Sex and the Nose
written by: J.R. Young
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Publication details: Book. 2023. xviii and 170 pages. Publication date: 2023-01-12. Hardbound. A4 May coloured figures
In 1983, I first gave a lecture on ‘Sex and the Nose’ in the Practical Rhinoplasty Course (an instructional course for surgeons operating on the nose) at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital in Gray’s Inn Road, London, (which was, until the NHS Management ([affectionately known to hospital doctors as ‘Stasi’) closed it in 2019, part of University College Hospital). I had been asked by the organisers to talk about problems when doing rhinoplasty in a District General Hospital, but I didn’t have much to say about this. I spoke mainly about the sexual aspects of the nose, (a topic which I had always considered is neglected by Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons). I thought some of the insights my talk contained would be of use to surgeons working on the cosmetic and functional aspects of the nose. To my utter surprise, I was not only invited back the following year, but every year for the next twenty years. I was put on the regular annual payroll of the University of London and every February, I found myself on an annual pilgrimage to give a similar lecture. After the first year, I made no pretence about talking about doing rhinoplasties ‘out in the sticks’ (which as far as I could see, is not any different to doing them in a teaching hospital anyway!)
Over those next twenty years, I came to realise just how wide a subject it is. I did more research and kept up with any developments in this niche part of otolaryngology. Long before surgeons working in their specialty started to profess an interest in sub-specialties, I had begun to state my ‘special interest’ in the sexual aspects of the nose and this was how I was listed by the General Medical Council on the Medical Register from 1985 until I retired from practice in 2013. As one of the few remaining single-handed consultants (without a consultant partner), it was inappropriate to develop a sub-specialty anyway. In fact I was the last remaining solo consultant, (merely because I was the last man standing!)
Since most of the current UK rhinologists had been on the Rhinoplasty course and attended my lecture, most colleagues knew of my interest and indeed a few of them contacted me to discuss cases of interest. Over the years I even had a few patients referred! Because everybody in general appears to be interested in sexual matters, I was asked to give talks to post-graduate meetings up and down the country, and indeed also in France, Germany and the Netherlands. When lectures and lecturers were becoming somewhat of a rarity, ‘Sex and the Nose’ appeared to be an attractive title.
Shortly after my retirement, I was asked to give the Watson-Williams triennial lecture in Bristol. Of course I chose as the subject of my address, ‘The Physiological and Pathological Associations Between the Nose and the Sexual Apparatus of Man.’ I thought that this would be the last time I would ever talk about the subject, but even now I get asked to talk about it.
More than one dear friend and colleague have pointed out that I have never written anything on this matter. I was eventually cajoled, during my enforced isolation during the first Covid Lockdown, to put pen to paper at long last, (whilst I am still spared!) I always used to tell friends that the reason why I never wrote any of it down was because once it had been published, I would no longer be asked to talk and I would be destroying a good meal ticket.
It was not until I started writing about it, that I realised how important the illustrations had been. They are of course an integral part of the subject. The impact of Barbara Millett’s surrealist painting, ‘Head,’ which was always the first picture I showed, was universal. It’s probably the only thing most people remembered about the lecture!
Table of Contents
Chapter I. The Surreality
The importance of art and illustration (particularly surrealism) cannot be overemphasised. Certain paintings epitomise the essential allegorical harmony of the naso-genital link. Millet’s Head, Magritte’s Le Viol. Goya’s Caricatura Alegre. Testa di Cazzi. Abbé Mauri.
Chapter II. Classical Naso-Genital Link
The so-called ‘Naso-Genital link’ in folklore is a timeless myth that the size of a person’s nose is an indication of the size of their genitalia. This is examined from Classical times to the present. Lascaux Caves. pre-Viking petroglyphs. Ovid. Astrology. Heliogabalus and Nasuti. Queen Giovanna. Cyrano de Bergerac. Michael Scot. Massinger. Kama Sutra.
Chapter III. Eros, Nose and Throat
The sexual physiology of the throat and even the ears. Sexual aspects of voice and throat. Infibulation, Castrati. Antonio Moreschi. Male Infibulation. Contemporary Romanian rituals. Chapter IV. Physiognomy 27 Giambattista della Porta; Charles Darwin and the Captain of the Beagle. Desmond Morris and genital mimicry in African baboons. Scrotal mimicry and pubic/moustache resonance.
Chapter V. Nasal Gestures
Cocking a snook. Fullocking vs.Churchillian V-sign. Obscene Iraqi palm back insult. Nasal Greeting around the world: Eskimo kiss (kunik); Maori hongi; Thai sniff-kiss; Arabs in Gulf nasal tip-to-tip. viii Chapter VI. Nasal Erectile Tissue 39 Victorian descriptions of erectile nasal tissue. Mackenzie’s seminal article. Discussion of physiological evidence. Sneezing and sex. Ayurvédic medicine.
Chapter VII. Sex and the Nose in Japanese Art
Shunga. Hokusai. Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Manga and Anime. Hanaji, the epistaxis trope in manga.
Chapter VIII. Kallman’s Syndrome
Heschel of Vienna. Aureliano Maestre de San Juan. Kallmann and Rüdin. Little Jimmy Scott. Genetics.
Chapter IX. Masturbation and the Nose
Victorian preoccupation with evils of masturbation and its connection to nasal disease. Louis Tussaud’s waxworks. Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Fliess and the tragedy of Emma Eckstein. Nasal Neurosis. Biorhythmicity. Male 23 day menstrual period based on nose. Fliess’s Flow of Life book.
Chapter X. Nasal Dysmenorrhoea
Nasal treatments for painful periods.
Chapter XI. The Pregnant Nose
Pregnancy rhinitis. Life-threatening epistaxis during pregnancy. King Lear.
Chapter XII. Hormonal Rhinitis
Varieties of hormonally related nasal diseases. Old man’s drip. Honeymoon rhinitis. Kraurosis nasi. Weber-Rendu-Osler’s Disease (Hereditary Haemorrhagic Telangiectasia)
Chapter XIII. The Nose in the Human Sexual Response
Coital epistaxis. Amatus Lusitanus. Native American Sioux. Theophilus Bonet. King Louis XIV. Psychiatric Nose. Masters and Johnson’s groundbreaking research and personal involvement. Viagra.
Chapter XIV. The Nose at Puberty (Menarchal Rhinitis)
Puberty epistaxis. World Sneezing Records in adolescent girls. Guinness Book of Records. Treatment.
Chapter XV. Vicarious Menstruation
Hippocrates and Celsus. Nose bleeds in place of menstruation as index of pregnancy. Collop’s On Phlebotomy. Martin Schurig. Mary Murphy’s menstrual earbleeds. Male menstruation: Sambia tribal induced menstrual epistaxis. Dr Carrere and the French miller.
Chapter XVI. Jacobsen’s Organ
Ruysch and his Cabinet. Von Sömmering. Ludwig Jacobsen and his Military career.The circuitous history of the vomero-nasal organ: Gratiolet, Dursy, von Kölliker, Potiquet. Nomenclature.
Chapter XVII. Robert Broom and the Vomeronasal System
Broom’s discovery of the function of the VNO in the animal world.
Chapter XVIII. Butenandt and Bombykol
Adolf Butenandt and his discovery of pheromomes. Hitler and the lost Nobel Prize.
Chapter XIX. Animal Pheromones
Hagfish and lampreys. Magic of Pheromones. Lee-Boot effect. Whitten effect. Vanderbergh effect. Coolidge effect. Urinary pheromones. The pig with the prolapse. Boar Mate. Perigord Truffles.
Chapter XX. Human Pheromones
Copulin and Rhesus Monkeys. Menstrual synchrony in girls’ boarding school dormitories. Humarone. BBC and Tomorrow’s World. Monti-Bloch and the electrovomeronasogram (EVG). Routine contemporary nasal surgery and its effect on libido. Nitric oxide. Conscious breathing tapes.
Chapter XXI. Smell and Pheromones
Axel and Buck’s Nobel Prize for physiology of olfaction.
Chapter XXII. Major Histocompatibility Complex
The genetic and Darwinian importance of pheromonal attraction.
Chapter XXIII. Death of the Human Vomeronasal System
How two venture capitalists and their perfume company misled scientists for sixteen years. Didier Trotier’s proof of the non-functioning VNO.
Chapter XXIV. The Terminal Nerve
How a ‘new’ cranial nerve (of which even now many physicians are not aware) was discovered. Its rôle in the reception of pheromones.
Chapter XXV. Post Script: Smell and Memory
Rousseau and the scent of his mistress’s nightgown. Schopenauer and the sense of memory. Rudyard Kipling and smell cracking the heartstrings. Proustian moments.
Conclusion and Postlegomenon
Nietzsche and the sixth sense – of veracity.