Foreskin Pride

I live in Indianapolis, Indiana and yesterday (June 10th) was the date of our annual Gay Pride celebration. I enjoy going with my husband, my brother and his wife, and whomever else we can drag along with us. It’s always a good time and quite family friendly – which I think most people don’t expect.

Speaking of things unexpected, this year I ran into someone who might be considered something of a celebrity in the restoration community. His name is Ron Low ( INFO SITE HERE ) and I first learned of him only after beginning my own restoration efforts and only as the inventor of the TLC Tugger ( click here to learn about that ) – which I’ve written about and linked to before. But he’s clearly more than just a guy who came up with a means for men to restore their foreskin. He’s an intactivist – someone who speaks against circumcision publicly.

As with many other Gay Pride fests, there are a number of vendors present – organizations who pay a fee in order to access space inside the fest for the purpose of setting up a booth of sorts and gaining visibility to the gay community and its supporters during the festival. Ron Low had a booth set up for “Foreskin Pride” and employed the rainbow colors of the Gay Pride flag.

He was also one of the few vendors there who actually left his own booth (it was manned by others who were there with him) and went into the festival to actively seek interactions with fest goers. He had in his hands a small stack of what might be called pamphlets, although it was really more like a card – thin paper stock, though, printed on both sides. You’ll see that here.

This approach surely gained the intactivist cause DOUBLE exposure. People wandering around from one direction might encounter his booth where volunteers were stationed to answer questions and educate people and Ron himself, away from the booth, might encounter those coming from a different direction from which point he could place a card into their hands, speak to them directly, and put a face to the cause – showing everyone a normal guy and not some “weirdo,” fringe personality.

When I saw Ron, I immediately recognized him and started making my way to him – dragging my husband and family with me in the process. He was absolutely approachable and quite friendly – ever ready for a photo op, as you can see here, and which I took advantage of! (Not the best pic of me, but whatever)

Ron Low and Me

My sister-in-law, who will be giving birth to her first son in August, was very clear (and immediately so!) that when my nephew was born she WOULD be having him cut. She referred back to a man she’d dated before meeting my brother and how he was uncut and “his cock looked like one of those tube worms you see at the bottom of the ocean.” I expressed my disappointment and sadness, but tried to do so without bringing the mood down too much or being too confrontational – after all, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, right? Arguing with her right there and trying to shove intactivist literature down her throat in the middle of a Pride event would have been unproductive, to say the least. But I digress.

Every year at the Indy Pride event there is a booth for foreskin restoration. I don’t know exactly when this started but I can attest that it’s been the case for at least the last few years. This is the first time I’ve seen (or at least the first time I’ve recognized) Ron as being present, too. It’s a fantastic boon to the Indy area to have him attend and I hope our Pride event (as well as any other fests these guys could have a presence at!) continues to present foreskin restoration to the masses as well as education about how terrible and unnecessary circumcision is.

Thanks for reading!

Ruined Glans

On my Facebook feed recently an intactivist posted something from the Not Yours To Cut site which I thought would be informative to share here. By clicking here you can access the site and the exact content of what I saw in my Facebook feed.

The content has a rather “sandwich” feel to it. It starts with text to read (only a little) and ends with a little more reading. The beginning text covers the the idea of how precious an un-ruined glans is and speaks to females about the idea of their own genitals being mutilated. The last bit of text focuses a little differently and discusses more the “matte” texture of a ruined glans, but still speaks to those who are female or who are with females. This is probably lost on many people, but that’s a shame because few things highlight the insanity of circumcision like shining light on how people view the idea of slicing off female genital parts versus how they view the same happening to males.

In the same way the text is split and acts like the “bread” of the sandwich which is the page’s content, so to the photo content. The umm….. meat of the post is the photo content which lies in between the bread text. I almost found this humorously ironic since the penis is sometimes colloquially called “meat” and also has an anatomical feature called “meatus.” Anyway, enough playing on words. The photos create a contrast similar to that created by the text in that at the top of the page there are photos of uncut penises to demonstrate the anatomy and some physiology and to present the first half of the contract between being cut and uncut. The latter half of the photo content presents the effects of removing the foreskin, and so the “sandwich” is completed.

I trust that you will find the site and the page of it which I have referenced here to be easily accessible and easily understood.

Thanks for reading.

Foreskin

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It’s been a while since I completed a book review – which is because it’s been a while since I completed a book. But the book in the photo above is a recent read for me and certainly worthy of talking about here.

The first thing I can say about it is that it’s THE penis pic book of foreskin restoration books. There are 67 actual photos of penises in the book, which from front cover to back cover just barely surpasses 200 pages. In addition to those 67 photos (all of which are in black-n-white and look to be from the 80s or earlier) there are probably about another 15-20 other images which also depict the penis… sometimes as a medical-like diagram or like something you’d see from an Egyptian sarcophagus. There’s one “drawing” that shows the movement of the foreskin as the penis penetrates a generic bodily orifice. To say the least, the book has plenty of “illustrations” and other visuals.

One thing I did learn which I’m not sure I knew before reading this book is that there is a “S-T-R-E-T-C-H” which occurs whenever the penis hardens and during penetration. Apparently, this is something the male isn’t usually ever acutely aware of. For instance, he’s unlikely ever to say, “WOW – my skin is stretching and it feels good.” But as the penis hardens and the foreskin is drawn back and becomes tighter, that tightening is the S-T-R-E-T-C-H which not only exposes certain nerves endings but also is a form of stimulation. The book suggests that this S-T-R-E-T-C-H creates a subconscious desire to re-plunge the penis into the orifice to feel a repeat sensation.

Beyond that, I’m afraid to say that the book isn’t terribly informative. It IS informative, but not terribly so – if that makes any sense. It’s interesting and as mentioned before many pages are … umm … vivid. But aside from an actual nugget of real information to be found here and there somewhat randomly, the book is mostly pictures and chapters of gossip-like composition and opinion (as far as my interpretation goes).

Thanks for reading.

Death by Cuts

Image of Jonathon Conte, taken from Facebook
Image of Jonathon Conte, taken from Facebook

 

Since coming to restoration two fairly prominent people have passed away – the first, Gary Burlingame, who I believe passed from cancer related illness. On the old site for this blog, I published a post dedicated to Gary and will have it relocated here as soon as I can get to it (Since it wasn’t very long ago, it’ll be among the last I copy over). The second is more recent. His name was Jonathon Conte. I was only loosely aware of Jonathon, because I don’t actually follow intactivism very closely. I do think the intactivist community is doing good, very challenging work – work, though, I think I’d handle slightly differently. Showing up with “blood-stained” pants seems like an elementary kind of tactic, but I’ll be the first to admit that it gets people to look and that’s what gaining visibility is all about – nothing will change if the problem of circumcision isn’t brought to light. That is what Jonathon was working so hard for, along with others.

Jonathon’s death first came to my attention via Facebook. There’s a piece on the Gay Star News site about him and about his death. The piece quotes his husband and now widower, Christopher describing how Jonathon made him pancakes the morning of and how that was a little odd. He came home later that day to find Jonathon had taken his own life. There’s a video of Jonathon talking about first learning what circumcision is, how he came to terms with what had been taken from him, and why he chose to be involved with intactivism. You can access that by clicking here.

Personally, I don’t think missing foreskin would qualify as significant enough for me to suicide over. When I reposted the article from Gay Star News, adding that it made me really sad, a friend on Facebook commented, somewhat unsympathetically, that he couldn’t believe someone would kill himself over something like circumcision. On one hand, I can look at the situation and say, “Wow. If circumcision was the toughest thing Jonathon had going in his life, then he lived a really easy life.” But I know that the truth of the matter is that Jonathon’s battle against circumcision was probably really just icing on the cake, or perhaps grease that made a slippery slide of depression that much more slippery.

I’m generally a positive person. But in 2014 I almost suicided. The whole year was quite stressful – and for a number of reasons. Work was positively MISERABLE and I felt trapped because I couldn’t, from a financially responsible standpoint, just quit and find something new. For a fourth of the year I was on medication prescribed by my doctor …. not quite “happy pills” but close enough. For most of the first half of the year I was struggling to juggle the miserable work situation with the increasingly taxing health situation of my birth mother. In the late summer / early fall I bought a very nice house with my husband, which is a stressful thing in itself, but that was compounded because work and mother stuff had really worn me down by this point in the year and I wasn’t able to love the moment as fully as I wanted – which I think hampered my husband’s experience, and caused me more anxiety. Within a week of buying our dream home, my mother passed and as the oldest and most responsible child of an unmarried dead lady I was placed in charge of things related to her funeral … kinda. I say “kinda” because some of her extended family stepped in and all manner of familiar funerary drama ensued. All of this happened around Thanksgiving, which westerners know starts the official holiday / shopping season and only ten days after that my guru passed away. Quite literally, all but the last three weeks of the year were an active hell and quite honestly the last three weeks were just zombie mode for me. But at the end of the first week in December 2014 I stayed home to work and made the decision that morning, while in my home office, that I could stop living my current life. It was too much. I planned to do it in the garage with the car running, but just moments prior to taking action my husband walked in the door and I couldn’t do it.

When I say, “It was too much” I certainly don’t mean one thing. The depression was manageable by itself. Work, if I had nothing else on my plate, would also have been manageable. Mother stuff – totally could have done it, by itself. Pick anything that year that was really a burden to me and, in bite size form, was absolutely doable.  But lump all of that together on someone’s shoulders and their back may well break. Mine almost did. I think that has to be the case with Jonathon.

If you check out his Facebook page or any content he played a role in or was visible in – even the video in the Gay Star News link – you’ll see that he was an intelligent person and quite warm at heart. I think, when he was 14, a realization dawned on his young mind and it changed him. But after that point, a WHOLE lotta life happened and I really and truly don’t think he ended his own life just because of foreskin. To consider intactivism a signature of his legacy is fair, but to go beyond that (too far beyond it) and try to equate his entire reason for suicide to circumcision is irresponsible on an intellectual and emotional level and should be avoided.

On the RestoringForeskin.org website there was a post shared by Jonathon’s husband, which I’ve coped to share here as well. Thanks for reading.

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Christopher Holden (Jonathon Conte’s husband) writes:

Dear Intactivists, friends

I want to thank all of you for the love and support expressed over the past days. I, as well as the entire intactivist community are grieving the loss of a gentle warrior. Jonathon dedicated his life to the rights of all children to keep their bodies whole. His personal suffering was the catalyst that motived him to prevent others from going through that same suffering. Tragically, his suffering got too great to bare. I, as well as all of you, have to go through the grieving process of this immense loss. We can gain strength with the connection we all feel towards Jonathon. Feelings, emotions are really raw now, but once we heal we will be left with Jonathon’s legacy. This legacy is his gift to all of us to pass on. He was your fearless intactivist and he was my dear soulmate. Rest in peace gentle warrior.

Facebook Games

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So… I’ve waited about a full week to really write anything here about something that is just so annoying and frustrating to me. Facebook foreskin restoration groups. I’ve written here a number of times, having used or been inspired by things I come across in one of what used to be two Facebook groups which were made for those of us restoring or our supporters. Truly, despite the presence of emotionally reckless people and drama starters and the occasional pervert, the groups have been an incredible and invaluable resource. If nothing else, the groups allowed people to connect with each other and know that we’re not alone. Beyond that, though, members of these groups often shared links to various sites they found or alternate ways of approaching a certain technique might be shared. It was good. Really good, actually.

There was one group which didn’t allow any content beyond what might classify as “PG-13” and from there members could be added to another group wherein content of a far more mature nature was allowed – with the understanding that the member requesting to be added accepted that they understood the nature of the content and verifying that this was no issue. Some months ago there was a rash of content reporting in the mature-content group. It wasn’t anything on a massive scale and seemed really kind of random as far as who and what was reported. I hadn’t posted in a while, but I was reported then. In fact, the content of mine which was reported wasn’t anything that would actually be considered the same as those others whose pics were reported. A link to this blog was reported and I received Facebook’s equivalent of a slap on the hand. It was painless enough, really. I just had to re-acknowledge the terms and conditions for using Facebook and that was the end of it – probably because it was my first ever offense. Still, it highlights that you didn’t necessarily even has to post a progress pic (pic of your penis) to be reported. My content was, after all, a link to an external site, a blog – this blog. Whatever.

At that time, although relatively small in scale, it caused quite an uproar. People felt violated and unsafe and probably the worst of it all was that the Admins and Moderators of the group were really at a loss about what to do to regain security. It was around that time I decided that I’d focus most of my “posts” to be on here instead of on Facebook. For one,  it will help build this blog as an independent resource for others to view and isn’t limited to “approved memberships.” And another perk of posting here instead of on Facebook is that no one can report me. Before starting this blog I contacted the “powers that be” here at WordPress and jumped through the necessary hoops they outlined. But still, for inspiration as well as access to the resources there, I stayed as member in the groups. (To be clear, the PG-13 group mentioned above is pretty inactive and mostly useless.)

But then, a week ago, someone went of a reporting massacre spree and brought again more havoc to the same group. and on a far larger scale than before. I have no idea if this was the same person / people or not. The admins/ mods of the group don’t seem to be sure, either. Many were reported for having posted content to the group. Some of these were reported in the first round of drama and so since this wasn’t their first offense, people were being blocked for varying periods of time depending on how much of their content was reported. Again, I was a victim of this nonsense. I was reported twice and, luckily, received only a one-day ban. Others were banned for longer. Throughout most of this recent mayhem I remained in touch with a guy who lives in Indiana and is also an Admin of the group. He gave me some valuable insights into what the Admins were going through and just how much at a loss they were with regard to saving the group. At one point, they were trying to take content down to prevent it from being reported but it was being reported faster than they can do that. When there are a handful of people going through and trying to take down content and it’s still being reported faster than they can work, then it seems pretty obvious that the one doing the reporting was pretty much just clicking on anything and everything and reporting it all.  So malicious and petty!

This led to the mature-content group being hollowed out almost entirely. A new, third group was created basically to replace the second group. I was the sixth member of that group and when I was added four of the six members were Admins. The next thing I know, the membership of the second group had ballooned and shortly after that the third group was deleted…. or so I was told. Then next, the second group was deleted.

I’m generally a cynical person and I’m not sure I fully believe that the other groups were really and truly totally deleted. SO many people were interested and wanting those groups, despite the risks involved. So the cynic in me feels like I’m being lied to. This isn’t case, as far as what I’ve been told by the Admin I’m closer to. A big part of me believes that and I think even if the slate were wiped clean from the other two groups and a super secret group was established that I’d be added into it. But then that cynic in my mind speaks up again. So basically I go back and forth between trusting what I’m told and feeling like there’s somehow some kind of suspicion about the nature of my own character. This bothers me a lot since I’m sincere. I can point to a dozen members in these groups that I think, for a number of reasons, SHOULD be investigated but for somoe reason aren’t being checked into and what’s worse is that one or two of them are even being made Admins of these groups!

It’s easy to point fingers from where I sit. I know that. But there’s still some things that really ought to be so obvious – and yet don’t seem to be obvious to those it would matter the most. Even Helen Keller would be able to see that history is doomed to repeat itself in these groups so long as the admins and moderators remain as clueless as they have. And that’s sad. I do have some suggestions, and I’ve touched on them a bit with the Admin I speak most with. Unless I’m approached as a valued member of that community for my ideas on how to crack down and safeguard the future, I’ll keep my other ideas to myself.

At any rate, until the restoration community on Facebook stabilizes I’m not terribly interested. It surely hurts to be excluded (if that’s at all what’s happening to me, and it probably isn’t, but whatever) but in reality as long as things don’t change with Admins the only thing I’m really missing out on is risk. I’ll be happy for now to stick with my own space here as well as the restoringforeskin site.

Thanks for reading.

Foreskin Pissing

This post is meant for the sole purpose of sharing a video. In the video, a younger male appears to be urinating into a sink. The reason for sharing this here is because the young man’s penis exhibits a restored foreskin.

Side Note: At one point in the video the camera view comes closer to his penis and you can see right where the new foreskin is transitioning from outer skin to inner skin and right around that point you can see hairs standing out. They are lighter in color and faint (or at least this seems to be true given the lighting), but are where they are because of a large amount of stretching, as opposed to actually growing. (Mind you, a significant amount of stretching will be necessary, but the goal should be mitosis.)

To view the video click here.

Thanks for reading.