FROM INNOCENCE TO IGNORANCE
This chapter is the original and central piece of this project.
The Background describes my
first steps pre internet, questioning my first sample group and writing to health
authorities. The Cultural
Taboo attempts to expose: "a general or collective repression of the phenomenon."
The central file: The Passages
to Manhood. is a collection of email quotes illustrating a variety
of embarrassing and alarming common experiences. Many letters indicated that when doctors have interfered they have done damage.
Sometimes a full circumcision is performed previous
to the mother holding her new born baby. This most extreme form of routine male circumcision, appears anatomically to cause many new problems, mostly due to the lack of post op. check-up. On the other hand, until recent years some doctors have advised forcing the foreskin back, many letters showed this has traumatic consequences.
Phimosis becomes "active" and worrying around puberty . Up until puberty, gentle prevention is all that is required.
Around puberty, when left to nature, it appears boys run around a 10% risk of suffering a degree of phimosis. Problems are treated following infections or experiences of pain, difficulty or discomfort during
masturbation, or after difficulties during intercourse.
A young boy experiencing pain or difficulty with his penis will
be worried, embarrassed,
or maybe even scared that his penis is somehow "wrong".
On the first steps to manhood such pain can have far reaching consequences.
However, in some cases our brave explorer simply does not realise
that retracting his foreskin is possible, normal or desirable. He
intuitively avoids any approaching pain and he adapts to his limitation
without experiencing it as a difficulty. He grows accustomed
to his body as it is, never questioning nature. Himself subject to the taboo.
If he is lucky he will discover his condition following failure
or pain during first intercourse. However, often he will enter adulthood adapting his self image and behaviour to accommodate
his anatomical limitations, creating a basis for confusion
and distress in all his intimate relationships.
When boys are left alone with such problems it means that many will have a fully distorted first impression
of sex and manhood. An absurdly mismanaged passage to manhood, arguably
more bizarre than any primitive customs.