Little creatures

Pub date July 18, 2006

Dear Andrea:
I would like to know if leeches can be used on female nipples and clits?
Dear Suck:
Would you, now? And why would you like to know that? I suppose it’s too much to hope for that you are selflessly devoted to the cause of curing helpless women of scrofula, ague, and the bloody flux, and are seeking new treatment modes? Tell me you’re not really wondering if perhaps leeches, applied to well-innervated body bits, could provide a stimuutf8g sort of suction. If so, I’m impressed — it takes quite a lot to gross me out but, man, that’s disgusting.
Do you actually know how leeches leech? It isn’t very nice. Here’s a succinct description of the feeding habits of Hirudo medicinalis, courtesy of the University of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Web: “It attaches to the host by means of its two suckers and bites through the skin of its victim. Simultaneously, the leech injects an anesthetic so that its presence is not detected, and an anticoagulant in order for the incision to remain open during the meal. It has three jaws, which work back and forth during the feeding process, which usually lasts about 20 to 40 minutes and leaves a tripartite star-shaped scar on the host.” How hot is that? And you caught the part about the anesthetic, right? The little suckers don’t suck you as much as they sort of . . . dissolve you, but you can’t even feel it while they’re at it. A poor choice of sex toy all around, I’d say.
I realize, of course, that simply hoping that nobody finds leeches sexy is not enough to keep someone, somewhere, from doing exactly that. There is, as my aphorism-coining husband is wont to put it, someone for everything, and all we can ask of the inevitable leech fanciers is that they keep it to themselves.
Speaking of things that suck, I’ve been a little distracted lately from my readers’ blow job issues and quixotic quests for the perfect dildo due to having gone and had two babies a mere three weeks ago: real babies, with the diapers and the 3 a.m. feedings and all that good stuff. They’re lovely, thanks.
I couldn’t say for sure if one’s essential self (assuming there is such a creature) really changes with the onset of parenthood, but one’s perceptions sure do. Things change. Nipples, for instance, are changed forever. Once mildly sexy in theory and distinctly sexual in practice, nipples at my house are now the most quotidian of objects, either made of silicone and soaking in the sink or the real fleshy deal shoved unceremoniously into the frantically gaping but adorable maw of an insatiable small being at any and often every hour of the day. They have been repurposed, and if you take the time to think about it, that is just kind of bizarre, as though you had a penis but it had suddenly been declared indispensable as a household tool — a garden hose, say, or a plumber’s snake — and put to that use for most of the day, every day, until you were expected to bring it back to the conjugal bed and put it back to work at its original job.
What has all this to do with your question about leeches? Oh, not much, admittedly, except perhaps as an example of things which one might think could be vaguely sexy but just don’t cut it. This brings us to the least sexy vaguely sexy-sounding device on this or most other planets, an object without which I had lived quite happily until they wheeled one into my hospital room and ordered me to use it lest my defenseless and undersized newborns suffer and die before our horrified eyes. It’s the breast pump. Yes, the words breast and pump are both inherently sexy and yes, the thing does bear a superficial resemblance to similar devices sold for use on whichever erectile bits and bobs you could stuff into them. Not only that, but there are milky-MILF fanciers all over the Internet, not to mention all those “human cow” stories that clutter up the BDSM fantasy sites. I don’t care. Any object that brings to mind the phrase “moo cow milker” is unfit to be considered a sex toy. The nasty thing may distinguish itself from your leeches by lacking the ability to inject an anticoagulant or inflict a tripartite, star-shaped scar, but that’s about the best that can be said for it.
That’s enough of that. Go read Christopher Hitchens’s entertaining intellectual history of the all-American blow job in this month’s Vanity Fair, or turn up an obituary of John Money, the seminal gender researcher who died this week after a long career as first the hero and then the bogey man of trans- and intersexuals everywhere, and you’ll know as much as I do this week. I gotta go change diapers, and that isn’t sexy either.