Dr Peter Ball was circumcised as a baby. Now the retired GP has his foreskin back.
Before I could say "knife" a vital part of my anatomy was amputated.
I am referring to the fact that I lost my foreskin to the mores of the 1930s when circumcision was believed to be the best thing one could do for one's newly born boy.
Today the thinking is that it is an abuse of the human rights of the child and a serious disruption to the enjoyment of sex which can never be righted.
As I passed through childhood I discovered that boys came in two sorts. Some had penises that ended in skin and some had penises that stopped short in a sort of helmet. I found myself looking at clothed men and wondering which sort they were. I subconsciously felt that the skinny ones were in someway superior and natural.
Then I learnt about circumcision and realised that that had happened to me.
I raised the issue with my parents and was told that it was the best thing they could have done for me. I found this hard to understand but didn't realise the enormity of my loss until I reached puberty. My intact friends were discovering the joys of masturbation and proudly demonstrated how their foreskins slid to and fro. My attempts to mimic them made me realise that my penis was crippled — shorn of its fleshy sheath — and required lubrication on the glans to achieve a climax. I came to envy the foreskin and asked in prayer for a miracle to occur.
It took sixty years for the miracle to arrive in the form of a brief newspaper report.
I read that a Dr Warren had begun a process of foreskin restoration by applying tension to the shaft of the penis using tape and weights. He had just founded a movement called NORM-UK. This acronym stands for the National Organisation Of Restoring Men. The UK to distinguish it from NORM chapters in the USA.
I wasted no time in contacting Dr Warren for details and joined the movement. Here to my delight I met like minded men who had nursed their feelings of loss and resentment for years and were at last about to replace a missing part.
We discovered that the process was both lengthy and tedious. The article that I happened upon implied that a foreskin evolved in a matter of months. We were to discover that a matter of years was more realistic. There are two aspects to restoration.
The first is psychological. The loss of the foreskin is a very significant affront to a man's feeling of wholeness and normality. Some men become seriously depressed and underachieve. Others become consumed with anger that their parents or a doctor who is supposed to make one better, could inflict such an injury. Fortunately, the restoration journey can reduce the rage level and a new more confident and complete personality begin to emerge.
The second aspect is purely practical and it is this aspect that has caused some to scoff and marvel that any man should wish to pass through such an ordeal. The success of restoration depends on the fact that if skin is put under steady tension it responds by growing new skin.
In the beginning stage of restoration there is frequently very little loose skin left on the penis and so strong paper tape is used to make a collar round the shaft of the penis and then the collar is held forwards over the glans and attached to a weight or an elastic. In the later stages the skin has grown to cover part of the glans and can be secured to any variety of gadgets, some of which do not require the use of tape at all. I have never ceased to be amazed at the ingenuity displayed by the restorers in making use of articles found about the home or in the DIY shops!
Eventually most of us reach our goal- a natural looking foreskin that totally covers the glans and completely revolutionises the enjoyment of intercourse and masturbation.
The new foreskin is only shaft skin that has been grown sufficiently long to double over the glans and allow it to soften and regain some sensitivity. It has none of the unique sensory enervation that gives the owner of a natural foreskin such pleasure.
However, most men who have got this far are delighted to feel whole and normal and feel that the year or so spent restoring was time well spent.
Alas there are a few who have been so butchered that there is insufficient skin left to enable restoration to be achieved within a reasonable time frame. They may turn to the plastic surgeons for help. Most surgeons turn down such requests because of the risks of scarring, infection, graft rejection and disappointment of the patient with the result. No surgical restoration can mimic the cosmetic excellence of the non-surgical approach.
In closing I would beseech everyone to respect the sanctity of the human body and allow the defenceless baby the right to his bodily integrity.
Dr Peter Ball is vice-chair of NORM-UK. For 34 years he was a GP in Tunbridge Wells. He was written extensively about circumcision and also produced the NORM-UK instructional video Restoration in Focus. There is more information on the NORM-UK website.
Page created on December 1st, 2004
Page updated on January 14th, 2010