Dear Dr. McKnight, NOCIRC of Iowa,
I am telling my story of being married to a circumcised man in order that it may help other women who are experiencing the same problems. For too long I have blamed myself for our sexual problems when circumcision was the culprit. As I have found, it is only by finding the real problem that a solution can be found.
When I lost my virginity, it was a very painful experience and I could not wait until it was over. From what I had heard, the first time is painful, but it gets better. Neither my husband nor I had any other sexual experience, so we did not know any better. Unfortunately, it only got worse.
During intercourse, I would become dry and raw and the soreness would last for several days afterward. It would take my husband up to a half an hour of constant thrusting for him to reach climax no matter how close he felt to achieving it. Due to the pumping action, so much air would be pushed in that I would feel discomfort in my abdomen. Usually I would have to sit or stand up several times in order to push it out. Sometimes when he climaxed it would burn like salt in a wound, so we usually used condoms, which he hated.
I hated sex! Even fantasizing and trying to convince myself that I enjoyed it did not help. Everyone thought I was joking when I said that I did and made fun of it. It seemed no one else had the problems I did, so I assumed the problem was with me. I spoke to my mother about the situation, but she could not relate to these problems as my father is intact. I spoke to my doctor about my problems, and he just recommended adding additional lubrication and having sex more often. The lubrication was cold, stung, and was a nuisance.
For our entire marriage, our sex life could only be measured in months, and that was too much for me. I did not like to see him naked or even have him cuddle up to me at night. I did not want to see or feel his penis. I associated it with pain and discomfort, so it was an ugly thing. I feared getting too close to my husband would only lead to sex, so I tried to stay back. Fortunately, he was (and is) very understanding. He never forced the issue, though he did occasionally let his needs be known. When he did want sex, if I did not, that was the end of it. If during sex he saw I was not wanting it, he would quit immediately. I always felt bad that I was not meeting his needs, but he said if I did not want sex or it hurt, he did not want to continue. For this I was very grateful.
After our son was born (left intact), sex was entirely too painful to attempt. After about six months I decided to see the doctor. I was embarrassed to go with the problem, but felt I should go in case there was a serious problem. He said the same thing -- more sex. We decided to just start over and go a little further each time, but it never got to the point that I enjoyed it.
Through the years I have always had questions that I kept secret. Was my husband not really "Mr. Right"? Was I a lesbian and just did not know it? Was I just not meant to enjoy sex? What was my problem? Everyone else had enough moisture and enjoyed sex, so why not me? Finally, I found out the function of the foreskin and a great big "ah-ha" went off in my head. I was not the problem, but rather, the circumcision.
Now my problem is getting my husband to realize the extent of the trouble caused by circumcision and to hopefully restore. I have to work hard not to push the issue too far and undo any progress I have made. I hate circumcision and what it has done more than I have ever hated anything in my life. I feel we were cheated from something very special, and even if he does restore, we can never have it all back. At this point, the anger is one of the hardest things for me to deal with -- anger at what was done to him, at who did it to him, at the fact he cannot see all the harm done, and that people still have their sons circumcised. At times I am angry to the point of tears. It is a rage that I must face for the most part alone. Very few people are willing to speak out about it for fear of being thought crazy. I use the anger as motivation to try to end genital mutilation. I would much like to start a support group to help other women as well as myself.
My husband and I have been trying different sexual techniques to try to make it enjoyable for us both. Though it has improved some, it is still nothing like what it is supposed to be. We have a long way to go, but we are going there, one step at a time.
GR from IL
[Quoted with permission.]
Return to opening page.