For many teen guys today, being uncircumcised can raise a lot of issues: Whether it’s “right” or not, many boys and men identify their penises with their sexuality and maleness; as a result, being uncircumcised can cause anxiety and feelings of self-consciousness that can be hard to shake off.
Today, teen circumcision is on the rise, and while the reasons aren’t always clear, chances are they’re related in some way to self-esteem:
Peer pressure: You’ve been teased by your peers – maybe even your friends – for the way your uncircumcised penis looks, making you feel embarrassed, self-conscious or even ashamed or angry. You may be worried about how a sexual partner will view your uncircumcised penis.
- Social media: Maybe you haven’t been teased directly, but you’ve read a lot of disparaging remarks on social sites like Facebook that have undermined your self-confidence.
- Dissatisfaction with appearance: You don’t like the way your uncircumcised penis looks.
- Disease risk: You’re concerned about the fact that uncircumcised penises are more prone to contract sexually-transmitted diseases, and your partner is also at greater risk.
- You’re experiencing phimosis: Phimosis occurs when the skin around the head of the uncircumcised penis becomes contracted and can’t properly retract. While some people recommend stretching, even if the condition does improve, chances are very good that it will recur.
Fortunately, if you decide you want to be circumcised as a teen or young adult, the procedure is a relatively simple one. It’s performed as an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home shortly afterward, and the recovery process is simple too, typically taking just about two weeks until you’re fully recovered. The procedure is performed using a local anesthetic, and you’ll be prescribed painkillers to help ensure your recovery is as comfortable as possible.
And by the way – if you’ve read that circumcision decreases sexual pleasure, you might be interested to know that a major study of more than 40,000 guys – the biggest one ever to consider this issue – determined that’s just not true; in fact, the study found men who were circumcised tended to report higher levels of sexual satisfaction than men who weren’t circumcised.
One more thing: Don’t be too hard on your parents. While it’s true most circumcisions occur shortly after birth, chances are pretty good they didn’t make the decision lightly, and they likely felt they had very good reasons for not having you undergo the procedure as an infant. In fact, in the U.S., infant circumcision rates have decreased substantially in recent years, perhaps because parents feel that, ultimately, the choice should be left to the child when he’s older. Instead of being angry or upset about decisions made in the past, be optimistic about what the future holds and talk with a doctor about your options.