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Vagina dentata

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Vagina dentata

A spiked Venetian chastity belt.

Vagina dentata (Latin for toothed vagina) describes a folk tale in which a woman's vagina is said to contain teeth, with the associated implication that sexual intercourse might result in injury, emasculation or castration for the man involved.

In folklore

Such folk stories are frequently told as cautionary tales warning of the dangers of unknown women and to discourage rape.[1]

Erich Neumann relays one such myth in which "a fish inhabits the vagina of the Terrible Mother; the hero is the man who overcomes the Terrible Mother, breaks the teeth out of her vagina, and so makes her into a woman".[2]

The legend also appears in the mythology of the Chaco and Guiana tribes of South America. In some versions, the hero leaves one tooth.[3]

Hinduism

In Hinduism, the asura Andhaka, son of Shiva and Parvati (but not aware of it), is killed by Shiva when he tries to force the disguised Shiva into surrendering Parvati. Andhaka's son Adi, also an asura, takes the form of Parvati to seduce and kill Shiva with a toothed vagina in order to avenge Andhaka, but is also slain.[4]

Shintoism

In Shintoism the Ainu legend is that a sharp-toothed demon hid inside the vagina of a young woman and emasculated two young men on their wedding nights.[5] Consequently the woman sought help from a blacksmith who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon's teeth.[6][7] The legendary iron phallus is considered that enshrined at the Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki, Japan, and there the popular Festival of the Steel Phallus (かなまら祭り) is held each spring.[8][9][10][11] Also, prostitutes considered that praying at that shrine protected them against sexually transmitted diseases.[12]

Metaphorical usage

In her controversial best-seller Sexual Personae (1991), Camille Paglia wrote:

The toothed vagina is no sexist hallucination: every penis is made less in every vagina, just as mankind, male and female, is devoured by mother nature.[13]

In his book The Wimp Factor, Stephen J. Ducat expresses a similar view, that these myths express the threat sexual intercourse poses for men who, although entering triumphantly, always leave diminished.[14]

Medical

In rare instances, teeth may be found in a vagina. [1][15][16]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Rankin, Lissa (2010). What's Up Down There?: Questions You'd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend.  
  2. ^ Neumann, Erich; translated by Ralph Manheim (1955). The Great Mother. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 168. 
  3. ^ Leach, Maria (1972). "vagina dentata". Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. entry by Erminie W. Voegelin. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. p. 1152.  
  4. ^ O'Flaherty, Wendy Doniger (1981). Śiva: The Erotic Ascetic. London & New York: Oxford University Press. p. 188.  
  5. ^ "Kanamara Matsuri 2014: What You Should Know About Japan's Penis Festival (NSFW PHOTOS)". huffingtonpost.ca. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  6. ^ Chamberlain, B. H. "The Island of Women". Aino Folk-Tales, 1888. pp. vii, 37.
  7. ^ "Metropolis - Japan Travel: Kawasaki - Heads up". web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  8. ^ "Dammit, we missed The Festival of the Steel Phallus in Japan this weekend - Cosmopolitan". cosmopolitan.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  9. ^ Dominique Mosbergen. "Japan's Annual Penis Festival Is As Phallic As You'd Expect (PHOTOS)". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  10. ^ Times LIVE. "Japanese festival celebrates the penis - Times LIVE". timeslive.co.za. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  11. ^ "BBC - Travel - Slideshow - Ten events not to miss in April". web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  12. ^ "Kanamara Matsuri: When Does Japan's Penis Festival Start? (NSFW PHOTOS)". huffingtonpost.ca. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  13. ^ Paglia, Camille (1991). Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, NY:Vintage; p. 47
  14. ^ Ducat, Stephen J. (2004). The Wimp Factor. Boston: Beacon Press. pp. 115–149. 
  15. ^ "Dermoid cyst of the ovary - Stock Image M850/0464 - Science Photo Library". Sciencephoto.com. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  16. ^ "Dermoid cyst of the ovary definition - Medical Dictionary: Definitions of Popular Terms Defined on MedTerms". Medterms.com. 2013-10-30. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 

External links

  • Dr. Dean Edell Health Central
  • Article at BBC - h2g2
  • Artist's vision of Vagina Dentata by a Czech fine art photographer Jan Krasňan (from his series created in October 2010)
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