13 historical sex facts you def didn’t learn in school (but should have, TBH)

If ‘Sex Throughout History’ ever comes up on Jeopardy, we gotchu.

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Sexy gossip and sex facts aren’t anything new. It’s safe to say that as long as sex (read: humans) have been around, so have fetishes, kinks, and all the juicy gossip that comes with it. While attitudes towards sex have changed throughout the years, and vary based on culture and perspective, one thing is for sure: Humans sure love to get it on.

Here’s a roundup of some interesting sex trivia and tidbits that you def didn’t learn in school (but, TBH, should have).

1600 BCE: Egyptian women soaked cotton in a mixture of fruit, honey, and dates as a DIY spermicide that they put in their vaginas.

700 BC: Ancient Greeks going off to war gave their wives bread dildos, or ‘olisbokollikes,’ to sate them while away.

54 BC: Cleopatra is said to have filled a papyrus box with bees for use as a vibrator.

1200 AD: Chinese men started using a bunch of crazy shit as cock rings during the Jin dynasty. Plus, there are recorded instances of using goat eyelids (with the eyelashes still intact for clitoral stimulation on their female partners?). Eventually in the 1600s, cock rings made of ivory and jade started appearing, and some of them even had dragons with forked tongues carved into them, kind of like a proto Rabbit, if you will.

1300s: In France, men were sometimes made to jerk off in front of a Court of Law in order to prove they could get it up. Performance anxiety much?

1450: The first mention of a merkin (aka pubic-hair wig) popped up in The Oxford Companion to the Body. There are two general theories as to why merkins were needed back in the day: One is that prostitutes had to shave their vulvas to combat pubic lice but didn’t want to look like they were actively trying to avoid pubic lice. The second is that the merkins were worn by prostitutes to cover up any signs of syphilis on their vulvas.

1790s-1809: Napoleon was said to have written to his wife Josephine, ‘Home in eight days. Don’t wash!’ says Carol Queen, PhD, resident sexologist at Good Vibrations. Kinky!

1848-1880: Pre-hippy sex commune The Oneida Community was established in upstate New York. ‘When we think of sex and communes, we usually think of the 1960s, but there were communes in the 19th century too,’ says Queen. The Oneidans believed in a ‘free love’ system where any member could have sex with any other member, so long as they were consenting. After the commune disbanded, their founder turned his efforts to silverware…and yes, the Oneida company is still around today. In fact, you probably ate off some plates or silverware of theirs growing up.

1894: Michigan doctor John Harvey Kellogg invented Kellogg’s Cornflakes in an effort to curb masturbation. He believed that the more flavourful a food, the more likely you’d be to be horny. In response, he created super-bland cereal. Love an entrepreneur!

1900s: Vibrators were invented in order to treat women with a disease called ‘hysteria,’ says Queen. The healing effects of vibrators were called ‘hysterical paroxysms of relief.’ Thankfully, the word ‘orgasm’ is shorter.

1917: The first LGBT publication in North America, Les Mouches Fantastiques, was launched. ‘It was based in Montreal and edited by lesbian poet Elsa Gidlow and her friend Roswell George Mills,’ adds Queen.

1918: 30,000 women were imprisoned under the Chamberlain-Kahn Act, later known as the American Plan. ‘The goal of the American Plan was to combat the spread of STIs among American soldiers by targeting American women, and has been largely forgotten,’ says Jenelle Marie Pierce, executive director of The STI Project. These women were forced to undergo gynaecological exams, incarcerated, and subjected to horrifying ‘treatments,’ including sterilisation and mercury and arsenic treatments if found to have an STI. Sex workers, women of colour, and immigrants were subject to even crueller treatment.

You know what mercury treatments and sterilization didn’t do? Stop venereal disease among soldiers. DUMB.

1970s: Two swingers banged their way into infiltrating the CIA. Karl F. Koecher (a Czech intelligence officer and KGB spy) and his wife Hannah Koecher used their swinging and spouse-swapping sex parties to gain intimate access to useful people and other valuable information, says Aliza Bran, of the International Spy Museum.

The more you know…

Feature image: iStock

This post originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com

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