Castration is the process by which a male loses the use of his testicles or a female loses the use of her ovaries. In some cases castration may also involve removal of the penis or other reproductive organs (e.g. a spayed bitch usually has her uterus removed as well as a precaution against pyometra).
This has been done for a variety of purposes. Possible reasons for castration are:
- Punishment for crime (such as rape).
- Demoralizing of enemies.
- Extinguishing male lineages.
- For religious purposes:
- Job prerequisite for a harem guard
- Disqualification of someone from holding an office (e.g. king) or a station (e.g. full citizen) in a society where these things matter1.
Castration is also normal practice for any domestic animal not required for breeding from - usually to prevent the animals from developing adult behaviour patterns and make them easier to manage.
Also castrated males in particular tend to put on weight more rapidly which is a useful characteristic in a meat animal.
- Cybele - Roman deity whose followers sometimes practiced this.
- Skoptsy - Russian cult practicing castration
- Vagina Dentata
Game and Story Use
- Castration cults and rituals will be very effective squick for male players.
- A male player character who is threatened by castration as a punishment will be very motivated to get out of this.
- In some cultures, wealthy or powerful men might have a eunuch as a trusted servant or slave.
- A given culture may have many of its public offices held by eunuchs who, lacking any family ties, might be expected to be more loyal to the state (the Chinese empire worked on this basis for many years). Ideally these eunuchs will be castrated young and raised to the role from childhood - it may even be a prestigious job for 'excess' sons.
- May be part of the initiation for a Shaman - who historically were often berdaches or other cross-gendered types. Also some demons are known to demand the sacrifice of a pact makers fertility - if they do so by physical castration they may have a use for the organs. Possibly transplanting them into themselves, or otherwise using them for some unnatural form of reproduction.
- Extremley misandristic or misogynistic deities may demand an opposite sex cleric (or even worshipper) rid themselves of the taint of their 'unclean' gender to some degree.
- Similarly highly aesthetic religions may require that their clergy 'purify' themselves of 'fleshy distractions' by castration.