The history of penis in vagina as default sex - Dr Eleanor Janega

The History of Penis in Vagina as Default Sex

Read this fascinating article on the history of penis in vagina sex and why it is seen as the only kind of ‘proper sex’ – an awesome guest post by Dr Eleanor Janega. 

All sex is “real” sex. The clue is in the name. If you have to use the word “sex”, it’s pretty much a guarantee you are having it.

Having said that, when you say the word “sex” most people think about one thing – penis in vagina or PIV or 👉🏽👌🏼. But why is that? Is it because it’s the most enjoyable kind of sex? Because it is the thing that the largest group of people enjoy? The answer is actually a lot more complicated, it goes back to the medieval period, and we’re still dealing with it now.

Medieval Period Was Well Important

Backing right up – the medieval period, roughly speaking, is about a thousand years from roughly when Rome fell (476) to about when Martin Luther called the Catholic Church out and took a lot of Europe with him (1517). The fact that we say the medieval period ends when the Church doesn’t control all of Europe tells you something really important about the time – that the Catholic Church and what it thought was right or wrong was the biggest and most important factor at the time.

If you lived in most of medieval Europe (except Spain – which was really diverse and had both a lot of Jews and Muslims), you were almost by definition a Catholic. So that means that the Catholic Church got to tell you – and almost all of Europe – whether or not you were going to heaven or hell. In the Early Modern period, when Europeans then decided to go out and conlonise everything, they also took the Church, or their preferred flavour of Christianity, with them and forced everyone they came in contact with to accept it. So we’re still dealing with these ideas today all over the world, not just in Europe.

The Church Were The Sex Police

Because the Church got to decide what everyone had to do in order to get into heaven, this means that that they told people, among other things, when they should be going to Church, when they should be fasting, and when and how they should be having sex.

Spoiler alert: the Church didn’t really want people to be having sex.

As you can expect, a bunch of dudes who were not allowed to have sex (the clergy, i.e. priests and monks who had to take a vow of chastity) didn’t really think that anyone else should be having any fun either, so they decided to make a bunch of rules about what sex people could have and they made the definition as narrow as possible.

The PIV police show up to ruin everyone's fun

The PIV Police show up

As far as the Church was concerned, the only time you were ever supposed to be having sex was specifically if you were: 1) a man and a woman; 2) married; and 3) trying to get pregnant when you had sex.

Sodomy Is Probs Not What You Think

So obviously, if the only time it was ok to have sex was if you were trying to get pregnant, the only kind of sex that was ok was the kind that could potentially get you pregnant. Any kind of sex that couldn’t specifically get you pregnant, the Church declared ‘sodomy’, named after the town of Soddom from the story of Lot and the destruction of Soddom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18 and 19. (That story is wild as hell. Go read it one time. It’ll blow your mind.)

Any kind of sex that couldn’t specifically get you pregnant, the Church declared ‘sodomy’

Now when you hear the term ‘sodomy’ you probably think specifically about ‘gay sex’, and probably even more specifically about anal sex between two cis men. That’s just because any sex that gay cis men can have is – by definition – sodomy because they can’t get pregnant doing it. Sodomy, though, means literally anything that any two or more people do for pleasure that doesn’t specifically get you pregnant.

So that means oral sex, mutual masturbation, frottage, dry humping, all these great kinds of sex that people really liked were off the cards because no one was getting pregnant from them, and getting pregnant was the only good reason to have sex. You were also not allowed to have sex if the woman was on her period, or pregnant, or nursing, for the same reason.

I mean, even if two married people were having sex and wanted to get pregnant there were still a bunch of rules they had to follow. No sex during Lent. No sex during Advent. No sex during Easter. No sex on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. No sex during daylight hours. No fully naked sex. Missionary position only. No snogging.

Harshest member of the judging panel

Harshest member of the judging panel

If you got caught or admitted to actually having fun during sex, i.e. engaging in sodomy, you could be punished for it. After the twelfth century men caught having sex with each other were sometimes fined, sometimes had their property confiscated, sometimes were castrated, and sometimes killed. If straight people got caught or admitted to a priest that they had been engaging in sodomy they would usually be given penance, which means a punishment made up by the Church. You could be made to fast (i.e. eat nothing but vegetables and drink nothing but water) for up to three years if you were into stuff that wasn’t ‘natural’. If you got caught doing it outside of marriage it was even worse, and you might even be put to death.

The church was specifically trying to take away any fun that people could have during sex.

You see what the Church did there? They were specifically trying to take away any fun that people could have during sex and turn it into an act that was only for procreation. You needed to have sex as quickly as possible, get pregnant, and then wait to have sex until the next time you wanted another kid. That’s where we get the idea that the only kind of sex that “counts” is PIV, from a bunch of old dudes who weren’t supposed to be having sex and didn’t want anyone else to have any fun when they had it either.

Difference Between The Church and The People

Of course, just like now, people in the middle ages didn’t buy into this idea. They kept on having sex in whatever ways they wanted to, which we know because the Church was always complaining about it, courtly love stories had illustrations of it, and bored monks were always doodling pictures of stuff like oral sex in the margins of books.

Medieval hand job in a really nice park

Medieval hand job in a really nice park

 

Medieval cunnilingus

“Shhhhhh. You’re not supposed to enjoy sex”

People even write about the awesome sex they were having in letters to each other, or in the memoirs. Just because it didn’t count as ‘legitimate’ sex, and just because the Church said they’d go to hell if they did it, didn’t mean people didn’t want to have sex in a whole bunch of different ways. Because it’s fun.

The moral of this story? Be more like medieval people and less like the medieval Church. Keep doing whatever it is that you and your partner find enjoyable and don’t worry about whether or not it “counts” as “real” sex. If you like doing it, it’s worth doing. Don’t let a bunch of old dead guys tell you what to enjoy.

Thanks again to Dr Eleanor Janega. If you liked this you would love her blog. Great for if you want to learn about medieval history via hip hop and with lots of swearing. She’s awesome.

Also check out this related wholesome content at Bish

Why Penis In Vagina Sex is Meh – why ‘proper sex’ doesn’t do it for many people

How to Have Amazing Non Penis in Vagina Sex – ideas for different kinds of sex

What Kind of Sex Do You Like? 

© Justin Hancock, 2017


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Comments (2)

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    EgregiousCharles

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    Oh my gosh this is unbelievable. Penis-in-vagina as “default” sex does not trace to the medieval European Christian church, it traces to the evolution of internal fertilization with intromittent organs (such as the penis) at least 400 million years before there was a church. Those organs don’t fossilize well so we’re not sure how old it might be. It’s “default” sex because it’s instinctive. Other techniques fail to reproduce the organism. Sure, the other stuff is great, and personally I like cunnilingus and handjobs better for example, but it’s not the fricken church that made it the default.

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    • Avatar

      Justin Hancock

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      I totally disagree but thanks for being interested in the piece.

      Reply

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