Once again, very similar to you. Growing up at an early age all the boys were circumcised, except me. Not even an exaggeration, in a small private catholic school in the early 90s in America it was standard, almost required it seemed. My earliest memory was peeing with the other boys, noticing theirs looked much different than mine. They all had bare helmets, I had something that looked like an elephant trunk. This was around the time I was 5 years old, and the vivid memory ingrained in my head what I thought all penis should look like and wondering why mine was different. It wasn't until a few years later I mustered up the courage to ask my mother, as I felt more safe asking her rather than my intimidating father, and that is when I learned about "circumcision". She said that while most boys will have ones that look different than mine, that mine was natural and she didn't want to put me through pain as a baby. She explained that one type has foreskin and that I need to clean every time I take a bath (oddly enough, aside from this one conversation I never had any instruction from my parents on how to pee correctly, clean, or that the foreskin could even pull back. Luckily I was a keen kid). To this day I don't know if my father was uncut with short foreskin, or cut loose, but given how unhelpful he was about training me or the one offhanded remark my mother said once about how "circumcised looks nicer, BUT..." leads me to believe he was circumcised. So as a developing young boy, especially from the ages of 5-10, I genuinely believed everyone was circumcised and that even my mother of all people preferred it that way (with some reservations). Not the most healthy thought for a boy's psyche.
I discovered masturbation at a very early age, around 9, and was fascinated yet scared when I discovered I could retract my foreskin. Unless you grew up uncut like me, this experience might sound totally foreign to a guy who has been cut since birth. Retracting the foreskin is actually very counter-intuitive, for a young boy it gives resistance and whatever part of the tip that gets exposed is painfully sensitive. Like many uncut boys in America, I never had guidance and it never surprises me the large amount of men that develop phimosis, simply out of neglect. But being the keen curious boy I was, I would push the limits on how far back I could get the skin in a warm bathtub. It would hurt, and I never knew if it was dangerous or not, but the more of my "helmet" that pushed out the more excited I got. I thought at least then I could be like all the "normal" boys. The sight of my exposed glans became very erotic to me (I remember thinking it looked like an acorn or mushroom), even though it was hyper sensitive, but I made it a point to get used to it not even knowing if that was okay to do or normal. But I never dare ask anyone.
I also discovered porn at a very early age, maybe a few years later at about age 10-11. From a friend's magazine he stole from his father, and also HBO programming (I think "Real Sex"). Seeing the incredibly sexy women featured in those magazines and television shows turned me on like never before, it changed how I looked at women. While I don't consider myself bi or even slightly gay, seeing these sexy women do sexual things with obviously circumcised men with proudly exposed bellends got me excited. It must have been the combination of many things: being young & horny, turned on by the women, the insecurity of my penis vs the admiration & curiosity I had for seeing circumcised. By this age, I became hyper-aware of circumcision and wanted to learn more any opportunity I could. I remember of at least 3 occasions that communal jerkoff masturbation sessions would come up with my friends. In fact the very first time my neighborhood friend would ask me if I was circumcised and I would act like I didn't know or just say "yes" knowing full well I wasn't. One instance we watched porn in his room with light offs, and he would take his dick out while I declined out of embarrassment. He wanted me to see and sure enough he was circumcised, high and tight. He wasn't shy about the fact, and was proud to mention how he likes how his looks and how he has cream to rub on his penis to make the scar fade completely. This only furthered my envy for wishing I was cut too, I agreed his dick looked better than mine, the guys in the videos had better dicks, all I wanted was a nice looking dick too.
Going a little out of chronological order, but staying on the same topic: Another instance of masturbating with other friends while watching porn and probably the third it came up, was the only time I participated in. I was with two other of my best friends, and I felt like I almost had to since it seemed so common and no big deal. By this age I made it a point to conceal my foreskin at all times, always wear the foreskin back, so when we masturbated if they were to catch a glance they would think I'm "normal" and circumcised like them. It was an interesting experience, I learned to let go off my anxiety over size seeing as we all where about the same, but I could not shake off the erotic nature of them being circumcised (like everyone else) and shame that I wasn't. I hated how I had to pull my foreskin out of the way to do anything. I like how it looked and felt having my knob exposed, and by this age I realized all girls did too.
I would say from the time I was 13 to 18, which would be middle school to high school (I should mention I went to public school) in the States, I became hyper aware of the cut/uncut debate and the kids were ruthless. Even in popular media its a topic that is the end of punchlines. You would have thought you were a freak if you weren't circumcised. All the negative stereotypes you hear about foreskin seemed to be magnified tenfold during these years. Playing sports where showers were required was a very self-conscious experience. If boys found out someone had a gross dick rumors would spread and nicknames would stick. Even girls as they became more sexually aware and mature, humiliated guys with foreskin and said really hurtful things about their opinion on foreskin. Honestly, in these years I didn't hear one positive thing about being uncircumcised. Health class made things worse, the woman teacher (in her 50's I would assume) would state how beneficial circumcision was, how its done to prevent diseases and for good health/hygiene & should be done early as possible, and all the anatomical diagrams/pictures in the book featured circumcised model of a penis. Foreskin was merely a footnote. I remember in the class this sparked a debate among the high school kids, both the boys and girls, and when it came up if I was cut or not I said "I'm cut" out of shame. God bless the few honest brave boys who said they weren't, because they caught shit for it. The boys would laugh, and the girls who were outspoken enough and not shy said how uncircumcised is weird and honestly circumcised looks better, or was "normal". Being uncircumcised is "abnormal" and "weird", ugly, gross, etc. I passed up opportunities having sex all throughout high school because I was embarrassed with my status, and it was ingrained in my head all women prefer circumcised, its just a matter if they are too shy or not to speak up.
I had sex for the first time around 19, and I remember how nervous I was for a woman to see my dick. Despite not being able to get hard right away out of nerves, I am grateful I had a very understanding girlfriend that didn't seem to care and said mine was pretty. I always made sure to keep the foreskin back, but this just reaffirmed in mind that "pretty" is one with a fully exposed glans and the skin out of the way. I went on to have other sexual experiences with few more women, and while they weren't bothered by me being uncut, all it took was for one girlfriend to confirm what I had known all along. The thing that my past girlfriends were thinking in their heads but were too polite to share. With one of my girlfriends I brought the topic up somehow, forget why, and she said "Yeah, I prefer circumcised because I don't know.... I think it looks prettier". Followed with "But I still like yours!". Great. Just what I needed to hear just when I started to feel okay with being uncut and the internet had started to make me feel more reassured about having foreskin.
At this point in my life, early 20's, the thought and desire to actually get circumcised became a real consideration. From the time I first learned about circumcision at the age of 5, I always realised how much it would hurt, how its not just "skin" or getting rid of a hangnail. If it wasn't for the pain and recovery period of getting it done, I would have had it done in a blink in an eye much sooner. Reading the anti-circ "intactivist" propaganda certainty didn't help with me second-guessing it. I truly believe if it was less of a daunting scary procedure, all uncut men would voluntarily have it done. That was the only thing that kept me back for years, fear. After all, my foreskin had a vein running through it right?! Well let me tell you, the procedure isn't bad at all, and recovery period is definitely manageable. Afterwards I was beating myself over the head about how much I put it off because of expectations of how bad it would be.
I'll stop here and maybe some other time I'll mention more of my adulthood experiences, after my circumcision. On the surface my story seems like a negative one, that I enjoy being circumcised only to shake off the shame, but that is largely untrue. While there is a huge benefit I am more confident and no longer have anxiety about my dick, if I am to honestly assess the merits of having foreskin vs circumcised I MUCH prefer being the way I am now. It is a huge improvement in many ways, it is not merely a cosmetic procedure. So cut guys at birth, fret not you haven't missed out on anything. For guys like me, better late than never. I guess my high-school teacher was right all along, the sooner the better. I used to resent her but now I realise it was only out of my insecurity. Accepting the truth is the key to contentment, whether its in favor of foreskin or being without.
If you read all this, what is wrong with you
Kidding! I appreciate this community! Happy to share.