WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE CHEMICALLY CASTRATED»

“Surgical castration has a long and ugly history — from ancient Athenian man-slaves and 18th-century Italian castrati to 19th-century America, when a man named Dr. Harry Sharp castrated nearly 200 inmates, aiming to reduce the likelihood that they would offend again. But it wasn’t until the 1940s that the use of hormone therapy surfaced as a way of lowering testosterone and reducing “pathological” sexual behavior in men. (The death of British code-breaker and computer pioneer Alan Turing was famously attributed to suicide over the female hormone treatment mandated by a court after he had been caught having sex with men and convicted of “gross indecency,” although this has since been disputed by Turing’s biographer.)

These days, the treatment is associated with sex offenders or people with troubling sexual fantasies they fear they will act on. In 2000, doctors started using a drug designed to treat prostate cancer to lower men’s sexual urges. The drug Lupron tricks the hormone in the brain that tells the pituitary gland to produce testosterone.”

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