Does Castration = Longer Life?

Cecil - In my opinion, castration would mean longer life in human men, because a castrated man would have a lower sex drive and therefore collect fewer STD’s in life. I’m no expert on the subject, but I do know two things. 1) Men like to have a lot of sex and aren’t always truthful about what happens in the wee hours 2) STD’s like hepatitis and herpes are very common, affect your liver and god knows what else, and these effects are probably detrimental to a man’s longevity. That’s my point in a nutshell.


LINK TO COLUMN: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3068/does-castration-longer-life

Who wants to live forever?

Cecil:
Not to nitpick, but isn’t Slug’s cartoon accompanying this entry a little, er, off? I assume the old geezer in the cartoon is supposed to be one of the subjects of the article, i.e., someone who has been successfully castrated. If so, I don’t think he’d have a beard, since it’s testosterone that leads to facial hair growth. Perhaps he’s one of those less than fortunate souls who underwent the process late in life after he had grown a beard and this cartoon represents him before the lack of testosterone has had a chance to cause him to lose his whiskers.
Of course, if that’s true, then maybe he shouldn’t be an old geezer because he’d be dead because of the testosterone.
Please help. My head is starting to hurt.

Very, very respectfully (my parents taught be to be polite to my elders)

Jeff Brown
Hartly, Del.

The reason why men don’t live as long is all biological - the same applies to most other species:

Of course, there is also a catch:

I’d much rather die a few years sooner than live those extra years in poor health.

However, there is this study, which says that the reason for a shorter lifespan in men is their larger body size, an observation that holds true in many other species (if not across different species, where larger body size usually means a longer lifespan). It even goes so far as to link increased heart disease and cancer rates over the 20th Century to increased height (although of course this likely isn’t the only reason why these diseases have increased).

Wonder if that has any relation to how larger breeds of dog tend to have shorter lifespans than smaller dogs.

Sug’s cartoons like Cecil’s columns are never off.

Because I’m not seeing it in the thread, here is a link to the column.

How many STDs do you expect the average man to get in a lifetime? mrAru has had none [other than he probably has been exposed to the common herpes virus that is almost universal though he doesn’t seem to suffer from either form of it. Some people are naturally immunes.]

SulcoPete
Are men getting these STD’s with each others, 'cause that’s the only way I see it could skew statistics.
And didn’t the column say that there’s really no difference?

Most likely.

Perhaps it is as simple as without any interest in women men spend a lot less of their time acting stupid and therefore their accidental death rate goes down.

Who the hell cares?

Interestingly, if castrated before puberty, growth in height continues throughout a male’s life – this happened in the case of, for example, the eunuchs in China who would grow very tall.

Ironically, chicks often prefer tall men…

If this is true, then a longer lifespan is contradictory since, as I mentioned earlier, bigger people generally have shorter lifespans (men and woman of the same height live for about the same time), ultimately because cells have a finite number of divisions (possibly also because organs have to work harder). Indeed, people with growth disorders which cause continued growth often have much shorter lives than average because they develop health problems.

Or, maybe they were just well-fed. People of Chinese ancestry who grow up in the West are often quite tall.

Awhile back, I reviewed a number of biographies of castrati and was unable to find anything like the growth problems I’d been led to expect. The only thing they appear to have had in common physically (apart from the obvious) was a certain boyishness.

Of course, acquiring anything like a random sample is practically impossible. Those who’s lives were well-documented tended to be the most popular, most handsome (or prettiest, as the case may be), and probably healthiest.

Something that stands out is that many did have remarkably long lifespans (those who weren’t killed by jealous husbands). But, again, the sample’s probably not a very good one.

Probably only ironic from a species propagation point of view. By all accounts, at least some castrati were pretty spectacular lovers. Almost certainly unburdened by the “get it over with and go to sleep” imperative, at any rate.

I recently came across the following, pertinent article on the internet: