IS your sex life dull or non-existent? There’s not much you can do about that, but you’ll feel immeasurably better by comparing it to the Middle Ages. Consider these things.
You believed in God
Much is made of church being a social occasion in medieval times. It was, but don’t think people didn’t believe in God. They did, and they were f**king terrified of going to Hell. Sex outside marriage would lead to things like having your eyeballs pulled out with red-hot pliers. That would really take the fun out of blowjobs.
Don’t expect a 32nd birthday shag
You partner might make a special effort on your birthday and – oh, hang on, average life expectancy was 31.3 years so you’ve been dead for eight months.
Your bedroom was also your kids’ bedroom
Ew. Peasant huts were often one room, and even with strategically placed blankets many inquisitive medieval children must have got an impromptu sex ed lesson they wouldn’t forget. Still, it would make ‘birds and the bees’ talks mercifully short: ‘You know that thing your mother and I were doing last night? That’s it. Now f**k off to bed.’
Your bedroom was also your pigs’ and chickens’ bedroom
It wasn’t uncommon to keep a pig or chickens indoors in winter. Nowadays it’s distracting enough trying to do it with the bloody cat in the room, so having six chickens and a goat staring at you must be like starring in a live Amsterdam sex show.
Even if your sex life is… sporadic, if you do get a touch of the pox at least you can show off your pulling skills to the doctor and it won’t kill you or make your nose fall off. That would really cramp your style, and ‘D’you want to die a horrible death?’ isn’t the greatest chat-up line.
Every wank was terrifying and shameful
Making onanism a sin is one of the most pointlessly cruel things the churches ever did, and they did a lot, but you’d also have been woefully ignorant and would imagine terrible things were going to happen to your private parts. At least these days you can wank yourself senseless on Pornhub and you’ll just feel a bit shamefaced about your taste in MILF porn, not be terrified your knob is going to drop off and roll under your computer desk. Speaking of which…
Although obscene drawings have been found in the margins of medieval texts, there wasn’t any porn to speak of. For the average peasant the only pictures you’d see would be stained-glass windows of the Virgin Mary or hunky John the Baptist. That really is desperation-level porn, and makes wanking over the underwear section of the Littlewoods catalogue look like a sex party at the Playboy Mansion.
Medieval people had more opportunities to get clean than you’d think. Can you imagine paddling into a river for a good scrub nowadays? Not if you haven’t got a deathwish. However, our ancestors would still have been pretty disgusting most of the time. So even if your sex life has lost its spark, at least your partner doesn’t give off a strong whiff of excrement. Well, mostly.
Whoever you’re shagging might just die
Imagine you’d met a peasant you really liked and were totally sexually compatible with. On Tuesday you’re looking forward to snuggling up at the weekend, then on Friday they’re dead from typhoid. Or any number of illnesses no one understood. You’d be gutted, especially if it was ages until market day, which was your only opportunity to meet a potential shag.
You had to get married first
Obviously extramarital sex existed in various forms, but the average peasant had to get married, really. Imagine that now. You’d still be stuck with an earlier partner like that accountant Steve you didn’t realise was a totally boring wanker, or that high-maintenance cow Belinda who was into crystals. The only way to find someone better would be to kill them. On the other hand there were no police or forensics in medieval times, so maybe it was just a case of: ‘I know it’s late, but you really must see the new mill pond, sweetie!’