08 June 2016

Kinky Pre-Hispanic Sexual Devices Filipinos Used According to Antonio Pigafetta

Pre-Hispanic Filipinos. By Boxer Codex - http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/metsnav/common/navigate.do?pn=116&size=screen&oid=VAB8326,

And on the lighter side after researching tons upon tons of historical documents (okay this part is an exaggeration)…

Those among you who did not snore through Philippine History lessons may remember Antonio Pigafetta as the chronicler who accompanied Ferdinand Magellan on an exploratory voyage half a world away from Spain to the Far East to find the lands of spices.

Magellan might have fallen on the shallows of Mactan, but Pigafetta survived and with the famed Sebastian del Cano completed what is generally regarded as the first circumnavigation of the globe.

It was through Pigafetta’s journal that historians were subsequently able to reconstruct Magellan’s voyage for posterity. Pigafetta’s ability to write might have been poor by present day standards, but he was curious and observant, not to mention a willing and meticulous writer who was intent on documenting an environment that was totally alien to him.

Too curious and too observant, even; and some of his journal entries never really made it to high school History books. For instance…

He observed that “Those people (of Cebu) go naked, wearing but one piece of palm-tree cloth about their privies.” But this is not the kinky part. I just wish to point out that a European dressed with laces around his neck and, thus, badly for the tropical climate found it remarkable that the locals were sparingly attired. It never quite occurred to him that he was, in fact, the one oddly dressed given the heat and humidity.

But here is the kinky part…

Pigafetta wrote: “The males, large and small, have their penis pierced from one side to the other near the head, with a gold or tin bolt as large as a goose quill.” A goose quill was a medieval writing implement eventually superseded by the pen.

A goose quill.  Image credit:  Sun and Shadow.

Pigafetta continued, “In both ends of the same bolt, some have what resembles a spur, with points upon the ends; others are like the head of a cart nail.”

This part is curious to say the least. I am not sure at all what Pigafetta meant by “spur” because my understanding of the word is that it is a spiked object used to prod an animal, usually a horse, into movement. Whatever he meant, the fact that other bolts had what looked like cart nails tells us that either way, there was something sharp or pointed in there.

An example of a Medieval spur.  Image credit:  Timeline Auctions.

Like I said, kinky. Wink.

Pigafetta went on, “In the middle of the bolt is a hole, through which they urinate. The bolt and the spurs always hold firm.”

Aha! I guess those of us who were thinking “penis marbles” – a.k.a. bolitas (pellets) locally – are all wrong! Although these marbles are implanted superficially, i.e. through the skin, they have been known to cause “complications, ranging from biting, deep and throbbing pain, to inflammation, to pus.1

But these pre-Hispanic piercings Pigafetta described had holes through which men urinated. In other words, they must have pierced the urethra! How that must have hurt!

What was the reason for these piercings?

Pigafetta explained, “They say that their women wish it so, and that if they did otherwise they would not have communication with them.” Either the word was used as a metaphor or something was lost in translation, but the meaning of “communication” in this context was actually sexual intercourse.

“When the men wish to have communication with their women, the latter themselves take the penis not in the regular way and commence very gently to introduce it [into their vagina], with the spur on top first, and then the other part. When it is inside it takes its regular position; and thus the penis always stays inside until it gets soft, for otherwise they could not pull it out. Those people make use of that device because they are of a weak nature.2

I leave you to your imagination…

Notes and References:
1 Do penile implants (bolitas) "work"? online at Ask a Pinoy
2 Descripition of these devices from Antonio Pigafetta’s journal as published in the Blair and Robertson series The Philippine Islands, Volume 33

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