For years, Ron Low had a great sex life with his wife, but as he approached 40, his wife seemed to be reaching sexual satisfaction as he was struggling to climax.
"Maybe she was more comfortable with her body and learning to respond, because each time was more amazing for her," said Low, a 48-year-old industrial engineer from Chicago.
"I had always lasted a good long time in bed and was focusing on that, but it finally backfired when I lost some sensitivity."
Low tried changing love-making positions and home remedies such as slathering on lotion but eventually went to see a doctor who told him, "You better stick with being tough and leathery."
When the doctor was no help, he turned to the Internet, which suggested the circumcision he'd had as a baby had taken away nerve cells. So, Low created a homemade foreskin-growing device that he now builds and sells with his family.
On Sunday, April 3, TLC follows Low's journey in the second season of its 10-episode series, "Strange Sex," which explores mysterious medical conditions, fetishes and the science behind sexual attraction.
Low contends that circumcised men have lost a large area of tissue. "It's highly innervated with dense-packing pleasure receptors," he said.
For the past 10 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has remained neutral on the issue, recommending, when it comes to circumcision that "parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child."
The rate of circumcisions in the United States has dropped significantly in the past three years, from 56 percent in 2006 to 33 percent in 2009, according to a recent review of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Low was so desperate to undo his own circumcision that in April 2001, after reading online about other attempts to regrow foreskin, he took matters into his own hands.
"It might make my sexual experience better," said Low, who taped up his penis every morning after a shower and took the tape off only to urinate or to have sex with his wife.
When he told his wife, her reaction was "This sounds ridiculous -- is this an April Fool's joke?"
Low himself was cynical. "I thought it must be an elaborate Internet hoax, or everyone's doing it," he said.
He started with a 35 mm film canister and tucked in the glans with lotion, then taped it up. "Moisture is what's needed to be rejuvenated," said Low.
Like a Band-Aid applied to the skin's surface, the taping forced the penis to shed epithelial cells, and the skin became more tender to the touch. It also stretched the tissue. Plastic surgeons use similar techniques when expanding tissue to be grafted to another part of the body, according to Low.
"In a few months, I noticed changes," he said.
Eventually, Low created his own soft silicone device, that was conical in shape and tapered to allow skin to regrow, and was comfortable to wear. "It comes off instantly and takes under a minute to put back on," Low said, laughing. "But you're a stall guy now, not a urinal guy."
Today, years later, Low's new tissue is still there and very sensitive, he said. He sells a kit of what he calls TLC Tuggers for $60 on eBay, which is where the television producers found him.