The number one reason for problems of the penis is unnecessary infant circumcision (and the consequences of this surgical removal of the prepuce organ). The second reason for penile problems and complications is well-meaning adults who retract, over-clean, and 'mess with' intact boys' foreskins before they retract naturally and completely on their own. Sometimes this natural, gentle retraction does not occur until the pre-teen years. This is 100% normal. In fact, a recent Dutch study shows that the average age for retraction among boys is 10.6 years of age. Some retract (on their own) before this time, some later.
Among both boys and girls, before natural retraction, the prepuce (foreskin/hood) is tightly adhered to the glans (head) of the penis/clitoris, in the same way your fingernail is tightly adhered to your finger. If you stick things under your fingernail, try to pull it back, or otherwise 'mess' with it, you are bound to not only be in pain, but also fester irritation and/or infection. The same is true with the prepuce organ (the clitoral hood in girls and the foreskin in boys).
In addition, the prepuce serves the function of protection over the glans in much the same way your eye lids protect your eye balls. The temperature, moisture, pH balance, enzyme level, antivirals, and more are all regulated because the glans is meant to be an internal organ - just as our eyeballs are also internal organs. We'd never scrub under our eyelids and not expect some severe and painful (possibly infectious) consequences.
Remember: INTACT=DON'T RETRACT! ONLY CLEAN WHAT IS SEEN!
One friend, a pediatrician, tells parents, "The ONLY thing you need to care for your intact son's penis is a ruler -- to slap the hand of anyone who attempts to touch his foreskin."
Below are additional resources for parents of intact boys. Know the myths, and be informed enough to protect your son and his genital integrity.
Should My Baby's Foreskin Be Retracted?
Hands Off My Foreskin! Dr. Martin Winckler on the Care of Baby Boys
Forced Retraction: Don't Let it Happen to Your Son
Forced Retraction: Now What?
Using a Catheter Without Retraction: My Nurse Did It and So Can Yours!
Only Clean What is Seen: Reversing the Epidemic of Forced Retraction:
Medical Testing: Do Not Retract:
Doctors Opposing Circumcision Statement for Physicians and Nurses on
Forced Retraction: Ask the Experts
The Forced Retraction of My Son [One Parent's Story]
How to Care for Your Intact Son (Home Page)
Basic Care of the Intact Child:
Protect Your Intact Son:
The Functions of the Foreskin:
Natural Foreskin Retraction in Intact Children and Teens
Phony Phimosis Diagnosis:
Urine Sampling and Catheter Insertion for the Intact Boy
Raising Intact Sons:
Foreskin: It's Not 'Icky':
National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers
Publication on care of the intact penis:
Penile Hygiene for Intact Males
How the Foreskin Protects Against UTI:
Painful Urination During Prepuce Separation
Need more than one? Request at Saving Our Sons here.
Intact Care Cards are included in all circumcision info packs.