For many, "the deed" is a private event that takes place behind closed doors. But sex in history has altered politics and its effect on the world. Over the course of time, when private events went public, they unleashed heavy consequences. Stories like Cleopatra's or the Marquis de Sade's are strong examples for how "doing it" changed the course of history.
Despite its very basic use as a means of reproduction, history evinces that intercourse can be used in any number of ways to achieve a certain goal. Throughout history, engaging in physical relations has brought power to some and taken it from others, built up empires and torn others apart.
Learn about the times intercourse changed history, and shook up humanity's timeline.
Kitty Fisher Used Her Body To Become History's First Celebrity
Kitty Fisher was a courtesan in 18th century England who gained notoriety thanks to her famous clientele, including the Earl of Coventry. She was the world’s first modern celebrity, someone only famous for being famous. Fisher's antics were only gossiped about around town, initially. But as her notoriety grew, newspapers latched onto Fisher's exploits and began to report about her life, daily happenings, and style.
Fisher inspired songs and artwork, sold stories to the press, sat for portraits with famous artists of the day, and exploited the media to maximize her fame.
Henry VIII Helped Start A New Religion So He Could Marry His Mistress
After the death of his brother in 1502, Henry VIII became the next king and married his sibling's widow, Catherine of Aragon. Years later, with no male heir and a younger and secretly pregnant mistress, the Catholic Henry sought out an annulment from the Pope.
When the Pope said no, Henry found a solution: he helped create his own religion, which allowed divorce. Though the Reformation was already a growing cause, Henry's support bought it to life. Thus, the Church of England was born.
Henry married Anne Boleyn, and the pair had a daughter (the eventual Queen Elizabeth I) — but Henry once again began scheming to marry someone else.
Intercourse (Or Lack Thereof) Spawned Christianity
Many know the story of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, and key detail of Christ's birth revolves around intercourse. According to Mary’s story in the bible, the implication of a sexless pregnancy is what spawned the Christ in Christianity. Regardless of whether Mary was actually a virgin, this detail about her love life created the religion.
Either way, whether God or man impregnated Mary, whether intercourse was deceptively present or miraculously absent, this one moment birthed the most popular religion in the world.
A Courtesan Named Aspasia Inspired Socrates And Pericles
Aspasia was one of the most famous women in ancient Athens. As a courtesan, she caught the eye of famous Greek general Pericles. Pericles took to her intellect, outspokenness, and beauty, seeking out her guidance in his professional endeavors — despite most of Athens feeling threatened by her. Aspasia was denigrated by Pericles's enemies, but she did have one other famous fan: Socrates.
Socrates and Aspasia encouraged and influenced each other, with Socrates even claiming that he learned “the art of eloquence” from Aspasia. She was further credited with other intellectual feats, including the writing of Pericles's famous funeral oration during the Peloponnesian War.