Desktop version

Home arrow Philosophy arrow The fathers of the church

Why all animals except the human are very noisy during intercourse.

One asks further why all animals except the human are very noisy during intercourse. Thus the cock, when it needs to mate, crows and leaps around and clucks about,[1] and the horse and others act in a similar way also. A human, however, as if preparing for war, arms the penis [ priapum] silently and stealthily and has intercourse.

And one must reply that voice [ vox] is caused in many ways, by either an external or an internal cause. In humans, voice originates from an external cause. In fact, an internal cause is twofold: namely, either natural or unnatural. It originates from an unnatural cause in the swan, because when it dies is when it sings sweetly. But it originates from a natural cause when internally warmth and moisture have been multiplied. But sperm is warm and moist, and before coitus it descends as if drop by drop through the animal's members and comes to the testicles. And this is why brute animals sing out a great deal and cry as if enraged on account of the delight they perceive at that time in the individual members, since they are following their natural complexion and sense or nature. But the human animal is discreet and prudent, thanks to reason, and has discretion, and therefore can abstain on account of shame from those acts toward which coition is ordered, and this is why he does not make a lot of noise. To the contrary, if he can, he lies down hiddenly, and the more hiddenly the more sweet it is. And this is true.

Avicenna, however, says that at that time man enjoys such pleasure that he cannot speak, for the heart, as it happens, contracts from such surpassing pleasure that some cannot speak since they are afraid. And it is evident from this cause why the human and other animals are quite bold before coition but afterward become more timid, because boldness originates from the heat and motion of the blood. And this is the reason why animals are quite bold then and move about a great deal, owing to the motion of the heat and the spirits. But fear stems from coldness and the congealing of the spirits, something that occurs after coition on account of the evacuation of these spirits, and this is why they are fearful then. Thus, an adulterer does not fear before coition to approach another's wife even with him present, owing to the strong movement of the spirits, but after coition, because he is weakened, he is fearful and flees from the presence of a rat or cat.

Moreover, based on these things a cause can be presented why a castrated man is less compliant, but the contrary occurs in other animals. The cause for this, that is, the explanation [ ratio], is that a man is a particularly temperate animal, but as a result of castration the seminal or spermatic material, which is warm and moist and tempered, and on which a man's life and complexion depend, is diminished in a man. And this is the reason that, as a result of castration, a man's complexion withdraws, that is, falls away from, a balanced state [ temperamentum] and, as a result, his power is lessened and he becomes effeminate. But in other animals there are many moistures and superfluities and the heat is weaker owing to these superfluities, and this is why their moistures and superfluities are diminished as a result of castration and their heat is, as it were, forced or reflected back upon individual members and the animals thus become more compliant.

Nevertheless, there is a penetrating heat and a consuming moisture in the cock, and therefore, when it is castrated, its heat is diminished and its moisture becomes more abundant, and this is why it then becomes fat. But in other animals the heat is weak, and as a result of castration their superfluous moistures are consumed by that weak heat, which can then be repelled by not much at all, and this is why all castrated animals become thinner. And if they do become fatter, they preserve their fat much longer than uncastrated animals, because the heat is effeminate and not as consuming, and when they grow fatigued, they do not recuperate as quickly as uncastrated animals.

  • [1] "Clucks": A. uses bombizat, more properly a word for bees.
Found a mistake? Please highlight the word and press Shift + Enter  
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >

Related topics