This lovely article showed up in my Facebook feed the other day: A Handy Guide To Sex In The Middle Ages. The article focuses on church edicts which prohibit certain sexual acts in the population, and accompanying penances. This is my favorite:
There are others, covering masturbation and women using foreign objects in their vaginas. I prefer to look at these rules/laws as a indirect guide to what people in the middle ages were doing sexually. After all, you don't make laws prohibiting things people aren't doing.
Using the above example, there was gay behavior. There was bestiality (I'll avoid arguing over equating these two behaviors; that's a different blog post.)
Women were crafting or finding objects to serve as phalluses. There were blow jobs with swallowing. There was masturbation, casual sex, and prostitution. Sex within marriage (the only appropriate place for it) had restrictions, acceptable on certain days of the month and only in the missionary position.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say there was quite a lot of sex. I'm also going to give the church the benefit of the doubt and say that there were more reasons for these restrictions other than church doctrine and ultra conservative beliefs.
There are practical reasons for restricting sex: syphilis is an enormous one. There was no cure for syphilis and it killed thousands. There are other sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes and gonorrhea. And this controlled the population and rates of pregnancy. At this time, too, women dying in childbirth was a real, constant threat.
With all these doctrines in place, with specific behaviors having very specific punishments, and with the threat of disease and pregnancy, imagine how exciting sex would be. How difficult it would be to find a safe spot to do it, and the high risk of being caught. Forbidding sex can make some of the most exciting sex ever experienced. Anyone who has committed adultery can attest to this.
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I've been extraordinarily open minded about sex ever since my first year in college, when I learned women could have orgasms. (I was a late bloomer in high school.) Nothing shocks me. All of it interests me. I can never get enough of it.
All of the pics in my blog are stolen/borrowed from other websites. I consider myself not really a thief, but a pirate. Arrrrrrr!!!
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