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Quizzing the Anonymous
Ignoramus et ignorabimus
Medieval sex 
6th-Jul-2011 08:34 pm
...Females could marry - legally, with or without parental consent - when they reached their twelfth birthday. The age for males was fourteen. Even before she had reached her teens, a girl knew that unless she married before she was 21, society would consider her useless, hence the yearning of female adolescence for the altar. Getting pregnant was one way to reach it. On Sundays, under watchful parental eyes, girls would dress modestly and be demure in church, but on weekdays they opened their blouses, hiked their skirts, and romped through the fields in pursuit of phalli. Another five centuries would pass before young women would so open in their pursuit of sex. (W. Manchester, A world lit only by fire: the medieval mind and the Renaissance )
via http://www.austincc.edu/rconkrig/lma.htm

Once the man was properly secured, they had a lot of fun in bed, thanks to the medical consensus of the day:

...medieval writes accepted the Galenic theory that both a male and a female seed were required for conception. They believed that there was some sort of female sperm which gave pleasure in its emission, and had some influence on conception and the development of the fetus. This view worked to the benefit of married woman's sexual pleasure, since men believed that to conceive their wives had to reach orgasm.

BTW, being caught did not mean marriage... well, there was a caveat -

...A common punishment for fornication [sex between unmarried partners] was 'abjuratoio sub pena nubendi', forswearing on pain of marriage: a couple who fornicated were were made to repeat marriage vows in the future tense. Under canon law, such vows, when followed by sexual intercourse, constituted valid and indissoluble marriage. Thus, if the fornicators were to repeat their offence, they would automatically be married. (RM Karras)

It is interesting how puritanical and libertine attitudes go in circles, chasing each other. Few people realize that tomorrow is going to be VERY different from today or that the bicycles have been invented many times over.
7th-Jul-2011 05:32 am (UTC) - Medieval sex: Tibetan version
In medieval Tibet, as far as I know, it was common to marry several elder sons with one girl to avoid splitting family property, which was inherited by the eldest but de-facto they shared all the proprety. And younger sons should be monks. It's interesting what did they do with girls who didn't manage to marry? Most probably they lived in their parents' family with brothers and their wife. Did they have children? Probably some of them did but I don't know whether the family accept them somewhat.

In some Sino-Tibetan nations like Nakhi it was another way. The girls lived in their parents home with their brothers and when they reached 13 they got a room and could invite any man for a night. In the morning this man should return in his parents' family and work there. Apparently brothers of a woman played the role of fathers for her children.

Men could have a lot of fun in the bed and this didn't mean any legal consequences. They had matrilineal families with property transfer via mother-daughter and women also acted as a main work-force.

It's strange that despite free relations had marriage ritual. Аnd also I witnessed many aged couples going hand-to-hand which mean that despite society didn't encourage this (nor discourage) this it was also common to have monogamic relations.
7th-Jul-2011 02:59 pm (UTC) - Re: Medieval sex: Tibetan version
Unmarriable girls were dumped into convents or became spinsters of the parish; domestic service and shop-keeping were common in towns. Parents had to pay dowries, families were large, so (as a rule) it was not such a tragedy for them. Perhaps the girls were so desperate because it was chiefly their own interest.
7th-Jul-2011 06:10 am (UTC)
We're talking medieval what? Which countries? What is the methodology here? Records of laws? Anecdotal records of enforcement?
7th-Jul-2011 02:41 pm (UTC)
The first quote refers to 1500. The tradition of naked peasant girls romping the fields in search of a willing male is the middle to late medieval Germany; the local clergy was fond of denouncing it, and there is abundant record.

You can ask Ruth Karras what methology was used, she is at

The two quotes are from
De futuro comes from multiple descriptions of the practices of the late medieval period. Actually, these are hinted at in several Shakespeare's plays, eg

The Galenic theories of sex are very richly documented, both by the proponents and the detractors (such as Albertus Magnus). People then as now believed all these medical theories.
7th-Jul-2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
The Galenic theory is even somewhat true :)
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