SL Letter of the Year: Balls Out


It happens. One of my friends had a client who'd been castrated by choice, and we "double dated" once although it was a humiliation date where everyone kept their clothes on.
Very interesting tale. Can't wait to hear from all the sloggers demanding trigger warnings.

Honestly, I'm at a loss for words.
People are free to do whatever they want but IMHO this guy's a nutjob.

Pun definitely intended.
Both ended in DEATH? This guy has stories for years.
Good for you!
I don't have anything to discuss about this - just did a shrug, "If it works for him, then whatever". But then I'm not a guy, so no inborn cringe reflex - and I'm not into guys, so no real care one way or another what a dude looks like in that region.

(And yet, not having any real opinion, I'm compelled to comment on it. Oh, the strange reality of the Internet ...)
I like happy endings
Whatever lifts your luggage.
Well, as Dan said, they're our bodies to use, abuse, use up, etc.
@ 11 - does that phrase still work if you've tossed the luggage out the window?
It's great that he's finally able to feel comfortable in his own body.
It's stories like these that make me understand what it must be like for a straight person confronted with the existence of gay people.

I absolutely cannot understand this at all. And I admit to being more than a little disturbed and disgusted by the lengths this guy has gone to to become to person he sees himself as being. There's an "ick" factor there that I have only rarely experienced before.

A large part of me knows I shouldn't feel that way. And ultimately, while I'd never consider responding to this guy's ad on Recon, I'm glad he's worked out a way of living that gives him some integrity and I'm really glad he's got people around him to offer support.

So I really appreciate this experience. It gives me a little insight into how many others see me and why they think the way they do and moreover reassures me that such feelings can be overcome.
For some reason this reminds me of a joke about a moyel. The punchline went, "Yeah, but if you rub it, it turns into a suitcase."
So how is this guy any more or less of a nutjob than transgendered people? He wasn't happy with his genitals and they didn't feel like the right thing for his body or his life, so he changed them through surgery. Everyone would be clapping and calling him brave if he'd have turned his penis inside out and started wearing women's clothes.

Are Eunuchs the new oppressed sexual/gender minority that the LGBT(E) community gets to look down on?
I was born the same way. It's very painful to talk about. And the trauma of so much surgery at such a young age was made worse by the fact that I was immobil on the surgery table from the ether but I was awake and felt every cut and metal stitch. It was monsterous.
@18 wait - what?
Good for him! I'm glad that he shared his story, and I am happy for him that he is pleased with the outcome. It's good for people to have their brains stretched by the unthinkable.
So... uh, that was a back alley castration? And there were complications? Yeah, no shit!
Huh, I'm surprised by all those first comments. I don't think this sounds strange or bizarre. The only thing that gave me pause was the fact that he couldn't go to a clinic to get this done. I'm glad it all worked out!

As for "ended in death," okay, I paused there, too, but he's 40-something so AIDS wouldn't be a shocking explanation.
shit - i meant @17. vince, i don't understand. metal stitches? how awful.
@15 "It's stories like these that make me understand what it must be like for a straight person confronted with the existence of gay people."

Err... No.

Perhaps some straight people, but confusion,some level of disgust and intellectual-self-recrimination is hardly universal.

For myself, this sounds perfectly well reasoned and I can imagine making a similar decision in the circumstances described. Admittedly, my balls hurt for having read this.
@21: "The recovery was a bitch [...] but no complications and it all healed nicely after 6 weeks."
this is bringing up a really strange almost totally repressed memory...i am so not kidding...
I was also born with undescended testicles and struggled with both the appearance and pain of what remained. Although I learned to live with my oddity and accept it, I completely understand where this guy is coming from.
Conversely, being straight, I have no sense of revulsion at all regarding gay people or transgendered people, but I do find people that like to have voluntary surgery done by hobbyists a bit... off-putting.

I could care less who or what someone wants to fuck, but having had my share of unelective and necessary surgery (including one where the anesthetic wore off a bit too soon), I find people who are REALLY into having some dude in a basement alter their body quite creepy, be they in BME or Savage Love.
There are "holy shit!" and "WTF?!?" moments all over this post and its comments. And the castration part is the least of them.
So is he still on HRT? Because that makes the whole castration thing a much different story ...
"AIDS wouldn't be a shocking explanation" - As a 40-something gay man, WOW. How the world has changed.

IRT castration by choice, life is to short to worry about what other people think about how you treat your body. I'm glad you found a path to your own happiness.
To be clear, I am glad he found happiness as well.
@6- Yes- that part really stuck out for me, too. Can we request yet another follow up with those details?
So this guy had his one remaining nut removed due to cancer risk.

Everything else is a matter of personal aesthetics?

Nothing worth a spit-take.
@23 Yes. Big metal clips with teeth. Dozens. It was horrible. And they forced me to walk. So for several days it was like someone had folded me inside out. It left giant scars, both mental and physical.
How the. Fuck does this guy pee? Does it just spray forward? Does he have a special pee straw? Can he orgasm from butt play?

At least no one can go for the nut shot in a fight.....
@6, @33, perhaps he's from the AIDS generation, back before the drugs worked. Lots and lots of dead gay partners in those years.

My question is, did you keep 'em? In a jar, or better yet a ziplock bag, so you could cup 'em for old times sake?

I gotta say, on a hot, sweaty day, when there's maybe some chafing issues going on, and, you know, being an older gentleman, with the attendant effects of gravity, I could see the advantage....
@36, balls, not unit. You pee with your balls?
@36 - He still has his penis. Just not his testicles.
@32 (laterite), if there was an easier and legal way to do so, I'm sure he would have followed it. But I'd guess castration surgery is currently probably harder to get than gender reassignment surgery -- if at all possible. (Does anybody know more about that?)

@15 (Corydon), who wrote: "So I really appreciate this experience. It gives me a little insight into how many others see me and why they think the way they do and moreover reassures me that such feelings can be overcome."

Indeed. Isn't this were so much prejudice comes from -- the 'icky' feeling? The idea that, since I really can't understand why this guy would want to do that, then I get to feel icky about him => I get to feel that he's wrong => I get to feel that I know better than him what is better for him => I get to feel that I have the right to think badly of him, to respect him a little less, to despise him a little, just a little?...

Indeed, those who think he's crazy are reacting in a way reminiscent of straight people who sicerely think (not the closet cases, the sincere believers) that gays are icky, wrong, bad, and impossible to understand. ('How can they like to do that?').

I hope the insight will be appreciated by others here. Several of the more critical comments above could have been written about gays by homophobes. Yes indeed, it is the same kind of feeling... And as someone pointed out above, this suggests that even among enlightened people like those who come here there will be some who are OK with looking down on the next sexual minority, be they 'good' pedophiles, scat fetishists, or... eunuchs.

Ah, the 'icky' feeling. The 'I-can't-understand-why-s/he-would-want-to-do-such-a-crazy-thing' feeling. Isn't it really a wonderful little thing?...
@6 and @33, this guy is likely in his 50s. In his 20s he was gay and living in or near SF in the 1980s. As @22 says, having two lovers die of AIDS would (while tragic) hardly have been unusual.
If elective surgery made this guy happy, I'm all for it.
@35 jesus, vince, what a fucking nightmare. sounds like something out of the inquisition. i'm so sorry.
@37 Don't joke. I have always wondered what it would be like to have what you have. Dare I say you don't know what you've got until they're gone.
Damn, @ 36 and 41 beat me to it. Once it was clear this guy was well beyond the age of 40, AIDS immediately leapt to mind.
@43 No more pity party. It is what it is. Some things in life are hard to accept, but that's life.
@40 Bad comparison.

Many of the comments aren't saying "Tranny/BME enthusiasts/Jackass commentators on SLOG are ICKY!"

They're saying "home surgery in someone's basement isn't exactly the sign of good decision making."

World of difference there, kiddo.
Many years ago (at least 15), I saw a film of a guy who had had his penis removed, but still had his balls. The film consisted of footage of his surgically altered genitals, while his voice (processed to be unrecognizable - the guy claimed to be some kind of bigwig) went on to explain his fetish and how he could still ejaculate. With no penis at all.

After that, nothing surprises me. Not even this.
My testicles are my best friends, Makes me shudder to imagine, but ya'll are right, his body his choice.
There's a carpetbagger joke in here somewhere. @16 may be dancing a jig around it.
This doesn't squick me out at all, I find it to be rather heartwarming, and I'd be willing to be there is a much larger body dismorphic crowd just like him (and likely women with similar issues).
Huh. It wouldn't have occurred to me to get rid of the scrotum too. Is that a standard eunuch thing? What's the point? It seems to significantly complicate an otherwise much easier surgery. I'm having a hard time imagining what it would look like, but I'm not gonna google it.
I assume that since he was already on HRT he's continuing it.

From what I understand, you can still get an erection and ejaculate without your balls if you're getting testosterone from somewhere else, you'll just be shooting blanks.
@47: We don't know the training of the BDSM guy. I wonder if there are doctors that do unusual body modficiation stuff in their "personal time."
I'm not a doctor or anything...
but I thought males needed testicles to ejaculate.

Or is it that he can still orgasm, but nothing will come out because the testes aren't there to produce semen?

Either way, good for him. He seems happier than ever.

Meh. Call me desensitized I guess. I have a friend doing a lot of modifications down there (and lots of other places for that matter) and it was tough to hear at first...but I'm over it. LW obviously has a lot going on, and has for some time, so a little comfort is likely to go a long way.
Nice. Happy ending and comfort with one's body is the best anyone in any situation can hope for. Thank you so much for sharing with us!! Great story.
I have to admit, having read The Persian Boy at a *very* impressionable age (and not to mention, being female) this doesn't make me shudder. I do find @15's observation to be highly interesting, though.

I know @36's already been corrected, but the basic question is still there, I suppose. Although there's probably a fair amount of variation even in penile removal that there isn't a simple answer to this question.

And finally, I have to admit it would never have occurred to me that one might might remove the balls but *not* the sack. Wouldn't that be a dangly, irritating thing? Ya ya I know, easy for me to ask, my plumbing is all tidily tucked away already.
Well that's that then. This doesn't even strike me as odd - transwomen (not all, obviously, but many of those who choose surgical genital modification) have testicles and scrota removed all the time. It's your body - chop it up however you like.
@54 I'm pretty sure that performing surgery in a BDSM studio could be grounds for getting your license revoked in most states, not to mention a health hazard. I'll stand corrected if someone knows better than I, though.

The guy might have had training, sure. But something says that's pretty unlikely.

Either way, I do hope my next surgeon doesn't have a boner when he cuts into me.
Okay, glad the guy is happy, but the main thing I want to know is if Dan knew before this letter about the eunuch / cutter network?

Wait, another question - what did he say to his real doctor the next time he was there? 'Oh, well, it fell off...'

As a stridently sex-positive person, I wholly support the LW's right to self-castration if that's what makes him happy. More power to him, no matter how much it squicks me out. And being roughly a similar age, my first assumption was that his two earlier partners died of AIDS. There was an awful lot of that in the 1980s.

The backroom surgery part scares the shit out of me. It's somewhat reminiscent of the old backroom abortions, many of which ended in disaster. Is there no way to get this procedure done legally and safely?
Rockshine, I believe it's the prostate that produces the ejaculate. The testes contribute sperm to it, but that's only a small fraction of the total amount.
@55, the testes produce sperm, not semen. Semen comes mostly from the seminal vesicles and the prostate, which are tucked away up inside. Balls hang outside because body temperature is too high for sperm.
intellectually, i totally support this dude doing whatever he feels is right for him. and w/ how happy he is about it all, it really is in one way a 'happy ending.' physically, i'm trying to take deep calming breaths & stop my jaw from clenching.
I'll preface this by saying that I absolutely do not dispute anyone's right to do whatever he wants with his own body, within of course the rational limits of harming no one else and making exceptions for mental illness. I fully support homeslice's - pun unintended but delightfully inappropriate - right to be rid of his balls.

That said, any kind of fetish, compulsion, or especially discomfort or trauma that logically concludes with what is (albeit sterile, reasonably safe, and eroticized) self-mutilation really falls uncomfortably close, for me, to that "mental illness" line.

Again, a disclaimer: it is, in my personal feeling (and not as any sort of legal or analytical opinion) only in an ideal world in which everyone with body dysmorphic or gender dysphoric disorders could be let comfortably and reliably to a place of comfort with their physical selves, and in the real imperfect world, any freely elected outcome with which everyone is happy is a win.

I wish we lived in a world where circumstance never forced people into positions in which their only practical relief from constant unhappiness is surgical modification or even what I'd consider mutilation of their own bodies. As it is, I think the current standard of requiring a certain amount of professional care and counseling prior to gender reassignment is probably the best we can do, since it makes every attempt to make people happy with the safest, non-surgical options, but still leaves modification open as a path for those who can't feel good any other way.

But purely as a personal reaction... ugh. It is hard to imagine anything I could find less erotic. I get squicked out by a variety of fetishes that others enjoy, though, so to each his own.
@63, 64

Thanks for satisfying my curiosity! :)
Stories like this are not that new if you've spent time on BME. Congrats to this guy for owning his body and the happy outcome.

To most of us unfamiliar to this type of fetish/procedure/decision, its new and strange and is definitely eye-opening...
Those of you who are using wording like "ick factor", "nutjob" and other similar phrasing really makes me disappointed, as I would think that readers of dan savage would have the maturity and wisdom to not act like a straight frat boy who says shit like "lesbians are hot and gay men are gross..."
This person had a problem with his body all his life and did something about it after tons of networking and making connections with like minded people... and he didn't need our trusty mr. Savage to tell him to go find like minded people... shouldn't we be praising this person for not only doing the self examinating to come to his own best conclusion, but also for acting as a mentor or sorts to other guys that may be cut from a similar cloth... I think LW is awesome for taking action and doing what he thought was the best thing to do for himself.
@61- There's a Friends episode where Joey is up for a part with a nude scene, and he's told the casting agent he "isn't Jewish" without knowing what it means. So Monica made him some various prosthetic foreskins out of food (bologna, fruit roll-up, etc) and he found one that worked. At the audition, he takes off his pants, the casting people nod approvingly, and then you hear a faint splat and everyone looks at the floor (the scene is shot from behind and between his legs) and you hear him say "Well that's never happened before."
I imagine that's how this guy's next Dr appointment went. The doctor said "Where did your testicle go?" and the guy looked down and said, "Well it's always been there before. I wonder where it could be."
@55: Ejaculate is formed mostly from fluids from the seminal vesicles and prostate; the testes just provide the spermatozoa. The pubococcygeus or PC muscle (also not in the testicles/scrotum) provides the contractions that force the semen out during orgasm, and most of the physical stimulations that build up to and trigger orgasm come not from the testes (in fact one could, in theory, trigger orgasm in the brain only or with non-physical stimuli, as orgasm itself is a neurological phenomenon, though the non-physical approach is difficult-to-impossible for most people while awake). No real barriers to orgasm/ejaculation other than lack of testosterone leading to low libido (though he appears to be mitigating this with a hormone supplement).
No, testes produce only sperm and testosterone. Semen is produced by the prostate gland and seminal vesicles. Sperm is a small proportion of the mix; men with vasectomies or orchiectomies (testicle removal) produce just as much fluid as do other men.
And guys can ejaculate without testicles. They just won't want to do it as often, unless they have periodic testosterone injections.
I swear, I will never EVER complain again about my left one being noticeably bigger than my right one.
HOLY FUCK! I'm pretty open minded so while the eroticism of getting your nuts cut off is lost on me I'm totally fine with it if everyone's happy. The problem I have is that he went to a strangers house to have a surgical procedure performed on his ball sack by an amateur while strapped to a bondage table. WTF???? That is so not OK. That's where I draw a big black line. Woah!

I think we should praise you for finally figuring out how to properly use a period.
The only thing I'm concerned about was that it wasn't done in a urologist's office. Beyond that, whatevs.
@54 - Having recently watched the documentary "Modify," I can say that while there may be doctors that do body modification on the side, there's a LOT of body modifiers out there who are little more than self-taught.
@66 I've had to wrestle with that a bit -- there's an area of "disability fetishes" out there -- not only are some people sexually attracted to specific kinds of disabilities, but there are those who feel their bodies "should have been born disabled," and yes there are people who have found (god knows who) to remove assorted body parts so that they may truly be disabled in the way they feel they "ought" to be, or who have managed to blind/deafen/etc themselves to "align" their internal self image with their external bodies.

And I can't separate that whole line of reasoning and thought from things like transgendered folks (the arguments are absolutely the same) so by and large, I'm forced to leave it alone but.... *deep breath* ooooohhhh yyyyeeeeeaaaaahhh.

I will concur about the "backalley operations" -- way too close to backalley abortions, and not a way someone should be forced to risk their lives.

Huge thorny nest/ball of ethics, safety, individual safety, individual self identification...
Well, everyone knows Lance Armstrong won all those Tour de Frances because he doesnt have testicles and a scrotum. so more power to ya, dude.
@80 now is that a record for the longest time for someone to call fake (not counting those where it never got called of course)??? :)
@70 - i have the entire friends collection on DVD, watched it through a couple of times, and do not remember that episode at all. not saying you made it up, just saying that's the sort of thing i'd remember. weird. sounds like a great episode, tho!
@82, according to the internets, it's episode 165, "The One With Ross and Monica's Cousin" from Season Seven.
While it would be ideal to have procedures like this done in a medical environment the simple fact is that it would be extremely difficult to find a doctor willing to do it as elective surgery. Honestly it doesn't bother me too much that it was done in a BDSM context because that's likely the only way he could have it done. I hope he followed up with his doctor shortly afterwards though.

@52 I would assume removing the scrotum would be for aesthetics so there isn't an empty sack of loose skin hanging between the legs.
For people getting on my case about calling the guy a nutjob:

Note I said he's free to do whatever he wants. That's all that's required of me as a good progressive. I in no way want to deny him the ownership of his body and the freedom to do with it as he pleases.

I could be dishonest and say I approve of his decision, and am totally accepting of it. But that would be dishonest.

The truth is, if someone I cared about confided in me that they were having sexual fantasies about castration and that they were strongly considering going through with it I would urge therapy. I would urge them to reconsider something that drastic and permanent.

If they still went through with it, that would be their choice, but I would try to get them to seek therapy first and address the underlying issue that is leading them to think this is a good idea.

That's the reality. I bet lots of other people feel the same way but aren't honest enough to cop to it. Which is fine, I'm usually more honest than anyone else I know.
Well, if he's happy with the results, then power to him. Obviously castration is not something a person should go ahead with without putting a lot of thought and careful consideration into it, since it is a big change to the body and it is irreversible. Still, it was clearly right for him, and for a lot of other people, too. Good on him to share his story and enlighten the rest of us about something that most people would view with a knee-jerk negative reaction.
Mazel tov and thanks for sharing.
I almost long for the days when I felt my own jaw drop. I guess I'm too old to be shocked anymore. When I'm 80, people are going to tiptoe around me and it'll just make me more pissed.
As a health care professional, I have to say that psychological counseling before *any* significant body alteration is becoming the norm - even if the procedure has been mainstream and refined for decades and is intended to correct an obvious problem or defect. The fact that the procedure seems to have been done without any thought to frame of mind beyond the extremely subjective "I decided it was right for me" should be a huge red flag to any qualified surgeon. I also wouldn't trust "sterile procedure" in that situation - hospital ORs and surgery centers have a lot of built-in features to promote sterile/aseptic technique, and procedures are constantly refined and monitored. I think the LW totally lucked out in a) not having any major long-term complications from the procedure (so far as he knows) and b) being happy and fulfilled afterward. I also think the cutter is totally immoral and lacking any ethical refinement - assuming the situation is roughly as streamlined as the LW presented it.
I find it very impressive to see all the careful, careful steps he took: taking the time to do it safely, finding a person who'd already been there and who he felt comfortable around, going to a person that friend trusted. And while as a nurse's daughter there is a small voice in the back of my head that just shrieks at the thought of amateur surgery -- hey, he took a calculated risk and it paid off.

Plus, I'd bet it was cheaper than it would have been at a hospital or clinic.
That's a brave soul. Good for him. The non-clinic part does give me a little heebie-jeebies, but it apparently ended well.
Being a frequent traveler, I immediately go to wondering how the full-body scan readers at airport security react and how our friend feels about knowing his image is being scrutinized and discussed for approval or further investigation. I hope he is not embarassed/mortified and maybe even gets his rocks off (so to speak) in that particular situation.
@90 - unlicensed doctors are usually cheaper. And @91 - they usually don't kill you by accident, either.
@17: Vince, I'm so sorry. Has it been at all helpful to read this guy's story?
Eroticism & body dysmorphic disorders:
Women consensually have their chest sliced open in two different locations, only to allow someone to stretch open the wounds and shove in plastic bags full of goo before sewing them shut again.
Men and women alike actually pay other people huge sums of money to STAB THEM REPEATEDLY with a vacuum cleaner.
And people faithfully stand in line to have BOTULISM injected into their FACE.

The lengths people go to in order to be comfortable in their own skin are often extreme. The above scenarios are are examples of modifications to body parts or general appearance. They are no less eroticized than RINM's, it's just that the above examples of "self mutilation" are viewed in the context of cultural norms. Now maybe this doesn't speak very highly about the sanity of our culture, but it would also seem to indicate that beauty, like sanity, is relative.
I find this so much less disturbing than so many other things featured on this site. Already had surgery, already an adult with life experience under his belt, understood the long-term ramifications, doesn't directly (negatively) impact anyone else, etc.

I find it hard to believe, however, that this guy couldn't have found a real plastic surgeon to do the job, though. You get folks who go in for penile implants (that don't work) and labiaplasties (that no one notices). Especially with the history of cancer risk, he might have even gotten insurance to cover it! While the surgeon might have been a little "judgey," LW probably would have been a lot less likely to end up with a potentially devastating or deadly infection.

If his story seems like a "how to" for folks out there - check out a doctor first!
@69 I agree with you on "nut-job" but "ick factor" not so much. After all "ick factor" just means that the individual using the phrase is personally squicked out. Much as some are squicked out by water sports, or snowballing, or even something as simple and mundane as eating yummy sushi (minds out of the gutter for once that is not a euphemism). "Eww I think that's gross, but whatever." is a far cry from, and much less judgmental than "nut-job".
@85 The problem is your use of "nut-job" implies mental incompetence on his part. Implying that he shouldn't have been allowed to make his own decisions in this matter.

Fault me for what you will, so long as it's not hypocrisy. I'm not really a big fan of any kind of elective surgery - I think it's all pretty unhealthy - but I recognize all around people's right to do it.

I don't think it's any less borderline pathological to want bigger, more socially sought-after breasts so much that you get rubber or salt water stuck in them, but if you've been socialized that way and it's the only way you can be happy, well, fine, go for it.

I'm certainly not going to naysay when I will be first in line if and when real personal augmentation becomes available. Carbon fiber bones and a computer in my head with a heads-up display spliced straight into my optic nerve? Sign me the fuck up. Maybe that's just as weird as wanting no balls or bigger breasts.
My first reaction is "Oh hell no"!

But I would also like to add that I think it took a lot of balls for the letter writer to do what he felt was in his own best interest. Different strokes as they say.