John Wayne Bobbitt suffered what was, to most men, the worst possible attack – having his penis sliced clean off.
His prospects of surviving, let alone experiencing the joys of a fully-functioning manhood, looked incredibly bleak as he lost consciousness and began to lose vast quantities of blood.
But shocking doctors and all who have followed the now infamous case, Mr Bobbitt, 46, went on to make a full recovery, has since slept with around 70 women – even worked as a porn star – and is now a devout Christian and hoping to marry for the third time.
While he would not wish his horrific ordeal – which still gives him nightmares 20 years after it happened – upon anybody, Mr Bobbitt cannot deny it has transformed his life.
Speaking to The Sun, he said: ‘The doctors told me I would never be able to have sex again because my injuries were so bad. But I’ve proved them wrong time and time again. I believe I’ve slept with 70 women since the incident.’
He added: ‘Being the most famous man to have his penis chopped off does have its advantages. It definitely has not hurt my love life – in fact it improved it.’
It all began two decades ago, on June 23, 1993 – a terrifying moment that will remain sealed in Mr Bobbitt’s memories forever.
He had been out drinking with friends in Virginia and came home to his then-wife Lorena. They started to row.
A court later heard that she claimed he tried to rape her, but Mr Bobbitt was acquitted of this.
After he fell asleep, Lorena went out to the kitchen and chose her weapon – an eight-inch knife. She then returned to the bedroom and sliced off his penis. In a rage, she jumped in the car and drove off, throwing the severed end out of the window.
To this day, Mr Bobbitt still remembers the shuddering pain; he still dreams of the moment the cold knife carved through his penis until the last two-and-a-half inches were completely severed.
The former US Marine recalls seeing torrents of blood gush from his groin before losing consciousness. He next woke momentarily in hospital, about to enter surgery.
Fortunately, realizing her error, Lorena had called the emergency services and a painstaking search had found his penis in a field.
Doctors worked for 10 hours re-joining his detached penis, carefully stitching together multiple nerve endings to give him the best possible chance of regaining some feeling.
After the operation, they told him he would never be able to have sex again. He had a catheter for two months and it took two years for his penis to fully heal, but incredibly, it was only three weeks after the op that he began to feel a tingling sensation in his re-attached penis.
He was so excited by it, he called his mother.
It would be just three months after the surgery that Mr Bobbitt first had sex again, after meeting a girl in a bar.
Frightened he wouldn’t be able to perform, Mr Bobbitt was relieved to discover he was still capable of having sex; it ‘wasn’t 100 per cent, but we did OK,’ he said.
It didn’t take long before Mr Bobbitt was making the most of his miracle penis, and became a global celebrity as a result. He appeared in various news media and radio shows, talking about his experience.
One radio show even offered to pay for him to undergo penis enlargement surgery, which Mr Bobbitt says he jumped at.
The second three-hour op added an extra two inches to the length and made it thicker. Bursting with confidence, Mr Bobbitt went on to form a band called The Severed Parts, moved to Las Vegas and starred in a number of adult sex films, including one called Frankenpenis.
His celebrity lifestyle caught up with him however and he spiralled onto a dark path. In 1994 Mr Bobbitt was jailed for 15 days for assaulting his then-fiance Kristina Elliott. They never married.
He went on to marry two other women – a businesswoman in 2001 to whom he was wed for just 23 days; and a woman in 2002 who he was also accused of assaulting. This marriage ended after two years.
Today, Mr Bobbitt insists his wayward life is all behind him; he has returned to his home town of Niagara Falls in New York; is a regular church-goer; makes a living as a carpenter and limo-driver and has finally found love.
Marie Basile, 43, is a childhood friend; the two are planning to get hitched soon.
He is also in the process of researching and writing a book on men who have suffered the same kind of attack. He says since 1836 until his case in 1993, he has found 19 documented cases of similar penis-severing attacks.
Since his case, however, there have been 121 others – many of which have been copycat cases.
But perhaps not all have had such fortunate outcomes. Mr Bobbitt told The Sun: ‘Obviously I would have preferred not to go through all that pain and suffering. But being famous for my penis has given me opportunities I could not have ever imagined.’