9 Creepy Folk Legends About Vagina Dentata Throughout History

It's amazing how cultures from around the world share so many traditions and stories, but it's pretty weird that the vagina dentata is one of them. Latin for "toothed vagina," this horrifying physical trait is a prevalent mythological theme. Beautiful women with lady parts capable of castration or even taking lives are in legends worldwide because apparently, this is something that people are really, really concerned about.

If you're on board with Freud, then the reasoning behind this widespread fear of female genitalia generally comes from a more general, infantile fear of the all-powerful mother, and it includes an element of bisexual desire when expressed by women. All of that, or it's just your garden-variety, run-of-the-mill fear of female domination. Don't worry: despite all the toothed-genitalia stories, getting castrated by a vagina dentata is most likely impossible. But that doesn't mean that reading these folk tales won't make you cringe.

  • The Vaginal Japanese Demon
    Photo: Evening.star / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Vaginal Japanese Demon

    Japanese Shintoism has its own take on the myth. According to the Ainu legend, a young woman had the unfortunate problem of a demon living inside her genitalia. Two young men fell prey to this sharp-toothed demon, as they were castrated while attempting to consummate their marriages on their wedding nights.

    After that, the woman had finally had enough of this problem, and she created a device - an iron phallus that removed the teeth from her vaginal cavity. 

  • The Polynesian Goddess's Obsidian Teeth
    Photo: Historiograf / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Polynesian Goddess's Obsidian Teeth

    The Polynesian demi-god Māui wanted to end the loss of life. A noble cause, perhaps, but he chose a pretty unorthodox method of going about it. According to legend, he attempted to crawl through the vaginal canal of the goddess of death, Hine-nui-te-pō, and exit through her mouth, reversing the path of birth and death.

    However, as one might imagine, the goddess had some creative methods of ending lives, and she crushed Māui with her canal, which was filled with obsidian teeth.

  • The Toothy Hindu God
    Photo: Ms Sarah Welch / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

    The Toothy Hindu God

    Sexual relations are seriously dangerous business for Hindu gods. One legend tells the story of a demon who took the form of the female deity Parvati in order to eliminate the male god Shiva. The demon, resembling Parvati, placed fangs inside of its own vaginal cavity. He planned to seduce Shiva and end him with the fangs protruding from the demon's privates.

    However, Shiva saw through this plot and decided that the best way to destroy the demon was by charging thunderbolts out of his shaft.

  • The Amazonian Vaginal Piranha
    Photo: Wilfredor / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Amazonian Vaginal Piranha

    A legend of the Amazonian Yanomamo Indians has an interesting moral: don't conduct assault because you never know what's inside a woman's privates. According to the myth, two brothers were fishing in piranha-infested waters when a beautiful young woman approached. One brother was so overcome with her beauty that he forced himself on her, despite his brother begging him not to do so.

    However, when the brother entered the woman, he screamed out in pain. A piranha was up in there, and it bit off his phallus. The woman threw the piranha back into the water, and the member was eaten in a feeding frenzy.