Living a lie, prim and proper, sometimes

caught, pants down before a beveled mirror

on an Empire couch behind closed doors.

A double-sided society, bawdy and brazen,

sang music hall tunes with ribald lyrics.

Degraded and debauched pornography,

popular as lascivious tomfoolery,

promoted the penis captivus,

as a result of vaginismus.

Lifting up petticoats, an exciting

aphrodisiac that drove men crazy.

Pronouncement of the day:

Women are not troubled

by sexual feelings of any kind.

Docs couldn’t keep their hands

off ladies private parts

to cure the malady of hysteria.

They palpated and probed,

looking aside, erroneously

searching for a womb

straying up to the lungs and gullet.


or medical masturbation,

was the cure for hysteria.

Finally, Freud discovered:

The return of the repressed,

and stopped

the fiddling with women’s genitals

by developing

the talking cure.