7 X-Rated Traditions That Prove History Was Horny As F#@%
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."
Medieval Wives Could Take Their Husbands' Penises To Public Court
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.
"We're not committing high treason by showing King Louis XVI with the floppiest limp sock around. It's science!"
Archaeologists 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.
Renaissance Women Would Make Bread In Their Vaginas To Give To Their Crushes
Men and women in love have always been plagued by the same question: "How do I get my crush to notice me, fall in love with me, and agree to make sweet, sweaty love on a bearskin?" For women, there's a convenient old saying that a nice meal will always conquer a man's heart. 17th-Century women took this to mean "Feed him bread that has been inside your vagina and asshole."
You see, if a woman was in love with a man, she would make special bread for him by pressing the dough into her vulva and buttocks. This strange, vaguely disturbing practice was called making "cockle-bread," because the resulting bread looked quite a lot like a clam (get it?). Once satisfied with the doughy cast of herself, the lady would bake it and present it to the object of her fancy. This was meant to ensure that he would be true to her. And if you think about it, it really is the ultimate test of devotion. If your crush is into eating your ass-kneaded bread, you know you're in for a magical time together.
This is one bread you hope is yeast-free.
The baking of grundle sandwiches later became a sort of lewd dance. According to John Aubrey, a 17th-Century folklorist, the dance went like this:
My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and my bread keeps 'em there.
This bizarre practice was so popular that it even made its way into plays of the time, like George Peele's The Old Wives Tale and Richard Brome's Jovial Crew. It also eventually inspired a children's game, because child protective services hadn't been invented yet. One kid would squat down on the ground with his or her hands clasped underneath them, while the rest picked them up and swung them back and forth against a wall or the ground, chanting, "This is the way we make cockelty bread!" over and over. So yeah, the romantic tradition of serving your lover assgina bread somehow turned into a game about a gang of children beating the shit out of each other. Love is truly an ageless mystery.
There Was An 18th-Century Version Of The Joy Of Sex
During the hyper-religious Middle Ages, the only acceptable sex tips to give young couples was to tell them to never have sex ever. This didn't exactly do wonders for the sex lives of married couples, who would take breaks after 14 hours of badly growing turnips to fumble awkwardly at each other's pelvises until sex was either finished or they became too bored to continue. However, at the dawn of the Renaissance, one artist dared to defy the Church by publishing an illustrated guide to sexual positions. Which is another way of saying, "There is a book about goat-men fucking, and it is a priceless historical artifact."
We are all that guy behind the tree.
Though the artistic manual only rose to infamy in the 18th Century, it's quite a bit older than that. In 1524, Renaissance artist Marcantonio Raimondi put together an extremely detailed guide to all the sex positions a person could want -- and then some. The book was titled I Modi or The Ways, and that's about as subtle as it got. Using them both as research and a form of subterfuge, Raimondi drew from Greco-Roman myths to depict the various ways of lovemaking. Of course, plenty of these tales also mentioned some good old-fashioned jackhammering and orgies of varying levels of flexibility. The Church hadn't traditionally given a fart about artists depicting Greek and Roman gods in fantastic shades of nudity, so Raimondi thought he could get away with a book full of Red Shoe Diaries steaminess as long as everyone involved was a deity of some kind.
The detail is even more amazing when you realize he engraved this one-handed.
He was wrong. Pope Clement VII was not at all cool with Raimondi's illustrations. The book was published twice in the Pope's lifetime, and both times he had it destroyed. Raimondi became the first person to be imprisoned by the Catholic Church for producing pornography, although he was later released with the help of a poet so enamored of his work that he petitioned the Pope to release the artist just so he could collaborate on a new edition (this edition was destroyed, too). Finally, a completely new (and enduring) version was released in France in 1798 by a new artist under the much more descriptive title of The 'Aretino' Of Agostino Carracci, Or A Collection Of Erotic Poses, After Carracci's Engravings, By This Famous Artist, With The Explicit Texts On The Subject. Let's be honest, nobody bought it for the writing.
Also pictured: a torch-bearing woman worriedly searching for her missing contact lens.
On Long Voyages, Men Kept Time (And Boners) With Erotic Pocket Watches
Back in the olden days, watches weren't only for telling time, but also for remembrance. Girls would carry pictures of their lovers, and fathers would engrave words of wisdom on the backs of their pocket watches before handing them to their sons and dying of cholera. And rich people used them to store images of stone-cold bonin'.
Gotta pass the time somehow.
"Erotic watches" have been a staple of porn since the 18th Century, and they were quite common among those who could afford them. At first, men commissioned pictures of their wives and girlfriends to keep them company during long voyages. Of course, that only lasted for the littlest of whiles before the men's minds started to wander, and then their pocket watches contained nude pictures of every woman but their wives.
This watch is permanently set to 3:47.
To be clear, erotic watches are still very impressive works of art -- but the type of art that you hide in a drawer or behind your old science fair trophy. And watchmakers have been asked to build them throughout history. They definitely didn't stop when, after the French Revolution, everyone got boring and religious again and the owning of such lewd devices was banned throughout most of Europe. This made the watchmakers go underground to peddle their filthy wares.
Sneaky and anatomically confusing!
Today, these titillating timepieces can easily go for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and are considered prized possessions in any erotic art collection. So fellas, hold on to that pen with the lady whose bathing suit disappears when you turn it upside down. In a few decades, you'll all be millionaires.
Victorian Men Would Use Printed Business Cards To Beg For Sex
Before unsolicited dick pics were a thing, 19th-Century men in the mood to sexually harass a woman could just hand her a business card. It was the Victorian equivalent of sexting combined with those Community Chest cards from Monopoly.
Third-graders pass better mash notes than this.
In 1871, newspapers warned responsible adults of a growing social problem: Young people were flirting. This was quite a new fad, like the photograph or regular bathing (which must be related somehow). "Our promenading thoroughfares, parks and all kinds of public resorts," the newspaper went on to say, "are thronged every evening with girls from 10 years old and upwards in companies of two, three and from that to half a dozen, more for the purpose of carrying on flirtations with the crowd of gaping men."
Of course, this was still the Victorian era, so the idea of actually approaching someone you fancied and exchanging sexy banter was out of the question. But thanks to printing having become much cheaper, frisky boys and girls engaged in the racy practice of exchanging "flirtation cards," which are like business cards for people who want to get laid by showing them to girls in bars. So no real difference from business cards, really.
The cards varied from mild, cute little quips ...
... to baffling weirdness ...
... to the more practical and direct "Let's bone!"
"Three, if your cute friend wants to come too."
The Japanese Drew Lots Of Penis Monsters
The Night Procession of the Hundred Demons, or Hyakki Yagyo, is an event that shows up all over the place in Japanese folklore. From 17th-Century Shinto scrolls to the "Operation Poltergeist" war in Studio Ghibli's Pom Poko (which, incidentally, features magical cartoon testicles), the idea of an army of monsters has always been a popular one. And in a series of Japanese woodcuts (imaginatively titled "Night Procession of the Hundred Demons"), every single one of these monsters is swinging some serious pole.
This is titled Consoling Pussy Of Horse Face Mountain, but if the fleeing man is any indication, there's nothing "consoling" whatsoever about the gigantic Pussy of Horse Face Mountain.
These images all come from a collection of woodblock prints from the early 1800s, carved by an artist who presumably slept very little, for fear that dick monsters would drag him away to Hell if he dared close his eyes for even a moment. For example, in this picture, a circle of shriveled, blue balding men with twig-like penises contemplate the logistics of having sex with a woman calmly shooting a jet of fire out of her vagina:
His other hand is exactly where you think it is.
In fairness, the penis-eared monster does seem to be having a whale of a time. Speaking of which ...
"What if he had a big ol' vagina on his face?"
This sea monk (actual name: Cunt Monk (Tsubi bozu)) is a bit like Japan's version of the Loch Ness Monster, if the Loch Ness Monster was a giant silhouetted vagina. This particular monster mostly rises up to smash ships, but it will sometimes ask sailors for a barrel. It then fills the barrel with water from its horrible face and drowns the sailors anyway. Therein lies the irony: Despite having a vagina for a face, the sea monk is a real asshole.
Things only get stranger from there ...
That poor woman's as confused as we are.
Paradoxically, there is no description for this image, so we must draw our own conclusions as to what could possibly be happening. Evidently, a giant dickheaded priest is scream-vomiting a bird (also made of dicks) out of its face orifice, which is probably another vagina. There seem to be tissues everywhere, which is honestly the only part of this picture that makes perfect sense.
Of course, none of this could have possibly prepared you for Rape Skeleton:
Before becoming Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington was young and desperate for money.
Rape Skeleton is a giant skeleton made entirely of penises, giving chilling new meaning to the word "boner" and exuding the kind of menace generally reserved for guest stars on Law & Order: SVU. The fact that his skull is made from the tip of a penis makes him look vaguely like a giant Nazi, officially making this the most terrifying picture anyone has ever drawn. That said, with respect to the artist, Night Procession of the Hundred Demons showcases an incredible level of ingenuity in the sheer number of monsters you can build out of human genitalia if you really apply yourself.
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