Exchange Student

I was born in 1975 and had very little knowledge about what circumcision was before going to America in 1993. The reason for the stay was an exchange year at high school. Since children aren't usually circumcised in Sweden I didn't know much more about it than that it is a thing Jews practice and that it is a procedure where they cut away a part of their penis. To me it seemed to be a primitive thing before going to America, but it really didn't occupy me since it's not a topic that is discussed in Sweden.

The first time I saw someone who was circumcised was in the locker-room at school at the beginning of the semester and soon I realised that I was in minority in class, if not the only one, not being circumcised. Since I didn't know that there existed such a thing as routine infant circumcision my best guess was that maybe the majority in class were Jews.

A couple of days later when I had made some friends in class I talked to one of them about it and he explained to me that probably nobody was Jewish in class but circumcision is something that is done anyway on Americans. The reasons are hygiene, culture (look like your father and "everyone" else) and because it looks better without an "elephant-trunk".
I can't say that I agreed with him since there is no known general problem with penile hygiene in Sweden and the "elephant-trunk" was something that in fact made you look like everyone else where I come from.

Two months later I had an American girlfriend. It didn't take her long to discover that I was uncircumcised. She complained that my penis had a bad smell and said that a circumcision would make the smell disappear. In her opinion it would also look better and more manly without the foreskin. I laughed and tried to talk about something else but she said that I would at least have to wash my penis before having sex with her. The hygiene argument really hurt because I showered every day and washed myself with soap under the foreskin so I couldn't understand where the bad smell came from, especially since my first girlfriend in Sweden before her had never complained. However I had to admit that if I pulled my foreskin back at the end of a day's urination and rubbed the moist off the glans with my hand, my hand wouldn't exactly have a pleasant smell after that. This was the smell she complained about and called a turn-off and disgusting. I couldn't blame her when I smelled it myself.

It took me a couple of days to find out where the smell came from. I found out that it was urine (the extra drop which comes a minute after you have finished urinating) that accumulated under the foreskin. The foreskin then provided a perfect moist and warm place for bacteria to grow at. Considering the fact that the number of bacteria doubles every 20 minutes, the bad smell was no longer a riddle.
I also found out that if you are circumcised, the extra drop of urine ends up in your underwear and dries out there causing no bad smell under the foreskin.

My first idea was to keep my foreskin retracted after having urinated and by this make the extra drop end up in my underwear. This way I would get the advantage a circumcision provides without loosing any foreskin. At the beginning when I tried to keep my foreskin retracted I got a constant erection from the rubbing of my glans against my underwear. And when the erection finally went away, hair would get caught under the foreskin causing pain. That's why I came up with the idea to use surgical tape to keep the foreskin retracted when my penis was soft. I kept my foreskin retracted like this for approximately 3 months. I got used to what it felt like to have a constantly bare glans and had to admit to myself that I kind of enjoyed the feeling. My glans was by now dried out, and stroking it wasn't uncomfortable any more as it had been before. In fact it was now a joy to stroke it softly with dry hands. I guess I had been overly sensitive before because my glans had not been used to any dry friction.

If I compared sensation when the glans was moist, as it is during sexual intercourse or oral sex, there was no big difference. But my girlfriend was thankful for the improved hygiene during oral sex.
Besides the improved hygiene and sensation I also liked the looks of my penis without the foreskin. I actually started to consider a circumcision with my girlfriend as an eager supporter.

By this time I had (of course) also heard the arguments from the anti-circumcision-folks about loosing sensitivity and that circumcising meant mutilating. But I made an appointment with a doctor to hear the arguments for and against circumcision and to ask the questions I had. The doctor explained the medical benefits with reduced risk for sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract infections, yeast infections and hygiene improvement. He also explained that there was no danger with loss of sensitivity if the circumcision is done the "right" way. The trick was to keep the entire inner (the pink part) foreskin and to only cut away the outer foreskin (the brown shaft-skin). The inner foreskin is the sensitive part and the outer foreskin is just a part of the shaft-skin which I would have plenty of even after the circumcision. This style would mean that I would have the scar lower down on my penis and that it would be more visible that I was circumcised than when the inner foreskin (or a part of it) is cut away and the scar is closer to the glans. But cutting away the inner foreskin wasn't wrong. The doctor explained that lots of people wanted to hide the scar in the coronal groove to get a, in their opinion, better look. But even these patients that had no inner foreskin left complained about loss of sensitivity.

I went home and thought about what the doctor had said. When stroking my penis I recognised that the inner foreskin indeed was the more sensitive part. I decided to keep the entire inner foreskin if I were to get circumcised. The only thing that kept me away from circumcising by now was the anxiety about what friends and family in Sweden would say when I got back without a foreskin. If I told them that I had done it voluntarily they would think that I was nuts.

The strategy I came up with was to say that I had always had a tight foreskin and that it had become necessary for me to get circumcised in America. None of them had of course examined me closely to be able to say that I didn't have a phimosis and that the phimosis was the reason for the circumcision. This was a brilliant explanation and a valid reason to get circumcised.

With all these considerations behind me I now called the doctor and told him that I had decided to get circumcised and we set a date for the surgery. He circumcised me under a local anaesthetic and we agreed that only outer foreskin was to be removed. But as he was circumcising me he noticed that I had a quite large and loose foreskin. He said that it would be better if he removed the frenulum if I didn't want to have excessive foreskin bunching up. By removing it my ventral side of the penis would be just as smooth as the dorsal side. The end result was a circumcision where the inner foreskin was preserved (accept the frenulum) with a scar-line far down on the shaft. The glans is always bare even when flaccid but I wouldn't say that I was tightly circumcised because I have no pain during erection.

Three months later I went back to Sweden. After sports in the locker-room it didn't take long for my friends to see that I had been circumcised. I got the expected questions why and I said that I had had a phimosis and that it had been necessary to get circumcised. Then the questions about what it was like came up. I said that it was much better without the foreskin and that I wouldn't want it back even if it were possible.

I explained the medical, hygiene and sensation advantages. Because I was so positive about my circumcision and told them about the disadvantages a foreskin has my nickname was Kojak for a couple of days after this conversation.

My two years younger brother first laughed when he first saw that I was circumcised. But a couple of weeks later he said that he had tried to keep his foreskin retracted to see what it was like to be circumcised and he agreed with all those advantages that I had mentioned. He said that it felt and looked cool to have a bare glans and I can only agree. Two years later he also went to high school as an exchange-student and also got circumcised.

My Swedish girlfriend since 13 months prefers my circumcised penis. She likes the looks of it and the improved hygiene. She can't however feel any difference when we are having sex compared to an uncircumcised penis. This goes pretty much the same for the two other girlfriends I have had since I broke up with my American girlfriend.

The fact that circumcision is unusual in Sweden makes my penis kind of unique and I am proud of having a cleaner and better-looking penis than the rest. My experience being the almost only one circumcised has never bothered me or been a problem. Sometimes people have been curious about what it is like to be circumcised but I have never experienced being teased because my penis looks different. Neither my brother nor I have ever regretted our circumcisions.

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