Sexuality in medieval times

Religious themes

Religion in medieval times suggested that sexual intercourse was an activity which should be confined to marital relationships and used only for the act of procreation. Extra-marital relationships and adultery were considered extremely sinful and carried severe punishments if discovered.


Research surrounding relationships between men and women during medieval times suggests that women played a passive role in sexual intercourse. Women were expected to fulfil men’s needs and had little choice in the matter.


Sexuality was not a subject of great societal interest like it is today. People were not considered as heterosexual or homosexual; if homosexuality was in existence, it was hidden as it was considered a great sin by the Church.


Of course, at the time there were no such things as the pill or even vasectomy reversal, and birthrates and the process of giving birth were much different to that of today. At the time it is believed it was mainly the job of the midwife to get the job done, but this can be seen as a positive due to the level of infection that would be found in hospitals at the time.