HAVANA, March 12, 1997.- In 1962 an Argentinian psychiatrist named Alberto Orlandini arrived in Santiago de Cuba. He set roots there and since then has developed his clinical work, teaching, administrative, and investigative. Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the Superior Institute for Medical Arts in this city, and consultant for his investigative deparment, he has undertaken and led several researches on sex. As if he were studying earthquakes experienced in the company of someone from Santiago. Just think of the mix: Mercado of Abando and Trocha Street. Tango and conga.
Author of the book "Love, Sex, and Jealousy" (1993) and "Love and Couples" (1995), among others, Oriente publishers published in 1996 his "Dictionary of Love", a good opportunity to learn about sex and love through entertaining reading, where educated references and graphic statistics donít keep some from asserting that the booklet even has aphrodisiac powers.
According to its introduction, "the test explains terms dealing with sexual biology, the sexuality of animals, reproduction and anti-conception, the issue of the genders, the medicine as it concerns to aphrodisiac and anti-sexual drugs, dysfunctionalities and the illnesses of falling in love; the sexual maladjustments which are included, incompatibility, arguments, perversions and transposition of gender, sexual sociology, which deals with ideology, religion, sexual repression, the war between the sexes and erotic customs; the law and sex, and sex education".
But it is humanism the distinctive virtue of this type of Cuban kamasutra. If heresy is found where some are excluded, professor Orlandini started by defending democracy by calling it by its name: respect for minorities. "Sexual plurality, the same as political democracy, is not a synonym for licentiousness, because the rights of a perverse one ends when it affects the rights of others. Sexual democracy means: equal rights for all, the end of oppression against women, absence of censorship, freedom to practice harmless perversions." It canít get any clearer than that.
A jokester and a witty one at that, this Orlandino. He describes kaddazah as the ability which many women have to contract the muscles in the vagina at will during lovemaking, thereby causing pleasure to their mate. Several statements later, he explains Kegelís exercises.....or how to learn to kaddazah. "Sexual play is usually a way in which couples assert their right to lovemaking through transgression", he says that laughter is the most subvertive human virtue.
Indeed it is a timely book. Circumnspect denunciation, on top. During the "happy 5-year plan" of 1981-1985, in Cuba there was one divorce per three marriages, and it could be expected that there will be an increase in the 90ís. A study, undertaken by Orlandini, showed that 422 of those surveyed in the country whose motives for divorce were:
infidelity of the husband, 56%;
verbal abuse, 55%;
lack of housing, 52%;
the spouse doesn't help, 43%;
physical abuse, 39%;
alcoholism of the man, 23%.
In Cuba, where abortion is legal, as many abortions take place as births. Cira Armira and Perez Brito found in 1991 that, out of 422 women who received a medical abortion, 35% were under 20, and 53% were between 20 and 29. Fifty percent of them had never given birth. 57% knew of, and didnít use, contraceptives, and 47% said that they didnít use them out of CARELESSNESS. Abortion intervention was generally used for psycho/social reasons. Shouldnít we reflect now, where thereís a real threat of a demographic deficit, and the gross rate of reproduction is below one, in other words, that todayís women are not birthing tomorrows?
Other surveys quoted in the book, shed some light on the poor performance of Cuban women. As a minimum, 18% of those sexually active suffer from being non-orgasmic. "In general, women complain that the men pay little attention to their breasts, and that caresses are only for menís arousal", said Orlandini. By the way, lesbians pay more attention to total body care and the stimulation of breasts, and enjoy more orgasms and sexual satisfaction. Could there be some truth to the pointedly Cuban hypothesis, of the national "supermacho" as selfish?
Infidelity, mistreatment, lack of housing and assistance from the spouse, alcoholism, abortions and non-orgasms, more often than not caused by clumsiness and selfishness. Is that all the much touted sexual equality in Cuba? Itís a good thing that women make up the majority of the technical labor force. It is a good thing that infant mortality rates are some of the lowest in the world. Of couse, those who are murdered in the name of a responsible paternity (are not included). Responsible?
Such wordy and educational exercises such as the "Dictionary of Love"--- which waits for all and can overcome allófrom professor Alberto Orlandini, are evidence of a Cuba which is being reborn even as another one is dying, the second one being lost in a labyrinth of intolerance and machismo, both of them showing their well-known faces of solemnity, sprinkled with vulgar apology and censorship. Thatís why, I vote for laughter, and say, paraphrasing this Argentinian come-lately: "The religious inquisitors, political and social, and the castrating fathers, never laugh......"
Translated for CubaNet by Lourdes Arriete