more to encourage healthy environments for sexual expression. Moreover, it will hopefully stop any return to those days when public bathrooms were the only place we dared to meet.

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O... K... I get it. Let us become educated to an more enlightened age (sort of) and revel in the grass of your local woods... sans snakes. Thanks for the view into the past Mr. Orang. It is not that I do not feel for you and the others of that era. I was mostly thinking though of "everyone" gay and straight that speak of sex in hushed tones and almost in the same sentences make some joke in reference to the toilet.

Also, I do not miss my foreskin. I like Paco's as it makes him, him. But if it was not there, I probably would not miss it either.

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That's priceless Paul,

You were referring to toilet humour, so I delivered a lecture on the historical culture of gay beats.

Thanks for taking the time to read it.

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