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January 17, 2010

Our meetings are now at a new location! SHARE! has moved to a building in Culver City, about 2 miles away from the old location in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles. Although the move was done on very short notice, and caused a headache for those of us organizing the event, our meeting went rather smoothly.

This month we had a special guest. Making his second appearance at NORM Southern California was Wayne Griffiths, executive director and co-founder of NORM. In front of a crowd that fit comfortably in our new larger meeting room, Wayne delivered a detailed presentation on foreskin restoration that he had debuted at the Tenth International Symposium on Genital Integrity in 2008.

Topics covered in his presentation included a history of foreskin restoration, overviews of the penile anatomy involved and methods of restoration (including surgical techniques), a brief history of foreskin restoration, and information on successful regimens completed by himself and many others. Wayne's presentation included a Powerpoint slideshow, which included photos of surgical results, devices commonly used to assist in non-surgical restoration, and even a man demonstrating the use of each one of these devices!

There was a very lively and informative discussion and question and answer session, which took up the second half of our meeting after Wayne had finished his presentation. The audience brought up a variety of subjects including questions on the material presented and methods described, concerns about current societal attitudes toward circumcision and the controversy over its use for HIV prevention, medical opinions, etc. Speaking about one of the negative effects of circumcision, a loss in penile sensitivity that we aim to recover through restoration, Wayne referred to the development of erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra as "an apology for circumcision”.

When our meeting time was up, many of stuck around and chatted a bit, and then continued our discussion over dinner at a nearby restaurant.

The following abstract of his presentation and "about the author" is taken from the syllabus for the Tenth International Symposium on Genital Integrity, an annual event that in this particular year took place at Keele University and was sponsored by NOCIRC and NORM-UK. The presentation given to NORM Southern California had been slightly updated, with the year in the following title changed to 2009.

Foreskin Restoration 1980‑2008

R. Wayne Griffiths, MS, MEd, with J. David Bigelow, PhD, and James Loewen, Photographer

The goal of restoration is to cover the glans penis to some extent with a double sheath of retractable tissue. Many men who contact NORM want full coverage of the glans, plus overhang, even when fully erect. A realistic goal is important, however, since satisfaction or disappointment is clearly related to expectation. For a tightly cut man, “success” may be just enough loose tissue so that erections are no longer painful. For others, it may be possible to achieve full coverage during erection. Currently, there are both surgical and non‑surgical methods to re‑cover the glans. The results, however, of most surgical procedures have proved disappointing. This presentation discusses both methods; however, the emphasis is upon various non‑surgical tissue expansion techniques/devices. While the movable sheath that covers the penile shaft is commonly called “skin,” its structure is far more complex. Therefore, expansion of the shaft tissue is more challenging than expanding ordinary skin.

R. Wayne Griffiths, MS, MEd, a sociologist and educator, received his MS from BYU and his MEd from Oregon State University and did post graduate work at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He was an assistant professor of sociology and criminology at Armstrong State College in Savannah, Georgia. He is the co‑founder of the National Organization of Restoring Men (NORM), which was founded in 1989, and is the Executive Director, handling all inquiries about restoration. He has written and published a number of articles on foreskin restoration. At the 8th International Symposium on Circumcision, Genital Integrity, and Human Rights. University of Padua, Italy, he reported on the results of an ongoing survey about the attitudes and feelings of men concerning circumcision and restoration. Concord, CA, USA.

J. David Bigelow, PhD, earned his doctorate in psychology at Claremont Graduate School, is a retired college professor (Whittier College), therapist, clergyman, and author of The Joy of Uncircumcising! Pacific Grove, CA, USA.

James Loewen, Photographer, discovered his circumcised status at age seven, which sparked his outrage. Artistic abilities as a child led him to a career as a photographer and many fascinating assignments, including a three-month project in 1975, photographing the activities at the sexchange clinic of the notorious Dr. John Brown. In 1993, Loewen happened upon Jim Bigelow’s book, The Joy of Uncircumcising, and began connecting with others opposed to infant and childhood genital surgeries. His lifetime of questioning gender, sexual roles, and orientation has informed his artistic and intactivist activities. Currently he is making videos related to intactivism and hosting a YouTube channel, “intactivist1” with many collected video clips related to the issue. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.