The Foreskin: Why Is It Such A Secret In North America?

Why do Americans go out of their way to remove this part of human anatomy, when the rest of the world does not?

By Spoony Quine via GreenMedInfo

The male prepuce, or foreskin, is a highly mobile and extraordinarily sensitive double fold of tissue that is the end of the penis. Why do Americans go out of their way to remove this part of human anatomy, when the rest of the world does not?

I was nineteen or twenty years old when a male friend of mine, we’ll call him Bill, let me in on a most shocking fact: He was missing part of his penis, and so were almost all boys and men that I had ever seen in my entire life, as well as all the anatomical diagrams that I had ever seen. Ever.

Sure, I had heard of circumcision as a Jewish religious practice, but thought myself unlikely to ever see its results. Little did I know, all the male genitalia I had seen both in real life and as depicted in American anatomy books, had been edited in exactly the same way.  The shock from this revelation overwhelmed me for weeks, especially since I considered myself to be fairly knowledgeable about anatomy. (My interests included biology and drawing biological structures).

Why would anyone selectively remove foreskins, not just from real people but from scientific anatomical texts, which I had thought were meant to represent the natural human form? And why did no one ever tell me about this? It was as though a basic feature that males (of all mammals) are normally born with was not to be understood or even acknowledged.

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While Europeans, Chinese, Japanese, and most other people may wonder why anyone would need to explain this most mundane fact, the truth is that the foreskin is not well-understood in U.S. culture and medicine.

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