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A to Z of Sexual History O: Orchiectomy - Removing the testicles

Since there have been bollocks, there have been people brutalising them.

Since there have been bollocks, there have been people brutalising them. As soon as someone worked out that those two horrible little bastards harboured the future of the species, someone else has thought it was a good idea to hack them off. There is just too much castration throughout history to possibly cover so here’s a selection of the best.

The castrating cannibals of the Caribbean
A 15th century Carib tribe killed all their male enemies and kept the women as sex slaves. If one of their hapless gals was to give birth to a boy, they would chop off his bollocks. This not only made sure that the enemy offspring would never reproduce, but also, like gelding a hog or a sow, it made him a more tender and tasty snack when they decided to eat him.


Eunuchs as figures of fuck
In ancient Greece noble women would chop off the balls of their sexy male slaves so they could shag away without the worry of pregnancy. They waited until after puberty, because even without your balls you can still get it up for a short while. The only downside is the lifetime of sexual frustration. Also big with the Greeks, paedophiles castrating pre-pubescent boys to keep them thin, hairless and pretty.

The all-singing-all-dancing third sex
India’s community of ‘impotent ones’ or hijras have been around for thousands of years and are estimated at around two million, though not many undergo castration these days. The ancient Indian Karma Sutra mentions a third sex of a masculine feminine person who performs fellatio, this is a reality for many of these lady-boys. Traditionally to become a hijra, you have to undergo a physical rebirth called a nirvan operation in which a midwife will hack off your penis and scrotum without anaesthesia while someone plays a trumpet to mask your screams. You then have to bury your bits in the ground. The theory was, that by sacrificing your individual fertility, you garnered the power to confer fertility on others and effectively bless or curse them. But seeing as curses don’t carry much currency these days, most hijras alternate between being ambiguously sexed street hustlers and ambiguously sexed wedding singers.

Decorative testicle display
German explorer Max Gruhl wrote about a tribe in Ethiopia in the 19th Century who liked to show off how many enemy balls they had collected. He wrote, “Enemies slain in battle were subjected to castration [sallaba] … The genitalia that were taken as booty would be filled with straw and stuck on the tip of a spear. Later they were hung over the door of a person’s house.” Previously among the Konso of southwestern Ethiopia, the severed male sex organs of the vanquished were dried in the sun and worn as bracelets.

Skoptic syndrome
It’s hard to understand but some men hate their balls enough to cut them off. This was named Skoptic syndrome after a 19th century Russian religious sect, with an amazing 100,000 followers, which castrated the men and loped of the breasts of the women in the name of God. Some people with Skoptic syndrome are body dysmorphic, and don’t see their balls as part of their body. Others see themselves as belonging to neither sex, a male-to-eunuch transgender. And some are fucked up masochists who get it up at the idea of their manhood being beheaded. There are up to 10,000 voluntary eunuchs in America.  On the Eunuch Archive ( – an internet community of people fascinated by the idea of castration – nearly 20 percent had attempted to chop their balls off themselves, while about half had been castrated by unlicensed physicians. Awesome!