A eunuch of the Qing Dynasty, China. This child victim is missing all external genitalia.

Emasculation of a human male is to deprive (a man) of his male role or identity.

The word also has other meanings which are more commonly used. See below.

Genital modification and mutilation

For removal of the penis alone, see penis removal.
For removal of the testicles alone, see castration.

In history


In Medieval Europe, emasculation was used as a form of punishment. It was sometimes done when a person was hanged, drawn, and quartered (a form of execution by torture).[1]


In ancient China, emasculation was performed as a punishment up until the Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty. Additionally, some men underwent the procedure as means of becoming employed as an imperial servant or bureaucrat. [2][3][4][5] In English, the word eunuch is generally used to refer to these Chinese people who underwent emasculation, and they are often referred to as having been "castrated" rather than "emasculated". As of the Qing Dynasty, emasculation was still performed in China. In the 19th century, the rebel Yaqub Beg and all of his sons and grandsons were punished by being emasculated and enslaved.[6][7] The last Imperial eunuch was Sun Yaoting, who died in 1996.[8] For more information on emasculation in China, see Castration#China.


The ancient Vietnamese adopted China's practice of emasculation and the use of eunuchs as servants and slaves for the monarchy. The procedure was reportedly very painful as both the testicles and penis were removed.[9] In 1838, the Emperor of Vietnam made a law that said only adult men of high social standing could be emasculated. In the end, most eunuchs ended up being men who had been born with genital abnormalities and then handed over to the authorities.[10][11] During the late 19th century, the French used the existence of eunuchs in Vietnam to degrade the Vietnamese.[12] For more information on emasculation in Vietnam, see Castration#Vietnam.


The Khitan people of northeast Asia adopted the Chinese practice of emasculating slaves.[13]


In 19th century Russia, the Skoptsy sect of Christianity performed emasculation, which they termed the "greater seal".[14]

The Middle East and Africa

In the Arab slave trade, enslaved men and boys from East Africa were often "castrated" by removing both the penis and testicles.[15]

In the modern day

In The Indian Subcontinent, some members of Hijra communities reportedly undergo emasculation. It is called nirwaan and seen as a rite of passage.[16]

In the United States, males in the Nullo subculture voluntarily undergo emasculation.[17]

In the Bible

In the Old Testament:

“No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the LORD.

~ Deuteronomy 23:1 (ESV)
("shall not enter the assembly of the Lord," Explained by the Rabbis to mean that he cannot marry a daughter of Israel)[18][19]
Other Languages
català: Emasculació
Deutsch: Entmannung
español: Emasculación
한국어: 완전거세
日本語: 完全去勢
português: Emasculação