I’ve actually researched eunuchs a lot in my past. They’ve always fascinated me, particularly the Byzantine eunuchs (who numbered in the tens of thousands just in Constantinople at one point). There’s actually more research into eunuch sexuality (even in the ancient and medieval world) than you might think.
The two most important factors in eunuch sexuality are
1- at what age did the man became a eunuch?
2- how much was cut off?
We tend to think of eunuchs as “testicular eunuchs”- men who’ve had their testicles and nothing more removed- but in some societies they went all the way and removed part or even all of the penis as well. The mortality rates for this procedure were extremely high. In ancient Greece and Rome (where the extreme form of castration was usually reserved for punishment or [I’m not being racist, just reporting fact] black Africans) and in China (where at times this was the standard form of eunuch) anywhere between 1 in 4 to half died during or shortly after the procedure and those who emerged were asexual due to the lack of testosterone and, frankly, the pain involved in any form of sexual activity.
Testicular eunuchs, who constituted most of the Byzantine caste and all of the castrati (save for those who had more removed for medical reasons) the age was the determining factor. The castrati who were castrated after the onset of puberty actually included many notorious womanizers (particularly Farinelli). Supposedly sexually capable eunuchs can hold an erection longer [timewise] than the average man because there is no ejaculation to bring immediate climax and this, coupled with the 0% chance of impregnation and often androgynous features, made them very desirable as lovers.
Those who were castrated in early childhood were far less sexual, though not necessarily asexual. They usually had tiny penises, though they did still undergo a lesser form of puberty as their adrenal glands produced more testosterone than they otherwise would have (though nowhere near as much as the testicles produce). While it’s been a low-brow comedy standard for literally thousands of years to portray these men as having extremely high pitched voices this wasn’t necessarily true- those castrated before puberty tended to sound more childlike but not like high voiced women.
Both the pre and post puberty eunuchs were often used as sex toys by men which led to the myth that they were predominantly homosexual. While certainly some were most were heterosexually inclined or, for those castrated in infancy or early childhood, mostly asexual. (In Byzantium there were many infant castrations ranging from Emperors who wanted to invalidate their illegitimate sons from succession to peasants who wanted their son to enter the civil service and aid the family financially.)
A psychological trait that seems true of eunuchs was that while not as agressive as the average man they did tend towards greed. Many eunuchs were notoriously power mad (Bagoas [not Alex the Great’s squeeze but a predecessor of the same name] usurped the throne of Persia from Darius II; numerous Byzantine eunuchs grew fabulously wealthy; the eunuchs at the Chinese imperial court famously robbed the last few emperors blind). For this reason eunuchs were forbidden from officially holding power, though some found loopholes (e.g. John the Orphan Master, a peasant castrated in young adulthood along with 3 of his brothers for their father’s crime- he maneuvered his studmuffin peasant born kid brother [who was spared castration] into the bedchamber of Empress Zoe [who was three times his age], helped them murder Zoe’s ancient husband, established his brother as Michael IV and then ruled while little brother dedicated his time to keeping the empress happy and descent into health problems; one of his brothers advanced their peasant nephew in a similar fashion). This is one reason that eunuchs could not inherit titles or officially hold offices, though they could do most everything else in Byzantium; Narses the Eunuch was one of the civilization’s greatest generals and several very high ranking priests and archbishops were eunuchs [ironic since the Bible forbids the eunuch to enter the temple]).
Eunuchs could not marry in almost any culture, though many kept concubines. The castrati had it the worst- they couldn’t marry, become priests/monks, hold official or elected office other than musically, and for many of them their voices crashed soon after their surgery which left them without testicles or voice or prospects. An irrelevant aside about the castrati: it was noticed in the 15th century or before that children with pleasant voices would often keep the voice indefinitely if castrated, but it was against the law to castrate a child for this purpose. When a plague of mumps caused many boys to be castrated many of them found careers in the church choirs and the demand for them grew, and while it remained illegal to castrate a child just because he had a beautiful voice there was a huge traffic in treating “illnesses” and “accidents” that created thousands and thousands of castrati each year- supposedly in one year alone 2000 boys were castrated just in Rome as treatment for being gored by hogs [nudge nudge wink wink]- the potential riches were just too much for poor families to pass up (and you thought Jackie Coogan and Brooke Shields had nasty stage mothers!).
Sorry, I seem to have digressed, but the point is that eunuchs castrated after the onset of puberty were usually capable of sex or something like it. They did get erections (so long as nothing else was damaged in the operation) and climax and have sexual urges. Those castrated very young varied but on the whole were much less likely.
And if you’d like to hear a castrati you can do so here . This is a recording of Alessandro Moreschi, the last surviving castrato in the papal choir. He really was castrated for medical reasons (castrati were out of fashion musically by the time he was born) and is believed to be the only one ever recorded. The recording ain’t that great, but remember that it was made using 1904 technology and a middle aged man who wasn’t considered anywhere near the greatest of the castrati, but it’s still a haunting sound.