Friday Weird Science: The Dirty Old Dildo

Can Sci use the word “Dildo” for the main feed of Scienceblogs? Oh well, guess we will find out! Sorry in advance, OverL0rdz!
Anyway, if you were on the internets at ALL over the past few days, you will have seen three things:
1) A guy showed his coworker a paper on bat fellatio and is in trouble for it. Sci is going to wait on details of the case before she passes judgment, there appears to be a lot more than just bat fellatio involved. But for more on bat fellatio, see here, and here.
2) VENTER HAS CREATED LIFE! Ok, he made a synthetic genome and put it into a cell. And the cell worked! It’s not synthetic life, but it’s pretty effing cool. Ed as usual does a brilliant job with the story.
3) And of course everyone saw this:
alg_stone-age-phallus.jpg
OMG it’s a stone age dildo. Stop the presses!
But before we get our undies all in a twist over this, Sci has some concerns.


First off, there’s no paper describing the dildo yet (at least, Sci can’t find one. Anyone?). Hopefully there will be one out soon. This story apparently broke originally back in 2005, as a “representation of male sexuality“. But in the meantime, Sci has some concerns that none of the multiple stories on this have addressed yet. In short, her concerns come down to this:
Innocent until proven salacious.
Sure, that thing up there might be a dildo. It also might NOT be a dildo. How do we KNOW it’s a dildo? Apparently the carved rings around one polished end may be an indication of dildo use. Ribbed and rocky for her pleasure. It’s also apparently the right size, about 20cm (7.9 inches) long, and 3 cm (1.5 inches) wide. That’s the right length, but seems a bit narrow, though perhaps things have changed in 28,000 years.
Apparently it’s also a firestarter. Or at least it has marks that strongly suggest that.
Now, I’m not saying it’s not a dildo. Sci is just saying that there’s lots of other things it could be. Sometimes a firestarter is just a firestarter. It could also be a pestle for grinding up stuff.
white_mortar_and_pestle_4_inch.jpg
(Mr. SiT took this opportunity to point out that this would be a seriously uncomfortable thing to use after grinding up pepper).
It could be part of a stone grinder for grinding grain.
stone grinder.jpg
Heck, it could be a model of a penis used for religious or symbolic purposes and not actually used as a dildo at all. There are, after all, many artifacts of women with emphasized sexual parts, but whether or not they were used as porn is still very up for debate.
venus-may-13-1.jpg
(gets you hot, don’t it)
Sci wouldn’t have any problem with it BEING a dildo (though rock! OW. Poor prehistoric ladies), but I think we need more proof before it is. After all, it was found and studied by a scientist who specializes in prehistoric sexual culture (which is an AWESOME specialty and I wish I’d known about that in undergrad!). To a guy with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. To a guy who specializes in prehistoric sexual culture, maybe every correctly sized piece of rock looks like a dildo. He may be right. He may be wrong. The point is that the media saw “28,000 year old dildo” and went “SWEET!” And the idea is pretty sweet.
If it is a dildo, nice stuff. But Sci wants some proof (or at least, as much proof as you can get out of something that’s 28,000 years old). Show me a cave painting or carving with it in use, and I’m sold. Either that, or show me some leftover vaginal mucosa hanging on to that thing. Otherwise…sometimes a rock is just a rock, you know?

5 Responses

  1. To a guy with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. To a guy who specializes in prehistoric sexual culture, maybe every correctly sized piece of rock looks like a dildo.

    This entire post was great, but I laughed particularly hard at that last part. Funny and stimulating (that’s what she said).
    P.S. Good to know that immaturity and science don’t have to be mutually exclusive. =P

  2. It can’t be any worse than the devices scientists at the beginning of the 20th century created for “hysterical” women–the first vibrators. Of course, they were enormous, heavy and impractical for almost everybody, but hey–women need sexual release just as much as men do. I supposed we could go the same route that men do–with a helping hand–but we get by much better on “good vibrations.”

  3. As far as materials go rock isn’t all that bad as long as it is of one of the many less porous types. In comparison glass is a popular material because it is smooth, easy to clean. The weight is supposed to be, by all accounts, a draw. Most of the glass ones are solid glass and hefty enough to make breakage highly unlikely.
    There are many accounts on the net of tragic failures and medical emergencies due to breakage of inappropriate glass object being used as dildoes. Light bulbs, large test tubes, and various bottles and jars have broken in use and required surgical extraction.
    Is it a dildo? Possibly. Then again humans have a long history or stuffing things up our orifices. I’m pretty sure pretty much everything that has ever come within arms reach of a human has been tried at one time or another.
    Comes with thinking about sex, opposable thumbs, tool use, and long lonely nights away from that special someone. That and the understanding that dildoes have advantages, you don’t get diseases or pregnant, they stay hard forever, and unlike men they are quiet until they are taken out and used. Unlike men the relationship with your dildo doesn’t get weird and clingy after you use it.
    There is also the symbolic value, kingship is conflated with rigid masculinity. Religious use, both straight up fertility rites, and previously mentioned rigid masculinity. There is a famous Japanese fertility festival where they carry around stylized phallic symbols.
    Christians talk about being the ‘bride of Christ’ and ‘being penetrated by the holy spirit’. Makes one wonder how literally some sect might take it.

  4. It could be many things, and it may have multitasked.
    Today, I’m a pestle, tomorrow I’m a dildo.
    I suspect people 28,000 years ago didn’t want to chip freakin’ rock to make multiple separate devices that looked the same.

  5. I came across “The famous Japanese fertility festival” (#5) a couple of weeks ago, the pictures are rather striking (maybe NSFW) http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/japan/100315/japan-penis-japanese-vaginas

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