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I`ve been aware for quite some time that I should be able to retract my foreskin fully. In fact, I distinctly remember as a child, my mother telling me to make sure I pulled it back to clean when I was taking a bath! (I was probably around 6 or 7 years old). From this, I gather my foreskin DID retract at some stage (obviously, if she was telling ME to make sure I cleaned it, SHE would have cleaned it when she bathed me as an infant, although perhaps not, given what I have heard about the foreskin not being retractable until later years).
For many years, my `abnormal` penis prevented me from pursuing sexual relationships - in fact, relationships of ANY kind, largely from the fear they could potentially become sexual, and my problem would be revealed. This was not helped much by my twin brother, who delighted in teasing me about my phimosis (not to mention my penis` size, which I now happily understand is quite adequate).
So, fast foward through my adolescence and early twenties, and I finally entered a relationship, which quickly became serious. A few weeks in, on the first night I slept with my new partner, we did exactly that - slept! She later told me that she was a bit shocked (and a little offended!) that I didn`t try anything (sexually speaking). I can laugh at it now, but it was rather embarassing at the time. Of course, it was my self-consciousness of my phimosis which had prevented me from `making a move`. She thought there was something wrong with her, or that she wasn`t attractive to me.
We later had rather a lot of (quite good) sex, in a variety of positions. Some were more comfortable than others for me. In general, things were quite good, but I was frustrated as I felt my condition was limiting me in some ways.
I consider myself lucky that my girlfriend has always been incredibly understanding and supportive of me, and this issue. It is perhaps pertinent that she is Japanese, and occurence of phimosis is comparatively high here (I am in Tokyo as I write this). Men`s magazines routinely feature advertisements for `phimosis clinics`, which appear to specialise in frenuloplasty. The fact that, culturally, the Japanese never embraced circumcision, means that men are rather more aware of their foreskins, and any `abnormalities` with them.
Going back a few years, I had confided my problem to a couple of close friends, both of whom are circumcised. (As an aside, they were amazed that they had lost their virginity before me - I was always the funny, outgoing type they had expected would have early success with the ladies!) One of my friends confessed to me that he also had had phimosis, and had been circumcised at age 12. He followed this revelation with a minor sermon on the virtues of circumcision, and basically said I should `just go and do it`. By this stage, I had educated myself alot on the problems with circumcision (thanks largely to the founder of bmezine.com, Shannon Larratt (zentastic.com/blog)), and was resolutely against it, although a seeming `quick fix` for my condition was admittedly appealing.
Anyway, to bring this to a close... Years later, I found this wonderful site, and started stretching. I had some bad periods where I stopped completely, then re-started. I tried all sorts of creams, exercises, flesh tunnels. I also used the GFS device, and many of my own invention. I saw some progess every now and then, but was easily discouraged. Finally, I REALLY commited to getting this sorted, and have been applying myself with genuine consistency. The results are truly INCREDIBLE. Today, around an hour ago, I fully retracted my foreskin for the first time in living memory. I cannot describe how happy this simple thing has made me - I even emailed my girlfriend at work to tell her all about it! I know I have more to do to retract when erect, and I`m well on my way!
I should mention, I had succesfully stretched my ear piercings to over an inch in diameter (perhaps around 27mm) many years prior - so I KNEW the principle worked! It just took the support of some strangers on the `net to help me to my goal.
So, thanks to everyone who posts here, but in particular Paul and Jim. The work you do here is truly a wonderful public service, and in a just world you would be recognised much more widely for it! I hope success stories such as mine provide at least some small measure of satisfaction.
P.S. I am aware that a simple thing such as not being able to move a small piece of skin back and forward should not dramatically affect someone`s feelings. In my case, however, I have been percieving it as a `problem` for so long, that it has had a serious affect on my broader mental health. Perhaps it is hard for others to imagine the sense of relief, pleasure, and just plain satisfaction I feel at having this perceived burden lifted from my shoulders. Nevertheless......I am happy.
Well, I have only read about 100 posts on this forum and I find it's a minefield on information. I have only been on here about 4 days and I totally agree with your comments about the excitement of retraction of the foreskin initially. It has stopped me from speculating (read my other -far too long- posts on here)
even though I am still considering one ligation (frenulum tying) but hmmmmm. I am in 2 minds.......
I should see my doctor, argh.
Also, I agree with your comments on Jim and Paul and I already gave them the red carpet treatment, although talk IS cheap, maybe I can do something else? I don't know.........
Perhaps the first question to ask, is just why you would have failed to adopt the practice of retracting - why might you have forgotten this, or the intervening period of your childhood or were you actually choosing not to continue doing it simply to be perverse? One might wonder just what the dynamic was with your mother?
When looking back with hindsight (or as one of my mentors put it, "looking through the retrospectoscope"), things do seem trivial that appeared momentous at the time, such as childish taunts and even to some extent, the milder degrees of bullying. Clearly, this is part of the process of growing up which includes the realisation that other people are often wrong, misguided and often more pitiable than actually malicious. I do therefore understand that you could be so misled as to believe that your imagined "abnormality" held some bizarre importance to your relationships, although I find it difficult to accept that this was your only problem.
As before, I find it extraordinarily improbable that there would be any higher incidence of "phimosis" in Japanese men, any more than that they might have smaller penes on average or other characteristic. I do gather however, that there has been - fairly recently - a profusion of sexual material with some emphasis on various fetishes and perversions, and would not be surprised that scam advertising which would once have been banned as offensive, has flourished as it has here with such offers as "Men - 'do it' longer" on billboards.
I note also a particular enthusiast on the various circumcision-related fora who would have us believe that those inscrutable orientals (specifically: the Japanese) have a social custom of baring their glans by practising prolonged or permanent retraction of the foreskin. To the best of my knowledge, this assertion does not exist beyond his postings and (I think) an article on that authoritative site, "circlist". I can only surmise that he may have somehow been directed to some subset of Japanese bath-houses catering to an exclusive "gay" clientèle!
Your friend, circumcised at age 12 and presumably prior to the discovery of masturbation, illustrates perfectly the psychopathology which is responsible for the persistence of circumcision - "misery loves company" and losing something important at such an early age, the ego-defense mechanism of denial impels the belief that it must have been "for the best" after all.
In any case, you illustrate something critical to the process of stretching. You say on the one hand that you did stretch, but even using what should be highly effective tools such as the GFS, you were disappointed with the results, but then something changed and you then describe the results as "incredible". Clearly what we need to convey - and I do try my best to do so - is just what that thing is that when you finally grasp(!) it, everything just works! Perhaps you could give us some more detail on this?
You raise some interesting points. Regarding early retraction, I must say it really is a mystery to me. I was adopted when I was around 18 months old, then in foster care another 6 months or so. I have no idea whether my foreskin could retract that stage, and unfortunately, no real avenue of enquiry through which to find out. Since I have no memory of EVER being able to retract, I have always simply assumed that I have been unable to since birth. I don`t imagine I would have had any reason NOT to retract as a boy, had I been able to. My relationship with my mother is quite good, and while she has always been open with me about the human body and sexual function, etc., I do not feel comfortable questioning her about whether or not I could retract as a youngster.
I certainly agree that the condition of my foreskin was not the ONLY factor influencing my relationships (or lack thereof) throughout my adolescence. But, in the way these things tend to do, it became so exaggerated in my mind, to the point that I allowed it far greater influence than it reasonably should have had (if ANY amount is reasonable, really).
From my experience both in Australia (my home country) and Japan, I can assert there is certainly more of an AWARENESS of `foreskin issues` such as phimosis in Japan. I confess I don`t know if this correlates with an increased OCCURENCE of said issues. It was my own deduction. Of course, physiologically, I see there is no reason why Japanese men would be any more likely to experience these situations. My hypothesis was that it may be due to the absence of routine circumcision in Japan.
I am not aware of any specific customs regarding the wearing of the foreskin in Japan. Certainly I have no time for the baseless assertions of anonymous pro-circumcision zealots. I agree, perhaps he may have had a little misadventure in the gay `soaplands`.
Regarding my friend who was circumcised, my intention in relating the story was indeed to illustrate the fact that those who have suffered the procedure feel compelled to defend it, and as you say, convince themselves it was `for the best`. My friend even tried to convince me that women PREFER circumcised men! While I feel one cannot make a blanket statement about approximately half the world`s population,my experience has been precisely the opposite - almost every woman I know has preferred INTACT men! (Of course, it is only natural that a woman should prefer a man in his natural state).
To the key point now: While indeed I DID stretch, and used such tools as the GFS, what was missing was my COMMITMENT. Despite what I read here, the penny had not dropped - That what was required was SERIOUS PERSISTENCE. I would stretch a few days, then stop a day or two. I would stretch a couple of minutes a day, then lose motivation, or let other things get in the way. The point at which the results became `incredible` was when I finally started doing a solid 10-20 minutes twice a day, EVERY day.
Yes, that's what it is all right - commitment - and as the person who had undergone the actual experience I thought you were in the best position to say it - we may well refer others to this thread to make the point.
It's perhaps a little sad - it would be quite interesting to know your mother's actual concepts and observations on the subject - perhaps you just might actually dare to enquire sometime in the future, when "the wind blows the right direction"?
To my mind, proper sexual education - were it to actually be practiced - would be bound up in not only describing the "normal" range of variations to include degrees of phimosis, but in inculcating the separate concept of self-worth notwithstanding these - and other - variations on "normal". Regrettably, "Political Correctness" whilst it claims to preach tolerance, in Real World practice has no such benefit whatsoever, merely replacing the "PI" bullies with "PC" versions.
It is an interesting concept that where circumcision is almost unknown, that fact in itself - the experiential ignorance of the consequences of circumcision - can make it (and variations thereof) almost the "forbidden fruit" with a mythology and attraction paralleling in the event, that in countries where circumcision is the norm and to be otherwise is non-conforming.
I have no doubt that where circumcision is anything but the norm, women would prefer intact men, not necessarily because it is his "natural" state (because in fact few people seriously discern such a thing and it is reported that in circumcising cultures, they merely re-define the term "natural" to suit ) but because it is the norm and any actual comparative experience tends to support it.
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