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We welcomed some very important guests to our meeting for September. First and foremost was Wayne Griffiths, the man who co-founded NORM ten years ago and who still helms our parent organization. Many of us took the opportunity to thank Wayne personally for his part in bringing foreskin restoration to our attention, as well as for his kindly and sage advice over the years. Wayne in turn thanked all of us for making NORM Southern California the most active branch of NORM anywhere!
Seated next to Wayne was a journalist from a national publication who is currently working on a series of articles that will focus on "lonely causes" and the people behind them. As he explained, these causes are usually deemed not newsworthy by the mass media. We have no idea when - or even if - his article about NORM Southern California will be published, but rest assured we will be the first to let you know when it does appear.
[Three months later, the article in question appeared on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. A linked copy of the text can be found here].
Also present was a restoring man who traveled further to be with us than any previous visitor, all the way from New Zealand! This gentleman was kind enough to show your webmaster a restoration system he devised himself. While similar in concept to Foreballs, his system utilizes two glass marbles (instead of steel bearings) to stretch the skin and provide tension via weight. The marbles are fixed together and secured by a unique taping method that allows for quick and easy removal. The tape is applied only to the penis, but it holds the marbles in place quite securely. And, most importantly, it appears to be working!
[For the record, NORM Southern California is always ready to welcome out-of-town guests. If you're going to be in the Los Angeles area around the third Sunday of the month, set aside a couple of hours in the afternoon to come to our meeting.]
Much of what we discussed involved the concerns of men at advanced stages of restoration, but we also found time to address the concerns and questions of newcomers. Wayne and Dahl answered questions about the process of skin sloughing off the glans, and inner foreskin growth:
WAYNE: The foreskin and glans are just like the skin inside your mouth, and your tongue. If you keep your tongue out for twenty years, you've got a problem! Your glans is the same; it's totally dry and it shouldn't be. It should be kept moist. That's one of the reasons you're born with a foreskin.
Q: I also hear about stretching the inner skin. How is that done?
DAHL: It depends on how you put tension on it. You're dealing with a loop; the outer part of the skin is the outer side of the loop, and the inner foreskin is the inner part. Most of us use some kind of technique to grab that leading edge and pull it. You're pulling both inner and outer at the same time.
We used to talk about a P.O.E., or "Point of Equilibrium" where you roll your skin back and forth between your fingers and find equal tension on the inner and outer skin. But there's much less inner skin to stretch than there is on the outside. When you pull, you're actually putting more tension on the inner foreskin with almost any method you use. One of the ways you can balance that is, rather than use the P.O.E. at the leading edge of skin, you move the center of your t-tape back so that you're putting more pressure further back and lengthening the amount of skin inside.
I'm not convinced that by increasing the amount of inner foreskin you have left after circumcision, that you increase the overall area of sensitivity. I'm not sure it makes any difference in the long run. With any form of foreskin restoration, you're going to have the original inner foreskin stretched out. As long as it's in contact with the coronal ridge of your glans, that's where most sensation comes from. Once you have a foreskin, the real excitement is that inner foreskin rolling over the ridge of the glans. That's what most of us have never felt before, being circumcised. Even in the early stages you'll begin to experience that.
Another newcomer told us how he came to be circumcised five years ago, at age 17. His experience is indicative of the lengths some circumcisers will go to in order to forcibly remove perfectly healthy, functional foreskins:
What happened was...I was living in Hawaii for several years. In the process of coming back we went to a lake and were there for several weeks. I developed a pain on my right-hand side. They thought it was appendicitis. They checked me and everything, and when I asked they said it was an infection. So I gave them information on what I was doing and what was going on.
Finally they spoke to my mother. They told her it wasn't appendicitis, it was an infection inside my stomach due to my foreskin.
They didn't tell me that I was going to get circumcised. My mother signed all the papers and I went in, and they said "Don't worry, when you come out you won't feel any pain." I went home with the gauze and everything, and a nurse told me, "Don't worry; when you take a shower it's going to fall off." I thought, "What's going to fall off?"
Finally after a couple of days, I had the stitches removed and that was horrifying, because when you're seventeen your hormones are going. Every night I had to sleep with grinded ice covering me so that my penis would be numb. I couldn't afford to get an erection because the skin was so tight it would hurt. The stitches felt like spikes in my penis. On one occasion it happened...
Q: You got an erection and the scar pulled open?
Yeah, it pulled open several stitches. My scar on one side is more loose than the other.
This horrifying story should serve to remind all that circumcisions are still being performed without the consent of the individuals being circumcised. As Wayne so eloquently stated:
It's important I think for everyone, all of us personally, to do whatever kind of education we can, whatever is most comfortable for us. Go to someone else, or write a letter, or whatever it has to be, because we need to collectively make our voices known. Individually and collectively.