put a leash on that leech and stop picking your ear

many cultures prize female virginity and advice about how to fake it has been bandied about for centuries.

Physicians, like Nicholas Venette who was active in the early Enlightenment, would write in their treatises ‘and here are recipes that you can use if you are testing a virgin to undo the effects of any of these sort of recipes that they might have tried to fake virginity’. So the doctors were on the game as well in that way.

There were many methods; bladders of small birds that were filled with blood that a woman would tuck up into her vagina so that then when she had intercourse for the first time the bladder would burst and there would be blood. A Venetian 10th century remedy involved putting little threads onto leeches, little leech leashes, and putting those leeches just at the entrance of the vagina and letting them feed because leeches’ saliva is an anti-coagulant. So then later on you would remove the leeches and you would have this very shallow, imperceptible lesion where it had been feeding that would then bleed very easily if it were touched or rubbed up against, as it would be in intercourse.

I discovered the above information via Australia’s Radio National Book Show when Ramona Koval interviewed Hanne Blank, author of Virgin: The Untouched History. Hanne also had this story to tell:

I think my favourite test…and this was one that was imparted to me by one of my neighbours here in Baltimore, by her grandfather who is quite elderly and grew up in the low country in Mississippi. He said that when he was coming up as a young man, the word on the street was that if you were making out with a girl and you were thinking about having sex with her and you wanted to know if she was a virgin, the thing you would do is the man would put his finger inside his ear and collect a little bit of earwax on his finger and then he would sort of sneak his hand down into the girls panties and touch her vulva with the earwax and if it made her scream, if it burned her and made her scream, this male secretion, then you knew she was a virgin.

and to prove nursemyra is not just all about deviant sexual trivia here’s an image of a really beautiful ear – the Sparkling Violet-Ear bird from Ecuador which I found here

Published in: on May 19, 2008 at 8:54 am  Comments (19)  

70% of men don’t know this

since S died in september ’07, nursemyra has not had sex with anyone except herself. we were extremely lucky in that he only became too unwell for carnal pleasures in the last week of his life so this current drought is not something I am used to.

lately I’ve noticed that I am experiencing orgasms while asleep at a much more frequent rate. before celibacy became a way of life, this would happen to me about once a month, now it’s once a week. I’d thought this might be my body’s way of compensating for the sudden lack but according to a dissertation by Franceen King Ph.D, it ain’t necessarily so. below is an excerpt from her writing

Interest in this topic began while testing sample survey questions for a different topic.  The issue of female sleep and dream-related orgasms kept surfacing.  Two respondents reported that they mentioned these occurrences to their male therapists only to be told that the therapists had “never heard of such a thing.”  Subsequent inquiries have revealed that this is not unusual.  An informal survey by this writer suggests that in 2005, approximately 70 percent of men did not know that women could experience sleeprelated orgasms.  It is even more surprising that a significant percentage of women, in excess of 25 percent, lacked this information.

here at the gimcrack we’re all about sharing information. I’m fairly certain that none of my female readers fall into that 25% the good doctor is referring to but maybe there are one or two male readers for whom this is a revelation. so take heed men. if you wake in the night and hear an appreciative sigh or see a little smile hovering around the lips of your sleeping companion you may just be lucky enough to witness la petite mort

 image: Antiope by Antoine Watteau

 then again, if the ‘compensation’ theory is true, it may be time to concentrate on your homework…

Published in: on May 18, 2008 at 6:38 am  Comments (25)  

nursemyra loses her temper

nursemyra was in her favourite op shop today scouring the shelves for bargains. the dedicated unearthing of bargains requires concentration and mine was being interrupted by a dickhead on a mobile phone. I tried ignoring the inane conversation thinking it would soon finish and dickhead would carry on shopping but no. all browsing forgotten, he just paced up and down aisles relating the sordid details of his grubby little life while using his mobile as a megaphone.

about 6.3 minutes into the conversation he began talking about the state of his corns. “Mate” he says “I’ve found a cure for corns. I didn’t wash my feet for a week and now they’re almost gone…..”

which is when nursemyra thought “enough” and asked him to take his conversation outside. unfortunately I wasn’t wearing my usual intimidating attire of corset and whip and he just told me to fuck off and carried on talking. my pathetic paraphrased comeback of “I’m sorry, I’m going to have blog you and your stupid corns” sounded a lot less witty that when zoom said it about chicken fillets. I guess I should just stick to wacky medical related research. so here are some things I learned about corns and dickheads tonight:

at the end of the 19th century almost all corn removers used cannabis as their main ingredient

and a blue jay is more than just a bird with pretty feathers

but a dickhead with a phone is still a dickhead with a phone

image sourced on world of wonder


Published in: on May 17, 2008 at 1:54 pm  Comments (20)  

nursemyra’s corset and pussy friday

I promise I will not turn gimcrack hospital into a blog about cats. Pablo just wanted to get in on the act when he saw suspenders dangling above his head

 today we have a different combo. black and white pinstripe corset trimmed with black satin bows.

 black and blue striped stockings

royal blue lace and net chemise

black fishnet gloves

chocolate burmese cat

Published in: on May 16, 2008 at 12:38 pm  Comments (29)  

slippery when wet

nursemyra is a big fan of lube. when S was alive one of my favourite things to do was lube up my breasts and slide his cock between them. I think lubricants can enhance sex in so many ways and it surprises me to read of the vaginal practices in Indonesia where “dry sex” is something to be aspired to.

These are rooted in a widespread belief that “tight sex” or “dry sex”-vaginal intercourse without any or with minimal lubrication in the vagina-is more pleasurable for men.

The widespread use of traditional and modern products to dry the vagina is a growing concern. The traditional preparations are called jamu and are sold throughout the nation, either as raw products in the market, or in commercially manufactured packets sold in supermarkets. Jamu is a combination of herbs in the form of fresh or dried leaves, seeds, roots, or bark, often crushed into powder and prepared with hot water, honey, and lime juice.

Many Indonesian women learn and adopt new or more elaborate vaginal practices at marriage when a bride is prepared for the nuptials by a professional wedding dresser. There is no standard way of preparation, but jamu is typically used to reduce “excessive” secretions.

 At a beauty salon or spa, the bride might have her vagina “smoked,” by sitting on a chair with a hole in the middle over a charcoal fire on which special herbs are placed to create a fragrant steam.

Because of the common belief that men’s sexual pleasure relies on friction, women are often anxious about having an “excessively moist” vagina. The most recent innovation of jamu products is Tongkat Madura, a calcium carbonate rod about 15 cm in length and 3 cm wide that is inserted into the vagina to absorb fluid and then rinsed and reused. The goal is heightened sexual pleasure achieved through “tight” or “dry sex.” Throughout Indonesia , many women and men believe that the tightness associated with unlubricated sex can increase pleasure for men by providing maximum friction between the vagina and the penis.

I’m really interested in men’s comments about this practice. I would imagine dry sex to be painful for a woman. wouldn’t it also cause chafing in a man?


Published in: on May 15, 2008 at 8:36 am  Comments (35)  

sperm storage solutions

more from the delightful “The Story of V” by Catherine Blackledge

different species have different ways of storing sperm. the female dunnock, a small drab brown bird that routinely mates up to 20 times a day, has a phenomenal capacity, packing up to 500 sperm in each of her 1400 sperm storage tubules. in some insects, flexibility is the key, the female walking cricket is so elastic it can expand to accommodate over 30 ejaculates.

male ticks and mites produce a sperm packet which they must persuade females to accept. the only way to do this is by inserting his mouth into the female’s vagina, sometimes rubbing in, out and around for hours at a time. only after a lot of stimulation, is she ready to accept his package.

female sheep are phenomenally sexually active, a Scottish Soay ewe mated an amazing 163 times with 7 different rams in the space of 5 hours. many males can’t keep up and run out of sperm before the end of mating season. in the primate world, female rhesus macaques enjoy so many copulations that they experience vaginal overflow of sperm.

several months ago 70s sent me these images from an asian sperm bank. I thought they already had a population explosion in that part of the world. I wonder if they’re using their excess to top up the poor depleted Scots…..


Published in: on May 14, 2008 at 8:39 am  Comments (28)  


There is a Catalan saying: ‘La mar es posa bona si veu el cony d’una dona’ – ‘The sea calms down if it sees a woman’s cunt’. Moreover, according to folklore, it’s not just the oceans that are soothed by the sight of a woman’s vagina. A flash of female genitalia has the power to calm other forces of nature too. For example, women in the southern Indian province of Madras were known to subdue dangerous storms by exposing themselves.

Outside the western world, anthropological data collected during the last century regarding the people of the Marquesas Islands reveals a similar reverential attitude to female genitalia, albeit with a slight twist. This Polynesian culture credits female genitalia with supernatural influences and these vaginal forces are strong enough to frighten gods or to drive out evil possessing spirits. Hence exorcisms carried out in this part of the world consist of a naked woman sitting on the chest of the possessed.

Just as importantly, vaginal protection can encompass a more nurturing, nourishing influence. Indeed, historical evidence suggests that female genital display can also be about promoting fertility, such as causing plants or the earth to flourish. Up to the twentieth century, belief in this vaginal ability could be seen in the custom of peasant women exposing their genitals to the growing flax, while saying: ‘Please grow as high as my genitals are now.’


 often a brief flash is far more erotic than prolonged exposure. I’m all for calming a stormy sea or helping mother nature out in the garden but sometimes less works as well as more…..

all italicised text taken from “The Story of V” by Catherine Blackledge (2003)

Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 9:12 am  Comments (24)  

poxy competition

back in 1497 they had funny ideas about how to treat syphilis. one of the first signs that a person had caught this disease was the appearance of an ulcer on the genitals. Bishop Gaspare Torrella recommended that these pustules “be sucked by some person of low condition”. after the poison was drawn, the penis was washed and wrapped around with a live flayed chicken, pigeon or frog.

foul tasting and dangerous panaceas containing mercury were also popular. it came in many forms, often as an ointment and anti venereal underpants, coated with mercury, became available in 17th century Italy. condoms were in vogue, not to prevent pregnancy but to escape a dose of the pox. here’s a recipe from 1824 for a sheep gut condom

Soak a sheep’s intestine caeca in water for a number of hours, then turn inside out, and macerate them again in weak alkaline, changed every 12 hours. Scrape them carefully to remove the mucous membrane, leaving the peritoneal and muscular coats, and expose them to the vapour of burning brimstone. Then wash them in soap and water, inflate them, dry them and cut to a length of seven to eight inches. Finally, border the open end with a ribbon to tie round the base of the penis, and before use soak the condom in water to make it supple.

modern condoms are made of a much thinner material than sheep gut. advertising agencies go to great lengths to promote them as a pleasure and performance enhancing fashion accessory and nursemyra also advocates the use of condoms as an important part of healthy sexual practices. some time ago I ran a little competition for the best mondegreen or malapropism, now I think it’s time for another competition.

leave a limerick or a joke about condoms in the comments and the best three will get a prize. I can’t guarantee it will be as exciting as the “Continence Helpline Fridge Magnet” that kyknoord won last time but it will be hand picked by your very own nurse…..

Published in: on May 12, 2008 at 8:41 am  Comments (37)  


no I’m not talking about the sexual practice of inserting a fist into a partner’s anus. fistulotomy is the name of the surgery undertaken to cure a fistula – a nasty condition I hope none of my readers suffer from. poor old louis XIV had one and it was a right royal pain in the arse. his surgeon, Charles Felix, nervous of cocking up the procedure, practised on lesser buttocks he uncovered at a local charity hospital. his weapon of choice was a bistoury


the king’s first operation involved two cuts with the bistoury plus eight with scissors and there were four more surgeries to follow. sycophantic couriers, anxious to share the king’s discomfort in convalesence, applied surgical dressings to their rear ends and imitated his majesty’s limp. is now a good time to remind you that this was pre-anaesthesia?

if you’re as fascinated by antique medical instruments as nursemyra is perhaps you might like to have a go at this quiz

I know I’ve probably turned a few stomachs with today’s historical medicine post, but please feel reassured if you ever get admitted to the gimcrack with a weeping fistula, nursemyra will ensure a ready supply of anaesthesia will always be close at hand


Published in: on May 11, 2008 at 11:00 am  Comments (22)  

grounds for divorce

nursemyra has uncovered some strange old Welsh customs whilst researching leprosy in the middle ages. not only was it a nasty disease, it was also one of the three legitimate reasons a wife could cite to divorce her husband and reclaim her dowry. the other reasons were foul breath and failure to have sexual relations.

If a woman found her husband with another woman, she was entitled to a payment of six score pence the first time and a pound the second time; on the third occasion she was entitled to divorce him. If the husband had a concubine, the wife was allowed to strike her without having to pay any compensation, even if it resulted in the concubine’s death. A woman could only be beaten by her husband for three things: for giving away something which she was not entitled to give away, for being found with another man or for wishing a blemish on her husband’s beard

three unusual grounds for divorce were not the only interesting things I discovered about Wales. the pioneer of cremation was a welshman of charming eccentricities. Dr William Price was a 19th century vegetarian nudist who wore a fox pelt on his head and treated his patients with herbal potions and druid chanting. as an octagenarian, he married a woman many decades his junior and fathered a baby named Jesus. there is no record of him ever having suffered from leprosy or halitosis………


Published in: on May 10, 2008 at 10:07 am  Comments (25)