Sex & Love

The Pleasure Principle: Freudian Sex Advice with Bambi: Afraid to Bone Medusa

There is nothing to be afraid of. Our resident sexo-psychoanalyst. Read More

By / March 11, 2011
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Q: Hey Bambi,

I’m a 17/m from Jersey. I’m really embarrassed to say it, but vaginas scare the shit out of me. I’m a good looking guy so girls are into me, but when it comes down to doing it, I freak out and tell them that I want to wait for marriage, even though that’s total bullshit. I watch porn which gets me off okay, maybe because it’s not in the same room as me. What is wrong with me? I’m a horny teenager and this sucks.

Can’t Put My Dick In The Box

A: I’m going to make you feel comfortable and go with an excerpt in which Freud, like you, likens the vag to the most threatening monster there is. In Medusa’s Head (1940 [1922]), the Doctor writes,

“We have not often attempted to interpret individual mythological themes, but an interpretation suggests itself easily in the case of the horrifying decapitated head of Medusa.

To decapitate=to castrate. The terror of Medusa is thus a terror of castration that is linked to the sight of somethig. Numerous analyses have made us familiar with the occasion for this: it occurs whena  boy, who has hitherto been unwilling to believe the threat of castration, catches sight of the female genitals, probably those of an adult, surrounded by hair, and essentially those of his mother.

The hair upon Medusa’s head is frequently represented in works of art in the form of snakes, and these once again are derived from the castration complex. It is a remarkable fact that, however frightening they may be in themselves, they nevertheless serve actually as a mitigation of the horror, for they replace the penis, the absence of which is the cause of the horror. This is a confirmation of the technical rule according to which a multiplication of penis symbols signifies castration.

The sight of Medusa’s head makes the spectator stiff with terror, turns him to stone. Observe that we have here once again the same origin from the catration complex and the same transformation of affect! For becoming stiff means an erection. Thus in the original situation it offers consolation to the spectator: he is still in possession of a penis, and the stiffening reassures him of the fact.

This symbol of horror is worn upon her dress by the virgin goddess Athene. And rightly so, for thus she becomes a woman who is unapproachable and repels all sexual desires–since she displays the terrifying genitals of the Mother. Since the Greeks were in the main strongly homosexual, it was inevitable that we should find among them a representation of woman as a being who frightens and repels because she is castrated.

If Medusa’s head takes the place of a representation of the female genitals, or rather if it isolates their horrifying effect from their pleasure-giving ones, it may be recalled that displaying the genitals is familiar in other connections as an apotropaic act. What arouses horror in oneself will produce the same effect upon the enemy against whom one is seeking to defend oneself. We read in Rabelais of how the Devil took to flight when the woman showed him her vulva.

The erect male organ also has an apotropaic (designed to avert evil) effect, but thans to another mechanism. To display the penis (or any of its surrogates) is to say: ‘I am not afraid of you. I defy you. I have a penis.’ Here, then, is another way of intimidating the Evil Spirit.


That which is foreign can be frightening. Although you’re fully on board below the belt and seem attracted to the ladies based on your pursuits of pussy and porn (unless of course you’re considering ditching the broad and sticking with the snakes), you need to get your other head on straight.

So why does it seem like the wrath of Medusa is the Secret in her drawers? Something put you on that tick a while back and you’ve built some logic on that faulty ground. You’ve watched enough Youporn documentaries to know that you will not lose your dick to this beast in your bed (just wrap it up so you don’t wake up without it a few months down the road). If Freud’s right about the origins, I’ll repeat this again for you, darling:

Get your mother the fuck out of your sex life. Girlie’s goods are not synonymous to those from which you hail. This is an entirely different spread–think of it as French cuisine over Mexican–you are to indulge deeply in this richer, multi-course gourmand experience that won’t give you as much heartburn. Practice makes perfect, so find an understanding partner and take it slow–the best archaeological digs are done with careful attention to detail. Soldier on. It’s kind of like eradicating racism: the more individuals you meet that don’t fit the demented stereotypes you’re mulling around, the more you realize you want to share with them.