Twelfth century orgasmic brain heat

Hildegard of Bingen was a twelfth century nun, possibly with repressed lesbian desires, who had visions, was a proto-scientist, advised the Pope, composed music, and, er, wrote about the role of the brain in the female orgasm.

BBC Radio 4’s Great Lives just had a fantastic programme about her where they read out her description of the female orgasm and how it is driven by a ‘sense of heat’ in the brain.

Remember, if you could possibly forget, that this was written by a nun in the 12th century.

When a woman is making love with a man, a sense of heat in her brain, which brings forth with it sensual delight, communicates the taste of that delight during the act and summons forth the emission of the man’s seed. And when the seed has fallen into its place, that vehement heat descending from her brain draws the seed to itself and holds it.

I for one, certainly feel closer to God after reading that.

Hildegard is most well known among neuroscientists for the descriptions of her visions which Oliver Sacks has interpreted as likely stemming from migraines as these can can cause an array of visual distortions and hallucinations.

Although from now on, I shall give equal consideration to her interest in erotic brain heat.

Link to programme info and streaming.
mp3 of the same in different location because the BBC are a bit slow.

13 thoughts on “Twelfth century orgasmic brain heat”

  1. …and should she have suffered during her first sexual experience, she would have had a totally different take on the orgasm… i personally, think my orgasms come from fear… it’s the rising of the adrenalin towards a certain death… but that’s my take having been “hurt” at five years old… each to his own, i say…

  2. That bit about the heat drawing the seed is quite startling when you think of the recent discovery that female orgasm causes the cervix to draw the seaman farther in.

  3. Hidegard was either a raving optimist or had a very considerate lover. In her description of the female orgasm, it is the sensual delight and heat occuring in the female’s brain that calls forth the man’s seed. So, the female orgasm occurs prior to or simultaneous with the male orgasm. Like I said, either a raving optimist or possessed of a skilled lover.

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