Man blames Sex and the City for ‘ruining his penis’

Charlotte looking down a man's trousers

A Sex and the City episode which slandered uncircumcised penises made one man feel so shamed that he underwent a circumcision – a decision he regrets to this day.

The anguished Reddit user explained why he has vowed to never watch the HBO comedy or its sequel series, And Just Like That…, for quite a big reason.

“Just over 20 years ago, that show lead to the biggest mistake I have ever made,” he wrote. “Getting circumcised.”

The Reddit user explained how he felt “different” growing up in Australia as an uncircumcised man.

Much of his father’s generation had undergone the procedure, as had the men he saw in porn, and the American media often referred to being uncircumcised in an “uncomplimentary” way.

Aged 21, he tuned into Sex and the City. It was 1999 and the season two episode “Old Dogs, New Dicks” saw the four main characters debate whether it’s right for partners to try to change for each other.

“The episode was all about Charlotte dating a man who wasn’t – the norm in the USA – and her disgust by it,” he wrote.

“To sit and watch a show tell me that my body was revolting is something I will never forget. The women casually sat around the table body shaming men and their penises.

“I remember Charlotte screwing up her nose and saying, ‘There was so much skin, it was like a shar-pei,’ and feeling disgusted in my own body.”

When Miranda said it is “not normal” to be uncircumcised, he “felt like screaming inside”.

“I had an ugly penis that people would forever judge me for.”

In the episode, Charlotte York dates Mike, a famous restaurant critic whom she effectively shames into getting circumcised. He later embraces his new penis and breaks up with her to explore the world and sleep with more women.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Noth in Sex and the City. (Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic)

The episode convinced the man that the women he had slept with before were just being “polite” about his foreskin, so he went under the knife.

“I remember looking at it the first time,” he said. “Bruised and switched and sorry. I actually felt relieved. I felt so happy! I thought I was ‘normal’ now.”

His recovery was “painful” and, he explained, he has found that his penis is “less sensitive” – something that brings “tears to [his] eyes”.

The “big scar” on his penis is a reminder of the “part of my body [he] can never get back”.

“As time went on I discovered my new penis didn’t actually solve any of my problems,” he added. “When I eventually told friends what I had done, they all asked why. So did the women I told.

“I didn’t get circumcised because there was anything wrong with my penis – I did it because I felt shamed by American media and their immorally untrue message that foreskins are dirty and ugly.”
Around eight in 10 American men are circumcised, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some American health agencies recommend the procedure due to its perceived benefits – there is some research that suggests circumcision reduces the chances of contracting some sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV.

But other health officials stress that such research is inconclusive, especially within broader HIV-preventative strategies that include condoms and medication such as PrEP.

Some medical professionals and activists say it is “unethical” to perform circumcision on babies, as is common.

I will not be watching And Just Like That…,” the Reddit user added, “and I will never forgive its predecessor for its treatment of male bodies.”