Mel Brooks was once on Michael Parkinson’s chat show sometime in the early 1980s where he described the opening scenes to his proposed next movie. Brooks explained he wanted his film to begin like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey—but instead of apes he wanted to show a neanderthal standing upright for the first time. His spiel went something like this—I’m gonna paraphrase so deal with it:
It’s early morning—just before dawn. The sun is slowly igniting the horizon. A band of gold appears as the theme from Thus Sprach Zarathustra begins to play under the picture. As the sun rises a group of neanderthals huddle together fearfully watching this magical giant disc rising up like a god. As the music swells a beam of pure golden light radiates across the landscape.
The neanderthals are scared and cower away form this approaching light—all except one who climbs on all fours towards the top of the mountain. As this inquisitive figure moves forward the sun rises. The sky is now fire bright.
The golden orb continues to rise—the neanderthal reaches out to grasp it. He begins to rise up on two legs. First one then the other arm reach out towards the sky. As the music reaches its dramatic climax—the neanderthal is standing teetering on tiptoe arms raised. The neanderthal looks up at the sun. Then slowly at his arms—at his hands—then down at his feet. He has risen up like the sun and now stands upright for the very first time. This creature has liberated his arms to create, to produce and to help him shape a new world. His fellow neanderthals scurry away in fear. As a new day begins the first homo erectus looks at his hands—mesmerized by his fingers, by their potential to grip and move, to adapt and change. He lowers his arms and looks down at them contemplating his new power and the potential now opened to him. The music finishes as this first proto-human looks down considering the significance of his actions. It’s a powerful moment in human evolution. He looks again at his hands—he’s free to use them to help others—to change the world.
And that’s when he starts masturbating.
Human evolution—the progression towards self-gratification.
Which brings us—in roundabout fashion—to these historic and seemingly erotic images depicting the use of the enema in medicine and sex. What begins as a series of etchings often satirically showing women and men seeking much-needed relief for their “night soil” evolves into more recent imagery where the enema is used primarily for sexual gratification. It is apparent that humanity has an unbridled ingenuity for finding gratification from almost anything—vegetables, furniture, house hold appliances and even medicinal treatments.
The drawings and paintings from the twentieth century were produced by various artists who made small change producing illustrations for various editions of erotica. Some names are aliases—most notably Julie Delcourt who may or may not be the pseudonym for Richard Hegemann—a German artist who also worked under the names A. Hegemann, A. Hegener and P. Rollmann. Hegemann excelled in depicting matronly women thrashing supplicant men and badly behaved boys and girls in sailor suits who seemingly relished the whack of their teacher’s belt. Many of Julie Delcourt’s other paintings (not included here) are decidedly NSFW and rather questionable.
An individual who derives pleasure from receiving enemas is called a klismaphiliac. The term klismaphilia was only coined fairly recently by Dr. Joanne Denko in 1973—which tends to make it seem as if klismaphiliac is only a modern practice. But as can be seen by these illustrations from the the 18th century and more recently the 1920s and 1930s—klismaphilia has a much longer history.
‘A fashionable lady being given an enema by a charming young man’—Dicuelt 18th century.
‘A peeping-tom spying on a fashionable lady receiving an enema’—Pierre-Antoine Baudouin.
More friends or enemas? after the jump….