Getting Castrated

A study published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science explored the personal history of men who voluntarily seek genital ablation (castration)  for reasons other than male-to-female transitioning. The authors focused on three groups: (a) men who have had voluntary genital ablation; (b) men who desire genital ablation and fantasize about it (self-described “wannabes”); and (c) those who claim to be merely interested in the subject of castration. An online survey was posted at that asked about religiosity, childhood abuse, sexual orientation, parental threats of castration, and whether the respondents had witnessed animal castrations in their youth. Data were collected on 301 men who had obtained genital ablations (mean age 45.4 years old), 1,385 wannabes (44.3 years old), and 1,242 individuals who were reportedly “just interested” in castration (mean age 41.8 years old). Results confirmed that: (a) having witnessed animal castrations during childhood, (b) having been threatened with castration as a child for behaviours deemed inappropriate by a parent figure, and (c) being homosexual or bisexual, are all common among individuals with extreme castration ideations. In addition, the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse among men who had genital ablations and wannabes was 1.4 times greater than among “just interested” individuals. For men who had obtained genital ablations, “very devout” parental religiosity was 1.8 times more common than it was for wannabes and 1.3 times more common than it was for “just interested” individuals. Individuals who were raised by “very devout” parents and who were also sexually abused had significantly greater odds and likelihood of reporting being voluntarily castrated and/or penectomized than respondents without those risk factors. This study may aid clinicians in identifying and distinguishing individuals who are at risk of genital ablation through self-surgery or by nonprofessionals.

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