March 31, 2011— -- 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?"
Circumcision Reversal Looked Like Hoax
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.
Now, Low is pushing for a legal ban on male circumcision before a child is old enough to consent, and has joined the Stop Circumcision Society to march on Washington. "I would like to be put out of business," he said.
Woman Learns She Has Two Vaginas
Kelly Miller of Hagerstown, Md., has a different kind of sexual oddity, one that she was unaware of until she started to menstruate at 11 and had excruciating periods.
"Things weren't normal compared to other kids," said Miller, who is now 28. "I had a more bleeding and pain and it continued to get worse."
When she was 15, her mother took her to see the doctor who was "pretty surprised" when he discovered she had two vaginas and two uteruses, said Miller.
Having two vaginas -- a didelphic uterus -- is a rare condition that occurs in about one in 3,000 women, according to the World Health Organization.
"It is all internal," she said. "If I was standing naked with 120 other women, you wouldn't know."
Inside Miller's vaginal opening is a thin wall of skin that separates into two cervixes that lead to two separate uteruses. Her right one is dominant. The left vagina is only pencil width and is nonfunctional.
Two weeks after that first doctor visit, when Miller arrived for an ultrasound, doctors from around the country gathered to witness her anomaly.
"It wasn't really that upsetting at that point," she said. "I was so young. The unknown was more intimidating."
Miller said she wondered, "What does it mean? Is it a bad thing for me to have? Will I be OK? Am I normal?"
The doctor mentioned that she might not ever be able to have children. Each of her uteruses was 60 percent the normal size and might not accommodate the growth of a fetus, she was told. "A lot of women miscarry," she said.
He put her on a low dose of birth control pills to regulate the double monthly bleeding, even though she was not sexually active.
But in 2002, when Miller turned 19, she met her future husband. "I didn't tell him at first," she said. "I worried he would think I was weird. But there's nothing about me that would make things sexually different."
Miller soon got pregnant. Her obstetrician was "welcoming and reassuring" and closely watched her developing pregnancy, even praying with her.
At 37 weeks, Miller successfully delivered a girl, and in 2005, delivered another healthy daughter.
"The doctor said I was very, very lucky," said Miller, who went public with her condition to help others. "I wanted to show women that even if they have the condition, they can have a perfectly normal marriage, normal sexual relations and have children."
Today, Miller is a stay-at-home mother with her two girls, ages 5 and 9. As for more children, she said, "We're done. I want to enjoy the two I have."