Experts have been unable to understand the origin of the practice of routine male circumcision. Most of the literature shows no awareness of phimosis - its frequency - or the sexual and erectile problems which can be cured by circumcision. If routine circumcision had been introduced for this most obvious reason of eliminating difficult foreskins; then the importance of an alternative modern method, suitable to our culture's attitudes in this day and age, would be clear.

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FELIX BRYK
"NEGER EROS"

Ethnologische Studien über das Sexualleben bei Negern
Die Beschneidung - p.54-71
A. Marcus & E. Weber`s Verlag Berlin und Köln (1928)

AFRICAN EROS
Ethnological Studies on the Sexual life among African peoples
Translated: R. Stuart (2000)

SUMMARY
Full Index

AFRICAN EROS

Circumcision

Only the circumcised man or warrior (Moran), as he is called among the herding peoples, can enjoy full freedom of movement and trade, a freedom which he uses especially in service of the erotic Uncircumcised, he may not and is not allowed to marry, among the herding and hunting peoples the same applies to the bride. Only after circumcision will she be declared by the society as adult and sexually mature. Therefore among African folk, the boy and girl long for nothing more than to have the circumcision ritual behind them because it constitutes a milestone for them in the social standing between two stages in life.

The boy (Layoni) becomes man (Mureniu); the girl (Kyepta) becomes woman (Osotya). They become new people. Nick names und childhood names are no more appropriate, from now on the new name they receive stays with them till the end of their lives, (Nandi.)

Despite the wide spread practice of circumcision by most peoples (in Africa RS), nothing defintate is known about the origin of this practice. When anyone is asked about this, they reply either " zamani!"(1) (with a very long drawn out emphasis on "ma"), which means as much as "since ancient times"; or he answers that it is just merely a custom. Both of these are not explanations.
1) A word taken out of the Arabic from the Swahili language.

Concerning the origin of female circumcision among the Nandi it was frequently explained to me that the children of the uncircumcised die. However this is as a logical conclusion of the existing inhuman practice whereby children of uncircumcised girls are strangled. Thus also it is not an explanation.

Concerning my questions on female circumcision, a Nandi Chieftan gave me the following answer: "We are Nandi, we do not want anything hanging from the women!", With this he made a contemptuous gesticulation with his little finger as if he wanted to indicate the clitoris. Without any doubt the men and women from the tribes in question consider the circumcised sexual organs as beautiful. The circumcised as well as those not yet circumcised repeatedly assured me of this. However highly one may estimate the wish for beauty among African races, it appears to me that this would not be so strong enough to imagine that the origin of the circumcision ritual was purely for aesthetic reasons. In addition, not for pure magical-religious reasons. Furthermore hygienic motives cannot have been the vital ones, as circumcision takes place many years after the repeated practice of intercourse among both sexes. "It seems far more to me that the main reason for circumcision is not difficult to derive from the nature of sexuality.

Men strive to make the often complicated sexual act as comfortable as possible; and it is beyond discussion, that in this the foreskin often places a decided restriction in the way, which is sometimes even painful, for after penetration the glans can be strangulated, which complicates the act, or, when the prepuce does not lay the glans bare, which accelerates the ejaculatio seminis. What could be more obvious than to remove this obstacle, especially since by doing this one gained a decoration signifying the attainment of maturity.

Of secondary importance was that subsequently, there were several months of prolongued convalescence, during which the youth now marked as a man, in the absence of schoolingnow at lasthas the opportunity to be initiated in all the mysteries of life by his Master.

Navigation Hierarchy
Chapter Three
ANTHROPOLOGY
The Origins of Routine Male Circumcision
Phimosis Through the Ages
Bryk

reference: http://www.male-initiation.net/anthropology/bryk/bryk_eng1.html
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