Definitions

intracellular fluid

Bodily fluid

Bodily fluids listed below are found in the bodies of men and/or women. Some may be found in animals as well. They include fluids that are excreted or secreted from the body as well as fluids that normally are not. These respective fluids would include:

Feces, while not generally classed as a body fluid, are often treated similarly to body fluids, and are sometimes fluid or semi-fluid in nature.

Internal body fluids, which are not usually leaked or excreted to the outside world, include:

Bodily fluids in religion and history

Bodily fluids are regarded with varying levels of disgust among world cultures, including the Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) and Hinduism. In Hinduism substances that have left the body are considered unclean, although there are some sects which smear cremated body ash on their foreheads as symbolic gestures.

Feces and urine have been used by religions on every continent for atonement, rites of passage, and funerary rites.

One interesting example is the alleged consumption of some ancient sects of the urine of people intoxicated with hallucinogenic mushrooms or creepers, as the urine contained high concentrations of the drug and could be "re-used."

Attitudes concerning bodily fluids aside, there is a long human history of their use in religion, medicine, art, sex, and folklore. Some believe that the tradition of shaking hands with the right hand stems from using the left hand to clean up after defecation, as a result, shaking hands with the left hand is considered insulting in many cultures.

Body fluids in art

A relatively new trend in contemporary art is to use body fluids in art, though there have been rarer uses of blood (and perhaps feces) for quite some time, and Marcel Duchamp used semen decades ago. Examples include:

  • The controversial Piss Christ (1987), by Andres Serrano, which is a photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine;
  • Self (1991, recast 1996) by Marc Quinn, a frozen cast of the artist's head made entirely of his own blood;
  • Piss Flowers, by Helen Chadwick (1991-92), are twelve white-enamelled bronzes cast from cavities made by urinating in snow (though this might not be characertised as the use of bodily fluids in art, just their use in preparation);
  • performances by Lennie Lee involving feces, blood, vomit from 1990
  • many paintings by Chris Ofili, which make use of elephant dung (from 1992).
  • Gilbert and George's The Naked Shit Pictures (1995)
  • Hermann Nitsch and Das Orgien Mysterien Theatre use urine, feces, blood and more in their ritual performances.
  • Franko B from 1990 blood letting performances.

Body fluids and health

Modern medical hygiene and public health practices also treat body fluids as unclean. This is because they can be vectors for infectious diseases, such as sexually transmitted diseases or blood-borne diseases.

Safer sex practices try to avoid exchanges of body fluids.

See also

References

  • Paul Spinrad. (1999) The RE/Search Guide to Bodily Fluids. Juno Books. ISBN 1-890451-04-5
  • John Bourke. (1891) Scatologic Rites of All Nations. Washington, D.C.: W.H. Lowdermilk.

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