Alternative 1: Stretching

My urologist and nurse practitioner both suggested alternatives to circumcision to fix my phimosis. The first alternative, which I will discuss here, is stretching of the foreskin to allow it to pass over the glans when the penis is erect, as it is supposed to.

At the initial consultation with my nurse practitioner, I was prescribed a gel of 0.05% betaderm, which is a topical corticosteroid. I was instructed to liberally apply the cream to my foreskin twice a day and to spend at least 15 minutes stretching my foreskin with it. I wasn’t really sure what the NP meant when he used the word “stretching” and I didn’t ask, because I was too embarrassed. This was really stupid of me, and I should’ve gotten his professional opinion. He told me that it could take up to six weeks for the cream to fix my condition, but that I could expect some effect within the week.

So, I went home and looked up how to stretch my foreskin. This article was really helpful. I applied the cream and started stretching using the techniques it outlines. At first it was really tricky, because the stimulation would cause me to become erect and then there was no hope of getting my foreskin over my glans. I just ended up masturbating, which I figured couldn’t hurt in terms of stretching.

But, after a couple of days, I managed to get my foreskin over my glans when I wasn’t hard. That experience was not the most pleasant, as there was a lot of built-up smegma under my foreskin that I had to wash away and my glans was crazy sensitive. It’s for this reason that I suggest you try stretching in the shower or bath first. I also noticed some fairly large white bumps on the inner part of my foreskin and I panicked a bit, as I thought they could be genital warts or something crazy like that.

A quick internet search told me that, in fact, the white bumps are hardened smegma and that they can be removed using baby oil and soap and water. I guess that’s what happens when your glans is locked away for 21 years.

I continued stretching and after about two weeks, I was able to retract my foreskin when I was soft without the steroid cream and I got into the habit of retracting every day in the shower to keep it clean and stretched. Also, I wanted to desensitize my glans a bit. When I managed to get the foreskin retracted, I was so sensitive that even touching the head caused pain. However, even after six weeks of twice-daily stretching, I was (and still am) unable to retract my foreskin over the glans when I’m hard. Also, if the foreskin is retracted and I start to get hard, I experience painful paraphimosis which requires me to force the blood out of my glans so that I can roll up my foreskin. It’s awful.

For some men, myself included, foreskin stretching can’t fix phimosis. This is really unfortunate, as it is the only non-surgical alternative to circumcision for men with this condition. In my case, I think my foreskin is too thick and my frenulum too tight for stretching to work. I was really disappointed when I realized stretching wouldn’t work for me, as I had hoped to be able to retain my foreskin and forego surgery. Alas, this isn’t the case for me.

Which leads me to the second alternative…

-T

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9 comments
  1. Dreamer said:

    Hi! I started this week a blog called “circumcision diaries” on blogspot – it’s basically an intactivist blog discussing the issues of the routine circumcision of neonates. This morning I noticed I had a pageview from someone who was looking for your blog actually. I saw this as keyword: “circumcisiondiary.wordpress.com”, so I came and found your blog.

    I find your story interesting. I understand and respect that you as an adult are facing a health issue and find circumcision to be the solution to your problem. I hope everything goes well in your surgery and recovery.

    Best wishes.

    J

    • Thanks for taking the time to read through my (few) posts! I hope you’ll come back to follow my journey. I plan on doing a year-long follow-up post-surgery, which will probably yield useful information for you and your blog.

      The intactivist movement is really interesting to me. On the one hand, I am certainly against unnecessary surgery being performed on individuals who cannot consent to it. On the other, I have found the movement to be very biased in the information it selects to present. I’ve never heard an intactivist say “well, if you’re a consenting adult and you want to do this, then go ahead, because it’s your body”. I find that the movement also tends to paint a broad stroke, often ignoring cases such as my own in favour of discussing infant circumcision or the feeling of loss experienced by men who were circumcised after birth. If I could stay intact, I would–believe me! However, that simply isn’t an option for me and for many other men. It’s not that I “find” circumcision to be the solution; rather, I’ve exhausted all other options (the few that there are) and in order to have a normal sex life that I can enjoy, circumcision is something I must do.

      I guess the point is that, yes, circumcision should be generally avoided. However, that’s not the be-all and end-all of the story. Intactivism conveniently forgets the cases where it is a necessity (and I am proof that these cases exist). I would challenge you to take a more balanced stance in your blog by writing about when circumcision is necessary or at least justified for consenting adult men. I think this is the responsible thing to do as someone who is providing information for anyone and everyone on a such a public forum. As an intactivism blogger, you are a source of knowledge for every man who can use google to search for information about his foreskin and some, like me, need information about when circumcision is a viable medical option. The internet is sort of a vacuum when it comes to this sort of information, but it is already full of people telling us to keep our foreskins.

      A bit of balance would help.

      -T

      • Anthony said:

        Hello. Have you been circumcised yet?

      • Yupp! Keep reading – my surgery was about four months ago.

  2. Greg said:

    Hey i had a question. I too have those small white bumps that you said is hardened smegma. for so long i wondered what they are but never knew. I didn’t even know there was a way to get rid of them so i just wanted to ask, did the baby oil thing really work or do you still have those bumps? I really want to lose these things and will try any way to get rid of em.

    • I haven’t actually tried the baby oil yet, as I expect my circumcision to get rid of the problem for me since it will remove all of the skin where the hardened smegma is.

      White bumps on your penis or foreskin might not always be hardened smegma-keep this in mind. If you are sexually active, they could be a more serious issue like genital warts. Or they could be due to a harmless skin condition. In this case, they can only be fixed with more extensive treatments. I would suggest first visiting a doctor to see what those bumps are. If they are smegma, you’ve got nothing to lose by trying the baby oil procedure, other than a couple of bucks.

      If you’re sure that they are smegma, simply soak the affected area in baby oil after a warm bath or shower (bath is better!) and gently rub the area with a soft cloth. You will have to do this procedure at least daily for a while before you’ll see results. The warm water loosens the smegma and the baby oil dissolves it.

      Good luck!

  3. Tina said:

    The white spots are not hardended smegma, they are frodyce spots and are completely normal. And they can’t really be removed without medical interruption, but a lot of guys have them and as a girl I have never minded them.

    • Hey! Thanks for pointing this out. I never spoke to the doctor about them, so I actually can’t be sure either way. Fordyce spots and hardened smegma are easily mistaken, though the latter is much more easily dealt with. Since the bumps were on my foreskin, my circumcision got rid of them either way.

      Anyone reading this blog should consult their doctor before concluding anything about their body! I wasn’t worried about these bumps because I knew that my surgery would remove them. If you’re not certain, see the doc.

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