If a woman so much as pops out a boob on prime-time TV, the government issues fines, and boycotts ensue. Decorate your child's crib with dildos, and somebody will call the cops. Civilization, we tell ourselves, is all about keeping genitals out of view.
This was not always the case. When you go sifting through the shockingly explicit artifacts left behind by great civilizations, you find that we're the weird ones ...
6A Woman Shaves Her Pubes In An Ancient Italian Monument
Fun fact: In 2007, the entities in charge of Scottish tourism paid $250,000 to create a new slogan to welcome visitors at their airports. The slogan they decided on was "Welcome to Scotland," because every few years, you need to set a quarter of a million dollars on fire simply to keep people on their toes.
Still, that's better than what greeted visitors to Milan for hundreds of years:
Milan Fashion Week has changed somewhat since then.
For four centuries, every single soul entering Milan had to walk beneath the Porta Tosa, a.k.a. the Door of the Shaving Lady, until some prude took it down in the 15th century. That's right; for all that time, the city of Milan would welcome weary travelers with a carving of a woman spontaneously shaving her pubic mane.
The Lady is now on display in a museum, and although nobody's entirely sure of its purpose, there are several interesting theories. The most prevalent story describes the heroic deeds of a young Milanese woman who, when Frederick I Barbarossa attacked in 1162, calmly climbed the city walls, hitched up her skirt, and trimmed her fun parts in defiance of the approaching conquerors. Upon seeing this, the enemy troops were so shocked that they turned around and ran the hell away. Among other things, this suggests some huge oversight in their battle training.
Makes you wonder what Disney would have done if Mulan had chosen that option.
Of course, there's a chance this story may be slightly exaggerated, because historical records bluntly state that the Milanese totally lost that battle, and the city was stormed and burned. Another explanation is that the sculpture may depict a fairly progressive fertility goddess ... or Frederick I Barbarossa's wife (as a personal little "fuck you" from the Milanese to the guy who ruined their city).
Aside from the hair, nose, lips, jaw, and eyes, the resemblance is uncanny.
Yet another theory is that the carving depicts one of the city's prostitutes, who were encouraged to shave their pubic hair to promote "sexual hygiene." You see, the gate faces Constantinople, whose emperor refused to help the Milanese rebuild their city after Barbarossa stomped a mudhole in it. So the Milanese were essentially shaking their genitals at the emperor as they swept up the rubble that used to be their houses. Whatever the case, the Door of the Shaving Lady seems to have been carved for the explicit purpose of pissing people off.
Though few were more pissed off than the woman taking garden shears to her genitals.
5Peruvian Sex Pottery
You know those novelty items sold at gift stores for people who have clearly given up on life, such as dick-shaped ice cube trays and boob vases? Turns out that they're not exactly a modern invention. Ancient Peruvian cultures, like the Moche and Inca, had a habit of producing the kind of pornographic pottery that would make even the most jaded porn store clerk do a double take. The vast range of sexual activity they display is mightily impressive, to the point where the Moche basically had their own ceramic Kama Sutra. Here's a guy getting it on with what appears to be a sphinx, which looks mildly surprised by this turn of events:
"Oh, we're doing butt stuff now? Cool, I guess."
This clay woman is tugging on Death itself and planting big sloppy kisses on his rictus teeth:
Fear Fuck The Reaper"
There's oral sex being performed by yet another person, who looks blindsided yet compliant, as if they knew oral sex was on the schedule, but had the start time confused with a later meeting:
So that's two meetings they'll have to blow off.
And here's a woman who appears to be the final obstacle on a miniature golf course:
It's where Tiger Woods goes to relax.
They even had joke pottery that wouldn't be out of place in a Spencer's Gifts. Here's an ancient gag coffee mug with a ceramic dong in the middle, slowly revealing itself to stare you squarely in the eye as you work through your drink:
Scholars wax on about how this ancient sexed-up pottery is indicative of the Peruvian culture of warrior potency, and symbolizes their patriarchal society. At least one fine arts columnist has gone on record saying that they clearly "revered sex as a powerful and holy life-giving force with spiritual connections." All of that may certainly be true, but they also made teapots with giant dicks on them:
It doubles as the world's greatest way to pour warm milk.
There's no way they weren't laughing their asses off when they made those.