Ridged band

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The ridged band is part of the foreskin. John R. Taylor, a Canadian pathologist, medical researcher and opponent of circumcision, first described the ridged band at the Second International Symposium on Circumcision, organised by NOCIRC in San Francisco, 1991. He and others followed this up with an article describing an anatomical and histological study of the human foreskin in the British Journal of Urology supplement in 1996, using the name, the ridged band. The ridged band contains Meissner's corpuscles which are fine-touch receptors. Taylor distinguishes the ridged band from the frenar band, a muscle sheath that helps to contract the tip of the foreskin so that it remains positioned over the glans [1]. Taylor's work built upon earlier work, including that of R. K. Winkelmann, a dermatologist who in 1959 discussed the structure of the foreskin and other mucocutaneous zones.[2].

Structure

Winkelmann (1959) suggested that the boundary between the outer skin of the penis and the inner mucosa (the mucocutaneous boundary) is a specific erogenous zone [3]. Taylor described a band of highly innervated and vascularised tissue located just inside the tip of the foreskin near this mucocutaneous boundary. This band of tissue, which he called the ridged band, contains nerve endings called Meissner's corpuscles. These nerve endings are arranged at the crest of rete ridges and, like the nipples and the soles of the feet, are sensitive to light touch and specifically stroking and fluttering sensations.

Circumcision, by removing the foreskin, removes most or all of the ridged band. [4]

Function

Winkelmann (1959) wrote:

The specific type of erogenous zone found is found in the mucocutaneous regions of the body. Such specific sites of acute sensation in the body are the genital regions, including the prepuce, penis, clitoris and external vulva of the female and perianal skin, lip, nipple and conjunctiva. It is the special anatomy of these regions that require the term "specific" when one speaks of erotic sensations originating in the skin. This anatomy favors acute perception. The rete ridges of the epithelium are well formed and more of the organized nerve tissue rises higher in the dermis than is true of haired skin. [5]

Taylor et al. (1996) wrote:

We postulate that the `ridged band' with its unique structure, tactile corpuscles and other nerves, is primarily sensory tissue and that it cooperates with other components of the prepuce. In this model, the `smooth' mucosa and true skin of the adult prepuce act together to allow the `ridged band' to move from a forward to a `deployed' position on the shaft of the penis. In short, the prepuce should be considered a structural and functional unit made up of more and less specialized parts [6].

Taylor inferred from its innervation that the ridged band has a sexual function[7] [8]. He argued that the ridged band is designed to be stimulated through movement during sexual intercourse [9].

Criticism

Viens (2004), writing in the Journal of Medical Ethics (2004) criticised Taylor's study, including the "extremely small sample size" of cadavers. [10] Viens further commented:

"Not only is a pathological study not ideal for conclusions concerning the physical sensation and enjoyment of sex in the living, we have no findings that show that sensation transmission pathways of the penis differ substantially between circumcised and uncircumcised men. As it presently stands, there is no convincing evidence that shows that sexual function of circumcised individuals is worsened or damaged as a result of a properly performed circumcision."

Studies of the relationship between circumcision and sexual function have had mixed findings. Some have shown harm from circumcision, while others have shown mixed results, no difference, or a beneficial effect. For an overview, including links to the studies concerned, see Sexual effects of circumcision.

See also

External links

Illustrations

  • Dr John Taylor's illustrations [11]
  • Your Anatomy[12] Site illustrating the ridged band
  • Ridged band and frenulum[13] SexDictionary.info

References

  • Kristen O'Hara with Jeffrey O'Hara. Sex as Nature Intended It. Hudson, Massachusetts: Turning Point Publications, 2001: pp. 139, 148-49. (ISBN 0-9700442-0-8)
  • Paul Fleiss, M.D. and Frederick Hodges, D. Phil. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision. New York: Warner Books, 2002: pp. 7-8, 13, 14. (ISBN 0-446-67880-5)

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