Monday, April 21, 2008

Skin or No-Skin

Which one better, having sex with circumcised man or not?

If we ask 100 women the question above, surely it doesn't give us a clue as to whether satisfaction can depend on the physical aspect of genital. Hypothetically, 40 women will say yes for sex with forskinned penis and the rest will say no. It is hard to justify the claim that sexual satisfaction is way much better with the skinned based on that statistic. It is like me asking 10 people to answer this question: do i look like Brad Pitt? If 7 of them nodded, i am still doubting myself if i look like him.

There is exchange of idea regarding this issue. Rachel, a writer of sexblog posted a short article under the title 'Circumcised Guys Do it Better' which gets more than thirty comments. For Rachel, uncut penis' don't look sexual or arousing as it makes her want to "pat them and tuck them back where they came from". Differing argument comes from Esther Goldberg who argues that uncircumcised men are sensitive and see foreskin akin to clitoral hood.

According to a study of urologists, there is no dissimilarity of sexual satisfaction between foreskinned and not. Both can equally enjoy sexual satisfaction. This study was conducted in Uganda, using 4500 men as samples. Half of them have their foreskin removed and the other half get them circumcised 24 months later.

There are various reasons why people want to remove or restore their foreskin. Culture is one of reason why people are wanting to get it done. A story of England-born David who migrated to USA exemplifies how does culture drives people to do it.

As an uncircumcised young man, he says, he felt awkward in gym class. "I read that being circumcised makes the penis easier to clean and less susceptible to sexually transmitted disease. I had friends in medical school telling me, 'Dude, you should do this.' " So he did. But hygiene was not the chief motivation. "I wanted to fit into American culture. When you're circumcised, there's less rejection from women," he says.

Some might have thought of hygiene as the underlying factor. It is generally accepted that there is a link between circumcision and hygiene. The removal of foreskin will look cleaner and is considered less susceptible to sexual disease. I am not sure if you go bareback and are still less susceptible. Perhaps, the helmet-look-like in the circumcised penis head suggests that it has the same function as protective helmet for bikes.

In one of largest Islam adherents country, Indonesia circumcision is very common. It might be because of the dominant religious value which rules the foreskin business. Yet this does not mean that uncircumcised men are difficult to find. There are number of people in Indonesia who don't circumcise their penises due to different cultural value. To some extent, they might see circumcision is associated with Islam. So if people get their foreskin cut because religious belief, for what reason do non-Islamic people get their skin cut? Health is one of the reason. It's been evident anywhere that discourse on sexuality and health is dominated by science and culture. So has been in Indonesia, circumcision is placed in both health reason or what their religion ask them to do.

I haven't heard anyone in Indonesia saying that circumcision could enhance male sexual performance. What i heard most is that they did it because it's for health or being a moslem. But there might be a different reason that drives kids to get their foreskin removed. Presents! Normally after being circumcised, the family will celebrate it. It's a serious feast with a proper invitation. All guest are expected to give presents to the boy who sits in the lounge with his sarong. If the boy family is wealthy enough, Play Station 3 may be sitting together in the presents corner as one of his uncle thought he deserves one. On the other hand, if his father is a pedicab driver, new un-branded shoes might be the most expensive gift he would have. But these days, i heard people giving money instead of goods. Both goods and money work fine for kids, i suppose.

Anyway i found a study on circumcision in Indonesia and it can be found here.

Back to circumcision and sex, do girls really think it matters? I haven't done a survey on this but will try to find out from my own circle first.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Nostalgic Journey (cheesy title, i know)

After I left Sydney for a year, I went back to the city where I spent my life for the last four years. It felt great although a bit emotional when I visited some places that used to be my sphere of existence. Physically there are not much changes overall. Newtown is still the same: busy and vibrant. My old flat in Dulwich Hill is changed, however. There is serious garden happening there. Plants have been growing nicely since I left. One big tree at the backyard was chopped down. Thanks to my Scottish neighbour who spent heaps of time to do the garden. My Scottish neighbour told me that two of my old neighbours have moved out and other tenants are moving in. The rent price is predictably going up. Yet, the leap from 230 per week to 380 is such a great surprise.

Sydney Uni has been experiencing a lot of changes. Construction fences are everywhere. The new law faculty building has not finished. Last time I was there, they were demolishing the old building. Now I can see the progress happening through three floors car park. As part of this reconstruction, the new pedestrian path on Eastern Avenue looks great, particularly its size that takes over the road connected to the City Road entrance.

In general it feels weird to go back to the places where you build your existence upon it. I like to have an expectation of changes taking place there as I believe that changes signify life. But at the same time there is a slight fear of dealing with the changes. It is the fear of being unable to see myself in the past. Place and memory are connected. When some places were disappeared or rebuilt with something new, all the past moments that were associated with them have also gone. These past moments only live in our mind. This is what makes memory so precious as it can connect us to the irreversible time. Not only does it connect us to the past, but through memory we can see and understand our beings in the present.

Apart from the nostalgic journey, I managed to explore another landscape of Sydney. I went to Blue Mountain and Wottamolla National Park in the southern part of Sydney and had rejuvenating experience to see the beautiful nature up there. My favourite part is the big cliff at Wottamolla. Wottamolla is my favourite as it is located near the coast and the walk was a bit easier for it doesn’t have big steep track.

I think I remembered how it was to be in Sydney. But when I was in the city to meet up with a friend with whom I had a crush on, my recollection of being in the Sydney during peak hours seems to be wrong. It was around lunch time when the bus that took me to the city from Sydney Uni arrived at Martin Place. The city was hugely crowded: people are parading along the footpath, the cars are creeping on the road, and eating places were packed with a combination of snazzy-dressed workers, tourists, and shoppers. After I successfully crossed the traffic lights without having collided with other crossers, there was a moment for me to think of the fast pace of life in the city. I do believe that our body movement is shaped by spatial arrangement and influenced by codes that fill into that space. Soon I recognised the fast pace, my body seemed to adjust to it.

The pace of Sydney was a topic of conversation with this girl with whom I met up. We sat down on the grass at Hyde Park and talked about our life. Usually with this girl, the conversation is cerebral, involving a range of theories from Foucault to Habermas. This time, I preferred to put these verbose ideas aside and have a chat about ordinary life.

All and all, I had a great time in Sydney and would love to go back there.

View from Wottamolla National Park

Jamison Look Out-Blue Mountain

Botanical Garden

Wottamolla National Park