Glossary of Foreskin Restoration Terms

In discussing restoration we use terminology that may be unfamiliar to newcomers. Even among those who have been restoring for some time, there can be confusion over a few common terms. This glossary is intended to clarify the meanings of commonly used words and phrases related to circumcision and foreskin restoration.

Please note that although circumcision and foreskin restoration involve issues of physical health and well-being, nothing appearing on this website is intended to be medical advice. If you want medical advice or have a medical problem, contact a doctor.

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Brothers United for Future Foreskins, an organization formed in 1982 dedicated to sharing information about foreskin restoration. Instructions on techniques published and circulated by the group were known as the BUFF method, and detailed various uses of tape for restoring. Techniques and advice were shared through postal mail, years before the use of email or the world wide web made such infomration more widely accessible.
To cut off the some of all of the foreskin (orig. from Latin circumcidere, "to cut around"). The definition of circumcising can range in severity from cutting a small amount of foreskin at the end of the penis, to removing the skin covering the glans, to removing so much that the remaining skin is stretched tightly on the penile shaft. Many cultures have done this as a ritual, with any practical reason having been lost to history. Modern justifications have included the intent to desensitize the penis, or, diminish the intensity of sexual pleasure, though attempts to attribute medical benefits to circumcision have been common among cultures that do it. There is almost never a medically indicated reason for circumcision. Today, it is done today largely out of ignorance of the scope of damage to adult sexuality, and with complete disregard to the immediate trauma and physical damage it causes.
Circumcision Scar (scar line)
The circumferential scar on the penis that indicates where the scalpel, clamp, or other cutting or crushing device cut off the foreskin. It may be a thin line or a wide band, with or without scar tissue, and may differ in pigmentation and/or texture from the surrounding shaft skin. The striking difference between inner and outer foreskin coloration is usually more noticeable than the actual circumcision scar.
Its location can be determined visually by the difference in color on either side of the scar or manually by running the tip of a finger very lightly down the erect penis - there is a stark difference where the sexually sensitive remainder of the inner fold of the foreskin meets the outer less sensitive skin on the shaft of the penis. It may also be the site of painful surgical scar neuromas.
The prominent flared ridge at the back of the glans. This area is known to contain a much higher concentration of tactile nerve endings than the rest of the glans, and its higher sensitivity plays a role in triggering ejaculation and orgasm. If the natural covering of the foreskin is absent, its sensitivity may decline over the years, possibly leading to difficulty achieving orgasm during sexual intercourse.
Cowper's Glands
Two small glands lying on either side of the male urethra below the prostate. These glands secrete pre-ejaculate fluid (known as Cowper's fluid, or informally as "pre-cum") which neutralizes the acidity within the urethra itself and lubricates the space between the prepuce and glans. The amount of fluid varies greatly from individual to individual, ranging from seemingly none at all to an almost continuous flow before ejaculation.
Cyclic Tension
A description of non-surgical foreskin restoration, whereby periods of weight or tension on the skin are alternated with periods of rest. The cycles of tension are needed to stimulate the growth of new skin, yet rest periods are when this new growth is completed.
Dartos Fascia
The thin layer of smooth muscle (also known as the tunica dartos) that lies just under the skin of the penis and scrotum. It is sensitive to temperature and light touch. This muscle, in combination with the ridged band of inner foreskin mucosa, is what holds the foreskin over the glans.
Further or furthest from the center (of the body); opposed to proximal.
The upper surface of a body, limb, or object; opposed to ventral. When describing the penis, it refers to the top of the penis as seen from a standing position looking down.
The outer layer of the skin system. The epidermis itself consists of layers of dead tissue, filled mainly with a protein called keratin, and such layers can multiply over time if not exfoliated. Such a buildup is possible on the glans and inner foreskin of a circumcised penis, and has the potential to become a barrier to sensitivity.
A tongue-in-cheek descriptive term for the end result of non-surgical foreskin restoration. Coined by Santa Cruz artist and Intactivist Rio Cruz, during the 1990s, and used by some tuggers in recognition of the fact that a restored foreskin appears and functions almost identically to a natural foreskin ("Faux," pronounced "fo," is a French word meaning "false"). However, not everyone makes such a distinction between the restored foreskin and a natural one.
The completely non-erect resting state of the penis (aka "soft").
Foreskin (prepuce)
The dynamic forefold of the skin system of the intact human penis. A unique, retractable, cylindrical, double layered, flexible sheath of loose and movable skin that covers the glans.
Normally fused to the glans at birth by a shared membrane sometimes called the synechia, the foreskin separates from the glans over time as the membrane dissolves. The foreskin protects the delicate internal portions of the penis (the glans, sulcus, and mucous membranes) against abrasion, extremes of temperature, and infections. Unlike the foreskin, the glans does not contain any immunological, moisturizing or lubricating capabilities of its own. These are all provided to the glans by the foreskin when in its forward position.
The foreskin contains thousands of fine touch receptors and erotogenic nerve endings, including the most sensitive part of the penis - the densely innervated frenar band. During intercourse it is responsible for the rolling massage action called "gliding," a self-stimulating mechanism whereby the frenar band ridges roll back and forth across the corona while providing an air-tight seal to prevent natural lubricants from evaporating. It is partially to completely lost to amputation by circumcision.
Frenar band
see Ridged band
Frenulum (frenum)
An elastic "V" shaped web of highly sensitive anchoring tissue on the ventral side of the glans that connects to the ridged band of the prepuce, and helps to contract the prepuce over the glans.
Glans (glans penis)
The bulbous organ at the distal end of the penis, sometimes called the "head" or "crown" of the penis. It is a conical expansion of the corpus spongiosum, a type of tissue within the penis that fills with blood during erection, also surrounding the urethra. The ridge at its base is known as the corona, and contains Meissners corpuscles in addition to the free nerve endings on the surface of the glans. Normally a semi-internal organ in the intact penis, the glans dries out and can form a rough surface (see keratinization) when exposed to air and friction from clothing.
Gliding Mechanism
A unique human mechanism of sexual intercourse wherein the loose foreskin glides up and down the penis during friction with the vaginal wall. This provides subtle stimulation to the corona and the sensitive erogenous receptors of the inner foreskin while simultaneously creating an air-tight seal that prevents the escape of natural lubricants. It contributes greatly to the comfort and sexual pleasure of intact men and their partners.
Inner Foreskin
Term often used by restorers to describe the inner lining of the foreskin, or its remnant between the circumcision scar and the glans. It is not skin by the biological definition, but rather mucous membrane tissue (also known as mucosa. It can range from pink to red in color.
Unaltered, undiminished, uncut, uninjured, or unmutilated. This term is used to describe the penis or foreskin in its natural state, and also sometimes men who have not been circumcised.
The process by which dead skin cells become the rigid, as they move to the surface of the epidermis (outer layer of skin), where they are eventually sloughed off. The protein keratin, the main content of these cells, is also the main component of hair and fingernails. The glans and other naturally moist skin surfaces typically have fewer layers of keratinized cells, due to moisture under the foreskin and friction washing away what lies at the surface. When the foreskin is absent due to circumcision, the glans dries out and more skin than usual is allowed to build up on top of it. Restorers often refer to this as keratinization of the glans, a process that may continue throughout a man's lifetime. Foreskin restoration allows this skin to be exfoliated once again, returning the glans to its normal thickness.
Over time, keratinization buries the sexually responsive nerve endings of the glans and corona under layers of dead tissue. This process increasingly desensitizes the penis, diminishes the range of sexual pleasure, and may contribute to difficulties achieving orgasm, ejaculation, or even erections.
Meatus (urinary meatus)
Anatomical term for the opening of the urethra at the end of the glans through which urine, semen, and natural lubricants flow.
Mucous membrane (also Mucosa or Mucosal tissue)
Tissue that comprises the lining of various body organs, including those exposed to the external environment. Mucous membrane is thinner and less keratinized than normal skin, and allows absorption or secretion of moisture across it. On the penis, the glans and inner foreskin are covered in mucous membrane, which is normally continuous with the outer foreskin. On a circumcised penis, the inner and outer foreskin are separated at the circumcision scar.
National Organization of Restoring Men, a non-profit support group for men who have concerns about being circumcised, are considering foreskin restoration, or are in the process of restoring their foreskins. It was originally founded in San Francisco in 1989, at first using the name RECAP, which stood for RECover A Penis. NORM's founders were originally members of th BUFF mailing list, as were the founders of future NORM groups throught the USA. NORM Southern California has been a part of this organization since 1994.
Outer foreskin
A continuation of the shaft skin of the penis, covering the glans and sometimes extending past it.
Any portion of the foreskin that extends beyond the end of the glans. This natural variation in foreskin length is sometimes perjoratively called "redundant prepuce," as the skin is doubled over on itself.
Also called "preputial stenosis," it refers to a narrowing of the preputial opening which prevents the foreskin from being drawn back over the glans. A natural condition of phimosis (known as "physiological") during childhood is often incorrectly diagnosed as an indication for circumcision. This is a normal anatomical condition, due to the inner foreskin naturally being attached to the glans for several years after birth, and seldom persists beyond puberty. If needed, the orifice can be gradually enlarged by gentle stretching. A non-retractable foreskin should never be fully retracted by force for any reason, as it may tear any remaining adhesions and cause injury.
Phimosis can result from pathological causes that result in scarring or other irritation of the foreskin opening, preventing normal retraction or skin mobility. This can be caused by infections or other physical trauma to the skin.
The fold of skin covering the glans. For the male prepuce, see Foreskin)
Nearer or nearest to the center (of the body); opposed to distal.
Raphe (raphe median; medial raphe)
Pronounced "RAY-fee." The narrow ridge or seam running the length of the ventral side of the penis from the frenulum to the scrotum, then around the scrotum and across the perineum to the anus. Usually lighter or darker colored than the skin on either side.
Restoration, Non-surgical
To re-cover the glans by stretching and expanding the remaining shaft skin and inner foreskin by use of tension, weights, and/or various taping methods. The process takes several months or years to accomplish, depending on how much skin is to be grown. The majority of materials needed for non-surgical restoration are readily available at drug stores.
Non-surgical foreskin restoration has been successfully done by thousands. Men who have completed the restoration process subsequently report a renewed interest in sex, remarkable increases in sensitivity, profoundly greater interest in the journey of intercourse, orgasms that are much more intense, and an awareness of nuance and shading in sexuality that was never known before. Some also experience anger and grief over having been denied these aspects of their sex lives simply because they were circumcised.
Restoration, Surgical
To re-cover the glans with skin surgically grafted from another location on the body. Modern methods typically use skin from the scrotum. It is rarely done, expensive, and has the usual risks associated with surgical skin grafting. Full recovery can take about three months.
Ridged band
A highly innervated and complex zone of about concentric, circumferential ridges of mucosa near the tip of the inner foreskin. It is connected to the shaft by a frenulum, and is also known as the Frenar Band). This band carries specialized pleasure producing nerve endings back and forth across the corona of the glans, and helps contract the tip of the foreskin to allow it to remain positioned over the glans. Richly endowed with tactile nerve endings, including a concentration of Meissner's corpuscles, it is the most sensitive part of the intact penis.
Scar Line
See Circumcision scar
Shaft skin
A part of the penile sheath that covers the shaft from the pubic area up to the foreskin or circumcision scar. During non-surgical restoration, stretching this sheath along with remnants of the inner foreskin stimulates the production of additional skin, which creates the new foreskin.
Skin Bridge
A complication of circumcision in which the inner skin fuses to the mucous membrane of the glans, usually at the corona. Depending on the size of a skin bridge, it may or may not cause difficulty while restoring.
A beneficial mixture of scales of sloughed epithelial skin cells combined with moisture from the surface of the inner foreskin. Smegma is known to have bacteriostatic, antiviral, and pheromonal properties. It is a harmless, protective, lubricating substance that can be gently removed only by rinsing with clean water to avoid irritation of the mucosa and upsetting the natural biochemical balance. Its scent can be pungent, often described as cheese-like, but this is natural.
The groove or furrow encircling the penis between the flare of the corona of the glans and the smooth shaft of the penis. Also referred to as the "coronal sulcus."
Tissue Expansion
The biological mechanism which makes non-surgical foreskin restoration possible. When the cells of the shaft skin are put under tension, they first stretch and then gradually begin to divide. The addition of new cells is the process by which the shaft skin tissue expands and grows.
1.Colloquial nickname for men who are restoring their foreskins non-surgically.

2. Devices used to hold the skin forward, or "tug" at it
UNCircumcising Information and Recources Centers, a group formed by Jim Bigelow in 1991. In June 1994, this organization was incorporated under NORM.
Term commonly substituted for the correct description of the normal condition of the penis: intact. Obviously pejorative if compared to analogous terms such as "unmastectomized," "unappendectomized," and "unclitoridectomized." Also used somewhat tongue-in-cheek but descriptively by restoring men in reference to a circumcised penis that has undergone foreskin restoration. (See "The Joy of Uncircumcising" by Jim Bigelow.)
The tube running the length of the penis through which urine, semen, and lubricants flow.
The lower surface of a body, limb, or object; opposed to dorsal. When discussing the penis, it refers to the side of the penis touching the scrotum when completely flaccid.