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Uncut - A Cultural Analysis of the Foreskin


A Cultural Analysis of the Foreskin

Paperback : 9781779400307, 352 pages, November 2024
Hardcover : 9781779400314, 352 pages, November 2024
Expected to ship: 2024-11-05
Expected to ship: 2024-11-05

Table of contents


  1. The Fate of the Foreskin: A Brief History
  2. Circumcision Indecision
  3. The Foreskin Fantasy
  4. The Foreskin Aesthetic, or Ugliness Reconsidered
  5. The Joy of Foreskin
  6. Foreskin Restoration: A Brief History
  7. The Pursuit of the Perfect Uncut Penis
  8. Intactivism and the Logic of Trauma

Conclusion: The Future of the Foreskin
Appendix: Circumcision Rates


Uncut explores the significance of the foreskin in contemporary culture

Uncut: A Cultural Analysis of the Foreskin takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the foreskin and its position in contemporary Anglo-American culture. From language to art, from religion to medicine and public health, Uncut is a provocative book that asks us to ask ourselves what we know and don’t know about this seemingly small piece of skin.

The “uncut” penis is viewed by some as attractive or erotic, and by others as ugly or undesirable. Secular parents of male infants worry about whether or not the foreskin should be removed so their little boy can grow up to “look like dad” or to avoid imagined bullying in the locker room. Medical experts and public health organizations argue back and forth about whether circumcision is medically necessary, while “intactivists” advocate that removing an infant’s foreskin without their consent is mutilation.

Drawing on all these threads, Jonathan A. Allan leads us through the history and cultural construction of the foreskin—from Michelangelo’s David to parenting manuals, from nineteenth-century panic over masturbation to foreskin restoration—to ultimately ask: what is the future of the foreskin?


“A balanced account of modern ideas about the foreskin and circumcision.” —Sander L. Gilman, Emory University

“Accessible and engaging, Uncut offers a wide-ranging analysis of the cultural history of the foreskin and is a welcome addition to contemporary conversations on masculinity and embodiment.” —Laura M. Carpenter, author of Virginity Lost and co-editor of Sex for Life