The History of Penis Transplants

Earlier this month, the first penis transplant in the United States was completed successfully. This was the world’s third penis transplant since the procedure was first attempted ten years ago. In penis transplants, the penis is taken from a deceased donor only after special written permission is given by the deceased man’s family. The blood type of the recipient must match that of the donor. The recipient must have certain nerves and blood vessels intact as well as an intact urethra in order to be considered for a penis transplant. Skin tone similarities between the donor and the recipient are taken into consideration to allow the recipient to have a more natural look after transplantation. Only the penis is transplanted; testicles are never transplanted due to potential ethical and moral objections. If a recipient has one or both of his testicles intact, he may be able to father his own biological children after a successful penis transplant because his sperm production has been unimpeded. All transplant patients must take anti-rejection medications, such as tacrolimus, for the rest of their lives in order to keep their own bodies from physically rejecting the transplanted organ(s). There is a vetting process of potential transplant patients to ensure the patients will adhere to daily anti-rejection medication regimes. The world’s first penis transplant occurred in China in 2006 at Guangzhou General Hospital. The recipient was a 44-year-old man whose own penis had been damaged beyond repair in an accident. He was left with one centimeter (less than one-half inch) of his original penis and was unable to urinate. The 15-hour transplant surgery was considered...

The Roots of American Eugenics

Derived from the Greek word eugenes or “good birth,” eugenics is a set of beliefs and practices that aim at improving the genetic quality of the human population or the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics. If those definitions sound familiar, they should. Adolf Hitler and his fellow Nazis used the concept of eugenics to persecute and murder Jews, Roma (Gypsies), Poles (people from Poland), Soviet prisoners of war, Afro-Germans (people of African descent living in Germany), Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and people with disabilities in their quest for racial superiority during Hitler’s reign from 1933 to 1945. The persecution of homosexuals by the Nazis is the topic of a previous Your Sexy Librarian blog, The Persecution of Homosexuals in the Holocaust.   Eugenics did not start with Hitler or his henchman Dr. Josef Mengele. The Nazis were inspired mostly by America’s history of successfully using eugenics to keep certain populations from reproducing. The term “eugenics” was coined by Englishman Francis Galton (1822-1911), who was a half-cousin to Charles Darwin (1809-1882), the father of evolution. In Galton’s first academic study of eugenics, he analyzed the characteristics of England’s upper class and concluded they were hereditary and could be passed down from generation to generation. In 1869, Galton published a book called Hereditary Genius in which he advocated a selective breeding program for humans akin to the breeding programs used by pedigree dog and horse breeders. The English eugenics movement focused on selective breeding for positive traits while the American movement focused on eliminating negative traits. The American eugenics movement...

Dispelling the Assumption that “Everyone Has Kids!”

The dictionary definition of an assumption is a fact or statement taken for granted or presuming that something is true. The Your Sexy Librarian definition of an assumption is making an ass out of you and me. I organized a meeting at work with several positive, outgoing people from other areas of the building. Our goal was to lay the foundation for a fundraising event. The meeting was going smoothly, until a young woman, who just moments before toted her multiple college degrees, suggested we create a summer fun basket because “everyone has kids!” Sigh. I despise assumptions because the little bastards just keep popping up despite their lack of truthful existence. Some great past examples of failed assumptions include, “Women with short hair are lesbians.” and “Women with short hair are not feminine.” Short hair does not measure femininity at all. That sexy woman with the short hair may very well be sporting matching La Perla undies, which are far more feminine than run-of-the-mill store bought underwear sold at mass retailers. Then there are the assumptions that men with bigger physical statures will be rude or mean, that all people who grow up in a trailer park turn out to be drug-abusing trash, that a rape victim “was asking for it” based on her attire and that all Catholics do not believe in birth control. Assumptions are essentially opinions that some people share without thinking. My absolute favorite asinine assumption was spoken by a middle-aged female newspaper editor. This woman had the nerve to say to me, “Your mom is from the Appalachians. Can she read?” Socio-economics and...

Unwed Mothers: A Changed Taboo

Sexual taboos change from one generation to the next. What is considerable to be an unspeakable and shameful event in one decade is no longer a taboo-related issue many years later. One such example of a changed taboo is unwed mothers. In America, Great Britain and Ireland, unwed mothers in the first half of the 20th century were something society frowned upon. Young women who were pregnant and unmarried were shepherded off to convents or “homes” where their pregnancies would be hidden from view and the babies’ births handled in discreet quiet. The majority of the babies who survived their births in these environments were forcibly taken from their mothers and placed for adoption or, in some cases, sold for profit. The book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, written by former BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith and published in 2009, chronicles the experience of a young unwed mother who suffered through the forced adoption of her firstborn in the 1950s followed by decades of unsuccessfully searching for her child. Her emotional journey eventually resulted in this woman’s personal mission to change adoption laws in Ireland. This book, which I have not yet read, was the basis of the movie Philomena, which was released in the United States in 2013. I watched this movie over the weekend and felt inspired to share the story of Philomena and her firstborn. Earlier this year, I read The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn, in which one of the main characters struggles emotionally with being an unwed mother who was forced to give her love child up for adoption. Although this book is a work...

Wanted: A Good Cuddle

I was reading an independent weekly newspaper this week when an ad on the back cover caught my eye. I did a double-take as I could not believe what I was seeing. I had not realized such a thing was possible. Among the ads for bankruptcy, addiction help and lawyers specializing in suspended licenses was a bright pink advertisement for a cuddling company. Yes, a cuddling company, whom shall remain nameless for now. Curiosity got the better of me so I checked out this cuddling company’s website. There was a great deal of emphasis on the professional cuddling experience being all non-sexual touch. All participants are fully clothed before, during and after a cuddle session. The cuddling takes place in “the cuddle room” or, for an extra fee, at a private residence. The videos of example cuddle sessions portray a hybrid mix of cuddling and massage, which my partner vehemently declared “not cuddling!” According to the owner of the cuddling company, “Cuddling helps reduce stress, can help alcohol withdrawal, increases oxytocin levels and reduces levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone.” The owner went on to say, “A 20-second hug can improve your day.”   Before I write more on professional cuddling services, I would like for readers to better understand oxytocin and what it does in our bodies. Oxytocin is a hormone produced in the hypothalamus in the brain that is then transported to and secreted by the pea-sized pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain just beneath the hypothalamus. Oxytocin is both chemical and biological in nature because it performs two distinct...

An American Story: The Invention of the Birth Control Pill

Happy 55th birthday to the birth control pill! On May 9, 1960, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the first oral contraceptive, Enovid. The four Americans behind this miracle pill were feminist Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), scientist Dr. Gregory Pincus (1903-1967), Roman Catholic obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. John Rock (1890-1984) and heiress Katharine McCormick (1875-1967). This quartet of masterminds came together in the 1950s to create the country’s first oral contraceptive.   Sanger was a birth control activist, sex educator and nurse. She was one of 11 children born into a Roman Catholic working-class Irish family. Sanger saw firsthand the effect multiple pregnancies and even miscarriages had on her own mother. Seeking a better life for herself, Sanger attended Claverack College and Hudson River Institute before studying nursing at White Plains Hospital. In 1902, she married architect William Sanger. The couple would eventually have three children. In the early 1910s, Sanger began working in New York’s Lower East Side and saw multitudes of women “suffering due to frequent childbirth and self-induced abortions.” In 1912, Sanger began her campaign to educate women about sex and pregnancy when she wrote a newspaper column called “What Every Girl Should Know.” Sanger coined the term “birth control” and began to distribute contraceptive information and contraceptives, such as douches and suppositories, to women. Her 1914 publication The Woman Rebel promoted a woman’s right to access and use birth control. Sanger was indicted in 1915 for violating the Comstock Act because she had sent her publication through the mail. The law prohibited mailing information about contraceptives as well as actual contraceptives through the mail. To...