the Great Society has been demolished along with monuments to Johnson

Great Society of Lyndon Johnson

The Great Society that Lyndon Johnson began to build has been demolished. Johnson was a towering leader in the U.S. Senate and then President of the U.S. He was proud of the size of his penis, which he nicknamed “Jumbo”. Johnson would manipulate his genitals during meetings and urinate in front of female and male subordinates in the parking lot of the U.S. Capitol. Holding his penis and turning to a male colleague in the bathroom, Johnson said, “Have you ever seen anything as big as this?” That colleague never complained of Johnson sexually harassing him. Women and men will never again see a Johnson like that Johnson.

Power is the problem. “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac,” Henry Kissinger knowingly explained. When President Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky engaged in non-heteronormative sex in the Oval Office complex, the power imbalance between the two undoubtedly helped to make the cigar more thrilling. The powers that rule have ruled that a power imbalance makes sex illicit. Ordinary persons can do nothing against that powerful ruling. Men are now impotent; women, distraught.

Hollywood and other fantasy producers no longer offer an escape. Long ago, a young actress from Algeria went to study in Paris:

She got to know a French producer as old as her father. Very rich and very influential. Married and with children older than she was. He fell in love with her. Her skin was brown and smooth and she was passionate. He went crazy over her. She drove him insane. He promised he would produce a blockbuster with her as the heroine, and he kept his word. You know what this generation’s like, everything all in a hurry. She wanted to be a famous actress, and he was obsessed with her youth. He would follow her to Tunis whenever she went there to visit her family.

Their relationship ended, not like some prominent men’s careers have ended recently, but in a more humane way:

He died. They were together. He was making love to her. He died on top of her. Someone asked if he’d died before he’d come or after. No one knew the answer.

Natural death is no longer a fitting end. Survivor women who suffered sex with men must be made into heroines. Their lovers must be public flayed. Then they must be killed in ritual sacrifice to the idol of gender power equality and the structural injustice of top and bottom. Men must be wary to remain alive and sane.

The Thinker has been exiled from respected public discourse. Some still longingly remember his presence:

I was confident that the Thinker would appear before me one day at a sudden turning, and he would say, like the first time, “It grabs me by the throat.” He would ask me about my honey, as though he had left me the day before, and I would reply that he should look for the answer for himself; that it was up to him to stretch out his hand and put it between my thighs and taste. “The proof of the sweetness of the honey is the honey itself,” says Ibn Arabi. I used to say it in front of him, and then he became the one who would repeat it, to teach me what I already knew.

Now anyone who says that some women might want certain men to reach out and grab the honey between their thighs is publicly classed as a sexual predator in authoritative news reports. Honey has turned to sorrel.

The Great Society has been demolished. Yet few dare speak or write of what’s happening. American society isn’t headed toward being made great again.

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On Johnson calling his penis “Jumbo,” urinating in the Capitol Hill parking lot, manipulating his genitals, and proudly displaying the size of his penis, Caro (2003) p. 121.

Henry Kissinger stated with respect to his sexual affairs, “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” Quoted in the The New York Times, 28 October 1973.

The most authoritative source for documentation on Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton’s relationship is the Starr Report. Here’s a review of reporting on the Lewinsky / Clinton story.

The account of the actress’s affair is from Nu’aymī (2009) p. 66. On the woman encouraging a man to reach out and put his hand onto her vagina, id. p. 140. Ibn Arabi was a twelfth-century Islamic scholar, Sufi mystic, philosopher, and poet. Ibn Arabi was educated in Seville. He traveled and lived throughout the Islamic world of the twelfth century.

[image] Photo (slightly cropped) of President Lyndon B. Johnson socializing with Abe Fortas a day after nominating him to the Supreme Court. Photo made on July 29, 1965. Johnson’s body language shows his capabilities for providing the “Johnson treatment.” LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto. Photo serial number A966-16. Thanks to the LBJ Library for preserving this photo in the public domain.


Caro, Robert A. 2003. Master of the Senate: the years of Lyndon Johnson. New York: Vintage Books.

Nu’aymī, Salwá (Salwa al Neimi), from Arabic trans. Carol Perkins. 2009. The proof of the honey. New York: Europa Editions.

aetas Ovidiana: friar labored to ensure boy equipped with Naso

Ovid Naso

Medieval Latin literature highly valued the classical poetry of Naso, also known as Ovid. In fact, the twelfth and thirteenth centuries have become known among medieval scholars as “the Ovidian Age {Aetas Ovidiana}.”[1] Learned men in the Middle Ages recognized that studying Ovid was vital for intellectually preparing a boy for manhood. Not surprisingly, a Franciscan friar filled with love vigorously engaged in erection labor to ensure that a boy became equipped with a nose.

The friar loved a lovely young woman recently married to one of his neighbors. The young woman soon became pregnant. Meeting with her and her husband, the friar prophesied that the child would bring them great unhappiness. The couple pressed to know more, but the friar refused to speak further. Anxious to know the nature of the impending calamity, the woman secretly summoned the friar and begged him to speak. After impressing upon her the necessity of maintaining secrecy, he declared that she would bear a son, but he would be born “without a nose {absque naso}.” According to the friar, not having a nose is “the foulest mark of all on a human face {turpissima omnium in facie hominis nota}.” That indicates how highly Naso was valued in the Middle Ages.

Terrified at the news that her son wouldn’t be equipped with Naso, the lovely young woman begged the friar for a remedy. He consented and explained:

it was necessary to set a certain day for a work of God when he would have sex with her and supplement her husband’s deficiency and add a nose to the child.

{ certa die opus esse, ut cum ea concumberet, et se suppleturum viri defectum, et puero additurum nasum. } [2]

Not wanting her infant to be born deformed, the woman reluctantly agreed. She submitted to the friar on the appointed day. That wasn’t enough:

Saying that he needed to perfect the nose, he came back and had sex with her many times. She, from a sense of modest, was lying still, but the friar ordered her to gyrate, since with friction the nose would better adhere.

{ cum ille nondum nasum perfectum esse diceret, saepius cum muliere concubuit. Illa, prae verecundia, cum staret immobilis, Frater moveri eam jubebat, ut ex confricatione magis nasus cohaereret. }

The young woman subsequently gave birth to a boy with a very prominent nose. She herself told her husband how their son had been equipped with a nose. He responded magnanimously, as husbands are prone to do:

he praised his wife, and didn’t disparage the work of his fellow-father.

{ maritus laudavit, et operam compatris non est aspernatus. }

Ovid would have been delighted with all of them.

We are no longer in an Aetas Ovidiana. In the Middle Ages, husbands were thought to preserve wives’ health through sex. Now a large share of husbands are disparaged as rapists. Moreover, the criminalization of men seducing women explicitly includes men having sex with women under the pretense of providing medical treatment.[3] What will be the result of this calamitous lack of appreciation for Ovid, no one knows.

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[1] Early in the twentieth century, the Latin scholar Ludwig Traube described an aetas Virgiliana (seventh and eight centuries), an aetas Horatiana (tenth and eleventh centuries), and then an aetas Ovidiana (twelfth and thirteenth centuries). In fact, aetas Ovidiana characterizes well most of the European Middle Ages. Monastic readers in Benedictine missions from the ninth century gave Ovid central importance in the surviving classical tradition. Clark (2011) p. 177. Interest in Ovid rapidly grew:

In the centuries of greatest monastic expansion — c. 950 to c. 1150 — Ovid emerged as the pre-eminent Latin master of the cloister, the companion of the schoolboys, novices and juniors, and also the corruption of their senior colleagues

Id. p. 178. Late medieval English monastic readers remained keenly interested in Ovid. In fact, most learned persons throughout the Middle Ages were interested in Ovid:

he {Ovid} belonged not only to the aetas Ovidiana — the twelfth and thirteenth centuries — or to Benedictine monks alone, but was shared among Christian readers of various religious affiliations until the end of the Middle Ages and beyond.

Wenzel (2011) p. 160. Preachers transmitted Ovid to the whole of medieval society. Among 2,500 sermons from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, over one hundred refer to Ovid. Id. Ovid was used in sermons much more often than either Virgil or Horace were. Id. p. 175.

On the reception of Ovid generally, Newlands & Miller (2014).

[2] Poggio, Facetiae 223, “A Minorite friar who made a child’s nose {De fratre minorum qui fecit nasum puero},” Latin text from Poggoi (1879) vol. 2, pp. 150-3. Here and subsequent quotes include my English translation, drawing upon that of id., but tracking the Latin more closely. All subsequent quotes above are similarly from id.

The Franciscans were originally called the Ordo Fratrum Minorum (“The Order of the Minor Brothers”), also known as Minorites.

[3] See, e.g., Boyett v. State (1964), 8 Div. 907, Court of Appeals of Alabama. 159 So.2d 628 (1964).

[image] Portrait in profile of Ovid. This portrait (and its reflection about a vertical axis) is widely disseminated on the web, but not convincingly sourced. It appears to be a print from the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries.


Clark, James G., Frank Thomas Coulson, and Kathryn L. McKinley, eds. 2011. Ovid in the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Clark, James G. 2011. “Ovid in the monasteries: the evidence from late medieval England.” Ch. 9 (pp. 177-196) in Clark, Coulson & McKinley (2011).

Newlands, Carole Elizabeth, and John F. Miller, eds. 2014. A handbook to the reception of Ovid. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.

Poggio. 1879. Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini. The facetiae or jocose tales of Poggio, now first translated into English with the Latin text. Paris: Isidore Liseux (vol. 1, vol. 2).

Wenzel, Siegfried. 2011. “Ovid from the pulpit.” Ch. 8 (pp. 160-176) in Clark, Coulson & McKinley (2011).

it’s always men’s fault: Jacques de Vitry blamed men for castration culture

medallion depicting Jacques de Vitry, 1518

In early thirteenth-century Europe, church leader Jacques de Vitry recognized the harm that castration culture was inflicting. Castration culture has roots in gynocentric society and Hesiod’s influential Theogony. It’s entangled within the intimate, mundane relations of ordinary women. Nonetheless, consistent with social bias toward blaming and punishing men, Jacques de Vitry blamed men for castration culture.

In medieval Europe, priests were understood to be figures of Christ married to the church, the bride of Christ. This figure required ordinary Christian men to understand themselves to be part of the “female” church. The female gender of the church tended to support gynocentrism and devalue masculinity. However, Paul of Tarsus, with heroic commitment to Jesus, unequivocally turned against husband’s subordination to their wives in the dominant Roman culture. He taught:

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. [1]

Some have misinterpreted this passage to support and encourage wives to crucify their husbands, just as Christ was crucified. That’s wrong. Jesus commanded his followers, “love one another.”[2] There’s no exception to that commandment for women in relation to men, or wives in relation to their husbands. Paul, who transformed Thecla into a saint, apparently didn’t think it was necessary to remind wives to love their husbands. While reminding husbands to love their wives, Paul respected wives enough to believe that they would love their husbands even without being told to do so. Whether such confidence in wives’ love for their husbands is warranted today isn’t clear.

In a sophisticated parable drawing upon the figure of Christ married to the church, Jacques de Vitry blamed hateful and malicious men for castration culture. Jacques de Vitry declared:

If any bishop because of hatred or anger deprives his people of preaching, he is like the foolish and malicious man who, in hatred for his wife, cut off his genitals and thus harmed himself more than others. The bishop who abandons the people in their sins will be punished more than all others, because the blood of all is taken from his hand.

{ Si enim propter odium vel indignationem subtrahat populo predicationem, similis est cuidam stulto et malicioso homini qui, in odio uxoris sue, genitalia sibi abscidit et ita prius sibi quam aliis nocuit, et prelatus, qui populum in errore relinquit, plus omnibus aliis punietur, quia sanguis omnium de manu ejus requiretur. } [3]

In the European Middle Ages, a husband’s sexual obligation to his wife was a matter of utmost seriousness — a matter of life and death. A husband who castrated himself may have harmed himself more than others, but he also seriously harmed his wife’s body. In this parable, castration culture is literally enacted as a result of a husband’s hatred toward his wife. At the same time, hatred toward men obviously nourishes castration culture. Castration culture is rightly associated with hatred toward both men and women. Yet from men’s lifespan shortfall, to the vastly gender-disproportionate incarceration of men, to men’s reluctance to withdraw from the paid workforce to spend more time with their children at home, men are readily blamed for castration culture and more generally for all harm to themselves as well as all harm to others.[4]

In depriving the people of preaching, the bishop metaphorically castrates himself. The bishop acts in the person of Christ with respect to his local church. In celebrating the Eucharist, the bishop distributes with his hands the blood of Christ under the form of the communion wine and bread. He thus helps his people to cast off their sins and become new creations in Christ. Just as a castrated man cannot procreate, the bishop who deprives his people of preaching cannot lead his local church to the new creation of Christ.

The deeply rooted social bias toward punishing men is deeply embedded in Jacques de Vitry’s parable. According to Christian understanding, Christ, who was a man, took on the sins of all, including the sins of women. According to this parable, the bishop depriving his people of preaching will be punished for the sins of all. Like the husband charged to ensure that his wife is forever “holy and without blemish,” the bishop has a heavy responsibility and heavy punishment for failure. The pattern is clear: put the sins of women on men.

Castration culture expresses social devaluation of men’s sexuality. That harms everyone. Women as well as men are responsible for castration culture and for each other’s salvation. Men and women must join together, vigorously reject castration culture, and thrust themselves into a brighter, more fruitful future.

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[1] Ephesians 5:22-31.

[2] John 13:34.

[3] Jacques de Vitry, Exempla 22 in Crane (1890) pp. 7-8, 142. Id. supplies the Latin text. I adapted the English translation from that in id. to follow the Latin more closely. On Jacques de Vitry, Bolton (1998).

[4] Men suffer from structural inequality in parental knowledge. For example, before the advent of DNA paternity testing, husbands necessarily struggled with uncertainty about whether their wives had cuckolding them in producing their children. Drawing upon castration culture, one husband devised a horrible test:

he castrated himself, with his thinking that, if his wife subsequently became pregnant, he would surely know that she had committed adultery.

{ se ipsum castravit, eo consilio ut, si uxor postmodum concepisset, in adulterio fuisse convinceretur. }

Poggio, Facetiae 225, “A jealous man castrated himself so that he would know his wife’s uprightness {Zelotypus quidam se castravit ut uxoris probitatem cognosceret},” Latin text from Poggio (1879) vol. 2, pp. 154-5, my English translation adapted from that in id. to follow the Latin more closely.

[image] Medallion depicting Jacques de Vitry. Dated 1518. Thanks to sailko and Wikimedia Commons.


Bolton, Brenda. 1998. “Faithful to whom? Jacques de Vitry and the French Bishops.” Revue Mabillon. 09: 53-72.

Crane, Thomas Frederick. 1890. The exampla or illustrative stories from the Sermones vulgares of Jacques de Vitry. London: David Nutt.

Poggio. 1879. Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini. The facetiae or jocose tales of Poggio, now first translated into English with the Latin text. Paris: Isidore Liseux (vol. 1, vol. 2).

immiseration of erection labor only intensified in late capitalism

man attempts de-icing

Throughout history, men have commonly paid women for sex. At the same time, men’s erection labor has been progressively alienated from them and turned into a means by which the gynocentric substructure disciplines and punishes. A momentous stage in this historical process occurred in the Industrial Revolution of late eighteenth-century England. As men were made subject to factory discipline, their sexual activity was also more strictly regulated. Men’s erection labor was immiserated to an extent surpassed only now under the sexual Stalinism of late capitalism.

In England about 1800, population growth was roughly double that early in the eighteenth century. An increase in fertility predominately drove the increase in population growth.[1] Assuming health, economic welfare, and child-limitation practices didn’t change to increase fertility, the increase in fertility must have been driven by an increase in heteronormative sexual activity.

This hypothesized increase in sexual activity across eighteenth-century England occurred in conjunction with the rise of disciplined labor within factors. An influential scholar has suggested that these developments are connected:

I hypothesize that the invention of foreplay is an aspect of the history of capitalism, that the invention of industrial work-discipline is an aspect of the history of heterosexuality, and that both developments are in an important sense the same. [2]

In short, men’s erection labor was disciplined from spontaneous sexual play toward more efficient foreplay leading rigidly into heteronormative sexual activity to produce new human beings. Other than enjoying more children, men didn’t receive increased compensation for their increased erection productivity. That’s what scholars call the immiseration of erection labor, or immiserating growth. The capitalist system has continued to evolve through the same dynamic between the relations of sex and the material-biological forces that produce new human beings.

Within the gynocentric system of late capitalism, all methods for raising the collective esteem of women are put into effect at the cost of the individual man. All means for the development of gender equality undergo a dialectical inversion so that they become a means of dominating and exploiting men. Relations of men-subordinating gender equality distort the man into a fragment of a man, they degrade the penis to the level of an appendage to a wrongly constructed machine, and they destroy the actual content of his erection labor by turning it into a torment. They alienate him from the intellectual and emotional potentialities of sexual intercourse in the same proportion as mass-media representations are incorporated in it as a source of false imagination. They deform the conditions under which he interacts with women and subject him during the seduction process to a despotism the more hateful for its meanness. They transform his intimate relations into financial obligations and drag his wife and child into the roles of debt-collection enforcers on behalf of state “child support” agencies. These horrors of capitalist development are only now starting to be identified and criticized.

Men must no longer tolerate their erection labor being concealed with disdain. Relations of sex must be transformed. The material-seminal forces of human production must be priced in accordance with the full quantity of labor men perform throughout their lives. Let women again tremble with appreciation for men’s labor. Men must throw off the chains of gynocentric late capitalism, seize in their hands a vital means of sexual production, and work only as individuals laboring for their own pleasure.

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[1] See Wrigley & Schofield (1981), Wrigley (1997).

[2] Abelove (1989) p.129. The relevant article is reprinted as the second chapter in Abelove (2005).

[image] A 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crane operator de-ices a KC-135 Stratotanker on the flightline for flight preparation Jan. 29, 2014, at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. Photo id. 140129-F-BN304-002. U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes. This and other works of U.S. government employees are in the public domain in the U.S.  See also men laboring to drill into dry rock.


Abelove, Henry. 1989. “Some Speculations on the History of Sexual Intercourse during the Long Eighteenth Century in England.” Genders. 6 (Fall): 125-130.

Abelove, Henry. 2005. Deep gossip. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Wrigley, Edward Anthony, and Roger S. Schofield. 1981. The population history of England: 1541-1871 ; a reconstruction. London: Arnold.

Wrigley, Edward Anthony. 1997. English population history from family reconstitution, 1580-1837. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

trade slogans of Abbasid singing slave girls (qiyān) goaded men

young man rejects hetaera

Throughout history, women commonly have been socially more powerful than men. In addition, men’s sexuality typically has been devalued. Men today with good reason are extremely wary of expressing sexual interest in women. Even elite men in Baghdad in the early Abbasid caliphate were cautious in engaging with singing slave girls professionally associated with sexual affairs.

The trade slogans of the singing slave girls indicate men’s reticence and the social devaluation of men’s sexuality. Market prices aggregate a huge amount of information into a simple scalar indicator. Trade slogans of singing slave girls functioned similarly with respect to sexual relations for the elite in the early Abbasid caliphate. The girls advertised these trade slogans on their headbands, veils, brocades, bonnets, and foreheads as they performed publicly. Their trade slogans encouraged men to persevere in seeking relations with them:

  • “He who perseveres, wins.”
  • “If you are bold, do what you will!”
  • “He who desires and does not persevere shall die in his ignorance.”
  • “Passion and restraint are irreconcilable opposites.”
  • “The heart is unruly.”
  • “The shunning of inhibitions makes for a perfect character.”
  • “To do is pleasing, to make excuses is repugnant.”

Societies typically repress men’s sexuality much more harshly than women’s. The singing slave girls urged men not to fear those policing men’s behavior:

  • “If one day we feared the watchman, the eyes shall speak for the hearts: the wink sings the needs of the lover to the beloved.”
  • “One at one with one’s lover makes light of the watchman.”
  • “Dodging the watchman is good for lovers.”

The trade slogans also indicated that men must pay women for sex and meekly accept women wronging them:

  • “The generous is master; the stingy, base.”
  • “Bear the greatest wrong from one you love, so that, sinned against, you may say I am the sinner. For if you bear not the wrong, O lad, then the one that you love will leave you whether you like it or not.”

Reversing the more inclusive ancient wisdom, “Whoever is not against us is for us,” the trade slogan of one singing slave girl insisted, “He who is not with us, is against us.” All-powerful caliphs in the ancient Islamic world were subordinate to their slave girls. How can any ordinary man today hope to have a gender-egalitarian relationship with a women given prevailing, oppressive gynocentrism?

“Is it not a wonder that you and I are together in one house, yet you are neither intimate nor do you converse?”

Men must use their reason to adapt to gynocentric oppression. Deprived of reproductive rights and commonly forced into financial fatherhood, men in the ancient Greek world adjusted their sexual behavior to cope with the problem. Socially pressured into providing for women and putting meat on the table, husbands in ancient Rome responded by arranging home-based businesses for wives reluctant to work outside the home. Human reason is beautiful and invincible. Now more than ever, men must rely on reason.

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All the quotes above, with one exception, are trade slogans of singing slave girls (qiyān) in Baghdad in the early Abbasid era. The trade slogans are given in al-Ghuzūlī, Matāli‘ al-budūr i, 278, from Arabic trans. Caswell (2011) pp. 278-9, with some non-substantial changes for readability. Id. also provides the name of the singing slave girl associated with the each trade slogan and where she displayed the slogan.

The phrase “Whoever is not against us is for us,” which a slave girl’s trade slogan reversed, is a saying of Jesus recorded in Mark 9:40. See also Luke 9:50.

One slave girl’s trade slogan indirectly indicates that some men grew weary of being sexual subordinate to slave girls: “He who desires us shall not tire of us.”

[image] A reclining young man, in the presence of a young woman dancer, indicates refusal and declares, “Philip is the most beautiful.” Tondo from an Attic red-figured kylix, ca. 490-480 BC. From Vulci. Held in the British Museum, acc. # GR 1848.6-19.7 (Cat. Vases E 68). Thanks to Jastrow and Wikimedia Commons.


Caswell, Fuad Matthew. 2011. The slave girls of Baghdad: the Qiyān in the early Abbasid era. London: I.B. Tauris.

desperate wives should try farting to get sex from husbands

deadly explosion: possible result of uncontrolled farting

Leading newspapers have reported that a huge number of husbands have raped their wives. Allegations of inappropriate words or touching of a sexual nature are enough to have a man fired from his job and to ruin his reputation for life. Men seducing women has long been criminalized. Now university officials are earnestly teaching students and faculty that they must get affirmative consent for each step in a sexual interaction and that consent can be withdrawn at any time without prior notice. Not surprisingly, many husbands are now fearful of sexually accosting their wives. That’s raising public concern because wives are becoming unhappy. Some wives are even showing signs of madness. Fortunately, medieval Latin literature offers a solution.

While a young couple was walking through a meadow, they saw a flock of sheep. The wife had an active mind:

seeing that the rams mounted only certain ewes, she questioned why certain ones rather than others were copulating.

{ conspectis nonnullis ovibus quas arietes subigebant, quaesivit cur potius cum illis quam cum aliis coirent. }

Her husband jokingly explained:

When a ewe makes a fart, a ram presses into her.

{ Quae crepitum facit ovis, statim comprimitur ab ariete. }

The wife picked up on the figuring and turned to punning:

She burst forth to know if this were also the case with men.

{ Petiit illa numquid et viris id moris esset. }

The husband affirmed that it was. The sexually deprived wife then took explosive action:

She immediately cut loose a fart; the husband, having been caught by his own joke, had sex with his wife. After they had proceeded along St. Paul’s path a little way, the wife farted again. The husband was once again employed in the matrimonial practice. When they had nearly reached the end of the meadow, the woman, delighted with the game, emitted a third fart.

{ illa statim crepitum edidit; vir joco suo deprehensus uxorem cognovit. Cum deinde paulum viae processissent, iterum mulier pepedit. Vir denuo matrimonio usus est. Cum jam ad finem nemoris pervenissent, foemina, tali ludo gaudens, terio petum emisit. }

Medieval culture regarded with utmost seriousness men’s sexual obligation to their wives. This husband, however, wasn’t well-prepared for strenuous erection labor:

Then the husband, exhausted from copulation and walking, said, “Even if you were to shit out your heart itself, I wouldn’t again shake you under me. }

{ Tunc vir, coeundo et ambulando fessus: “Non si cor cacares,” ait, “te amplius subagitarem.” }

In vigorously servicing their wives sexually, husbands must endure whatever they shake out. Only a husband exhausted to the point of peevishness would complain of his wife giving out her heart as a result of sex.

Most husbands deeply love their wives. Yet in today’s circumstances of demonizing men’s sexuality, men are rightly fearful of showing sexual interest toward their wives or any other women. However, in the case of explosions and serious risks to bodily integrity, men will heroically press in to protect women from harm. Wives desperately seeking sex from their husbands should try farting. But not too often, because men not accustomed to heavy sexual labor will soon get exhausted and peevish.

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The above story and quotes are from “The humorous tale of a young woman who farted {Facetia cujusdam adolescentulae quae emittebat petum},” Latin text from Poggio (1879) vol. 2, pp. 138-9, my English translation. That Latin text has witty wordplay that I’ve made some effort to translate.

[image] Deadly explosion. Possibly a result of uncontrolled farting. Image thanks to PrismTheDragon and Wikimedia Commons.


Poggio. 1879. Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini. The facetiae or jocose tales of Poggio, now first translated into English with the Latin text. Paris: Isidore Liseux (vol. 1, vol. 2).

al-Alfiya, a thousand-man woman, shows intellectual decadence

ugly, lonely old woman

Today’s intellectual leaders, both women and men, are like Fadia, an official in a French library:

Fadia. She is a desperate case. … I watched her leave the office and shook my head. I suspect she would be capable of taming even the fiercest erection. It’s clear that she hasn’t learned a thing. She’s at war with her body and with men’s bodies as well. It looks like it’ll be a long war. [1]

Plutocrats such as Melinda Gates are spearheading this bitter world-wide gender war. They are pygmies digging holes under the feet of intellectual giants such as the ancient Indian scholar al-Alfiya.

Al-Alfiya’s wisdom has been transmitted through the centuries in Persian and Arabic literature. Her name itself highlights one of her credentials:

this woman came to us through Indian erotica, and she became a legend passed on by the Arabs, essentially the men, with a certain degree of fear, envy, and admiration. The legend begins with her name. She was called al-Alfiya, “the thousand,” because she had slept with a thousand men. Although “slept” is deceiving… As if she had spent a thousand nights sleeping … She did not sleep and she would not let a single man sleep. The books say precisely, “She fucked a thousand men.” Words were exact, among the Arabs of ancient times. There was no business of sleeping or waking. To “fuck” was the word used. [2]

She was a leader among women back when women truly loved men:

groups of women gathered to visit her. They would say to her: “Sister, tell us what is required and we will do it. What is it that makes women settle in men’s hearts, what gives them pleasure and what morals do they abhor? What should we do in order to arouse their love and affection?” [3]

Al-Alfiya methodically described sixty positions for having sex. These sixty positions ranged from simple ones to ones requiring great physical agility.[4] If Al-Alfiya knew that international plutocrats of our age have inspired a poor, young woman in Guatemala to dream of “working in a big company and doing important things,” she would rightly cry.

In stark contrast to the gender divide that characterizes public life today, al-Alfiya helped men as well as women. A sixteenth-century Ottoman scholar reported:

there was once a king who completely lost his sexual potency. The physicians were not able to cure him with drugs. So they invented stories which they said had been told to them by a woman called Alfiyya. She was named so because a thousand (alf) men had slept with her. In their stories about all this she mentioned various positions and exciting situations. By hearing this, the king regained his potency. [5]

Some aspects of this account, which is relatively late, are probably faulty. Yet al-Alfiya undoubtedly did work to bring women and men together. She thus helped both men and women in immediate, tangible ways.

The eminent, ninth-century Arabic scholar al-Jahiz is thought to have discussed al-Alfiya. He presented her as a leading empirical scholar:

Al-Jahiz, who relates her teachings to us, celebrates her as being the most learned of all the people of her time with regard to the science of coition. What made him admire her still more was that, like himself, she belonged to that school of scholars who speak only of what they know from personal experience, and will only teach knowledge acquired through the direct observation of real phenomena. [6]

Nāsir al-Dīn al-Tūsī’s thirteenth-century Arabic work on improving sexual performance credited ancient philosophers and physicians — “Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Palladius, Aristo, and scholars like them” — for gaining such knowledge through their own experiments.[7] Yet men scholars face severe constraints on their pursuit of sexual knowledge, particularly today. Al-Jahiz’s works play across earnestness and jest. One can more earnestly believe that al-Alfiya empirically established sexual knowledge than that Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Palladius, Aristo, and other men scholars did.

Human intellectual leaders must regaining their footing within more than a billion years of trillions of sexually reproducing organisms. All the money in the world cannot provide sufficient compensation for promoting misery among men and women. Moreover, with empirical certainty, they will come to know.

Scientia Duce -trade slogan of Isidore Liseux

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[1] Nu’aymī (2009) p. 129 (with a few insubstantial adaptations).

[2] Id. p. 130. The ellipses are in the original. On the transmission of al-Alfiya’s knowledge, of which little is known for certain, see the entry for Azraqī Heravī (al-Azraqi, died about 1130) in the Encyclopaedia Iranica.

Alfiya (alfiyya) is a feminine adjective derived from alf (“one thousand”). A more accurate translation of Al-Alfiya is thus “the woman of one thousand”.

[3] Al-Tīfāshī, from Arabic trans. Newman (2014) p. 34. Al-Tīfāshī was a scholar who lived from 1184 to 1253. He traveled across the Islamic world from Algeria to Damascus.

[4] Nu’aymī (2009) p. 130-1. Al-Alfiya is associated with the book Alfiyya wa-shalfiyya. The origin of this book, which is lost, isn’t clear. It could have had a Indian, Persian, Arabic, or Byzantine origin. Alfiyya u Shalfiyya means literally “Of the penis and the vulva”.  Artan & Schick (2013) p. 158. That comes from the Persian word for penis, alfīya, combined with the Persian for vulva, shalfiya. See Steingass (1892) pp. 94, 757. By the eleventh century, alfīya also indicated wall paintings depicting sexual relations.

Parts of Alfiyya wa-shalfiyya apparently have been preserved in a sixteenth-century Ottoman work, The Repeller of Sorrows and Dispeller of Cares. For an English translation, Landor (2001). Al-Alfiya may have influenced the fifteenth-century Spanish work Speculum al foderi. For an English translation, Solomon (1990).

[5] The Ottoman scholar Tashköprüzāde (died 1561), from Turkish trans. Franke (2012) p. 169. This story has also been transmitted in Kashf al-zunun by Hajji Khalifah (died 1657), in a section on al-bah (ed. Istanbul, column 219).

[6] Nu’aymī (2009) p. 129.  “Her legend {that of al-Alfiya} was transmitted by Al-Jahiz and others.” Newman (2014) p. 34. However, according to an eminent scholar of classical Arabic literature, no reference to al-Alfiya exists in the surviving works of al-Jahiz. But al-Tifashi in Ruju` al-shaykh ila sibah fi l-quwwa `ala l-bah (“The Old Man’s Rejuvenation in his Powers of Copulation”) credits al-Jahiz with transmitting wisdom of al-Alfiya. See edition Cairo AH 1309, p. 64.

[7] From Arabic trans. Newman (2014) p. 91. See my post, “preparing men for erection labor in the 13th-century Islamic world.” An ancient Greek sex manual that the Greek courtesan Philaenis of Samos allegedly wrote declares in its preface that it is “for those who wish to live their life with knowledge gained scientifically, not unprofessionally.” Plant (2004) p. 46.

[image1] (1) Ugly, lonely old woman. Engraved carving (excerpt), early 19th-century Britain. Thanks to Wellcome Trust Collection, library ref. ICV No 19503, photo V0019108. Via Wikimedia Commons. (2) Trademark of Isidore Liseux, a late-nineteenth-century French scholarly publisher of sexually explicit medieval works. Scientia duce means “knowledge, lead on!”


Artan, Tülay and Irvin Cemil Schick. 2013. “Ottomanizing pornotopia: changing visual codes in eighteenth-century Ottoman erotic miniatures.” Ch. 7 (pp. 157-207) in Leoni, Francesca, and Mika Natif, eds. Eros and sexuality in Islamic art. Farnham Surrey, England: Ashgate Publishing Company.

Franke, Patrick. 2012. “Before scientia sexualis in Islamic culture: ‘ilm al-bāh between erotology, medicine and pornography.” Social Identities. 18(2): 161-173.

Landor, Robert, trans. (2001). Gazali. Book of Shehzade: Dafiü’l gumûm, rafiü’l humûm. Cağaloğlu, Istanbul: Dönence.

Newman, Daniel L., ed. and trans. 2014. Nāsir al-Dīn al-Tūsī. The Sultan’s sex potions: Arab aphrodisiacs in the Middle Ages. London: Saqi.

Nu’aymī, Salwá (Salwa al Neimi), from Arabic trans. Carol Perkins. 2009. The proof of the honey. New York: Europa Editions.

Plant, I. M., ed. 2004. Women writers of Ancient Greece and Rome: An anthology. London: Equinox.

Solomon, Michael. 1990. The Mirror of coitus: A translation and edition of the fifteenth-century Speculum al foderi. Madison: Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies.

Steingass, Francis. 1892. Persian-English dictionary. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. (digital database query)

functioning penis should be appreciated as a blessed peacemaker

peacemaker: colt revolver gun

Men tend to be competitive and often fight with other men in various ways for coveted statuses and positions. Clubs, spears, guns, and missiles are associated with war and death. But a penis isn’t like those weapons. Masculinity doesn’t fundamentally signify fighting, war, and death. A functioning penis should be appreciated as a blessed peacemaker that helps to create new life.

In our age of cultic belief in toxic masculinity, medieval Latin literature is vitally important for recovering proper appreciation for the penis. Consider the story of “a widowed woman who desired to have an elderly man {mulier vidua quae cupiebat habere virum provecta aetate}.” The widow appreciated that a man could provide companionship and help:

although what is permitted now in this age no longer concerned her, she desired nonetheless a quiet, elderly man for companionship and mutual help in ordinary life, rather than for any other motive, because she believed she should think about the salvation of her soul rather than the gratification of her flesh.

{ se, licet jam de vita hujus saeculi non curaret, cupere tamen virum quietum provecta aetate, societatis potius et communis vitae subsidii, quam alterius rei causa, cum potius de salute animae quam corporis lascivia esset cogitandum } [1]

A neighbor presented to the widow a man with qualities she apparently sought. The man incidentally “was crippled in his masculinity {mancum virilibus esse}.” The widow wasn’t interested in marrying him. She explained:

I would never want to be joined to that man. If he lacks a Peacemaker (thus she named the Father of humanity), then when it happens that a serious altercation or dispute with each other arises, what Mediator (she believed she should live peacefully with her husband) among us could restore peace?

{ Istum ego virum nullo pacto volo. Nam si Pacialis (ita enim hominum appellavit Genitorum) desit, quis Mediator (pacifice enim cum viro vivendum est), si quando, ut fit, altercatio gravior aut discordia invicem oriretur, constitueret inter nos pacem? } [2]

In the European Middle Ages, the Holy Spirit was understood to bring peace. Genetrix and Mediatrix — words cognate to Father {Genitorum} and Mediator — were used to venerate Mary, the mother of Jesus. Recognizing that a husband’s penis could help to foster peace between spouses rightly puts the penis in exalted company.[3]

Men’s competitive concern for the effective functioning of their penises tends to be regarded as ludicrous. Consider the old joke:

Two men walking on the George Washington Bridge stop to take a piss. While pissing, one says to the other, “The water’s cold!” The other responds, “Yeah, and it’s deep, too!” [4]

In considering arms races or penis jousting, simply disparaging men is facile and unfair. Both sorts of competition arise from societal structures in which women are intimately entangled.

Medieval Latin literature tells the story of a Florentine man defending his beautiful wife. Admirers constantly followed her. Some festively serenaded her nightly with music and lighted torches on the street outside her house. One night their trumpets awakened the husband. He and his wife jumped out of bed and rushed over to the window. On the street below was a raucous and bawdy crowd. The husband called out in a loud voice for them to look in his direction:

When all eyes were directed toward his voice, he thrust his large, erect penis outside the window. He then told them that their labors were foolish and useless, because they could see that he himself was more fruitfully equipped with that which satisfies a wife than they were. He therefore advised them to refrain from pointlessly pestering them. As a result of this very witty and elegant display, they desisted from further trouble.

{ Cum oculos omnes ad eam vocem sustulissent, ille, exerto et extra fenestram porrecto, cujus erat copiosus Priapo, inanem laborem et inutilem sumere illos ait, cum viderent se habere unde, etiam uberius quam ipsi possent, uxori satisfaceret; itaque consulere ut huic eorum molestiae parcerent non profuturae. Quo perfacete dicto, ab superflua cura destiterunt. } [5]

The husband’s penis acted as a peacemaker in quelling aggressive sexual competition with other men. Especially when opponents possess trumpets, such competition cannot be easily ignored or merely wished away. Men living within gynocentric society must stand up and show other men that they are better equipped to please women. That’s simply a common reality of men’s lives.

A man’s penis is an organ for making love, not war. Peacemaking depends on men’s penises. Men should be encouraged to use their penises as much as loving possibilities allow.

peacemaker bomber

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[1] Poggio, Facetiae 209, “A widowed woman who desired to have an elderly man {Mulier vidua quae cupiebat habere virum provecta aetate},” Latin text from Poggoi (1879) vol. 2, pp. 133-4. Here and subsequent quotes include my English translation, drawing upon that of id., but tracking the Latin more closely. The subsequent quote is from id.

[2] Arabic literature from tenth-century Baghdad validates the widow’s insight. The eminent scholar Abu ‘Ali al-Qali (died 967) wrote:

Some ill will came between a man and his wife, and they shunned one another for a few days. Then he jumped on top of her and took her. And when he had emptied himself, she said: “Shame on you! Every time there is ill will between us, you bring me an intercessor whom I cannot refuse.” And in another tale a woman, mourning the passing of her days and particularly her nights with his “upright judge,” said to her aging husband: “The one who used to resolve our disputes has died.”

Quoted in Nu’aymī (2009) p. 64. Baghdad in the tenth century was far more developed than any medieval European city.

[3] On the Holy Spirit as Peacemaker, see e.g. Galations 5:22. The ancient Marian hymn Sub tuum praesidium {Under your protection}, when translated into Latin in the eleventh century, invoked Mary with the words Sancta Dei Genetrix {Holy Mother of God}. Mary was regarded as Mediatrix from no later than the fourth century.

Medieval Latin literature helped to foster appreciation for men’s sexuality by developing the figure of the erotic Paternoster. That figure first appeared in the anonymous Latin poem Prisciani regula, written about 1200. Ziolkowski (1987) p. 31. About 250 years later, the figure occurs in Poggio, Facetiae 214, “Which is more acceptable to God, he who says, or he who does {Quid sit acceptius deo, dicere aut facere?}.” This brief tale concludes: “He who makes a paternoster is more deserving than he who says one {plus meretur qui facit Pater Noster, quam qui dicit}.”

[4] This joke has a variety of minor variants. Richard Pryor reportedly used it in standup comedy forty years ago. It occurs in the major 1996 motion picture Sling Blade. For those who don’t understand the joke, Yahoo! Answers provides an explanation.

[5] Poggio, Facetiae 209, “An appropriate, but crude, gesture of a Florentine {De facto cujusdam Florentini justo, sed bruto},” Latin text from Poggoi (1879) vol. 2, pp. 180-1.

[images] (1) Colt “Peacemaker” single-action Army revolver. Made in 1874. Preserved in Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), acc. # 59.143.4 (Gift of John E. Parsons, 1959). Via Wikimedia Commons. (2) U.S. Air Force B-36J “Peacemaker” bomber. U.S. Air Force photo via Wikimedia Commons.


Nu’aymī, Salwá (Salwa al Neimi), from Arabic trans. Carol Perkins. 2009. The proof of the honey. New York: Europa Editions.

Poggio. 1879. Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini. The facetiae or jocose tales of Poggio, now first translated into English with the Latin text. Paris: Isidore Liseux (vol. 1, vol. 2).

Ziolkowski, Jan M. 1987. “The Erotic Paternoster.” Neuphilologische Mitteilungen. 88 (1): 31-34.