5 Historical Events You Didn't Know Were Decided by Sex
This might come as a shock to you, but people really like sex. You basically can't get away from it; it's in ads, movies, music, and sometimes people in real life will even allow you to have it with them. And this isn't just a recent phenomenon. People in the past were obsessed with sex, too, to the point that sometimes they made decisions with really serious consequences just to get their groove on.
The Entente Cordiale
In 1901, Queen Victoria finally died, and her her son, Bertie, who became Edward VII, had been waiting 59 years to get his hands on the throne. His first decree was to get his D wet.
These days we might call him a sex addict, but back then they called him "Edward the Caresser."
Not to be confused with Edward the Confessor, a king so nice he was canonized for it.
Bertie liked the ladies. All of them. Since his mother thought he was stupid and useless and refused to give him anything to do while she was alive, the then prince of Wales spent all his time eating, shooting, and getting his bone on. He had sex with actresses, prostitutes, and the wives of pretty much every rich guy in the kingdom, including Winston Churchill's mom. Since he had a perfectly lovely wife of his own at home who was approximately 1,000 times hotter than him, he was definitely suffering from Tiger Woods Syndrome.
But one country of women was not enough to contain the libido of this fat prince. Bertie particularly liked the brothels of France. This might have been because one in Paris built a special chair for him that not only supported his large frame but allowed him to have sex with several women at the same time.
You figure out how, because no one else has.
This was all fine and good while he was just a prince, but once he was king it would look a bit weird if he popped over to France all the time. Bertie needed a good reason to be there, and he picked the most difficult solution possible: make the two countries BFFs.
The British and the French really didn't like each other. Or, more specifically, the English and the French. You have to remember, this is before they fought on the same side in two World Wars, when the only history they had was 1,000 years of trying to kick each other in the dick. They had almost gone to war as recently as 1898. But by 1903, Bertie had managed to get both governments to sign a friendship pact, called the Entente Cordiale.
This document is still in effect today and has been unbelievably important. For one thing, the two countries stopped trying to kill each other and agreed to start killing other countries, like whenever Spike would team up with Buffy. Trade issues became much simpler to resolve. And, as a direct result, my British husband even roots for France in the World Cup after England is inevitably eliminated. All because one king couldn't keep it in his pants.
When Martin Luther inadvertently invented Protestantism, one of the issues that came up was whether the clergy of this new religion could get married. Luther knew that Catholic priests were getting laid all the time, even though their vows prohibited it, and marriage would be the logical way to have sex without sinning. Basically, Martin Luther hacked and modded Christianity.
This is where you think I am going to say that Luther wanted clergy to get married because he was desperate to get some himself. That is not what happened. Enter Katharina von Bora.
Katharina had been sent to a nunnery at age 5 by her rich family, so she really didn't have a say in the whole abstinence-for-life discussion, and after hearing of the teachings of Martin Luther in her early 20s, decided that Catholicism sucked. So she and 11 other nuns decided to run away and find this intellectual hottie.
With his intellectual mop hair and intellectual triple chin.
The arrival of 12 escaped nuns caused quite a stir in Wittenberg, the town Martin Luther was living in. And soon everyone knew what they were there for, with one local student recording, "A wagon load of vestal virgins has just come to town, all more eager for marriage than for life. God grant them husbands lest worse befall." In other words, after spending their whole lives in a nunnery, those girls wanted to have some dicks tossed in them. Luther quickly started marrying them off to eligible men.
Even though he was OK with marriage in theory, when the ex-monks around him started getting hitched he supposedly cried, "Good heavens! They won't give me a wife." Even when people kept bugging him about it, for years he said it was never going to happen. But Katharina knew what she wanted: that pudgy, religious, radical sex beast, Martin Luther. She rejected at least two of the husbands he proposed for her, and in the end told him she was going to marry him or nobody. (OK, she also said she might marry one of his important friends, but she was really angling for the head honcho.)
That is the face of a woman who gets what she wants.
Finally, Luther realized that if he wanted people to take clerical marriage seriously, he was going to have to bite the bullet himself. So Katharina got what she wanted, and Martin Luther must have enjoyed it at least a little bit because they had six children. And in the end the world got forms of Christianity where spiritual leaders were able to have sex without making God cry.
The Hatfields and the McCoys
The greatest blood feud since Romeo and Juliet started on the border of Kentucky and West Virginia in 1878 with a disagreement over the ownership of a pig. But other than that, there was no real problem between the Hatfields and the McCoys ... until a couple years later when a Hatfield boy and a McCoy girl diddled each other's privets at an election day celebration.
Elections at those times were booze-soaked, because how else were you going to get people to show up and do something as boring as voting?
Maybe we should consider bringing that back.
The atmosphere was more like a festival, so men and women turned out even though the latter's fragile lady brains wouldn't be able to handle voting for another 40 years. It was in this alcoholic, partying haze that 21-year-old Roseanna McCoy first set eyes on Johnse Hatfield. He was 18, a known womanizer, and wearing yellow boots, so what girl could resist? They started talking but soon disappeared into the woods alone for hours, where I am sure they quoted Bible verses at each other and discussed the finer points of pig farming.
When they finally emerged well after dark, Roseanna realized all her relatives had already left the party and she was in deep shit. Instead of going home and facing her father's inevitable anger, she went with Johnse. The McCoys expected a marriage to quickly follow in order to save their daughter's honor, but the Hatfields said no way, and soon Roseanna was back at her parents' house, pregnant and still single. In retaliation, the McCoy family had Johnse arrested for bootlegging.
Should have gotten him for crimes against fashion, am I right?
From there, things started spiraling out of control. Over the next nine years at least a dozen members of the two families were killed, another 10 were wounded, and seven more were jailed for life. It got so bad that the governor of West Virginia threatened to send in the militia if things didn't calm down.
So your parents may not like the person you're dating, but at least they're not starting a murderous, decade-long feud with their family that has to be broken up by the feds.
Sex Is Better Than Violence
Sex strikes are an ancient form of protest from women who are sick of violence. Literally ancient. In 411 B.C., the Greek playwright Aristophanes wrote Lysistrata, a play about how the women of Athens refused to have sex with their husbands until the Peloponnesian War was over. While this play almost certainly isn't based on an actual incident, there is some evidence that sex strikes were real even 2,500 years ago.
These days, women withholding sexy time from their men seems to be even more effective.
Try mentioning that at your next marriage-counseling session.
In 2011, women from two villages in the Philippines swore to stay abstinent until their men, many of whom were involved in a rebellion that had been going on since the freaking 1970s, agreed to stop fighting near an important road. The violence made it too dangerous for women to travel on. After just a few weeks without sex, the road was safe enough to use and, presumably, semen was allowed to flow freely once again.
Back in 2002, the women of Liberia were growing tired of a civil war that had been going on for 14 years. (Side note: How are men finding time to have sex in the first place with all the fighting they seem to be doing for decades at a time?) Leymah Gbowee led the women of the country in a sex strike, even uniting Christians and Muslims in frigidity. While it wasn't the only tactic she encouraged (women also participated in sit-ins, demonstrations, and even threatened to curse people) it drew the most attention to their cause, and in the end the women got the peace talks they wanted. Gbowee went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts.
The only time someone was given an award for cock-blocking.
But perhaps the most continually effective sex strike in recent times was the one in Pereira, Colombia, in 2006. Thanks to gang violence, the murder rate in the town was off the charts, with most of the victims under age 25. In order to get their gangster husbands and boyfriends to turn in their guns to the government, women started the "strike of crossed legs" and refused to have sex with them. The strike lasted only 10 days, but it seems to have worked amazingly well. Almost immediately murder rates started falling, and by 2010 they were down a whopping 26.5 percent.
Vaginas are better crime fighters than Superman.
The Profumo Affair
Politics and sex scandals go together as well as peanut butter and jelly, or a moralizing congressman and a glory hole in a rest-stop stall. But surprisingly, most of the time politicians get off lightly. Bill Clinton's approval rating hit a new high the week after he was impeached for lying about how creative he could be with a cigar. Silvio Berlusconi was famous for his "friendships" with teenage girls and prostitutes, yet the Italians elected him prime minister three times. Even when politicians do get in trouble, it usually involves them stepping down from whatever office they hold and that's that.
But one powerful man's need to get lucky in 1960s Britain managed to bring down the whole government.
Warning: This is the guy you will picture boning for the next few paragraphs.
In 1961, John Profumo was the secretary of state for war (equivalent to the secretary of defense in the U.S.) when he met the 19-year-old Christine Keeler while she was skinny-dipping at a rich friend's pool party. Profumo was attracted to her because she was 19 and naked, and she was attracted to him because, I mean, c'mon! Look at him. The guy is a sexual powerhouse.
Despite having absolutely nothing in common, they started a five-month affair, later described by Keeler oh so romantically as a "screw of convenience." She also claimed they only had sex five times. So they averaged one screw a month.
I should also point out that Keeler was good friends/possibly sleeping with a Soviet diplomat, and this was the height of the Cold War. The failed Bay of Pigs Invasion had happened just three months before Profumo and Keeler started boinking, and the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred less than a year after they ended it. So when journalists finally got their hands on the story, it became a matter of national security. Did the guy in charge of fighting the Russians spill his seed and state secrets when he climaxed? The short answer is no.
Any comments about "rockets" and "missiles" in bed were simply lame euphemisms.
Either way, it was the sex that interested the public. Soon, it blew up from the tale of one dumb pervert trying to plow a teenager to wild rumors of the entire Tory government regularly participating in orgies, including tales of a weirdo who walked around in a mask carrying a whip, presumably to ensure orgy attendants weren't getting out of line. Even though it was bullshit, the Conservatives were screwed.
In the end, Profumo was forced to resign, Keeler was jailed for perjury, a friend of Keeler's was arrested and then committed suicide, the prime minster stepped down, and the Labour Party took power in the next election for the first time in 12 years. Some orgasms can be so powerful they alter governments.
I'm just saying, if anyone wants to try to seduce David Cameron before May 7, that would be awesome.
For more from Kathy, check out 4 Awful Works by Famous Geniuses Everyone Pretends to Like and The World's Fastest Growing Industry (is a Pyramid Scheme).
And to further expand your noggin, check out Cracked's De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn't Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew.
It's loaded with facts about history, your body, and the world around you that your teachers didn't want you to know. And as a bonus? We've also included the kinkiest sex acts ever described in the Bible.