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What could make for a more wholesome family vacation than dragging your children on a tour of famous statues and sculptures around the world? Sure, they're likely to be bored out of their minds, but it's better than little Billy staying home and browsing filth on the Internet. But then, while visiting an old church or park, suddenly ... penises. Penises everywhere. "Oh God, why are there so many penises? Look away, little Sally! Wait, no, don't look over there! Is that a clitoris?"

Congratulations, you and your children have unwittingly stumbled across ...

5
The Sex Contortionists of San Pedro de Cervatos

Ecelan/Wikimedia

If there's one tourist attraction on Earth you'd think you could rely on to not be full of stone sculptures of taints and nut sacks, it would be a church. It seems like a safe assumption, but you know what they say about assumptions making an ass out of you and religious structural supports.

via Relatos de Arte
Such guesses make you sound like you have your head up your ass.

The carvings on the northern Spanish church of San Pedro de Cervatos feature pretty much every perversion you can imagine, including animal sex, masturbation, grotesquely engorged genitals, and auto-fellatio made possible by some rather impressive flexibility. Here's a carving of a man who appears to be eating his own severed penis:

Ecelan/Wikimedia
It was too short to reach his mouth, so he ripped it from its socket.

This 12th century house of worship is also known as St. Peter of Fawns, which sounds charming until you see the carvings and start to wonder precisely what it was Peter was doing with those poor deer.

via Vicente Novillo
Possibly depicted here. We really can't tell.

These sorts of carvings were surprisingly common sights on medieval European churches, but San Pedro de Cervatos is the best example due to both the sheer number of them and their remarkable level of depravity -- their size and stamina, if you will.

Art historians can't agree on what their purpose was, besides messing with future generations. The most common theory is that they were used to educate the largely illiterate population on just how absolutely disgusting and definitely not fun it was to be promiscuous and sinful, like a 12th century PSA. Whether this had any effect at all on the bedroom habits of the congregation besides giving them some exciting new positions to try isn't known, but we seriously doubt it.

via Vicente Novillo
Here we see history's first depiction of the now-infamous "Canadian Snowblower" position.

Other scholars believe that the region was in desperate need of settlers, and so the carvings were intended to encourage the locals to put the "creation" back in "procreation." And a third theory suggests that sculptors with Jewish or Islamic roots helped build the churches and decided to troll their rival religion, making their employment the worst outsourcing decision in history until an Iranian airport discovered a giant Star of David on its roof.

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4
The Depraved Nightmares of Bosc de Can Ginebreda

Lluís Reverter, Bosc de Can Ginebreda

Bosc de Can Ginebreda is a picturesque juniper forest located a convenient two hours north of Barcelona. At first blush, it's your typical park ... and then you come across the dick-haired Medusa statue.

Lluís Reverter, Bosc de Can Ginebreda
Every time the poor woman tries shampooing, it ends in bukkake.

The park is the gallery of Xicu Cabanyes, Catalan sculptor and a psychoanalyst's wet dream. He's erected (sorry) over 100 pieces since the 1970s, most of which are about sex, death, or both. When asked why he created the forested gallery, he said, "I wanted to create a space where people could move freely throughout the art ... but I also wanted to annoy the Francoists," because as we all know, the Spanish Civil War was fought over the right to build a giant concrete vagina:

Lluís Reverter, Bosc de Can Ginebreda
One side demanded concrete, the other preferred snow.

Some of the statues are downright horrifying, like the man with a boner that's speared through his stomach and out his back. It's supposedly a commentary on gender violence and the excesses of male chauvinism, and we're not going to look at it long enough to argue.

Lluís Reverter, Bosc de Can Ginebreda
"Well, doctor, he told me to go fuck myself, and I just assumed ..."

Oh, and what's this over here?

Alex Sharp/The Guardian
Ah, the rear wall.

It's a wall of butts, all cast from some incredibly open and tolerant friends of the artist. There's a few frontal shots too, and once you've stopped wondering if any of your friends would let you slap their junk in a plaster cast, let's move on to the "Fornicating Tables."

Lluís Reverter, Bosc de Can Ginebreda
Fucking a chair leg now seems downright quaint.

The explanation for that one is "We often spend so many voluptuous moments around tables that the tables also become motivated," which is the most dubious sexual argument we've heard since the ol' "I've traveled back through time to impregnate you with humanity's savior!" routine. If the artist had had the idea of tables fucking today instead of in 1990, we suspect he would have written an Internet fanfic instead.

Cabanyes spends most days in the forest working on new statues, presumably when he's not hiding in the trees, spying on his guests and furiously masturbating. How much do you want to bet he's seen at least one over-enthusiastic patron of the arts fuck his work?

Lluís Reverter, Bosc de Can Ginebreda
Hell, Goatse here is just asking for it.

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3
The Gaping Vaginas of Sheela Na Gigs

Sheela Na Gig Project

Spain doesn't hold a monopoly on pornographic church art, because an idea that crazy can't be contained. Sheela na gigs are carvings of women showing off enlarged vulvae (usually with an incredibly unsubtle "come hither" look) found in a variety of countries, although they're most common in England and Ireland. The most well-preserved and famous is at Kilpeck Church near the tiny British town of Hereford, which on the scale of things for your town to be famous for ranks just above having a name that translates to an English profanity. Her disturbingly impish face can be found on replicas and pendants, because apparently people will pay money to wear crude images of a woman with E.T.'s head sticking her hands in her huge vagina.

Sheela Na Gig Project
Which is crazy. They can visit E.T. fist fetish websites for free.

The sheela na gig in the even tinier village of Oaksey is notable for having sagging boobs and a ridiculously enlarged clitoral hood, because apparently size does matter for women, just not in the way we all thought. Hey, when you live in a village of less than 500 people, you've got to get your entertainment somehow.

Sheela Na Gig Project
That's why long skirts used to be so popular: to cover ankle-length labia.

Speaking of clitorises (clitorii?), Ely Cathedral's sheela na gig is known for being perhaps the only one with a fun button that's still intact. That may explain why she appears to be in the middle of masturbating.

Sheela Na Gig Project
It's been 700 years, but she's about to get off any second now.

The most common theory as to why so many British churches have hardcore pornography carved into them is that they're a holdover from the Celtic worship of a pagan goddess. The gaping vagina symbolizes her role as a goddess of fertility, because subtlety hadn't been invented yet. It's also possible that they, like the Spanish church carvings, were designed to educate the population on the dangers of lust, although so many of these ladies seem to be enjoying themselves that we find it hard to take that theory seriously. If anything, they may have helped confused young churchgoers navigate a very special time in their lives.

Then there's the theory that they were meant to ward off evil, because ... demons hate vaginas? We guess? Yeah, we find it hard to believe that a naked lady practically begging to get some action would scare off any man, demon or not.

Sheela Na Gig Project
Although the theory does put a new spin on that crucifix scene in The Exorcist.

The sheela na gig isn't limited to Europe. Its Asian cousins, which represent the goddess Lajja Gauri, can be found across India and Nepal.

K.S. Park
Sometimes depicted with goats, which needs no explanation.

Often the head would be replaced with a lotus flower because it's a symbol of fertility, and because even ancient artists knew that when men look at pornography, they aren't checking out the faces.

Archaeological Survey of India
Lajja's films simply credit her as "she who crouches with legs spread."

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2
The Skyward Erections of Stoivadeion

Geraki/Wikimedia

As the God of War games taught us, Greece has a rich mythological history. Ancient religious shrines are to the island of Delos what meth labs are to the Midwest, and no shrine is more memorable than the Stoivadeion, a temple of Dionysus. That's because at first glance Dionysus appears to be the god of giant boners.

There are more dicks in the Stoivadeion than in a men's locker room. Dionysus (Roman name Bacchus) was the god of wine, transformation (both literal and the kind that comes from drinking too much wine), pleasure, and the general practice of getting drunk, partying it up all night, and wondering where the hell you are when you wake up with a splitting headache in an unfamiliar bed the next morning.

For obvious reasons, festivals dedicated to Dionysus were the most popular parties on the block. The biggest festival, the Great Dionysia, featured plenty of dramatic and comedic plays, along with a parade of phallic symbols. Some scholars believe that the Greeks and Romans considered penises to be a symbol of protection against evil, so if a hobo ever flashes you in the park, maybe he's just trying to guard you from harm.

Gradiva/Wikimedia
Stone cocks can protect anything -- except for themselves. Alas!

Then there were the Dionysian Mysteries, a ritual performed by a cult of Dionysus. While its specifics and their meaning have been muddled by history, it boils down to everyone getting trashed on wine, dancing around a lot, and generally going nuts. The ritual was especially important to women, which kind of makes the worshipers of Dionysus the ancient equivalent of woo girls.

With all of that debauchery in mind, it's no surprise that big ol' boners ended up being one of Dionysus' symbols. Even the penises have penises: Look closely at this column and you'll notice that it features a carving of a rooster that's had its head replaced by a, er, cock.

PhattyFatt/Wikimedia
It's a pun on "cock." And "white meat." And "choke the chicken." And "dickhead."

Although Dionysus' statues are crumbling, his influence remains -- scholars have noted that Christianity features many parallels with the Dionysus cult, including the use of wine and bread in rituals and the worship of a god who died and came to back to life. Man, if the giant boner aspect had been carried over too, going to church would be a lot more interesting.

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1
The Human/Animal Orgies at the Temples of Khajuraho

Obeid/Panoramio

Khajuraho is an ancient Indian temple city that was built between 950 and 1050. Only 20 of its 85 temples survive, but their gorgeous carvings are more than enough for tourists to feast their eyes on. Those that have survived the ravages of time are rightfully considered to be masterpieces of Indian art. Khajuraho has even been made a UNESCO Heritage Site because, simply put, where else could you see a man fucking a donkey in such exquisite detail?

Georgios Giannopoulos
We're with you, horrified guy in the back.

While many of the carvings are religious or display mundane scenes of secular life, others are scenes right out of the Kama Sutra. For instance, here is a standard orgy:

Shunya.net
Or, alternatively, the sexiest wheelchair in history.

And while we're not entirely sure what's going on below, it's definitely dirty.

Shunya.net
Only if you let it make you feel guilty.

Every sex act that you can imagine, and some that you can't, is depicted on the walls. Why? Because these temples were built by the Chandella dynasty, which followed tantric doctrines. They believed that male and female couldn't exist without each other, that everything in life depended on balance and harmony between them, and that this was best communicated through the metaphor of hardcore fucking.

via Shunya
The midget licking your thigh represents faith.

As you may have picked up on, society at the time was very open about sex. Sexual intercourse was seen as a spiritual experience, which probably led to a whole lot of bad pickup lines and suspicious justifications. "Look, baby, I'm OK with not doing anal, but the cosmic balance is demanding it!"


Laura H's notable achievements include playing a witch in a musical and surviving Catholic school. Follow her on Twitter.

Related Reading: At least the perverts who attend these attractions aren't as bad as the normal tourists who carve their name into the pyramids. Or the rich tourists who hire disabled people to get through the lines at Disneyworld. If you'd like some tips on tourism of the non-awful variety, check out this handy guide.

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