On women, pleasure, and semen

As I continue to pull myself out of the hole caused by finishing a book and recovering from COVID, I was reminded of something that I wanted to write about in January but just didn’t have the time or health to do it. I was made aware of it due to a particularly bonkers piece of Twitter lore which I am absolutely not going to unpack here, but it stayed on my mind because it displays an honest to god medieval attitude towards women and sex. So, without further ado I give you this exchange:

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On finding inspiration for change

Every day I wake up with the grinding worry that some non-historian has had a very mad medieval history take, and every day that is true. Sadly, yesterday was one of those days once again as some basic wrote a bad take in The New York Times about how the Black Death allegedly improved conditions for workers. This, of course, is something I have rebutted at length, both on here, and also in The Washington Post (because ya girl is fancy now). It is one thing to complain about how this is bad history that has been roundly debunked, as I do that all the time. However, today I want to talk a little where in medieval history we can look for good news.

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On semen retention

Mostly because my life is cursed/an unending nightmare, I have been subjected to a lot of takes about semen retention lately. Part of this has to do with the fact that it is a specific alt-right talking point, with certain nazis going so far as to make statements like, “The (((elites))) [Jewish people] fear men who practice semen retention”, which…IDK man I don’t even know where to start with that one. Also, like, whatever the hell this is, which made me take psychic damage earlier this week:

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On women having sex with themselves

This week I have extremely been back on my bullshit talking about and thinking about medieval dildos, as ones does. Real fans of the blog, of course will remember that I have written about dildos before, but this week over on the We’re Not So Different Podcast Luke and I were having a bit of a chat about them as well. One of the things I mentioned there was the fact that dildos have a specific place in the medieval mind because of the way that medical and religious writers thought about sex. Then I opened twitter this morning, because I am a masochist, and saw an honest to god neo-Nazi talking about dildos in the exact same way. Behold:

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On pickup lines

This week, I was very pleasantly alerted to the world of AI generated pickup lines via the medium of Janelle Shane’s substack. There were any number of beautiful, bonkers, lines from, “Hey, my name is John Smith. Will you sit on my breadbox while I cook or is there some kind of speed limit on that thing?” to “I’m losing my voice from all the screaming your hotness is causing me to do.” I was, however, struck by the very good pickup line by one AI called Babbage which was heard to remark, “You’re looking good today. Want snacks?” and I am still in awe.

Anyway, I was posting away about my now blossoming relationship with Babbage over on twitter when Kara wrote to ask me to write something about pickup lines in the medieval period, and I will be damned if that is not a great idea. Don’t we all deserve a little light diversion on a Friday in the midst of all of the pandemic, ships stuck in the Suez canal, and police brutality? So, here is one for Kara.

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Podcast alert: Medieval sexuality on Tangentially Speaking

I had the distinct pleasure of talking to Christopher Ryan, whose work has been a huge influence on my own, on his Tangentially Speaking podcast. We talked about the misuse of history, how no one has ever been considered old at 35 ever, and of course George Michael. Check it out!

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On treating sex with the utmost reverence

For my last post of this garbage year I wanted to write you something festive. Maybe about commemoration, or compilation, or Christmas traditions of some kind. Then I logged into twitter and well lord forgive me, but it is time to go back to the old me.

You see, the first thing I was presented with as my poor tired eyes struggled to adjust to the weak light of a December morning was this:

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Podcast alert: Medieval sex demons, cold wet women and the plague on Storyteller

Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Lisa for the Storyteller podcast. Here we discuss sex demons, sex, women, and also exactly what my problem is and why I am like this. Enjoy!

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On Sex with Demons

In an extremely normal turn of events, this week I was forced to learn that Donald Trump, having never left his bullshit, was of course on it. The leader of the free world has been retweeting videos made by the good Dr Stella Immanuel, a Houston-based pediatrician who says the things he wants to hear. (Masks = bad. The drug that he has a financial interest in = good.) Turns out Dr Immanuel also has some, uh, spicier opinions as well.

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