Monday, December 01, 2008

Which makes you realize that penis envy and actually wanting a reconstructed penis are very different things

Or, now for something completely different.

You really have to want to be a man if you're willing to go through that whole sex change operation. Do you have any idea how much there is to it?

I said as much to Nick when I got in the car yesterday.

And instead of saying he had no idea how much was involved, he was all, "I guess we're done with rabies?"

This I can't promise. But here's how this started. So the other day, Betty learned that one of her neighbors, an older, married man, had passed away. She simultaneously learned that he had been a cross dresser.

This, on their street, in Virginia? Big news. They knew a cross-dresser! She told me immediately.

How, she had asked the neighbor who told her, did she know this?

Turns out she used to see him get into the car dressed as a woman, off to the grocery store. Apparently, she added, sotto voce, it was quite hard on his wife.

So I Googled, which led me to Wikipedia, and sexual reassignment surgery. I looked at female-to-male, which seemed somehow more compelling.

I knew about the hormones. And the mastectomy. But I hadn't really given any thought to how you might wind up with man bits.

Although, if pressed, I'd have assumed that even if gave you a new penis, they left the vagina to pee with. Wouldn't you need it as a pee hole?

No! Because it turns out "...the urethra can be rerouted through the phallus to allow urination through the reconstructed penis."

Yes. They can either enlarge the clitoris through hormones (how much, one wonders, but truthfully, one hasn't yet investigated) or create one through skin grafts. And then, they can reroute the urethra. They can also implant an erectile prosthetic.

They build you a whole new penis out of your own skin. And then they put something in that allows you to have an erection. And they redo your plumbing so you can pee through it.

It's really quite amazing, isn't it?

By comparison, the balls, they seem relatively easy. They form a scrotum out of the lips and then stick in prosthetic testicles.

And that's really all I've got there. Anything else you'd like to know about anything?

And yes, this is the kind of post that makes Nick worry that you will think there's something very wrong with me.

So hi! Hope your holidays were great! Happy Monday!


  1. As a women's studies major, I have SEEN this. And know A LOT about it.

    Much easier to do male to being easier to dig a hole that build a pole and all...

  2. That's facinating! Yeah, I agree with Lemmonex - easier to dig than to to speak

  3. i was slightly disturbed/scarred the other week when Barbara Walters was talking about how they make the clitoris larger (she was talking about the "man" who had a baby... don't get me started on this one because there's nothing amazing about a person born with a uterus and eggs getting pregnant)and that's how they have sex. at this point my mind ran crazy trying to figure this out and all i could think was "but isn't it soft??"
    it's all too much for me to comprehend honestly

  4. Fascinating stuff. I LOVE the documentaries they have on BBC America about these things, they're kind of done in a deliberately shocking, "OOooo, how scandalous!" way. Of course, Nat Geo isn't far behind either.

  5. Wait. You don't pee from your vagina. The urethra is in front of it. But, yes, I can't even imagine how difficult it must be to build a penis in the first place, much less make anything about it functional. Science is amazing.

  6. somehow I manage to respond to the posts that worry Nick. I've been waiting 'till Benji fell asleep to tell you that 1 of the models in the sculpture dept here was on the way to becoming a woman. Apparently, to make the vagina, they essentially turn the penis inside out, or outside in really, so that all that nice sensitive nerve endy skin becomes the walls of the vagina. Clever huh? Don't know if they manage to do an inside out vagina to make a responsive penis though. Anyway, hi!

  7. I am absolutely addicted to any tv show about transsexuals. The BF worries, but I've tried to convince him that I'm only curious, I have no desire to change my gender.

    I mean, who *doesn't* want to know what a clitoris-turned-2-inch-penis looks like?!?

  8. That is some serious dedication, to go through all of that. What I really want to know is...who honestly has that kind of money just lying around? I mean, on those documentaries, it's always some Joe-Schmoette from some small town, who works at a Hooters or whatever. How is she affording these extensive, belaboured surgeries, new poles and man-made balls, as such? Seems wrong to think part of our nation's debt problem might lie with a fake penis. ;-)

  9. So if they're available, why aren't prosthetic testicles more mainstream? I should think they'd be top of some Christmas lists.

  10. Lemmonex - Oh, I will have to hear more about this from you sometime. I seriously find it fascinating.

    trinity2 - She tends to make very good points, doesn't she?

    notsojenny - I am with you. If you're a man with a uterus and ovaries, it's not all that remarkable that you're having a baby.

    J. - I haven't seen any BBC America! Will have to go looking!

    mysterygirl! - You are totally correct. I erroneously lumped the whole area together. I was thinking about female genital mutilation (I realize this is very different - but that was my only vision of closing up the entire area) and how, if they infibulate them, there's often just this tiny hole left to pee and menstruate through.

    Maude - Your art models are always such interesting characters! I am thinking that the men-to-women have the easier deal all around. Except for if they use the clitoris, I can't imagine how there'd be any sensation in a penis cultivated from your thigh skin.

    saratogajean - I find it fascinating as well. I have no idea who wouldn't be interested. Seriously.

    Ryane - Sex change operations are so incredibly expensive. I saw a presentation at Whitman Walker once by a transvestite who was talking about the unsafe things people will do if they can't afford surgery but feel trapped in a body of the wrong gender.

    Her Royal Troutness - That I do not know. I do, however, know where one can find some for their neutered pet:

  11. It's too late for him to worry! You done snagged him already. Tell him to sit back and enjoy the ride... at least it won't ever be boring with you!

  12. I watched a documentary about this very thing and became grossly obsessed with it for about a week. I read so many articles and googled so many images of it that I started to scare my roommate. Science is an amazing thing.

  13. But Nick! Look at the insane wealth of knowledge your wife is amassing!

    When she someday wins a huge sum of money via trivia question answering, you'll be thankful :)


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