Marie Bonaparte helped Sigmund Freud escape the Nazis when Germany annexed Austria in 1938. The father of psychoanalysis, on the other hand, was unable to lend a hand to Napoleon’s great-niece, who turned to him to try to achieve orgasm through of vaginal penetration.
The writer and psychoanalyst had concluded, after surveying 243 women, that she couldn’t have—in her terminology—a vaginal orgasm because her clitoris It was very far from the vaginal orifice. He did not hesitate to resort to a surgeon to relocate it closer to the opening, to no avail.
“Poor Princess Mary never had a vaginal orgasm and ended up with a clitoris that must have hung like a loose button. Poor, poor Mary,” writes the historian Kate Lister in A curious history of sex (Captain Swing), where he traces the history of the female sexual organ in the chapter entitled Search for the “ship’s cabin boy”.
Precisely, that is one of the few colloquial synonyms to name the “bell”, the “button”, the “pussy flange” or the “sugared almond”, terms collected in Roger’s Profanisaurus, a humorous encyclopedia of vulgar and obscene expressions. Scarcity reflects contempt for female sexuality.
Because there are innumerable ways to call the penis and even the vulva, although in this last case Lister criticizes that many are pejorative. Even though he Profanisaurus addition, in a later edition, the synonyms “clock” or “panic button”, the clitoris continues to be the great forgotten. Or rather, ignored.
“The colloquial drought around the clitoris is universal,” writes the professor at the School of Arts and Communication at Leeds Trinity University. “The invisibility of clitoral pleasure is woven into the very language of sex.” In Spanish, words do not abound either, some of them localisms: almendrita, pepa, pepitilla, pipirigallo…
Although her observation could be extrapolated to other glossaries, Kate Lister believes that the Profanisaurus it is phallocentric, because “it prioritizes the pleasure that the vulva gives, more than what it can receive”. And if there are popular synonyms for this, as we pointed out before, it is because of the delight it provides to the penis, says the author of A curious history of sex.
“The omission of the clitoris, whose sole function is to pleasure its owner, is revealing. In Western culture, the clitoris has been overlooked because female sexual pleasure has historically taken a backseat to male pleasure,” notes Kate Lister, who details the effort of medicine to try to understand and “cure” it.
Until the 20th century, a large clitoris was considered “responsible for lesbianism and abnormal sexual appetite in women”, an obsession more cultural than biological. “Given the fascination with cutting off clitorises offensiveit is not surprising that the poor thing has tried to go unnoticed throughout history”, ironizes the author.
In many countries, genital cutting is still practiced in order to control the sexuality of women. Lister believes that Freud also mutilated them in some way when he claimed that the clitoral orgasm he was sexually immature: “She may not have had her clitoris circumcised, but her ideas had the symbolic effect of curtailing it from healthy sexuality.”
The Austrian neurologist was as clueless as the luminaries of a record company who misrepresented the title of the great success of Anita Ward, Ring My Bell, number one on the charts in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In Spanish, the cover of the single read knock on my doorwhen in reality the singer from Memphis asked for the bell to be rung.
“Attacking the clitoris is more than just curbing female desire, it is protecting the primacy of the penis. The clitoris provides pleasure without penetration, so it is not necessary for a man to be in control,” concludes Lister, who in his historical review of the sex deals with masturbation, pubic hair, menstruation, abortion, virginity or vibrators.
Influenced by Freud, Marie Bonaparte insisted on researching her “frigidity”, as she did not know that “all orgasms are clitoral”. In the end, the Austrian would end up acknowledging, in some way, his clumsiness: “The great question that never receives an answer and that I am not qualified to answer, after my thirty years of studies on the feminine soul, is: what does a woman want?” woman?”.