Dr. Lulu's blog

Pussy Pilgrims

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 07:45
Submitted by Dr. Lulu

A 14th century pin displaying three phalli carrying a crowned vulva?!


Is it for real?

Yes, indeed, these cheap, mass produced badges were called pilgrim pins or sometimes carnival pins and were popular in the Middle Ages. There are many examples of both secular and sexually explicit badges. Scholars theorize that those featuring sex organs and other kinds of sexual humor symbolized a reversal of the “natural order” and reflected the kind of atmosphere prevalent at the carnival — a place that in the Medieval mind constituted a world “turned upside down.”

'Tis the Season to be Naughty

Tue, 12/13/2011 - 09:42
Submitted by Dr. Lulu

Tired of the same old holiday traditions? Try saying “Happy Saturnalia” and then celebrate with an orgy. The 12-day Roman feast devoted to Saturnus (god of the harvest) that started on December 17th was indeed an orgy of gift-giving, over-eating, and raucous baby-making. It peaked around December 25th with Dies solis invicti nati, the day of the Birth of the Unconquered Sun.


More Party Revelers al Fresco

The Language of the Goddess

Tue, 11/01/2011 - 15:31
Submitted by Dr. Lulu

Noting that you’ve been celebrating Marija Gimbutas reminds me how important she is when I talk to my students about her work in creating the language of the goddess (also the title of one of her most fascinating books).


Cucuteni figurine, 4050-3900 B.C.

Gimbutas, a Lithuanian-American archeologist, spent her career excavating both Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in what she labeled “Old Europe” — areas like modern day Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldavia, parts of Greece, Sardinia and so on.


Pietro Aretino: The Originator of Euro-porn

Tue, 09/20/2011 - 08:50
Submitted by Dr. Lulu

If anyone can be labeled the originator of Euro-porn, it is a 16th century journalist from Venice named Pietro Aretino. In 1527, he combined a series of very raw and explicit sonnets with 16 very explicit engravings of couples locked in various modes of acrobatic sex.

I Modi, or The Positions, represented one of the first European books to combine both erotic text and imagery. Besides the writer Aretino, the two other contributors were major players in the Renaissance art world — Guilio Romano and Marcantonio Raimondi.


An erotic fresco by Guilio Romano

Shunga — Japan’s Art of Love

Mon, 06/27/2011 - 13:03
Submitted by Dr. Lulu

About the same time that sexually explicit materials were emerging in late Renaissance Italy — an art form called Shunga began flourishing in 17th century Japan. Much like with what had happened with the printing press in the west, advances in technology in the 1680s reduced the time and cost of producing woodblock prints. Erotic prints that originally had been created for sex manuals began being marketed for purposes of titillation.

Mr. and Mrs.Shunga, which translates as “images of spring,” originally evolved from matrimonial manuals for newlyweds called “pillow books.” These books featured graphic images of foreplay and examples of sexual positions deemed essential to a successful marriage.

Venus: The Urge to Fashion the Female Form

Sun, 06/12/2011 - 09:20
Submitted by Dr. Lulu

I am sure many of you recognize this popular icon — the Venus of Willendorf. She is one of the oldest sculptures in existence — over 22,000 years old — and you can find her image on T-shirts, pendants, coffee mugs, chocolate and soap.


So far, some 200 hundred Venus figures have been found from Spain to Russia. These statuettes were made starting over 35,000 years ago. They were created for different reasons, but the urge to fashion the female form out of whatever stone, bone, or ivory available has been an enduring one.

Classical Romping in Renaissance Art

Mon, 05/23/2011 - 07:57
Submitted by Dr. Lulu

During the Renaissance, there was an increased demand for erotic art.  The wealthy and educated elite, familiar with classical mythology, commissioned art depicting the sex lives of gods and goddesses.

For example, the myth of Hermaphroditis and Salmacis — a story that involves a sexually aggressive woman overpowering a young man — provided an excellent excuse to depict female sexuality in a predatory context.

Hermaphroditis and Salmacis by Bartholomeus Spranger


This 1585 version of the Hermaphroditis and Salmacis myth has a definite voyeuristic element to it.

Hermaphrodites and Cross-Dressing Saints

Tue, 05/03/2011 - 12:12
Submitted by Dr. Lulu

To our Western way of thinking of gender, we seem to embrace a two-party system.

Many cultures around the world leave room for more diversity and in some cases make room for a third gender — even a fourth. The Greeks and Romans were not only comfortable but also fascinated by the duality presented by the hermaphrodite.

This famous statue of a sleeping hermaphrodite was found in Pompeii, one of two Roman towns destroyed in 79 AD by a volcanic eruption. It was not rediscovered for some 1800 years.

The ancient Greeks were among the first to incorporate this theme into a myth — the story of Hermaphroditus.

One of My Favorite Historic Symbols: The Vulva Flashing Sheela-Na-Gig

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 08:12
Submitted by Dr. Lulu

OK, I know — history-shmistory. What’s the point of resurrecting the past?

Well, for one, there’s all the stuff they didn’t teach you in school and believe me, I’m willing to bet that your peregrinations into world history did not include Baubo, the Black Madonna or even Salmacis — one of the only female rapists in the Greek pantheon. So let’s start off with one of my favorite symbols: the vulva-flashing sheela-na-gig of the British Isles.

Image of Sheela from Kilpeck Church, Herefordshire, England

So what are sheela-na-gigs all about?