Drugs where the sun don’t shine: a cultural history
Through the history of humanity, every culture has made use of psychoactive substances. While smoking, eating and injecting have generated most interest, taking drugs through the nether regions has a remarkably long history.
Firstly, let’s get your burning question out of the way. The reason someone might want to administer drugs through the vagina or anus is because these areas have two properties that make them excellent drug delivery systems: they are moist and they have an excellent blood supply.
This means drugs will be absorbed into the bloodstream and reach the brain very quickly – often more quickly than if you drank the substance.
We know why this works due to medical research, but as we wander through the history of downstairs doping, you may wish to take a moment to reflect on how this remarkable fact was first discovered.
The earliest accounts of rectal administration of psychoactive drugs come from the Ancient Mayan civilization where ritual enemas were commonlyused to induce states of trance and were widely depicted on carvings andpottery.
The image above is a Mayan carving depicting a priest giving reclining man a large ritual enema to the point where he sees winged reptile Gods flying overhead. Sorry hipsters, your parties suck.
It wasn’t just the Mayans, though. The historical use of psychoactive enemas was known throughout the Americas and is still used by traditional societies today.
Intriguing article but two things:
“The earliest accounts of rectal administration of psychoactive drugs come from the Ancient Mayan civilization”
Niggly-seeming, but “Mayan” with the -n is only properly used in reference to written or spoken Maya languages. You can say “The Mayan word for tick is pech”. You can’t say, well, “the Ancient Mayan civilization”.
We archaeologists kind of use this one as a shibboleth. When we (or you, or anyone else) see “Mayan” used wrong, alarm bells go off. People who use “Mayan” also end up talking about crystal skulls and spirit paths and which ever site is Atlantis today.
The other thing is that it isn’t quite correct to say that the earliest accounts of rectal administration of drugs come from the Maya. I work at a Bolivian site and all the statues there are holding hallucinogenic enemas (http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~cerickso/anth533c.jpg: enema plus snuff tablet! Party!). This site totally overlaps with the Classic Maya. Various artefacts from the Andes (some of it pre-dating the Maya or at least the Maya art you are referencing) are believed to show the use of hallucinogenic enemas.
Saying “one of the earliest accounts…Maya” would sort you out.
Now this Latin American archaeologist needs to get herself back to work.