Those facts didn't dissuade Ben (his name has been changed), an electrician from Lynchburg, Virginia, from going under Reed's knife five years ago, at the age of 38. Ben had wanted to restore his foreskin ever since he was a teenager, when he became aware that his penis had not always been circumcised. Angry and disillusioned, he eagerly plunked down $7,600 to get his foreskin back. "It is impossible to re-create what was destroyed, but I'm happy with the surgery," he says.
Given the dangers of surgical restoration and the intactivists' philosophical aversion to the knife, it's no wonder the majority of restorers opt for nonsurgical methods. The online market is awash in devices like the TLC Tugger, the PUD (Penile Uncircumcising Device), and the CAT II Q Stretcher. Never mind that they sound like things Ron Popeil might hawk on TVtheir users swear by them.
Michael (not his real name), a 42-year-old CPA in Southern California, enthusiastically wears the Dual Tension Restorer under his suits. The white nylon plunger with two grippers simultaneously holds the head of his penis and pulls the excess skin outwardand no one at his white-shoe firm is the wiser. "I have wide pants I can hide it underneath," he says, "and I can go to the bathroom to re-situate." He doesn't find it painful but admits that he has on occasion overtugged.
Other restorers jury-rig their own devices. Richard Baker, a 28-year-old network analyst who lives in surburban Dallas, is using a sanded-down PVC pipe with medical tape, S hooks, and elastic waistbands from boxer shorts. He expects to finish restoring in about two years. "I'll feel complete," Richard says. "I won't be ashamed of my body."
Richard shares his progress online, posting photos on a website called restoreforeskin.org, which, along with sites like foreskin-restoration.net, serves as a "What to Expect When You're Stretching" guide. Forum posts on the sites reveal a range of motivations for restorersthe first locker-room exposure to other guys' junk, foreskin envy among gay lovers, chafing during athletic activity, a desire to have a phallus that looks like one's father's (or one's son's). But the overwhelming reason these men want to restore their foreskins is better sex. The restorer community sees the foreskin as the vehicle for whole-body orgasms and erotic rediscoveryor as the remedy for problems such as premature ejaculation and the inability to climax.
The latter reason appealed to Tom (not his real name), a 43-year-old IT consultant from the Midwest. "I could never orgasm from oral sex," he says, "and intercourse took a very long time and was often uncomfortable for my partner. Clearly something was wrong."
A year ago a doctor put Tom on an erectile-dysfunction drug. Since then he's experimented with a few devices, partially restoring his foreskin, and he says he no longer needs the pillsarousal and orgasm are not a problem. Although he's currently single, Tom likes to think his restoration is a gift for his future wife. "Even though I'm not sure who she is yet," he says, "I'm doing it for her."