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This open-mindedness comes in handy for those looking to build, rather than buy, restoration devices. More than a few restorers appear to be natural MacGyvers, to wit: "Currently, I'm using a one-inch-diameter pipe coupling with all [of] the inside covered with aquarium sealantÉ"
Obviously, if someone's going to slather a pipe in aquarium sealant and tie it to his penis, he should have a good reason. And most of the restoring men contacted for this story say they have one of the best reasons of all: They believe they were mutilated for a myth, denied full sexual pleasure, and completely violated.
For some, it's a late awakening. Guerin Woodgate Jr., 29, says he never thought much about his circumcision until he stumbled upon some anti-circ Web sites about ten years ago.
"As soon as I started reading the information, I suddenly felt like I was missing something that was important to me," he says, "and immediately felt compelled to start finding a way to get it back."
Woodgate, an IT consultant, says he sought advice from urologists, who brushed him aside, so he dived into nonsurgical restoration methods. The first technique he tried was a relatively common one among novice restorers, partly because it involves ordinary materials: one empty film canister (35-mm), batteries (size C, in Woodgate's case), a suspender-type strap, tape and a binder clip.
Woodgate cut out the bottom of the film canister, making a tube, and punched a hole in one side, so he could have one hook end of the binder clip sticking out. He then inserted the head of his penis into the canister, rolled the skin from his shaft over the tube, taped it in place, and attached a strap weighted with two batteries (taped together) to the binder clip.
Sure, it may sound like fun, but Woodgate soon ran into problems.
"Actually, inserting your penis is quite difficult inside of a film canister," he says. "You look at a film canister and you think, 'that's pretty big around.' And you don't realize, actually, the natural diameter of a penis and how large in diameter it really is until, even flaccid, you try to insert your penis inside this thing. Rolling the skin over was very difficult, especially because of the lack of skin that I had."
Next up was the PUD (Penile Uncircumcising Device) Tugger, sold by a company called American Bodycrafters and advertised as "the most sophisticated foreskin restoration product to date." The PUD is essentially a stainless-steel cylinder worn over the glans, with shaft skin taped around it. Like the canister method, the PUD includes a hook to hold additional weights. Another benefit, according to one PUD sales site: "All of our products come with a urinary passage so removal during urination is not necessary." (For those who want to lengthen the penis while restoring the foreskin, American Bodycrafters sells something called the VacuTrac, which looks like it violates the Geneva Convention.)
But, also like the canister method, the PUD didn't work for Woodgate. He says it was effective, but awkward.
"By the time you put this thing on it's 16 ounces and you start to walk around, it moves around in your pants leg," he says, "and people think, 'Man, that man has a long penis'...And that's not really my deal. I'm not trying to advertise this."
After flushing an estimated $1,000 down the drain, Woodgate ultimately decided he liked the simplest method of all: a two-inch strip of medical-grade tape. All he does is pull his shaft skin forward and tape it in place. While it's certainly a lot less cumbersome than tubes and batteries, the tape method also takes a lot longer to yield significant results. Woodgate believes he'll have to wear tape for 20 years before he reaches his ideal CI number. But the simple act helps instill something he believes his circumcision stripped him of control over his own body.
"I [felt] like something was taken away...I actually had a sense of anger," he says. "And it wasn't anger towards anyone, it was just, I was angry about the situation, that there was absolutely nothing I could do. I couldn't reverse it." He adds later: "I can control so much in my life, and that was one thing I could not control, I could not change."
Like other restorers, Woodgate says that keeping the glans covered a function of natural foreskin has made it more sensitive. Here's something he suggests circumcised guys do: "If you go into the bathroom, take your pants down and take a good look at your penis. If you've been circumcised and you're 20 years or older, the head of your penis...will appear to be somewhat dry and calcified. And the older that you get, the more calcified...the head of your penis is, rubbing inside of your briefs or boxers. And so what happens is, the skin's own mechanism is to naturally harden the skin...."
But now that his glans is covered most of the time, "It's like the difference between touching the hands of a baby and touching the hands of a 30-year-old man."