The indication in many recent reports is that it is normal to
have epithelial adhesions at the age of 17. This idea originates
from one frequently quoted but much misunderstood study by Øster where the last remains of adhesions at 17 were reported - but the
boys in question were never asked how they felt about their condition.
In this almost entirely unstudied subject it appears the only
published case history comes from Bettelheim in "Symbolic Wounds" reporting on a boy of 13 where "painful adhesions
interfered with full functioning of the penis".
I interviewed one man who had epithelial adhesions throughout
his puberty, he reported pain
during erection as intense or immanent. He requested circumcision
at 13 yrs. old and was advised to "wait and see what happens" by
his doctors. He limited his enjoyment and exploration to manipulating
the phallus by gently stroking or applying pressure to the area
round the glans. He was eventually circumcised after a renewed request
as soon as he was legally eligable at 18.
Once an infant gains control of elementary hand movements he
will start innocently exploring and experimenting with his penis,
and once his epithelial adhesions have released a boy can and will
explore freely and comfortably. At this point he can start feeling
completely at ease with his penis.
People avoid pain. When the foreskin is adhered to the glans the
proximity of pain discourages experiments. For a boy in this situation,
his sexual learning process commences with the inhibiting sensation
of nearby pain, every time he attempts to move his foreskin or experiment with his erect penis, - throughout childhood, in waking or sleeping time.
The inhibitive influence of pain throughout childhood erections
cannot be expected to have a positive effect on the behavioural
habits and psychological attitudes of a child.
The pain from the epithelium must be considered as a primary inhibition
of the principle physical organ of male sexuality.
This is a situation which could excite considerable thought among
psychologists. The pain from adhesions occurs prior to and as a
more elementary influence than the castration or Oedipal complexes
and most of the recognised traumatic phases of a baby boy`s development.
The effect of this genital pain during the first year after birth
would probably be minimal. But when this continues as a repeated
experience over the first four or five years of a boys life, we
would expect adverse developments. We would expect the boy to learn
that his foreskin and his erection were to some extent untouchable.
It is understood that a boy or youth is easily impressionable,
he will have interests and also some fears about sex, these fears
can easily be supported by painful or difficult genital complaints.
Due to pain being associated with something wrong, bad or stupid,
he might easily understand the sensation as indicating retraction
of the foreskin was stupid or his erections were bad.
Even before puberty has begun, this anatomical phenomenon undermines
a boy experimenting, finding out about, being aware of and growing
up being comfortable with the most essential element of his anatomical
All such learn processes may be easily reversed, but is it necessary
to start any learning process by taking the first step in such a
pointless and unconstructive direction?
The earlier a boy can start to develop a comfortable relationship
with his essential physical and anatomical maleness; the more chance
there is that his sexual identity will develop in an integrated
manner; enabling him to become relaxed and comfortable as a man.
The adhesions must be released, as early as possible, to promote
the development of a boy's healthy sexual relationship with himself
... and subsequently with others.
Solutions offers a web
of files which discuss how to encourage the early release of this adhesive
layer, the epithelium.