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5 Bafflingly Prudish Moments in History

Sex! Everybody's talking about it. Hell, everybody's doing it. I mean, not everybody, but there are 7 billion people on the planet. Doesn't that mean 3.5 billion people boned? No, wait. It doesn't. Do I split that number by thirds? I'm not sure. I'll just be vague about it. Billions of people are boning! And that's not all. Do you know that people were always having sex? It's true. That's how we got here. Generations and generations of sexual intercourse with penises and vaginas and stuff.

George Doyle/Valueline/Getty Images
"As a man who plays a scientist in stock photography, I'm here to tell you that
these boning theories are scientifically sound."

But here's the weird thing. Despite all this historical sexing, did you know that our society is incredibly repressed? Time and time again, humans have shown that anything that reminds them of babies or how we make them gives us the heebie-jeebies.

George Doyle/Valueline/Getty Images
"Hi, me again. 'Heebie-Jeebies' is also a valid scientific term."

Now, I know there are very disturbing ways society has shown its fear of sex and/or its hatred of women. Horrific things like clitoral circumcision or Rick Santorum's entire political career. But this is not meant to be a heavy political article. I wasn't looking for the worst travesties committed against women in the name of sexual repression. Indeed, that list would number in the thousands and not be funny. I was looking for more, examples of when society as a whole basically did ridiculously prudish things because apparently it couldn't deal with even the most innocent things even tangentially related to sex. Here are society's top five moments in being a prude.

#5. We Needed a Less-Naughty Pronunciation of "Uranus"

Ahh, good old Uranus. Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun, the only planet whose name is derived from Greek mythology instead of Roman, and really funny to say. Why? Well, it sorta sounds like "your anus." Don't believe me? Just ask Webster.

Remember laughing at that in grade school? I do. Especially when I learned that Uranus was one of the "gas giants."

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Image
"ZOMG, YOUR ANUS IS ONE OF THE GAS GIANTS!!!"

So, yeah, I remember learning about Uranus as a kid, and everyone laughed, and then we stopped, because, y'know, even though it's a damn fine joke -- because it sounds like a body part, get it -- it got old at around 9 years old. But apparently scientists and newscasters got tired of seeming silly, so they changed the pronunciation of "Uranus." Oh, let me help you: "URAN-us," which, as it turns out, still has "urine" in it, so it's still kind of funny, but not as funny as "your anus."

Technically, either pronunciation is right, but listen to any scientist or person on the news. They avoid "your anus" like something terrible is going to come from it leaving their mouth. Oh, sorry, I mean they avoid "Uranus."

#4. The Biggest Sitcom Star of 1952 Couldn't Say "Pregnant" on TV

In 1952, one of the most famous sitcoms of all time, I Love Lucy, aired one of its most famous episodes, in which protagonist Lucy tells her husband that she is pregnant with their most famous child. Lucy and her husband are, y'know, married. The child is his. The child is wanted. There is no reason to believe the baby was conceived as part of some Satanic sex cult ritual, and yet the name of the episode was "Lucy Is Enciente." Why? Because CBS executives thought it was scandalous to say the word "pregnant." They had to go French with it.

Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
Ironically, sometimes "going French with it" can lead to babies.

That's right. They go an entire episode with Lucy wondering how to tell husband Ricky that she's pregnant without using the word "pregnant." CBS found the use of the word indecent. I still can't fully understand this one. Every single person watching the show was the product of a pregnancy. "Pregnant" is a clinical term. I mean, yeah, it's weird to think society has hang-ups about saying words like "penis" and "vagina" too, but at least I get that. Society wants those things hidden in clothes, so, yeah, I'm not shocked we hide it in language. But "pregnant"? Even the Virgin Mary was pregnant. Nevertheless, there's no mention of the word anywhere in the episode. You can say, even sing, "having a baby," but you can't say "pregnant." It's weird. Also weird? That Lucy could be wearing a housecoat as matronly as the one she has on and still need to tell anyone she's pregnant. We get it. You're either pregnant or smuggling hams.

#3. West Virginia Still Can't Bring Itself to Protect Breast-Feeding

West Virginia is one of only two states that do not protect a mother's right to breast-feed in some way by law. (Indiana is the other, but it's more fun to beat up on West Virginia.) At best, they just have to explain that it's not public indecency. But if you know it's not indecency and it's a life-sustaining act, why not protect it like other states, so that breast-feeding moms can't be kicked off grounds? Sexy, but not indecent? Are you just private about exposed breasts in West Virginia? Something to be kept in the family?

Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
"Did you just call an entire state incestuous?!"

Yeah, sorry, West Virginia, that was a cheap shot. I know you have "virgin" in your name, but do you have to be so hung up? If 48 other states have realized, hey, breast-feeding is good for babies, and it's economical, and sometimes you really can't control where you are when a baby needs to eat, then ... what the hell is the big deal? Are you telling me you're just not as hip as Georgia or Arkansas? Do you support breast-feeding but no one in your legislature could sit long enough to type up a bill without breaking down and giggling about boobies?

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