Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sex & medicine in the middle ages (back in the day.)

So I was reading the J-Walk blog this morning and I came upon the words "penitential belt." Apparently it's worn by religious peeps who want to somehow pay retribution for sinning -- or something.  I went Googling to find out what it was (a leather belt with metal studs on the inside that dug into the wearer’s skin.)

Anyway, while I was looking for info on the belt I ran into this (Sex In The Middle Ages: 10 Titillating Facts You Wanted To Know But Were Afraid to Ask) and learned where they think the word "dildo" comes from. I also learned what "A tergo" means.  Erm, it means "from behind."


There are some references to the use of dildos by women in the Middle Ages, in particular, this one in a Church “penitential,” a book that prescribes punishments for sins.

“Have you done what certain women are accustomed to do, that is to make some sort of device or implement in the shape of the male member of a size to match your sinful desire? If you have done this, you shall do penance for five years on legitimate holy days.”  "... what women are accustomed to ... " LMAO!

The word dildo was not actually used until the Renaissance period, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, but one fanciful explanation of its origin was a small elongated loaf of bread flavored with dill, thus “dilldough.”


One of the most popular fashion accessories of the Middle Ages was the codpiece – a flap or pouch that attached to the front of the crotch of men's trousers and accentuated it in such a way as to emphasize or exaggerate the genitals. They were stuffed with sawdust or cloth and held closed by string ties, buttons, or other methods. The crotch was often extremely large or gave the idea of an erect penis. The word, codpiece, comes from the Middle English word, cod, which means scrotum.

Another symbol of virility in fashion was a style of shoe called the poulaine. These were long, pointy-toed shoes, that were also meant to suggest the size of the wearer’s penis – the longer point, the more virile the man.

Codpieces and poulaines are frequently seen in the paintings of the Dutch artist, Pieter Breugel. There is a portrait of Henry VIII, one of the great “fashion horses” of the later Middle Ages, wearing both.

So I was done reading that page and saw a popup type alert that said "If you liked this then you might also like "10 Excruciating Medical Treatments from the Middle Ages." Turns out they were right, cuz, yes ... yes I was interested."

Blocked Bladders: Metallic catheters inserted into the bladder

Blockage of urine in the bladder, due to syphilis and other venereal diseases, was fairly common at a time when antibiotics were not available. The urinary catheter – a metal tube inserted through the urethra into the bladder – was first used in the mid-1300s. When a tube could not easily be passed into the bladder to relieve the obstruction, other procedures to enter the bladder were devised, some quite novel, though all probably as painful and dangerous as the condition itself.

Here is a description of the treatment of kidney stones: "If there is a stone in the bladder make sure of it as follows: have a strong person sit on a bench, his feet on a stool; the patient sits on his lap, legs bound to his neck with a bandage, or steadied on the shoulders of the assistants. The physician stands before the patient and inserts two fingers of his right hand into the anus, pressing with his left fist over the patient's pubes. With his fingers engaging the bladder from above, let him work over all of it. If he finds a hard, firm pellet it is a stone in the bladder... If you want to extract the stone, precede it with light diet and fasting for two days beforehand. On the third day, ... locate the stone, bring it to the neck of the bladder; there, at the entrance, with two fingers above the anus incise lengthwise with an instrument and extract the stone." (Photo by: McKinney Collection) 

Yes, that's right ... that's some strong medicine ... and you know damn well all of you hoppage reading this would have had this procedure cuz of the syphilis, sooooo ...

1 comment:

ragweed said...

No doubt that is when Yeast infections started

Post a Comment