New cure for baldness brings new meaning to the phrase ‘dickhead’

Using foreskins to cure baldness?Many Australian news sites today, including the Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald and the Age reported that a new experiment could potentially stop baldness.

Researchers have successfully grafted skin with new hair folicles onto lab mice, by using tissue from harvested human infant foreskins.

Is this a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul? On an ethical level, it would hard to justify making a cosmetic alteration to a non-consenting infant to enable another cosmetic alteration to an adult. Especially when you consider that to the original owner, the foreskin has many functional qualities which would be sacrificed for a purely cosmetic alteration to someone else. Fine if this truly was medical waste, but it is commonly accepted that there is almost never a medical reason to circumcise an infant.

I find it odd that this ethical and moral minefield didn’t rate a mention from the traditional Australian media.

This would not be the first time that infant foreskins have been used for the vanity of adults. An Australian distributor for face cream SkinMedica has found out that many Australians are not going to accept the use of harvested human foreskins in its products, with blogs drawing attention to the issue and complaints submitted to the company’s website. Oprah Winfrey has also been met with protests over her endorsement of the face creams.

Many Australian men already think that those who are balding should just accept it, and that those who resort to medical procedures to cure their baldness should be called ‘dickheads’. (With Shane Warne receiving the lion’s share of this sentiment). Perhaps this sentiment was a little harsh, but I think that for anyone who puts infant foreskins on their heads, the label is justified.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Australian websites jump on the penis dunking and penis beaker craze

Australian online news sites have recently been abuzz with reports on the previously unknown post-coital act of what has been coined ‘penis dunking’ with a newly defined object now named the ‘penis beaker’.

I think I’ve given enough information for those with even a limited imagination to understand the concept, even though it seems none of us actually do it.

But for those who need a little help to put the picture together, here is some text from the original post on a site called mumsnet:

“We have a dedicated post-sex clean-up area on the bedside table. A box of tissues, a small bin, and a beaker of clean water for temporary cleaning/dunking while the bathroom is occupied by me. Apparently our penis beaker is strange and not the done thing. Does everyone else just lay there in a sticky post coital glow until morning? Really?”

The answer to the question posed in the last sentence, judging from the comments on the post, appears to be ‘yes’. While there were different variations on cleaning up involving showering, bides or plain old wiping, no comments confirmed the same routine.

So this latest ‘craze’ is not is not for the act of ‘penis dunking’ or the ‘penis beaker’ itself, which has now been confirmed as being performed by only one man worldwide. Rather, the craze is in the reporting of it.

Firstly there was a news.com.au article on October 11 titled “Query about ‘penis dunking’ goes viral on UK website Mumsnet”. Then today the Sydney Morning Herald picked up the story with their article “Why we can’t help wondering about other people’s sex lives“.  Curiously, this article links through to the news.com.au article rather than the Mumsnet post, perhaps revealling where they got their inspiration for the piece. We recently saw a similar pattern of copying penis related articles when news.com.au reported on foreskin restoration, not long after a similar article on a UK online news site.

And yes, we are also guilty, and probably more so by reporting on the reporting of the penis dunking/beaker phenomenon. But we are simply fascinated that the unique routine of one man, when each of us probably have a unique penis related routine, could cause such a stir.

One serious question we wanted to explore though was whether there was any benefit to washing one’s penis after sex. The results of some quick research were surprising.

We found that a study, presented at a HIV conference in Sydney, has shown that washing the penis immediately after sex actually increases the risk of contracting HIV, at least among uncircumcised (intact) men. The study states “there ought to be a little time left for postcoital cuddling before you go and wash”. Sounds familiar? Perhaps written by a woman with another agenda?

The only other guidance we could find suggested that washing your hands immediately after sex could reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. We could find no further recommendations on washing genitalia.

So it seems that there is no compelling reason for the ‘penis dunking’ into the ‘penis beaker’. Even if there was evidence to suggest it reduced the risk of STD infection, apparently the partaker is in a monogomous relationship with his wife. So it appears that the act is done purely for personal preference, to which we say, good on him.

 

 

Foreskin restoration growing in popularity in Australia

Some of us were circumcised as babies, and we are absolutely fine with it. Some of us are uncircumcised (intact) and fine with it too. A small percentage of men who were left intact decide to have it done later in life – mostly for medical reasons but sometimes for cultural reasons. And that’s fine too.

But there are some men who were circumcised and are not happy about it. For this group, in the past it was a case of just having to accept it, or being told to ‘get over it’ when these concerns were expressed to others.

Now it seems that more and more Australian men are learning that there is actually something that can be done about it.  The news.com.au website today published an article called Meet the circumcised men who want to restore their foreskins. The article explains the basic concept of putting tension on the remnant foreskin to encourage the growth of new cells, to gradually grow the skin over the glans. While not re-growing some of the specialised structures and tissues, the result can closely resemble and function like a real foreskin.

While foreskin resotoration was well known in Roman times, the art was lost until it was rediscovered in the 1970’s. The proliferation of the internet in the 1990’s made it possible to share the knowledge and techniques more widely. However, I believe that today was the first time that the Australian mainstream media, albeit an online outlet, has dedicated an entire article to foreskin restoration.

Unfortunately it seems that no comments are being published, so I’ll make some corrections and highlight ommissions here.

Firstly, the article portrays foreskin restoration as a process that is so disruptive to normal life that it is almost impractical to do. Most restorers I have connected with have managed to easily fit the routine into their lives with only minor adjustments. In addition, the article omits to mention that their are other methods that are less invasive, especially the manual methods where the restorer needs to only use their hands to gently stretch the skin at various times throughout the day – usually at toilet breaks.

My next comment on the article is that the ‘top doctor’ the author spoke to at the Australian Medical Association appears to have no knowledge of the natural restoration process. His comments were in relation to surgical restoration techniques, which was not the topic of the article. Ironically, he warned that surgery would result in a scarred penis – much like the scars caused by the original circumcision surgery.

Finally, I found it odd that the article ends with links and phone numbers to mental health and depression services. Is the author suggesting that only men with mental health issues would worry about being circumcised and consider restoration? Is this an attempt to dismiss the real concerns of men?

In any case it is good to see the media finally taking the topic of foreskin restoration seriously, and exposing many more Australian men to the benefits of restoring.