The idea of restoring one's foreskin can seem strange at first. Some of the most ardent restorers found the idea decidedly odd when they first heard about it, but later came to recognize the value of restoration after learning about the long term damage caused by circumcision, as well as the near-universal reports of physical, sexual and even psychological gains to be realized by restoring.
There are probably as many different answers to the question "Why restore?" as there are restoring men. Each man has his own set of reasons for wanting a more natural, fully functional penis. The most common response, however, can be summed up in two words: better sex.
Many circumcised men discover that as they get older, pleasurable sensations from sexual activity are diminishing and orgasms are more difficult to achieve. This is attributable in part to a long-term, progressive complication of circumcision known as keratinization - the skin of the unprotected glans becomes thicker over the years, and the nerve endings in the glans become more and more difficult to stimulate as they are slowly buried under layer after layer of keratinized cells that would otherwise be exfoliated under the foreskin.
Restoring men usually see these keratinized layers beginning to shed when there is enough new shaft skin to keep the glans covered while flaccid. As a result, the nerve endings in the glans and the sensitive corona are much closer to the surface and respond much more readily to stimulation.
For younger men, there may be a different problem with sensitivity - the sensation of an exposed glans rubbing against clothing may be bothersome. The restored foreskin acts as a natural barrier between the glans and a man's pants or undergarments.
Another commonly given reason is to loosen tight skin on the penile shaft resulting from circumcision. It is not unusual for men circumcised during infancy or childhood to have had so much skin removed that they currently lack enough to fully cover the penis during erection. This results in a little or no skin mobility. For some, it's tight enough to pull skin from the scrotum and pubic area onto the shaft, which may be tight enough to cause pain. Expanding the skin of the penis through foreskin restoration will alleviate this problem.
While there are no guarantees, restoring men of all ages and backgrounds report dramatic increases in sensitivity and sexual satisfaction. Frequently there areimprovements in the sex lives of their spouses and partners as well.
If you are circumcised, there is a simple test you can perform that will give you a hint of the heightened pleasure restored men experience. Try cross-taping the skin of your penis over the glans (if possible) and keeping it covered as often as possible during the day. Alternatively, you could take a condom and put a little water-based lubricant on the inside. (Water-based lubricants won't damage latex condoms.) Wear the condom as much as possible for a week or so, perhaps changing it now and then for hygiene's sake. At the end of the week remove the tape or condom, then go have some fun with it.
The results of this test will vary from one man to the next, and not all will experience heightened sensitivity. However, those that do will have only a suggestion of what intact and restored men feel. A glans that has been progressively keratinized since early childhood may require several weeks of being covered before it returns to its natural state. (We strongly discourage wearing a condom for this length of time.)
In addition, restored and intact men receive added stimulation and pleasure from the continuous motion of a sexually sensitive foreskin/fauxskin rolling back and forth over the highly erogenous tissue of a protected glans. The addition of this motion and the stimulation it provides are among the most exciting landmarks in a man's journey toward becoming fully restored.
The amount of time varies from one man to another and is determined by several factors including age, skin type, the amount of loose skin one begins with, and, most importantly, how much skin one wants to grow. Some men have finished restoring in a matter of months, some take closer to two years, while others are still restoring after four or more.
This length of time may seem daunting at first, but it only requires a few minutes of effort each day. Anyone who has successfully learned to brush his teeth and comb his hair in the morning will have no difficulty adding one more bit of business to his daily regimen of personal care. The results are well worth the amount of time invested, as any restored man will tell you.
When done correctly, non-surgical restoration techniques are entirely free of pain. If it does hurt you're doing something wrong.
Most non-surgical techniques utilize inexpensive and easily affordable materials. It's even possible to use your own bare hands, for free.
Surgical restoration may initially appear to be an option worth considering. However, while NORM Southern California recognizes the right of every man to choose the restoration technique that best suits his particular needs, we do not advocate surgery as a viable option. The results of surgical restoration are much less satisfactory than the results of non-surgical restoration - at least one physician we know of has discontinued performing restoration surgery because of this.
Foreskin restoration is for all circumcised men regardless of sexual orientation. The desire to undo the damage caused by circumcision gives us all common ground, at which point questions of orientation or sexual identity are pretty much irrelevant.
When our parent organization, NORM, was formed in San Francisco in 1989, the founders initially reached out to the gay community to garner interest. They did so under the assumption that, "gay men… tended to be more open than their heterosexual counterparts about matters concerning sexuality… and their genitals in particular." * It is possible that awareness of foreskin restoration has spread more quickly through the gay community, and therefore may be mistaken by some to be a "gay thing."
We encourage you to attend a meeting or contact us directly for information on getting started. We believe that peer support and instruction are vital at every stage of the process, but particularly so for those just beginning. You could labor to read and understand dozens of accurate descriptions of how to start without ever getting as much usable information as you can get in 10 minutes at a NORM meeting.
Much of what restoring men are doing is learn-as-you-go, trial and error, and shared experiences. Without the participation and assistance of the American medical community, we are learning from and teaching each other as we go. New devices and methods are being created and tested continuously.
If you are unable to come to a meeting or do not live in the Los Angeles area, there are other online resources offering instruction in non-surgical techniques. Some of these can be found on our page of links. You may also find it useful to discuss foreskin restoration with others at online message boards devoted to the subject.