Want better, longer lasting sex? Advanced Medical Institute (AMI) vs foreskin restoration

Advanced Medical Institute (AMI) billboardMany of us would have seen those bright yellow billboards across the cities of Australia with confronting and sometimes contoversial messages including ‘want longer lasting sex?’, ‘want more sex?’ and more recently ‘oral strip: to last longer making love‘.

This latest advertising campaign appears to be an amalgamation of previous campaigns, and claims to help with both premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. According to the webiste of company behind the advertising, Advanced Medical Institute (AMI), “The new Oral strip technology for treatment developed by AMI is the World’s first for the treatment of Premature Ejaculation and Erectile Dysfunction (sexual dysfunction) in man.”

Can AMI actually deliver on those claims? Recent history would suggest that potential customers should take caution. In 2003 the ACCC prosecuted AMI over previous campaigns, and the NSW Office of Fair Trading has investigated numerous complaints against AMI over alleged unconscionable contracts and undeliverable guarantees. The late Ian ‘Turps’ Turpie, once an ambassador for the company’s nasal spray, also admitted that it didn’t cure his impotence.

Rather that putting their faith in oral strips and nasal sprays, perhaps Australian men should be asking a confronting question of their own: Could their circumcision be a contributing factor in premature ejaculation and other sexual dysfunction issues? And if circumcision is a factor, is there anything that can be done by circumcised men to reverse the damage?

The first thing to note is that is that circumcision significantly alters the form of the penis. Most estimates on how much skin is lost range between 10 to 15 square inches. In addition, what is lost is not just skin, but a complex set of structures including the frenulum, ridged band, frenal band, mucosal skin and other specialised nerves and structures. As most engineers will tell you, you can’t alter form without altering function, so with so many structures lost to circumcision, there is no doubt that the function of the penis is severly altered.

The most significant function of the foreskin, and the most relevant to premature ejaculation, is what is known as the ‘gliding’ or ‘rolling’ action. Without a foreskin, during sexual activity the foreskin will not ‘roll’ over the glans (head) of the penis in the way that it does on an intact penis. This results in an unnatural friction on the glans and can trigger ejaculation.

While premature ejaculation can be an issue for younger men, the opposite problem is more frequent in older men. A Danish study released in June 2011 concluded that male circumcision was “associated with frequent orgasm difficulties in Danish men and with a range of frequent sexual difficulties in women, notably orgasm difficulties, dyspareunia and a sense of incomplete sexual needs fulfilment.”

So if circumcision is a possible cause of these problems, is their anything that circumcised men can do? While there is nothing that can bring back all of the complex structures that are lost to circumcision, many Australian men are undertaking foreskin restoration to undo some of the damage. The restoration process is a non-surgical method which grows additional skin from what remains of the foreskin. There are many tools and methods, but each method involves tensioning the remaining skin which encourages the growth of new skin, to eventually cover the glans of the penis, recovering much of the function and appearance of an intact man.

The result is that many of the younger men who have undertaken foreskin restoration will say that the re-grown skin reduces the direct stimulation of their glans and allows them to last longer. For those with the opposite problem, the coverage regains the sensitivity of the glans, which had previously been de-sensitised from decades of friction against clothing.

Advanced Medical Institute has recently moved to also target females, by claiming that they can help with a range of sexual dysfunction issues for Australian females. The negative effects of male circumcision on female partners has already been documented in a study by Australian authors published in the Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association and in the website sex as nature intended it. Again it is mainly the lack of the gliding or rolling action in a circumcised penis that is to blame, causing too much friction. Female partners of restored men will often say that there has been an improvement in both comfort and pleasure.

The impact of circumcision on sexual function will always be a topic of debate. But for circumcised men, when comparing the options of using an oral strip or nasal spray with minimal amounts of an active ingredient, or restoring part of the penis that should naturally have been there, I know which option I think would be more likely to get results.

Australian women discover foreskins not ‘useless’ after all

Foreskin facecream for Australian womenWhile most of the younger generations of Australian women understand how useful foreskins are from enjoying them on their intact partners, it appears that older generations may have finally found a use for them as well.

But while the traditional benefits of being with an intact partner, such as having a more comfortable and enjoyable sexual experience,  are now well known, this new less conventional ‘use’ comes in the form of a cosmetic face cream.

The irony is that many of these older women who may have been conditioned by society, or convinced by their doctors in the past to believe that ‘foreskins are gross and useless’ are now smearing their faces with a product that is apparently ‘engineered’ from infant foreskin.

When the Australian retailer of SkinMedica products, Advanced Skin Technology, was challenged on the use of foreskins in its products, it was quick to clarify on its Facebook page that its products do not contain actual human tissue. But they were silent when questioned further on what the key ingredient was actually derived from.

We are left to rely on the extensive information on various human rights and anti-circumcision (or pro-intact) websites, where there are claims of a lucrative trade in infant foreskins to supply bio-engineering and cosmetics companies. Looking specifically at the SkinMedica products it appears that foreskins are not being continually harvested for their products, although it is clear that at least one infant’s foreskin was used as part of the creation process.

According to SkinMedica’s webiste, their “TNS Recovery Complex” product contains “Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media”, or their own trademarked version of this called “Tissue Nutrient Solution (TNS)”.  This ingredient has been promoted as a “physiologically balanced, naturally secreted and stabilized growth factor blend that helps improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and overall skin tone and texture”.

Oprah Winfrey, when promoting this product, has described the ingredient as being “engineered from human foreskin”. Dr. Pat Wexler, a cosmetic dermatologist, also confirmed on the Oprah Winfrey show that a baby foreskin was used in the creation process.

I’m no scientist, but to me the difference between a product that contains actual human foreskin tissue and one that contains something that was “engineered” from human foreskin tissue is minimal. And considering that the original owner of the foreskin would not have consented to its removal and use in this way, from a human rights perspective they are one and the same.

To buy the products would not only endorse the forced circumcision of baby boys, but would also support the concept that it is OK to sacrifice the bodily integrity of another individual for the purpose of personal vanity. The Australian sales figures will show if older Australian women feel the same way, or if they are finally ready to embrace the idea that foreskins really are useful, albeit for this unintended purpose. We can only hope that they now understand that the real use and value of a foreskin is to the person it is attached to.

Further reading:
Foreskin Facecream
The Foreskin in Oprah’s Facecream

If only I had ‘meowed’ when I was born: how cats are protected more than boys in Australia

Cat declawing and circumcision in AustraliaIn Australia, the declawing of cats has never been common. In at least some States specific legislation exists that prohibits declawing unless there are exceptional circumcstances (for example, the NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (General) Regulation 1996). While specific legislation for other States is difficult to find, the Australian Veterinary Association  has effectively banned the procedure under its policy of only performing surgical procedures for legitimate medical reasons:

“Surgical alteration to the natural state of an animal is acceptable only if it is necessary for the health and welfare of the animal concerned. Performance of any surgical procedure for other than legitimate medical reasons is unacceptable.”

So the Vetinary Association ‘gets’ that “surgical alteration to the natural state of an animal” is unacceptabe, except for legitimate medical reasons.  But while surgical alteration to kittens has been banned, apparently non-medical surgical alteration to human baby boys is perfectly OK.

The key to understanding this situation is in the first sentence of this post. It appears that the Government and other organisations will act to stop abuse and cruelty where it is uncommon, such as declawing and female circumcision. But these groups will look the other way if the cruelty and abuse is common and part of our culture, like male infant circumcision.

Below are some the snippets of some of the news releases and other webpages on this subject. The parallels to infant circumcision are remarkable, yet the cats are given more protection under the law. I’ve added a few comments in red:

One of the proponents of the laws is http://www.straypetadvocacy.org. Their byline is: To Speak for Those Who Have No Voice. (Day-old infants don’t say much either…)

They say: “The U.S. and Canada are the only countries where declawing is commonplace. In many countries declawing is illegal or is considered inhumane, and you would be hard-pressed to find a veterinarian who would agree to do the operation. In the U.S., it’s quite easy to declaw preemptively, i.e., even in the absence of any scratching problem. We’ve turned medically unnecessary amputation, done for the convenience of the human, into something routine.” (Gee, that all has a familiar ring…..)

A popular cat website in Australia says: “Occasionally there are medical reasons in which it will be of benefit to the cat to declaw but these are few and far between.” (Amputate only if there is a medical reason? Cat owners have put more thought into this than many parents…)

This site continues to state: “I like to think that cat owners would accept their cats behavior warts & all & would hope that people consider that cats come with claws prior to adopting them.” (Just as baby boys come with foreskins….)

The California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and Cat Fanciers’ Association do not want the procedures prohibited by law. The VMA objection is that “the choice to have the procedure is a private matter between a client and veterinarian.” (Or maybe your support is because your members need to make a decent living, just as Doctors don’t get paid when they just leave it alone…)

Declawing is now banned in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, San Francisco, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica. The West Hollywood ban was recently upheld by an Californian appeals court in a challenge by the CVMA. (Way to go your Honour!! Thanks for protecting all those innocent little kittens…)

This cruel procedure is also illegal in 25 nations, including the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Brazil, Norway and Germany. Anti-Declaw advocates (often called “Pro-Claw”) have been crusading for many years for similar bans in the United States. They believe that cats’ claws are there for a purpose (sort of like a foreskin?), and that to deprive them of their basic form of defense, as well as their necessary tools for exercise and mobility is cruel and inhumane. Although consumer education has made slow progress, they believe anti-declaw laws are necessary. (Let’s see, first educate the owners (and parents), but when that fails, just work to get it outlawed. Sounds like a plan.)

It is commonly performed using a guillotine-type blade, and is always done under general anesthesia. Because of associated post-operative pain, pain control medication is often prescribed for the recuperating cat. (Well, how sweet is that… The cats ALWAYS get anesthesia, and pain meds for post-op. We sure don’t want Snowball in any pain now, do we…)

How is it that advocates for the rights of the cat can get laws passed on such issues, yet we’ve got the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner and the Australian Government who think that our boys don’t deserve the same protection?

Well, you’ll have to excuse me now. I’m going to go shred the side of my sofa with what’s left of my penis.

(Thanks to a member of a related site for the original idea and much of the content for this post, used here with his permission.)

Understanding ‘phimosis’: truth, lies and appropriate responses

In the 21st Century, thankfully, most male babies leave Australasian hospitals with their genitals intact (uncircumcised). They are, however, still not assured of reaching adulthood (the age of consent) without being subjected to genital cutting practices. The most common ‘reason’ cited for the circumcision of post-infant boys is a diagnosis of ‘phimosis’. The predominant (traditional) view has been that having a foreskin which cannot be retracted is a medical condition which requires treatment, however modern, rational perspectives suggest that a tight foreskin is simply a natural variation of the norm, which hardly ever requires surgical intervention and, in the cases where such intervention may be required, any decision can (and should) almost always be left for the individual to make once they have reached the age of consent.

In recent times, accurate information about normal penile anatomy has become more readily available. The majority of new parents now learn that the foreskin is ‘fused’ to the glans (head) of the penis and that it remains this way for a number of years, sometimes until well after the onset of puberty. This makes a diagnosis of phimosis extremely problematic, especially in younger children. Despite this, (whether as a consequence of ignorance, or simply due to ‘taking the easy way out’), there are still some doctors in Australia and New Zealand who employ ‘radical prepucectomy’ (circumcision) as a front-line ‘treatment’ for a tight foreskin. In fact, in 2003, an Australian study provided clear evidence that nearly all of the circumcisions being performed upon minors as a consequence of a diagnosis of phimosis were unnecessary. It would appear then, that better education of physicians, and perhaps parents, with regard to foreskin development and management is still required.

In recent years, misconceptions about penile anatomy and health have been rightly refuted. Most health care professionals (and parents) now understand that no attempt to retract the foreskin should be made during a child’s formative years, especially given the well-documented protective functions that it serves. It is now broadly recognised that forcibly retracting the foreskin causes damage to the structure, including tearing, which can lead to a narrowing of the preputial sphincter and therefore ‘phimosis’.

Difficulty in urination is the most commonly cited indicator of phimosis in infants and young children. Inflammation or infections of the penis/foreskin have also been cited as indicators of phimosis, however these symptoms are rare, usually minor and generally resolve themselves without the need for surgical intervention. In either of these instances, caution and a conservative approach should be paramount. New parents are understandably worried if they notice that their young son ‘sprays’ urine, or has ‘ballooning’ of the foreskin when he urinates. In the absence of any sign of severe or lingering infection, those concerns are generally unfounded. The situation will almost always resolve itself as the child grows and therefore, the most appropriate front-line treatment is no treatment at all.

In cases where persistent symptoms of inflammation or infection are noticed, they are most commonly caused by external exposure to chemicals, including soaps and detergents (such as those contained in ‘bubble bath’ formulas) and highly chlorinated water. Halting exposure to these compounds is therefore the most appropriate front-line treatment in such situations. Regular changing of nappies is also important in order to prevent infections caused by exposure to fecal matter, as is good hydration, since dehydration can lead to the release of overly concentrated (acidic) urine.

There is some controversy over the role of anti-biotics and ‘pro-biotics’ in the resolution of infections resulting from a tight foreskin. Some experts use topical anti-biotic ointments in these situations, whilst others avoid them and believe that the infection can be treated by the ingestion of natural yoghurt, in order to correct the balance of microbial flora in the area.

Once a child reaches the point of ‘genital awareness’ (usually in the years just before the onset of puberty), they are in a position to have input into decisions that are made about their own sexual health. It is important to note that many boys reach adulthood and beyond without perceiving or experiencing any problems associated with having a foreskin that does not retract, however some teenagers do discover that they encounter difficulty with masturbation or pain/discomfort during sexual intercourse as a consequence of having a tight foreskin. Obviously, many teens in such a situation will feel embarrassed about discussing it with their parents or a doctor and will look to the internet for information. Sadly, in the past, accurate and helpful information on this issue has been difficult to find. Part of the aim of the publication of this article is to provide such a resource.

The simplest and most non-invasive method of resolving a tight foreskin in older children (and adults) is ‘manual stretching’. There are several methods of manual stretching that have been shown to be highly effective. One of the most popular methods requires no ‘devices’ or ‘equipment’ and is therefore completely cost free. All that is required is for the individual to adopt a daily routine in which the foreskin is pulled back as far as it can be without causing pain. Great care must be taken in the early stages of this process, to ensure that the foreskin is not retracted behind the glans prematurely, because doing so can result in so-called ‘paraphimosis’, a condition in which the foreskin becomes trapped and cuts off blood supply to the end of the penis. Patience is paramount. This process is most effective when repeated several times a day and often achieves good results within just a few weeks.

Some individuals have become creative and developed their own home made ‘equipment’, such as soft plastic rings or tubes, with which they gently stretch the foreskin. In many ways these manual stretching methods resemble the stretching of earlobes undertaken by many young people these days, in which increasingly larger ring-like jewellery is used to increase the size of the hole created by the initial piercing.

In the rare cases where specific forms of Balanitis have been positively diagnosed, the topical application of a steroidal ointment such as Betamethasone can provide good results. These ointments replicate the release of hormones that occurs during puberty which usually cause a natural dilation of the foreskin.

Profit-driven corporations are very good at identifying public demand for ‘goods and services’ and it is therefore hardly surprising that websites promoting products such as ‘Glansie’ and ‘Novoglan’ have recently started to appear on the internet. These products may well be effective in resolving concerns created by having a tight foreskin, however they may not necessarily be any more effective than the options referred to above and certainly incur a greater cost.

If the methods explored above do not have the desired impact, there is at least one surgical alternative to circumcision that can be considered. ‘Preputioplasty’ is a procedure that involves one or more incisions being made in the preputial sphincter, which are then sutured (stitched) to close the wound. Although preputioplasty is surgically invasive, it is certainly preferable to circumcision, since no bodily tissue is removed. A recently published study confirmed that preputioplasty provides a good outcome for the majority of boys who undergo the procedure.

Given all of the available evidence, surgical intervention in the form of circumcision, is almost never required to ‘resolve’ the issue of a tight foreskin in males of any age and, as such, it should be regard as a solution of last resort. Furthermore, the available evidence suggests that, in the overwhelming majority of cases, males should be allowed to reach the age of consent without being subjected to surgical intervention. Whatever course of action they decide to take once they reach the age of consent is a matter for them and them alone.