The Psychological Harm of Male Circumcision

by Kurt Johmann

Written: August 2003

To get a quick sense of this essay’s content, its sections are:

  1. The Standard American Circumcision: What it Destroys
  2. Mutilated Men have Difficulty Understanding the Sexual Damage
  3. Blaming Mother
  4. Diminished Body Image and Reduced Self-Esteem
  5. Circumcision Makes Anal Intercourse Attractive
  6. Sexual Mutilation Shifts its Victims in a Negative Direction

When a young male of any age is sexually mutilated (circumcised) against his will, physical harm is done to his body and psychological harm is done to his mind. And just as the physical harm will remain with him for the rest of his life, so does the psychological harm. As other writers have suggested, the destructive assault on a young male's penis by a sexual mutilator is a great trauma for that male victim, and the consequences of this destructive assault are independent of whatever rationalizations or justifications were in the minds of that sexual mutilator and his accomplices as he performed his criminal assault.[1] As psychologist Ronald Goldman says:

If I forcefully cut off one of your healthy fingers, my reason would make no difference to you, even if I sincerely believed that amputating your finger was for your own good. Your experience of the event would be the same—pain, shock, horror. In the case of circumcision, what we are doing to the infant is cutting off a part of his penis. No explanations can change that fact. Our reasons, whether they involve religious belief, cultural conformity, or pleasing a relative, may make us feel better, but they make no difference to the infant.[2]

In my earlier writings on this circumcision subject (see my American Culture and Monotheism, Imperialism, and Genital Mutilation essays), I focus primarily on the sexual damage that male circumcision causes, and the reason why America, the world’s largest empire, is also a very prolific sexual mutilator (at the time I am writing this essay in 2003, roughly three-fourths of the adult American males who were born in America and are alive today, are sexually mutilated). And, as I have already stated in my American Culture essay, I myself am an American man who was sexually mutilated as an infant, as were roughly 70% of the other American males who were born at that time (I was born in 1955, and am 47 years old as I write this). As a complement to those two earlier essays, in this essay I focus primarily on the psychological damage that male circumcision causes, with additional discussion of the sexual damage.

The Standard American Circumcision: What it Destroys

Various mechanical devices were developed in the 20th century to simplify and standardize the sexual-mutilation procedure done by American doctors. For example, one widely used device, called the Gomco clamp, was introduced in the 1930s. A good survey of these destructive devices, with many photos and illustrations, is Methods of Circumcision.

Briefly, the standard circumcision done to male infants in America completely removes all of the outer foreskin and much of the inner foreskin, all of the frenulum, and some of the shaft skin. The frenulum is the connective tissue that attaches the inner foreskin to the underside of the penis head. Two close-up photos of the frenulum are at Frenulum: the top photo shows the frenulum when the foreskin is pulled forward over the head, and the bottom photo shows the frenulum when the foreskin is pulled backward off the head. The frenulum is reputed to be the single most sensitive spot for the natural man. However, I wouldn’t know, since my own frenulum was stolen from me by a sexual mutilator. Thus, for myself, I can only say that my own most sensitive spot on my penis is on the underside of my penis head at the same location shown in the photos where the frenulum attaches to the head.

A good set of color photos comparing natural and mutilated penises when erect is at A Comparison of Intact and Circumcised Erect Penises. Note that some advocates of sexual mutilation like to claim that natural and mutilated penises look the same when erect, but as anyone can see, there are large visible differences.

Assuming the standard American circumcision, for an adult man his inner-foreskin remnant—the small portion of his foreskin that was not removed by his circumcision—is the band of pinkish-colored skin that lies between his penis head and his circumcision scar. The dark-colored circumcision scar which encircles his penis, marks the transition from the light-colored inner-foreskin remnant to the darker-colored shaft skin. In my own case, my inner-foreskin remnant, when I am erect, is an inch wide measured between my penis head and my circumcision scar, and this seems to be in the normal range based on a sampling of images of mutilated American men as shown in various instances of American porno. Of course, for myself and other mutilated men, this inner-foreskin remnant is no longer inner skin; however, it is still more sensitive than the shaft skin which has little sensitivity.

Although the standard American circumcision leaves some of the inner-foreskin, some American men have received a non-standard circumcision that leaves no inner-foreskin. For example, in the recent forum post Circumcision is horrible dont do it! (sort of long), dated July 26, 2003, by Brian of west V (Brian of West Virginia; I have made a small number of copy-edit changes to improve the readability of his text), he says:

Hi all,

New to this board and I am so glad I found it! What a place to vent, cause if you haven’t figured it out yet by the title of my post, I hate circumcision. I am a circumcised 25-year-old and if you’ll bear with me, I’ll explain why I hate it so much.

I was born in a small economically and sexually repressed town of about 800 people in the ‘Great’ state of West Virginia. The only medical facilities that the town had were two clinics, one for [ages] 0-18 and the other for anyone older which was shared with another town. Each was staffed by a doctor and two nurses, but the two doctors were often at odds with each other, and so neither poached on the other’s turf. The pediatrics clinic had a birthing facility, and so unless you wanted to give birth at home (no one did that, we were not that redneck!) or you wanted to drive 80 miles to the next hospital, you gave birth at that clinic.

Dr. M, the man who ran the clinic handled all the births and regular checkups. The nurses handled all walk-ins. Dr. M was one of those old-curmudgeonly old-school docs, who had been doctoring in the town for almost 30 years. Anyway, as you might have imagined, he was strongly in favor of RIC [Routine Infant Circumcision] and didn’t really give parents a choice. If a boy was born he would be given all the medical necessities and then whisked into the next room for a circumcision, without anesthesia, no doubt. The worst part about the doc was that he was one of those anti-pleasure sadists. When I was looking around on the internet I found that as the unofficial definition of what he was. He would remove lots of skin, completely removing the foreskin, all the inner skin, and the frenulum. In short, from my research I can tell that all I was left with was outer skin [shaft skin], which has far fewer sensory receptors.

Looking at my mutilated penis now, I can see the result of his work. The very pale outer skin is pulled tight with no slack or wrinkles and no scar or coloration changes either, meaning that there is no inner skin [inner-foreskin] left. The head, which stands completely free of skin is not the dark brown or red, but more pale, almost like the shaft skin. On the underside there is a smooth grove where the frenulum might have been, but there is not even a trace of it now. When I look down I don’t see an object of beauty, I see a dry, pale, mutilated thing. All the boys in the town were circumcised this way, because he did it the same way, every time. So for a long time I thought this was the normal way things were. My two brothers looked like that, all my friends looked like that, and so I didn’t think twice. Masturbation was always a difficult venture at best because I had next to no erotic tissue left. I would have to work furiously for a long time in order to get any reaction, and would often have to use massive amounts of spit as lube. In the few circle-jerk sessions that I attended other boys had trouble as well. It would have looked comical had it not been so sad, looking at a bunch of boys trying furiously to jerk each other off, but having very little success. I gave up on masturbation very soon as did most of my friends. Dr. M had succeeded in his mission of sexually repressing us I guess.

When I later began to have sex, I would again have to work furiously to get any sort of arousal out of my deadened member, and several girls asked me to stop thrusting so hard. Even the erections themselves are not as comfortable as they should be, I think. The skin already tight when flaccid, becomes even tighter when erect. Luckily, no sack skin comes up the shaft, but there is always an uncomfortable pressure. Is that normal??? Anyway, I’ll stop rambling now, but circumcision has made my sex life horrible, and it is all because one man wanted it to be that way. DON’T CIRCUMCISE!

The above post is very revealing because it implies that the standard American circumcision destroys as much as possible without rendering its victim so sexually dysfunctional that he cannot even masturbate. Instead of making masturbation very difficult or impossible, the standard American circumcision leaves just enough foreskin so that masturbation is possible, but there is still so much foreskin missing that sexual pleasure is greatly reduced and sexual intercourse with women is a lousy experience. Thus, the American empire has evolved an optimal strategy for its program of sexual mutilation, because as I explain in my American Culture essay, the primary purpose of America’s sexual-mutilation program is to attack the family.

Mutilated Men have Difficulty Understanding the Sexual Damage

For those men who have been sexually mutilated, it seems that the hardest thing for the average mutilated man to accept is the idea that he has suffered sexual damage. Apparently, the only mutilated men who easily accept this idea are those who have been brainwashed—typically by some form of imperialism, such as one of the monotheist religions, either Judaism, Christianity, or Islam—to believe that sex is evil. For example:

Advocates of circumcision either do not recognize the sexual impact of circumcision, or judge that the altered state constitutes an improvement. For example, Rabbi Daniel Landers of Yeshiva University and freelance writer Sheryl Robbin defend circumcision by stating that “the male is not considered perfect at birth.” Reflecting the views expressed in ancient rabbinic texts, they say that the male’s sexual drive is inherently “evil” and requires “restraint.” … An early rabbinic belief was that with reduced sexual activity, a circumcised man could more easily concentrate on study of the Torah [Jewish religious law and learning].[3]

One reason that understanding the sexual damage done by circumcision is hard for the average mutilated man, is because sexual sensation and feeling are intangibles that cannot be seen or measured. To get an idea of what others are sensing and feeling, one is mostly limited to hearing and/or reading the stated experiences of others, or observing others in action, and then analyzing this data. In my own case, I do not know any natural men who I could ask about their experiences, so I was mostly limited to analyzing a wide range of written statements on the Internet and in books. I had to read a lot of material before I felt confident that I had a good understanding of the sexual losses resulting from the forced sexual mutilation of infant boys.

Because sexual sensation and feeling are subjective, it is helpful when studying sexual losses caused by circumcision to have statements from men who have directly experienced, at least to some extent, both states (both the natural state and the mutilated state). Natural men who were circumcised as adults typically report huge sexual losses. Mutilated men who restore their foreskins when adult (only a partial restoration is possible) typically report large increases in sexual sensation and feeling. Besides these two categories, there is actually a third category: a mutilated man who has a skin-bridge or skin-tag caused by his circumcision, and then has this skin-bridge or skin-tag removed when he is an adult. For example:


Contributed by Christopher P., London, England

As one who suffered the fashionable mutilation of neonate [infant] circumcision in the mid-1940s in Britain, I have always resented the fact that, far from being a necessary procedure, my circumcision was wholly unnecessary and has left me, because it was performed by a very junior doctor, with a penis so tightly cut that a full erection is very uncomfortable, with a scar that looks as if the operation were done with a pair of pinking scissors and which wanders up and down the shaft, with a glans which is pitted from infections contracted (my mother told me) whilst I was in diapers from which a foreskin would have protected me (so my father, a doctor, told me) and with a glans so insensitive that I have greater sensitivity in my finger-tips. In my mid-30s I finally plucked up courage (because for many years I feared further butchery to a penis which caused me so much distress from its appearance and lack of proper function) to have an broad adhesion between the glans and the shaft, caused solely by the circumcision and its aftermath, removed: what struck me was that for a few weeks the part of the glans so exposed to touch and to the sensation of my wife’s tongue and vagina was intensely more profound than I had believed possible. For the first time oral sex from my wife was something that I could actually feel in a small part of my glans. In due course the abrasion of clothing reduced that part of the glans to the same grey, insensitive piece of flesh as the rest.

Having glimpsed for myself, no matter in so small a part of the glans and for such a brief time, how life might have been had I not been mutilated as a victim of medical fashion, my resentment and my sense of loss and loathing increased and deepened. At the age of 50 I still harbour bitter anger towards my mother for giving into the blandishments of the doctors.[4]

Another reason that understanding the sexual damage done by circumcision is hard for the average mutilated man, is because the consequences of this understanding include emotional pain (and it is natural for people to avoid pain). In the above statement by Christopher P., he says “my resentment and my sense of loss and loathing increased and deepened” as a consequence of his increased understanding of his sexual losses. In my own case, the understanding of my sexual losses made me angry (I am not normally angry about anything), and my anger lasted for roughly a year (roughly from the latter part of 2001 to the latter part of 2002). And like so many other mutilated men who have expressed their anger over their mutilation, I too was having fantasies about killing the doctor who mutilated me.

Initially I was surprised by how I reacted to my increased understanding of my sexual losses. I thought that since I was already a middle-aged over-the-hill man, that I would be able to take this understanding of my sexual losses calmly. But that was not the case.

One thing I did during this time as I learned about my sexual losses, was I confronted both my parents, individually, about my circumcision and the damage they had caused me. I believe that confronting one’s parents, assuming one has access to them, is a good idea, and I recommend this action to other sexually mutilated men. In my own case, I was mad at both my parents—even though I fully understood at the time that they were simply ignorant about circumcision, and they were merely conforming to an American society that pushes sexual mutilation for imperial reasons. Thus, I understood at the time that my parents were simply dupes of an evil society, but I still felt anger toward them. But what surprised me most about my emotional reaction during these confrontations was that the anger I felt toward my father was small compared to the explosive anger that I felt toward my mother.

Blaming Mother

I was satisfied with a single confrontation with my father during which I expressed my anger (he pleaded ignorance about the harm that circumcision causes). But with my mother (who also pleaded ignorance), perhaps half-a-dozen times during that year of anger and months afterwards, the same pattern resulted: I bring up the circumcision subject and at first I am calm and rational like I normally am, but before long at some point during the conversation an intense anger suddenly comes over me, directed against my mother, and my calm voice becomes a voice of rage (I then struggle to regain control of myself). These outbursts always surprised me, and I was puzzled as to why my mother was the target of this anger originating from my unconscious mind. Back then I rationalized that since my father was also mutilated, that that was the reason I felt less anger toward him. However, it was not until early 2003 that I learned the correct explanation for this blame-mother attitude of my unconscious mind, after reading the explanation given in the 1996 article Ending Circumcision: Where Sex and Violence First Meet, by Jeannine Baker:

Psychiatrist Rima Laibow [based on her clinical experience] finds that men carry an unconscious rage against their mothers for betrayal, abandonment, and the assault of circumcision. In other words, the unconscious mind of the son blames his mother for his circumcision, not “the tradition,” the circumciser, or the father who wanted his son to look like himself—only the mother. …

Indeed, for a newborn, his world is mother. If she cannot protect him from violation at the beginning, a baby loses trust.

Thus, my infant mind associated my mutilation with my mother, and this association has remained in my mind. It is not hard to see how this association negatively affects the mother-son bond, and how this association can also lead to negative feelings, attitudes, and actions against women in adult life. Regarding how young males react to, and perceive, the sexual-mutilation assault that is circumcision, psychologist Ronald Goldman gives many examples, including the following:

Mothers reported that their infants changed temperament after the circumcision, cried for extended periods at home, and seemed inconsolable.[5]


[The experience of new mother Mary Milvich:] I shared a hospital room with a mother whose son was born within hours of my daughter. My roommate and I marveled at the identical personality traits exhibited by our newborn babies. Both were perfectly calm, never cried and gazed unwaveringly at out faces when we held them. … Delight in our new-found joys of motherhood was shattered the following morning. My roommate’s baby had changed. He refused to nurse; he cried; he wouldn’t be held. “He doesn’t want me,” my roommate pitifully told the nurse. “It’s just the circumcision,” the nurse told her comfortingly.[6]


Mary Conant, an obstetrical nurse, has observed circumcised infants who cover their genitals with their hands when their diapers are changed. Intact infants do not do this. [Goldman correctly infers that the circumcised infants fear further mutilation of their genitals, and are trying to protect themselves from any further mutilation by covering their genitals with their hands.][7]


A thirteen-year-old boy in psychoanalysis was profoundly affected by his circumcision at two years, eight months and regarded his mother as a malicious attacker. Similarly, in a study of twelve Turkish boys who were circumcised between the ages of four and seven, the children perceived their mothers as the mutilators and directed aggression at them.[8]

I think it is worth noting that this blame-mother attitude is certainly age limited. In other words, if the mutilation victim is too old when he is mutilated, then his mind will not blame his mother but instead blame the actual mutilator and whoever else was directly involved in bringing about his mutilation. For an average male, my guess is that this age limit is no later than a year or two before puberty. Thus, infants and young boys who are at least a few years from puberty are the perfect candidates for sexual mutilation, assuming the hidden reason for this sexual mutilation is to attack the family (both the victim’s birth family and any potential future family the victim may form with a female). Thus, it is no coincidence that both the American empire and the two monotheist religious empires that mutilate (Judaism and Islam) specifically target infants and young boys for sexual mutilation, because doing so maximizes the damage done to the family.[9]

Both Islam and Judaism sexually mutilate a relatively small number of older males (males who are past their blame-mother cutoff age): for these older males the anti-family effects are largely limited to those anti-family effects that result from the sexual dysfunction that sexual mutilation causes, because these older males are not going to be blaming mother. Similarly, America sexually mutilates a relatively small number of older males; and likewise, these older males are not going to be blaming mother. Thus, like Islam and Judaism, America does most of its sexual mutilating when the males are still young enough to blame mother.

Diminished Body Image and Reduced Self-Esteem

When a male infant or young boy suffers the sexual-mutilation assault that is circumcision, the blame-mother psychological damage results. And this psychological damage is carried forward into adult life by his unconscious mind. Similarly, and in addition, any victim of sexual mutilation—even if he has no conscious memories or knowledge of his sexual mutilation—is going to suffer during adulthood two types of psychological damage that are a direct reaction of his unconscious mind to his mutilated genitals:

The typical circumcised American man is consciously ignorant about the harmful effects of his circumcision, and his conscious knowledge is typically limited to believing what he was taught to believe: that circumcision is beneficial. But conscious ignorance is no protection against the unconscious mind. And similarly, conscious ignorance does not change the fact that his genitals are mutilated and sexually dysfunctional.

Circumcision Makes Anal Intercourse Attractive

As already explained, the American empire advocates and sexually mutilates its male citizens because this sexual mutilation has anti-family effects. And the same American empire that mutilates its young men, also fills their minds with the appropriate garbage so that these mutilated young men grow up to be ignorant adult men believing that their circumcision was done for their benefit. Until recently I myself was one of these ignorant American men. When your mind is filled with garbage it does not matter how logical you are, you are going to reach garbage conclusions. For example, it is said that everyone remembers his first time (his first instance of sexual intercourse with a female). Not only do I remember my first time, but I also remember what I was thinking about later that night as I was lying in bed prior to sleeping: I was rather surprised and puzzled by the fact that the inner push to have intercourse was so strong but the actual reward was so small. She was young, good looking, and had a great body; I was young; and there was no condom or other barrier between our sexual organs. And yet, what I actually felt during the fucking process—in terms of sexual sensation and feeling—was less than what I felt during masturbation. I never did reach any conclusion that night as to this apparent contradiction (I had been taught that circumcision is beneficial, and I had never heard of circumcision’s negative sexual effects, so I was unable to arrive at a correct understanding). In retrospect, given my current knowledge, the explanation for this small reward is obvious. For the average natural man, sexual intercourse with a female is a very pleasurable experience (the natural penis and natural vagina are made for each other, and work together to please both partners). But for the average mutilated American man (I include myself in this category), sexual intercourse with a female is something he has to work at, like a chore, in an effort to reach orgasm.[10]

The basic problem for the average mutilated American man is that his penis has been so desensitized by his mutilation that normal sexual intercourse with a female does not provide enough stimulation—hence the mutilated man must work at it, banging away, trying to feel something. In an effort to get sex that is more stimulating, a large fraction of America’s mutilated men fantasize about and/or practice forms of sex that apply more pressure on the penis. For example, many mutilated American men fantasize about anal intercourse—and they practice it if they can get a female to agree to it (most women don’t want to do it). The anti-circumcision literature written by others usually treads lightly on this subject of alternative sex practices, and any mention usually limits itself to simply noting America’s comparatively high rates of oral and anal intercourse. A relevant subject I have not seen discussed in the anti-circumcision literature is American porno—probably because no one wants to admit any familiarity with it.

One thing I have noticed in many American porno magazines is the frequent use of the word tight when describing the women shown (for each female shown in a set of color photos, there is typically some accompanying fictional descriptive text about that female, and it is common for this fictional descriptive text to claim that she is tight).[11] Of course, the female vagina is not tight in the way the average mutilated American man would want, applying sufficient pressure on his desensitized penis. The fictional descriptive text that accompanies the photos is constructed to give the male buyers of that magazine what they want, and since most male buyers in America are mutilated, they want their women tight (note that the text writer himself is probably mutilated, which means he can reach his mutilated audience by simply projecting his own desires, such as a desire for tightness, into his writing). And it is for this exact same reason that anal intercourse is so commonplace in American porno. Everyone has an asshole, and everyone knows that it is tight. Thus, the attraction of anal intercourse for the average mutilated American man.[12]

Sexual Mutilation Shifts its Victims in a Negative Direction

In summary, the average mutilated American man unconsciously blames his mother for his sexual mutilation, has lower levels of body image and self-esteem compared to his levels had he not been mutilated, and is sexually dysfunctional compared to his sexual functioning had he not been mutilated. These are the primary effects of his sexual mutilation. Besides these primary effects, there is a wide range of possible secondary effects that he can suffer, depending on how the primary effects interact with him, and influence him, in terms of his thinking, his emotions, and the actions he takes in his life. As to which secondary effects manifest and when, that largely depends on his mental details (such as his personality) and on the details of his life’s circumstances (such as the kind of society in which he lives).

Given the two primary effects of blaming mother and being sexually dysfunctional, possible resulting secondary effects include a wide range of negative feelings, attitudes, and actions directed against women. Given the other two primary effects, a lower body image and lower self-esteem, possible resulting secondary effects include a wide range of negative thoughts and feelings about the self, and possible compensatory actions—as Goldman suggests—involving verbally and/or physically attacking others.

Since America has sexually mutilated many tens-of-millions of men, it is no wonder that many American women complain about a lack of good men from which to choose. There is indeed a huge artificially created shortage of good (natural) men. And because the primary and secondary effects of sexual mutilation are negative, America’s large population of sexually mutilated men have an overall lower quality-of-life compared to what their collective quality-of-life would have been had they not been mutilated. Overall, in addition to greatly reducing sexual pleasure, sexual mutilation shifts its male victims in a negative direction, both physically and psychologically.


[1] In America, most of the actual sexual mutilators are men, but as women doctors become more common, more of these sexual mutilators will be women. The accomplices typically include the parents—especially the father if he himself is sexually mutilated.

[2] Goldman, Ronald. Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective. Vanguard Publications, 1998. p. 70.

[3] Goldman, Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective, op. cit., p. 34.

[4] Copied from a newsletter of the Circumcision Information Network, dated July 1995, at:

[5] Goldman, Ronald. Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma. Vanguard Publications, 1997. p. 25.

[6] Ibid., p. 129.

[7] Ibid., p. 132.

[8] Ibid., p. 133.

[9] I recall from my readings on the circumcision subject how the Moslems (their religion is Islam) use force on young boys, but for older boys, such as those in their teens, they change tactics and do their best to get these older boys to voluntarily accept their sexual mutilation. For example, I remember reading about poor Hindu Indian boys who live near Moslem communities, and how mosques in these Moslem communities use presents of money, food, and free lodging, in an effort to trick these poor Indian boys into allowing these Moslems to sexually mutilate them (circumcise them). Similarly, I remember reading about a natural Russian Jew in his late teens who emigrated to Israel and was there brainwashed into allowing himself to be sexually mutilated (circumcised).

[10] Specifically, by average mutilated American man I mean an American man who received (was assaulted with) the standard American circumcision as either an infant or young boy, and who does not have any pain during erection (some mutilation victims have painful erections), and who does not have any of the uncommon physical deformities that circumcision can cause, such as a bent penis during erection.

[11] As a simple experiment, I bought four used British porno magazines and examined their fictional descriptive text for the women they were showing. As I expected—since the British male population is overwhelmingly natural—there were no descriptions of the shown females as being tight.

[12] It is no coincidence that anal intercourse is widespread in American prisons. Instead of being more explicit in its description, the American media typically refers to forced anal intercourse in prison as simply rape. About this rape in American prisons, Human Rights Watch, in its 2001 report titled No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons, says:

Judging by the popular media, rape is accepted as a commonplace of imprisonment, so much so that when the topic of prison arises, a joking reference to rape seems almost obligatory. Few members of the public would be surprised by the assertion that men are frequently raped in prison, given rape’s established place in the mythology of prison life. Yet serious, sustained, and constructive attention to the subject remains rare. As Stephen Donaldson, the late president of the organization Stop Prisoner Rape, once said: “the rape of males is a taboo subject for public discussion . . . . If ever there was a crime hidden by a curtain of silence, it is male rape.”

Because most male prisoners in America are circumcised, this is the reason for the popularity of anal intercourse in American prisons.

August 2017: I, Kurt Johmann, the author and copyright owner, hereby place this The Psychological Harm of Male Circumcision essay in the public domain.