Art & Sex: the Penis, Testes, Breasts, Vulva-Vagina, Clitoris & Rear-end

Not too long ago I came upon an eye catching, 17th century painting by Rene Magritte, Le Viol or the Rape. It’s a woman’s face with the mouth replaced by the vulva and the eyes by the breasts. It got me thinking about a puzzle that I have not yet solved.

Since art came to be, painting, sculpting and other visualizations are dominated by breasts and penises, the latter oftentimes with the testes but rarely depicted alone. Way back, even before Sumeria, the first recorded civilization, there were sculptured and pictorial representations of the breast. Penises also were represented, the most famous being the mighty god, Priapus, whom the Romans adored. His penis was so large that I’m sure he sometimes fainted when he had an erection because the amount of blood required to fill his organ stole from his brain supply. I often wondered whether this happened to my roommate in medical school. He was a little over 5 feet with an enormous organ. The Southern slang for this condition is raultney.

The Urban Dictionary describes the syndrome of raultney as “An erection so massively huge that it stretches and pulls the skin from your face, causing a tooth-bearing grimace and bleeding from the corners of the eyes where the thin skin tears. It requires such a large volume of blood for engorgement that there is shunting away from the head and brain, resulting in dizziness and tunnel-vision, frequently progressing to loss of consciousness, convulsions, and sometimes frank coma and death in the worst case.”

Regarding the virtual absence of artistic representations of the testes alone, I cannot come up with a theory. Maybe it’s because artists consider them ugly but artists create works of many ugly things such as people. The ugliness theory is supported by George Clooney who recently had the wrinkles remove from his testes.

It’s interesting to note that in the literature the vagina is mentioned much more than the vulva but in visual art it’s relatively absent. One can assume that’s because it’s hidden within the pelvis. On the other hand, though there are a few modern photos of it, you would think that more artistic photographers would have ingenious ways to introduce their cameras into the vagina to create more artistic photos. They then could be projected on a screen where an artist could paint or sculpt it. It probably will happen soon, if not going on now.

Unlike the vagina, the clitoris can be readily exposed, and one wonders why artists haven’t done this with their models or at least, based on their personal experience, use their visual imagination. I am puzzled that artists ignore this highly sensitive erectile tissue which plays a huge role in exciting and bringing a woman to climax. Though G disagrees, that’s where there’s the mystical and magical G-spot!

But here’s what really puzzles me: It’s the vulva. Unlike the vagina and clitoris, its exterior can readily be visualized. It is the portal to the clitoris and vagina to orgasms to the birth of a child to the propagation of humanity. Yet artists have inexplicably ignored this sacred gateway. There are, of course, some representations such as the Portrait of the Floating World, A pair of Lovers, by the respected Japanese artist, Utamaro, where a courtesan uses a dildo, which is strapped to her leg, to masturbate while her lover watches on the sidelines fantasizing about god knows what. If I remember correctly, there was a sculptured piece of a fertility goddess found somewhere in Europe created in about 20,000 B.C. that had large breasts along with a prominent vulva.

I called G, explained to him what I was writing about and asked for his opinion on why the vulva has been ignored and the breast adored. He burst out laughing and said, “That’s probably the first time that question has been asked by anybody. Let me think about a minute.”

I could hear him puffing on his pipe while cogitating. “Lorenzo, are you ready? I haven’t the slightest idea! Yes, we can say it’s because one can see the bulge of the breast in most women but only the vulva of women who are naked, which doesn’t happen often.

“Historically, even when women were naked, many hid their bodies under the covers. In Italy’s most famous novel, Il Gattopardo, Don Fabrizio, the main character, laments that he was married for a long time, had a few kids but never saw his wife’s belly button. Though not mentioned, there’s no doubt that included her vulva.”

“Maybe because of breast feeding, which is critical to keep the babies alive, practically everyone, including artists, go bananas over breasts but that’s not so. Lorenzo, reason can’t explain everything in life and that goes for the universal sexual attractiveness of breasts.

“Before we leave the subject of tits, here’s an interesting tidbit of information: The European Parliament has banned all photos of images of infants on packages of baby formula in order to discourage mothers from using formulas and, instead, their breasts.”

I almost forgot to mention the penis to G. He answered, “There’s no doubt it is the most exciting visible organ of them all. It is usually quiescent, soft and small but then, like a miracle, it suddenly grows into a heated tower, enters the vagina, brings a woman to climax, shoots and withdraws. This entire process is beautifully described in the poem, Geranium– a must read! The Romans named the head of the penis, the glans, which means ‘bullet’ in Latin.”

As I was about to terminate our conversation, G, as he usually does when he has something surprising to say, laughed aloud. “Lorenzo, my friend, you’re getting old. You forgot about the ass! Art is replete with pictorial images of rear ends, backsides, derrieres or whatever you want to call them of both men and women. Believe it or not, one of the sexiest ones is that of a man. It’s Donatello’s statue, David. Donatello was an artist during Renaissance Florence where sodomy was big time prevalent. As I said in our Casanova book, though the rear ends of women attract me more than their breasts, I’m not a big fan to sodomize them. The Internet is now suffused with photos of women’s derrieres which, I have a hunch, are now challenging the long time champion of breasts as being the number one sex magnet to men.

“And let me conclude that the face and other body language, to me, are the greatest sexual assets of a woman. I wonder why artists have almost  completely missed this reality.

“Lorenzo, as is said in Italian, ‘basta.’ It’s time for my martini.”

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