At least our condoms aren't made out of pig bladders.
By Chiara Atik for HowAboutWe
As a dating writer, I've heard time and again people complain about how hard it is to date nowadays. It's hard to meet people, it's hard to know how to deal with changing gender roles, it's hard to find someone to commit to. And to that, I say: at least our condoms aren't made out of pig bladders. Here are ten craaazy things you didn't know about sex and love during the Middle Ages, to make you feel a little better about living in the 21st century.
Related: Tips for Single Women from 1938
3. After having sex for the first time, a man would often present his bride with a "morning gift," to compensate for the loss of her virginity. Because a little decorative box totally makes up for what was probably an awkward first-sex experience.
4. People who had sex outside of marriage (fornicators), were punished heavily, if discovered, mostly because noblemen feared illegitimate children. Philip IV of France discovered his daughter-in-laws were having affairs, and had their lovers publicly disemboweled. The women had their heads shaven and were sentences to life imprisonment. (The Wikipedia page, if you're interested.)
6. Richard the Lionheart, aka the Good King from Robin Hood, was apparently gay, and involved in a passionate relationship with King Philip II of France. Of course, this was all pretty hush hush, as homosexuality was considered a mortal sin.
7. You know what they say about the size of a man's feet? Well, apparently they used to say it in the Middle Ages, too, as the long, pointy shoes that were in fashion were meant to suggest the size of a wearer's penis. Also very fashionable? Codpieces.
9. Condoms did exist in the Middle Ages, but they were made out of animal bladders, tied with twine, and reused over and over again. Ew, on so many levels.
10. One topic on which scientists and theologians disagreed was masturbation. The Church agreed with Thomas Aquinas, who considered masturbation to be an "unnatural vice," and therefore strictly prohibited. But medical authorities thought masturbation was an essential way of getting rid of "seminal humor," and therefore keep the body in balance.