Michael Dulin is passionate about penises—uncut ones.
The 59-year-old Jupiter artist has long been an activist against infant circumcision and in recent years has focused his art on educating the public about the practice, which is common in the United States.
“It’s a human rights issue,” Dulin argues. “A healthy part of a healthy baby’s body is removed without his consent. He didn’t sign a consent form and his parents shouldn’t make that decision for him. It will happen a million times this year and it’s wrong.”
According to Dulin, there is a growing movement in the United States and supporters speak out in a “myriad of ways.” For him, terra cotta sculpture is the primary medium to raise awareness.
A largely self-trained artist who began at a young age, Dulin has been sculpting “intact” penises, as he calls them, and quickly gaining attention within the arts community. His works have been selected for both regional and national exhibitions. In addition to the work, he presents an artists statement outlining his motivation and perspective.
“My goal is to raise awareness. People need to be made aware there is nothing wrong with foreskin,” he says. “It’s a natural part of the body and most people think it’s natural to be mutilated or circumcised. It’s not normal.”
Dulin, who was circumcised as an infant, first began aware of his own condition at the age of eight. He was bathing and noticed the brown ring around his penis and asked his mother about it. She told him “Jesus was circumcised,” and that was the end of the conversation, he recalls. “It was just done in the 1950s….often without even consulting the parents.”
Years later, when Dulin married and started having children with his wife, he took note: “I’m glad my first child was a girl. In the next bed at the hospital there was a woman who had just had a baby boy. The husband had just videotaped the circumcision and was bragging about how the kid screamed and blood spurted everywhere. He said he couldn’t wait to show the video to his son when he was old enough. The fool was so proud of it.”
Dulin fathered three sons before coming out and is proud that each is intact.
“When we had boys, they never left my sight while they were in the hospital,” he says. “Now they are happy, healthy, well adjusted young men and have never had any problems with their foreskins.”
While uncut penises are considered a fetish in the gay community, Dulin has not found everyone to be supportive of his cause. Several years ago, Dulin marched in a New York City gay pride parade under the banner of Intact America, an anti-circumcision group, and found the group heckled by announcers from the reviewing stand.
“He may have been trying to be catty, but there are no jokes that would make me laugh about circumcision. It’s crude and rude to joke about a victim of an atrocity. We don’t laugh at women who lose a breast to cancer,” he insists.
Dulin admits that may have been an isolated incident, but knows the job is not done educating the public.
In the meantime, he will continue with his art and he has taken on a personal act—restoring his own foreskin. Several Internet sites provide instructions on stretching the remaining foreskin, a process that can take two to 10 years, depending on the subject.
After four years, Dulin says he is seeing results, but he will only have a “facsimile” of his foreskin and can never replace the 60,000 nerve endings that were cut from would be 15 square inches on the average adult male.