Sex has intrigued humankind forever.
And while we may think people today have developed wild and crazy sexual practices, compared with our ancestors, we don't even know the meaning of the word "bizarre".
Take these seven examples:
1. Cleopatra's vibrator was the bees' knees. And other bits...
Sex toys go back as far as ancient Egypt, with the invention of the clay dildo. In fact, Egypt's Queen Cleopatra is considered by some to be an early innovator of vibrators, as she is said to have pleasured herself with the buzzing created by a box full of bees. Suicide-by-asp was obviously the last resort of a lady who liked to live dangerously.
In an effort to improve their dildos, the ancient Greeks and Romans had leather sheaths put on them to better simulate the feeling of an actual penis, instead of the texture of wood or stone.
These leather-sheathed dildos, known as olisbos, were so popular that in the classic Greek comedy play Lysistrata, the Greek women stage a sex strike to end the Peloponnesian War partly because they can no longer import good leather dildos.
2. Heavy petting parties
The term "heavy petting" can be traced back to the 1920s, where men and women in North America would hold "petting parties".
These events were different, "but certainly there were parties where young people did quite a lot of erotic exploration — kissing and fondling. These parties always stopped before intercourse. In that sense they had imposed limitations created by the group presence. They were not orgies and they were not promiscuous — one set of partners only," explained history professor Paula Fass on U.S. National Public Radio.
Petting parties "allowed young people to experiment in a self-limiting way by creating peer regulation that both encouraged experimentation and created clear limits," Fass added.
Versions of the party, depending on where they were happening, were also called necking, mushing, fussing or spooning parties.
3. Taoism, also known as preserving semen, the essence of life
Taoism is centred upon the belief of qi (or chi) — the life force that is within everything in existence. When it comes to the human body, the chi takes the form of jing, that is the essence that gives us life, and Taoists believe that the loss of jing may cause illness and even death when it becomes totally expended, according to Lit Verse.
In the body, the one substance that is said to contain the most jing is the semen. This belief led the ancient practitioners of Taoism to believe that a man should not lose too much of his semen, because it's the essence that gives life — and because of this, ancient Taoist men were advised not to ejaculate during sex.
4. A leech on your labia to fake virginity
During medieval times, where a woman's virginity was highly regarded, women who were not virgins would go to weird extremes to give their husband the illusion that they were still virgins. One option was to do this by placing a leech on their labia the day before their wedding night.
"The day before her marriage, let her put a leech cautiously on her labia, taking care lest it slip in by mistake; then blood will flow out here, and a little crust will form in that place. Because of the flux of blood and the constricted channel of the vagina, thus in having intercourse the false virgin will deceive the man," read one version of the Trotula.
Bundling was the practice of putting a courting couple together in bed for the night, fully clothed, so they get better acquainted before marriage.
"To ensure there wouldn't be any hanky panky, they would not only be clothed but have a barrier between them. Sometimes it was a board that went down the length of the bed — a bundling board or a large pillow ("bundling bolster") down the middle, or put in a sack — a bundling bag that could be sewn or tied shut to prevent them from removing it," according to the Sexual History Tour.
This was to prevent premarital sex.
6. Crocodile dung to prevent pregnancy
Amorous ancient Egyptian women used crocodile-pooh pessaries. Documents dating back to 1850BCE refer to this method of contraception for ancient Egyptian women. Trying to avoid pregnancy, they would shove crocodile dung into the vagina to act as a diaphragm.
Crocodile dung is actually slightly alkaline, like modern-day spermicides, so it could have worked, noted The Daily Mail.
7. Sweat as an aphrodisiac
Before aphrodisiacs and lubricants as we know them, female fans of ancient Roman gladiators would buy their sweat and grime after matches and use it as an aphrodisiac lubricant.
Some women wore hairpins and other jewellery dipped in gladiator blood, and some even mixed gladiator sweat into facial creams and other cosmetics.
I find the scent of male sweat to be incredibly intoxicating and a total aphrodisiac. Reason y i go to the gym.— Yarmouth Confessions (@YarmouthConfes1) May 14, 2018