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May 2000

With coordinator Dahl away on vacation, our meeting for May was helmed by the capable (if reluctant) Gary Harryman. Many of our regular attendees and a few new restorers showed up for two hours of the latest news and information regarding foreskin restoration.

Gary brought us word that the penile sensitivity study currently taking place is rumored to have preliminary findings which support what we've been saying - intact penises are more sensitive than circumcised penises. The only other study to compare penile sensitivity was performed several years ago by Masters and Johnson, who found little or no difference in sensitivity between intact and circumcised men. But that study can be faulted for a serious flaw in the testing method they employed - the subjects could clearly see when and how their penises were being touched with various objects. In the current study a screen is placed between the subject's eyes and his penis. The subject has no choice but to indicate only when his sense of touch registers some contact; there are no secondary clues available to influence his perceptions.

Gary also reported on his ongoing research at UCLA's Biomedical Library. His ceaseless efforts have turned up one of the only studies on that dreaded and vilified substance known as smegma. The study in question confirmed that smegma consists of little more than dead skin cells. Jim, a retired physician, added that there may in fact be some antibacterial agents present in smegma. Far from being a biohazardous substance, smegma may be beneficial! If you ever wake up in the morning and find a pasty white coating on your tongue, this too is a layer of dead skin cells. No matter where it turns up on your body it's certainly nothing to be afraid of, and anyone with the most basic personal hygiene skills knows that it can easily be washed away.

Bruce, who regularly makes a three hour trek to attend our monthly meetings, is making steady progress toward establishing a new branch of NORM. If you're in or near San Diego and would like to have a branch of NORM nearby, you are encouraged to contact Bruce at (619) 280-2204. You can't email Bruce because he doesn't have a computer yet, but he anticipates purchasing one in the near future.

The bulk of our meeting was spent discussing Jim's wonderful invention, the Tug Ahoy. Several of us purchased the device at our meeting last month and this time around we shared our progress and experiences. The consensus seemed to be that this device offers several distinct advantages: it's quick and easy to apply and remove, you don't need an erection to put it on, the device is quite comfortable when applied correctly, and some believe that it has accelerated their rate of skin growth. There were some disadvantages reported also: it can be uncomfortable if you leave any wrinkles in the skin before applying the outer cone, and discomfort can also occur if you use excessive tension, particularly at night. (It's important to remember that the harder you pull, the tighter it gets - if you ever had one of those "Chinese Finger Traps" as a kid, you probably remember how that works!) Some men also experienced a tendency for the outer cone to be pulled loose when worn under tighter pants, in this case a pair of blue jeans. Jim recommends that you wear looser fitting pants.

Next month we look forward to meeting more new restorers, hear more reports on the Tug Ahoy and other techniques, and share more of our experiences...good and bad... in the ongoing struggle to reclaim our foreskins. If you're going to be anywhere near Los Angeles on the eighteenth of June, please join us!