Sex, in the twenty first century, sits as an uncomfortable bedfellow with political correctness. One can almost see grandma in her bed, with her long snout tied beneath sleeping cap, and Little Red Riding Hood gazing into her great big eyes. The wolf lies beneath the sheets, pretending to be dear old granny, just like our sexuality temporarily at bay. The grey wolf is the ancestor of every loyal dog on the planet. Humanity has tamed the wolf and bred man’s best friend. Sexuality is the primeval pathway to procreation and though tamed today, still has fangs to bare. The sexual urge is primal and directly linked to our beastly nature. Stories of werewolves and full moon madness are remnants of our strange relationship to our own sexuality.
The Company of Wolves
“One Beast and only one howls in the woods by night.
The wolf is carnivore incarnate and he’s as cunning as he is ferocious, once he’s had a taste of flesh then nothing else will do.
At night, the eyes of wolves shine like candle flames, yellowish, reddish, but that is because the pupils of their eyes fatten on darkness and catch the light from your lantern to flash it back to you – red for danger; if a wolf’s eyes reflect only moonlight, then they gleam a cold and unnatural green, a mineral, a piercing colour.”
The Wolf & Female Sexuality
The she-wolf in art has an added sexual dimension; and the wolf and female sexuality have been linked ever since. Think of the psychological themes underpinning the story of Little Red Riding Hood, with their allegorical allusions to emerging sexuality communicated via the carnality of the tale. Perrault’s original seventeenth century title was Red Cap, and that name has allusions to the clitoris and the deflowering of virginity. It is in many ways, a traditional folk story about the coming of age, which has been turned into a more prudish warning of the dangers men pose to young girls. The wolf is a carnal beast and much blood is spilt, echoing the breaking of the hymen during first penetration.
“He stood in a clearing, reading his verse out loud
in his wolfy drawl, a paperback in his hairy paw,
red wine staining his bearded jaw. What big ears he had! What big eyes he had! What teeth!
In the interval, I made quite sure he spotted me,
sweet sixteen, never been, babe, waif, and brought me a drink, my first.”
She-Wolves in Rome
Cristina Mazzoni makes an interesting word correlation when she points out in her book, She-Wolf: The Story of a Roman Icon, the word ‘troia’ in Italian can describe a female animal, a sow, but that it is also a derogatory slang term for a female prostitute. Which is fairly run of the mill male misogynistic language; but interestingly if that word is capitalised as “Troia’, it becomes the Homeric ancient city of Troy. Thus linking to the tale of the twins and the founding of Rome.