Men who want to be castrated fit no stereotype, have no common neuroses or childhood experience. Some are androgynous types thin and underdeveloped who want to remain in a prepubescent, asexual phase, others are eroto-phobes who don't like to feel driven by their libidos and want to become surgically tranquillised.
Some want to be feminised, a few - known as nullos or smoothies - want to become nullified by having their penis removed along with their testicles. In Gelding's experience a quarter of those who get castrated continue to regulate their libidos with testosterone, which allows them to have full sex.
But what compulsion drives grown men to be castrated in the first place? According to Gelding, for most men the desire to be castrated stems from puberty but does not develop into a fixation for at least 10 years. This was certainly his experience. Now in his early 50s, he has been without his testicles for six years and is keen to point out that he has no desire to be feminised. By Gelding's testicles had become an unbearable affront to him. The idea of cutting aroused him sexually, but more than that, there was an aching need to be rid of something that had begun to take a stranglehold of his life.
At first he tried to cut off the offending items himself by using rubber bands as a tourniquet and drenching his balls in ice water. But after an hour he ran out of adrenaline and went into clinical shock. Three years later he went to a cutter in California and got rid of them safely and efficiently. In order to receive the testosterone that he requires to keep him functioning as a man he has occasional erectile problems but can still ejaculate he has devised a cover story which makes him eligible for medical treatment. As well as resurrecting the libido, testosterone prevents osteoporosis and reduces the flab that castration causes to the hips and breasts.
On the down side, it also increases the risk of prostate cancer. A self-confessed mother hen, Gelding has for four years been dispensing advice on his website to men who want, or think they want, to be castrated. In that time he's had 5, enquiries from both gay and straight men, all believing that their obsession is unique. Consultant psychiatrist Dr Russell Reid, of Hillingdon Hospital in west London, identifies castration fixation as "highly disturbed behaviour, in mainly gay men, whose self-hatred is directed towards their genitals".
Gelding's response to this interpretation is equivocal. Being castrated can be a huge release because they become pre-pubital, and sex is no longer an overwhelming preoccupation. He finds the origins of the fixation perplexing but speculates that it might be a case of the fear of castration turned on its head to become a uncontrollable craving. But eunuchs are nothing new. For 4, years they have represented some of the most marginalised and most honoured in society. In ancient India, eunuchs advised princes and guarded their harems, and the Biblical Daniel was a eunuch who rose to become prime minister of Babylon and later Persia.
More recently there have been the Italian castrati of the 19th century - boys who sacrificed their manhood for the sake of singing careers in the opera houses of Europe. Today there are the cross-dressing Hijras in India and religious extremists such as members of the Russian Skoptsy sect who see the testicles as an organ of weakness.
The medical profession understands this "syndrome" only in relation to transgender reassignment surgery or as part of body dysmorphia a syndrome in which people become fixated with having a limb amputated. But Gelding disregards the connection with the body modification scene, believing the desire to be castrated is far more complex. Nor can he relate to the transgendered, "some of whom get castrated just to get on to a gender reassignment programme". He is also reluctant to help those whose desire to be castrated hinges on the ritual of cutting: "Because if that's the overriding issue then most of these people are into fantasy and role play and don't have a true fixation.
There are several doctors in the US who will surgically remove testicles, but seldom before getting their patients to sign a consent form saying it is for gender reassignment. Dr Felix Spector, who advertises castration on his business card, has become something of a celebrity in the murky world of eunochdom, having performed his first castration in But the vast majority are amateur cutters, subject to prosecution for practising medicine without a licence, and desperately sought after on the net by men in urgent need.
Although these cutters offer a necessary service reducing the instance of self-castration , for the most part they too find the act of cutting erotic. Talking about doing a DIY castration, one cutter described the "lovely crunching sound" a Burdizzo a castration device makes "like biting into fresh celery". Burdizzos, elastators and other animal castration devices can all be purchased on the net.
The internet has become a sanctuary to these would-be eunuchs. There are numerous websites providing information, and chat lines link men from all over the world who share this compulsion. When Gelding was delivering himself into the hands of the cutter there were no such support services and perhaps that's why it wasn't until he was in his 40s that he finally did what he had always wanted to do.
Since then, he says, he has found some kind of inner peace, but at a price. He would have preferred to have been one of those who rationalised their way out of it, something he encourages all his correspondents to do. He considers those who manage it to be the lucky ones. The others must join him among one of the most disenfranchised of groups. Men who are ridiculed, despised and misunderstood by a society which will never be able to make any sense of why they feel incomplete with their testicles and yet complete without them.
Some people can identify a defining moment in their childhood - an incident that brings an idea to mind which is then indelibly fixed in the psyche. For Gelding - an adopted alias for the American internet guru to all wanna-be eunuchs - that moment came when he was 12 years old and thrown against an older boy in a packed bus. The pain was as piercing as the pleasure. And so began a lifetime's quest to be castrated. Reuse this content. Most popular.