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15 Cases of Penis Removal
[WARNING: contains graphic images. NSFW] Penis removal is a subject that needs little explanation. The best-known scenario is that of an abused sexual partner taking sudden revenge (yes, John and Lorena Bobbitt are on the list), but the field is far wider than that, as we shall see. This list is based on Wikipedia’s article on penis removal, but I made extensive searches for original sources and added extra information where available. My first draft included information about those searches and sources, but that made the list too long, so I had to cut some items short. Some of these cases are verified fact, some are unverified and some are dubious at best, so please take a dose of healthy skepticism before reading.
And one word of advice for anyone considering removing their own or anyone else’s penis: Don’t.
“Angry Thai Women Lead the World in Penis Slashings” reads the headline of one internet report of a phenomenon known colloquially as “feeding the ducks”. A more sedate source, Australia’s ABC Radio, explained the situation as follows: “Thai men and women are increasingly at odds over an ages old custom of Thai men keeping a second wife … Twenty years ago, the crime of penicide came to public attention in Thailand with the report of an angry wife cutting off the penis of her philandering husband and feeding it to her ducks. It’s an act that has now become widespread among Thai women seeking revenge against their unfaithful partners.” They interviewed 42-year-old policeman Songphong Nammwan, whose wife had cut off his penis and thrown it into a sewer. Feeding the ducks is popular because it removes the possibility of reattachment.
On 19 February 2005, 35-year-old Kim Tran, of Anchorage, Alaska, cut off the penis of her 44-year-old boyfriend, who was married to her aunt. They had argued over his refusal to leave her aunt, then engaged in sexual relations, during which she tied his hands to a window handle above their bed and severed his penis with a knife, then flushed it down the toilet, where it stuck. She drove him to the hospital, then returned home to clean up. Police attended and, learning of the flushing, called water utility workers, who retrieved the penis. It was rushed to the hospital and successfully reattached. She was charged with assault and tampering with evidence. I could not find any news about her trial or sentence.
In early 2005, a 44-year-old Chinese man suffered a “penile defect as a result of an unfortunate traumatic accident”. He was left with a stump one centimeter long and could not urinate in a standing position or have intercourse. “His quality of life was affected severely.” On 20 September 2005 a team of doctors at Guangzhou General Hospital, led by Dr Weilie Hu, successfully transplanted a penis “donated” by the parents of a brain-dead 22-year-old man. After 10 days he was able to urinate smoothly in a standing position, but his capability for sexual intercourse was never tested, because four days later, “because of a severe psychological problem of the recipient and his wife, the transplanted penis was cut off”.
In October 2004, Nelu Radonescu underwent routine surgery for a testicular malformation in Bucharest, Romania. In the middle of the operation, Dr Naum Ciomu, a urologist and lecturer in anatomy, lost his temper after he accidentally cut the man’s urinary channel. He “overreacted”, sliced off the patient’s penis, placed it on the operating table, chopped it into small pieces and stormed out of the operating theatre. During his trial for grievous bodily harm he told the court that it was a temporary loss of judgement due to personal problems. He was found guilty, given a one-year jail sentence (suspended on certain conditions), suspended from practicing medicine for three years and ordered to pay EUR125,000 in damages. The patient’s penis was reconstructed (presumably by another surgeon) using tissue from his arm.
On 9 March 2001, Armin Meiwes severed the penis of Bernd Brandes in Rotenburg, Germany, then killed him. The two met through a website called The Cannibal Cafe after Meiwes advertised for “a well-built 18 to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed”. Brandes went to Meiwes’ home, where he encouraged Meiwes to bite his (Brandes’s) penis off. Meiwes was unable to, so used a knife to remove it. Brandes tried to eat some of his own penis raw, but could not because it was too “chewy”. Meiwes sautéed the penis but burned it. He chopped it up into chunks and fed it to his dog. Meiwes then read a Star Trek book for three hours while Brandes was bleeding to death in the bath. Meiwes gave him alcohol, pain killers and sleeping pills. Finally, he kissed him once and killed him by stabbing him in the throat.
Meiwes then stored body parts in his freezer and ate up to 20 kg of Brandes’ flesh over the next 10 months. He was arrested in December 2002, after a tip-off by a college student who had seen new advertisements for victims and details of the killing on the Internet. Investigators searched Meiwes’ home and found the body parts and a videotape of the proceedings. (The tape has has been viewed by journalists but never made public.) Meiwes was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight and a half years in prison. Prosecutors appealed, and he was retried, convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. While in prison, he has become a vegetarian.
In 1994, the Chinese newspaper Guangxi Daily reported that a man from Henan province was fined 3,000 yuan after his wife gave birth to her third child (a son, after two daughters), in violation of China’s “one child” laws. The father supposedly made a joke about the high cost of finally having a male heir, saying: “A 3,000 yuan fine just for this little penis! We should just cut it off.” This prompted the two daughters to cut off the infant boy’s penis with a paring knife and leave him to bleed to death while their father was away tending the fields. Upon his return, the father flew into a rage and clubbed the two girls to death with a shovel, then committed suicide by drinking insecticide. His wife “went into hysterics upon seeing the calamity, running naked through the streets screaming the names of her dead husband and children”.
On 23 June 1993, Lorena Bobbitt cut off the penis of her husband, John, in their apartment in Manassas, Virginia. They had had a volatile relationship, and Lorena testified that John sexually, physically and emotionally abused her. On the night in question, he arrived home highly intoxicated and (according to her testimony) raped her. Afterwards, she went to the kitchen, where she saw a carving knife, and “memories of past domestic abuses raced through her head”. Grabbing the knife, she entered the bedroom and cut off more than half of John’s penis. She left the apartment with the penis, drove a short distance and threw it into a field. Realizing the severity of the incident, she stopped and called 911. The penis was located, packed in ice and brought to the hospital where John was being treated. It was successfully reattached.
Lorena was found not guilty due to insanity causing an irresistible impulse to sexually wound her husband. As a result, she could not be held liable for her actions. Under state law, she underwent a 45-day evaluation period at a mental hospital, after which she was released. She founded Lorena’s Red Wagon, which helps to prevent domestic violence through family-oriented activities. John’s subsequent activities included pornographic films and a time as a minister of a Universal Life Church in Las Vegas. He was arrested seven times for offenses ranging from assault to grand larceny. The Bobbitts divorced in 1995 and met for the first time since on a TV program in May 2009. On the show, John apologized to Lorena for the way he treated her during their marriage, and Lorena claimed that John still loved her because he has continued to send her Valentine’s Day cards and flowers.
At some time before February 1977, a mentally-disturbed 21-year-old American man who was obsessed with guilt feelings about his sexual desires amputated his penis with a straight razor. He walked to his local hospital with the severed part. The bleeding was controlled and the penis was placed on ice, and he was transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital. After psychiatric consultation, he was operated on by a combined plastic surgery and urology team led by Drs Hugh Young II, John Daly, Benjamin Cohen and James May, resulting in the first documented case of a completely successful penis replantation, restoring full function.
Bruce Reimer was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1965. At the age of 6 months, he was diagnosed with phimosis (an unretractable foreskin), and referred for a circumcision. On 27 April 1966, an inexperienced doctor performed the operation using the unconventional method of electro-cauterization. The procedure went drastically wrong, and Bruce’s penis was burned beyond surgical repair. Dr John Money, a psychologist at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Medical Center, believed that Bruce would be more likely to achieve successful, functional sexual maturation as a girl than as a boy and recommended a sex reassignment. At the age of 22 months, Bruce’s testes were surgically removed. He was renamed Brenda, and afterwards raised as a girl. Money continued treatment and assessment, and for several years reported on the case, describing apparently successful female gender development, and using this case to support his theories of gender identity and reassignment.
Contrary to Money’s positive reports, Reimer never identified as female. He was ostracized and bullied, and in his mid-teens became suicidally depressed. In 1980, his parents told him the truth, and he decided to identify as male, calling himself David. He underwent surgical re-reassignment, and later married a woman and became stepfather to her children. His case came to international attention in 1997 through the efforts of academic sexologist Milton Diamond and author John Colapinto, who wrote a book As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl. Revenues from the book gave David financial security but his problems continued. As well as his difficult relationship with his parents, he had to deal with the death of his brother, unemployment and separation from his wife. On 5 May 2004 he committed suicide by gunshot. Money died in 2006.
On 18 May 1936, Kichizo Ishida was erotically asphyxiated by his girlfriend Sada Abe in a teahouse in Ogu, Japan. She then severed his penis and testicles. Abe had been a prostitute for most of her adult life. One of her clients suggested that she could become financially independent by opening a small restaurant and recommended that she start as an apprentice in such a business. On 1 February 1936 she began to work at a restaurant owned by Ishida, a married man and a known womanizer. Ishida soon began making advances towards Abe and by mid-April they were lovers. They had several marathon love-making sessions in teahouses (the contemporary equivalent of a love hotel). When Ishida returned to his wife, Abe became agitated and began drinking excessively.
They met again and during their love-making discovered that strangling each other during orgasm increased their pleasure. Early one morning, as Ishida was asleep, Abe wrapped her obi sash around his neck and strangled him to death. After lying with his body for a few hours, she severed his genitalia with a kitchen knife, wrapped them in a magazine cover and kept them until being arrested three days later. She was tried and convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to six years in prison. Ishida’s penis and testicles were moved to Tokyo University Medical School’s pathology museum. They were put on public display not long after the end of World War II but have since disappeared. After her release from prison Abe alternately courted and shunned publicity before disappearing from public view in 1970 and presumably dying at some time after that.
In 1930-1 Einar Mogens Wegener, a successful artist, became the first identified recipient of male to female sex reassignment surgery. Probably intersexual, he identified as male for most of his life, but had a feminine body and facial features, and when in public as a man was often taken for a young woman in trousers masquerading as a man. He married a fellow painter, Gerda Gottlieb. Posing as a (female) model for Gerda, he discovered a propensity towards female dress, and Gerda’s paintings of him (as a woman) gained some acclaim. He began to identify as female and present publicly as a woman, renaming himself “Lili Elbe”.
In 1930 she went to Germany for surgery, which was only in an experimental state at the time. Five operations were carried out over two years. The first surgery, removal of the testicles, was made under the supervision of sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld in Berlin. The rest were carried out by Dr Warnekros at the Dresden Municipal Women’s Clinic. The second operation was to remove the penis, and to transplant ovaries, which were taken from a 26-year-old woman. These were soon removed in the third and fourth operations, due to rejection and other serious complications. The fifth operation was to transplant a uterus and was intended to allow Elbe, then nearing the age of 50, to become a mother, but complications set in and she died three months later.
On 16 December 1916 OS (29 December NS) Grigori Rasputin was killed by a group of noblemen who feared his influence over Tsarina Alexandra. Details of the killing are confused and still subject to debate, but a generally accepted version is that the conspirators lured Rasputin to the house of one of them, where they poisoned him, shot him, beat him, cut off his penis, tied him up and threw him into an icy river. The official cause of death was drowning. According to some accounts, the penis has since been in the keeping of a maid who discovered it at the murder site, a group of female Russian expatriates living in Paris, Rasputin’s daughter Marie, an antiques dealer and an auction house, who ascertained that it was, in fact, a sea cucumber. According to another account, it has recently been acquired by a museum of erotica in St Petersburg.
In 1902, William Chester Minor, an American surgeon and amateur lexicographer, cut off his penis (which he regarded as the cause of his impure thoughts) in his cell in the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, Berkshire, England. He had been born into a strict missionary family in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and trained as a surgeon at Yale. He served as a doctor in the Union Army during the American Civil War, where his experiences (which included branding deserters) exacerbated his already fragile state of mind. He developed a condition which was later diagnosed as schizophrenia. He was allowed to resign from the army and moved to London, where, in a state of paranoid delusion, shot and killed an innocent man who just happened to be walking behind him.
He was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity and confined in Broadmoor. As a gentleman with a private income, he was allowed special privileges, and built up an extensive personal library. He learned of the project to publish the Oxford English Dictionary, and turned his mind to find and cite illustrative quotations for rare words. He become a major contributor to the project and developed a friendship with Dr James Murray, the editor of the dictionary. Minor’s and Murray’s lives, the dictionary project and the self-severing are reported in an excellent and meticulously researched book, The Surgeon of Crowthorne (UK) / The Professor and the Madman (USA) by Simon Winchester.
Fact 1: On 5 May 1821, Napoleon Bonaparte died on St Helena. Fact 2: Since 1916, something claimed to be his penis has been bought and sold by collectors. It was last reliably known to be in the possession of an American urologist in 1987. The day after Napoleon’s death, his doctor performed an autopsy, witnessed by 17 people, including seven English doctors, a priest and Napoleon’s manservant. Various body parts were removed. Napoleon’s penis was described as “small”, but no eyewitness mentioned that it was removed. In 1852, the manservant claimed that he and the priest removed parts of Napoleon’s body during the autopsy, but didn’t specify which. (But surely a priest and a manservant removing body parts during an autopsy would have been noticed!) The priest, who administered the last rites and conducted the funeral, was given (or otherwise came into possession of) various “personal effects”. How “personal”?
The priest’s collection of Napoleonic effects remained in his family until 1916, when it was sold to an English bookselling firm. In 1924, they sold it to a collector from Philadelphia. In 1927 it was displayed at the Museum of French Art in New York. It was described officially as a “mummified tendon” and unofficially as “one inch long and resembling a grape”. The collection was bought and sold several more times before the whatever was purchased by Dr John Lattimer, professor of urology at Columbia University and an impeccably credentialled and experienced medical man who must be presumed to be able to recognize a penis when he saw one. He acknowledged having it in 1987. He died in 2007 and apparently his family still has it.
Osiris was the Egyptian god of the afterlife and the underworld. Isis was his sister/wife, and goddess of motherhood and magic. Their brother Set, god of chaos, was jealous of him, and plotted to kill him. One form of the myth tells that Set trapped Osiris in a wooden sarcophagus and threw it into the Nile. It floated down the Nile to the coast of Byblos (modern-day Lebanon), where Isis found it. She brought the body back to Egypt and buried it. Set found the body, cut it into fourteen parts and scattered them across Egypt. Isis found and put together thirteen parts, but was unable to find the penis, which had been eaten by a fish. Instead, she fashioned a phallus out of gold and sang a song around Osiris until he came back to life. They conceived Horus, the god of the sky and vengeance.