The Joy of Uncircumcision: A Decade Later
To the Editor:
A decade has passed since the publication of this anonymous report by someone who restored his foreskin.1 Since the publication of this report, the popularity of foreskin restoration among circumcised males has soared (although from a very low base).
The medical community has remained aloof and embarrassed by the success and popularity of foreskin restoration. Little has been published in the literature in the decade since the publication of this report. However, the disapproval of the medical community has not stopped growth of the foreskin restoration movement.
Laymen have invented and developed a wide range of ingenious devices to assist in the application of traction to the residual shaft skin to encourage tissue expansion, which may be found on the Internet. Use of these devices speeds a slow process and makes the undertaking of foreskin restoration more attractive.
The number of foreskin restorers is unknown because foreskin restoration is private matter, however the sale of books and devices, and the presence of mail lists on the Internet indicate an ever-increasing popularity. Circumcised males in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and elsewhere either have restored or are restoring their foreskins.
The ridged band of highly innervated and vascularised tissue occurs near the tip of the foreskin, so it is always removed by circumcision,2 and cannot be restored. Some nerves, however, are present in the shaft skin from the distal margin to where hairy skin begins;3 foreskin restoration restores the mobility of the shaft skin, enabling more stimulation of these residual nerves during coitus, and probably accounts for most of the increase in sensation reported by a multitude of restoring males.
A recent cost-utility analysis firmly establishes that neonatal circumcision has a net adverse impact on health.4 Boyle et al. have proposed foreskin restoration as a treatment for the psychological ills that afflict some circumcised males.5 It is time for the world medical community to renounce child circumcision and to embrace foreskin restoration. Research is needed to establish the best and fastest ways to restore foreskins. How does restoration increase sensation? Would topical application of human growth hormone (HGH) improve the rate of skin growth? The medical community should conduct controlled studies to answer these questions and others and to assist wounded men in repairing the damage done by circumcision.
Doctors Opposing Circumcision
2442 NW Market Street
Seattle, Washington 98107
- 1. Anonymous. The joy of uncircumcising. BMJ 1994;309:676-7.
- 2. Taylor JR, Lockwood AP, Taylor AJ. The prepuce: specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision. Br J Urol 1996;77:291-5.
- 3. Winkelmann RK. The erogenous zones: their nerve supply and significance. Mayo Clin Proc 1959;34(2):39-47.
- 4. Van Howe RS. A cost-utility analysis of neonatal circumcision. Med Decis Making 2004;24:584-601.
- Boyle GJ, Goldman R, Svoboda JS, Fernandez E. Male circumcision: pain, trauma and psychosexual sequelae. J Health Psychology 2002;7(3):329-43.
Competing interests: No competing interests