Purity and Danger and Foreskin

Posted by Madam Bubby

 

I was born into a world where baby boys were routinely circumcised, whether they were Jewish or not. Hygienic purposes. (These were also the days when nurses wore caps, which were later deemed to be unhygienic. Go figure.)

These were also the days when women at least in middle class white America were knocked out in order to give birth. Babies were kept in rooms behind windows, often in incubators even if they weren’t under five pounds, held up for viewing like specimens by nurses in crisp white caps. (I am remembering the episode of the birth of Little Ricky on I Love Lucy, which corresponded to Lucille Ball scheduling a caesarian section for the birth of her son, Desi Arnaz, Jr.)

 

Ricky in the hospital waiting room, from I Love Lucy
Ricky in the hospital waiting room (Source)

 

It's like anything that resembled the nitty gritty raw materials of sex and blood and birth and death was hidden, sterilized as much as possible. Dirt was disorder. Sex was dirty unless it produced babies, but giving birth to those babies was a disordered process that required forceps and scalpels and anesthesia to control it, get it out of the realm of actual living.

 

Scalpel

 

And of course any type of sex other than what took place behind closed doors in a missionary position for procreative purposes was generally deemed dirty and disordered. Thus LGBTQ persons themselves were deemed by the general population as irredeemably dirty, unless they could cleanse themselves and rejoin the pristine world of Father Knows Best, itself but an idealized fantasy.

Mary Douglas in her seminal book Purity and Danger explored this primal desire to contain dirt and disorder, like the way we still keep our basic bodily functions of urination and defecation in a toilet which is supposed to be sparkling clean and in a room that is also supposed to be sparkling clean. The toilet itself is an image that contains in itself this fraught tension which informs our attitudes toward sexuality and even to parts of the body that one uses to express that sexuality.

 

Purity and Danger cover
Purity and Danger cover

Scrubbing a toilet

 

Thus, that foreskin had to be brutally cut off, to cleanse, make pure, the member of an appendage would make its appearance and its role sexual act even more exciting, promising deep, dark, rich scents and that pungent but also enticing smegma.

It revealed the mystery in order to contain it. When I experienced sexually a man who was uncut for the first time (in the bathroom, and in the shower, ironically), which could imply he was somehow more complete, even “holy” which word can also mean complete, I experienced mystery. And in that mystery, glory, and by glory, I am thinking of not a vague disembodied entity or feeling in the clouds, but physical reality itself charged with an energy that creates and propels the orgasm but also encompasses it.

 

Images from The U.N.C.U.T. Club of L.A. & Club Mandom 1: Blue Collar Cheese Factory
Images from The U.N.C.U.T. Club of L.A. (top) and Club Mandom 1: Blue Collar Cheese Factory (bottom)

 

His phallus contained on it a boundary, and it’s through crossing boundaries one grows, changes, lives, dies. I could experience at that time a fullness and as I said above, a mystery that transcended the rigid binaries which result from treating sexual, in fact, all human experience as something we have to dissect with scalpels and pull apart with forceps.

I’m not advocating for an end to circumcision, as it is a boundary-crossing, consensual ritual of initiation for males in many cultures, but, significantly, also a source of horrific pain and suffering for so many, especially women and girls who are circumcised in order to completely suppress their sexual desire, eliminate it like it is indeed something dirty and thus disordered. They in essence are forced into becoming objects only defined by what the culture deems as purity, but at the same time depriving them of living as full, complete persons.

Yes, there’s dangerous realities we do need to contain, as a virus plagues the world and we must first try and control it, then eradicate it, by amplifying up to the nth degree our bathroom rituals of cleansing and purifying. But our complicated, messy, exciting and ultimately glorious sexuality can and should become for humans both dangerous and pure, exploding the tension in that binary if only for a moment. A holy moment.

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David's Chicago Sexual Underground - 4/1/20

David's Chicago Sexual Underground header

 

Greetings P(r)icksters!

Hopefully this finds you hunkered down until this Covid-19 virus crisis is over. The state shut down the bars in Illinois on March 16th and just today extended the closure order thru April 30th. So much for the Bloody Mary and Rusty Nail drink specials for Easter weekend.

It’s kind of hard to talk about what’s going on when in reality its absolutely nothing!

The weekend before the closure we were encouraged to limit the number of patrons in the bar, to keep it under 100. Was not much of a problem here, many folks had already started avoiding crowds and business was falling off steadily in the preceding weeks.

Since Saint Patrick’s Day was that coming Tuesday, we knew it would be a busy bar weekend. The city cancelled the parade to avoid the crowds downtown, but the crowds around the bars were too much for our Governor and we got the shutdown order that Monday.

Leather fetish events scheduled in March, April and May are all being cancelled or postponed. No big IML weekend over Memorial Day weekend to kick off our summer. But it was a necessary step to stop folks from gathering in large numbers and allowing the virus to spread.

Good thing, too, as since then it has become clear how quickly this virus has spread and how deadly it can be. It’s odd to see Chicago almost a ghost town. The food stores are busy all day but they try to limit the number indoors, hand out gloves and ask for “social distancing” while you shop. Still can't figure out the hoarding of toilet paper. The virus attacks your lungs, doesn’t give you the shits.

Reports of shortages of supplies for healthcare workers are the big concern. We’ve seen what’s been happening in New York, Boston and other east coast cities. We expect Chicago to peak in mid April and the city and state here are trying to stockpile supplies before it hits. Which has medical supplies coming in from all kinds of places - construction sites, businesses and more.

I even saw a report that over in the U.K. that a fetish dealer made a donation. Seems that MedFet U.K. provides medical gear for folks who like to play doctor & nurse. They donated their stock of masks, protection suits and gloves to local health officials. I wonder how many other fetish stores have supplies that could be used in this emergency.

So while we are just hanging out at home, we can play doctor, too. My P(r)ick of the Week first choice is Steve Scott’s Games from 1983. Featuring Al Parker, Giorgio Canali & Leo Ford during the first Gay Games in San Francisco. One of the scenes takes place in a hospital with the good doctor applying some therapy to an injured athlete.

Let’s stretch the doctor theme to 1985’s Blacklode. This Marksman Production centers around a doctor/scientist studying the human orgasm and his need for studs to provide “samples” for his work. Any excuse to watch some humpy black men pull on their big dicks works for me.

Take one or two and you’ll be feeling better in no time at all. Keep them handy if you suffer a relapse and need more therapy. Let’s play doctor!

David

Games images
Games (D00271) - On DVD and Streaming

Blacklode images
Blacklode (D00826) - On DVD and Streaming
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