The backward self-reproduction of castration anxiety
How come infants who still do not know what sex is or what the use of the penis is, fear castration? How can asexual affections develop into castration anxiety?
When I asked my 4 years old son “Why girls lack penises?” he answered “I don’t know”. The girls’ lack of penis does not make him pity them but simply evokes some tickling interest. He neither envies my larger penis nor feels humiliated by or jealous of its size. Actually, he does not seem to suspect that the penis has functions other than to urinate, to show man’s identity and to produce strange pleasant sensations every now and then. Neither does punishment evoke fear of castration in him. Even when I intimidated him that I could cut off his weenie if he disobeyed me he did not show even a trace of fear of being castrated. He objected that I could not do that because his weenie was “tightly glued”. When I seriously threatened him again he decided that I must be joking. He has a great affection for his mother and likes to be cuddled but I do not find something sexual in that. Or maybe I am too unsuspicious?
Circumcision of minors is a decision of their parents. Circumcising fathers seem to exaggerate the sexual drive of their infants to frightening proportions. They nourish suspicious sexual fears, rather than their infants. By all appearances circumcision of minors is a result of the sexual frustration of their parents. Those fathers who resort to symbolic castration are probably circumcised. And it is a fact that circumcising fathers are at least 5 times more inclined to insist on circumcising their boys than natural fathers.
According to psychoanalysis circumcising fathers perform a symbolic castration on their sons. They must be overly jealous. They show unsuccessful repression of the oedipal feelings and an unresolved castration complex. Their sexuality must have been suppressed in their early years. They will tend to pacify their castration anxiety by suppressing the sexuality of their children. Thus, circumcision serves to reduce insecurity and sexual frustration of parents. Even in the logic of psychoanalysis circumcision is a result of disaffection in adults, and not in infants.
Now we can go a step further and assume that the psychological impact of circumcision includes the symptoms of castration anxiety. Circumcising fathers mitigate their circumcision syndrome by inflicting circumcision to their sons. Circumcision of minors serves to reduce the sexual frustration caused by it in adults. The long-term psychological effects of circumcision reproduce circumcision. Circumcision tends to reproduce itself while assuming a variety of symptoms attributable to castration anxiety.
Child circumcision removes the apparently asexual prepuce before it has developed into an erogenous organ. This however, causes sexual frustration in adults that makes them suspicious of the existence of oedipal feelings during childhood. Following such a retrograde logic the asexual affections in children turn out to be castration anxiety in adults.
Near-castration experience (NCE)
It is not just physical resemblance that fosters circumcised fathers to circumcise their sons but their own mental comfort as well. A circumcised father cannot feel his own foreskin but thinking of it makes him feel uneasy and eventually evokes inexplicable and unwelcome perception-like sensations. A mixture of apprehension, veneration and awe he feels when he thinks about the prepuce. A circumcised father is unsure of what his son’s foreskin may be conductive of. In the meantime his concept of pleasure has grown somewhat abstract and attached to religion, psychoanalysis or some other cerebral subject. The very idea of the prepuce interferes with the habitual discharge of his circumcision syndrome. The foreskin of the child sabotages the usual canalization of the circumcised father’s sexual energy. Its existence alone threatens his idea of pleasure.
Circumcision limits sexual gratification, frustrates adults and makes them jealous. The mentality affected by circumcision tends to misinterpret the normal attachment of children to the mother and to ascribe sexual character to it. Fathers externalize their jealousy and direct it to their sons. This additionally increases the son-father rivalry and masks the origin of the sexual frustration. The “like father, like son” attitude in circumcised fathers may be stronger because of the stronger oedipal feeling they experience.
Fathers who are jealous of their babies must be unsecure, sexually frustrated, over-possessive and preoccupied with sexual thoughts. It is the circumcising fathers who fear sexuality, and not their baby-sons. Fathers exhibit the signs of sexual frustration that Freud attributes to castration anxiety. It is the circumcising fathers who suffer the castration complex, and not their still uncut infants. And this is normal if the sexuality of fathers is suppressed. It may have been trimmed during their infancy by circumcision but the suppression emerges during their adult life when they are sexuality matured.
Sexuality of the circumcising parents must be either physically suppressed by circumcision or by mentally repressed by religious moral. Even sexuality of natural fathers is usually suppressed by asexual religions and by the social norms inherited from it. The sexually frustrated fathers interpret the normal desire of the children for closeness with its mother as a desire for sexual intercourse. They exaggerate the sexual thoughts of their sons in a direct compensatory manner which makes them jealous. The circumcising fathers assume the role of the castrator and thus resolve their castration anxiety.
A circumcised father does not know what it is to have a foreskin. His motivation to circumcise his boy can only be external or unconscious. If parents circumcise because of some tradition, this reveals that they are insecure, overly dependent irresponsible.
Circumcised fathers are uncertain about how it feels to have a prepuce. Perhaps they feel that there is something more to circumcision than physical appearance and mark of ethnic belonging. Maybe they prefer to let the lustful sleeping dogs lie in the unconscious. It is the circumcised fathers who fear castration because they suffer a near-castration experience. Perhaps for that reason they prefer to think of circumcision as a symbolic ritual as both the circumcising religions and Freud defined it.