How to wreck your sex life

According to Oprah, there are 10 million couples in the U.S. who do not have any sex in their marriage.  They live together, have kids, mortgages, and they eat dinner together but they have completely given up on the idea of having sex.  I find this extremely peculiar.  Living with another person is demanding and difficult at the best of times, surely having some hot, passionate sex is one way to repair the thoughtless comments and incessant bickering that is part of most marriages.  How do people stay together if they don’t have that ‘pressure cooker valve’ of sex to grease the wheels of relationship?  How did the richest country on earth end up with so many people in sexless marriages?

I don’t have a conspiracy theory on this but I have some observations that might shed light on what is happening behind closed doors in the American bedroom.  Thirty years ago, 80% of the baby boys had the most sensitive part of their penis amputated in the U.S.  At that time, neither doctors or parents had any idea of the importance of the foreskin and there was an epidemic of cutting.  The rate of circumcision of newborn boys is dropping but even today, more than half of newborn American boys undergo this irreversible, mutilating surgery.  So many American men are mutilated that we have even coined a term for the women’s reaction to seeing an intact male. . . the “ewwww factor”.  Little do those women know what they are missing.  A foreskin makes up half of the skin on the erect adult penis.  This movable skin allows a sliding action that is immensely pleasurable for both partners, helps to keep sex wet, and prevents male pubic hair from coming up the shaft and scouring the woman’s vulva.  If you look closely at a cut man’s penis, you will see a circular scar just below the glans. 

So, that’s what happened to the guys.

Now, couple high rates of male circumcision with the fact that today, the 30-something women are cut and scarred at a never before seen rate when they give birth.  The cesarean rate in North America is completely out of control at rates over 30%.  A cesarean is major abdominal surgery and results in an abdominal scar that the woman does not like having pressure on or cannot stand being touched.  One woman in the book “Cesarean Voices” describes her experience:

“The perpetual numbness around the scar that made me not want to touch my belly, when I was drying myself, dressing myself, made me shudder when someone touched me–my child, my husband.” Kris, p.52

Men and women who have had their sexual organs cut (episiotomy, cesarean and circumcision) can suffer from body image anger and/or disgust. No amount of counselling or cajoling seems to authentically heal the feelings.  When nerve endings are gone or severed, they are gone forever.  That part of sexuality can not be reclaimed.  Some women who have had cesareans report that they can not bear to have their partner’s weight on top of them.  Some cut men take hours to have an orgasm because their penis has become so insensitive to touch from constantly rubbing on clothing.  How do we expect these two people to come together and have a fullfilling intimate life when they have this disadvantage?

So many people blame themselves for not liking sex, not enjoying sex, avoiding sex, faking orgasm and all the other ways of coping.  In countries where the boys are kept intact and the cesarean rate is low, you don’t see displays for “lube” everywhere.  You’re also less likely to see the destructive aspects of porn addictions.

Really, if there was someone trying to cook up a diabolical plot to ruin the sexual fun of couples in North America, the double whammy of male genital mutilation and the cesarean epidemic would be a good way to go about it. When the decisions are made to cut a newborn baby’s genitals or to proceed to a cesarean section during childbirth, I wonder if anyone really thinks through the long-term, life altering consequences of these actions.

10 thoughts on “How to wreck your sex life

  1. Great posting.

    My wife and are having the best sex of our lives despite the fact that I was circumcised at birth and she had an episiotomy with her first delivery.

    In my case, I had gone nearly numb by age 36. Now ten years later I have non-surgically restored my foreskin to where I have as much slack as a typical intact man.

    This may be too much info, but before I restored, my wife would try very hard to give my an orgasm through oral stimulation and was never able to during the first 10 years of our marriage. Since I restored, she can bring to climax with her mouth as often as she pleases. What’s weird is that despite my improved pleasure receptivity, I can still enjoy intercourse with her as long as she cares to go. It all feels so good, I’m no longer in a desparate race to a big finish.

    Regarding my wife’s episiotomy, we weren’t in favor of it. I was of the mind that hundreds of thousands of years of mammalian evolution just couldn’t have given rise to a species in need of surgery to procreate (especially on the female, since she is essential to the survival of the offspring). But our doctor brought it up because he said it was his duty to discuss our options.

    As he was explaining it he said “we would cut right about to where you have this large skin tag near your vagina.” Well, they got to discussing that, and the bottom line is we agreed to the episiotomy and in the process he gave my wife free cosmetic surgery to remove a skin tag that had always driven her nuts.

    She’s much happier with her body now, and of course we both love my restored foreskin. I’d sure prefer the original variety, and knowing what we do now we probably would have avoided the episiotomy and had the skin tag excised later. But I’d like to say two victims of needless genital surgery can get together and live happily ever after.

  2. An interesting post and makes a lot of sense. It doesn’t explain the whole story, though. I had virtually no libido before ever falling pregnant (how we fell pregnant with our two girls must surely be classed as a miracle!) and i don’t feel that the caesarean i had the first time impacted much on that, not as much as breastfeeding and motherhood, at any rate. But my intact husband is very thankful for his parents’ wise decision to leave him whole (how scary that that is even a decision!!)

  3. It occurred to me that medicine has obstructed and pathologized all 3
    biological “mechanisms” of familial bonding: ecstatic birth, breastfeeding
    and sex. It’s enough to make anyone a conspiracy theorist! Just what is medicine’s problem with family stability?

    Could such pathology be related to the barbarity of american national politics?

    Apparently they have a pretty robust way to measure sociopathic
    tendencies in an individual by a standardized questionaire. The
    statistics for the USA are pretty disturbing:

    Psychopathy across cultures (googled “Robert Hare” epidemiology by

    Psychopathy: Theory, Research and Implications for Society

    Page 13: Of 16 studies of european prisoners
    (prisoner surveys N=12, “security patients” N=4)
    N=2143, Avg score=16.2, SD=8.4

    North American Standardized among prisoners:
    N=1192, Score=23.6, SD=7.9

    North American Standardized among general population
    N=1632, Score=22.8, SD=7.9

    Note the north american GENERAL POPULATION is 40% higher than
    european PRISONERS!!! The NA baseline is higher than all but two
    european prisoner surveys.

  4. The only problem with this piece of armchair science is that there is a whole nation of people going back millenia for which inclusion in said group was marked by male circumcision. And judging by how well the promise that Abraham’s descendents would number more than the grains of sand on a beach has worked out, I’m not sure merely grouping your favorite causes together and setting them next to an unfortunate modern phenomenon attested to by experts such as Oprah makes for a compelling argument. “This just in, Americans aren’t getting any because men have been circumcised!” Sorry. I don’t buy it.

  5. Thanks for your comment, Melissa VB. I’m not pretending this article is “science” armchair or otherwise. I do have a unique vantage point as a birth worker and an intactivist and, perhaps, if I express my musings, some bored scientist will construct a study to prove or disprove my theory. I sure wouldn’t mind being proven wrong on this one.

    Abraham’s descendants don’t have the pleasure of all the nerve endings in the foreskin but they are still able to ejaculate and Mother Nature is incredibly good at multiplying the species despite all encumberences. That’s not a reason to encumber, is it? Despite the blind spot of circumcision, the Jewish traditions do contain a really good fertility ritual. The woman leaves her husband’s bed on the first day of the menses. She doesn’t sleep with her man until she has a ritual bath (the mikvah) on the twelth day after. The man and woman get together at the most fertile time (12 to 14 days after the first day of the period) and THAT is a sure fire way to get pregnant if you’re not using birth control. It works even better if she hasn’t seen, spoken to, or smelled her husband. I have given this method to many infertile couples and it works. It certainly is a lot better than all the N. American fertility specialist nonsense. Anyway, I digress. thanks for getting me digressing, Melissa VB.

  6. I was Surfing for something completely different, but got your page How to wreck your sex life | Gloria Lemay and found it Interesting.Nice Post on cosmetic surgery gone wrong…Thanks.

  7. I was Surfing for something completely different, but got your page How to wreck your sex life | Gloria Lemay and found it Interesting.Nice Post on cosmetic surgery gone wrong…Thanks.

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