Sexual Health Q&A

How might removal of one or both testicles affect a man’s sex life?

An orchidectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of one or both testicles. There are several reasons why a man might have this operation, such as cancer, injury, or trauma to the area.

Regardless of the reason, the effects of this surgery on a man’s sex life depend on the number of testicles removed.

When one testicle is removed, there is usually no effect on a man’s sexual function. Most of the time, the remaining testicle produces enough testosterone and sperm to compensate for the testicle that has been removed. Therefore, the man should still be able to get an erection and ejaculate as he did before. He should also be able to father biological children.

Removal of both testicles does affect a man’s sexual function. In this case, his body cannot produce testosterone. Without this hormone, a man’s libido can decrease and it might be difficult for him to have erections. However, testosterone replacement therapy can help restore sexual function. (Click here to learn more about low testosterone and testosterone replacement therapy.)

Men who have both testicles removed also become infertile, as the body is no longer able to make sperm. Many men decide to bank sperm before surgery so that they may father biological children in the future, if they wish.

In addition to the physical aspects of sexual function, removal of one or both testicles can have some psychological and emotional effects as well. Some men develop body image issues because their genitals no longer look the same. (Some choose to have a testicular prosthesis – a false testis made of silicone – implanted at the time of surgery.)

Men who have had one or both testicles removed might also feel less masculine or anxious about how a sexual partner will react. These feelings can affect sexuality, too. Open, honest communication can help alleviate some of these anxieties. Men who need more help may benefit from seeing a counselor or sex therapist.