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.

updates and supporting education on new site :

Summary of BRYK`S Origination of Routine Male Circumcision:

see also Full Index of Bryk.

All following quotes are linked to their context, so at the least, future researchers will have less trouble finding the relevant passages.

Summary of
BRYK`S Discussion of Denudation and Phimosis

Bryk based his understanding of routine circumcision on the basic tendancy of uncovering the glans, which he calls denudation. He refers to many cultures where an almost intuitive uncovering of the glans takes place. He establishes (Bryk`s italics) "This mechanical uncovering of the glans is the fundamental motive for circumcision." - Undoubtedly this is a very common and elementary occurrence, sometimes even a custom, but as he says "It did not cause circumcision, but stimulated it and prepared the ground" He argues that this "prepared the ground" for observations in the animal and adult world, which provided the "impetus" to introduce circumcision as a routine measure.

In "Circumcision among Man and Woman" (1931) Bryk refers to his previous book African Eros (1928):

p. 181 - (Deutsch S. 155)
Thus, now comes lastly, my explanation which will describe motives of a psychological as well as imitative nature. It was implied in African-Eros however no proof was offered. This will now be corrected.

Regarding the statement that Africans being true natural peoples and observing the genitals of animals in detail, I mentioned in a footnote (p. 122) "Especially domestic animals. These observations particularly concerning the erection of the stallion, bull etc.,would have given the impetus to cut back the prepuce."

On the reason for circumcision I said (p. 55 - (Deutsch S 55)): " 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."

("the glans can be strangulated, ... the prepuce does not lay the glans bare," - we note here that Bryk actually describes paraphimosis and phimosis without naming them.)

He describes many cultures where an almost intuitive uncovering of the glans takes place among youths.

p. 198 - (Deutsch S.169)
"This mechanical uncovering of the glans is the fundamental motive for circumcision. It did not cause circumcision, but stimulated it and prepared the ground for it. It is curiousto find that even among peoples who circumcise their children, there are still practices and precepts, which clearly show this custom of denudation."

Bryk offers some terrifying descriptions of the foreskin complex and then his conclusion.

p. 203 - (Deutsch S.174)
Thus the foreskin "muzzles" the youth and is a serious hindrance to completing the sexual act. We have shown that this becomes a complex governing his entire emotional life.
p. 204 - (Deutsch S.174)
The complex can often lead to very serious mental depressions and disturbances. In one case known to me, the entire schizoid inferiority complex of a young man, could be traced to his inability to manually uncover his glans. The man in question, by the way a very talented young natural scientist, suffered from a congenital phimosis, which he unfortunately recognised too late, for when subsequently as an adult, he let himself be circumcised his inferiority complex had already completely ruined him.

Hochenegg: p.204 (Deutsch S.175)
"On achieving the denudation (of his glans) the man`s painful anxiety is not yet over. During intercourse, indeed, even during the preliminary stiffening of his member, , once morethe foreskin-complexmakes itself obvious in an uncomfortable and negative manner.

"During erection the glans, (which together with the entire Radix penis increases considerably in size), emerges from its enveloping preputial cover, in such a manner that the prepuce gradually draws backwards behind the corona glandis, that is, as far as the youth has been able to achieve with his manipulation. Here, as a rule, it stops framing the groove behind the glans in a "collar", and must first be pushed further backwards by hand if ever the same position should be acheived as during the immissio penis. lt is only after this that the now completely smoothed blade of the foreskin conforms with the skin of the member.

"The boy, constrained by his foreskin complex often experiences disapointment as a result of this, he had imagined that the foreskin would go further backwards, as shown by the examples of the erection of the dog, horse or bull,but now he notices that the frenulum, the ligament joining the blade of the foreskin with the glans and penis,prevents any further backwards movement. He conceives the idea of cutting through the frenulum. Perhaps he had already heard from his older comrades in suffering, that due to its shortness it sometimes rips during coitus."

p. 208 - (Deutsch S.179)
... the now senescent man, ever since his youth under the spell of the foreskin complex, would and must logically have arrived at the idea of removing the source of his torment.

Even after this conclusion Bryk continues his discussion. To me it seems he is not sure of his conclusion. However, he rejected foreskin conditions as the origin some 100 pages previously.

Collin p.95 (Deutsch S.75)
" ... the usefulness of circumcision consists in:
a) Prevention of phimosis and paraphimosis
e) The circumcised man never runs the risk of bleeding as a result of the rupture of the ligament of the foreskin, which often happens during coitus."
Nuri Bey: p.102 (Deutsch S.82)
"The pain of stretching and ripping the ligament during coitus,
diminishes sexual enjoyment and hinders its fulfilment"

He assumes that the first ever circumcision was due to foreskin conditions
p. 96 (Deutsch S. 76)
There can be no doubt that even in the dark beginnings of time, surgical interventions were carried out on the foreskin on medical grounds, then it is certain even in those times, that congenital phimosis occurred manifesting in the manner, that physiologically, the inner blade of the foreskin did not release from the glans or the opening of the foreskin was so narrow, that the prepuce could never be retracted behind the glans. Additionally acquired phimosis and phimosis of old-age must have received operative removal in those days, as in today`s healing practice. I would even go as far as to assumethat the first circumcision on Earth took place out of purely medical grounds, ...
However he rejects the idea that foreskin conditions could have catalysed the introduction of routine circumcision: - astoundingly - because 2 other anthropologists maintained such conditions are a rarity..
Eylmann: p. 98 (Deutsch S. 78)
"Cases of the sort where the opening is so small, that making love causes pain, and even urinating is not easy occur so seldomly that our discussion does not need to take them into consideration."
(consider: "so small, that making love causes pain, and even urinating is not easy" --- These two symptoms together would not only be rare, but impossible! The degrees of phimosis which cause pain during sex do not restrict urination. See Phimosis)
Trusen: p. 95 (Deutsch S.75)
" .. such random and always only sporadic and transient ailments of the foreskin, such as Gonorreah, phimosis and paraphimosis, as well as the rupture of the ligament do not demand such a generally practised preventative measure"
His conclusion on foreskin conditions is clearly
p. 97 (Deutsch S. 77)
However, it contradicts the primitive way of thinking to anchor this occasional operation in the cultural practice
It is obvious that Bryk never appreciated how frequently froreskin conditions occur. - Please see Encyclopedia of Statistics.