I don't know when I found out what circumcision was. Brought up Catholic, I knew there was a Feast of the Circumcision, and that it was a Jewish equivalent to Baptism, but I can't remember anyone actually explaining what was involved. I probably figured it out for myself, with the help of a dictionary and my father's medical texts. All I know is that as soon as I did find out what it involved, I wanted it done. I was born in Ireland where new-born boys were not (and probably still aren't) routinely circumcised.
I would hazard a guess that in my Secondary School (boarding) maybe about 1/3 of all the guys had been cut. To my eyes, a penis without a foreskin looked much better than one with. I did talk to my father about getting circumcised - very brave of me to do that, as talking about anything "down there" was just not done in our house. He said he could look into it, and maybe during the next school vacation we could schedule it. He probably thought I would forget, but I didn't. Nothing was done, so I let the subject drop.
Move forward some years and I move to the US and get married. I still wanted to be circumcised. My wife had never seen an uncircumcised penis; though English, she assumed that all baby boys got cut (as her brother did); her first husband was American (cut). I began to dislike my foreskin more and more: there was always a little bit of odor, despite frequent showering, and more smegma seemed to accumulate - maybe the humidity of Ohio and Michigan contributed to that! It rather ruined spontaneous sex with my wife - I'd have to rush off to the john to check that I was smegma-free. No fun.
After Graduate School I got a job in a hospital (I'm not a medical person), and, to make a longish story short I finally called one of the urologists i there to schedule a consultation. I told him, a little nervously, that I wanted a circumcision. He asked if there were a problem with my foreskin - there wasn't; he examined me, diagnosed phimosis (for insurance purposes) and scheduled me for outpatient surgery the following Thursday. Not sure exactly what to expect recovery-wise, I took the Friday as a sick day, though I needn't have bothered.
I arrived at the clinic, was called back to the surgery and in a few minutes I was lying on the table and he gave me a local anesthetic - that was painful. Satisfied that I was numb he began to cut in what I later found out was a freehand style. I watched him work, rather intrigued knowing that a part of me was being cut off, but not feeling a thing, so not really believing that I was being circumcised. Finally! The entire procedure lasted about 45 minutes, and I left the clinic a very happy man.
I spent the rest of the day with an ice-pack on and off my crotch. When the anesthetic wore off there was very little pain - more like a dull ache. That night I woke up with an erection and rushed to the bathroom thinking I would see the sutures gone and a bleeding penis. Nothing! The healing was completely uneventful. The sutures dissolved after a few days, and the worst of the swelling subsided. I had a check-up visit a week after the surgery and the doctor was very pleased with the result. But not as much as I was!!!!
I know some of you reading this may be considering getting circumcised. Every man who does decide on this has his own reasons for wanting it, and all of them are valid, so I'm not going to say anything on that topic. You may, though, be concerned about certain aspects of the operation, and here are my experiences.
Pain:   very little to speak of; the worst part for me was the initial needle stick for the anesthetic. I don't think I'm particularly stoical about pain, because I've come out of the dentist's office in agony, and gone straight to the pharmacy for the prescribed painkillers. It's possible that my desire to be circumcised acted as a kind of analgesic, which, since I don't particularly relish getting a root canal, does not kick in at the dentist's. Who knows! Different guys have different pain thresholds.
Healing: very fast with no complications. My sutures were dissolving ones; some doctors use the kind that require a visit for their removal. That, I think, is the doctor's call. One other thing: while the wound will heal very quickly, it will take a while for all the swelling to completely subside. This is not a problem, but don't expect to see the "final result" in a month - it may take much longer. That's the down-side. The up-side is that a little bit of swelling may permanently remain, so it's possible that your penis-size may increase. Mine is a little thicker than it was.
Sensitivity: A major concern for many men. It would be silly to say that you won't loose sensitivity: after all, you will have a piece of skin removed that has nerve-endings, and that acts as a cover for the glans. The easiest way to explain what happened to me is to say that sensitivity has been redistributed. Yes, the glans is exposed and the brain adapts to that exposure by learning that not all friction on the glans is sexual. Some of you have body areas that become very sensitive in a sexual situation, but are just normal body areas the rest of the time. All sexual activity is now much more pleasurable for me. Some years after my circumcision I had my frenulum removed. (Another painless procedure, by the way.) If anything I am more sensitive without the frenulum than I was with it!
Self-esteem: This is a tricky item. I know that I didn't like my penis with its foreskin; but, since I grew up in an uncircumcising country, it wasn't as though I felt different from the other guys - most of us had one. Now that my foreskin is gone, I like how my penis looks, and, while I haven't turned into an exhibitionist, I don't feel shy or ashamed at being naked (in an appropriate place, of course!), and having other people see me. Maybe I should have gone to a shrink instead of a urologist!
I will be happy to answer any questions any of you may have. My email address is email@example.com I have no medical background, but I'd be glad in whatever way I can to help you come to a decision about circumcision that you can live with. I've not missed my foreskin for a single moment.
Email Paul: firstname.lastname@example.org