The author of How An Old Man Can Regain His Youth Through Sexual Potency sums up the destructive tidal wave of an omnisexual woman by quoting an important personage of the Mediterranean world, well known for his ambivalence, if not his aversion, toward women — Socrates. When questioned about the virtue of women he is supposed to have said:
The surprising thing is not that women should fornicate, but that they should be virtuous, because they are creatures whose essence is lust (al-shawa). And one of the better proofs of the tryanny of their sexual appetite is the fact that a young woman whose parents have educated her from a young age and cared for her when she is grown up and supervised her, etc., is yet never grateful for all these blessings despite the excellence of her intellect and the sharpness of her mental faculties. She chooses him whom her desire fixes on, and she prefers him to her parents at the very moment when she is fully conscious of her duty toward them and thus of the implications of her actions. ... There are numerous young women, raised in luxury and wealth and given an excellent education, who desert their native land, exiling themselves in far countries in order to assuage their desires and pursue their quest for pleasure. They do not hesitate in their mad quest to destroy the reputation of their family, to trample on all that is sacred, to soil the family honor, and even sometimes to go as far as murder.
The omnisexual woman is motivated by one sole objective — the pursuit of orgasm, the quest for instruments large enough to calm the convulsions of her private parts. The omnisexual woman is selfish desire incarnate, engrossed only in her own fulfillment and notably lacking a dimension central to the Muslim family, the maternal dimension. For the Muslim family the concern for the perpetuation of the race is paralleled by an equally imperative concern, that of the purity of the race, the guarantee of legitimate paternity. This requires the faithfulness of the wife-mother and her virtue; otherwise the patriarchal design is doomed to failure.
Faithfulness and virtue are not natural for the omnisexual woman. They depend on her willingness to collaborate, her willingness to be self-controlled, to restrain the convulsions of her private parts and impose artificial constraints on her voracious vagina, lined with muscles that vibrate and seek out anything that can satisfy them. The two key roles designed by men to be the pivot of the Muslim family — wife and mother — clash with the essentially biological nature of the omnisexual woman. It is in the light of the omnisexual woman that the wife-mother acquires a particularly unreal focus. She is as much of a fantasy as the veiled, immobilized women behind shutters that Muslim males have nursed as their ideal for centuries. In order to create, using the raw material of the omnisexual woman, a wife-mother fitted for copulation with only her legal husband chosen for her by her wali, it is necessary to immobilize a woman, lock her up, hide her, and separate her as much as possible from the male population.
For although on the level of sexual prowess the ass constitutes an enemy for size, nothing is more devastating for paternity than the sperm of another man. Moreover, another man, having a social existence and being situated in a social hierarchy, could talk and divulge the secrets of the cuckolded husband. An ass, despite the superiority of his sperm, is not capable of that.
Muslim marriage is an exchange of a woman between two men, the wali and the future husband. If such an exchange had to include the opinion of the woman, we would need only the institution of jabr that is, the right of a father to force his daughter to marry the man whom he has chosen for her, to remind us that trust does not exist between father and daughter, that the two do not necessarily pursue the same objective, and that in fact their criteria of choice do not coincide. One of the concerns of the wali (the father or his legal representa-tive) is the question of kafa', social homogencity.
The criteria that govern the choice of the woman-voracious-crack and those of the wali, who is the representative and guarantor of the Muslim order, can only clash with each other. The criteria that govern the omnisexual's choice can be nothing but a constant source of subversion of the Muslim family. Even more serious is the fact that this source of subversion is endogenous, from within. It is violently intimate, insidiously, tenderly internal to the Muslim family. One imagines the mental maneuvers, so tempting, so easy, which link subversion and femaleness in the shadowy depths of the collective memory. One can imagine the ease with which this link crops up in the present-day crises that the male believer experiences in a society constantly desecrated and assailed from the outside by technology and its masters, and from the inside by the collapse of social hierarchies and the rapid spread of egalitarian ideas.
Femaleness, according to the erotic discourse, is erosion, the leveling of social hierarchies. Femaleness can only assert itself by and through subversion. The wali, the representative of the Muslim order (he is always of the male sex, father, brother, paternal uncle, etc.), in making his choice of the marriage partner for the woman that he represents, has to take into account six criteria that measure kafa. According to Ibn Hanifa, these criteria are: Islam, affiliation, status (free or slave), fortune, profession, and finally al-tadayun, conformity of conduct to religious precepts. For a marriage to succeed, there must be homogeneity between the spouses and their families with regard to these six criteria. The concept of kafa' is a very obvious breach in the concept of equality among believers, and this explains its ambiguous status and the absence of unanimity concerning it. This has not prevented it from emerging in the new family-law codes promulgated by the Muslim states after their political rebirth following colonialism. The concept of kafa' thus limits the Muslim woman's choice of marriage partners. So it is obvious that this woman would not have the right to exercise any choice concerning sexual partners either inside or outside of marriage. In marriage her sole sexual partner must be her lawful husband; outside of marriage, she must refrain.
Not only does the omnisexual woman exercise the privilege of choice of sexual partners, but she also shows scant respect for the criteria of the males who govern her and make use of her before and during marriage. The omnisexual's sole criterion in her choice of partner is the size of the phallus. It is a criterion that is related to biology, to pleasure. The man-wali's criterion in making his choice is kafa , homogeneity, a criterion related to social, cultural, and religous concerns. The woman's purpose relates to nature; she stands in opposition to culture, to patriarchal, hierarchized, and hierarchizing Islam. By listening to the muscles that throb between her legs, the woman erodes the social hierarchy, opens her vagina to the large phalluses of men of low estate, whom the social order places at the bottom of the social scale, thus effecting a reversal of values:
Women are demons, and were born as such;
No one can trust them, as is known to all; . . .
They do not recoil to use a slave in the master's absence,
If once their passions are aroused, and they play tricks;
Assuredly, if once their vulva is in rut,
They only think of getting in some member in erection.
Writers give many illustrations of the threat to the system represented by woman as a permanent pole of destabilization and subversion of the social hierarchy. Marriage between paternal cousins, regarded as the ideal and preferred by fathers, is an almost sacred union. It guarantees the purity of the bloodline as well as the cohesion of the group and the preservation of its wealth. It was this marriage that a young widow, belonging to a powerful family of rich mer- chants, chose to profane by copulating on the tomb of her barely interred husband, as related by the author of How An Old Man Can Regain His Youth Through Sexual Potency. Her decision to do this was made on the spur of the moment when she saw the size of the penis of one of the blindmen whom she had hired to do the daily ritual reading of the Koran:
As for me, I come from a rich family of merchants. I was brought up in wealth and luxury. When I was grown up, my father married me to my paternal cousin, who took me and deflowered me on my wedding night. I remained with him for two years, at the end of which he fell ill. Then he died. I was deeply affected by this loss. I even thought about suicide. The death of my husband deeply saddened me and plunged me into mourning. I had a beautiful tomb built for him surrounded by a large building, and I hired five blindmen to assure regular readings of the Koran on his tomb — readings which were to continue night and day. I passed most of my time at the tomb. I went out one morning at dawn and headed for the tomb. As I drew close to it, I saw one of the hired blindmen asleep, stretched out on his back, his sex in the air, erected like a rod or a well-shaped shaft. My first reaction was one of fear. I cursed the devil and started to waken the blindman. Then the devil changed my mind. The place was deserted, the sex of the blindman in full erection was of a prepossessing size which gave joy to my heart. So without further hesitation I went up to the blindman. I uncovered his sex completely. It displayed itself there beneath my eyes like a vigorous well-fed little animal. At the sight of it, my heart became flooded with desire, and I took off my pantaloons. I moistened the sex of the blindman with saliva and put a little on the lips of my own. Then I inserted the whole of his sex into my vagina, and I felt an enormous pleasure. I began to move up and down on him. The blindman remained motionless and silent. As my excitement grew, I began to taunt him: »Are you made of stone or are you dead?« I shouted at him. »May Allah make you ugly if you do not help me.« When he heard me, he took his hand out of his pocket, pulled me down onto his chest, and forcefully thrust himself into me with more and more rapid movements. He took me ten times that day. I left the way of God on that day to devote myself to prostitution.
The idea that the cause of prostitution is the great sexual appetite of women and not the economic structure is a strongly rooted and still enduring belief and occasionally turns up even in studies and essays that call themselves scientific. It is the throbbing convulsions of a demanding vagina that drive a woman to open up what should normally be reserved for a single man (her husband) to all the members of the community without distinction or the least discrimination. However, the most serious aspect is not that the sexual act undermines the social hierarchy, but that it reverses it: Slaves become masters. In the preceding account, the woman, who belonged to the upper class, was in control during the copulation; she was in the position of authority over the blindman. It was she, the rich woman, who gave the orders; the blindman, a poor man, obeyed her to the letter. In the following account, the dynamics are different. One sees through the eyes of the young dumbfounded narrator a scene of copulation, unbelievable to his eyes. He watches as a woman of free estate, whom he has seen adulated, surrounded, and loved by rich and powerful men whom she scorns, humble herself before a black slave whose penis fascinates her:
I saw a young woman all excited with a black slave. She kept kissing his cheeks and licking them. He, on the other hand, pushed her away, insulted her, and even hit her. She raised her legs in front of him and sobbingly told him the torments she was suffering due to the great passion and tenderness she felt for him. The slave merely insulted her: »Whore,« he said over and over. »Master,« she kept on replying to his attacks, »do with me what you will. Just stop these attacks and put it in me. I have been away from you for three whole nights.« »I will only take you if you do what you are in the habit of doing,« he told her. »With pleasure,« she answered. I was invisible in the shadow, and they were in full light. I wanted to see what this »habit« of hers was that the slave spoke of. He stood up, his sex in an erection that was a whole head longer than an arm. She grabbed it, kissed it more than twenty times, caressed it with her cheeks and wiped her eyes with it. He indicated to her to stop. During this whole time she kept behaving seductively with sighs and moans.
Indeed, there seems to be a veritable plot to subvert the Muslim order and its hierarchies and to destroy its institutions — a plot between the omnisexual woman and the men of low estate, especially slaves, who are invariably in these cases black:
We negroes have had our fill of women,
We fear not their tricks, however subtle they may be.
Men confide in us with regard to what they cherish.
This is no lie, remember, but is the truth, as you know.
Oh, you women! for sure you have no patience when the virile member you are wanting,
For in the same resides your life and death;
It is the end and all of your wishes, secret or open.
If your choler and ire are aroused against your husbands,
They appease you simply by introducing their members.
Your religion resides in your vulva, and the manly member is your soul.
Such you will always find is the nature of women.
This poem by the black slave Dorerame was an answer to the woman Full Moon of the Full Moon, whom he was pursuing with his desire, a woman belonging to the masters, wife of the son of the vizir. The stanzas of the dialogue between the two of them were exchanged in the hearing of the king, powerless to act in the situation because he was hidden. Strange circumstances had placed him in the position of voyeur. It was not, however, the words of the slave that shocked the king the most; it was those of Full Moon of the Full Moon, so unexpected, so clear, so unamibiguous in their lucidity:
Oh, men! listen to what I say on the subject of woman,
Her thirst for coition is written between her eyes.
Do not put trust in her vows, even were she the Sultan's daughter.
Woman's malice is boundless; not even the King of Kings
Would suffice to subdue it, whate'er be his might. ...
The wife receives the slave in the bed of the master,
And the serving men allay upon her their lust.
Eventually the king was able to come out of his hiding place and command Full Moon of the Full Moon to identify for him the women who frequented the house of debauchery accidentally discovered by him and who were drawn there by the phallus of Dorerame, the black slave who had a member »stiff as a pillar.« The list reflected the whole ruling class of the realm:
»This is the wife of the Kadi.« »And this one?« »The wife of the second Vizir.« »And this?« »The wife of the chief of the Muftis.« »And that one?« »The Treasurer’s.«
Figuring also in the list were the wife of the syndic of carpenters, the daughter of the clerk of the treasurer, the daughter of the inspector of weights and measures, the daughter of the keeper of the colors, and finally (how symbolic!) the daughter of the guardian of the royal portals — that is, the one responsible for the security of the palace.
This story by Nefzawi (who wrote his work on the order of a vizir) ended not with the women being put to death, but with the killing of the black slave, who was mutilated by order of the king before his execution:
They cut off his ears, nose, and lips; likewise his virile member, which they put into his mouth, and then hung him on a gallows.
Then the King ordered the seven doors of the house to be closed, and returned to his palace.
In the discourse of the marvelous, the black slave who copulates with the daughter or wife of the master is systematically and brutally punished. In the erotic discourse this is not always the case; the slave can sometimes copulate with the women of the master with impunity. This marks a great difference between the erotic discourse and the discourse of the marvelous. It must be noted that rarely in either of these discourses are the women of the powerful punished for fornication or adultery, contrary to the provisions of the law in the legal (orthodox Sunni Islamic) discourse, which demands that the two criminals receive the same penalty. Although in other discourses men of low estate (slave or poor) are punished if they dare desire and possess the women of their masters, it is not always so in the erotic discourse, where men and women succeed most of the time in fornicating with impunity. In the discourse of legal (orthodox) Islam, the body — of women and also of men — is the field on which the writing of power, of authority, of hierarchy is inscribed with the most violence. In the erotic discourse it is a field where the only writing is that of pleasure. Pleasure is the organizing principle of the world, of beings and their relations. It is the order itself, emanating from and situated in female desire.
In erotic space, which is the space of male fantasy par excellence, men of low estate, endowed with cosmic phalluses, can let themselves be tempted by women belonging to powerful men, without undergoing the fate of Dorerame, who, it must be admitted, overdid it a bit and was not satisfied with just one transgression.
A happy fornicator of erotic space was Bahloul, the court fool of a king named Mamoum. He »amused the princes and Vizirs,« who »considered] him as a subject for mockery.« His great poverty was the thing that amused the king and his dignitaries, and they asked him to compose verses on the subject in exchange for gifts from them. Bahloul, ludicrous as he was, succeeded in seducing Hamdonna, thanks to his member, »which stood erect like a column between his thighs.« Hamdonna was far from being just anybody: She was the daughter of Mamoum and the wife of the Grand Vizir. Hamdonna »was endowed with the most perfect beauty; of a superb figure and harmonious form. No one in her time surpassed her in grace and perfection. Heroes on seeing her became humble and submissive, and looked down to the ground for fear of temptation, so many charms and perfections had God lavished on her.« And Hamdonna, the perfect object of desire and entertainer of powerful men, was in addition »a marvelous singer, with a delicious voice, able to charm the birds out of the trees. No one had ever heard her sing a song without being completely carried away.«
And yet, this siren, beautiful, rich, talented, married to a powerful man, was not only seduced but bewitched by Bahloul, the buffoon, ugly and poor:
O Bahloul! I never saw a more beautiful dart than yours! . . . O member, come into me ... on the opening of each vulva is inscribed the name of the man who is to enter it, right or wrong, for love or for hatred. If Bahloul's name had not been inscribed on my vulva he would never have got into it, had he offered me the universe with all it contains.
Not only does Bahloul do very well by himself, but he also succeeds in playing a trick on Hamdonna with the unwitting collaboration of her husband, the Vizir.
The omnisexual woman is invariably triumphant in erotic space. She breaks through all social barriers with impunity and successfully erodes the foundations of the sacred institution par excellence — the family. No bulwark can hold out against her, once the barriers of sex have been vaulted. The omnisexual woman desecrates the rule of heterosexuality with the same ease as the rules of social homogeneity. Homosexuality is a game that does not repel her.
According to Ibn Sulayman, wise men are supposed to have explained ho- mosexuality by the fact that contrary to female animals, whose desires obey the rhythm of the seasons and who only feel the desire to copulate in certain periods of the year, women defy the seasons:
Females of all kinds of animals, it has been noted by the savants, only feel the desire to copulate during a part of the year; human females feel it incessantly throughout the whole year. The practice of fettering animals limits their desire in a certain way and diverts their attention from their sexual parts, while it is unthinkable for a woman's vagina to abstain. Even if a woman marries seven men, as many as the days of the week, that would not keep her from seeking homosexual contacts in addition, in order to satisfy herself.
This theory about the homosexual woman in also found in Nefzawi. He describes a case in which adulterous women also indulge in homosexuality. Female homosexuality is thus, in their theory, a consequence of male incapacity. Both authors are convinced that it is enough for a woman to find herself face to face with an adequate phallus for her to renounce this practice, which they regard as simply a solution of desperation in most cases. But if one examines closely what Shaykh Nefzawi describes as an adequate phallus, one becomes aware that there is little chance for saving all the women of the community who are compensatory lesbians and for setting them on the right path.
The erotic prowess of the cavaliers whom Shaykh Nefzawi cites as examples, Abou el Heidja, his companion Abou el Heiloukh, and his servant Mimoun, was rather extraordinary. They broke into the palace of a princess who refused to be married, »wore men's clothing, rode on magnificent horses . . . knew how to handle the sword and the spear, and bore men down in single combat.« She lived surrounded by a hundred virgins. Abou el Heidja and his companions succeeded in converting that whole crowd of women, accustomed to homosexual activities, to intercourse with men. But at what a price! Abou el Heidja was given the task of »deflowering eighty virgins without ejaculating.« It is true that in order to carry out his mission, Abou el Heidja asked for »camel's milk with honey, and, for nourishment, chick-peas cooked with meat and abundance of onions.«
Abou el Heiloukh had to take on an even more perilous challenge. The lesbian princess, who, before changing course, wanted to be certain of what she was going to win in return, told him: »What I require of you is to remain here, in the presence of these women and virgins, for thirty consecutive days, with your member during this period in erection during day and night.«
He amazed the princess by finishing his task victoriously. But she had to feed him during the whole operation with the diet that he demanded: »Onions cooked with meat, and, for drink, the juice pressed out of pounded onions mixed with honey.« However, as one should have expected, it was the black slave, Mimoun, who surpassed his masters in a domain where the masters seem fatally destined to lose. Not only did he meet the challenge of the princess, who demanded that he copulate »without resting for fifty consecutive days« with Mouna, »who was insatiable as regards coition,« but he »kept going on, besides, for ten days longer.« His secret: For nourishment he demanded yolks of eggs and bread. At the end of these feats, the heroes got their reward: »These tasks finished, the men took as booty everything in the palace: women, virgins, furniture, and other objects of value as well. Afterwards they divided their loot into equal parts.«
The phallus as an instrument for conquest of the world and its riches is a constant theme in this discourse as well as in the legal discourse, which, as we shall see, is centered on the possession of the female body as the model for all forms of possession.
Usually in these discourses the women whom men desire, try to seduce, and win the love of are rich and/or powerful women. The typical woman that man desires is basically one who belongs to the upper class in one way or another. This is very clear in the discourse of the marvelous and is discernible in a number of laws and regulations imposed by the legal discourse. The link between the female body and wealth is a far from ambiguous motif in these cultural dis- courses. It is women who are the keys to the riches and treasures found in the palaces they inhabit and the gold they display. It is by gorging them with sex that one can get access to their wealth. It is the phallus that is the instrument for the conquest of the wealth of the world, not work. On this point there is perfect agreement between the erotic discourse and the discourse of the marvelous. The creation of wealth is achieved by something other than work in the strictly economic sense. Moreover, it is in the omnisexual universe that one finds a form of selling of the body unthinkable in the legal discourse — male prostitution. The omnisexual woman not only demolishes the social system, its laws, limits, hierarchies, and categories by practicing fornication in all its forms with human partners of both sexes as well as with animals, but she also, in her desire for destruction, goes so far as to reverse the patriarchal order by transforming the male phallus into a commercial object up for sale:
To the man whom we love we give our vulva, and we refuse it to him we hate. We share our property with the man we love, and are content with whatever little he may be able to bring to us; if he has no fortune, we take him as he is. But, on the other hand, we keep at a distance him whom we hate, were he to offer us wealth and riches.
So it was that the previously mentioned black slave, Dorerame, who »knows no other passions than for coition and good wine« and who »keeps making love night and day,« got the wife of the Grand Vizir to finance his house of debauchery. In another example a rich woman spent her fortune in buying young lovers and disdained men of her own age: »I was a rich woman, living in luxury. I had a large fortune and I worshipped God's creation through very young men. I spent a lot of money on them. I flattered them and gave them the most beautiful outfits.«
Those omnisexual women who have no fortune go to work in order to support the lovers whose phalluses they find pleasing. There was the case of a woman married to a handsome Turkish mercenary whom the king decided to castrate because of some offense to him. She loved her husband before his castration, but afterward the situation was unbearable for her. During a trip she made with her husband and his retinue one beautiful moonlit night, she found one of his servants, a young groom, in the act of fornicating with a mule. She caught sight of a penis that at certain moments resembled a »suckling kid,« and at others a »fiery young whelp,« and at still others assumed the imposing aspect of an enormous »monastery key.« After having sampled its charms, the woman got rid of her rich husband and took up prostitution in order to support her lover. She attended the great feasts and offered herself to the highest bidder: »I brought all my earnings back to him. It would have been a pleasure to proffer him my very soul, if he had deigned to ask for it.«
And it is this man, desired, loved, adulated by the omnisexual woman, and fashioned in the image of her desires that we must now try to grasp. To what extent does he come close to or differ from reality, from Everyman? What is the relation between the omnisexual woman's male ideal and real men?