Weird History What Sex Was Like in Medieval Times  

Aaron Edwards
2M views 5 items

Even though sex is different now than it was in the Middle Ages, people have always dealt with similar issues, just in different ways. For example, people have been trying to figure out how to have sex without getting pregnant, suffering from a lack of sexual performance, and scared about the prospective sinfulness of their sex lives for centuries. Literally.

If you're curious about how people got down and dirty in the Middle Ages, check out the list below.


Missionary Position Was the Lay of the Land

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Photo: Claritas/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

According to the Catholic Church, having sex in the missionary position really was the only way to go. Other positions posed the risk of confusing gender roles or emphasizing the pleasurable aspects of sex, rather than its role as the engine of procreation.

Erectile Dysfunction Was a Big Deal

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Photo: DcoetzeeBot/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Since procreation was so important, men who had trouble performing in bed posed a big problem. If a man couldn't become erect, their genitals would be literally investigated by the Church. If an irresolvable problem was discovered in the investigation, a marital separation could be granted.


Anal Was a Sin

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Photo: WolfgangRieger/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

In the Middle Ages, anal sex was considered both sinful and illegal. However, as records from 1400-1550 in Southern Netherlands show, both men and women were quasi-regularly put on trial for exactly this act. This suggests, of course, that while looked down upon, anal sex was also relatively widespread among both genders.



People Were Pretty Cool with Brothels

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Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Unlike in most countries today, sex work in the Middle Ages was seen as a pretty honest and important profession, all things considered. For a while, the Church tolerated sex work. In fact, when Florence began to get a reputation for being the home to too many homosexuals, the city began to encourage the establishment of brothels in order to keep men's homosexual tendencies at bay.