Penis Power and Prowess
The penis always hangs in a balance, physically, metaphorically and mentally. The penis is every man’s glory and shame as well as both his driving and failing force. The penis is an arrow (in shape as well as function) equipped for some potential target. How has it come to seem more than it is?
Let us go back to the 1890s when Sigmund Freud had fallen under the spell of the now much-maligned Berlin otolaryngologist Wilhelm Fliess. The two believed Fliess’ theory that a connection between the nose and the genitals caused a variety of neurological and psychological symptoms, a proposed expansion of Freud’s psychoanalytic theory.
It’s worth noting that their bromance (1887-1904) included the postulated belief that bisexuality is inherently universal. That anomalous relationship between Freud and Fliess occurred during Freud’s 12 year period of almost daily cocaine use (1884 to 1896).
The penis and the nose continue to share a form of
Despite the physiological independence of the penis—it’s tendency to act as though it has a mind of its own—the penis has been and remains a heroic symbol of male power. Yet it erects on its own whims (several times at night while the unaware male sleeps) and rarely can be aroused by command alone. The penis, during the excitation phase of sexual stimulation (again, a neuronally guided pathway) reaches ejaculation by neural reflex, wholly out of conscious or intentional control.
So the mythic power invested in the penis is, alas, its very perversity. Under reasonably suggestive or seductive circumstances—and sometimes coupled with aggression toward its prepotent target—the penis conducts men into the sexual field, much like an infantryman is led onto a battlefield.
The bestowal of sexual release, that special and also addictive mental and corporeal high, gives men a really false sense of power. The penis behaves like other bodily functions. The urge proceeds from non-conscious sources and, like evacuative or peristaltic or cardio-pulmonary actions, ejaculation proceeds out of non-conscious, autonomous control.
Sexual prowess, the vaunted sexual performance of the penis, is therefore—sad news, men—more due to factors of testosterone blood level, physical attractiveness, personality traits, age, and the gift of good gab. These factors allow access for the penis. Then it’s on its own.
Freud, he who placed himself into celibacy after fathering six children, is credited and sometimes blamed for thrusting sexuality into Western faces, and subsequently into books, movies, and the total tenor of Western minds.
Concomitant with this public sexual effusion came the sudden, generalized awareness of women’s sexuality as equal to that of men, of female orgasm as equipotent as men’s. Sexuality accelerated its central place in marriage and romantic relationships.
Penile prowess, always a format for pleasure, also has assumed a wide political status. Despite years of efforts to equalize the roles of women in business and politics and the professions, progress in those directions have been remarkably slow.
Women, as the MeToo movement has shown, are still captive to stereotypically eroticized roles. Women’s fashions focus on breasts, legs, pelvis, buttocks. The sexual glamour of women’s clothing is further animated in the portrayal of women in media where they are made to appear seductive and submissive.
That girly mode forms the core female identity for both women and men. And that primes the male power and prowess reference points, puts men in the aggressor position, assigns them social rights and interpersonal expectations. Turns them, potentially, at various points into wolves.
The penis has deluded everyone into regarding it as a
Isn’t it time to give it a rest?