The frequency of the modern operation of ovariotomy has convincingly taught us that female castration exerts little, if any, effect upon the sexual feeling. The statement of Ellis that "after castration, sexual desire, and sexual pleasure in coitus, may either remain the same, be diminished, extinguished, or increased," only proves how feeble is the foundation for either assumption, and almost justifies us in attributing whatever change that may result rather to psychological than physiological influences.
Jayle found that out of 33 patients in whom ovariotomy had been performed, sexual desire remained the same in 15; was diminished in 3; abolished in 8; increased in 3; and while the pleasure of the act remained unchanged in 17, it was diminished in 1, abolished in 4, increased in 5, and in 6 cases sexual intercourse became exceedingly painful, possibly, although he fails to so inform us, from resulting neuropathic hyperesthesia.1 Somewhat similar results were arrived at by Pfister, in Germany; and Keppler announced at the International Medical Congress of 1890, at Berlin, that, "among 46 castrated women, sexual feeling was. abolished in no single case."2
In America the records of the subject seem to confirm the authorities just quoted. Dr. Isabel Davenport describes two cases of women, between thirty and forty years of age, in whom erotic tendencies were greatly increased by removal of the ovaries;* Lapthom Smith, a single case where the same result was observed; * and Bloom, seemingly the fullest investigator on the subject, out of four hundred cases, found that in none was the sexual appetite wholly destroyed; in most it was not materially diminished, and in a few it was intensified.5 Tait and Bantock make a corresponding report of results arrived at in England, and it would seem, without any tedious prolixity of detail, that castration, both in male and female, must be of the true and radical variety—that is, all the sexual organs must be removed—to insure total extirpation of the sexual passion. The facts elicited ought to be, at least, some guide to legislators in dealing with castration as a remedy for unlawful lust.
1 H, Ellis, loc. cit., vol. it, records the case of an invert in which castration was performed without effecting any sexual change.