This section is from the book "Aphrodisiacs And Anti-Aphrodisiacs", by John Davenport. Also available from Amazon: Love Stimulants, Aphrodisiacs and Anti-aphrodisiacs.
According to Browne * whole fields are in Africa sown with hashish, the bang of the East Indies, for the purpose of being used as a stimulant to amorous dalliance. It is used in a variety of forms, but in none, it is supposed, more effectually than what, in Arabic, is called Maijun, a kind of electuary, in which both men and women indulge to excess.
It is said that the Chinese, domesticated at Batavia, avail themselves of a certain electuary for the purpose of stimulating their appetite for sexual intercourse. This preparation, called by them Affion, is chiefly composed of opium, and it is asserted that its effect is so violent that a brutal passion supervenes and continues throughout the night, the female being obliged to flee from the too energetic embraces of her lover. †
Narcotics, in general, and especially, opium, have been considered as direct aphrodisiacs, an opinion which, if well founded, would enable us to account more easily for those agreeable sensations by which the use of these substances is followed. But it is very probable that narcotics act upon the genital organs in no other way than they do upon the other ones, that is to say, they certainly do stimulate them, but only proportionately to the increase of force in the circulation of the blood and to the power or tone of the muscular fibre. It is also very probable that the voluptuous impressions superinduced by them depend upon the circumstances under which those persons are, who habitually indulge in them, and that they are connected with other impressions or with particular ideas which awaken them. If, for instance, in a Sultan reclining upon his sofa, the intoxication of opium is accompanied by images of the most ravishing delight, and if it occasions in him that sweet and lively emotion which the anticipation of those delights awakens throughout the whole nervous system, the same inebriation is associated in the mind of a Janizary or a Spahi with ideas of blood and carnage, with paroxysms, the brutal fury of which has certainly, nothing in common with the tender emotions of love.
It is in vain to allege in proof of the aphrodisical qualities of opium the state of erection in which the genital members of Turks are found when lying dead on a field of battle, * for this state depends upon, or is caused by, the violent spasm or universal convulsive movements with which the body is seized in the moment of death: the same phenomenon frequently appears in persons who suffer hanging. In warm countries, it is the concomitant of death from convulsive diseases, and in our own climate, it has been observed in persons who have died from apoplectic attacks.
* Travels in Africa, etc., p. 341.
† Lignac. A physical view of man and woman in a state of marriage. Vol. I., p, 190.
The power which certain odours possess of exciting venereal desires admits not the slightest doubt, at least as far as the inferior animals are concerned. Nearly all the mammifera exhale or emit, in the rutting season, peculiar emanations serving to announce from afar to the male the presence of the female and to excite in him the sexual desire. Facts have been observed with respect to insects even, which cannot be otherwise accounted for than by odorous effluvia. If, for instance, the female of the bombyx butterfly, be placed in a box accurately closed, it will not be long before several males will be seen flying around the prison, and which could not possibly have known, by means of their visual organs, the presence of their captive Dulcinea. Now the question is, does anything analogous take place in our own species ? Many authors assert that there does, and among them Virey, who, speaking of such exhalations, says: "L'ex-treme proprete des hommes et des fernmes, l'habitude de se baigner et de changer souvent de linge font disparaitre les odeurs genitales.* .... On doit aussi remarquer que la haire des Cenobites, la robe des Capucins, le froc des moines, les vetements rudes et mal-propres de diverses corporations religieuses exposent ceux qui les portent a de fortes tenta-tions, a cause de la qualite stimulante et de la sueur fetide dont etaient bientot empreintes toutes ces sortes d'habillements." † "Odours," observes Cabanis ‡ "act powerfully upon the nervous system, they prepare it for all the pleasurable sensations; they communicate to it that slight disturbance or commotion which appears as if inseperable from emotions of delight, all which may be accounted for by their exercising a special action upon those organs whence originate the most rapturous pleasure of which our nature is susceptible.
In infancy its influence is almost nothing, in old age it is weak, its true epoch being that of youth, that of love".
* Turcae ad Levenzinum contra Comitem Ludovicum Souches pugnantes, opio exaltati turpiter caesi, et octo mille numero occisi, mentulas rigidas tulere. Christen. Opium Hist.
* It was, perhaps, the knowledge of this fact that suggested to La Fontaine the lines:
"Un muletier a ce jeu Vaut trois rois." "To play at which game, I'm sure it is clear, Three kings are no match for one muleteer." † Histoire Naturelle du Genre Humain. Tom. II., p. 123, ‡ Cabanis, Rapport, 4c., Tom. II., p. 89.
It is certain that among most nations, and from the remotest antiquity, voluptuous women strengthened their amorous pro. pensities by the use of various perfumes, but particularly of musk, to which has been attributed the power of exciting nocturnal emissions. The great Henry IV., of France, no novice in love affairs, was opposed to the use of odours, maintaining that the parts of generation should be allowed to retain their natural scent, which, in his opinion, was more effectual than all the perfumes ever manufactured by art.
Another aphrodisiacal remedy, which for a long time enjoyed a great reputation was the penis of the stag, which was supposed to possess the virtue of furnishing a man with an abundance of seminal fluid. Perhaps the reason why the ancients attributed this property to the genital member of that animal was from the supposition that it was the receptacle of the bile; that the abundance and acrid quality of this fluid caused lasciviousness, and that the stag being transported by an erotic furor during the rutting season, he was the most salacious of animals, and consequently that the genital organ of this quadruped would, when applied to man's generative apparatus, impart thereto considerable heat and irritation. A somewhat similar opinion respecting the horse appears to have obtained among the Tartars, if we may judge from the following account given by Foucher d'Obsonville: * "Les palefreniers amenent un cheval de sept a huit ans, maisnerveux, bien nourri et en bon etat. On lui pre-sente une jument comme pour la saillir, et cependant on le retient de facon a bien irriter ses idees.
Enfin, dans le moment ou il semble qu'il va lui etre libre de s'elancer dessus, l'on fait adroitment passer la verge dans un cordon dont le noeud coulant est rapproche au ventre, ensuitc, saisissant a l'instant ou l'animal parait dans sa plus forte erection, deux hommes qui tiennent les extremites du cordon le tirent avec force et, sur le champ, le membre est separe du corps au dessus le noeud coulant. Par ce moyen, les esprits sont retenus et fixes dane cette partie la-quelle rests gonflee; aussitot on la lave et la fait cuire avec divers aromatiques et epiceries aphrodisiaques".
* Essais philosophiques sur les moeurs de divers animaux strangers.