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).
What you’ll read below is something I copied from a Facebook post I saw recently. Mind you, the Facebook groups for restoration which used to exist but were decimated from the inside are now ghosts. My gut tells me that a small number of restoring men have banded together to form their own super-top-secret-us-only-and-nobody-else group and that’s fine. They can have it, as I certainly do not miss the drama. The group I saw the post in is the “only” group remaining from the ones everyone knew of before. I find it mostly useless at this point, but I’ll stay on for nuggets like what I’m sharing below and also out of a sense of community.
I’ll not share the name of the guy who told the story below. (If you’re reading this and you want to be identified or you want me to remove this post, please advise and I’ll honor your request.) It is a bit comical, a bit tragic, and also a bit of an eye-opener regarding something I’ve wondered about.
Thanks for reading.
So I walked through an airport scanner wearing my DTR today. It registered as a foreign object. I told the security guy I had a medical device on my penis that I’d forgotten to take off. (Okay, actually, I had a lot of time to spare and was curious what would happen.) I asked if I could take it off and walk through again. He said no, that once someone sets off the machine they have to follow procedure. I elaborated, explaining that it was a plastic device to stretch your foreskin. He gave me a brief pat-down and said he would have to call his manager. This is when it got really funny, and then really annoying.
They ushered me into the private room. The manager whispered to me that I’d done nothing wrong and could present as whatever gender I wanted to be. He thought I was wearing a prosthetic! I asked again if I could take it off. He said no, that I didn’t have to. Repeating that they were sympathetic to gender, that they wanted me to be comfortable, and that it wasn’t the first time this had happened. Then the original guard, who had a better idea of what was going on, and the manager each gave me another outside-the-clothes but very personal pat down. They both agreed there was something down there.
I asked again if I could just remove the device. The manager said yes, and they both turned around while I took it off. I think they were both confused when they actually saw it. Another pat down followed. This was pretty personal. Like, firm rubbing of the boy parts. The manager (who still apparently doesn’t get it and thinks I’m a trans-man) says, “There’s still something there.” The other man, who understands, but has to follow procedure, says, “Well, yeah…”
So then a third security member was called in. He gave yet another inspection, and then cleared me to fly with a penis. Next time there will be a quick stop in the bathroom before security.
It was September of 2015 when I began my restoration journey and quite honestly the biggest change I can report from the last 12.5 months is a difference in knowledge. I started with reading. This should definitely be the first step for EVERYONE considering to restore. In fact, this should be common sense. No matter how anxious or ambitious a guy is, it’s practically the textbook definition of idiotic for him to dive in and start doing things to his genitals without sufficient research and self-education prior. This kind of behavior usually results in men reporting injuries. #Dangerous
Anyone who knows me in person also knows that when I want to learn about an idea, I tackle it like a hungry sabertooth cat. I read as much as I can, as quickly as I can, from the biggest selection of sources I can find, and constantly cross-reference and compare / contrast the things I come across. I like knowing what I’m talking about and hope you would, too. One area this really benefited me was the practice of retaining. For example, there are men who SWEAR that retaining was detrimental for them prior to having full flaccid coverage, but aside from personal opinion there’s really nothing to back this up, and really the contrary is more often found to be true. But research goes far beyond that. In a process like this it can only benefit an individual to continually search out options and weigh those. This is especially true because with restoration, what worked for one might not work for the next.
September 2015 through December of the same year was very productive where the actual restoration process was concerned and I found myself making pretty quick progress – some of which was detailed on this blog in earlier posts. After a week or two of near-constant research, and baby-stepping my way into restoration through experimentation with a very crude and basic taping method, I settled on ordering the DTR – a device I’m so glad to have bought and would recommend to all. From there things really exploded.
I began to research and explore other methods – some to supplement my DTR usage and some potentially to replace the DTR. To date, the only method I’ve not attempted first-hand is inflation, although I did buy everything needed to go that route. I also began building a small library of literature relating to foreskin or restoration and have published a number of posts here as well and have a number of additional posts planned to be published here once I get through the material. In addition to those things, I listed myself as the primary contact for a national network of restoration groups – something which has proven to be less fruitful than I had hoped. I also posted to Craigslist in attempt to connect to others locally who are interested or already on the restoration journey – something which proved very hit-n-miss and results in contacts from about as many guys looking for sexual encounters as there were actually interested in restoration.
The first six months of my restoration journey were insanely focused and busy with all things restoration. The progress I experienced saw me almost regularly reaching past my corona / sulcus and virtually always experiencing prolonged rollover and “stay” when I removed whatever device I might have been using. Sadly, much of that has been “lost” or at least doesn’t manifest as easily. I was always a pretty loose CI-2, and I still am. So at least there’s no going backwards. But as 2016 came into being I found myself with less and less time to devote to actually restoring. I’d still try to read and research and explore as I was able. This would, sadly, prove to be the trend for the bulk of 2016 and is true for the current date.
Still, that’s sometimes just how things go. I know of so many men who have been fully dedicated and it still takes them many years to full restore. There are others who start and stop about as many times as any major city’s subway system. And there are men who never actually give up or stop, but simply have tough or demanding schedules and so progression is slow. This last group is probably where I mostly fall. It is what it is, and what’s important isn’t to focus on the pitfalls or setbacks but instead to … as they say … KOT!
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.
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.
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.
Over a week ago now, in a closed Facebook group I belong to relating to restoration, there was a post that the guy who makes / sells a restoration device known simply as “the MP” had about ten to sell. He requested anyone interested to private message him for details. As you know from reading posts here, I see great value in exploring the various methods and even variances to the known methods. Of course, as with everything from politics to religion to grocery shopping, everyone has their own preference and usually someone believes in their preference implicitly. I hear one man swear by the moon and stars that manual methods are not only the only method needed but also are the best and fastest way to restore. Another guy is wholly dedicated to his t-taping routine. And yet the next, might use a mix of methods or might otherwise have a few favorites that he cycles through as necessary.
I’m only just now wrapping up my seventh month at this whole effort and I’ve already familiarized with a number of methods and their variations – most of which I’ve written about here. One I’ve not touched on really is the aforementioned MP. As it happens, the MP guy has the same initials in his first and last names, but we’re assured the device isn’t so named because of that. Beyond that, I’m not sure why it’s called what it’s called.
The long and short of what this device is, is that it’s a weighted retainer. To be clear, that doesn’t really do it justice. Retainers, as we’ve discussed here, are meant to hold the skin in a forward position but without much actual stress to the skin. There are lots of different ways to approach retaining and many retainers are versatile enough that they can easily convert into a restoration device – usually by adding a weight of some sort. And that’s why I’ve said the MP is essentially a weight retainer.
It’s made of metal is feels quite heavy. (I’d have to check the actual weight of the device) One end is rounded and the other is where a place is located which butts up against the glans and around which the gripper fits. This end of the device is quite a lot like the DTR. One significant area the DTR and MP differ is that the MP is not dual-tension as is the DTR. One downside to this is that the MP relies solely on gravity and stresses the skin in only one direction. The DTR stresses the skin in two directions and so it’s like having twice the effort, technically. For me personally, a significant difference between the two – and very much in favor of the MP – is that the wearer experiences practically ZERO compression of the penile tissues while employing the MP. To a degree, in my own experience, a small amount of glans compression is required for the MP, but the same is said for my efforts wearing the DTR. With the DTR, the glans (my glans) is significantly bigger than the bell the skin is gripped around. After that, the penile tissue is compressed and kind of squished backwards and practically to inside my body – not an easy feat to endure for anyone of average or better-than-average penis size. With the MP, glans compression is still an issue for me but the compression inconveniences stop there.
Because of the weight of the MP, becoming accustom to putting the device on is more challenging than with the DTR – although learning to put the DTR on has its own set of challenges. Once the MP is on, though, gravity does all the work. To date, my only experience wearing the MP was during a weekend day when I cleaned out my cars and did other chores around the house. During this time, I wore the device under shorts and boxer shorts. As I walked, you could clearly see myself with the device swinging within my shorts, but to stand still or sit or doing other things it was hardly noticeable. The weight of the MP is truly something. I’ve used weighted retaining before – with the DTR retainer – and the MP really blows that out of the water. Of course, it’s this weight that creates a force opposite to the compression experience with the DTR. I was afraid that, because of the weight of the device, that the MP would pull itself off of my penis – especially while walking or otherwise moving. This was not an issue.
Something I’m not certain of is the cost. Payment was easily managed through PayPal and rather painless in that regard. The device was less than $100, but not by a lot – and it came with no additional grippers. I remember paying just over $120 for a full DTR kit, which included a number of extra grippers, as well as the matching retainer. Seems like for $80 another gripper or two could be included, but whatever. The grippers can be ordered through the guy who offers the MP or through the source of the DTR.
Below are pics of my first day wearing the MP device. Thanks for reading.
I’m sharing in this post the bio and “final product” of a guy I connected with through a closed Facebook group. What’s shared here below isn’t the full biography he sent to me. The beginning of it I’ve mostly omitted because it parallels so much of what we all went through – parents who didn’t know better and didn’t have conscience enough to question what they assumed well-meaning physicians were advising. He was born in the early 1970s and back then new fathers weren’t even allowed near the delivery area. Like my mother-in-law’s testimony about when my husband was cut, this guys’ mom was nearby when the circumcision took place. Her rationalization was that a moment of pain was worth a lifetime of good hygiene. Later in his life, he witnessed a circumcision and says, “I never gave it a second thought until I saw one performed. I almost vomited. I don’t remember ever reacting to anything as strongly as I did to that sight. My revulsion turned to fury. I felt utterly betrayed and like I had been branded as either a Jew (which I wasn’t) or an American (which of course I am)… Fortunately I discovered foreskin restoration at the time I was researching. That was my answer and restoring my foreskin would be the great big “fuck you” to the medical establishment, the doctor, the US, and my mother. I didn’t restore for the sensation gains – I had no idea of those at the time – realizing that came later.”
This is where he and I are parallels to a degree. I’m not restoring as a means of pursuing sensation or better sex. Quite frankly, I can’t help but roll my eyes when I hear or read guys prattling on about how they want better sex. Enjoyable sex is important – sure. Fine. But for me personally, sex isn’t important enough to raise a fuss over. At least not in this way. For me, like this guy when he began restoring, it’s more about undoing what was done to me… Something that shouldn’t have been done since I’m not Jewish and I didn’t consent (who knows if my parents even did?) and it’s incredibly and wholly unnecessary. Experiencing “better” sex is secondary at best – especially in light of much evidence that shows so much of our sexual experience has more to do with mind than anatomy, anyway. But whatever, on to my pal’s restoration biography…
“It took me a long, long time to forgive my parents – a decade almost. It wasn’t enough to affect our relationship, which is quite good, but it was resentment in the back of my mind. Overall though, restoration produced the closure I needed. That was until 2012. I met an intact guy from my state (NJ) with the same background as I (Italian / Irish). Seeing his foreskin felt like a gut punch because dimensionally we were almost identical and now, finally, I had a clue of what was taken. We broke up but it was the kick in the pants I needed to begin again and finish the job…
“It really helped to be able to talk to my parents about it and finally hear the whole story – and understand that they were convinced to do it after being sold a steaming pile of shit disguised as medicine. I can’t blame my parents or resent their decision as they really thought they were doing a good thing and they listened to the doctor, as there was no other choice. I’ve forgiven them. They now know I am restoring my foreskin, that I’m within a year of getting back all the skin stolen from me, and they both are completely supportive of my restoration.
“I started restoring because I was really pissed off, and I realized I could do something about it. I was amazed that I could take my power back. I had no idea what an amazing journey (though not always easy) this would be. It’s physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. It really is. It’s not a matter of strapping on a device and waiting a few months. It’s an ongoing, dedicated – almost obsessive effort that can take 5 or more years to complete. However, the rewards are far beyond what I ever suspected they would be when I started. It’s beyond edifying. The first time someone else thought I was intact it was all worth it! Though it’s a hassle and a definite long term commitment to yourself, it’s very empowering – you never, ever take your foreskin for granted and you have a sense of personal accomplishment and pride that no intact man will ever have.
“I restored from 1999-2001, reaching a CI-5. I started up again in 2005 for about 6 months, reaching a CI-6. I was content with that until last summer. I’ve been restoring again since July 2012 and I’m a CI-8 now in late 2013. I want to reach a CI-9 with 50% erect coverage. By the time I reach that goal I will have been restoring for a total of 5 years. This quote below is what got me restoring for the first time in 1999. I don’t recall exactly where I read it, but it was on one of the early restoring sites. It has been and still is my overarching goal: “If you do it right, your restoration will produce a penis that is so similar in appearance and function to an intact one that only your urologist, if he’s paying attention, will notice the difference.”
In asking him what method or methods he employed, his answer was, “T-Tape, DTR (using simultaneously as a bidirectional and tugger), o – ring retention at night.” He specified that the listing is in actual order of usage. He also stated, “I can’t use the DTR anymore. Once I dekeratinized again (for the 4th time), the mucosa was too fragile to take that kind of tension.” You can see the pics he shared with me for this post below.