Turtle Neck or Crew Neck? What’s your pleasure?

No, I’m not discussing sweaters. I’m discussing *whispers* foreskins.

The big decision for some pregnant moms-to-be is “If my baby is a boy, do I have him circumcised or leave him au naturel?” I say some because for other mother’s this isn’t even a consideration, it’s either a yes, often for religious reasons, or no for personal or cultural reasons. How does this relate to m/m romance you are asking and what the hell are you rambling on about?  Getting there. When you read m/m romance do you care if the characters are cut or uncut? Do you assume they are if a character is American and aren’t if they are European? Does it even cross your mind if you don’t specifically see reference to it in the story? What about the future of m/m romance?

I raise the issue because in Canada, the stats say about 30% of adult men are circumcised, in the US 75%, in the UK 6% and in Australia 60%.  The number in Canada remains about the same for babies although Quebec is much lower.  So in 20 years, the odds of finding a circumcised French-Canadian lover (fictional or otherwise) will be pretty slim. Only about 2% of British children are circumcised today and less than 15% of Australians, however it remains at about 85% for parts of the US mid-west. Should authors pay attention to trends like this or do we not care? Obviously if a character is Jewish or Muslim we would expect them to be circumcised as their religion dictates, but what if he’s born in Chicago and his lover is British? Would it throw you off to have the British lover be cut or would you likely not notice. (Of course now that I’m tossing these stats at you it will jump out next time you read it.  Sorry. 🙂 )

I’ll be honest, when I’m reading most of the time I don’t really care nor do I think about it, but it would throw me off more if someone from a European country was cut than it would the reverse. If a character born in Nebraska was intact, I wouldn’t think twice, even though I suppose it would be rare. If the author doesn’t say cut or uncut I’m not sure what I presume. I guess I just don’t think about it. I’m assuming in historical novels the men are au naturel unless there is a religious basis for it.

So authors, do you think about foreskins? While you are writing of course. 🙂 Do you consider whether your character would or wouldn’t have one depending on their culture, where they were born, nationality? Or do you write in such a way that it simply doesn’t come up, the foreskin issue I mean, I’m not talking erectile disfunction. Readers, do you care? Do you prefer one or the other (either in books or real-life) and would you notice if something is statistically out of the norm? This is not a debate out whether children should or shouldn’t be, but about characters fitting the demographics from which they come. (This could apply to hair color – excpet for all those blonde Japanese men in yaoi – or any trait I suppose).

Ya gotta love Belgian animators.

61 comments

  • Personally I don’t care. Do I did hear uncut are harder to please. Or so they say

    I don’t think I would notice or care. I think the only time I would raise an eyebrow is if there is a jewish or muslim character who is uncut.

  • All but one of my partners have been cut. My sons are as well. (on the advice of my nursing-home nurse mother, who has cared for people at both ends of life and advises it for sheer cleanliness)

    However, my characters vary. I have characters goggle because they’ve never seen an uncut cock, or who are a little embarassed by their own naked one.

    I assume the characters I read about are, unless it’s mentioned. Or we get into docking.

  • Mmmm…. actually I think most Japanese men are uncut. I lived in Hong Kong and now in England, it’s very rare to see/or to know anyone whose has gone through circumcision. It’s not something that parents need to consider – unless the foreskin becomes a problem for the kid.

    I don’t think about it at all when I read m/m books, but of course, I would raise my eyebrow if someone is writing historical story set in Europe and the anglo-saxon male is cut.

    It’s funny that back in the days before m/m genre, I read gay porn and some US authors would use uncut penis as a symbol of “raw” and “wild”, to spice up things. I suppose some of us just prefer what we are used to; or be excited by the “unknown”.

    • The fascination with the unfamiliar is certainly a factor in making something seem more exciting.

  • In Britain no-one is circumcised unless they are Jewish or there’s been a medical problem. I would have been thought mad had I asked for my non-jewish sons to be circumcised – in fact I would probably not have been able to have the proceedure done on the NHS. I had a mate at college who was circumcised which was a source of utter fascination all round.

    In my m/m books, I assume that men from the US will be cut, unless specified in the book. I will also assume that men from Europe will be uncut.

    Fascinating statistics, Tam. I’m glad you’re here to fill us in on the important stuff in our m/m reading ;).

    • It’s not all about the entertainment Jen. I’m determined you guys are going to learn something if it kills me. 🙂

      I’m sure your friend appreciated his penis being a great source of awe and wonder all the way around. LOL

  • I’m very vocal on this issue and my Jewish family doesn’t approve so I’ll try and stay on topic here.

    For me, I love when an author’s characters are uncut, but only if it makes sense for the characters. So yeah, I guess I’d like them to do some research on whether in that time period and place what was the likelihood. However, that doesn’t mean there can’t be an outlier. It just has to make sense or be explained if it’s something out there.

    If there isn’t a mention of it, my mind does the editing for them. I imagine men are uncut if it’s a historical or paranormal…and by the time clothes get flying they’re pretty much past the point of needing a whole lot of pushing and pulling, so it’s just an easy mental add on for me. For American contemporary, they get cut unless I’m in an uncut mood. I’m American so that’s what I’m used to, but I’ve had one uncut lover and I prefer the look/feel.

    One last note…I just read an article the other day that said there was a new trend with a Briss. Instead of complete removal, some people are now doing a ceremonial cut instead. My sister wasn’t impressed. *sigh*

    • It takes a lot to break cultural traditions. I’d never heard of the ceremonial thing. I too assume most paranormals are uncut, not sure why. I guess I assume they are more off the grid, not giving birth in hospitals or having contact with medical professionals.

  • I’m with Chris. Scarred for life after watching that belgium cartoon.

    Speaking as a man with personal experience in the matter, my dickie is cuttie. And this is the first time I’ve ever called it that. Thank you very much!

    That quote from Kellough is definitely TMI.

    • Sigh. You innocents. A dancing penis and you’re running for cover.

      Thanks for sharing John. 😉

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