Imagine if…

Imagine that you are a woman, and you were born in 1968. As a child, you fantasized about having a husband and family of your own one day. When you grew older, those fantasies started to take on a more sexual nature, and you began to imagine losing your virginity and having sex with a man you loved. Imagine that you read about sex, love, and intimacy in magazines and books, and saw it portrayed in the cinema. It was usually portrayed either as something beautiful, emotional, and pleasurable, or sometimes as something raw, dirty, and lustful. Whenever you saw portrayals of a person having sex without consent, it was portrayed as evil, horrible, and destructive. So, naturally you were interested in sex. You wanted to feel that pleasure for yourself. You thought about it often, and couldn’t wait until you met that special man you felt safe enough to share your first sexual experience with.

Imagine that such a man finally came along, and after several months of courtship and fooling around, you decided it was time to lose your virginity. You shared yourself with him, and it was…painful…not much to speak of. You asked around for more information from your friends, and discovered this was not uncommon the first time, or even the first few times. Some of your friends told you that all you needed was more practice and experience, so you kept trying.

Imagine that after several months and dozens of sexual experiences, the pain was mostly gone, but there was none of the magical pleasure you’d been promised in works of fiction, or in the sexual books you’d perused at the library and local bookstore. You decided that sex just wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. When you moved away from your family to go to college, you didn’t bother trying to find a new boyfriend, because sex just wasn’t interesting enough to bother with.

Imagine that you dated a few guys in college, but never really felt intense love for any of them. So, while you had a few sexual experiences during your university years, you never got involved enough for the problems with your sexual experience to rear their ugly heads again.

Imagine that when you were 25, you finally met a wonderful guy. You fell head over heels for him. Everything was just perfect – except the sex. The sex was still just kind of boring and uninteresting. You’d learned how to fake it from seeing porn and films, and you faked every orgasm for his benefit. There was no use telling him the truth, you thought, this was just the way things were for you. Many of your girlfriends loved sex, described their great experiences to you in detail, and thought your experiences were weird. You wanted more. You decided to see a doctor to find out if you had a problem.

Imagine that when you visited the doctor, she did a complete examination, and told you there didn’t appear to be anything physiologically wrong with you. You were disappointed, as you’d been hoping that there was some way to fix the issue easily. All she could do, she said, was give you some pills to increase your ability to get excited. So, you opted for the pills. You took them, and they did work to a very limited degree. Sex was a bit pleasurable, but you still experienced nothing like the magical or lustful experiences your girlfriends often described when there were no men around to listen. You decided to get a second opinion, and went to see another doctor, and she told you the same thing as the first.

Imagine that a year passed, and that you heard of an alternative sexual doctor who might be able to help. You went to visit him. He had you strip down to examine you. He took one look at you and said, “Oh! I see the problem. Your clitoris has been amputated.” He calmly explained to you that this was common practice for baby girls in 1968 in your country, and had been for many years. This was known to cause sexual dysfunction in adult women, but most doctors disagreed, and said that normal, healthy sexual function was entirely possible (likely, even) for women without a clitoris. Indeed, many of your friends had been given the operation as babies, and they seemed to enjoy sex. The doctor explained that this is because a large part (though a minority) of the nerve bundle in the female sex organs is internal, and is known as “the g-spot,” and that there are also many nerves near the vaginal opening, which are never removed in such procedures. Unfortunately, the clitoridectomy was sure to remove about two thirds of the nerves, or about 8,000 total nerves. The new doctor recommended other forms of stimulation, and provided you with a book on the g-spot and how to stimulate it.

Imagine how you would feel, having learned that your parents paid a doctor to do this two you when you were only an infant, and as a result, sex just wasn’t that great for you. How would you feel?

Now, imagine that you used the information from the doctor to learn more about how to achieve sexual pleasure, but that it was never as successful as you’d first hoped. It seemed, from what you read, that some women simply had less internal nerves, or less-sensitive g-spots. After many attempts, you were able to increase your sexual pleasure, but still never to achieve the intense experiences described by most of your intact girlfriends, or some of your surgically-altered girlfriends.

Imagine you read as much as you could about this surgical practice in an attempt to find out more about what had been done, why it had been done to you, and what you could do about it. You discovered that the practice began thousands of years ago as a blood rite among tribal peoples, and then had been passed down to major world religions about three thousand years ago. The practice continued into the modern era, but now the reasons to do it were justified by medical science. Most of those justifications turned out to be just that – justifications – having nothing to do with actual medical benefits. Regardless, the practice continued, and every time some medical reason was debunked, a new reason was invented to take its place, and so on, and so on.

Imagine that you discovered that today, clitoridectomy was only practiced in a handful of countries around the world, and that yours was one of them. Medical doctors and religious people touted the benefits. Many people did it simply because they wanted their daughters to be like their mothers. Many others did it only because it was the accepted social practice, and considered more attractive, and “normal.”

Imagine that when you asked your father about it, he told you he’d insisted on having it done so that you’d be “attractive – like your mother.” When you explained what you’d discovered, he only defended himself and his decision, and refused to even acknowledge the pain he’d caused you. So, after several discussions with him that went in a similar fashion, you reluctantly decided to cut him out of your life. You just didn’t want to be around a father that would continue to justify his choice to have your infant body mutilated even after being shown all the evidence.

Imagine that learning all this in your mid-twenties caused you to become an activist, seeking to prevent any baby girls from being mutilated in a way similar to you. You researched more and more, and as you did, became more and more active in resisting this practice socially, politically, and through the medical community. You did your best to spread the truth – that this barbaric ancient blood rite had no place in the modern medical world – that babies were having their future sex lives potentially ruined by well-meaning parents – that this must change in the name of progress and human rights. You remained an activist for this cause into your mid-40s, but never gained the same level of sexual pleasure as an un-cut woman, or many of your cut friends.

Imagine that after all of this, you were surfing Facebook one day, and saw this question posted on a parenting newsgroup: “DEBATE: Should clitoridectomy be illegal?” So, being an activist in this area, you wrote a post to the thread, which already seemed to be filled with people on both sides of the issue. Those who were pro-clitoridectomy were vociferously stating their opinion that it was “the parents’ choice,” and that it “looked better,” and was “easier to clean.” Imagine that reading these comments made you angry, so you posted this:

Jenny Jones: I have zero contact with my “father” because he didn’t respect my right to genital integrity.

I hate being cut. I hate the physical and emotional pain this pointless bullshit has caused me. I now have to suffer painful sex, shitty sex, a desensitized vagina, an amputated clitoris, etc. Why do I have to suffer for a decision regarding my body that I didn’t even get to make for myself? Fuck genital cutting. I hate being cut, and I despise the stupid idiots that keep promoting female genital cutting and know absolutely nothing about it.

All the shitty “fathers” in here that promote female genital cutting know nothing about it. That is so obvious. It is female genital mutilation. That’s not an opinion, that’s a proven fact.

I have cut my shitty “father” out of my life because of the way he had my clitoris cut up when I was a defenseless infant. I did not consent to female genital mutilation. Fuck that.

Imagine that, after posting this, you received comments like these:

David: Jenny, you’re a whiny little bitch. STFU

James: You get no pleasure? You are doing something very wrong. I have been with an uncut woman and a cut woman…neither had any of that trouble. Wow…if I had a shitty sex life for whatever reason I guess to compensate or have an explanation I would blame someone else as well.

Sandra: James, how rude is that?? You’re belittling a woman who’s showing her true feelings about something very personal. Shit, no wonder girls don’t wanna talk about this stuff….

James: Sandra, it’s not rude. It’s my opinion and I don’t hold it back. The comments on this thread are rude… but I still cut my girls…because it’s LEGAL.

James: Like I said Jenny, you’re a whiny bitch. Just finish cutting it off; you don’t deserve a vagina.

Steven: Damn Jenny, you’re nuts. All you’re talking about the majority of the time is your fucked up sex life with your clitoris. Get a life. Every parent does what they want . Who cares? I don’t. I care about my daughter and her health. Yes she was cut. Big deal!!!!

Thomas: I think Jenny’s shitty attitude ruins her life and sex life. Not her cut clit. Most men I know prefer cut women so that’s an invalid argument.

John: Jenny, it sounds like its MORE than just being cut as to why u hate your mother. My mom had me AND my two sisters cut and we have a GREAT relationship with her. Sounds to me like u need some serious help, babe.

Bill: oh Jenny lol. you are something else dear.

Imagine how you would feel if every time you voiced your opinions on the matter, you were greeted with comments just like these. Every time you posted reams of medical science refuting the claims of the pro-cutting people, they ignored your links and information, and chose instead to assassinate your character, call you names, ridicule you, and pat each other on the back by clicking the “like” button to such hateful messages.

How would you feel?

Well, in real life (as you might have already guessed) all the genders are reversed in this story. Jenny is a man named David that I met online when he posted to a thread with the same title. His story is almost identical to Jenny’s, except that his loss of sexual function was due to a male circumcision, not due to a clitoridectomy. His anger toward his mother is real, and understandable, just as Jenny’s to her father would be.

I leave you with a few facts about circumcision. Did you know?

  • No medical organization in the world, even the AAP, recommends infant male circumcision.
  • At least 117 baby boys die from circumcision each year in the USA.
  • You can watch a video of an actual circumcision being performed on YouTube. This will allow you to see the actual procedure before deciding to do it to your newborn.
  • Infant circumcision removes a male’s right to decide for himself whether or not he wants to alter his own sexual organs.
  • Circumcision is medically unnecessary, risky, and extremely painful (even with anesthetic).
  • It is easier to care for a baby’s intact penis than a circumcised one. Don’t retract the foreskin, just wipe the outside only – like cleaning a finger.
  • The majority of men in the world (80%) have a foreskin, and the rate of circumcision in the USA is under 50%, and continues to fall each year.
  • The male foreskin has more (20,000) concentrated, specialized fine-touch nerve endings than anywhere else in the human body, male or female (only 8,000 in the clitoris).
  • The foreskin protects the head of the penis (glans) from abrasions and keeps bacteria from entering the urinary tract.
  • The foreskin needs no special care or cleaning. It is fused to the penis in infancy and may not retract until puberty or later. At that point, he can simply rinse with warm water.
  • The foreskin has important roles in sexual function and is the most sensitive part of the penis.
  • The foreskin in an adult man is equivalent to the size of an index card (about 15 square inches).


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Imagine if…, 10.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

2 Responses to “Imagine if…”

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  1. Katie Williams says:

    Great post! The only thing I would add is a picture of some kind so it could be pinned to my intactivism board on pinterest. More people need to read things like this!

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  2. A clever use of irony to convey a serious message. Thanks Evan for your thoughtful contribution to the ongoing debate. It is a crazy mixed up world indeed in which so many human rights abuses have been, and continue to be, inflicted by parents on their own offspring.

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