Contents Of This Website

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The Physical and Psychological Effects Of Hypospadias
By Dominique Salm, 2003
salmdominique@hotmail.com

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From The Web Discussion Forums

Men Talk About Hypospadias

Chapter 1: General aspects of hypospadias
Chapter 2: Surgery for hypospadias
Chapter 3: Psychological, social and sexual perspectives

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Men Writing About Their Experience Of Hypospadias

Men's Personal Experiences Of Hypospadias & Photos 
More Experiences Of Hypospadias

Further Experiences Of Hypospadias & Photos
One Man's Personal Story Of Hypospadias (this page)

 

One Man's Personal Story Of Hypospadias

Men's Experiences of Hypospadias

If you'd like to submit your story and/or pictures, or contact other men with hypospadias, please email:  submissions "at" hypospadias-emotions.com (please remove the spaces and replace "at" with @ to use the email)


I would like to begin by apologizing if I should ramble on too much. It's just that I am filled with so many emotions about this subject that I'm afraid once the gates are open there will be no stopping it. I am writing to add my voice to the many that have been affected by hypospadias and who have suffered in complete silence. I was born in 1964 with what I guess would be considered a mild form of hypospadias. My urethral opening is at the junction of the shaft and the head of my penis, a subcoronal hypospadias. The glans of my penis has a deep groove on the underside and a dimple where the meatus should have been. I have a hooded foreskin that is very misshapen and fails to cover the glans completely. The foreskin appears as if cut with a crooked pair of scissors and when pulled back looks like an extra hunk of disfigured skin. The shaft of my penis is pretty much straight but is twisted slightly along its length so the glans appears as if rotated on the shaft. I can urinate while standing but my aim has never been very good as the stream goes down and at an angle. Sometimes the urine sprays in an odd pattern that makes it difficult to control and I was often chastised as a child for not being able to hit the toilet bowl and making a mess.

As you may have guessed my hypospadias was never corrected and I do not know if correction was ever discussed. I grew up in a "normal" family in the suburbs of Detroit. My parents both worked and I never wanted for anything, my younger brother and I were loved and very well cared for. We lived a typical middle class existence in a nice house that was in a good neighborhood. My parents provided my brother and me with a very stable environment growing up and did a good job of teaching us right from wrong. I should have been very happy and secure in who I was but even as a child I always felt somehow different and very insecure about myself, I know I was always very timid and shy.

My brother is now happily married with two kids, but for me life would not turn out so good. Discovery of the difference that would shape my life came in the sixth grade during Sex Ed class. It was then that I realized my penis was not the way it should be. It didn't look anything like the diagram of a normal penis that was shown in the booklet handed out in class. I remember thinking at first the booklet was wrong, but I soon realized it was my penis that was wrong, and not the booklet. I came to understand that my urethra was in the wrong place and that my foreskin did not cover the end of my penis the way it should. From that moment I became very aware and self-conscience about my penis being different.

This happened at what I believe was a critical point in a young boy's life, I know I was never the same after that. I remember feeling confused and wondering why I was different from all the other boys. I compared myself to the diagram and read the little booklet over and over hoping it would give me some answers to my dilemma, but of coarse the little booklet couldn't help me. I never discussed my concerns about my penis with the teacher or my parents, I suppose I was too ashamed and embarrassed. I do remember asking my mom "why I wasn't circumcised?" I don't recall her exact answer but I remember it was very short and vague.

She said something about the doctor and my foreskin and that is about all, I never asked anything about it again. I still have the little booklet to this day. I never knew the word hypospadias until I was well into my thirties. I came across it quite by accident while surfing the web. The photo of the penis shown on the web site looked exactly like mine, the caption read "Misplaced meatus, common birth defect". If what I had was so common why hadn't I ever heard of it before? I had always thought I was the only one born with a penis different from everyone else, now I knew that what I had was a birth defect and that I was not the only one who was affected by this deformity. I thought it was strange that no one had ever discussed this with me, not my parents, not my doctor, no one. As I continued to search out as much information about hypospadias as I could find many questions raced through my head.

Why was I born this way? Why had my parents never talked to me about this? What had the doctor told my parents about my penis? Why had my doctor never mentioned it to me or at least asked if I was having any problems? Did everyone just think it would be fine and that there was no need to say or do anything? Did they think I would just go through life oblivious to the fact that I was born with a deformed penis? I just couldn't understand how all of them could leave me in the dark that way. I have many questions I would like to ask my parents but I know it would be an uncomfortable discussion for them. I can imagine my father saying nothing, probably wishing he were anywhere else, and my mother telling me "it is just the way you were born, it was no big deal, be thankful it wasn't something worse".

No big deal? I should be thankful? Unbelievable! Anyway I'm not sure the answers to my questions would make any difference now. I know many would say that I should talk to them but I would probably only succeed in worsening an already strained relationship with my parents. I suppose if given the opportunity I would want to know, why they had decided not to discuss it with me? What if any medical treatment I received as a child? What advise they received from the doctor? And, was there ever any discussion of surgical correction? I don't know why I have this hunger for information that I know won't change anything, but I suppose it's an attempt to figure out what happened to me. I have searched through my old baby stuff looking for any information about my penis but found nothing. My mom kept a baby's book for me that has lots of things like my first word, when I took my first steps and that I was born with a plugged tear duct, but no mention of my hypospadias. I wondered why?

Did she think it wasn't important or was she trying to hide it from me? And finally I would like to know who else knew about my deformity? Was I paraded around like a little freak so everyone could see the boy with the deformed penis? The thought of everyone looking at me and saying, "oh the poor little kid" is horrifying! Throughout my teenage years and my adult life I have pretty much been a loner. I consider myself heterosexual but like so many others with this deformity I too must confess to a curiosity, sometimes an obsession with the normal penis. This causes me to question my sexuality, something I have struggled with my entire adult life. I have never been with a man in that way and really have had no desire to do so. However there were instances of adolescent exploration with a couple of boys I went to school with. Those experiences are still very powerful memories for me, attached to those memories are feelings of shame and quilt and yes to this day feelings of envy.

In a way I guess I regret those experiences now, they really only managed to confirm my feelings of being different and reinforced my insecurities with the size and appearance of my penis. I developed a feeling of being inferior to other men and a deep seated envy of those born with a normal penis. I have dated a few women in my life but usually ended the relationships before the discussion of sex ever came up. I have always had a fear of being intimate with someone because I have no confidence in myself or my ability to be a good sex partner. I have always been afraid of being laughed at and humiliated so I have avoided situations where I would have to expose myself. I dated a couple of girls in high school but it never went beyond kissing. I hated changing in the boy's locker room in high school gym because I was terrified of being pointed out as different from the other boys. For many reasons my teenage years were rough ones.

I know I suffered through bouts of depression because this is when I really started worrying about being different and feeling inadequate. Again I never discussed those feelings with anyone, and no one seem to care that I was failing in school and that I had no social life. I pretty much suffered in silence. After high school I joined the service and did a four-year enlistment in the Navy. I wanted to get away from home and I needed to try and discover who I was. While I was in the service and in my early twenties I started dating a girl I had met through some friends. We had been dating for about a month or so but had not engaged in sex or even discussed it up to that point. One night we were sitting around making out when out of nowhere she says to me that it didn't matter how big I was down there. I immediately thought it must, why else would she bring it up? Did she sense my fear of intimacy so she assumed I was feeling uneasy about the size of my penis? With feelings of inadequacy haunting me and believing there was no way I could measure up to her expectations I ended the relationship with her a couple of days later.

I just could not get past the thoughts that she somehow knew I had a small and deformed penis and that she really wanted a bigger man. It took me quite a while to get over that experience but finally after several months I started dating a girl I had met through her parents. They had a band that played at a local club I often went to with friends. We hadn't been going out for very long when she began pressuring me for sex. I kept putting her off for weeks and then the one and only time we did try to make love I was unable to get an erection, any self-confidence I may have had died right then. My worst nightmare had come true. At the time she assured me it was no big deal ( I didn't believe her), but she obviously saw me as sexually inadequate because she ended the relationship shortly after that.

At first I understood why she did it, although she never said, but I knew she needed a man that could perform and one that could make her feel attractive. Later I hated her because she had dumped me when I was at my most vulnerable and feeling terrible about myself, when I really needed someone. She tried in vain to contact me a few months later but there was no way I could ever face her again. The humiliation of that experience cut very deep and I have not dated anyone since. After I was discharged from the navy I returned home to Michigan and spent the next few months relaxing, trying to decide what I was going to do with my life. I finally got a pretty good job and eventually bought a house. I spent the next several years buried in my work, my home and my hobbies, I avoided having any social life. Although there have been opportunities for me to start dating again I have always shied away from them, I decided I just couldn't put myself through that again.

Now I am over 40 years old and still a virgin, I fully expect to die alone, never having known what it is like to make love to a woman. I will never know the pleasures of being married or having a family. Whether it is true or not I have convinced myself that no women would ever want a man like me. I use to tell myself that everything would be ok and that someday I would find someone, but that hope has long since faded. I just can't see myself ever being able to open up to anyone. Anyway I feel it is probably for the best that I remain alone, it isn't fair to another person to start a relationship with them only to run away before it gets too serious. And then there was the question of children. If by some miracle I were able, I would never want to chance bringing a child into the world. I would be too afraid of having a son born with this deformity. I feel it would be selfish and irresponsible to do so knowing that hypospadias could be genetic. Knowing what kind of life he would face, I just couldn't do it.

I often wonder what my family and friends think about me never having established a serious relationship? Do they think I am homosexual, just a loner, or do they know the reason but don't say anything? I avoid social gatherings and family functions because I always feel everyone is either looking at me or talking about me. I think they are probably wondering why I am not married or at least seeing someone. Then there are the ones that just come right up and ask, "Why aren't you married yet"? I usually say something like "I just haven't found the right women" when what I would really like to say is "my penis is pathetic and no women would ever want me, now go away". My mother use to ask me when I was going to find someone or did I want to die a lonely old man, but I think my parents has given up on me ever finding someone. I'm sure they see me as a failure. Friends in my life have come and gone. Like the majority of my relationships I end up pushing them away. I don't know exactly why I do this but it usually happens around a time when I'm feeling very uneasy about myself and sliding into another bout of depression.

To this day there are times when I avoid contact with my friends, sometimes for months at a time, mostly because I want to be alone. I don't know why I choose to distance myself when I probably need someone the most but that's just the way it is. Although they don't know it friends can really cause me to feel bad about myself. They like to talk about sex and relationships and all the things that are absent in my life. I am sure they must wonder why I never talk about past relationships or why I'm not with someone, of course I could never tell them the real reason. I don't have many friends as it is and I'm afraid if they knew about my situation they would see me as some sort of freak. Currently I have one friend that I am very close with, he is married with two beautiful children, spending time with them gives me some sense of normality and belonging in my life. I would be too afraid of losing that if they knew the truth about my situation. I really envy my friend, not only because he is blessed with a beautiful family but because as a man he is very sure of who and what he is. He has confidence in himself and in everything he does.

My friend is all the things I know I will never be. I know I am not a handsome man, nor would I consider myself blessed with masculine features. Add to that a penis which is abnormal both in looks and function and you can begin to understand why I am filled with so much self doubt. One thing that all men have in common is a need or an ability to feel pride and confidence in his own body. This deformity I was born with affects the way I see myself and only those born with hypospadias can understand the anguish I feel whenever I look at my penis. I have obsessed over its disfigured and hideous appearance most of my life. There are times when I feel totally disconnected from it because not only is my deformed penis ugly but it is also very small. I have read many times that this is not uncommon to men with hypospadias, just another cruel consequence of being born this way. I have always believed that my deformity was responsible for my below average size and those statements confirmed what I had suspected all along.

Some would argue that, "size doesn't matter", of coarse it matters. Size gives a man confidence in himself and women are attracted to men with confidence. A major part of that confidence comes from having a normal penis. The small size of my penis has always been an issue with me and I know it is one of the reasons I fear intimacy. I am terrified of being seen as less than a man, in fact I have convinced myself my penis makes me less than a man. I know from experience one of the worst things you can do to a man is to tease him about having a small penis, something that has actually happened to me twice in my life. Once when I was very young but it is etched into my memory like it was yesterday. I know it was only meant as a joke and that no harm was intended but I have never forgotten it. I can remember going through puberty thinking and hoping that my penis would grow, but of course it never caught up to the rest of me. In addition to being small and deformed my penis has never been good at achieving or maintaining an erection, even as a young adult. If this is a result of my deformity or just something to do with my brain I do not know, my guess would be that it is a little of both. I have never seen a doctor about it nor discussed it with anyone, I have had to accept that this is just the way it is.

I look at my penis and I hate it. I think to myself how could I ever hope to make love to a woman with such a small and pathetic thing as that. I don't think any women would settle for a man with a penis like mine. I know when it comes to women I could never hope to compete against other men. For me having a small and deformed penis has destroyed any sense of being masculine, of being a man. After reading some of the horror stories on the internet I would never consider having my hypospadias corrected. I am glad that in this area my parents elected to do nothing. I don't see how going through surgery after surgery, only to end up with something worse than when I started, would have made my life any better. I don't trust doctors, their motives or their techniques. I know that doctors cannot give me what I should have been born with. Even if they were able to improve the appearance and function of my penis they would never be able to fix how I feel about it. In my mind it would always be a small-deformed penis that only causes me shame and embarrassment. I feel rather than performing a multitude of botched surgeries maybe the doctors of this world should focus on finding the cause of hypospadias.

Instead they try to clean up the mess after the fact, when they know nothing they do will ever set it right. Doctors still haven't figured out that all their specialized techniques cannot make a person whole inside, that the feelings that come with this deformity cannot be reached by any scalpel. Then after they have performed their so called magic, I'm sure they sit around and congratulate themselves while the poor kid with bandages on his penis lies in their hospital bed an emotional mess. When I think of the future generations of young men who will face this cruel deformity I cuss their uncaring and incompetent doctors and then I cry for them. I myself have not been to see a doctor in many years. One reason is I am not thrilled at the prospect of having to expose myself, the other is I hold a lot of resentment towards our family doctor. I guess I feel he never did anything to help me and like my parents he buried his head in the sand and then washed his hands of me. If I had been born with a deformed foot or hand would he have treated it the same way? The try and hide it and hope it goes away method. Was my medical care based solely on the fact that I could stand up to pee and nothing else?

Don't get me wrong, I am glad my doctor never handed me over to a so-called surgeon to have my little penis mutilated, but there was nothing else he could have done for me? Maybe some explanation of what I had and maybe some reassurance that he would help me in anyway he could, but instead he did nothing? He obviously knew enough about hypospadias not to have me circumcised, probably because he must have thought that there might be complications in my future. But I often feel that he got the question of circumcision wrong too, only because my misshapen foreskin is a constant reminder of this deformity I was born with. Sometimes I feel if my doctor really wanted to help me he should have told my parents "sorry there is nothing we can do", and then killed me at birth so as to spare me the misery of a horrible life.

It burns my ass because I believe he knew what challenges I would face as an adult, and still he did nothing. No one has to tell me I am an emotional mess, I know I am. I have days were I'm ok with my life, and then there are others when the feelings of emptiness and being incomplete as a man are so strong that I struggle with thoughts of suicide. My mood is constantly bouncing between depression and anger and sometimes the hurt inside is so strong that the tears flow freely. There are times when I think to myself "can this really be happening to me"? I know some would say that it is only a penis and that I should get on with my life, but how does one do that? I feel anyone who would say this has no clue about the things men with hypospadias face every minute of everyday. The self doubt, the self hatred, hypospadias comes with a lot more than just a deformed penis and I truly understand when others talk about isolation and loneliness, I often feel all alone in my existence. I have to laugh when someone asks me if I believe in God. How can I believe in a god that would allow people to suffer?

If he is the merciful God everyone says he is than why? Why was I born this way, what purpose does it serve? Some would suggest that I should see a therapist about my problem. I can't even talk about my feelings with the people I'm closest with let alone a complete stranger. Besides what is a therapist going to tell me that I don't already know? That I'm depressed, that I need to stop defining myself by my penis or that life is about more than the thing hanging between my legs. And then what, after he makes me cry he'll prescribe some mood altering drug so that I walk around in a medicated fog, then he can pat himself on the back and tell everyone he has cured me? No thank you! I really don't see how someone who has no idea about the feelings you have or of the struggles you face can tell you how you should think.

I don't believe therapists really care about you or your problems only that you pay up at the end of the session. Like doctors a therapist cannot give me what I really need to feel better about myself. All they can do is try to mask the problem and hope to prevent your inevitable emotional train wreck. I don't believe you can ever really learn to accept your condition as "just one part of your overall life experience". Walking around and pretending everything is all right doesn't make it so! Some might say that I sound bitter, and they would be right! I am not sure I would ever consider joining a group like the HEA. I understand it probably does a lot of good for some but it is not going to change how we were born. It doesn't make me feel any better to know that there are many more like me out there, that hypospadias is a form of intersex or that thousands have suffered at the hands of incompetent doctors.

I guess one of the toughest questions that every man born with hypospadias faces is "why did this happen to me"? I often sit and wonder was it genetic, just an unlucky draw of the cards or was there something in the environment responsible for my deformity? I guess in my heart I believe it was something environmental that did this to me. I ask myself, "Was my mom exposed to something"? "Was she on some medication that might have done this"? Maybe a birth control pill taken after I was conceived? WHY? The question runs in my head over and over when I know I will never know the answer, and why do I wonder about this? I know that even if I knew the answer it wouldn't change anything. Am I only looking to point a finger at something or someone so I can say, "it's your fault I was born this way"? I don't know the answer to that question either. Am I angry with my parents? Not for the reasons one might think. I don't blame them for my hypospadias, I realize that would just be stupid. Do I wish they would have educated themselves about the deformity and its effects? Yes!

Do I wish they would have done more than just ignore it? Yes! But I am sure that part of that blame belongs to our doctor, I believe he failed both my parents and me. However, I am angry my parents never talked to me about my deformity or offered me any reassurance that everything would be all right. Instead they completely avoided the subject, let me discover it on my own and then they sent me off into the world completely unprepared to deal with it emotionally. I can't believe they never wondered or asked me if my penis was presenting me with any problems. Surely they must have known that there might be issues, if not mentally than physically. And I am disappointed my parents have never figured out why I'm the way I am. They have seen the mess my life has become and yet I truly believe they are completely oblivious as to the reason why. I know they haven't forgotten I was born with a deformed penis because just recently my mother managed to throw it in my face. My Mom was telling me she had talked to my aunt about my cousin's new baby on the way and that there was concern about the baby's development. My aunt had asked my mom if she knew of anyone in the family that was born with something wrong with their penis. Why my aunt had asked my mom about it I do not know, but I suspect my aunt must know something about my situation. Anyway my mom said she told her "no" that she didn't know of anyone (I didn't believe her) and then my mom says to me "well except for you".

It hit me like a huge slap in the face. How could she bring in up like that when they had never told me anything about it! I just stood there, I didn't say a word, and neither did my father. It still makes me angry. As I stated before I am sure my parents are ignorant of the struggles I face because of my deformity, they would probably be shocked to learn how I have felt most of my life. I think they probably thought my deformity was no big deal and if they didn't discuss it I would grow up none the wiser. Who knows maybe that's what the doctor advised them to do, and we all know how well that turned out. Many times I have thought of unloading my frustrations on them, even yelling at them "Did you really think this wouldn't affect my life"? Although it might make me feel better for a short while it would probably be devastating for them, and that would not be my reason for doing it. I just want them to know how being born this way has affected me, maybe then they would understand me better. Then again sometimes I have to wonder if my parents know more about my situation then they let on. I say this because of different comments I have gotten in the past. One time my mom was saying to me how I had better get busy and find a wife because I didn't even know if I could have children. I asked her "why wouldn't I be able to have children"? She didn't answer me, of course.

Presently my relationship with my parents is not as good as it should be, mostly because of choices I have made in my life but also because I have distanced myself from them. I guess I hold some resentment about the way they handled my situation and the more I learn about the condition I was born with the more that resentment grows. When I read about other men's experiences with hypospadias it always amazes me how much all of us are alike. Even though our experiences and situations are different we all seem to have the same feelings and face many of the same challenges. I knew this the first time I read someone else's letter because it seemed as if he were talking about me. This is why I am disgusted that so many of us grew up believing we were the only ones born this way and that many of us never knew the word hypospadias until we discovered it on our own. It was all like some dirty little secret that society was trying to hide. It makes me angry that so many have suffered so much.

I know there has been some debate on whether or not hypospadias is a form of intersex. I for one believe that even in its mildest forms hypospadias falls into that category. I don't say this based on my knowledge of the subject but rather because of the feelings I have of not being complete as a man. I have had to face the fact that my development into a male was interrupted for some reason and therefore I was left somewhere between two points. For obvious reasons it has been very difficult to admit this to myself but based on what I know about myself I believe it to be true. It's a cold and lonely existence when you see yourself as inferior and different from the group you want so badly to be a part of. When you are convinced every other man is more capable and self assured because he has a normal penis. Hypospadias has affected me not only in my ability to establish a meaningful relationship but in all aspects of my life. It has kept me in a pit of depression and self hatred with no way out.

Because of my hypospadias I don't take care of myself, I don't seem to care about what happens to me anymore and I don't like what I've become. It has kept me from challenging myself and pursuing things that would better my life or things that might make me happy. I guess I feel what's the point since I know that if everything else in my life was perfect it would make no difference in the way I see myself. I really have no sense of who or what I am and no hope of ever feeling complete as a man. I only know I have a constant indescribable yearning to be something or someone I'm not and I often wonder what my life would have been like had I not been born with this deformity. I have tried to live my life the best I can, but lately I just don't find it that easy anymore. I no longer have youth on my side and it only makes me think more about what might have been and how my life was a waste. Many times I have thought of ending my suffering because I just can't take it anymore. I hate myself, not because of my thoughts of suicide but because up to this point I haven't had the guts to do it. Why don't I do it? Am I afraid of dying? I have honestly tried in the past to keep myself busy, to try and take the focus off my problems. But as anyone affected by this deformity can tell you, Hypospadias is a demon, a demon you never overcome, and one you end up facing all alone.