I’m a sex historian – here’s how missionary position became so popular and bizarre old cure for ‘excessive masturbation’ 0 166

EVER wondered why missionary is the most popular sex position – or if people back in the day did it as much as we do?

According to sex historian Kate Lister, any suggestion that our ancestors were “prudish” in the bedroom couldn’t be further from the truth.

Kate Lister is a sex historian, author and lecturer

In fact, she reckons the regular romping in Bridgerton wouldn’t have come as any kind of surprise for those living in 1813.

From the origins of sex toys to ancient aphrodisiacs, here Kate offers a potted guide of bonking through the ages – and the origins of some of our modern day kinks.

SEX TOYS

Humans have been creating toys to enhance their sex lives as long as long as there have been sex lives. 

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We have found tortoise shell sex toys from China in the Qing Dynasty and ivory dildos that were hidden in an 18th century French convent.

One of the oldest dildos ever discovered is the ‘Hohle Fels phallus’. 

It was discovered in the Hohle Fels Cave in Germany in 2005 and was carbon dated to somewhere between 26,000 and 30,000 years old. 

The jury is still out on whether this was a sex toy or some kind of devotional object, but either way, it is a very old penis.

@tubingen universityOne of the oldest dildos ever discovered is the ‘Hohle Fels phallus’[/caption]

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BEANS AN ‘APHRODISIAC’

Despite the popular image of damsels in distress and chastity belts, sex in the Middle Ages was surprisingly progressive. 

They didn’t always get their facts right though. 

For one thing, there was a belief that erections were caused when the penis filled with air. 

As a result, beans were thought to be an aphrodisiac.

BDSM

wikiwandThis fresco inside the Tomb of the Whipping shows two men flagellating a woman[/caption]

Some of the oldest evidence of BDSM can be found in ‘The Tomb of the Whipping’, an Etruscan tomb in Lazio, Italy. 

It dates to around 490 BCE and gets its name from the fresco on the wall that shows two men who are flogging a woman as they have sex with her.

In the 1800s there were establishments known to cater to kink, such as Theresa Berkley’s brothel in Hallam Street, London.

According to Henry Spencer Ashbee, Theresa’s “instruments of torture were more numerous than those of any other governess”.

Her brothel was the place to go where anyone “with plenty of money, could be birched, whipped, fustigated, scourged, needle-pricked, half-hung, holly-brushed, furze-brushed, butcher-brushed, stinging-nettled, curry-combed, phlebotomized, and tortured till he had a belly full”.

BIRTH CONTROL

Sex in the past was a fun, naughty, and enjoyable experience.

Pig gut condoms were being used in the 1500s, and there is evidence of contraception being used all the way back to ancient Egypt.

One method used back then was a vaginal pessary made from crocodile dung and honey (which may well have been effective in stopping people have sex).

The first recorded vasectomy was actually performed on a dog by a man called Sir Ashley Cooper in 1823.

By 1899 it was being used on human males as a ‘cure’ for excessive masturbation. 

It would take another 50 years or so for vasectomies to be offered as a method of birth control.

TOP POSITION

The missionary position has always been incredibly popular, but it took on new and religious significance when the early Catholic Church started to teach that this was the only acceptable position and that anything else was sinful. 

Thomas Aquinas, a 13th century Italian theologian, for example, believed that intercourse in “unnatural” ways was a crime against nature.

HIGH AND MIGHTY

Marilyn Monroe once said, “I don’t know who invented high heels, but women owe him a lot.”

So it may come as a surprise to learn that the first high heel shoes were worn by blokes.

Heels were sported by the Persian cavalry in the 10th century to keep their shoes in their stirrup. 

By the 17th century, the heeled shoe had become the must-have fashion item for any dashing man about town. 

Women didn’t start wearing them until the 18th century.

LGBTQ

BBCSuranne Jones played Anne Lister in the BBC drama Gentleman Jack[/caption]

Same sex desire and gender fluidity is found all throughout history, but some of the most important documents in queer history are the diaries of Anne Lister. 

She spent most the early 19th century seducing the women of Halifax and recording her conquests in a secret code in her many diaries. 

Her neighbours were well aware of her exploits and nicknamed her Gentleman Jack and Captain Tom – Tom being a slang word for a lesbian at the time. 

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While Anne was misbehaving up north, London was famously filled with gay brothels, known as ‘Molly Houses’, that were subjected to repeated raids by various vice squads.

Kate’s podcast Betwixt the Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society is available to listen to now.

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My bitter ex told lies to my friends about my ‘small manhood’ after I dumped her 0 47

DEAR DEIDRE: MY ex is so bitter about being dumped that she is spreading nasty rumours around our friendship group – saying I’m rubbish in bed and have a small todger.

She never complained when we were together, but last week she told the girls in our group that being with me was “like kissing a soggy lettuce leaf” and that she “literally didn’t feel a thing when we were having sex” because I’m so small.

My ex is so bitter about being dumped that she is spreading nasty rumours around our friendship group – saying I’m rubbish in bed and have a small todger

I’m 25 and she’s 24. I think part of it is jealousy.

She knows a couple of the other girls fancy me and I think she’s trying to sabotage any chance I have with them.

Not that I’m even planning anything.

She’s so insecure and has a vicious tongue on her.

I’m tempted to let each of her so-called friends know what she really says about them in private.

Even her best friend gets a nasty critique every time she posts anything on Instagram.

Get in touch with Deidre

Every problem gets a personal reply, usually within 24 hours weekdays.

Send an email to deardeidre@the-sun.co.uk

You can also send a private message on the DearDeidreOfficial Facebook page.

Her top is either too short, or her hair looks like wire, or her laugh is fake . . . it goes on and on.

I don’t regret splitting up with her but this last trick has really infuriated me.

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DEIDRE SAYS: Don’t let yourself stoop to her level.

You can make it clear she is lying without playing her game, which would only escalate tensions and reflect badly on you.

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You could maybe reply with: “Let’s just say she never complained when we were together and nor have any of my other exes.”

Your friends will soon see her behaviour for what it is – jealous insecurity.

My partner said he was on a work trip – but he was actually getting married and on his honeymoon 0 30

DEAR DEIDRE: MY partner said he was on a work trip two months ago, but he had actually got married and been on honeymoon.

Our relationship had become a bit predictable, but we still had regular sex and nice days out with our two young sons.

My partner lied about his work trip – he was really on his HONEYMOON

I’m 32 and he’s 37. Our sons are four and two.

When he returned from his “work trip” he blamed me for his cheating, saying I had let myself go and didn’t pay him enough attention.

He then told me he’d “traded up” for a better model. It didn’t stop there.

He said that his wife, who is 27, is absolutely stunning and makes him feel special.

Apparently this woman was a barmaid he’d met on a golf trip and they had been seeing each other for six months.

He told me all this, then marched upstairs and packed his games console and his clothes and drove off out of my life.

The thing is, we always talked about getting married but when we had kids there always seemed something better to spend our money on.

Mutual friends have told me he has moved into a new-build home on the other side of our small town and his wife has plenty of family money.

My sons are really missing him and I don’t even know how I feel.

Sometimes when he comes to visit the boys I beg him to come home.

But other times I’m so angry with him, I refuse to let him in.

Now he is accusing me of stopping him from seeing his children.

Get in touch with Deidre

Every problem gets a personal reply, usually within 24 hours weekdays.

Send an email to deardeidre@the-sun.co.uk

You can also send a private message on the DearDeidreOfficial Facebook page.

Surely he can’t just show up when he likes?

I’m a mess and need to start getting a grip for the kids’ sake.

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I caught my husband snogging my sister – how am I meant to trust him again?

DEIDRE SAYS: I’m so sorry your partner ended your relationship in such a cruel way.

This man sounds selfish and immature, and quite frankly the way he has treated you is emotionally abusive.

It won’t feel like it now, but you really are better off without him.

He is behaving like he still lives in your home, by just turning up unannounced.

Tell him firmly that you would encourage a good relationship between him and your sons but he can only collect them with prior arrangement.

Start to put down your boundaries.

I’m sending you my support pack When Parents Fall Out, which you could pass to him to help explain why you need to co-operate for the future wellbeing of your children.

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Give yourself time and be kind to yourself. He put you down constantly, now you can start to build up your confidence.

I’d recommend seeing a counsellor to help you with this betrayal and am sending you my Counselling support pack.

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