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December 9, 1939


JAMA. 1939;113(24):2144-2146. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.72800490001010

Despite published evidence to the contrary, a rather common belief persists that complete castration of the adult male results in impotence.

For many years it has been known that the sexual impulse tends to continue in animals after castration. Sexual instinct and potency often persist in the ox and the gelding.

Havelock Ellis1 reported that many castrated men continued to possess sexual impulses, as noted by medical observers in countries where eunuchism was produced and eunuchs were employed. McCartney2 reported that ten of the twenty-three eunuchs examined by him showed gonorrhea. Osman and Schukru3 reported the continuation of sexual instincts and successful efforts in eunuchs. The earlier the age at which castration is performed the less marked the subsequent sexual desire, and the Chinese regarded boys castrated before the age of 10 as particularly pure and virginal.

Lange4 reviewed more than 300 cases of soldiers who