Will just one testicle tamper with sex life and fatherhood?

Originally Published: May 18, 2001 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: April 15, 2011
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Dear Alice,

I was just wondering if having only one testicle would affect my sex life and my ability to have any kids?

-Nineteen Year Old Male

Dear Nineteen Year Old Male,

In most cases, more than enough hormones and sperm are produced in one healthy testicle for both a healthy sex life and the ability to fertilize eggs. This is similar to people who have one lung, kidney, or ovary; only one organ is truly necessary. However, since each person is unique, your health care provider is the best source for info in your particular situation. You can find out if everything checks out physically. Medically, as long as you're healthy, and producing adequate viable sperm in your remaining testicle, your lone testicle will not impact your sex life or ability to have children. Psychologically, however, some men with one testicle experience feelings of inadequacy, loss of masculinity, or self-consciousness that can interfere with sexual functioning. Some questions to consider include: How are your erections? Have you been able to ejaculate? Have you orgasmed through masturbation? Sex? If you or your provider feels that psychological issues may be factors, sex therapy is your next step. For more information, check out the Q&As under About Sexual Difficulties section in Alice's Sexuality archive.

A man may have one testicle for a variety of reasons. Some men may have a "buried testicle." Known as cryptochidism, one or both testicles do not descend into the scrotum. This condition is generally, but not always, noticed at birth. Often an infant boy's testicle that has not descended will usually move into the scrotum on its own during the first year of life. If the undescended testicle is noticed, and has not descended during that time, surgery is performed before the boy is five years old. If the situation is not noticed or corrected, the testicle gradually withers away. Others may have a testicle removed as a result of testicular cancer, which has many causes. There's an increased risk of testicular cancer for men who have a history of an undescended testicle, whether or not they have had corrective surgery. For cosmetic reasons, or for a feeling of balance, some men may consider an implant that's surgically placed inside the scrotum to look and feel as though there are two testicles. For more info about sexuality and cancer, contact the American Cancer Society at 800.ACS.2345. They offer a free booklet, Sexuality & Cancer: For the Man Who Has Cancer, and His Partner. There's also MTV personality Tom Green's "The Tom Green Cancer Special," in which Tom candidly and humorously talks about his bout with testicular cancer, and his life before and after surgery.

Men who are self-conscious may be concerned about how a partner might react, and talking about it can feel strange and risky. If you decide to talk about your body before becoming intimate, you can say something like: "I have one testicle, in case you haven't seen that before," or "You know what they say about quality being more important than quantity? Well..." You could also bring it up if your partner's playing around down there: "Yeah, one that puts out like two, " or something like that. You don't have to say anything, and a partner who truly cares will be supportive and understanding.

Alice

April 14, 2011

21611
It's possible I was the author of this question many years ago. So wanted to provide an update! I had one of mine removed when I was two or so due to a double hernia/tumor on one testicle. I am proud...
It's possible I was the author of this question many years ago. So wanted to provide an update! I had one of mine removed when I was two or so due to a double hernia/tumor on one testicle. I am proud to say I am the father of a beautiful 20 month old daughter, so the answer for me was "no, it didn't change a thing!"

January 22, 2009

21149
To the reader:

I am in a similar situation; only one of mine "grew up" when I was a teenager, the other is, well, really very small. I am 47, and have a son (19) and daughter (14), two...

To the reader:

I am in a similar situation; only one of mine "grew up" when I was a teenager, the other is, well, really very small. I am 47, and have a son (19) and daughter (14), two really great kids. So go for it! It only takes one!

May 11, 2007

21226

Dear Alice,

I am a senior citizen who was born with an undescended testicle that is up in the body cavity and never developed, thus I have one normal testicle. When growing up, I believed...

Dear Alice,

I am a senior citizen who was born with an undescended testicle that is up in the body cavity and never developed, thus I have one normal testicle. When growing up, I believed I would never be able to marry and have children. I married at 23, have had and still have a great sex life, and have two children and five grandchildren. I am still sexually active at 67 and encourage you to not worry about it.

November 4, 2005

20956
Dear Alice,

I just had a response to this question. I was born with just one testicle in right place. Went through surgery when I was 13 trying to place the "right" testicle in the scrotum. This...

Dear Alice,

I just had a response to this question. I was born with just one testicle in right place. Went through surgery when I was 13 trying to place the "right" testicle in the scrotum. This operation was unsucessful. To this day I simply just don't know why. Anyway, I had this testicle permanently removed when I was 29. This was due to cancer risk. I am today 48, am married, and I have had to this day had no problems with my sex life and I am a father of 3. So my answer is — there is no problem only having one. It is just psychological, the fact of only having one which is a problem. Just being different "down there"...

Regards from Sweden