Freud’s Vasectomy: Vasectomy Equals Rejuvenation?

Vasectomy and Male Rejuvenation

Analyze this (Courtesy: Shutterstock)

Do you know why Sigmund Freud, esteemed psychoanalyst, had a vasectomy when he was 67 years old? How about writer William Butler Yeats having his vasectomy at 69 years of age? Were they that sexually active and worried about conceiving? God bless them if this were true!

Believe it or not, a popular Austrian endocrinologist named Eugen Steinach performed vasectomies in the roaring twenties and thirties, supposedly for physical and mental rejuvenation. At that time, a vasectomy was considered the “holy grail” of perpetual youth. Steinach felt that by blocking sperm flow, male hormone production in the testis would improve.

“It revived my creative power,” Yeats wrote about his vasectomy in 1937. This may even be true as Yeats wrote a crop of poems during this period that rank among his best work. As for Freud, he hoped that a vasectomy might help him battle oral cancer, but later wrote that it was ineffective.

The idea of hormonal rejuvenation really started in earnest decades prior with an acclaimed endocrinologist named Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard. In 1889, he injected himself with testicular extracts from rats and dogs. This led to the trend of “organotherapy” in which all sorts of animal organs were injected for every conceivable human illness. Sound familiar at all? Although organotherapy was a short-lived fad, it did spawn serious and productive experimental research on the function of glands in the body, which is still valid today.

The rejuvenating vasectomy was not Steinach’s only claim to fame. He was nominated six times for a Nobel Prize for innovative studies that showed that male or female development depended on the sex glands and their secretions. And guess what? Modern science confirms that this remains true today. What Steinbach got wrong with his vasectomy idea was the belief that narrow biologic principles could be used to treat the wide and complex condition of human sexuality.

So, the reason you don’t hear about older men getting “Steinached”  nowadays is that science, like organotherapy, does not support doing vasectomies to promote vitality. However, vasectomies are still an incredibly effective way to keep sperm out of men’s semen, and prevent unwanted pregnancies.