Sex in the Middle Ages

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Manage episode 316167705 series 106527
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Please note that this episode contains conversation about sex that you might not want to listen to in the presence of children.


What did medieval people really think about sex, and were those thoughts all that different from ours today?

The medieval humoral system of medicine suggested that it was possible to die from having too much-or too little-sex, while the Roman Catholic Church taught that virginity was the ideal state. Holy men and women committed themselves to lifelong abstinence in the name of religion. Everyone was forced to conform to restrictive rules about sex and could be harshly punished for getting it wrong. More familiarly, medieval people faced challenges in finding a suitable partner and also struggled with many of the same social issues that we face today.


Dan is joined by Katherine Harvey, Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London and author of ‘The Fires of Lust: Sex in the Middle Ages’. Katherine holds a PhD in Medieval History from King’s College London and has published widely on medieval topics, including sexuality, gender, emotions and the body. Join Dan and Katherine as they discuss sex through the ages, as relating to general attitudes, frequency, religion and marriage.


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