It was bound to happen, but I hadn’t decided what I’d do about it. Then, one day, during an interview on a Toronto radio talk show, a caller who had first announced that he was circumcised, and “wasn’t missing anything,” asked me, somewhat inelegantly: “So, have you had sex with both kinds, uncircumcised and circumcised? Are you saying one is better than the other?”

Then and there, I decided to take the plunge. After all, I am almost 60 years old. Who in the world, other than me and my “boyfriend” (still looking for a better term), really cares about my sex life? And I grew up in the 60’s, graduated from high school in (tee-hee) 1969. So I’m supposed to be able to talk about this without blushing, right? Right.

“All other things being equal,” I said, “yes, sex is better with a man who has a normal, complete penis.”

Love (and lust) can conquer a lot. You can love a circumcised man with all your heart, you can make it work, and what you do together is nobody’s business but your own. But a man who has been robbed of his foreskin is missing something. (Actually, he’s missing a lot – 15 square inches of specialized skin, muscle, and nerve endings, designed to protect the glans (head of the penis) and keep it moist and sensitive, easing intercourse and enhancing pleasure.) And so is his sex partner.

Scientific studies (a recent Danish article reports the results from interviews with 5500 men and their female partners) are emerging that show what many of us know from experience but may have been unable to “prove”: male sexual problems like trouble reaching orgasm, and women’s problems such as pain during intercourse, are more common when the man’s foreskin has been removed. It’s no wonder that many men who were forcibly circumcised as babies are angry and grief-stricken when they begin to realize the profound consequences of the assault and their loss.

On the other hand, understanding that many of the sexual problems stereotypically attributed to men’s “selfishness” are actually a consequence of circumcision, can go a long way toward easing couples’ relationships and – I fervently hope – making the case for leaving future generations of men intact.

Georganne Chapin