STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Swedish health authorities have sparked controversy with their decision to supply free prosthetic penises that are not fully functional to transsexual men.
Ottar, a monthly magazine published by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education, said the prosthetics will be available to women seeking to undergo a sex change operation starting Jan. 1, 2009, The Local reported Thursday.
The move was designed to promote equality due to the publicly funded wigs, breast implants and hair removal operations available for transsexual women.
However, some have criticized the plan because the prosthetic penises being offered by health authorities cannot be used to urinate and cannot become erect.
"It's easy to think that it's pretty strange to approve prosthetics that can't get erect, because that is after all what penises do -- get erections. It would be appropriate to pay for those as well," said Cecilia Dhejne, a sexologist and specialist in psychiatry at Karolinska Hospital in the city of Huddinge.
Health authorities said they cannot offer free fully-functional prosthetic penises because of regulations that bar them from using taxpayer money for products or procedures aimed that are considered sexual aids.