(The Sun) - With his good looks and charming patter, it’s easy to see why Andrew Wardle is a hit with the ladies.
But while he has slept with more than 100 women, there is a secret he has kept from all his admiring pals — he was born without a penis.
Andrew’s birth defect has caused him mental anguish, even driving him to the brink of suicide.
But now he is preparing for ground-breaking surgery which will see him become one of the first men in the world to have an entirely new penis built from his own arm.
Speaking to The Sun, the 39-year-old said: “I never thought this day would come and I still can’t believe it is possible for me to actually have a fully functioning penis.
“I’ve been told that after a year, and three operations, they will be able to build one that will work in the same way as any other man’s. If it’s a success, I can finally start living like a normal man.
“Things like having sex and starting a family, something which so many people take for granted, could actually become a possibility.”
Andrew, from Stalybridge, Gtr Manchester, was born with an ectopic bladder, which meant it formed on the outside of his body.
Although he has testicles, he did not have a penis at all.
He had a successful op on his bladder but his birth defect remained.
His mum, who was just 17, was unable to cope and made the painful decision to give him up for adoption. Fortunately, Andrew was taken in by a loving couple from Wales.
Growing up he had countless kidney problems and infections and underwent 15 operations to build a tube from his bladder so he could pass water normally. Because he was in and out of hospital, he was bullied at school — although, as he has done all his life, he managed to keep his big secret from his friends and classmates.
Andrew said: “I could use the tube to use urinals and I could play football and rugby and ride my family’s horses.
“I got used to hiding it. Apart from the operations, I could live like a normal lad my age.
“It was when I got into my teens and started getting interested in girls that it became a problem.”
Andrew started to become sexually attracted to girls but the only physical sensation he felt was butterflies in his stomach.
He had his first girlfriend at 17 and, as their relationship developed, he explained his situation to her.
She was understanding and they dated for four years, having a sexual relationship where Andrew was able to make sure she was satisfied.
He said: “I was really lucky. She was a lovely girl so my first sexual encounter was good. Eventually, though, we split up.
“She wanted to experience things I was just unable to do.”
At 21 Andrew got a job at Butlins in Minehead, Somerset, and during that time he experimented with drugs such as ecstasy and LSD as a way of dealing with the psychological effects of being born without his manhood.
He said: “By taking drugs I gave myself the perfect cover.
“I’d bed girls but said things could only go so far because the drugs meant I couldn’t rise to the occasion.
“I’ve been to bed with over 100 women. Some were one-night stands, some long-term relationships. I’ve told 20 per cent of them the truth.
“The fact I didn’t just want to get my leg over made me more attractive to women. I had charm and patter because it wasn’t all about sex.”
But Andrew, whose work as a bartender, chef and security guard meant he moved around Spain and Eastern Europe, faced some negative reactions when he revealed he could not have sex.
He said: “One girl actually punched me in the face! Another girl I lived with for a year cheated on me. Whenever I told them it was a bit of a passion killer. It was horrible, I took more drugs to block out my feelings and they made me more depressed.
“I never went to the doctor, I didn’t think they could do anything.”
Two years ago Andrew hit rock bottom — and tried to take his own life with a pills overdose.
He finally decided, with the help of his sister Michelle Bailey, to get help.
He said: “I went home and saw a doctor who I’d seen when I had my operations growing up.
“She told me there had been advances in surgery that could help me and may be able to give me a fully functioning penis.”
Andrew saw a specialist at University College London who carried out tests to see if he was suitable for surgery.
He said: “Thankfully I was and they agreed to operate.
“I didn’t realise quite how rare being born with no penis was until doing my own research and discovering it affects only one in 20million men.”
Andrew hopes to have the first of three operations this summer. The 12-hour procedure will take skin, muscle and nerves from his arm to build his appendage.
The second two ops will connect the tubes inside the penis to the urethra and link up the testicles so ejaculation is possible.
He said: “That made me realise it could really happen.”
He plans to write a book about his ordeal and train as a counsellor.
He said: “For the first time in years I feel brighter about the future.”
Michelle, 45, has seen the pain her brother has endured.
She said: “Our parents have always been very open about Andrew’s disability and explained it to us all when we were little.
“Watching the anguish he has been through over the years has been hard for all of the family, but Andrew has shown so much strength and is a real inspiration.”
Kidney damage is just one of the difficulties with correcting Andrew’s condition.
Only one baby in 40,000 is born with an ectopic bladder and it is something which requires many operations to put right.
Most boys with what is often referred to as exstrophy have a very short penis, but in Andrew’s case it was absent altogether.
His surgeons must build from scratch a new penis that can pass urine, have feeling, make sex possible and look natural too.
They’ll use a large flap of forearm skin, with its blood vessels and nerves, fold it into a tube like a Swiss roll and graft it on to the pubic area.
Once the area has healed, the new penis needs a pump-operated implant to make sex a reality.
For fertility, the testicles also have to be joined up.
Things can go wrong, such as infections, but the few men who have had this op seem very satisfied with the outcome.
A potential snag is that many need more surgery if they develop urine problems or issues with the implant inside the penis.