Religious Ecstasy

Saint Teresa of AvilaSaint Teresa of Avila, who lived in Spain in the 16th century, was one of the greatest Christian mystics of all time. She had a number of religious visions and mystical experiences associated with an ecstatic state of consciousness that nowadays would be described as orgasmic. The 19th century psychologist Havelock Ellis believed that Saint Teresa was able to achieve orgasm spontaneously, without physical stimulation of the clitoris or vagina. This was probably the case, since some women are able to achieve spontaneous orgasm either by a pure at of will, or by rhythmic contraction of the internal vaginal muscles. A devoutly religious woman experiencing such an orgasm in a non-sexual context is more likely to attribute it to heavenly intervention than if physical masturbation was involved. Nevertheless, this famous drawing by Félicien Rops depicts Saint Teresa stimulating her vagina with an artificial phallus.

2 Responses to “Religious Ecstasy”

  1. I love the Rops drawing. I also love your blog, which is consistently fascinating, informative, and well-written. Thank you

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