Foto: tomada de Isto é.

“The devil’s doorbell”: sexual pleasure of people with vulva

“Some doctors, like Philippe Tissié, warned that the bicycle could cause abortions and sterility, and other colleagues claimed that this indecent instrument induced depravity, because it gave pleasure to women who rubbed their private parts against the seat.”

The above quote is an excerpt from Alarm: Bicycles! of the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, who ironized in that short story about the sexist taboos on the vulva. He not only pointed out the deformation of the sciences towards a misogynistic and patriarchal understanding of women’s bodies, but also reaffirmed the only destiny of our sexual organs: to procreate.

Although the French neuropsychiatrist developed his work between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, the consideration of women as inferior beings and with roles attributed “by nature” (among which sexual desire/pleasure were not found) preceded him, and for a lot.

In Mayan history and cultures, Xtab was the divinity of the gallows, the goddess of the hanged, of suicidal people. With colonization, its meaning changed and it ceased to be a protective entity to become a kind of curse-woman: Xtabay became a beautiful woman who bewitched men with her powers of seduction, making them fall at her feet and then lead them to perdition. She was thus erected a bad woman / deity, for being libidinous and sinful.

Another legend tells that the myth of the Xtabay arises as a result of the differences between two sisters. One given over to the pleasures of the flesh, and another chaste and pure. History that was also manipulated by the priests of the colonization to impose discipline on the conquered peoples in the order of “good and evil” and to promote submission as salvation through the Mayan symbology itself. But, above all, they were legends used to discipline women, subordinating them to “virginity” as a virtue, and to repress sexual pleasures through shame, guilt and punishment.

In another order of time and space, Aristotle and Galen affirmed that the “female organs” were a lesser form of those of men, therefore, women were also something “lesser” than men. 1.

The dichotomous coloniality of gender, which includes the denial of the sexual pleasures of people with vulvas and, therefore, the affirmation of their reproductive destiny, was categorically instituted through the sciences. At the same time that in the eighteenth century the new theories of knowledge regarding the body developed the idea of ​​”scientific race” (arguing that biological differences are opposed to the principle of “natural equality”, for example, that blacks had nerves stronger and coarser than Europeans because they had smaller brains, therefore they were inferior), they also developed the “scientific” argument that the womb naturally predisposes women to home life two.

The womb, which until the 18th century had been a “negative phallus”, came to have a name and was called a uterus, “an organ whose fibers, nerves and vascularization provided a naturalistic explanation and justification for the social status of women” 3. In fact, this totalizing formulation of the two sexes, and one superior to the other, did not respond to the interests of scientific progress but to a political context of reaffirmation of social hierarchies (between men, between men and women, between existences classified as non- people because of their race, ethnicity or gender identity, because of their class or origin, etc.). Although we start from the understanding that political interest in access to power has determined a whole series of stratifications of human groups in (almost) all times, the truth is that their scientific, moral and religious reification occurs with greater deployment with modernity .

Quoting Thomas Laqueur, beginning in the 18th century, the two sexes were invented as a new foundation for gender, and women’s bodies had to carry a new meaning that weighs down to the present day. The “female orgasm” was displaced into the arena of psychology as an empty signifier to which content would have to be assigned. Either we women lacked “passion”, or we had an extraordinary capacity (and greater than men) to “control the bestial, irrational and potentially destructive fury of sexual pleasure” 4. Hence, the orgasm also became one of the key cards of the “new” sexual and gender differences.

Such has been the battlefield of pleasure for people with vulvas, and its redefinition as part of the social imaginary that inferiorizes women, that arousal before intercourse is still linked or denied (depending on the case) in order to achieve sexual intercourse. pregnancy. Even until the thirties of the last century it was “prescribed” that, if the couple wanted to have a boy, it was best to avoid the “female orgasm” because this increased the chances of conceiving a girl. 5. It is important to remember that this reading must be accompanied by the interpretation that sons continue to be preferred over girls.

Sigmund Freud himself, framed in modern psychology and father of psychoanalysis, encouraged the construction of a psychological female determined by her biological sex, alluding that “the ordinary human was a male; the woman was, according to his definition, an abnormal human being who did not have a penis and whose psychological structure was supposedly centered on the struggle to compensate for said deficiency” 6. She even endorsed that the clitoris was an immature penis and that women only reached orgasms through penetration.

These historical and current scientific, religious and moral plots explain to a large extent the fact that today the practice of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM). Despite the fact that the United Nations has pointed out that FGM has no medical or scientific foundation but rather a patriarchal one and that it constitutes a violation of human rights, the so-called “bell of the devil” and its sinful rhetoric still haunt our lives. .

Although FGM is always related to the current traditions of the African continent, the truth is that this practice there is a record from the year 4 thousand BC in Egypt, according to findings of infibulation (narrowing of the vaginal opening with a covering seal that is formed by cutting and repositioning the labia minora or labia majora) in the body of mummified women. Also in ancient Rome a fibula (kind of brooch) was placed on the genitals of slaves to keep them closed and control their sexuality (hence the term infibulation).

FGM finds traces in Mexica myths intervened by colonization, such as one of the legends that tells of the creation of cempasúchil or suchil flowers, the product of a bat biting the genitals of the Goddess Xochiquetzal (symbol of the young woman in full sexual potency, related to love, sensuality, sexual desire and pleasures) who tears off her vulva and when washing it, flowers are born. Also have been verified in Australia accounts of circumcision in the 19th century in the Arunta tribe; in Colombia, Peru and Brazil since before of the conquest; etc.

Even in Europe and the United States, in the 19th century, FGM was performed to prevent or cure epilepsy, catalepsy, the so-called “hysteria” or “degeneration” in women. For example, the English doctor Issac Brown performed ablations or clitoridectomies as part of European medicine protocols to treat cases of hysteria, migraine and epilepsy. Although it has been his name that has transcended, there were several doctors and clinics that took on these practices.

It wasn’t until 1998 that it was known what the exact anatomy of the clitoris was and what it looks like. Thanks to the studies published by the Australian urologist Helen O’Connell It was learned that the clitoris is 10 times larger than its visible external part, reaching between 10 and 12 centimeters, and that it has between 2 and 3 times more nerve endings than the penis (approximately 8,000). In addition, it revealed that it is the only organ dedicated exclusively to pleasure and also that it is the only one that produces orgasms, so the Freudian theory is discarded. Even the famous G-spot that is stimulated through the vaginal wall is nothing more than the back of the clitoris.

Despite advances in the dissemination of this type of information, it has not been enough against the historical and cultural structures of patriarchy. Unweaving the web of assigned inferiorization, of moral guilt and shame in the face of sexual desire, of religious punishment, of reproductive compulsiveness, of obedience to the masculine carnal appetite and of the annulling mandate of our own sexual-affective demonstrations, is a titanic task. As long as we don’t, at a minimum, have comprehensive sexuality and gender education programs, women (particularly cisgender and heterosexual) will continue to have orgasm gaps.

A published study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior showed that, while 95% of heterosexual men reach orgasms in their sexual encounters, women of the same condition do so in 65%. In addition, there are taboos regarding women’s masturbation, scientific gaps in studies on women’s pleasure, pathologization, a sexual culture centered on men’s pleasure and subordinated to him, despite the fact that only one in five women reach orgasms by penetration.

The origin of the Female Orgasm Day has been very controversial. In the first place, because the name does not assimilate diverse gender identities such as trans men with vulvas. And, secondly, because it would have been the initiative of a Brazilian councilor to address this problem as a public health issue for women to fight for their sexual pleasure and for society in general to understand this asymmetry. Despite these discrepancies, the truth is that women and people with vulvas continue to be denied sexual pleasure, or we continue to be socially stigmatized when we express ourselves contrary to taboos and other macho mandates regarding full sexuality. .

Getting out of the patriarchal molds a little, carries the risk of being branded as “crazy”, “sluts”, “bitches”, “whores”, “whores”, “degenerates” and “shameless”. It has already been said, female circumcision, rape between couples, sexual torture, etc., persist. The idea persists that we are the cause of the tragedies of men, surely due to the “cursed” power of our vulvas. That is why we must eliminate them, deny them or repress our desire. “Like Eve, like Pandora, Tlazolteotl was to blame for the perdition of men; and the women who were born in his day lived condemned to pleasure”. Galeano ironizes again in another of his stories.

Not for nothing the “Sexual Liberation” was an icon of feminist struggles and for women’s rights from the sixties.

And, finishing this text, I remembered the first poem I wrote about the sexual pleasure of women and people with vulvas. Just to remember the power of disobedience and, also, the love for ourselves:

She masturbates alone in front of the mirror.

Width and height shows him all his humanity,

and his demons.

She looks pleased with herself,

moans, and plays in circles,

she bites her lower lip,

as it bites the figs,

and turns to look splendid and possessed.

Open your throat like a wolf

chair legs creak,

and the world shakes.

The neighbors already know that someone died of happiness.

Already stripped, she half-dresses,

close,

one more time,

the door.

Throw the keys in the trash

and out,

powerful and vivid,

to conquer the city that condemns her.

***

Grades:

1 Thomas Laquer, The construction of sex. Body and gender from the Greeks to Freud1990.

two Laqueur, 1990, p. 267-268

3 Laqueur, 1990, p. 262

4 Laqueur, 1990, p. 259

5 Laqueur, 1990, p.260

6 Gerda Legner, The Origin of Patriarchy

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