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“Please connect me to the Dental Clinic. I need a hysterectomy.”
—This Not Always Right entry.
A classic Body Horror, the Vagina Dentata is a folk myth of toothed female genitalia, which occurs in many cultures worldwide, from Maori to Native American. It is suspected that the concept originally came into play as part of a Scare'Em Straight cautionary tale, warning of the dangers of sex with strange women, but the surreality of the image, and the castration anxiety it evokes, has made it a hallmark of psychoanalytic painters and writers. Currently, many anti-rape female condoms work along the same principle.
If you believe in deep inner subtext, you're likely to see them in any creature that's moist, has teeth, and swallows, from the Sarlaac pit to Davy Jones' Kraken. Some claims are easier to believe than others.
Several women's studies professors have advanced the theory that its Nightmare Fuel aspect has mainly to do with an inherent revulsion to female sexual power: to quote Stephen J. Ducat, "The fear of entering triumphantly, and leaving diminished." Post-structuralism might have a bone to pick with this notion, since it is based on the binary between lack and desire (i.e. a lack is somehow necessary for desire to be present), while post-structuralism (among other things) decries binarism as restrictive.
An alternate theory suggested by some men says that the fear of the vagina dentata arises from the idea that having your penis bitten off would really, really hurt, but of course that doesn't even come close to explaining why they'd imagine teeth in a vagina in the first place. Strangely enough, this trope has not diminished the male enthusiasm for fellatio. This may be explained by the fact that most legends of Vagina Dentata show said toothed orifice as having a mind of its own, whereas the standard mouth is manifestly under the control of its owner.
Others point out that having something sharp and nasty ready to bite you from a hidden location is terrifying in and of itself.
It's worth noting that if a (normal, human) woman really did have teeth down there, she would still need to Kegel the crap out of her pelvic muscles to make them strong enough to tear skin. Otherwise, the teeth would do nothing more than feel weird against the penis (unless they were somehow exceptionally sharp, although this would naturally run the risk of injuring the female in question as well).
Note that a woman with a Vagina Dentata would be an example of a Horny Devil, as both tropes were born from legends warning against sex with strange women.
Or a warning for women to not come too near in that special time of the month. Some cultures kept their women in special houses at that time, others would just say: try anything and theirs will eat yours - or make it fall off.
Subtrope to Super Sex Organs.
Anime and Manga
- FLCL gives you the comedic version -- Boxing Glove Vagina.
- This is a reference to a Lupin III opening credits sequence, though in the Lupin III version the spring originates behind instead of between Fujiko's legs.
- Before that episode first aired on Adult Swim, the black-screen intro warned something to the effect of "we cut one shot from this episode. Guess which one."
- This reappears in the H-Anime Night Shift Nurses Experiment, when the patient receiving an experimental drug tries to jump a consenting partner in the library. She scolds him and tells him to come over to her room first.
- The 1987 OVA Wicked City features a multitude of demons with Vagina Dentata.
- Nightmare Campus (ep.5) only one. (It suffices.)
- In Yu Yu Hakusho, Kurama turns the tables against Karasu during their fight by using an Ojigi Plant—pictured here and especially here in the manga.
- Norio from Narutaru named his shadow dragon Vagina Dentata, and sure enough its head does sorta look like a toothy vagina. The fact that Norio is gay, and a tad misogynist, makes it darkly amusing.
- The Mask of Flesh from Inuyasha appears to be a harmless Noh mask of a woman until you put it on, at which point it permanently attaches itself to your face and then splits open vertically to reveal a vicious set of teeth. And then comes the Body Horror (multiple Body Horror, actually)...
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, one of Marik's more usable fantastic fiends, Dark Jeroid, has two faces and a centaurian build. Of course, its forelegs look like distorted arms (complete with hands), and the second face is right at the bottom of the upright torso... with a mouth right at that crucial spot. This combined with the rest of the distorted visage, visible here, qualify it as one of the higher-octane nightmare-cards Marik handles, even if it isn't one of the strongest.
- Similarly, there's Worm King. TCG artwork has it covered up as if the mouth is closed.
- The Gun(wo)man of the female general Adiane in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has its toothy mouth below the abdomen, with fangs.
- The Blue from Blue Gender.
- The Bio-Meat in Bio Meat, particularly on the undersides.
- The demon form of Fubuki Kai in La Blue Girl
- Little demon Fastener from Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt has an oval head bisected by a vertical zipper that looks like a vagina dentata. This is one of the least offensive things on the show.
- The hentai OVA Sinner's Paradise has a 100% literal example, complete with castration.
- Watchmen. Why do you think Ozymandias' monster only has one eye over that mouth?
- Virginia Dentata from DV 8 is intentionally meant to invoke this image, though her big, toothy, sideways mouth is on her stomach.
- In Arkham Asylum a Serious House on Serious Earth Dave McKean] suggested the Joker would be beared to invoke this image, to go alongwith Grant Morrison's idea of a very sexually fucked up Batman. In the end they scrapped the idea... not that it made the Joker any less terrifying.
- Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose Has a sea witch who has a vagina with a beak. That's right. A squid beak to go with the tentacles growing out her labia.
- One of ECMajor's recent (as of 2012) works depicts Queen Chrysalis' lady bits with tiny claws around clitoris.
- The most obvious example of all, playing the trope for comedy as well as horror: the 2008 Teeth was a horror movie about a celibate teenage girl who discovers, while being raped, that she has Vagina Dentata, which will bite off the penis of any man who tries anything she doesn't like.
- It also has the immortal scene of a shady gynecologist who just tried to fist the heroine under the pretense of an examination ("And now I'm going to check your flexibility.") clutching his bloody hand and screaming "VAGINA DENTATA! THE LEGENDS ARE TRUE! VAGINA DENTATA!"
- Clerks 2 has a Conservative Momma's Boy explain this is why he practices abstinence (read: he's still a virgin); there's a troll that lives inside vaginas that will bite off male genitalia until the girl's 21st birthday when it is peed out; it's named Pillow Pants.
- There is also one that lives in his girlfriend's mouth named Lister Fiend to prevent premarital kissing.
- In his defense, there is a set of teeth in most mouths...
- There is also one that lives in his girlfriend's mouth named Lister Fiend to prevent premarital kissing.
- The film version of Pink Floyd's The Wall features a brief animated sequence of two flowers simulating sex, ending with the female flower eating the male flower. This is par for the course in The Wall.
- Vagina Dentata imagery appears several other times throughout the movie, especially in most of the animations.
- Disturbingly blurring male and female traits in the most horrific way possible, the extending "inner mouth" of the titular creature in Alien resembles a phallus, while the snapping jaws at its tip evoke Vagina Dentata. Its hatchling form is even worse, giving humans a Face Full Of Alien Clitoris down their throat.
- In the same film, the protagonists explore an alien space ship with massive entrances that resemble vaginas.
- When the Predator finally reveals his face, the viewer gets a good look at what even cable television movie commentary describes as a toothed vagina.
- Hence the heroes of both films call him "pussyface".
- In Blade Trinity, while Hannibal King is recounting his past experience with a particular evil female vampire, he jokes about how unlike normal female vampires, this one's fangs are located in her vagina.
- A lampshade is hung on the urban legend in the German comedy movie Kondom Des Grauens (Killer Condom), based on a comic book of the same title by Ralf KÃ¶nig: It's the condom that is dangerous, not the woman. The condom is a hollow wormlike alien lifeform with a mouth full of teeth at one end that crawls around and hides in drawers in people's bedrooms among normal condoms, and when some guy puts it on during a one-night stand....* chomp* . Occasionally it hurls itself mouth-first at naked guys like a spring-loaded Killer Rabbit. No, this is not a porn movie. And it's funnier than it sounds. Especially when you're female.
- The Penetration Angst (which is actually a horror flick and not vore porn ) features a girl whose vagina actually devours guys whole. A more accurate term for that would be 'unbirthing.' Please don't look it up.
- The ginormous 'god' bug Behemecoatyl in Starship Troopers 3: Marauder.
- Don't think too hard about this, but: the sarlacc pit in Star Wars. With tentacles. Eeeewww. In fact, the recently released Sarlacc Pit playset has a Sarlacc that looks 'so' much like a vagina that you have to wonder if someone did it on a bet. There's no WAY this isn't intentional This did not go unnoticed on I-Mockery.com's Ten Things I Like About Return Of The Jedi (#8)
- Star Trek the Motion Picture gives us V'Ger, which is basically a vagina in space.
- And most nebulas in the shows qualify as well.
- These monsters from Battle Beyond the Sun, Roger Corman version of a Soviet sci-fi movie The Sky is Calling that was re-edited and re-dubbed for release in the United States. Original Soviet version doesn't have this things.
- Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man's Chest: the monster that ate Jack Sparrow towards the end of the movie. The fact that it actually did devour him should at to the Freudian Nightmare potential.
- Naturally, he enters it with sword drawn.
- The Japanese porn-horror Killer Pussy: Sexual Parasite
- From the same nation and a slightly more conservative genre, Big Tits Zombie. Most of the time, big tits and zombie do not combine into one creature. The first time it does, she has a vagina dentata that breathes fire.
- Potentially referenced in Piranha 3D, when a piranha forces its way into a woman's vagina, and latches on to her boyfriend's penis (forcing him to cut it off) when the two have sex later on.
"Josh cut off his penis because something came out of my vagina!"
- Photoshopped pictures on the internet, of course.
- At least one version of the baudy poem "The Ballad of Eskimo Nell" involved one of the characters' castration by Nell's vagina in a vain attempt to please her.
- A lengthy sequence in American Gods culminates in a succubus-like reinvention of the Queen of Sheba devouring a man whole through her sexual organs. There is later mention of a young recently-enslaved African girl (a twin, and thereby believed to have magic powers) convincing a would-be rapist that she had this.
- K.W. Jeter's novel Dr Adder features a character with Vagina Dentata.
- In Mercedes Lackey's Jinx High, the evil magic user's artificial servant was deliberately created with this feature, and is fed through that orifice.
- In Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, Y.T. has a futuristic anti-rape device called the Dentata, though in her case it doesn't actually stop the would-be rape (actually she forgets to switch it off for entirely consensual sex). However, it does inject her would-be attacker with a narcotic to incapacitate them quickly, presumably so the police could arrest them.
- A variant of this trope occurs in, of all places, the Talmud. In a discussion of why it's proper for women to shave down there, reference is made to the biblical story of Amnon, who lusted after his half-sister Tamar and raped her, then immediately afterward "hated her with a very great hatred." The Talmud says the reason his feelings changed so drastically was that his penis got caught in her pubic hair and was mutilated. So, shave, ladies. It's more comfortable for the guy who's raping you.
- The female Firvulag in the Julian May Pliocene Exile series all had this, and this was given as a source for human legends of the same.
- This cover from a Doctor Who novel. Oddly enough, it doesn't have very much to do with the story.
- Warren Ellis' prose novel Crooked Little Vein features a variant of this trope when the protagonist stumbles into a conversation with a demented fellow mystery explorer that mentions a homicide by Anal Dentata. Yeah, the book is kind of like that. Warren Ellis is kind of like that.
- The Gugs of H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands qualify on a symbolic level.
"Then two pink eyes shone, and the head of the awakened gug sentry, large as a barrel, wabbled into view. The eyes jutted two inches from each side, shaded by bony protuberances overgrown with coarse hairs. But the head was chiefly terrible because of the mouth. That mouth had great yellow fangs and ran from the top to the bottom of the head, opening vertically instead of horizontally."
- In Tanith Lee's short story The Weasel Bride, this is the reason the groom murdered his bride on their wedding night.
- The Shit weasels (well, that's what the characters call them...) in Stephen King's 'Dreamcatcher are described with a vertical, jawless mouth lined with teeth. One of them uses this to chew its way out through a guy's butt (hence their nickname).
- A Shitweasel also attacks Pete's penis when he goes for a leak. He Gets Better ... for a while.
- The heroine of Richard Calder's Dead Girls develops vagina dentata (among other things) from a misaimed bioweapon originally intended to weaponise bioengineered love dolls. It's implied that they were included in the design solely for the psychological effects.
- One short story had a male traveller stop at a house occupied by three beautiful sisters, two of whom try to seduce him while the third is more hesitant. Turns out all three of them have vagina dentata, with the twist that the fangs are incredibly poisonous, and two of the sisters use them to seduce, rob and murder men. The traveller fights back and with the help of the good sister, kills the two evil ones. He's fallen for the good one in the process, and as the two run away together, she asks how they can be together with her poisonous pussy. He cheerfully responds by revealing his occupation: "I'm a dentist! If there's one thing I know how to do, it's pull teeth!"
- Vampires in Necroscope are capable of this, among many other bodily modifications, and have been known to use the other modifications to enhance sex before using this one to put an end to the whole thing.
- An unfortunate drunk would-be rapist encounters one of these in Rivers of London, it's implied the woman possessing it is the protagonists' Moe maid too.
- Polymorph by Scott Westerfeld. The main character, who can shift any part of her body at will, creates these while she is being raped by another polymorph. The results are quite... graphic.
- A rare toothless example, but fits the spirit of the trope nonetheless: in I Am America (And So Can You!), Stephen Colbert claims that Kegels will can make woman's pelvic muscles to become so strong that she can tear a man's penis off with them. Even worse, a woman you're next to could be doing Kegels right now and you wouldn't even know.
- In Tour of the Merrimack, the Marine Geneva Rhine is stated to wear an anti-rape device that functions in this manner. No details are given other than the fact that it is called a "sausage peeler".
- In Hyperion this happens to Kassad when his girlfriend Moneta turns into the Shrike in the middle of sex. He is livid afterwards.
- In Genome by Sergey Lukyanenko a genetically engineered super agent girl turns out to have a sting in her intimate parts that administers excruciatingly painful toxin to an unfortunate wannabe rapist.
Big BadDisc One Final Boss of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, Scorpius, was designed with a not-very-toothy one for a mouth. Doubles as Getting Crap Past the Radar.
- In one episode of Ally McBeal, the female regulars are wondering aloud about Ling's latest lawsuit, and Elaine comments "Maybe her gynaecologist pulled the wrong tooth".
- Australian electronic/rock duo Corpse Penis Eaten By Rectum use a slight variation on this theme as their logo.
- The music video for Green Jelly's "Three Little Pigs" invokes the trope in the background, as the first little pig drives down Hollywood Boulevard, the Chinese Theatre is displaying a large sign advertising a film called "Her Thing Had Teeth".
Myths and Legends
- A Japanese legend involves a demon hidden in the vagina of a woman he lusted after, who would bite off men's penises until he broke his teeth on a steel dildo specifically made by the lady's last and definitive husband, who also happened to be the local blacksmith. The legend is commemorated with the Kanamara Matsuri, Festival of the Steel Penis where people eat loads of phallic pastries. Today, it is also used to raise money for AIDS awareness and research.
- One Inuit legend involved a guy meeting some woman like this, who really, really wanted to have sex with him. He used a stick in place of his own body, and broke the teeth. Possibly then he had sex with her or he opened up a Japanese pastry shop.
- A Norwegian ballad describes the Vagina Dentata. A boy is surprised when his hand is bitten by his lover. He asks her how many she has bitten; "first she bit a bailiff, then a priest, then she "bit a sheriff from his horse". Interpret the last part the way you will.
- According to the legends of the Amazonian Yanomami Indians, when the very first men encountered the very first women, the menfolk were very wary, and let their horny monkey mascot-pet have sex with the women, first. To the monkey's eternal sorrow, the menfolk found out that the women's vaginas were infested with/guarded by schools of piranha.
- In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, this is one of the powers you can give fomori (humans possessed by demonic spirits), especially those whose powers revolve around seduction. This includes male variants as well.
- Similarly, there's a reason the clanbook for the Tzimisce had to be sold wrapped in black plastic...
- Sheoldred, Whispering One in Magic: The Gathering plugs her torso into various lower bodies. The one on her card has a great big mouth between its legs. Eek.
- In The Violet Hour by Richard Greenberg, the main character's best friend writes a novel that apparently invokes this trope.
- Played around with by feminist burlesquers Lashings of Ginger Beer, who parody conservative fears about The Dreaded Feminist Agenda by singing a version of 'Hakuna Matata' that is about... you guessed it!
- The first Boss in Brutal Legend is this... stuck to a tentacle... with a clitoris piercing, that apparently smells like a death whale.
- A faceless creature in Silent Hill Homecoming has a toothed, vagina-shaped mouth.
- The Split Worm in Silent Hill 3 is a combination of this and a Penis Dentatus. It also goes in and out of holes, representing penetration.
- The Pokémon known as Cloyster, to many it does look like a giant, spiky, purple vagina with an anti-rape goblin living inside.
- Pinsir has a mouth like this.
- Guild Wars also has its own version of this, the Dreadspawn Maw located in the elite endgame area for Nightfall, the Domain of Anguish.
- Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne has the Pisaca, and take a gander at Arioch
- The monsters in Michigan: Report from Hell.
- Borderlands, two words: Rakk Hive.
- Lampshaded in the strategy guide for said game. The text entry for this creature describes nothing but the censorship surrounding pictures of the boss's mouth.
- A third word: Destroyer.
- If it doesn't walk on two legs and its in Borderlands, chances are it follows this trope.
- The Mook Maker in the first few levels of Blood Rayne looked like a cross between a vagina and the cocoon from Species.
- This phone card art for Earthbound gives local Big Bad Giygas an... unusual face. "Is that an Eldritch Abomination in your pocket, or are you just angry to see me?"
- And then remember the fan theories about Giygas being a rape symbol...
- The Final Fantasy series' Malboros. Tentacles, teeth, bad breath...yep, Vagina Dentata.
- About half the zerg in Starcraft2 have portraits like this.
- In Resident Evil 2, Birkin's fourth One-Winged Angel mutation has one for a mouth.
- The Oozes in Pathways into Darkness, and the F'lickta in Marathon 2: Durandal. The latter's also serves as a literal vagina, according to info in S'pht terminals.
- Mantorok of Eternal Darkness
- In Halo. the Elites (most of them) have sets of mandibles similar to the Predators. Lampshaded in Arby 'n' the Chief, where Chief calls Arby Vagina Face occasionally.
- As if its sheer difficulty weren't horrifying enough, Dark Souls gives us the Gaping Dragon, which very obviously resembles a fifty-foot-tall toothed vagina on legs when it rears up to attack. Yes, it will try to engulf you at every possible opportunity.
- In Catherine, the "boss" of Vincent's second full dream is an amalgamation of body parts that almost defies description, except to say that it has a mouth near where the split in its legs should begin. And it giggles and moans while it chases him. It's pretty obviously a manifestation of Vincent's guilt over the indescretions of his adultery: the game identifies this...thing...as "The Immoral Beast."
- In Skyward Sword, Deku Babas (carnivorous plant enemies that attack by biting) are now able to open their jaws vertically as well as horizontally, giving them the appearance of this trope.
- Used in a slightly different manner in Stage Select.
- The Perry Bible Fellowship naturally has its own disturbingly funny take on the subject. (Warning: Not Work Safe.)
- Mentioned in Queen of Wands. Not nearly as gruesome, but just as disturbing, is singing its praises to the tune of Hakuna Matata, quoted above. (Warning: Not Mind Safe.)
- The fused form of Bob and Lisa, the Sin(s) of Gluttony, from Jack. Depending on which one is in control you either get a giant female reptile monster with a male face for a crotch, or vice versa.
- NSFW Comix has Entrepreneurial Dan making several unsuccessful pitches for vagina dentata devices.
- Edible Dirt, almost always a deeply NSFW comic, visits this particular brand of Squick.
- Concession invokes Predator with their resident ghostly abomination.
- One strip of Exterminatus Now discussed the American Gods example above, with Lothar pissed that Eastwood didn't warn him about it when recommending the book.
- The flying vagina creature in an animated short called Cumbersnatch, as well as the mouths of the penissauruses. As you might suspect, not work safe.
- Part of the anatomy of the Widow in the Pokegirls setting.
- "That stung like a woman with teeth in her beef portal!"
- Drawn Together: Princess Clara's Wicked Stepmother cursed her and now her genitalia are a tentacle monster (an "Octopussoir") that scares away potential suitors until she finds her True Love's kiss. Naturally, that event didn't go quite as planned. The vagina is later surgically removed and goes on to have a more fulfilling love life than its owner. Also subverted in that the "Octopussoir", aside from being a little jumpy, was actually a very kind creature.
- In the South Park episode "Red Hot Catholic Love" after Father Maxi suggests that the laws be changed to allow priests to have sex with women, the Gelgamek cardinal protests, "The Gelgamek vagina is three feet wide and filled with razor-sharp teeth! Do you really expect us to have sex with them?"
- The Vamp Poison Ivy's introductory episode on Batman: The Animated Series featured her Man-Eating Plant devouring Batman, and as it's shaped similarly to a giant Venus' fly trap, it of course evokes this imagery. This got adapted into the SNES game The Adventures of Batman & Robin, pictured above.
- In an episode of American Dad where Stan is sent to prison, he decides to best way to avoid being raped is to spread a rumor about how his anus has teeth.
- This is the true form of the cute and cuddly Dimple Plant from Adventure Time.
- In an episode of Xiaolin Showdown titled "The Dream Stalker", Hannibal Bean uses two Shen Gong Wu (the Shadow of Fear and the Sapphire Dragon) to bring Raimundo's worst fears to life to use against the other monks. While Rai's fear of jellyfish was known from a previous episode, the giant jellyfish monster that Bean sets loose on the temple has, well...a gigantic fleshy, toothy sideways mouth.
- ↑ obviously the game changes if we're regarding some kind of demonic female, transhuman or whatever who would have access to extraordinary anatomy