It might be hard to believe, but the notion of sex around the world can be very different depending on where you are. It's not always a cut and dry act - for some cultures it's seen as taboo, while others it's an open celebration that people love to partake in (and talk about). But how many of these alternative cultures do you really know about?
To say there are more than a few shocking examples is quite the understatement. Whether it's mutilations, traditions, or seemingly trying to knock out a bucket list of every tip Cosmo conjures up, here is a list of some of the most bizarre sexual rituals around the world.
The Never-nudes of Inis Beag
Located just off the coast of Ireland, Inis Beag once took its native Catholicism to the extreme. Home to several close-knit families, this remote location taught its citizens that lovemaking is merely a duty, never to be enjoyed. Thus, the goings-on at Inis Beag are at the complete opposite end of the spectrum of some cultures.
Among the island's uber-strict rules, there was to be no tongue kissing or fondling; even speaking of the deed was completely forbidden, as was instructing women about the nature of their own bodies, including menstruation and menopause.
While certain cultures have exhibited similar practices, perhaps the strangest of all here on Inis Beag involved underwear, and the fact it was virtually never removed. This certainly complicated things for the townspeople as far as making more townspeople, but they nevertheless adhered to these guidelines, even going to far as to only change their underoos in complete isolation, and even then under the cover of their own bed sheets.
Trying to Get with the Same Random Stranger Seven times in Indonesia
The concept of a "hall pass" is relatively new: in an effort to fix an ailing marriage, a spouse can grant his or her partner a one-time free night to sleep with anyone they choose, no questions asked.
On one hand, this could potentially be a dream come true. On the other, it could also be the equivalent of a "Monkey's Paw"-type wish that will only come back to wreak further havoc on a marriage that's already in a disastrous state.
While this in itself could qualify as a bizarre sexual practice, it doesn't quite go to the extreme the way Pon does. In this celebration, participants, married or not, hike the mountain known as Gunung Kemukus, where they seek to get lucky with a random stranger. The goal? To earn good luck for the rest of the year, of course. The catch? One must find - and bang - the same person during all seven celebrations for the entire year to truly earn good fortune.
Genital "Worship" in Pre-contact Hawaii
So far, we've covered a lot of ground in the world of not covering a lot of things up. But there's one area we haven't quite grazed yet: the genitals.
Specifically, those genitals from pre-contact Hawaii. These were times when Hawaiians embraced the most sacred place on the human body. They saw genitals as great ornaments. Holy, even. They were regarded with such reverence that there are still sites around Hawaii where they can be seen carved into the rock. The reason? They were said to be totems that enhanced fertility when visited.
Genitals were regarded so fondly on the islands that Hawaiians even took to naming their own, and publicly chanting them. Songs were sung, dances were performed in their honor, all to celebrate the spiritual power, also known as mana, Hawaiians believed resided within.
Brothers Sharing Brides in the Himalayas
Now that we've got genitals out of the way, we can get back to something a bit more taboo - polyandry. Specifically, multiple husbands. But even more specifically, husbands who also happen to be brothers who totally don't mind sharing a wife.
While it's understood that most cultures would frown on polyandry, in the Himalayas, it's seen more as a practical way of living. Sure, it makes the notion of "one-in-a-million" seem a little less special, but the idea behind this way of life evolved because of how Himalayans must adapt to their environment.
On this mountain range, there is very little land, and thus, very little room for many families.As a result, resources are limited, and it makes more sense for a single woman to have multiple husbands, versus the other way around.
So how do these relationships work exactly?
One word: scheduling. Needs must be met, and every family carefully organizes how their time is spent, which husband tends to which job, and who's turn it is to lay with their wife. Sort of like a chore wheel, but with baser instincts lumped in as well.