Vagina dentata, or a toothed vagina – sounds like a thread from a cheap horror movie. The 2007 film ‘Teeth’, written and directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein, shows a teenage girl whose vagina inadvertently bites off penises or fingers of a rapist, a gynecologist (after he assaults her in the guise of an examination, reaching up inside her without a glove) and other sexual predators.
As far-fetched as the idea may seem, vagina dentata is more than a simple premise for a B-horror movie.
The myth of vaginal teeth is often falsely attributed to the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, who was looking for its source somewhere near the subconscious castration anxiety and the ancient Oedipus complex. Wrong, because the myth of a vagina just waiting to bite off a man’s penis is much older than psychoanalysis or Greek mythology. In fact, it is a folk tale of multiple native tribes of Asia and the Americas, deep-rooted in primal fears, spanning thousands of miles and across centuries.
According to the 2015 book “La Chair Interdite” (‘Forbidden Flesh. History of Male Obsession’) by a Franco-Belgian writer Diane Ducret, the idea of a dangerous and biting vagina, hidden deep in a woman’s body, dates back to Neolithic times but is by no means an out-of-date myth. It is still very much present, leading to violence against women in the form of endemic medical abuse.
The myth describes a scary vagina armed with sharp teeth, with the associated implication that sexual intercourse might result in injury, castration, or emasculation for the man involved. Such folk stories were frequently told as cautionary tales warning of the dangers of unknown women and to discourage rape.
The topic of “vagina dentata” may also cover a rare medical condition affecting the vagina, in which case it is more accurately termed a vaginal dermoid cyst. So the term speaks at the same time about the times of matriarchy, male sexual neurosis, as well as a serious female ailment.
First Reports Of Toothed Vaginas
At the end of the 19th century a Pole by the name of Bronisław Piłsudski landed in Sakhalin, the largest island of Russia, situated in the Pacific Ocean, sandwiched between the Sea of Okhotsk to the east and the Sea of Japan to the west. Back then it was basically a huge tsarist prison, where “the enemies of the regime” were killed by either slave labor, the extremely capricious and harsh climate, the ubiquitous syphilis, or murderous fellow prisoners, consisting mainly of the worst scum of the Russian Empire.
At that time conspiracies against the tsar’s life were so common that the number of people punished by hard labor far exceeded the amount of work offered to them. Piłsudski was supposed to work his fingers to the bone in a sawmill in Sakhalin, but no one wanted him there. So he was entrusted with minor administrative work, and at the same time he studied the customs of the local Ainu tribe.
People With Tails And Vaginas With Teeth
Ainu were a strange people, and the mystery of their origin has not been solved to this day. They were the only tribe with European features inhabiting this remote part of Asia, probably for several thousand years. According to the writings of Piłsudski, their genetic peculiarity was hair – no human people ever were as hairy as the Ainu. Many of them had hair so long in the lower spine area that it formed a small tail. “I’ve never seen an individual so hairy, his chin was starting under his eyes!” – wrote the Polish prisoner.
Ainu women were also hairy, although their more peculiar fashion was tattooing their lips, which was said to have made quite an unusual impression. This did not prevent Piłsudski from taking one of them as a wife and having two children with her. Piłsudski’s descendants currently live in Japan.
Anyway, Bronisław Piłsudski got to know the Ainu closely, was initiated into secret shamanic mysteries and even learned their language (as one of only a few strangers). He collected and described dozens of their customs, myths and legends, including those related to sexuality.
Benefits of Promiscuity
According to European criteria, Ainu women were promiscuous. They eagerly slept with the exiled European prisoners, but what is more interesting, their husbands did not make any fuss about it. This was mainly due to the awareness of the need to enrich the tribe’s genetic pool, but also due to a different than a European perception of a family. The family was basically the entire tribe, and the children born to it, no matter their paternity, were simply the children of the tribe. It is not known whether it was a matter of pragmatism or a legacy from the era of matriarchy, in which women played a leading role in the tribe, and the goddesses of fertility were the main deities. Perhaps the latter, as evidenced by the very interesting, and certainly very old legend about a woman with a toothed vagina – recorded by Piłsudski in 1903 in Hokkaido.
A Bitten Ainu Penis
According to Ainu, in the old days, men and women lived separately. The offspring appeared when the women were exposed to the east wind. One day, three Ainu went out to sea to fish, but soon they lost their way in the thick fog and ended up on a strange island. They did not know their whereabouts.
Suddenly a lovely woman appeared, inviting them into her house. The woman prepared a beautifully smelling, hot soup. They didn’t know that she had added herbs to stimulate their sex drive.
As soon as they all went to sleep, one Ainu moved closer to the woman. He got on top of her and the sounds of copulation could be heard from the bed. The moment he ejaculated, the unfortunate man gave a desperate scream. A minute later he was dead, with his cock bitten off.
His death did not scare the second Ainu from having sex with the unknown woman. This man also lost his penis and fell dead. The third, however, turned out to be smarter. When he was about to ejaculate, “Ainu pulled out his penis and shoved a red whetstone deep into her vagina and then you could hear how the whetstone was crushed” – Piłsudski continued: “Now the woman got up and fired fire. Thanks to Ainu’s help, the bad thing in her vagina was destroyed and fell out.”
Another version of this Ainu legend says that there was a sharp-toothed demon hiding inside the vagina of a young woman who emasculated two young grooms on their wedding nights. Consequently, the unhappy bride sought help from a blacksmith who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon’s teeth.
Dangerous Vaginas Around The World
British historian Gemma Angel states in her publications that vagina dentata is a myth present in many ancient and modern cultures, from the South American Jungle and North America Prieres, through Russia, Japan, India, Samoa and New Zealand.
In Greek mythology, vagina dentata was represented by Gorgon, a female snake monster often depicted with huge menacing fangs. One old Chinese proverb spoke of a woman’s genitalia as being both the gateways to immortality and the death of a man. Several aggressive and powerful deities represented vagina dentata in ancient Egypt as well as in Native American folklore.
The French cultural anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, who traveled to South America in the mid-twentieth century, described the myth in detail. He established that in the mythology of one of the tribes in the north of Brazil, female vulva is a dangerous, voracious and cruel thing. In the language of the Brazilian Munduruku tribe, the vagina is called “the mouth of a crocodile”. Perhaps that’s the reason why the Munduruku have a distinctive residence pattern. Rather than a model based on marriage or family bonds, in the Munduruku villages, all men over the age of thirteen live in one household, and all of the women and girls live with all of the males under thirteen in another.
According to the legends of this tribe, once the twin brothers began sexually harassing an otter which, outraged, ordered them to go and search for women. However, the men were hesitant to approach women out of the fear of – you guessed it – vaginal bites. To have an intercourse, they had to get rid of the teeth so that the previously unbreakable vaginas opened.
Similar stories warning of the horror lurking between women’s thighs are common among the North American Apaches. Interestingly, according to anthropologist David D. Gilmore, the indigenous peoples of North America have at least twenty-two versions of the myth featuring vaginas with teeth. Such a “cannibalistic mother” is, in his opinion, a typical element of male folklore in illiterate communities.
In her book ‘Sexual Personae’ (1991), Camille Paglia stated: “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.”
In his book ‘The Wimp Factor’, Stephen J. Ducat wrote, that these myths express the threat sexual intercourse poses for men who, although entering vaginas triumphantly, always leave small and diminished.
Are Toothed Vaginal For Real?
Hard to believe, but yes – tumors looking like teeth can grow in female reproductive organs or around them. These very specific tumors called ‘teratomas’ are a bizarre mixture of different tissues. They may have glands that interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system, and even hair (such as on the head). One of the most common types of teratoma is the ovarian skin cyst, a benign tumor of this organ, which might hide hair or… teeth inside the cyst.
Teratomas can appear in various places in the human body, even grow in a woman’s womb or vagina. That might be the reason for the cultural archetype of the toothed vagina.
Only one in 12 million women suffers from such a cell development, so the mutation is not very common. Such teratomas can be surgically removed, allowing normal functioning and a happy sex life.
While teeth cloning and other tooth related technologies are changing the face of dentistry, dentists thus far have little knowhow when it comes to vagina dentata. Human teeth formation outside of the jaws is not something taught in dentistry schools. Therapists, on the other hand, might have some taboos to break here.
Text by Anna Koliber,
author of “Faceless Lover” – erotic novel, available on Amazon
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