The expression vagina dentata, in Latin, means vagina with teeth. Various cultures have popular legends about women who have vaginas with teeth, told as moral stories, warning of the dangers of sex with unknown women.
The vagina dentata appears in the myths of various cultures. Erich Neumann relates one such myth in which "A fish inhabits the Terrible Mother's vagina; the hero is the man who defeats the Terrible Mother, breaks the teeth of her vagina, and then turns her into a woman." The myth expresses the threat that sexual intercourse with coitus represents for men who, despite entering triumphantly, always leave diminished. Although the myth is associated with the fear of castration, it is often mistakenly attributed to Sigmund Freud. Freud never mentioned the term in his work on psychoanalysis, and it runs counter to his own ideas about castration. For Freud, the vagina signifies the fear of castration because young men assume that women once had a penis, which they now do not. The vagina is, then, the result of castration, not the cause of it.
In Hinduism, the asura Andhaka, son of Shiva and Parvati (but not aware of it), is killed by Shiva when he tries to force him to hand over Parvati. Andhaka's son Adi, also an asura, takes the form of Parvati to seduce and kill Shiva with a toothed vagina with the intention of avenging Andhaka's death, but he is also killed by Shiva.
Vagina dentata in popular culture
This myth has been popularized recently by being mentioned in the sequel to Neil Gaiman's best-known novel "American Gods" and the 2007 film Teeth. The anime Wicked City and the novel by Carlos Fuentes Cristóvão Nonato introduce female characters with vagina dentata, as does the novel by K.W. Jeter, Dr. Adder. Neal Stephenson's novel Snow Crash features a device called the Dentata, which is inserted into the vagina and prevents rape.
Anti-rape female condom
In 2005, inventor Sonette Ehlers introduced Rapex, an anti-rape female condom that can be inserted into the vaginal canal, much like a diaphragm. This product features tiny splinters that attack the rapist's penis, and which must be surgically removed. In an article about Rapex, Ehlers commented that she was inspired to invent the device after an encounter with a victim who told her, "If only I had teeth down here...".
«Cultural history of the vagina dentata»
«Dr. Dean Edell Health Central»