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11 December 2006
Foreskin Restoration
by Paul Aitken

If you're an American male, chances are you were circumcised shortly after birth. It hurt like hell at the time but the memories of the event have long since been erased and you're likely to have never given the matter another thought. After all, the dick you're sporting is the only one you've ever had. You're used to it. You've grown accustomed to its face so to speak. And if some guy came up to you and told you that you could grow your foreskin back you'd probably think; a) Why would anybody bother? b) How the hell would that even work? c) Is this a gay bar? Why the hell are we talking about foreskins?

Most men don't miss their foreskins. While we may appreciate intellectually that there are advantages to having a foreskin, it's difficult to conceptualize the loss of something we've never experienced. If I had my druthers I'd certainly opt for one. Why not? Foreskins supposedly feel great. They're a natural part of our sexual apparatus. Yeah, they require cleaning but so what? Is there a man out there who would be seriously chagrined at having to spend more time playing with his dick? On balance it's no contest. Having a foreskin beats not having one. But how far would we be willing to go to get one?

For most of us, I'm guessing the answer would be not very far. I'd personally put the value at somewhere between a 20.1" flat panel monitor and a bottle of 20 year old Lagavulin Scotch. But a subset of men out there have attached enormous value to the foreskins they never had. In fact, a whole organization (NORM National Organization of Restoring Men) has formed to promote the restoration of the foreskin. These very dedicated men have devised a plethora of ingenious methods of restoring what was "stolen" from them. An Internet industry has flourished in the marketing and sale of foreskin restoration devices. Some of this is the natural outgrowth of the anti-circumcision movement that began in the early eighties. Some men have expressed great anger and resentment at the loss they feel they've suffered. While I suspect that some of this anger is a reflection of deeper issues than the loss of a foreskin in infancy, no one can doubt the sincerity of men who would actually go to the effort required to grow one back.

Restoring a foreskin isn't easy. Most non-surgical methods involve expanding the skin of the penile shaft until it can be pulled over the glans. The operating principle behind this is tissue expansion. When subject to tension, skin grows. It doesn't just thin out. Sensory nerves on the surface of the skin cell detect the tension and instruct the cells to divide. If they didn't, growing up or gaining weight would be a very painful experience. But to get the skin to expand you have to be able to "tug" on it. At first glance this may appear impossible. Even when the dick is shriveled up it's hard to grab more than a bit between thumb and forefinger; so stretching the whole tube of skin down is right out of the question. But the excess skin is there. It has to be, or an erection would be a pretty hideous experience.

The trick, apparently, is to pull it forward, and the secret to doing this is tape. While it might not seem it, tape has enormous lateral strength. Wrap a strip of tape around the portion of your dick just below the glans and you'll be surprised at how much play there is in your shaft skin. I even managed to succeed in pulling the skin over the glans ridge. Any tape will do. I tried scotch tape but I'd recommend against using it. Having encircled the shaft I lost the join and had to cut it off with a paring knife!

Surprisingly, tape alone is sufficient to produce results. Use one strip to encircle the shaft and use another piece as your "tugger." Pull the skin down as far as possible and then wrap the tape around the head of the glans. This is the "El Cheapo" method of foreskin restoration but it has one major disadvantage - every time you pee you have to take the damn thing off. If you've got $50 bucks to spare you might want to consider a one time investment in a foreskin cone. There are a number of different makes but they all work on the same principle: stretch foreskin over cone and secure with tape or o-ring. That's right, a cheap plumber's o-ring. These foreskin guys are nothing if not inventive. The big advantage with cones is that once you put it on you can leave it on. Not for a week, mind you. You've got to give your skin sometime to recuperate. But you should be able to wear it for most of the day without incident.

Okay, so you're all excited now. For a $50 investment you can grow back what you thought you'd lost forever, right? Well, before you log on to Ebay and hit the "Buy Now" button there is one thing you may want to consider. It takes time. A lot of time. The amount of skin required to completely cover the glans is substantial. In intact males, the foreskin accounts for about 50 percent of the penile surface. And for men who have had all their foreskin removed, (standard in most infant circumcisions) each square millimeter of covering requires double the amount of skin growth. This is because the skin has to be folded over on itself to effect the covering. It can take up to three years to generate enough skin to effect the appearance and function of a natural foreskin. And there is no accelerated program. Wearing the skin stretcher 24/7 won't get you a foreskin any faster than wearing it eight hours a day. Skin can only regenerate itself so fast. Guys with the tenacity to succeed in this venture may have their priorities out of whack, but you've got to admire their perseverance.

For those who lack the requisite patience there is a surgical alternative. Generally speaking this involves grafting skin from the scrotum (the scrotum contains the same type of skin as the penis) onto the end of the penile shaft. The procedure is costly and painful, as well as prone to complications and unsatisfactory results (tissue failure, gangrene etc.). If that's not enough to sway you consider this: even the surgeons who perform the procedure generally discourage it.

But if you do decide to take the plunge, what do you get? Is a tube of folded over skin the same thing as a foreskin? Short answer: no. The natural foreskin is a highly complex organ with a number of specialized components and functions. Most of these cannot be recovered after the initial excision. Among the features permanently lost:

  • The densely innervated frenulum, source of some of the most exquisite sensations in the penis. Most of these are lost with excision.
  • The Langeren's cells, lymphatic vessels and soft mucosa all of which serve an immunological function.
  • Apocrine glands which secret pheromones.

What you do get is the look of a real foreskin. This may or may not be a virtue depending on your perspective. Most guys and gals from "cut" cultures think foreskins are kind of weird looking. But the first people to practice foreskin restoration were Jews who wanted access to the gymnasiums in ancient Greece, and for them it was all about appearance.

You also get what many consider the best feature of the foreskin, the gliding motion of skin against itself. Then there is the effect on the glans. The surface of the exposed glans becomes keratinized over time. It dries out and becomes less sensitive. It has to or you'd never be able to wear pants. When the foreskin is grown back, the protected glans eventually sheds these dried epithelial cells and reverts to its natural moist, sensitive state.

Finally, you get a slightly bigger dick. All that extra skin does create extra bulk. It's not a lot and your partner probably wouldn't notice the difference, but a bigger dick is a bigger dick and that's nothing to sneeze at. Whether it's worth it or not depends in the main on what price you put on appearance and a slight gain in sexual sensation. Unfortunately, I'd never have the tenacity or patience to, er, pull it off. Now, where's my favorite scotch.

Related Websites:
Tugger: Restore Penile Sensitivity

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