10 Reasons Not To Have Sex With Marco Polo (Or Anyone Else In The Middle Ages).
In the fifth century, Saint Augustine wrote influentially on the matters of abortion, contraception, and sex. He argued that contraception could change the nature of individuals and relationships.
In Marriage and Concupiscence, he wrote, "I am supposing, then, although you are not lying [with your wife] for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed.
"Those who do this, although they are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame.
" ... I dare to say that either the wife is in a fashion the harlot of her husband or he is an adulterer with his own wife.”
Although the use of birth control and the practice of abortion are heavily debated today, it is not a new argument. Continue reading to learn about how couples in the Middle Ages, as well as other parts of history, protected themselves during intercourse. While there are many graphic examples, we've selected ones that are not so different from today's methods.
The history of sex is interesting and deserving of its own library.
This includes the history of abortion, contraception, and protection against STIs. Take, for example, the Middle Ages. During this time, from the 5th to the 15th century, the Catholic Church was the only church, which meant that there existed a prevailing right-to-life principle and the idea that intercourse was meant for procreation (these principles remain strong for many individuals today).
But it seems the stronger the rules, the stronger the opposition. Here are some ways couples avoided pregnancy during or around this time.
No, coitus interruptus isn't a modern invention.
This method of avoiding pregnancy sounds more like a spell out of Harry Potter than anything else, but don't get too excited.
Coitus interruptus remains a popular method today, but you probably know it better as the "pull-out method," when the man withdraws just before ejaculating.
It's just as effective today as it was back then, which is exactly why we don't recommend it.
Enjoy all night romps with a special type of amulet, if you aren't bothered by the material.
What if you could strap an amulet 'round your thighs or neck to prevent pregnancy? Sounds a little risqué, doesn't it? But don't forget to read the fine print. In the Middle Ages, weasel testicles were used to create special amulets for this purpose.
If you aren't into weasel testicles, an amulet made of bone from the right side of a black cat or mule earwax could do the trick.
"Pennyroyal Tea" isn't just a popular song by Nirvana.
A flowering plant, pennyroyal looks small and harmless, even pleasant, but it is actually very powerful. It's been used for everything from flavoring to medicine.
Pennyroyal tea was also popular for regulating menstruation. If consumed in large portions or pure forms of oil, pennyroyal can cause abortion (Cue in Kurt Cobain singing "Sit and drink Pennyroyal Tea / Distill the life that's inside of me"). It can also cause multiple organ failure and death.
The people of the Middle Ages weren't the only ones to use this plant. Historians say that ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians incorporated the pennyroyal into their customs.
You can still purchase an ounce or a pound if you wish today.
Desperate times called for self-induced abortions.
These acts of desperations would later be referred to as coat-hanger abortions. Soranus of Ephesus, a Greek physician from the 1st/2nd century AD, wrote that women would ride horses or carry objects in order to induce their own abortions. This was called being "shaken."
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