PIONEER PLANET, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Thursday, February 1, 2001.

Restoring what's missing

Greg Beirise has never quite forgiven doctors for circumcising him 32 years ago, nor his parents for requesting the procedure.

``It always bothered me,'' said Beirise, a Web page developer from Chicago. ``I just wanted to be whole.''

Beirise is one of thousands of men in the United States and other countries who are trying to take back what is cut away at birth.

Brought together mainly over the Internet, these men are young, retired, straight, gay, blue collar, professional, Jew and gentile. They say they are growing back their foreskins, transforming themselves from circumcised to near natural for better sex, general comfort and emotional ``healing.''

Beirise's goal is to grow back skin that resembles his lost foreskin. To do so, he has worn a pair of men's tall-size suspenders under his pants for the past 4 1/2 years. The suspenders are attached to various devices that gently stretch the skin on his penis.

Dr. William Reiner, a psychiatrist and urologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says men like Beirise won't likely do themselves any harm, so long as they avoid cutting off their blood supply, piercing their skin or causing themselves any pain.

The extent to which the skin grows back depends upon how much was cut away in the first place, experts say. They also say the new skin may not have the same sensitivity as the original.

But Reiner says that may not matter to some -- thousands, even.

R. Wayne Griffiths, a California construction engineer, says as many as 7,000 men of all descriptions have contacted him online or on the telephone about restoration. He leads the National Organization for Restoring Men, or NORM, a group that has chapters in 20 states and six countries.

Those interested now buy books written on the topic -- the most popular, ``The Joy of Uncircumcising,'' is on back order at Some 13,000 copies have been sold so far.

They also buy equipment designed for the purpose, including the wares of retired motorcycle dealer Roland Clark of Huntington Beach, Calif., who sells three patented products online for as much as $450 apiece.

They say many people don't understand why they do it. ``Knowledge is the key,'' said Leo Freyer, a retired draftsman in Spokane, Wash. ``They just don't know what they're missing.''

-- Associated Press

Cite as:
(File created 01 February 2001)

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