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    13 Things Humans Used To Believe About Sex That I'm Sorry I Made You Read

    Who needs Viagra when you have sparrow brains?

    1. Erections were caused by flatulence.

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    The Roman physician Galen thought that erections were caused by "wind" inflating the penis. Consequently, any foods that made you gassy were considered aphrodisiacs.

    2. Women could drain the "lifeblood" from men by having sex while menstruating.

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    I mean, if you were losing a bunch of blood, wouldn't you just succubus some out of your sexual partner?

    3. Throwing an egg at your wife was a way to wish her a good childbirth.

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    In Edvard Westermarck's book Early Beliefs and Their Social Influence (1932), he notes that this was a tradition practiced by Jewish people in Morocco to express the hope of an easy childbirth. Or you could just, like, use your words.

    4. Even when married, you could still go to hell for having sex.

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    In the twelfth century Vision of Alberic, there was a "special place of torture, consisting of a lake of mingled lead, pitch, and resin" for married people who have sex on Sundays, church festivals, or fast-days.

    5. Nobility thought their purity would be marred by any kind of sexual activity in the air.

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    Apparently, there was a widespread belief that having sex was dirty and, like, seismically so. Westermarck relates that when the supreme pontiff of Congo took trips, all married people were barred from having sex while he was in town, just in case.

    6. If you had sex and then rode a horse, like, a lot of bad things could happen to you.

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    I will just leave the full Westermarck quote for you all: "If a person who is sexually unclean rides a horse, another holy animal, the horse will probably get sores on its back, and the rider will tumble down, or be late in arriving to his destination, or will not succeed in business, or will have boils, or even die."

    7. If you want to keep your man, add some menstrual blood to his food.

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    Mariamne H. Whatley talks about this belief from Jamaica in her book Did You Hear About The Girl Who—?: Contemporary Legends, Folklore and Human Sexuality (2001). Apparently some men avoid red foods like pasta because of this myth.

    8. Any woman who gave a soldier a venereal disease was legally a prostitute.


    During Word War II, if a German soldier on the front got a venereal disease, he was forced to identify the woman who infected him and she would consequently be registered as a prostitute. There were similar laws in Britain targeting civilian women with "khaki fever" who officials deemed "amateur prostitutes."

    9. Girls who masturbated would have small boobs and deformed babies.

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    Because you're obviously having children, right? In Lyman B. Sperry's Confidential Talks With Young Ladies (1892), he warns that should you "abuse your reproductive system," you'll wreck absolute havoc on your body and any future bodies your body might carry.

    10. Women who masturbated were also at risk of becoming suicidal.

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    Sperry was not a fan of masturbation.

    11. Eating sparrow brains could improve your sex life.

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    The ancient Greek goddess of love and sex, Aphrodite, was said to hold sparrows sacred, so sparrow brain was used to increase performance.

    12. Foot binding was shorthand for good sex.

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    The ancient Chinese practice was so popular in part because it seemed to strengthen vaginal muscles. Tiny feet signaled a better sexual experience to many men.

    13. You could have sex, even in the afterlife.

    Ägyptischer Maler via Wikimedia Commons

    Since ancient Egyptians believed that the afterlife was pretty much just a continuation of life on earth, of course your spirit got to have sex. Tombs were even outfitted with images and statues of women for this purpose. (Sexy dude statues were notably absent.)

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