[Abstract] Full Text [PDF]
[…] “neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”
There are numerous reasons why people are castrated. Some are fetishistic, some to calm a anti-social desire for example (chemical castration of sex-offenders) and for some it is imposed on them for example the treatment of homosexuals during the Third Reich, the eunuchs of the harem, or the castration of singers (castrato).
For many there is a transgender reason a disgust with or discomfort of possessing testicles (body dysmorphism) or poverty, eunuchs can become sex workers. Some get sexual stimulation from the thoughts of having castration done on themselves and other individuals and some perform self-castration.
Refers to a male harem attendant in certain Asian courts and was derived from the Greek word eunoukhos, ‘a castrated person employed to take charge of the women of a harem and act as chamberlain.’ The Greek word is derived from eun, ‘bed,’ and ekhein, ‘to keep’ Usually castration involves the removal of the testes before puberty thus preventing the male physical changes; reduced muscle mass, the voice does not break, the penis is smaller, facial and male body hair does not develop. The eunuch is likely to put on weight as that of a genetic female, develop a thin layer of fat under soft skin, and have extra weight around the hips and stomach. Male Pattern Baldness is unlikely to develop and they may have increased life expectancy. However, osteoporosis would likely develop prematurely.
The term usually identified now for the pre-pubescent eunuch is the castrato. A male castrated after puberty will already have all of the secondary sexual characteristics of a man and will be indistinguishable from any other except for a lack of testes but he would experience flushes as his body withdraws from testosterone. Those castrated after puberty, often retained their sex drive.
Prof. Moreschi was born in Montecompatrio (near Rome) and died in Rome, where he was the last castrato He sang in the Vatican under Leo XIII who had banned the practice in 1878.
The process for creating eunuchs remained relatively unchanged. The boy or man was held down. A thin cord was knotted tightly around his genitals, and, with a sharp razor, the organs were amputated. The wound was then cauterised by the application of either a red-hot poker or molten tar. He was deprived of water for several days to prevent urination, which could cause infection. Then he was forced to drink enormous amounts of water, until the pressure in his bladder punctured a hole in the layers of scar tissue. The fatality rate was as high as 90 %. Chinese eunuchs often also had their penis as well as there testicles, completely “shaved off”, which was considered more effective. Using only hot chilli sauce as a local anaesthetic, the Chinese operation was one swoop, using a small, curved knife. and continues to this day!
Eunuchs often rose to high positions. Muslim rulers employed eunuchs mainly as harem officials but this was far less common than is generally believed; however, the sale of young males to be eunuchs was an important element of African trade.
The voluntary practice of castration for religious celibacy appeared early in Christian history particularly in the third century, but it was not officially approved of by the church and was eventually denounced, however from Constantinople spread the custom of using eunuchs in choirs. In the opera seria of the eighteenth century the male heroes’ roles were sung by castrati, and the papal choir used castrati until the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Hijra – India and Pakistan
The hijra community is a group based on communal religious and social orders.
The groups accept no men or women and are mainly drawn from South Asian MTF transsexuals. In some areas of South Asia our traditional role is as religious performers.
Castration after puberty can enable the Hijra to retain feelings of sexual arousal and orgasmic capabilities. The surgery can lead to a fuller expression of her sensuality. Hijra can have strong feelings of sexual arousal in the inner remnants of their genitalia despite lacking the external neo-clitoris tissue of modern SRS, they retain the internal portions of the erectile corpora cavernosa and of course the prostate, with its spasmodic capabilities. Although Hijra lack vaginas, many greatly enjoy penetrative anal sexual activities with men. Because of their complete external emasculation, Hijra genitalia look very convincing .
Every person in the community has a teacher or spiritual guide who is an older, more experienced hijra, (guru). They are responsible for the welfare of their chela, or student.
Relationships maybe based on Mother-Daughter relations, Sister-Sister relations and live in ‘houses’ or organized groups or kingdoms overseen by the heads of houses or ‘naiks’. They are are allowed to have contacts outside the groups, and some individual hijras have numerous non-hijra friends, but social isolation, the communal life, and the lesser importance of ‘friendships’ in Indian social life means that most hijras mostly see other hijras.
Hijras are forbidden to have contact with their birth families. This rule has become rather flexible for hijras struggling with unaccepting families, those with positive relationships can freely visit.
Castration was used by the Nazis like a prophylactic or therapeutic means for eradicate homosexuality or to rehabilitate.
The Nazis forcibly castrated homosexuals and disabled people which later brought about the Nuremberg Code and the Declaration of Helsinki
In 1935, the penal code is modified to allow the “voluntary” castration of the sexual delinquents condemned to the title of Paragraph 175. May 20, 1939, Reichsführer-SS Himmler authorizes the forced castration of the sexual delinquents. Their assent is not required, because these prisoners know that they could be released once the intervention carried out successfully.
However, following the second world war the Nuremberg Code made experimenting on individuals without their consent illegal, this later was replaced by the Declaration of Helsinki.
The rise in transgender knowledge and safer surgical procedures has led to more people happily consenting to what we now call SRS (sex-reassignment Surgery) and procedures are available that do not include vaginoplasty, and as such purely cosmetic and not so far removed from the practice that has taken place for thousands of years. Although modern pharmaceuticals can assist in the reduction of osteoporosis.
The rise in the internet and fetishistic imagery has now encouraged a global interest in castration and genital mutilation. Online websites such as Body Modification Ezines show many images of castration and genital remodeling.