Monday, December 13, 2004

Get your bits out

a picture of a priapic vase

And ward off the evil eye! At least, that’s what the Romans, those superstitious fools, thought your cock did for you - kept you safe. As long as it was actually in phallus form - I think the picture above gives you a pretty good idea about what a phallus is. ;o)

The ancient Greeks even had a god called Priapus — his name giving rise to the term priapism. His erect penis was taller than his entire body. He was a protector of livestock (baa). Apparently his prodigiously large member ensured superb fertility. But why, you ask, am I mentioning all this?

Well, in medicine, there’s a discipline called urology which deals with all the medical stuff behind your urinary matters. And there’s a European Association of Urology, believe it or not. And that Association had a Historical Committee (why?!) and its Chairman, Johan Mattelaer MD, has written a very interesting paper about the phallus in art and culture.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that we all go around with erections all the time. Occasionally, it’s pleasant of course. But aside from the danger and discomfort a continuous erection would cause, gay men mostly act far too much like that’s all that’s going on in their lives anyway, and although I’m sure they could give very many fucks, I’d want to be more creative.

Talking of creation, did you know that the Ancient Egyptian creation myths include these lovely stories?

…the god Atum appeared on the Primordial Mound out of the void of Nu. As the first “thing” in the midst of nothingness, Atum relieved his loneliness by masturbating. His ejaculation resulted in the appearance of the first god and goddess, Shu and Tefnut, who became the parents of all other elements of the world. An alternate version indicates that the god Ptah, architect of the universe, maintains cosmic order through continual masturbation.

Are you shocked by that? If so, remember that you’re certainly not the first: the Victorians were so fascinated by sexual matters partly because their social mores didn’t allow them to be discussed, and so scared of sexual matters (wide–ranging link on nudity and sexuality in general) that, in the British Museum in London, some of the racier scenes on Greek vases were turned to the wall where they couldn’t be seen.

[Disturbingly, when I wandered into the kitchen mid–post, my dad was talking on the phone and said “…and they recommend superlube as the absolute best”. Erm. Fitting.]

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