(an allegorical critique)


“Please don’t laugh,” I murmured, kissing her neck.

“Why would I laugh?” she asked, unbuckling my belt.

“Because of — you know. If you don’t like what you’re about to find.”

She paused with her fingers on the button of my jeans, and looked me in the eye. It was our fourth date. We were both a little giggly from the bottle of sake we’d shared over dinner, giggly and sweaty and blushing with anticipation. It had been made mutually clear that we were prepared to go as far as possible this evening, and neither of us could wait. But…

A Non-Erotic Fantasy

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I don’t know what it’s like for you, but every time I prepare to see a new doctor for a physical exam, I wonder how they’re going to react when I drop my pants.

Will there be a moment of awkward silence? Will they suddenly cease their chatty façade or professional jargon, and adopt a poker face to conceal their pity or envy, disgust or desire?

After all, this is the most intimate possible one-way-street we experience on a standard basis: strangers witnessing all we have to offer, getting as up-close-and-personal as it’s possible to get without revealing anything of…

Photo by Nick Gordon on Unsplash

The first shame is waking up wet.

We spend our early childhoods avoiding this experience. We are taught how not to wet the bed or our pants. We learn that being dry is a sign of maturity, of responsibility. Being dry is an accomplishment. Being wet is a failure.

So even though there is no actual, rational judgment involved in being an adult and waking up to sticky genitals and soggy pajamas, there’s still the primal toilet-training violation: our body was bad.

The second shame is when it doesn’t stop after puberty.

We expect awkward experiences as our teenage bodies…

What if a majority of American men were unwitting victims of abuse from infancy?

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[Disclaimer: I am neither a legal expert nor a medical-ethics professional; this is simply a personal attempt to think through a troubling hypothesis. I am also using the terms “boys/men” to connect a procedure involving male-identified genitals with “toxic masculinity” and gender norms, not to imply that only men can have penises or be circumcised as such.]

[Trigger Warning: candid discussion of infant genital mutilation as a possible form of sexual abuse.]


Considering that this is the seventh essay I’ve written here on Medium about circumcision, there’s probably a point at which a professional therapist would say Stop: don’t…

Would circumcision still be popular if we called it “Penis Reduction Surgery”?

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

It goes without saying that American men are [brainwashed to be] obsessed with penis size. Everybody measures, but nobody thinks they “measure up.” Everybody wants Big Dick Energy, but those who exude it above the belt aren’t always the ones who are packing heat below. For every person who tries to reassure their partner that his penis size is perfectly fine [and it doesn’t matter in bed, anyway], there are fifty other guys having unnecessary anxiety attacks and guzzling sketchy supplements because they aren’t stretched [or severed] like the stallions on PornHub.

Trust me, I know. I was convinced I…

Does circumcision visually hyper-sexualize the penis?

(Photo by This Guy on Unsplash)

It’s August, 2020.

We are currently living in the Age of the Mask.

This means that [fully abled] people are increasingly being compelled to explore how we can communicate simple nonverbal expressions and acknowledgements without being able to visually use our mouths. I pass a stranger on the sidewalk. We make eye contact. Do they know I’m smiling beneath my mask to convey my friendly, neighborly, harmless intentions, and to express solidarity and appreciation for our mutual respect of public safety pandemic protocols? Or are they secretly horrified by the fact that my mask pattern is the “facehugger” xenomorph from…

When the pain’s in your body but the fear’s in your brain

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“Dude, no way.”

My friend looked at me from over the rim of his locally crafted IPA. “Not another genital essay. Why do you publicly obsess about your junk so much?”

“Because we call it junk,” I replied.

It’s more complicated than that, of course, but junk seems like a good place to start. The term means rubbish, refuse, leftover scraps, discarded detritus, the stuff we keep out of sight, smell, and mind. But covering our eyes never makes the monsters under the bed go away. …

(Photo by Kate Hliznitsova on Unsplash)

The easy answer, of course, is: don’t.

We shouldn’t not care, I mean. But we should prioritize our care. Create hierarchies of care. Make a strictly-once-a-week grocery list of care. Focus our energy on the things that matter most right now: safety, shelter, sustenance, social distancing, supporting those with greater needs, and sanity. In other words, survival. Nothing else matters if no one stays around to make it matter!

But, as someone privileged enough to be sheltering in place with a [relatively] steady paycheck and an [adequately] stable home, I keep finding myself thinking — in between counting toilet paper…

How my balls bring me closer to belief

Photo by Tomas Sobek on Unsplash

It’s trendy today for people to say that they are spiritual, not religious, implying that they have given up the traditional trappings of institutionalized faith-based structures in favor of a more personal, organic, DIY approach. Ironically, I often find myself in the opposite position: as a nonbelieving adult, neither theist nor deist, who was raised in an immersive and entirely positive Presbyterian (mainstream Protestant Christian) upbringing, I still retain that canonical language as a default diction, whether I subscribe to its sentiments any longer or not. …

(image copyright by the author)

A colleague recently had her newborn son circumcised. When she told me and I winced, she retorted, “What’s the big deal? It was such a tiny piece of skin!”

This encouraged me to measure the surface area of what I myself had been robbed of thirty-five years ago (as it would have appeared in my current adult dimensions), using a Kleenex as a surrogate and judging according to the scar halfway down the shaft of my flaccid penis. …

Kent Clark

Mild-mannered reports from below the belt and beyond. Cisgender/pansexual/medium-aged/Left Coast of North America.

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