Jonathan started seriously thinking about his foreskinor, to be more precise, its absencethe night he and his wife, Linda, went to a live sex talk show in downtown Los Angeles. Jonathan and Linda (their names have been changed) were seated in front, a few feet away from the sexologist host, Dr. Susan Block, and her naked guests. One guy, a porn star who was well-endowed and uncut, drew Jonathan's attentionand his wife's. "Her eyes were just glued to that cock," he says. "She'd never seen or touched an intact penis. She was fascinated by the foreskin."
Three years earlier, when Linda was pregnant with their son, Jonathan had weighed the pros and cons of circumcision. Through research he discovered the advantages of leaving the foreskin intact (it contains thousands of nerve endings that, according to some experts, make sex much more pleasurable) and the risks of removing it (bleeding, scarring, andvery rarelydeath). He and Linda decided against circumcising their newborn. But when the child was born with hypospadiasa malformed urethra and foreskintheir doctor recommended circumcision. The couple agreed, though Jonathan was disappointed.
Like most American men of his generation, Jonathan, 40, was circumcised at birth. In the United States, the practice became widespread between the World Wars. Doctors claimed it was hygienic and prevented everything from epilepsy to cancer to excessive masturbation, assertions that have since been discredited. (Current proponents of circumcision point to studies linking it to decreased risk of HIV infection, a matter of major debate.) After peaking in popularity in the sixties, circumcision has been in a slow decline: In the eighties, some 60 percent of male newborns in America underwent the procedure; that number had dropped to 56 percent by 2006. Today the United States is the only Western country besides Australia and Israel (of course) in which a majority of male citizens are circumcised.
Jonathan had never had any problems in the bedroom, but the more he learned about circumcision, the more he believed that regaining a foreskin would take his sex life to new heights. That, plus the fascination and excitement he saw in his wife's eyes that night, made him wonder whether there was a change he could make, for both their sakes.
As a fitness trainer and former professional boxer, Jonathan understood that with patience and hard work the body can be transformed. So he went online and purchased a device called the TLC Tugger. Jonathan is now eight months into a two-to-four-year foreskin-stretching process using the device. He wears it around the clockexcept when making love with his wife or going through airport security. He attaches it by placing one cone, which has a metal loop on the end, over the head of his penis; rolling his excess shaft skin over the cone; securing a second cone, with an opening at the top, snugly over that skin; attaching an elastic band to the loop; and finally strapping the band around his knee. The contraption, which pulls gently and steadily downward, has lengthened Jonathan's new "foreskin" so that it now extends halfway over the head of his penis. Millimeter by millimeter, he's re-creating what he was given at birthand what was taken from him. He already feels like a new man. "I always thought my penis was totally sensitive and fine," he says. "It's one of those thingsyou can't know it until you know it. And I didn't know what I was missing."