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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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Bodkin, Gelding opines, was a hack. "Meatball surgery," he says, stroking paint on the wall above the bathroom mirror.

This, according to Gelding, is the proper way to perform a castration:

First thing you do is you shave the area, or if he is already shaved, that's fine. ? You scrub the area very well with antibacterial soap, and dry that off with nice, clean, very hot, dry towels. As sterile as you can get them. A friend of mind likes to bake his towels for a couple hours in the oven. Says it helps. Probably does.

Then you scrub down the skin with sponges, or bandages, soaked in Betadine, a disinfectant. It is purple, and it stains terribly. You use sterile procedure gloves, which guys who don't know any better often don't do. You can get them through medical-supply stores. They come in specially wrapped packages. You unwrap them and use the wrapping to lay down on the table so that, if you want to put anything down, you have got a sterile place to put it.

Then you very carefully make an incision in the scrotum, just off center, using a scalpel. If you are doing a bilateral orchiectomy [the medical term for castration], you go down the center line. If you are just taking out one, then you go down the center of that side. Then you pick up your sterile, sharp-tipped surgical scissors, and you begin removing tissues which overlie the testicles.

The object is to expose the cord that connects the testicles to the body. "The cord actually consists of two cords close together: One is the vas deferens [which carries the semen], and the other one is the blood supply. Surgeons cut the two apart, but it is just as simple just to tie them off. ? Really, the best thing to do with the cord is to suture it to the scrotum. Loose cords can cause problems."

Gelding climbs down off the stool to get more paint. The chain dangling from the end of his penis scrapes against the floor as he squats to refill his bucket.

"So," he continues, climbing back up the ladder, "you have got the cord tied off, then you check for hemostasis, which is control of the blood, because you don't want the poor guy bleeding after you cut the cord. So you nick the side of the cord below the sutures to make sure they are not leaking. If it leaks, you haven't tied it tight enough. Once you determine there is no bleeding, at that point you can go ahead and snip. That's it. One is off."

Repeat for the second testicle, then suture the scrotum closed. Typically it takes about seven stitches, he says.


A few days later, Gelding screens two videos he found amid the chaos of his move. One tape shows a man named Joe being castrated; the other features a man known only as "Danny."

Danny models his crotch for the camera before surgery. "Take a good look guys," he says, "the mistake of nature is about to come off. Where they end up, I could care less. All I know is they are going, in a matter of minutes."

Next he's lying on a table. The camera shot is tight on his penis. Two pairs of gloved hands enter the frame. One pair pulls his scrotum tight while the other injects three shots of anesthetic into it with a syringe -- Gelding says he uses Xylocaine with 2 percent epinephrine to control bleeding. (He won't take credit for the handiwork on display, but it's clear he approves of the technique.)

After the anesthetic takes effect, the hands take up their positions. The pair that held the syringe holds a scalpel. A few short, quick strokes at the scrotum and the skin parts. The hands pick up a pair of scissors and work at freeing the testicle from the inner sack. In a minute, a testicle pops out, dangling on the end of a cord about as thick as a pinkie. After cutting away some surrounding tissue, the cord is ready to be tied off. The gloved hands, now slightly bloody, pick up a needle holder and pass a suture through the cord, tying it off tightly three times. A quick nip in the cord below the sutures brings forth three drops of dark red blood. Some bleeding is to be expected, Gelding says, because it comes from the testicle. A lot of bleeding, however, indicates the sutures aren't tight enough. If the bleeding can't be stopped, "It's time for a trip to the emergency room." The cord is snipped and the gloved hands display the testicle for the camera.

Another way to achieve the same result is with a Burdizzo castrator, essentially a large clamp used to castrate bulls, sheep, or goats without having to cut into the scrotum. Each cord is placed in the jaws of the clamp, which cuts off the blood supply to the testicle. Done correctly, the procedure hurts like hell, says Gelding. "You don't want to hear the scream an adult male makes when he has the sudden realization he should have asked for a local anesthetic instead of being a brave boy." But using the Burdizzo does lessen the risk of infection. The testicles are left inside the scrotum to wither into useless pebbles.

For the record, the safest way to get castrated is to pay a visit to Dr. Felix Spector, a kindly, 82-year-old Philadelphia physician who has carved out a very special niche for himself -- he's probably the only doctor in the country who will handle voluntary castrations, very few questions asked. Most balk at removing healthy tissue, believing it to be a violation of the Hippocratic oath -- Do no harm.

About The Author

Bob Whitby

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