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My Life as a Eunuch 

What's a man to do if he doesn't want his balls hanging around? Simple: Just find someone to cut them off.

Wednesday, Jun 28 2000
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Page 3 of 5

Life as a eunuch has been good. Gelding boosts his sex drive with biweekly testosterone injections. (Human Sexuality 101: Eunuchs on testosterone can get erections and even ejaculate, because most ejaculatory fluid is produced in the prostate.) He's patient, clear-headed, and doesn't get angry. Best of all, he doesn't have to think about his balls anymore.


On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Gelding answers a knock on his front door in the nude. He just moved and is working on the bathroom of his new house. "This is my painting outfit," he explains, stepping aside. "This way I don't get all sweaty."

From a pragmatic standpoint, painting in the buff makes sense. It's easier to wash paint off your skin, after all, than out of your clothes. But there's more than pragmatism at play here -- there's good old American shock value. Although it seems incongruous that a man who cut off his balls to control his emotions would seek such thrills, there's no denying the idea that Gelding relishes the spotlight. Why else play such a prominent role in the world of eunuchs?

At the same time, he's uncomfortable with having too much of his own identity revealed, especially when it comes to his role as a cutter. Much of the concern is practical: Practicing medicine without a license is a third-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to five years in prison. But there is also an undeniable sense that Gelding -- despite all his exhibitionism -- is sometimes uneasy talking about himself.

His living room is still a jumble of boxes, papers, and furniture. Navigating through it, he stops in the hallway outside the bathroom and picks up a small plastic bucket of paint. Then he hikes the volume on a boombox on the floor, which is tuned to a classical station playing Wagner. Once back in the bathroom, he climbs a stepladder and gets back to work, dipping just the tip of his brush in the bucket, then applying paint to the wall in short, even strokes. He's methodical, working the same square foot until it glistens. A small chain dangling at the end of his pierced penis sways to and fro with the rhythm of the work.

Gelding's piercing runs vertically through his penis, close to the natural urethral opening, so that there are three holes instead of just one. This allows him to accessorize with his extensive collection of genital jewelry, which includes a device known as a barbell, an inch-long stainless steel rod with a pea-size knob on each end, which fits through his perpendicular piercings.

He also has four tattoos: an eagle on his right arm, a ram's head on his left butt cheek, and a tiger on his right butt cheek. On his right calf is a tattoo of a testicle speared by a sword, over the word "EUNUCH."

He paints, talks, listens to Wagner, pauses, and paints some more. In the course of the conversation, he offhandedly remarks that, yes, he is a cutter himself, a question he had dodged a few days earlier by noting, "Let's not go into that. It's illegal in all 50 states."

Gelding says he acquired his skills by assisting other cutters and with the help of a lover who happened to be a veterinarian. He performed his first procedure in 1978 and his last one about two months ago. By now he's probably castrated 50 men, though he stopped counting at 35.

These days he's a reluctant cutter, because he doesn't trust his own motives. For him the act of cutting is half altruism, half sexual fantasy. In his book it's OK to help someone out. This is why he performs castrations for free -- notwithstanding small "gifts" that might help defray the cost of traveling. But if he cuts because it's a turn-on, he's crossed a line.

The distinction became clear for him a few years ago when he castrated an S/M "slave" at the behest of the slave's master. "Whose idea was it," Gelding asks rhetorically, "the slave or the master? Is the slave fixing something and is it a good thing to do, or is this an idea that comes from the master? In this case it was the master's idea, and he had set up the whole scene, the whole situation. He explained to me in a logical, plausible manner that it was the boy's idea, that he wanted to make the ultimate sacrifice to bond their relationship."

This turned out to be a lie. Soon after the operation, the master dumped the slave, and Gelding blamed himself for castrating someone against his will. "I made a mistake," he says. "I could have done something different. I go over it again and again, and there are so many places I could have asked questions, and I didn't."

There is also a good legal precedent for Gelding to be skittish about identifying himself as a cutter. Consider the case of Ed Bodkin.

Bodkin, age 56, was arrested in February 1999 in Huntington, Ind., and charged with practicing medicine without a license. Acting on a tip, seven police officers knocked on Bodkin's door. He answered in the nude and didn't resist when they asked to search his apartment. On a small table close to the refrigerator, the cops found nine small jars, each containing a fleshy lump floating in clear liquid.

He was a tabloid reporter's dream, a loner who drifted from town to town in the Midwest, drinking by himself in bars and nursing a lifelong obsession with castration. By the time police caught up with him, he had castrated five men. He videotaped his handiwork and sold copies on the Internet via a distributor. The tapes apparently detail a remarkable progression in technique. At first Bodkin used an orange-handled art knife and manicure scissors. Later he graduated to surgical equipment purchased through veterinary-supply stores.

About The Author

Bob Whitby

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