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Sexual activity decades and even centuries before wasn't as widely understood as today. Yes, people did have penises and vaginas, but what were their purposes?
Were penises supposed to be erect during the morning, why? Should the clitoris be stimulated first before the male penetrates the woman's vagina? Should both penises and vaginas be regularly cleaned? Why do women experience menstruation every month? Thank goodness for science, because knowing these all, we can make better decisions about our sexual lives.
Back then, however, there were quite a lot of myths about the vagina. And they are totally crazy.
If you've seen the infamous movie Teeth back in 2007, you'll know that the idea of a vagina with teeth that could bite off a penis exists. However, the concept is actually much older and dates back to the folklore of countries such as India, Samoa, Russia, New Zealand, and among the Ainu of Japan and the Native Americans. Some stories say that a man who wants to have sex with a woman must remove the vagina's teeth first. The myth can supposedly be understood as the male's anxiety and paranoia about the mysteries of female sexuality back then.
For a long time, it was common belief that the women's intimate parts were weaker, inferior counterparts to those of men. The vagina is seen as an inside-out penis, the labia as the foreskin, the ovaries as actually testicles, and the uterus as supposedly the scrotum. Even the Greek philosopher Galen noted that there was no male body part that would remain once compared to the female body.
This isn't actually a myth, but a rather hilarious historical find. Apparently, Renaldus Columbus "discovered" that females had a clitoris back in 1559. Isn't that weird for someone to claim that he has found a body part that was included in about half of the world's human population? Even funnier was that others argued that they were the first ones to discover the clitoris, not Columbus.
It was a common belief that a woman's orgasm was essential for a baby to be reproduced. However, by the 18th and 19th centuries, medical communities that only the male ejaculation was needed to form a baby, with no need for the woman to orgasm at the same time. While this is quite true, the bad effect was that people began seeing women as simply without passion when it comes to sex because they aren't "required," so to speak, for reproduction. Worse, those who enjoyed orgasms and masturbating were deemed as psychologically disturbed.
Not really. Back then, people thought of menstruation as a severe activity that damaged women. For example, Heape suggested that menstruation results in "jagged edges of stroma" and "ruptured vessels" that would require surgery. We all know now that menstruation isn't so painful that it would require surgery. Apparently, Heape's description was an attempt at making the public look at women as unfit for society since they experienced tremendous pain every month.
The infamous, sexist Sigmund Freud once argued that a female who has a clitoris stimulates and ends up in orgasm means that she is still a child. Once she is able to have a vaginal orgasm without clitoral stimulation, then she has become a matured person. However, only 25% of women can actually achieve vaginal orgasm without clitoral stimulation. Moreover, it made women feel bad about themselves when they couldn't orgasm just by intercourse, i.e. vaginal stimulation.
This is a prevalent myth even up until today. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, Lysol and other companies sold douches that were supposedly birth control items but were labeled as hygiene products. Advertisements included saying such as that wives needed to be clean, propagating the myth that the vagina was dirty. The fact was that the vagina is a self-cleaning body part. Moreover, when effective birth control pills were introduced in the 1960 and 70s, the companies who sold ineffective "hygiene products" pushed the image that vaginas were naturally horrible to smell, in order to push sales of douches. Since the 1970s, it has been widely accepted that douches are actually dangerous to a woman's health as it can cause infection.