Up until the sexual liberation of the 1960s, you probably think our fuddy-duddy ancestors considered the epitome of raciness to be leaving their buckled shoes on during their annual 60 seconds of child creation. However, the truth is that men and women have been shamelessly horny lizards ever since the Stone Age. The only difference is that they expressed their amorousness in ways that today would be described as "insane" or "criminal."
7Medieval Wives Could Take Their Husbands' Penises To Public Court
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In medieval times, sex was important business. And like any other business, it was rife with rules, regulations, and politics. A person couldn't even be considered legally married without having consummated the marriage, and failing to do the underpants dance was grounds for the marriage being annulled by the Catholic Church. Annulment was an act that could ruin noble reputations, so claiming that "marital dissatisfaction" was to blame for your marriage bed's lack of questionable stains wasn't going to cut it on its own. No, if your partner was lousy in bed, you had to prove it in a court of law, in front of judges, doctors, and anyone who got off work in time to come and watch.
Being summoned to a public trial to see if your junk still works sounds like a nightmare we've all had in high school, and a trip to penis court (what we're calling it) to appear in an impotence trial (what it was actually called) absolutely lived up to that expectation. The embarrassment started with a woman's formal accusation about her husband's sleepy trouser snake, which everyone you knew was legally entitled to hear. Then, on the day of the trial, the husband's body had to be thoroughly examined by doctors and "experts" on the subject of sex, who would also ask questions like "Can you maintain an erection?" and "Is your wife's hymen intact?"
Your only hope was if you had a thing for the cold, clammy touch of total strangers.
Failing these examinations left the man with only one desperate recourse: to demand a Trial by Congress, which was a fancy way of saying "a 16th-Century bone show." The rules of a Trial by Congress were somewhat like those of trial by combat, in that to win, the husband had to draw first blood. Which is why every man was patted down for vials of blood, in case he tried to splash any on his wife and pretend he had roughly taken her maidenhead.
Then the husband and wife -- who were decidedly not in a lovemaking mood -- went over to a bed which was brightly lit with a lot of candles, so that a team of surgeons and midwives could closely measure their body fluids to determine whether or not sex had been achieved. The process could take up to two hours, but much less for those lucky few with a candle wax fetish.
And of course, the surgeons and priests would watch, in case things quit being super awkward for even a second.
If the husband was successfully able to get a rage-driven shame boner, it granted him the immediate right to put his wife on blast. An anecdote from the 1681 case of Geronima Martinez de Texada v. Diego Belasco had the supervising surgeon confirm the wife's lost virginity by "swearing to Christ that she was more open than a funnel," which may be the blazingest burn ever dropped by a 17th-Century doctor. However, if a man failed his Trial by Congress, it effectively ruined him. One famous example of things going horribly wrong in an impotence trial is detailed in the account of a marquis who, despite having a wife who was known to enjoy taking the bone train to the ville du pound, decided to go to Penis Court to clear up the gossip surrounding his dick.
By the 1500s, these penis trials occurred so regularly that you could pretty much spend every Friday night watching some poor bastard struggle to impregnate his wife if you wanted to. It was like their Jerry Springer. It was even a form of entertainment among the aristocracy in France, who would dress up, head out to an impotence trial, and place bets. This trendy pastime spread throughout most of Europe. In England, details of the whole trial would often be published in tabloids for entertainment. By framing the publications as "legal" and/or "scientific" studies, people could publish all the gory details of each case without fear of imprisonment for distributing "indecent material" to the public.
Bibliotheque Nationale de France
"We're not committing high treason by showing King Louis XVI with the floppiest limp sock around. It's science!"
6Archaeologists Have Discovered Expertly Crafted Stone-Age Dildos
28,000 years ago, mankind progressed much more slowly than it does now. Our cavemen ancestors didn't have a ton of time to devote to innovation, what with dying shortly after puberty and spending most of each day trying to eat animals without being eaten by other, bigger animals. We also had to procreate as much as possible in time to leave something behind to carry the torch of humanity after our inevitable violent deaths. So it truly stands as a testament to the human spirit that one of mankind's earliest inventions, and definitely one of the most time-consuming ones, was a big ol' dildo.
When Fred and Barney are away, Wilma and Betty will play.
The first undeniable ancient stone orgasm hammer was discovered in southwestern Germany in 2004, measuring a muscle-clenching 20 centimeters. (The historical community still prefers to refer to these stone dongs as "Ice Age batons," which is adorable.)
This wasn't simply some religious fertility symbol, either. By the polish and the scarring of the stone, it's clear it had two very practical uses: making fire (with flints) and having a good time when the men were a-hunting. So it was a multipurpose tool -- like that back massager Mom hid in the bottom sock drawer.
Doing both at the same time was the original "natural selection."
It's important to note that making something rock-hard out of a hard rock was apparently more important to mankind than, say, developing a written language, which didn't begin to appear until about 4,000 BC -- over 20,000 years later. Not that making these stone penises wasn't hard work. The level of craftsmanship involved is astonishing. It's a giant piece of polished stone, which is not easy. And it's not just a functional shape; it looks like a penis. Ice Age people making a giant, smooth, anatomically correct pleasure pumper almost certainly took an incredible amount of work hours -- hours that could have been spent hunting, gathering, or having sex.
That's some impressive wang sculpting from a people whose more traditional art was limited to drawing two-legged stick figures hunting a four-legged stick figure.