This is a true story about a research project which studied the impact circumcision has on penile sensitivity and sexual pleasure. The study took place in 1970 and 1971 and was conducted at a major University Hospital in the southern United States. Over a period of 16 month 40 some subjects took part in this study, I was one of them. Names have been changed.
The one thing most university students have in common is a constant lack of money. I was a student finishing my degree in Business Administration at a major University. My roommate a 3rd year medical student came home one night with a notice that was posted on the bulletin board in this school. He gave it to me with the comment: ”Here, you are not circumcised, you can make some money.” The notice stated that subjects where needed to study the effects circumcision has on the sensitivity of the penis and sexual pleasure. It further stated that a substantial fee would be paid upon completion of the tests. Over the years I had some problems with my uncut penis and had thought about circumcision off and on. Well why not make some money. The next day I called the phone number on the notice.
The number turned out to be the office of a Dr. Turner. The lady who answered the call told me that Dr. Turner was in charge of the research and that I needed to make an appointment if I was interested. The fee was $4500 paid in three separated stages over a period of 18 month. That was a lot of money in 1971!! I agreed to book an appointment right a way. The lady asked a few questions on how I found out about the study, a few general questions about my health and if I was circumcised. After answering she told me that I appear to qualify and gave me an appointment for the next morning.
Dr. Turner turned out to be a Urologist located in a small medical building close to the University hospital. I walked in with some apprehension. The lady behind the reception desk gave me a clipboard with a 4-page questionnaire, which included a lot of questions on my general health and on any difficulty in my sex life. About 10 minutes after completing the form, a rather average looking nurse showed me into an examination room, gave me a gown to wear and asked me to strip down completely. I had just removed my underwear and the gown only half on when Dr. Turner entered the room. Dr. Turner was a very friendly sort of guy who you could like immediately. He explained that the study would consist of 3 phases. “Penile sensitivity would be measured under controlled conditions, then I would need to be circumcised. Six month after the operation the sensitivity would be measured again under the same conditions and then again 12 months later”. After each of the phases I would be paid $1,500. He warned me that the conditions under which the tests would be done were “very controlled” and could be humiliating. I told him that I was eager to proceed. He told me that he needed to give me physical examination and asked me to sit on the examination table.
He proceeded with the normal tests, blood pleasure, reflexes etc. He then asked me to lie on my side and pull in my upper leg. He lifted my gown and proceeded to give me a routine rectal examination. He removed his glove and asked me to roll on to my back. Again he lifted my gown and proceeded to check my testicles. After which he concentrated on my penis. My foreskin was moved back and forth a few times, just when I started to get a little hard he stopped and told me to sit up. He told me that I had a long foreskin and would make a perfect test subject. I told him again I wanted to proceed. He told me that the earliest date was 2 weeks later, that the tests would be done in the hospital research area. I was given a strict diet to follow starting 7 days prior to the tests and told not to have sex of any kind for at least 72 hours prior. Off I went, a little up tight about what would be done to me but also excited at the prospect of the money.
My anxiety grew as the day approached; I was to report to the hospital at 8 a.m. The room number I was given turned out to be in the basement, at the far end of a long hallway. The door simply had the room number, no other signage. I entered into a small, empty reception area containing a couple of chairs, a small table and not much else. Right upon entering a Nurse dressed in white uniform emerged from a door behind the reception area. She was mid 30, petit, short dark hair and very attractive. She introduced herself as Rebecca and told me that she was the lead nurse of this area. She told me to follow her. Behind the reception area was a hallway with a number of doors on each side. She opened one of the doors; this led into small change room. The room contained a build in bench and a couple of lockers.
She gave me a standard issue hospital gown, open in the back and asked me to remove all my clothing as well as any rings, watch etc. and place all items into one of the lockers. She told me to come into the hall when done. When finished undressing I returned to the hall and found Rebecca waiting for me. Off we went a little further down the hall into another room. This room resembled a large bathroom. Walls and floor were tiled, a stainless steel counter with a sink and some cabinets at the far wall, and rather crude looking examination table with stirrups in the center. A second Nurse was busy with some equipment at the counter. This lady was the opposite from Rebecca; she was in her 50s heavy and kind of rough looking. Rebecca introduced her as Mary, a nursing aid.
I was told that I needed to be prepared for the test. I was asked to lie on the table and put my feet into the stirrups. This was a first for me! . The nursing aid positioned herself by my feet and told me to slide down the table until my rear was at the edge, and to let my knees fall apart. Rebecca told me that the first step was an enema to clean me out. I felt some cold lubricant on my anus and then Mary pushing a hose up the canal. Then she opened the valve and the solution poured inside of me, it was my first enema, what a feeling. The process only took a couple of minutes or so and the hose was removed. I was told to hold the solution as long as possible. Then the cramping started. After a few minutes I could no longer hold it. Rebecca seemed to sense my discomfort and showed me to an adjacent restroom. Oh, what a relief that was!
After reentering the “treatment” room it was back onto the table, and feet into the stirrups. This time I did not need to slide down the table, so my knees were only a little elevated. Rebecca advised me that a lot of sensors would be attached to my chest, abdomen and genitals and that these areas required shaving. She asked me to undo my gown in the back, and pulled it down, covering only my crotch. Mary came over and as Rebecca watched applied shaving cream from my upper chest to my belly bottom and began shaving all of this area. After this was done she cleaned me off with a cloth and pulled up my gown to cover my chest. I already knew what would be next and I was right. My gown was lifted to expose my genitals, and Mary proceeded to apply a liberal amount of shaving cream to my balls, penis and pubic area. The only comment she made was: ”knees wide apart please.” After she was done, Rebecca came over and inspected the area, seeming pleased with the results. My gown was pushed back down and I was told to get up. Then it was off down the hall to another room.
The next room was like a normal examination room, a little larger and a table in the middle of the room. The room had build in wood cabinets. At the head of the table was an equipment tray covered by a cloth. I was told to lie down. Again the gown was pulled down to expose my upper body. Rebecca began taking Electrodes and sensors from the equipment tray and applies them to my body. About 15 sensors were applied to the chest area. Sensors were also secured to my wrists. This procedure took about 10 minutes. When done the gown was lifted up over my chest and lifted up to expose my “by now not so private” parts. Additional sensors were stuck to by abdomen. My balls were secured into what looked like a leather harness containing metal sensors. This harness attached by means of a strap to the base of my penis, this strap also contained some metal sensors. When done Mary attached stirrups to the table. Again I was directed of putting feet into them and sliding down to the end of the table. Rebecca picked up a about flexible 1 foot long metal probe, applied some lubricant and inserted into my rectum. The thing felt very cold and uncomfortable. In order to hold the probe in place it was taped to my rear end.
Just when all of this was completed Dr. Turner entered the room, after a little chit chat he inspected the locations of the sensors, made a couple of minor adjustment and ensured that the harness was securely attached to my balls and penis. He stated that everything looked good and they were ready for the tests. I was told to get off the table, secure my gown and follow him down the hall. Walking straight with the probe in my rectum was difficult. Rebecca and Mary followed close behind, and I tried to keep the gown together with little luck, the probe was really beginning to hurt. The walk was merciful short, just down the hall and into another room
The room we entered looked very much like an operating room. Tiled floor, white walls and built in cabinets with a counter along the far wall. A table in the middle of the room surrounded by all sorts of equipment and a big adjustable light above it. There was one other person, a male technician or orderly, in the room working on some sort of electronic equipment. Someone, I don’t recall who, asked me to sit on the table. As I got closer I noticed that table had quite a few straps and equipment attached to it. I was really getting scared now and wondered what I got myself into. I climbed on the table. As soon as I sat a lot of things happened very quickly, everyone in the room seemed to surround me. Someone pulled open the ties on my gown and I was told to lie down. I was hardly down when both ankles were strapped to the table with my legs slightly spread.
My gown was pulled off, virtually at the same time Rebecca took on of my hands, gently positioned my arm at the side of the table above my head and strapped my wrist down, someone else repeated the same procedure with my other arm. In a few seconds I was secured to the table. Additional straps where then applied just above my knees, upper chest, shoulder area and my abdomen. The only thing I could still move was my head. Dr. Turner started to attach all sort of wires to the electrodes and sensors. The hook up and testing of the sensors took at least 30 minutes. Once completed Dr. Turner told me that the idea is to remove as many senses as possible so that there are no outside influences to affect the results. Movement, hearing and sight would be eliminated.
As he talked I suddenly felt someone taken my penis and pulling down my foreskin hard. I looked and saw Rebecca sliding a clamp of some sort over the head and tightening it over the pulled back skin. Dr. Turner explained that the clamp was to keep the skin retracted and that a catheter would now be inserted. I felt cold jelly being applied to the head and the catheter enter my penis. Then someone put a set of headphones over my ears, which played soft, relaxing music. At this time I glanced at the wall clock and noticed it was 10:30 am. Some sort of apparatus was attached to the table behind my head and my head was secured into it, now I could not move this either. Then a shade was attached over my eyes, which blocked out all light.
There I was, completely immobilized unable to hear or see anything that went on. A strange, powerful feeling. I am not sure how long I lay there when I felt my catheter being removed. Shortly afterwards I felt a slight vibration, tingling around my testicles and at the base of my penis. This grew in intensity. There was also the sensation of mild electrical stimulation deep inside of me, in the prostrate gland area. I could feel an almost instant erection. This stimulation felt wonderful. After a little while someone touched the exposed glands of my penis gently and I exploded into an enormous orgasm. I felt being cleaned up and the catheter being re inserted.
After quite a while the same started all over again, this time took longer to cum. More manual stimulation of my penis was necessary. The whole procure repeated itself one more time after that. My body was starting to hurt from lying in one position and I was getting quite uncomfortable. My guess was that about 3 hours went by and it should be between 1 and 2 o’clock. I was very tired. Suddenly the music stopped and the eyeshade was being removed. Dr. Turner looked down and said that it was over and I did great.
After my eyes adjusted to the bright light I looked at the clock, it was 6:10 p.m.! Rebecca and Dr. Turner removed all the wires from the sensors and I was unbuckled. Someone helped me up. I felt a little wobbly. A fresh gown was given to me to cover up. Dr. Turner asked me to bend over the table while standing and removed the probe from my rectum. Mary led me down the hall back to the prep room. She told me to lie down and take off the gown. She then removed all of the sensors and harness, gave me back my gown and told me to go to the dressing room and get dressed and wait in the reception area.
Dr. Turner came in a few minutes later and told me that I would now be taken upstairs to a hospital room where I could rest; he wanted me to get good nights sleep and the circumcision was booked for 7a.m. the next morning.
After a typical hospital meal I had a great sleep; I have never felt so worn out. I didn’t even worry about the upcoming operation. I was woken up at 6 a.m. with some Breakfast. At 6:30 a.m. a Nurse entered the room and gave me a fresh gown. I was told to remove all of my clothing, jewellery and “make sure your underwear is gone”. I did as asked. About 15 minutes later another Nurse came into the room and announced that they were ready for me. She gave me a heated blanket to wrap around me and I followed her to the surgery area a short walk away.
We entered a standard operating room, all tiled, lots of equipment and a table in the middle of the room with a big light above it. One other nurse was reading some equipment. I was told to lie on the table, legs flat, slightly spread. The nurse then proceeded to strap my ankles to the table. My gown was pushed up to my chest and a sheet was laid out over me. The sheet had a hole in it which was placed over my penis, which was now the only part exposed. One of my arms was strapped onto an extension of the table and an IV was inserted into my hand. A blood pressure cuff was attached to my arm. Once these preparations were done, the nurse attached a curtain over my shoulders, separating my head from the rest of my body, so I could not watch and see what was going on.
Dr. Turner entered the room; he came up to the upper end of the table and asked if I was ready. He slipped on a mask and moved down to my genitals. He asked the nurse assisting him to start freezing the area. She took my penis into her hand, probed at the base and I felt the sharp sting of the needle. I was given 3 injections all around the base of the penis. She then pulled back my foreskin hard and injected into the frenulum. If the other injections were unpleasant, this one was very painful. The Doctor explained that the frenulum was a very sensitive area and would be removed during the circumcision. Within a few minutes everything down there was quite numb. No feeling at all. Again I felt the foreskin being pushed down and the doctor asked for the scalpel. Here it goes! No more going back!
I could not feel any pain but felt a lot of pressure when the cutting was done; the doctor gave a running commentary of what was going on. He explained that the foreskin was cut on the inside, and then pushed forward over the glands one more time then cut again on the outside. Finally the frenulum was cut. The foreskin was now gone! He explained that the area between the inner and outer cut was folded over, trimmed and would be sewn to the remaining penile skin. This would leave a small part of the inner foreskin exposed. He commented that the scar would be about an inch down the shaft. Then I was sewn up. 48 stitches! Most along the cut line down the shaft and about 6 where the frenulum used to be.
The whole procedure took 25 minutes. I was disconnected from the IV, transferred to a bed and wheeled back to my room. Dr. Turner came in an hour later with my first $1,500 check. He told me to rest a few hours and that I could go home a couple of hours later. I was bandaged up and quite sore once the freezing left me.
After about one week of soreness I healed pretty nicely. It took about 6 weeks to be back 100%. After a couple of weeks I had to go to Dr. Turner for a follow up. He asked me to drop my pants and looked at my now “nude” penis, commenting that it healed well.
About 6 month later I went through the same thing again, exactly as the first time, the same preparations and the same test. I received my 2nd $1,500 and was told that I would be contacted in about 1 year to do the test again. However about 9 month later I received a letter, advising that the research lost it’s funding and all further research was canceled. So I never got the results of the study and did not get my last monetary installment.
Personally, I do think that circumcision affects the sensitivity of the penis, however over the years it continued to work well, and no problems, just a little different!