Five Facts about Dating in the Middle Ages

five facts about dating in the middle ages

Everyone likes to complain that dating these days is hard. Swipe right, swipe left, wax on, wax off. But is it really as bad as you think? Especially compared to how people used to date? I’ve five facts about dating in the Middle Ages that might make you think differently about today’s dating scene.

Sex was a no-no

It shouldn’t be surprising that sex outside of marriage was frowned upon. But it wasn’t just frowned upon, it was technically illegal. If you were a single pringle, you were expected to practice celibacy. There was no such thing as logging on to any of the sex dating sites we have now, if you had an itch that needed scratching it was a case of tough luck. But if you did decide to indulge in the horizontal tango with someone that you weren’t married to, you could get in a lot of trouble. That trouble ranged from years of penance to death! But this applied to married couples too. You couldn’t have sex on certain days of the week, during certain times of the year, and in certain positions. Oh, and you could only have sex if you were baby making and you weren’t allowed to enjoy it either.

Being gay was a bigger no-no

Let’s face it, being gay can be hard enough these days with the stigma and homophobia from some people, but it could be worse. Yep, if you were a homosexual in the 13th and 14th centuries, you were in big trouble. Anything that wasn’t a man and a woman doing it in the missionary position was a sin. That means there are a lot of things that you can do that was considered a sin. But being gay was punishable by death. You could be hung, burnt at the stake, or (if you were a priest) you would be placed in a cage and starved to death. The problem was, the only way the Church was happy with people having sex was to make babies, gay sex does not make babies, so was a massive sin in the eyes of the Church.

But being a hooker was ok

As shocking as it might seem, being a prostitute in the Middle Ages was ok. It was seen as a necessary evil and if there were no prostitutes, then everyone would be having sex with everyone else! Ok, maybe it’s not the best thing but it’s not like they could check out some adult dating sites. Instead, the local prostitutes would have worn an item of clothing to help people identify them. These women could work in brothels and feel safe without the fear of persecution from the church. There was a chance that a lot of their clients were wealthy and could indulge in a bit of extra-marital fun.

Safe sex was a thing

As far as the church was concerned back then, safe sex was not an issue. They were more concerned about people not doing it or doing it the “right way”. Like I said, going to a prostitute was ok but a lot of them would have some type of sexual disease, and the disease of choice was normally syphilis. Condoms were made from animal parts or linen to help protect men from catching it. On the other hand, ladies were probably more concerned about getting pregnant. There were loads of different recipes for creating a homemade spermicide to help protect ladies from unwanted babies. But if you did catch something, some of the cures were terrifying! For a swollen penis that was suffering from rot would be skinned of the rotted flesh and treated with quicklime. How horrible does that sound?

Self-loving for the ladies

Have you ever wondered how the dildo got its name? Well, wonder no more! While the men have “Pamela and her five sisters” to help with their self-loving, the ladies need something else. You couldn’t just pop into the local sex shop or order the latest vibrator online. No, these ladies had to get creative with their aids because masturbation was a sin. One of the most popular things to use was a stale loaf of dill bread, otherwise known as “dill dough”. But, although self-love was frowned upon, it was considered ok for ladies. If a lady didn’t try her hand at some self-loving, she might end up with “suffocation of the womb”. This was a big deal, especially if you were a nun and were supposed to be celibate. Back then, it was considered a medical procedure and could be done by a doctor if the woman’s life was at risk.


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