Castration in culture and history

Transgender women as well as genderfluid and nonbinary people who wish to have orchiectomy performed are encouraged to do this with a qualified practitioner. In the past people in our community sometimes sought out this procedure from people without adequate medical training or equipment. Some even attempted to perform the procedure on themselves, which is very dangerous and can lead to death or serious injury.

Unqualified people performing the procedure

Some notable “home castration” and “do-it-yourself castration” cases show that this occurs throughout the population, although there is sometimes some overlap with people with gender identity issues:

  • Heaven’s Gate cult leader Marshall Applewhite had been castrated as had about half a dozen of his male followers prior to the 1997 mass suicide of the group.
  • Tammy Felbaum, “known widely as ‘Tammy/Tommy'” according to news reports, was convicted in 2002 of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault in the castration death of her sixth husband. Trial testimony indicated Ms. Felbaum had allegedly performed her own and had done the procedure on others before the death.
  • Suo-Shan Wang was convicted in 2003 following a botched home castration that hospitalized his victim. Mr. Wang said the castration was about the 50th he’d performed.
  • Doug Lenhart was charged in 2003 following a botched home castration on transgender victim Catherine Watson. Mr. Lenhart said he had performed 23 other castrations, even though he did not have medical licence.
  • In 2017, James Pennington pleaded guilty to practicing medicine without a license after using an Army surgical kit to remove the testicles of a transgender woman.
  • In 2018, surgeon Dr Mahinder Pal Singh alias Mahender Insan in Sirsa, was charged with the castration of 300 people ordered by spiritual leader Ram Rahim.

These cases often had a sexualized component: Applewhite sought to eliminate “homosexual urges,” Felbaum was allegedly angered about infidelity, and Wang’s victim sought to reduce his sex drive.

Involuntary castrations

Involuntary castrations are typically classified as aggravated assaults and attempted murder. If the victim dies, the charge is typically manslaughter or murder.

  • In 2018, Candace Grantham was arrested and charged with “malicious castration.”
  • In 2018, Justin Fowler was arrested after castrating his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend.

Cultural motivations for orchiectomy

Throughout history, genital modification has been a part of social and religious life in many cultures. Circumcision, subincision, and orchiectomy have been performed all over the world in various forms. As in the case of castrati or eunuchs, the motivation for orchiectomy can fall outside of issues of gender identity. Most historical accounts of those who underwent orchiectomy indicate they still considered themselves male after the procedure and did not do so to resolve a gender identity issue. The Skoptsy sect active during the Russian Empire advocated castration for followers.

Erotic motivations for orchiectomy

In addition to social and religious reasons, some motivations for orchiectomy are erotic in nature. Some people undergo it because of an erotic interest in medical procedures or body modification.

Surgery fetishists

Some people have an erotic interest in the medicalized procedure itself.

Kevin Clever’s site [] appears to be one such surgical fetishist’s site, evidenced by his fictionalized photo essay Bilateral orchiectomy procedure slides. It starts with photos of a human penis being prepared for surgery, proceeds through photos of an animal castration (as if the human and animal photos are sequential) and ends with a recipe for Rocky Mountain oysters. The author appears to be playing out a fantasy of removal and preparation for eating his or someone else’s testicles by choice or force.The style throughout is a combination of factual medical data and eroticized language similar to the account of vaginoplasty (Taking Portlandia’s Hand) by Anne Lawrence. Mr. Clever’s photo essay on his vasectomy includes the caption “my glistening scrotum awaiting the vasectomist,” which echoes Dr. Lawrence’s sexualized account of vaginoplasty: “Looking at my rapidly waning erection, I can summon no sadness or hesitation at my impending emasculation.” The juxtaposition of human and animal photos and testicle recipe in Mr. Clever’s story “does not detract from the essay’s value,” according to Dr. Lawrence, further indicating they may share an erotic interest in medicalized body modification and sexualization of professional services.

Erotic role play and socialization

The erotic interest for some who seek orchiectomy may be autosexual or part of sexualized role-play and socialization, as in Gelding’s story. “Cock and Ball Torture” (CBT) appears to be a specific subset of sadomasochistic activity performed by a dominant male or female partner. “Extreme CBT” may involve removal of the testicles (sometimes referred to in their erotica as “nullification”), all done as part of erotic roleplay.


Sherry Joanne gets a lot of questions from castration fetishists. She writes:

Some examples of requests I frequently read include:

1.     I want a woman to castrate me.
2.     I want to be castrated without anesthesia, and to feel the pain.
3.     I am a sub seeking a master to castrate me and make me his slave.
4.     Will I ejaculate as my balls are cut off?

The thing I usually notice about these requests is that the person making the requests is more preoccupied with the manner in which they will be castrated, and I have to ask if they have considered at all what their life will be like after their castration experience.

People who seek orchiectomy for these reasons usually have different needs and outlooks based on their motivations. While there can sometimes be overlap with women who have gender identity issues, many women in our community do not have an erotic interest in orchiectomy.

Orchiectomy with penectomy

Some people opt to remove their penis as well as testicles. These people identify as nullos or smoothies. In 2013 artist Mao Sugiyama was acquitted in Japan after having his testicles and penis removed and serving them to willing guests at a dinner.

While some transgender women opt for a genital procedure that removes the penis and testicles but does not create a vagina, most nullos do not identify as women after their procedure.


Those with questions of an erotic nature or questions that do not have to do with gender identity and expression may find help or information below:

The Eunuch Archive (


Unmanned: An Unnatural History of Human Castration by Robert D. Martin[] [archive] [archive] [archive]

alt.eunuchs.questions [narkive]

Eunuchs in contemporary society: expectations, consequences, and adjustments to castration. J Sex Med. 2007 Jul;4(4 Pt 1):946-55.

• [archive]

American Eunuchs is a 2004 documentary by Gian Claudio Guiducci and Franco Sacchi. They describe their documentary subjects with profound bias, as a “pseudo-community” that is “surreal, bizarre and at the same time tragic,” which has undoubtedly colored every filming and editorial choice they made.