Friday, July 26, 2013

Phallic Friday - circumcision

To cut or not to cut? This is a huge medical question and I'm not going to get into the debate. I just want to ask about it, from a story writing perspective - is it important?

Because of changing medical decisions about circumcision, there are age brackets of men who are, or who aren't, with a few bucking the trend. In my age group, most men are circumcised. To meet an uncut man is unusual.

I've been thinking about this in stories. Most don't mention the penis status, yet I think it's a missed detail. It's also something we as a society often don't talk about.

I have a couple of funny stories about this topic.

I worked with a lady who emigrated to Australia from a European country where men were generally uncircumcised. She got a job as a nurse's aid in a hospital and was asked to wash a male patient. When she got to his penis, he was circumcised and she had never seen a circumcised penis before. She went to get her superior, thinking the man had some awful injury. She told me she had never been so embarrassed in her life.

Another story. I shared an office with 2 guys. We were pretty open and discussed all manner of things. They were both married with kids and treated me like their kid sister. A show started on TV called "Sex" where all manner of topics were addressed. We used to discuss the show the next day. There had been a segment about circumcision and we were discussing it (we're scientists, so it was quite a medical-type discussion of the pros and cons). During the discussion, one of the fellows said, "Well, what exactly is it?" We were speechless. Then I said, "Maybe you two should go to the mens room and sort this out." But the other guy bolted, guffawing loudly. I was left to explain what circumcision was - and all I could be thankful for was that this guy had daughters!! (I don't know if he was pulling my leg or not, but I think not. He was a farm boy, but incredibly naive and shy.)

So, in my mind, discussing and describing the penis is important. I also think the same about women's vaginas, especially when I look at the statistics about vaginoplasties - it's horrific. I'll make a start on penis description... and try to have a mixture of circumcised and uncircumcised heroes. One day I may have words enough to describe women too!

Is body part description important to you? Is cut or uncut important?


  1. It's not important to me in real life, or in my writing.
    I put circumcision in my 'condom' basket... in that when I'm writing or reading love scenes, I don't care to know about foreskins, and I don't care to know about whether the condom went on or the foil packet 'tinkled' or they had to throw away the crushed balloon of wigglies later... Care factor, not high.
    The only thing that I feel differently about is, I have 2 boys. I figure it's their choice (not mine) about whether they do or don't. So they can decide in later years and act (or not act) upon it.
    All good food for thought. Thanks Cate!

    Lily M
    p.s. I haven't seen a FB picture of your gorgeous book cover all week. I have serious withdrawals. Thank goodness I can always see it on my upper right of the screen when I come visit here. No wonder I'm such a regular visitor!

    1. Hey Lily,
      I'm glad you're such a regular visitor. :)

      Thanks heaps for your thoughts. It's such a difficult decision - and one of the hundreds you make each time you write! And I thought this gig woudl be easy! LOL

      Cate xox