In order to understand better the fundamental contradiction between the universe structured around female desire (the omnisexual universe as conceived by men) and the universe structured around male desire (the patriarchal universe as organized by orthodox Islam), it must be recalled that, in the latter, woman is an object of pleasure intended for the gratification of man. In the patriarchal universe the sexual act is not an act uniting two persons equally endowed with will; it is an act in which a sole human being masturbates with an object, woman, who is often compared to inanimate objects and categorized as a piece of property.
In Verse 14 of Surah III women are put in the category of possessions that tempt men on earth, just like gold, money, horses, and lands.
The unilateral character of the sexual act is clearly stated in Verse 223 of Surah II: »Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will.«
In this surah, the human being is man. Woman is a category whose human dimension is ambiguous. Woman is defined in terms of her function, her relationship to man. As an entity, she is land, she is real estate, she is inert.
The essence of maleness and the essence of femaleness unfold in relation to each other in a three-dimensional space, each having a position, its own dynamics (or lack of it), and a precise mode of conduct that defines it and opposes it to the other in an immutable and determining hierarchical relationship.
Hierarchical Relationship of Male and Female Essences
|MALE ESSENCE||FEMALE ESSENCE|
|Dimension 1: Position||Vertical||Horizontal|
|Dimension 2: Dynamics||Mobile, animate||Immobile, inanimate|
|Dimension 3: Mode of Conduct||Endowed with will||Lacking wil|
In the orthodox discourse, while the mobile, animate man acts vertically in a space that he controls through his will, woman is deprived of will. Horizontal and immobile, she offers herself up to the force that animates the universe, the male force. It is in and by the sexual act that the principle of domination is carried out, that the hierarchical principle, which is the patriarchal universe, is created and maintained. This hierarchy, the domination of man over woman, is only established at the price of the reification of woman: »In order for one category of human beings to dominate another, it must succeed in converting a portion of that society into a commodity, through the medium of an appropriate series of gradations in rank.«
In order for power to exist, it is necessary that the dominated person suffer the mutilation of certain attributes previously shared with the dominator. The reification of woman is a necessary condition for patriarchal domination. The idea of property, possession, and sole enjoyment, is only conceivable if the thing possessed is deprived of will and the capacity for counter-power. A human being cannot possess another human being; the idea is absurd.
If the dominance of one human being by another human being is to succeed, it must be justified, legitimated; that is the function and raison d'etre of ideology. It is this objective of the patriarchal discourse that will be examined in Part II of this book. But the preceding explanation is necessary as background for a better understanding of the male/female relationship in the omnisexual universe, where this relationship is reversed. In the omnisexual sphere it is man who is inert, and woman who is active. To use the terminology of the hunt, so dear to Al-Akkad, one of the most eloquent theoreticians of modern Muslim patriarchy, she is the pursuer, he is the prey. The power relationship is still there, but the roles are reversed; it is the woman who has a project, and that project is orgasm, in which she invests her will and energy. The man becomes merely an instrument to be pursued.
It is the voracious-vagina-crack woman who is the subject, the force that dominates the scene. Man is the sought-for object; he is reduced solely to what he has that is useful: his phallus, described in great detail. It is through the characteristics of the phallus required by the omnisexual woman that man is portrayed. He is drawn in the image of the desire that justifies his existence. Men are defined by the characteristics of their penis, as demanded by the desire of the omnisexual woman. In the erotic discourse, man is defined in terms of »penis envy,« a longing for the penis that the omnisexual woman wants. The world is reversed. The phallus and its needs are not the point of departure for the organization of the universe. It is female desire for the penis that is the organizing principle. And man is defined in relation to the »envy« of (desire for) the penis that she requires for her orgasm.
The penis that men have is not necessarily the one that the omnisexual woman desires, and it is in relation to female desire that the fear of castration is structured. The fear of castration is the fear of not having a penis able to satisfy the omnisexual woman; it is not, as in the Freudian analysis, the male child's fear of being castrated by the father for desiring the mother. Castration fear in the Freudian discourse is a homosexual fear; it is a matter between two men, and the woman is simply an excuse. In the omnisexual sphere, the fear of castration is a heterosexual fear — man's fear of being rejected by woman for having a defective penis, not able to beget the female orgasm.
Modalities of the orgasm
required by the omnisexual woman
The ideal copulation for two partners is one that is crowned with mutual and simultaneous orgasm:
- Those things which develop the taste for coition are the toyings and touches which precede it. ... Then do all you can to provoke a simultaneous discharge of the two spermal fluids; herein lies the secret of love. ... And after the enjoyment is over, and your amorous struggle has come to an end, be careful not to get up at once, but with-draw your member cautiously. Remain close to the woman, and lie down on the right side of the bed . . . from the observance of my recommendations will result the pleasure of the woman. ... God has made everything for the best!
Ibn Sulayman confirms this prescription when he reports the answers of Al- Alfiya (whose name is formed from the Arabic word for thousand [alf], the number of men with whom she has copulated) to the following questions put to her by some less experienced women:
Q: What should a man do to win a place in a woman's heart?
A: Caresses before copulation, rhythmic movement before orgasm.
Q: What creates love and understanding in a couple?
A: Simultaneous orgasm.
Q: What provokes hate and destroys understanding in a couple?
A: The opposite of what I just said.
The testimony of a satisfied wife fully agrees:
I live in the greatest happiness. My bed is a couch of bliss. When my husband and I are together in it, it is the witness of our supreme pleasure; of our kisses and embraces, of our joys and amorous sighs. When my husband's member is in my vulva it stops it up completely; it stretches itself out until it touches the bottom of my vagina, and it does not take its leave until it has visited every corner — threshold, vestibule, ceiling and centre. When the crisis arrives it takes its position in the very centre of the vagina, which it floods with tears. It is in this way we quench our fire and appease our passion.
And finally the man who is the reflection of the omnisexual woman's desire is described and his attributes defined in an ode to the virile man as woman conceives him: radiant with youth, vigorous, endowed with an eternal erection, and having the only intelligence that counts in this world, that of knowing the female body and its requirements:
I prefer a young man for coition, and him only;
He is full of courage — he is my sole ambition,
His member is strong to deflower the virgin,
And richly proportioned in all its dimensions;
It has a head like to a brazier.
Enormous, and none like it in creation;
Strong it is and hard, with the head rounded off.
It is always ready for action and does not die down;
It never sleeps, owing to the violence of its love.
It sighs to enter my vulva, and sheds tears on my belly;
It asks not for help, not being in want of any;
It has no need of an ally, and stands alone the greatest fatigues.
And nobody can be sure of what will result from its efforts.
Full of vigour and life, it bores into my vagina,
And it works about there in action constant and splendid.
First from the front to the back, and then from the right to the left;
Now it is crammed hard in by vigorous pressure,
Now it rubs its head on the orifice of my vagina.
And he strokes my back, my stomach, my sides,
Kisses my cheeks, and anon begins to suck at my lips.
He embraces me close, and makes me roll on the bed,
And between his arms I am a corpse without life.
Every part of my body receives in turn his love-bites,
And he covers me with kisses of fire;
When he sees me in heat he quickly comes to me,
Then he opens my thighs and kisses my belly,
And puts his tool in my hand to make it knock at my door.
Soon he is in the cave, and I feel pleasure approaching.
He shakes me and thrills me, and hotly we both are working.
And he says, 'Receive my seed!' and I answer, 'Oh give it beloved one!
It shall be welcome to me, you light of my eyes!
Oh, you man of all men, who fillest me with pleasure.
For you must not yet withdraw it from me; leave it there,
And this day will then be free of all sorrow.'
He has sworn to God to have me for seventy nights,
And what he wished for he did, in the ways of kisses and embraces during all those nights.
It is in contrast with this titan of the bed that the antivirile man is seen — the one whom no omnisexual woman wants. In the omnisexual context, virility is the ability to satisfy a woman sexually, not economically as in the patriarchal context (where a man must provide lodging, clothing, and food for the woman: nafaqa).
Know, O Vizir (to whom God be merciful), that men differ from each other in the act of intercourse, in the size of their member, its thickness, its vigor, its tendency to go flaccid. He who is held in contempt by women has an extremely small member, which is soft, slight, and slow to become erect. Women also feel aversion for the man who ejaculates prematurely, for him who tarries in coming, for him whose chest is heavy to bear, and for him whose croup is unable to press hard on his partner. When such a man approaches his partner, he isn't concerned about her, he takes no pains. He mounts onto her chest, without any love play, without lavishing kisses on her, without arousing her, without having bestowed on her any favors. Then, with difficulty and weariness, he thrusts his dangling member into her. He bobs up and down once or twice, then falls off her breast as if he had overworked. Such a man is of no use to a woman.
In the omnisexual world, men are divided into two classes: the useful ones, the omnisexual men, able to lavish caresses and orgasms endlessly; and the useless ones, those who have difficulty in succeeding in this kind of tournament. So what we want to find out is if the man fashioned by female desire exists in reality or not. Does the omnisexual man exist or is he a male fantasy? If omnisexual men exist, who are they? Do they belong to a specific social group? Are there a lot of them or just a few?
Producing even more anxiety is the question of whether omnisexual status is a given or the result of a process. Is one born or does one become an omnisexual man? So many basic questions in the omnisexual universe where the female orgasm is the organizing principle! For a man, is being omnisexual a destiny or a choice? Are there actions that can be taken to improve one's performance in the sexual domain?
The two works examined here are in fact centered around these questions, and the whole of both books is nothing but an attempt to explore the various dimensions of these questions, to lull the anxiety they arouse in the believer, and to implore the grace of Allah for help in passing, unharmed and without humiliation, through the obstacle course of copulation. The general thrust of these texts is highly optimistic despite the alarming evidence of the enormous gulf between the ideal and the real, between the omnisexual man and the worthy believer. The fact is that, biologically speaking, the average believer is far from being equipped for such a project. Shaykh Nefzawi agrees with Ibn Sulayman: Copulation energizes woman, gives her more strength; on the contrary it weakens man and reduces his reserves of strength.
Know, O Vizir (to whom God be good!) that the ills caused by coition are numerous. I will mention to you some of them, which to know is essential, in order to avoid them. ... The excessive practice of coition injures the health on account of the expenditure of too much sperm. For as butter made of cream represents the quin- tessence of the milk, and if you take the cream off, the milk loses its qualities, even so does the sperm form the quintessence of nutrition, and its loss is debilitating. ...
If, therefore, a man will passionately give himself up to the enjoyment of coition, without undergoing too great fatigue, he must live upon strengthening food [special foods which we will hear about further on] . . . [in order to be] protected against the following accidents to which coition may lead.
Firstly, the loss of generative power.
Secondly, the deterioration of his sight. ...
Thirdly, the loss of his physical strength; he may become like the man who wants to fly but cannot, who pursuing somebody cannot catch him, or who carrying a burden, or working, soon gets tired and prostrated.
So what is to be done? Is the real man completely condemned to a life of failure with the omnisexual woman? Is there not a margin of liberty where the human will can make its appearance, change the course of biology, impose the stamp of human intelligence, and subvert biology in order to be pleasing to the omnisexual woman and bask in her plenitude? The experts' answer to this question affirms the triumph of civilization over »nature,« of culture over biology. Real man can go beyond himself and subvert the biological givens, thanks to that which distinguishes him from animals, his intelligence; thanks to science, to the accumulation of knowledge concerning his own anatomy and that of women, and to the development of a strategy for action based on that knowledge.
Science in the Service of pleasure
The two authors advise the believer to acquire mastery of the situation through the accumulation of knowledge, the scientific approach to the world. First it is necessary to know the female body well and the murmurings of its least desires in order to master the secret of responding to it. This project will then only succeed if man also knows himself, evaluates his good points and his deficiencies, and maximizes his handling of them. In this sense the two books aim to be, and are organized as, scientific treatises. They lay out the problem at the outset by identifying its elements, and then proceed to a synthesis in which information and prescriptions are copiously thrown at the reader to make it possible for him to resolve the problem. It is important to note that where it is a matter of the female body, the authors turn to female sources of information, often to older women having great experience in this matter, like Al-Alfiya, mentioned above.
Their message is pleaure and female desire. Even when the sources are men, their profound intention (contrary to the discourse of the marvelous) is to probe female desire in order to adapt to it. (In the Arabian Nights the will that animates the discourse is the will to please the king, male power, and to adapt to his desires.) This veneration of female desire springs from the scientific approach, from the discoveries and explorations that the authors offer to the believer. This is an essentially Muslim attitude. For the Muslim God, there is no contradiction, no break, between prayer and scientific exploration. Exploring the world and human beings and their complexity is the highest form of prayer. In explaining the anatomy of female desire and the way to master male anatomy in order to respond to it, Shaykh Nefzawi and Ibn Sulayman are fully within Muslim orthodoxy, as far as the methodology of their investigation is concerned. It is the subject that is far from being so, because it makes female sexual pleasure the ultimate aim of the thought and action of the believer. And the God of Islam is jealous of the least threat that might distract the attention of this believer, who owes body and soul to Allah. By definition, Islam is submission, submission to the divine will. The most sacrilegious act possible for a believer is to attach himself to someone else, to serve with the same fervor someone other than Allah.
The quest for pleasure in the omnisexual universe shatters the structure of orthodox Islam, which limits all action and subjects all human thought to the service of the divine. It is in this respect that the erotic discourse is subversive; it breaks down the sacred double hierarchy that places God above everything and designates him as the exclusive aim of life on earth. Sexual pleasure is the triumph of both earthly life and the female body. According to Ghazzali, one of the ambiguities of the institution of marriage is that it must allow man to enjoy the female body without that enjoyment interfering with his allegiance to God. Marriage is a borderline institution between two antagonistic and irreconcilable entities — God and woman:
Among the dangers of marriage [is] the danger inherent in permitted pleasure, the temptation to give oneself up totally to playful bandying with women, to take too much pleasure in their company, to wallow in enjoyment of them. Marriage risks plunging the body and spirit of the believer into day-long and night-long preoccupations which are intrinsically sexual and which thus prevent man from thinking about the Hereafter and preparing for it. It is in this context that one must understand the remark by Ibrahim Ibn Adham, asking God's mercy: »He who becomes accustomed to burrowing between the legs of women will never succeed in achieving anything at all.« Ibn Sulayman goes even further and maintains that he who gets married opts for earthly life. This means that marriage impels him to take heed of nought but life here below. There you have set forth the benefits and drawbacks of marriage. Therefore, it would be an error in judgment to decide that, for such and such a man, marriage or celibacy in the abstract is right for him, if one does not take into consideration all the advantages and disadvantages of each of these choices and clearly explain them to him so that he himself can decide with full knowledge of his reason for doing so.
The believer would be tortured and torn forever between God and the Hereafter on one hand, and woman/body/earthly life on the other hand, if a sacred hierarchy did not happen to deliver him from it by degrading the physical component (female body, earthly life) and subordinating it forever to the spiritual component (God, the Hereafter). The female body in patriarchal Islam has to be degraded, objectified, and utilized as an object; it must never hold the attention of the believer or preoccupy his mind beyond a brief, purely utilitarian pleasure, because it constitutes an endogenous pole of dissidence.
When one analyzes the erotic discourse, it appears that the fears of patriarchal power are well founded. The energy spent by the believer in acquiring adequate knowledge about the female body and equipping himself to assuage, satisfy, and serve it, bear a striking resemblance to religious practice, prayer, and the worship that is appropriate to and due to the divine.
Igniting female desire:
Caresses and Positions
Despite the enormous desire that inflames the voracious-vagina and its incessant quest for the male organ, orgasm is not produced mechanically by the penetration of one into the other. Female orgasm is not a biological given; it is a social project, a process that necessitates knowledge, concentration, and will, that is, the elements of human activity par excellence — work. The quantity and quality of that work are conditioned by the rhythms of the woman's ejaculation, of which there are three different types:
Know that women are divided into three categories, as far as ejaculation is concerned: the fast ones, the slow ones, and the medium ones. Tall thin women have a fast ejaculation, small plump women a slow one. The woman who has hard jutting nipples ejaculates rapidly; the one who has a short, stocky figure ejaculates slowly. ... The signal of ejaculation in a woman is the movement of her eyes, which narrow until they look like those of a sleepy jerboa. At this moment also the expression on her face freezes. Sometimes she has gooseflesh, her forehead perspires, her limbs go slack, and she modestly avoids meeting the eyes of her partner. Ejaculation is often accompanied in her by shudders, her breathing accelerates, she hides her face and exposes her vagina and presses it to the man when orgasm overtakes her. These are the signs of ejaculation — know them.
These rhythms are fundamental for working out a strategy regarding orgasm, which sometimes imposes discipline and some perilous constraints on a man. For example, certain of these rhythms force a man to control the degree of penetration and to hold back despite his desire for full entry into his partner. For man, the quest for orgasm, far from being relaxation and self-forgetfulness, is an exercise in control, discipline, and vigilance, which are also the attributes of prayer:
It is said that women are divided into two categories: the shagra and the qa'ra. If you want to know which category your partner belongs to, you must make a test. Insert your penis into her; if she begins to move and quiver and her eyes close and the pupils disappear, she is shagra. In this case you must insert only half of your penis into her. If, however, you see that she remains immobile as if you have not inserted yourself into her at all, then you should plunge it into her totally; you will see that she will begin to smile, to give you love bites, and to move beneath you.
As in religious practice there is a ritual to be respected, but contrary to the divine where the object of worship is an abstraction that has no physical manifestation, the pursuit of the orgasm obliges a man to put on an act and kneel down before the female body and beg for her reda, her benediction. This brings to mind the pagan prayer ritual, the ritual of pre-Islamic idolatry. And in the period of the jahiliya (pre-Islamic barbarism) the idols often had the bodies of women:
Know, O Vizir (God be good to you!), if you would have pleasant coition . . . you must first of all toy with the woman, excite her with kisses, by nibbling and sucking her lips, by caressing her neck and cheeks. Turn her over in bed, now on her back, now on her stomach, until you see by her eyes that the time for pleasure is near.
And Ibn Sulayman, more meticulous in his methodology, more the pedagogue, tries to help the believer keep his head in the heat of action by giving him some categories to guide his moves. He lays out for him a veritable catechism of female pleasure:
The parts of the body which should be kissed are the thighs, the eyes, the lips, the forehead, the hair, the breasts, the inside of the earlobe, the navel, the inside of the vagina, and finally the hips. The parts of the body that should be bitten are the cheeks, the lower lip, the ears. The parts which are sensitive to being lightly tickled by the nails are the soles of the feet and the inside of the thighs. You can allow yourself to beat lightly with your hands the ankles, the outside of the thighs, the arms, and between the navel and the belly, but you must remember that you should only indulge in these kinds of stimulations with a woman who has a slow ejaculation. ... If, on the other hand, you do this sort of thing with a woman who has a rhythm of fast ejaculation, you risk upsetting her.
If a thorough knowledge of the rhythms and cycles that kindle the female body is indispensable for anyone interested in the pursuit of the orgasm, a detailed and almost maniacal knowledge of the genital apparatus itself is a necessity:
Know that woman has two holes besides the one that takes in the penis. ... One is situated lower than the clitoris, and it is through it that the urine flows. There is another situated even lower than that one, and it is through it that the sperm is evacuated. ... The two holes are close to each other. But while the one through which the urine comes out is visible, the other one is barely so. They are separated by only the width of a thumb. This little hole is important to the extent that he who knows it and knows its function can manipulate it to accelerate the rhythm of the woman's ejaculation. It is enough to caress it very gently with the penis or the finger. Above all, rough and violent movements near it must be avoided. He who knows how to utilize it brings the woman rapidly to orgasm, and thereby attaches her to him and arouses in her a great love for him. On the other hand, he who ignores this hole and doesn't take the necessary precautions will make himself hated by his partner, especially if he has a very small penis, even if he is as handsome as Joseph.
The man who is not particularly favored by nature, whose organ doesn't come up to the standards of the omnisexual woman, especially as regards its size, must more than anyone else mitigate his limitations by accumulating the necessary information for building his strategy. In addition to the arsenal of kisses and caresses, man must master the technique of the positions for coitus, the art of transforming the duo of the male and female bodies into a mobile and dynamic unity, which takes place in a space-time between the initial desire to copulate and its objective, orgasm. This imposes on man a rhythm that is not his own, that is foreign to him — the rhythm of female pleasure. The erotic undertaking projects man into the arena of female pleasure where he becomes the instrument, contrary to the patriarchal scheme, which as a matter of principle is centered on male desire. The source of expertise on the question of positions likely to satisfy the partner is the testimony of women who have copulated often and with different men — concubines:
Concubines, because they circulate among various men, sometimes having twenty or thirty consecutive masters, have the opportunity to acquire great knowledge on the subject of copulation. They take advantage of their situation to learn different techniques from each partner. He who wants to make inquiries in this domain must oblige a concubine to communicate to him all the techniques that she has accumulated during her career. Usually they will reveal unsuspected angles to you and cause you to hear sensual sounds and moans never heard before.
Al-Alfiya, for example, who seems to have fascinated Ibn Sulayman, imparted to women less experienced than she, who asked her to share her knowledge with them, eleven positions for copulation while lying on the back, six while seated, and ten while lying on the side. She also went into detail about other much more acrobatic techniques, particularly ten positions while squatting and ten others while prostrate. These positions smack of fantasy and humor, and their titles often sound like risque theater pieces: »The Routine« (Nayk al-'ada); »The Copulation of the Masters« (Nayk al-sada); »The Conformist« (Al-tatabu'i); »Position for a Lazybones« (Nayk al-kasali); »Suggestion« (Al-muqtarih); »The Au-Revoir« (Al-wadaa4); »Copulation of the Specialists« (Nayk al-mukhtassin); »Technique of the Amateurs« (Nayk al-walaa').
But Al-Alfiya's positions suddenly seem very banal when one compares them to those propounded by a concubine who was a specialist in sodomy. Her master recounted that she made him undergo a veritable test when he bought her. When she realized his knowledge about sodomy was rather vague, she got down to the task of seriously initiating him into this art. She cited sixteen positions to him and offered herself as a skilled teacher to guide him in learning them through practice. »The best method of teaching,« she told him, »is always action.«
In the course of the sessions initiating him into these practices, he reported that he had some moments when he was totally overwhelmed, especially with regard to the ninth position: »I wanted to get up. She told me: 'Don't move.' Then she removed my sex from hers with her own hand; she put it into her mouth, began to suck it and manipulate it until it stiffened again.«
In these passages concerning techniques and positions, the relationship between master and slave is reversed. The men, trembling with curiosity and anxiety, become the disciples and initiates, and the slaves arrogate to themselves all the rights of intimidating and giving orders that belong to educators. Reading the text leaves you with an aftertaste of anxiety. It seems that the believer is far from having the constitution required to be an omnisexual man. What he can offer his partner doesn't come close to being what will satisfy her. So it becomes necessary for a man to know his limits, which depend strictly and fatefully on his physical constitution. A man must find out what his own rhythm is, otherwise he risks burning himself out, foolishly committing hara-kiri:
The sage, Es Sakli, has thus determined the limits to be observed by man as to the indulgence of the pleasures of coition: Man, be he phlegmatic or sanguine, should not make love more than twice or thrice a month; bilious or hypochondriac men only once or twice a month. It is nevertheless a well established fact that nowadays men of any of these four temperaments are insatiable as to coition, and give themselves up to it day and night, taking no heed how they expose themselves to numerous ills, both internal and external.
And it is for this reason that Shaykh Nefzawi included in his list of bad women »the one who exhibits herself in front of her husband in order to obtain her pleasure, and who pesters him constantly in bed.« In addition, certain positions are not favorable for a man and risk ruining his health forever:
Coition, if performed standing, affects the knee-joints and brings about nervous shiverings; and if performed sideways will predispose your system for gout and sciatica. ... Do not mount upon a woman fasting or immediately before making a meal, or else you will have pains in your back, you will lose your vigour, and your eyesight will get weaker. If you do it with the woman bestriding you, your dorsal cord will suffer and your heart will be affected; and if in that position the smallest drop of the usual secretions of the vagina enters your urethral canal, a painful stricture may supervene. ... Too much exercise after coition is also detri- mental. Avoid washing your member after the copulation, as this may cause canker. ... The excessive practice of coition injures the health.
What an awful comedown, what a huge gulf between the man whom the omnisexual woman celebrates as »full of courage« with a member »strong . . . and hard . . . always ready for action,« and this poor puny creature who is exhausted by the merest movement and suffers sciatica, shiverings, and weak eyesight with the least prolonged effort! How is one then to close this frightful gap? What means can one use to try, if not to eliminate it, at least to reduce it? The authors unanimously reassure the believer by opening two avenues of hope — diet and magic. The first makes it possible for him to store up energy with particularly nutritious foods that will give him the strength necessary for copulation and restore the strength that the sexual act burns up. The second will make it possible for him to realize a miracle: to enlarge the penis and lengthen it, to prolong erection for whole nights, to postpone ejaculation, and finally to make the vagina of the beloved woman hermetically sealed and inac- cessible to anyone else. Although Shaykh Ncrzawi is content to give just a few prescriptions, Ibn Sulayman, whose book is addressed to the old man whose precise wish is to regain his youth through the ability to copulate, gives him 150 minutely detailed prescriptions.
Anxiety about impotence and premature ejaculation and obsession with the size of the penis and means for lengthening and enlarging it are the subjects of entire chapters in standard medical tracts and manuals, which continue to be guides for an impressively sizable audience of believers, judging by their low price and constant presence in bookshop windows and on stands at the entrances to mosques. Al-Suyuti, in his book Al-Rahma fil-tibb wal-hikma (Divine Mercy in Medicine and Wisdom), has a chapter entitled »Increasing the Power to Copulate,« in which he gives sixty prescriptions, some containing potions capable of »producing a tenfold increase in man's sexual energy to the point of making him capable of copulating without stop for a whole night.« Moreover, if one takes these potions continually, »the penis remains full-blown and in constant erection without ever subsiding.«
Some of Imam al-Suyuti's other potions are so virulent that, once ingested, they create the opposite problem — that is, the penis will stay in a state of erection »until you run cold water over your organ several times.«
Imam al-Suyuti devotes special sections of his book to orgasm (eighteen pre- scriptions) and to methods for enlarging the penis (ten prescriptions). He offers six prescriptions for reducing a woman's sexual appetite, and fifteen methods for blocking the access of anyone else to the vagina of the beloved woman, and to keep her from fornicating.
Shaykh al-Imam Ibrahim Ibn Abd al-Rahman Ibn Abi Bakr al-Azraq, in his book Tashil al-manafi' fil-tibb wal-hikma (Obtaining the Benefits of Medicine and Wisdom), specifies that »man is advised against copulating too much« in a section with that precise title, and then goes on to devote whole sections to means for increasing a man's sexual appetite and strength and for enlarging his penis, and on the other hand to prescriptions for reducing a woman's sexual appetite.
The symbolic content of these prescriptions is as impressive as their number. Most of them depend on the most elementary techniques of magic, such as carrying, touching, or rubbing oneself with the sex organ or other parts of the bodies of animals known for their great sexual appetite or the large size of their sex organs. To increase one's sexual appetite, it is enough to carry around the bile of a bear, or the testicles of a fighting cock, or hair taken from an ass during copulation. Touching the tail of a fox miraculously renews one's energy. Smearing the penis with bear grease, a bull's sperm, the yolk of an eagle's egg, or, better still, a tiger's brain increases the size of the penis and its endurance.
But it is the mouth that is the means most utilized for producing miracles in the field of sexuality. Orality is the key to sexual prowess in a very large number of these prescriptions. For the man who feels himself to be sexually debilitated, swallowing is the act that regenerates his strength and increases his sexual appetite tenfold. Swallowing is the favored act for renewing faltering powers and dangling penises. Having been nourished through the mouth at the time when, as a babe in arms, his energies were only potentialities, man regresses to it when he reaches the limit of his powers. Worried about being able to please the loved one, he returns to the mouth, »the organ of nourishment from the mother.« In order to satisfy the voracious-vagina of the omnisexual woman, man has recourse to another orifice, just as devouring of energy, the mouth.
The mature man, who at one moment was intoxicated with his youth and expected to conquer the world (which is in the omnisexual universe, woman) becomes a child again when he has doubts about his capacity, his strength. The child reappears in the man when he is perturbed in his effort to please, in his desire to be loved. Orality can consist of pronouncing a few words that will change the world, that will revive the sleeping penis. Ibn Sulayman advises him who suffers from premature ejaculation to pronounce the following words: »ach- ach-driath-dith-dith-dathat-dathat.« These words alone will work the magic: The lover will be able to prolong his act as long as he wants to.
Swallowing the sexual organs of other animals results in marvels; the penis of the wolf and hedgehog, the testicles of the fox, the ass, and the cock create miracles. Four items of food, much more banal than the preceding, occupy a favored place in the oral banquet recommended by the fuqahas (scholars of religious science): honey, milk, egg, and onion. In a society of scarcity, where rich foods are reserved for the dominant minority, this diet opens the royal road to eternal youth for the kings, vizirs, and those in their entourages, and at the same time bars from it the majority of believers:
If, therefore, a man will passionately give himself up to the enjoyment of coition, without undergoing too great fatigue, he must live upon strengthening food, exciting comfits, aromatic plants, meat, honey, eggs, and other similar viands. He who follows such a regime is protected against . . . the loss of generative power . . . the deterioration of his sight . . . the loss of his physical strength.«