Taming the beast

There has been quite a bit of news coverage about convicted rapists and violent sex offenders volunteering (?) to be castrated. The surgery was suggested a means to curb the sex drive and violent impulses, as a step toward parole.

Today I was playing with the neigbor’s cat, a notably friendly animal. She said that both of her cats were neutered toms, but when they kept fighting, the vet put them on a dosage of “female hormones” (her words) and they both calmed down, played together, were gentler, friendlier, etc…

I am NOT offering suggestions! The idea of chemically or surgically neutering people makes me ill.

But I AM asking; does anyone know if the chemical alternative has been suggested for humans as an alternative to surgical castration? It would be less drastic, and at least reversible, but what would the legal community have to say about it?

This is one of those times I’d be just as happy to resign from the human race.

Sickened but curious,

I don’t know anything about this subject, but I’m curious as to what race you had in mind joining, should you decide to resign from the human one. . .or were you considering possibly being a person without a race?


As far as I know, sex drive in humans has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with their tendency to commit crimes or violence. Testosterone has, however, been linked to violent behaviour. This helps to explain why most violent and uncouth crimes are perpetrated by men and not women.

I imagine that if you castrate a man you will deprive him of most of the testosterone in his body, and there is a chance to lower his violent tendencies. Sex drive would probably also decrease.

On the other hand, we must remember that human behaviour is not dictated by hormones quite the way that a cat’s or a dog’s is. If you castrate a cat, he will lose almost all sexual impulse. If you castrate a man, it is very possible that he will retain a sexual urge (perhaps diminished) and sexual ability --just not the ability to father children.

So if someone is mentally twisted, depriving him of testosterone is not really going to affect his behaviour–sick is sick, no matter what bits and pieces you remove. For those cases, I suggest a long and fierce public flaying, castration, and then a lobotomy.

It’s been a few years since health class, but I recall that if you castrate a man and thus deprive him of testosterone, he is rendered without sexual function. I even remember seeing Howard Stern try to help a New Yawk City jerko fratboy get it up in strip clubs, after surgery for double testicular cancer. No such luck.

On the other hand, severing the vas deferens leaves sexual function intact albeit infertile.

I believe that the argument in favor of castrating sex offenders is not to diminish their sex drive, rather to eliminate the possibility of perpetrating.

“Where there is clarity, there is no choice. And where there is choice, there is misery. But then, why should I speak, since I know nothing?”

…makes a vast difference…
(C’mon, don’t tell me you’ve never noticed that…)

Veni, Vidi, Visa … I came, I saw, I bought.

Isn’t castration the main “ingredient” in creating a Eunuch?

I’m more confused than I thought about this. My assumption was that rape is a crime of violence, with sex as the expression. So surgical castration as a solution would both eliminate the tool (so to speak) and reduce the urge to violence as well.

I,too, thought that people who were castrated were eunnechs or castratos. The only context I have for this is from general reading. IIRC, castratos were surgically altered to preserve their fine (i.e. prepubescent) singing voices. They did retain the voice, as the hormonal shift didn’t happen, making their voices “break” into a lower register common to manhood. But didn’t they also develop other physical characteristics as well? Maybe I just read the wrong tacky books, but the castratos were described as, well, more feminine: lighter muscleclature, higher fat ratio, less facial and body hair, etc.

People going through sex change operations also go through a course of hormonal replacement as well as the surgery. (Besides long and rigourous counseling beforehand.) But that’s the only other analogy I can think of, and it really isn’t that close.
They are literally changing genders, not just modifying one.

I guess I’m still confused. I don’t understand how much of the desired (?) result from physical castration comes from removing the equipment and how much from the hormonal shifts.

Thanks for the replies, though. Looks like this one calls for some intensive reading. I’ll let you know if it comes clearer for me.

Nanobyte: good point. I guess it’s pretty late in the day to change species, huh. Maybe becoming a hermit is a better idea. Can hermits still use computers and chat online?

Castration before puberty will prevent the developement of secondary sex characteristics. A castratto is a male who is castrated before puberty specifically to preserve a good singing voice. A eunuch is any male who is castrated, especially one employed in a harem

Castration will not necessarily prevent erection:

Regarding testosterone, while it is a factor in violent behavior in general, it is only one factor. Women are quite capable of being senselessly violent. It can be argued that differences in violent behavior between men and women is as much due to socialization as to genetic differences. I could also argue that violence as a secondary sex characteristic may not go away if testosterone is removed.

Finally, even if the penis is non-functional or even removed, a man can still rape. Rape can be done with fists, sticks, bottles, …

Rape is a crime of violence, anger and control. IMHO, when a man is already angry enough at women to rape castration can make things even worse when castration could bring on “a sense of irreparable loss and despair, mingled with frustration and longings for vengeance” ibid.

TVeblen: don’t give up on the human race. There are lots of wonderful people out there. It’s just that the bad ones get more press.


We believe that rape is a choice men make to exert power over others and is, therefore, a men’s issue. As long as men continue to make this choice or to remain silent while other men are violent, rape will continue.



Interesting thread. I had thought that the only kind of castration being seriously considered in criminal justice these days was “chemical castration”. Judges sometimes sentence sex offenders to a regimen of periodic injections of something which makes them incapable of erection.

I’m not sure exactly what the point is. I can see deterrence as a factor - rapists obviously like to use their sex organs as weapons, so perhaps chemical castration is a real threat to them.

There is also an “incapacitation” factor, since someone so treated would be incapable of rape under the legal definition. Other foul acts the person may commit are not (in my state anyway) defined as rape; this doesn’t make them any less terrible, but perhaps some incapacitation is better than none. At least, that’s what the judges seem to think.

As to the testosterone factor, I’m not sure exactly what chemical castration does to hormone levels. Certainly it is reversible, since going off the drug should return the man to normal (e.g. after the sentence is done or the counselling is completed); I’m just not sure what the testes do during the chemical’s effective period.

I heard a case where somebody who had been released from prison on this chemical did go out and commit a similar crime; this time he used a foreign object. So clearly, it is not always successful. Whether it is successful enough to be worthwhile, I don’t know.

On the whole, I think chemical treatment is a punishment often directed at the wrong perpetrators. Repeat sex offenders and child molesters are dangerous to society as a whole, and often need to be locked up at least until they are using false teeth. I’m not saying none of them are redeemable, just that I think we have to err on the side of caution with these guys.

Date rapists, on the other hand, pick their targets pretty carefully and can usually get away with their crimes. It’s hard for juries to send some college guy to prison in a “he said, she said” situation. I don’t expect anyone to agree with me on this one, but I think that chemical castration may be an appropriate punishment for a date rapist when the jury is not willing to send anybody to the pen; perhaps it would make convictions easier to get in the huge majority of acquaitance rapes which leave no physical evidence of a struggle. It would sort of be a chastity belt for young rakes - reversible and invisible, but utterly terrifying to the sort of guy who perpertrates these crimes to begin with.

Like I said, I know I’m crying in the woods. People see castration as a satisfying revenge to be carried out against sadistic pederasts, not a modest deterrent against non-consensual sex.

Surgical castration, on the other hand, will probably never fly as a large-scale criminal justice measure.

{quote]Regarding testosterone, while it is a factor in violent behavior in general, it is only one factor. - zyada

      • It may be only one factor, but it’s a damn big one. Anyone who deals with animals on a regular basis will tell you that castrated males are almost always easier to handle than otherwise (figuratively speaking). This observation is fairly consistent regardless of if the animal in question has had any socialization with other intact animals or not. - No references; just word of mouth from various people involved professionally with animals. - MC
  • Also note that the appeal of chemical castration is a treatment that decreases sex drive temporarily, and therefore it can be discontinued after the sentence is up. I’m not sure I call that progress, but there you go. - MC

MC - that may be true for animals, but humans are much more influenced by socialization and training, rather than instinct and body chemistry.

Look at the wide variation in violence levels in different human cultures.

  • Which cultures? - MC

You would ask me that. Hmmm…

Budhists, Apaches, Early Norseman commonly called Vikings, British, Pueblo Indians, Japanese, anybody want to help me here?

I remember reading about one tribe that had no violence in their culture whatsoever; IIRC, in an article about negotiation and reducing violent behavior.

      • As I understand it, every culture has some outlet for male aggression. Maybe not what you might expect today, but still, something that’s physically difficult and dangerous, that women aren’t allowed to do (like, maybe, hunting). Also - in your examples, which examples do you consider to be non-violent societies? - MC

Tveblen: My assumption was that rape is a crime of violence, with sex as the expression

Rape is about control as zyada (and others) pointed out. It isn’t about sex. Women rape. They rape other women and men. Men, however, do not report it due to their shame that their bodies responded to the stimulation whether it came from a man or a woman. They are often more victimized by the system then women.

As we have talked privately I want you to know I am not slamming you. You are asking for honest information and that is what I am giving you. You seem a genuinely interested person who cares about this issue and that right there gives me hope for the sometimes, seemingly “hopeless” human race. The more you know, the more you understand, the more you can do about ugly “factors” of us humans.

Rape is about control. I don’t think controlling testosterone will do jack. If that were the case then why do women rape? Some women, myself included, have higher levels of testosterone than the average woman. Not a lot higher, but enough to cause differences. I lift weights and I am bulker than most women unless they take steroids. It’s not like I wanted it, it just is. I am no more violent than anyone else. I just build muscle faster and bigger than most women. Basically, I’m a pacifist with attitude. If someone went to hurt me… well, they’d have a hell of a time.

Anyway, to the castration issue: I have two male cats and when one gets bent at the other he will often “mount” him just to assert his dominance even though he can no longer penetrate. Again, it goes back to control. Dominance.

Give up on the human race? No, I wouldn’t. I’m a woman and have been so close to rape that it was tangible to my soul. I relaxed, gave a false sense of control to the man (that’s what he wanted, right? Control) then I peed on myself and him and when he grossed out and jumped back I jumped him and took him down. I walked away, he ended up with just an assault charge (no real rape, right?) And went on to rape other women before he was put away in jail for 20 years. It took him raping a 12 year old girl for the “system” to take his threat seriously. It sucks, but that’s the way it is.

Anyone, male or female, should take a self-defense course and learn things (like what I did) in order to stop or prevent a rape. Again, the more you know…