Some men who have been circumcised go to great lengths to regrow their foreskin, using stretching techniques to create as much of a protective sheath as they can. Online communities are buzzing with groups of men who support one another through the process of stretching, taping and massaging their foreskin. One organization, ForeGen, is even exploring the medical possibility of regenerating the tissue of the foreskin with stem cell technology.
Most men rely on manual techniques and devices like the TLCTugger to slowly stretch the skin and create the desired result, a protective sheath for the head of the penis. While these men will never be able to regenerate the thousands of nerve endings lost when their foreskins were clipped, they can protect the sensitive head of the penis by lengthening the slack skin of the flaccid penis. Many report success in reshaping a functional foreskin that protects the head of their penis and increased sensitivity over time.
Circumcised men and their partners need not despair. There is still more than enough erotic pleasure to be enjoyed. Anyone can learn to experience more sexual pleasure and develop the skills to give their lover profound orgasms. As sex educators, we have focused on erotic touch techniques out of the belief that anyone can experience intense pleasure when touched with skill, yet many of us have not yet learned to use our hands (the greatest sex toy ever invented, perhaps!) with confidence and finesse.
Using a range of erotic touch techniques can activate more nerve endings and slowly sensitize the penis to more subtle stimulation, opening up new kinds of pleasure for circumcised men. In addition, women who have already had orgasms through manual or oral stimulation often report that intercourse becomes much more pleasurable. So while circumcised men may be missing up to 20,000 nerve endings, it is still possible to enjoy a fully satisfying erotic life.
Ultimately, if we take a step back from the cultural debate over circumcision and pay attention to the natural design of the male sexual system, the foreskin is clearly not an extra, disposable part. The foreskin plays an important, functional role in male sexual pleasure. If we value sexual pleasure, if we honor the importance of both the ability to give and receive pleasure, it becomes evident that circumcision is an invasive surgery with serious consequences for both men and their future lovers. 80% of the world's male population is intact, while currently about 60% of baby boys born in the United States are routinely clipped.
In the absence of religious demand or the rare medical need for circumcision (very rarely, the foreskin is too tight and creates painful erection, in which case it may be loosened but not removed all together), there is no widespread need for male circumcision. It is time we end the standardization of a medical procedure on infant boys that creates lifelong consequences in the most intimate realm of a man's life. It is time we, as a culture, celebrate the importance of sexual pleasure and respect the natural beauty and function of both the male and female sexual system. Until then, we can all learn to experience more pleasure in our bodies, just as they are.
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