Given all the misinformation that is out there, I feel compelled to explain exactly what it's like to grow up uncircumcised. I was born in the Netherlands and moved to the US when I was 10. Soon I found out I was different then all the other boys in that I was not circumcised. Quite a shock for a young boy. Quite a surprise too was my dad's strong opposition in feeling that circumcision was the most ridiculous procedure and backwards aspect of American culture. Naturally I felt superior, being 'natural' and not altered by such a 'silly archaic, barbaric, and ritualistic practice'.
However, as I hit puberty I had some real difficulty with my dad's position. Having a foreskin causes the head of your penis to be continually moist which simply creates a breeding ground for bacteria and odors (It amazes me how intuitive it was about the obvious positive effects the removal of the foreskin must have while not even knowing about it's beneficial effects on HIV, HPV, UTI's, STD's, cancer, etc..). Also, no matter how much I cleaned myself, I always had smegma collected underneath my foreskin. Needless to say these things were only aggravated with any sport activities which I tried to avoid as much as possible. Although I never would have thought much about it had I grown up in the Netherlands, having been exposed to circumcision, it just made sense. How wonderful, I thought as a teen, to not have my penis smell like a urinal and have white gunk collected on it. Frankly, I was disgusted with the idea that a woman would have to be subjected to smegma, bacteria, and these odors when they could have a simple clean circumcised penis. It's simply uncivilized to be uncircumcised. It seemed so obvious but there was the other side of the debate.
I was led to believe that a circumcised penis is a thickly calloused numb organ. Completely lacking in any true sensation. Only those with a foreskin could experience true sexual pleasure the way it was meant to be. I would often proudly bring this up whenever I got in a discussion about circumcision with my high school friends who were all circumcised. However, the way they described their masturbation experiences and their sexual encounters, they frankly had more sexual pleasure then I did from my 'natural penis'. The concept of them having a ruined useless organ seemed absurd unless everyone who was circumcised was lying.
Then there was the idea that the foreskin is some sort of holy piece of skin. Somehow more sensitive and important then the actual gland. Having a foreskin, I found that to be a completely bizarre argument. It's like saying the earlobe is the most important part of the ear. The foreskin is simply a piece of skin, like any other piece of skin, that hangs over the head of your penis. Nothing remarkable about it and definitely not something that causes sexual arousal on its own. Given how gross and frankly unhealthy it was to be uncircumcised, I came to the conclusion that there really was no reason why not to get circumcised.
I did not dare bring this up with my parents so I patiently waited till I left home. I finally found the courage to go to a doctor and got circumcised when I was 20. Like everyone else who has experienced both ways, I found no great impact on sensitivity or sexual experience. It's different in the sense that you have direct contact with the head of your penis and not indirectly through the foreskin. I found being circumcised actually to be a superior sexual experience. I was finally able to fully enjoy my sexual encounters with women with the knowledge and confidence of having a nice clean healthy circumcised penis. I have no regrets except that I wish I didn't have wait 20 years to get it done.
The truth is that circumcision has such a profound and positive impact on a person's health and hygiene while having no impact on the function nor the sensitivity of the penis. It's absurd to use terms like mutilation and barbaric on the removal of something that is so completely non-essential. If me and wife were to have a boy, I wont even think twice about getting him circumcised.
It just astounds me how such a minor and beneficial procedure with no adverse effects can cause such an uproar.