The 9 Strangest Ancient/Outdated Sex Beliefs

Ancient stories regarding human sexuality told in the modern day regale us with some classic tales of cures for sexually transmitted diseases, theories on creation, and of course, the great successes that came of using beaver testicles as a means of contraception. Heck, in the early 20th century, one "old wives' tale" went: if a woman sneezed after intercourse, she would expel the semen from her body and would not get pregnant. 

What are the craziest outdated preconceptions about sexual relations? Here is a list of antiquated beliefs that may seem strange now, but at the time, folklore and home remedies proliferated more so than science.

Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY

  • We're All Just God's Seed

    3150 BCE - 31 BCE

    Creation myths are as old as time. According to Christianity: "In the beginning, God created the universe. At first, the earth was shapeless and covered in darkness, and God's spirit hovered over the waters. God said, 'Let there be light.' And there was light." And there was a bunch of other stuff that culminated into a six-day period of creation and a single day of rest. 

    While the Christian version is more PG, the ancient Egyptian story elaborates on just exactly how God enacted his creation. You see Chaos, the God of creation, got a little frisky one day and decided to bring himself some pleasure all by himself, so to speak. The result was the creation of the other gods from his byproduct. Since everything was started from that, it was believed that humans are all just God's seed.

  • Putting Mercury In Your Urethra Can Cure You Of All Ills

    The 1500s

    According to some, the English ship of war, The Mary Rose, had an interesting means of combating STDs via injecting liquid mercury into the urethra. As effective as this method may sound, it is not believed that the use of mercury ever cured a single case of the infection.

  • Premature Climaxing Drains Your Life Force

    770 BCE - 222 BCE

    During the Zhou Dynasty of China (770 BCE - 222 BCE), the adopted doctrine was Taoist (although Taoism was not a formal religion yet). According to this doctrine, men and women were split up into the yin and the yang, which was basically the life essence of a person. Women were said to possess a limitless supply of yin essence while men were said to have a limited supply of yang essence.

    It was strictly believed, then, that men should never use up their yang without first getting plenty of yin. Translation? Men were expected to climax only after their partner had (and preferably multiple times, thus obtaining more yin). If this was not adhered to, then what could be described as a man's life force would be drained from him until he eventually expired.

  • Pleasuring Yourself is Forbidden, But Just For Men

    770 BCE - 222 BCE

    Back to this whole yin and yang thing. That also meant that self-servicing for men was considered both unhealthy and forbidden. Females, however, were allowed to engage as freely as they wanted with one exception: no use of foreign objects, which was thought to injure the womb.

  • Coupling With Strangers Makes You Fertile

    10th Century BCE

    In ancient Mesopotamia, women visited the Temple of Ishtar (the primary deity of the era) at least once in their lives, usually right after marriage. When there, the women were required to sit in the temple until a stranger came and threw a piece of silver in their lap and declared: "I invite you in the name of Mylitta" (another name for Ishtar). Upon receiving the silver, the woman would leave the temple and copulate with the stranger, unable to refuse the offer, after which she could finally return home.

    This union was meant to represent Ishtar's relationship with Dumuzid, and it was believed to bring fertility to the female.

  • You Can Use Beaver Genitalia As Contraception

    The 1500s

    In 16th-century Canada, an interesting means of female contraception was devised: the testicles of beavers were ground up and mixed with alcohol and then drunk. There are doubts as to whether this concoction ever prevented a single pregnancy.

    Regardless, people of the time still hoped the unorthodox beverage could help them prevent procreation.