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More from Alice Raw

Sexperts of Medieval England

Impotence was sufficient grounds for annulment, but how to prove that a man experienced erectile disfunction? In 1433, one court asked ‘seven honest women’ to ascertain whether or not the defendant was capable of an erection with that timeless method, a lapdance.

Further Reading:
Bronach Kane, “Impotence and Virginity in the Late Medieval Ecclesiastical Court of York,” Borthwick Paper 114 (2008)

Three dames and a dildo.

In c.1340, a professional scribe of Shropshire copied down a fun fireside tale. Three women are off on a pilgrimage. On the road, one of them finds ‘a great huge penis, draped about with just its muzzle peeking out’ from behind a hawthorn bush. This episode considers a variety of stories of wandering genitalia, and the problems with picking up a disembodied penis off the road.

Before Cards of Humanity: Games for Medieval Women

It’s winter in Suffolk, and you and your friends are bored of sewing. What next? Why, a round of ‘Have Your Desire’, of course! In this quick fire dice game, you roll to reveal your fortune. Spoiler alert: you’re probably going to have sex.

Further Reading:
Nicola McDonald, ‘Fragments of Have Your Desire: Brome Women at Play’, Medieval Domesticity, ed. Kowaleski & Goldberg (Cambridge, 2008)

More in United Kingdom

Plague Fires

At the height of the Great Plague of London, great bonfires of rare herbs burn across the deserted city. Join Samuel Peyps in the midst of this hellish vision – a last-ditch attempt to stop the spread of disease.