When you think of weird and shocking sex rituals, the first thing that comes to mind is African, Pacific and Asian countries. In other words, countries like Papua New Guinea where kids start having sex at six years old. Or the Himalayas, where one wife has several husbands. Or in Iran, where you can have “trial marriage”, a time in which you can have sex. But rarely, if ever, Europe comes to mind as a continent where some sex rituals and shocking sex practices were the norm. However, there were times Europe was not as civilized as it is today.
In Great Britain, there was a time when sex before marriage was normal. Even more, weddings usually featured a pregnant wife. It was not unusual for the bride to be pregnant on her wedding day. Cohabiting before marriage was common, to the point it was the norm, not the exception. Families were obsessed with carrying on the bloodline to the point they encouraged cohabitation during the engagement period.
This was a way to ensure the lady was able to conceive. Only when the bride was visibly pregnant, the wedding would go on. The Catholic Church changed people’s views on the matter, but it wasn’t until the Marriage Act of 1753 that things changed.
It is fair to say, this was back in Ancient Rome. But back then, during the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia (taking place on February 15th), men run around whipping women with leather thongs for good luck and fertility. The festival was in honor of Lupa, the mythological wolf that who was believed to have suckled Romulus and Remus. The festival survived until 5th century BC. However, a version of the celebration takes place in former Czechoslovakia.
Back in Ancient Greece, the celebration in honor of Bacchus was a popular way where politics and sex mixed and matched. During the festival in honor of the God of wine and ecstasy, events evolved into hotbeds of political conspiracy. They were eventually banned. The subversive event was open only for women at the beginning. It was an opportunity for powerful female priesthood. The political history of the practice shows that it was basically a festival of sex acts between different sects of society.
Another weird sex ritual coming from Ancient Greece. They had a term called “pederastia”, which is basically a form of pedophilia. It translated to a sexual relationship between an older man and a young boy. The older man would protect, teach, and even act as a role model for the young man.
We all know that Scandinavian countries are quite liberal when it comes to sex and sexuality. But the countries in northwestern Europe have always been quite liberal. In the middle century, there was a common courting practice. An adolescent boy and a girl would stay the night together in the same bed.
The weird part is their parents would oversee this. The boy and the girl were tightly wrapped in separated blankets with a “bundling board” between them. The idea was to allow intimacy, but not sexual intercourse.