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From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Date: 07 Jun 1995

In <3r37si$> (Derek Abbott) writes:

>In the recent movie "Farinelli,"  the hero was a castrato who was depicted
>as a virile womanizer.
>I always assumed libido & sexual performance was affected by castration
>and the movie challenged this assumption.

Generally speaking, it will.  But there have been enough reports of
eunuchs ready willing and able, to say it doesn't work 100% of the time.

>Thinking about it, I suppose castration no more affects a guy's libido than
>a hysterectomy (with ovary removal) affects a woman's.
>Is this medically true?

No. Hormonal influence on sex drive is mostly testosterone for men AND
women.  Ovary removal only takes out half a woman's testosterone supply
(some is make by the adrenals).  But it has to take out at least 90% of
a man's.

> Also does a castrato still produce semen?

Certainly not of the same fine quality <g>.  Like a vascetomized man, at
first the seminal fluid would has no sperm in it, but would otherwise be
pretty much the same.  Later, as the prostate and other glands feel the
impact of loss of testosterone, it wouldn't surpise me is semen doesn't
disappear entirely.  However, I have no direct knowledge about this.

                                             Steve Harris, M.D.

From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Date: 14 Jun 1995

In <3rj3pm$> (Derek Abbott) writes:

>> I think the folks who have advocated castration as
>>a way to keep sex offenders from plying their trade are clearly badly

   Maybe not.  It might not completely make a man impotent, but my guess
it that it radically changes motivation and drive.  You would not use
surgery these days.  Chemical castration using the pituitary hormones
which they use with prostate cancer patients is a medical option, and
might well be far more humane than keeping a man in prison for 40 years
until his own physiology does the same thing to him! (which is in effect
what is done now).  I assume we're here talking about repeat offenders
(rapists and pedophiles) who have commited sex crimes which are not
overtly sadistic (I mean no more sadistic than they need to be, if you
understand me). Why not give each such offender the choice of early
parole with hormonal control, vs prison with hormones intact?  At
minimum, some system should do this as an experiment, if it hasn't been
done already.

                                                 Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Is it possible to live 150+ Years?
Date: 27 Jan 1998 19:57:13 GMT

In <> "Carlene C. Myers" <>

>Anonymous wrote:
>> I read that castration prolongues the life by 13 years, on average.

   The only evidence for that in humans came from men castrated for
being "feeble-minded."  The major decrease in their mortality (which
occured in the first half of this century, mostly), by comparison with
the control group, was from tuberculosis.  So what the data (one study,
unlikely to be repeated) actually supports is that getting castrated
early in the 20th century can keep you from dying of TB.

   Now why that should be, is a mystery to this day.  My own theory is
that castration of certain low-functioning men prevented a lot of
social contact of the kind that spread TB.  It's sort of like neutering
your tomcat, which in itself will keep it close to home and out of
fights and generally much decrease the chance of it getting feline AIDS
and many other cat diseases.  But in any case, it's now a somewhat
irrelevent study.  Unless of course AIDS and multidrug resistant TB
become much worse problems than they are now <g>.  You first.

                                         Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Doctor-bashing
Date: 14 Mar 1999 10:18:09 GMT

In article <>,
jinelle  <> wrote:

>>On Sat, 13 Mar 1999, A. Bear wrote:
>> Where did you read about all these castrated men? And where do they
>> find enough casterated men to do a adequate study on? You said
>> castration rates in men is almost zero. How do you know this?
>> AneeBear

>	This discussion has already taken place on asm. The studies are n
>the archives and were presented by a male MD, who cited most of his
>points, however he often had failed to actually read the cites. This
>led to interesting discussions, to say the least.

    Hmmm. Since the "male MD" here being cited was probably me, I have
to take rather strong issue with this.  The only large study I know of
of the the longevity of castrated males is from the late 1960's, and
was in J. Gerontology, as I remember.  It's not abstracted, and I did
indeed read it.  It is a study of death certificates of some hundreds
of men who had been castrated in mental institutions in the US, late in
the last century and early in this one.  They were compared with
inmates at the same institutions, matched for severity of mental
impairment, who had (for one reason or another) not been castrated.
Life spans of the two groups (many of whom were long
deinstitutionalized by the time of death) were very similar, and not
very different from men of their cohort who were NOT mentally
deficiency, and who hadn't been institutionalized.  The castrated group
slightly outlived the others, and the excess in deaths in intact men,
quite interestingly, was mostly due to tuberculosis, a "social disease"
(in the broadest terms) of those times.

   But of course, Dr. Rubin's point is correct, and there are no life
span studies of men who have been *randomly* assigned to be castrated
or not, and then followed.  This one comes closest, and castration in
mental institutions was at the request of families and doctors, was
done for reasons involving eugenics to behavior control, and wan't
uniformly done, by any means.  Still, there is always the opportunity
for selection bias in epidemiologic studies.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Doctor-bashing
Date: 14 Mar 1999 12:42:37 GMT

In <> jinelle
<> writes:

>On 12 Mar 1999, Steven B. Harris wrote:
>>     Some of those female physicians have had hysterectomies themselves.
>> Does the M.D. after their name invalidate their opinions in the matter?
>> If you won't accept the conclusions of people who've had personal
>> experience, experience with many other people first hand, and finally
>> the statistical conclusions of most studies in the literature, just
>> exactly what does it take for you?
>	What does it take for me? Studies that I can read myself, so I
>can analyze the conclusions of the statistics.

     I shall endevor to provide them.  I'll be interesting to see what
Medline has to offer.

>	Personal experience is all over the place on the issue of female
>castration. In the US, the castration rate for female MDs is similar
>to the population at-large. 25-30%.

    Well, why would that be?  These are the people who have the most
experience with the treatment.  If male urologists had a very much
lower rate of prostate surgery for their prostate cancers than their
patients, you'd begin to be suspicious.

>	The castration rate of male MDs is not known. Or, for that matter
>the male castration at-large rate for the US male population. I don't
>think it is as high as 30%, however.

   And you know very well the reasons.  Testicular cancer is a disease
of younger men.  And testicles do not suddenly atrophy, become
infertile, and shut off production of the major male hormone at age 50.
Finally, there isn't a good testosterone pill-- all the modifications
to get testosterone through the liver in large enough amounts for a
man, cause the molecule to become rather dangerous.  By contrast, the
natural female hormones make it through the liver just fine.  If all
these things were different (testicles largely quit at 50, there was
good pill hormone replacement, most testicular cancer happened after
50, and was difficult to detect until too late), you might well see men
having prophylactic orchiectomies at age 50.  I'd certainly have one
myself.  Be a fool not to.

                                     Steve Harris, M.D.

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