10 Ways Lovemaking Changed the World

10 Ways Lovemaking Changed the World

Stephanie Schoppert - October 23, 2017

Throughout history, lovemaking has been portrayed in a number of different lights. In some societies, it was heralded and flaunted, in others, it was kept cloistered and private. Mankind cannot exist without it and yet the rules and views regarding lovemaking continue to change as society changes. Lovemaking has been able to influence politics, finances, science and the course of history in ways that may not be fully understood until decades or centuries later.

For some people having physical acts ruined their lives when the affair became public, for others it ended up costing their life. For science, evolving attitudes about lovemaking and reproduction ensured a better future for everyone, if there were a few setbacks along the way. Lovemaking has also been known to influence people in financial circles or be used by spies in order to get close to their targets. Some believe that even Albert Einstein fell in love with a Soviet spy and that was an affair that really could have changed the world if Albert had shared more with her. For better or worse getting down and dirty can have repercussions that can change history forever but there are worse ways to change the world.

Toys were Created To Spare Male Doctors Having to Give Women pleasure

Vibrators have been around for over 2 centuries and even though today they are associated with female pleasure, that was not at all what they were invented for. Vibrators are so common today that it is estimated that one-third of all women own one in order to enjoy themselves on their own time. Vibrators were created in the 19th century with the express purpose of giving women orgasms but it wasn’t out of any sort of concern for the pleasure of a woman. Instead, vibrators were created because male doctors were suffering from hand fatigue from having to frequently give women orgasms.

10 Ways Lovemaking Changed the World
One of the First Electric Vibrators. lostateminor.com


Women were honestly believed to derive no pleasure from physical acts and therefore orgasms were seen as just like any other medical treatment. Women of society were taught that physical drive and desire were strictly male characteristics. Women, on the other hand, were just there to put up with the act in order to pleasure the man and reproduce. This belief was of course not true at all, women were driven to physical acts just as much or even more than men. However, men gave no care to the pleasure of their wives and mistresses which led to many frustrated women.

These women would then go to their doctors with a litany of symptoms. They would complain of sleeplessness, wetness between the legs, erotic feelings, anxiety, and heaviness in the lower abdomen. This condition was called hysteria and throughout history, there were a number of different treatments. In the 13th century, women were offered dildos in order to deal with their frustration. By the 16th century, women were simply told to satisfy their husbands and encourage their lust. This was less than helpful since most women do not orgasm from intercourse alone. By the 17th century, masturbation was against common decency and therefore dildos were no longer an option.

Thus, women went to their doctors and midwives in droves for relief. A socially acceptable treatment was for the doctor or midwife to rub vegetable oil on the clitoris to stimulate it until orgasm. But since women did not experience pleasure the result was not called an orgasm but rather a paroxysm. So many women needed the treatment and it took so long to finish that many men complained of hand cramps and thus began searching for a mechanical option that would spare their aching hands. Experiments with hydro and steam-powered vibrators were only mildly successful and very dangerous, it was not until electricity that the first electromechanical vibrator was created to give doctors and women relief.

10 Ways Lovemaking Changed the World
Pericles and Aspasia. gettyimages.com

A Prostitute Incited the Peloponnesian War

In ancient Greece, women were subordinate to men in all regards with few exceptions. The closest thing in Greek society to a liberated woman was a hetaera. Hetaerae were high-class entertainers or courtesans that catered to a very select group of men. They were not common street women, in fact, they were often well educated which was not common for women in ancient Greece. Hetaerae were very independent and even paid taxes on the money they made from entertaining their high-class clients.

Aspasia was one such woman and she became so influential in ancient Greek society that she is mentioned by Plato and Aristophanes as well as other writers and historians of the time. She was so successful as a hetaera that she eventually owned her own brothel and became a rather respected woman. She was a foreigner in Athens which gave her further benefit because she was not limited by the legal restraints that forced married women to remain in their homes. She was actually allowed to participate in public life. She did have some detractors and as her influence grew, many in Athens grew to fear her.

Her life was considered to be immoral and normally would be frowned upon by upper-class women. But Aspasia was so well educated that men would send their wives to speak with Aspasia because she was a renowned conversationalist and adviser. She even gained the ear of Socrates and it was said that it was her teachings that helped to influence the famous philosopher. Socrates was not the only philosopher and scholar of the time that was fascinated by Aspasia and many would come simply to talk to her. As she rose in status she became the lover and partner of the statesman Pericles and advised him on matters of state.

It was Aristophanes who blamed Aspasia and her influence for the start of the Peloponnesian War. He claimed that the Megarian decree of Pericles was at the request of Aspasia. Megarians had stolen prostitutes from her brothel and therefore she wanted them punished. The Megarian decree, therefore, excluded Megara from trade with Athens or its allies. Aristophanes believed that the decree left the Megarians desperate and starving and with no choice but to turn to Sparta. The war occurred soon after as Sparta and her new allies feared the growing power and influence of Athens.

10 Ways Lovemaking Changed the World
Leeuwenhoek’s early depictions of dog and rabbit sperm. smithsonianmag.com

The Discovery of Sperm Cells

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was born in 1632 and is widely recognized as the world’s first microbiologist. He was the inventor of the first single-cell microscope which allowed him to study the composition of just about everything. He sent hundreds of letters to the Royal Society of London and with those letters he is credited with dozens of discoveries. He was so prolific in his discoveries, largely due to his invention of the microscope, that was able to magnify a person’s vision nearly 300 times. There are even some who believed that he was able to make microscopes with up to 500 times magnification.

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek’s microscopes were unheard of for the time and he was the only one with the technical ability to create them. During his life, he made 25 single-lens microscopes and 500 optical lenses. When he died in 1723 at the ripe age of 90 due to a rare disease (that would eventually bear his name), he took his knowledge to the grave. It wasn’t until 200 years later that someone was finally able to re-create his method in order to learn how Antonie van Leeuwenhoek had created his revolutionary microscopes.

One of Antonie van Leeuwenhoek’s discoveries also changed the way the world viewed lovemaking and reproduction. In 1677, he was making love to his wife and quite enjoying himself. Once he finished inside of his wife, the researcher jumped off and rushed to collect a sample of the fluids he had just deposited into his wife. His reputation with the Royal Society of London had led to their encouragement with his studies of human bodily fluids. Up until this point he had analyzed blood, milk, spit and tears but now it was time to see what was inside his very own semen.

When he placed the sample onto his microscope he did so in time to see living sperm cells. He described the sample as teeming with tiny “animalcules.” He said they had a blunt head and a nearly transparent tail and said that they moved like an eel. He was so entranced by what he had found that he surmised that the sperm cell was the only thing that was needed to make an embryo and that the egg and uterus merely nourished it. This was against the current view at the time that suggested the embryo grew from the egg after the sperm added a “volatile spark.” It wouldn’t be until the middle of the 19th century that scientists would truly understand the roles of the sperm and the egg in human reproduction.

Interesting Fact: Van Leeuwenhoek Gives Us Reason to Brush and Floss?

10 Ways Lovemaking Changed the World
Genghis Khan. wackulus.com

Genghis Khan Spawned His Own Army

There are few world leaders who were so prolific at physical act as Genghis Khan and his descendants. He was able to unite huge nomadic tribes under one Mongol empire and he did it, in part, by procreation. He would bear children with concubines or take wives from the different tribes who joined his ranks. Those sons and daughters would then hold loyalty to him and keep the tribes together and united. It was common for Ghengis to mate with women wherever he went and while not all of his children were legitimized many of them were in order to secure alliances.

When Genghis Khan died his empire reached far across Asia from the Pacific Ocean all the way to the Caspian Sea. After his death, his descendants continued to expand the empire while also expanding their own harems and relationships with concubines. The eldest son of Genghis Khan was Tushi and he is credited with having 40 sons. It was routine that after the army would pillage and loot a new conquest, Khan would get the first pick of the beautiful women. Kublai Khan, Genghis Khan’s grandson also followed in the prolific footsteps of his father and grandfather. He was said to have 22 sons and that more than 30 women would be added to his harem each year.

With so many men continuing to conquer and be quite prolific, the end result is a genetic legacy that is unparalleled. An international group of geneticists found that 8 percent of men living in the region that was once conquered by Genghis Khan have nearly identical Y-chromosomes to the warrior. When taken as a whole this means that 0.5% of the male population in the world today are related to Genghis Khan, in total about 16 million men. This is monumental in that a single genetic lineage was able to expand and have such an impact on a region in just a matter of a few hundred years.

This dominance is attributed not only to the prolific nature of the Khan family but also to the prestige that many societies attributed to someone that was descended from Ghengis Khan. In Russia being able to trace a lineage back to Genghis Khan was seen as a calling card for any would-be warlord. Indians also took great pride in being able to claim Genghiside heritage. In Islamic cultures, there were even some who put as much importance in someone being related to Ghengis Khan as being related to the prophet Muhammad. This prestige and importance often meant that descendants of Ghengis were not only high members of society but they were also ideal partners and were prolific with their prized lineage.

10 Ways Lovemaking Changed the World
Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. biography.com

The Only British King to Abdicate his Throne Did so For physical pleasure

Edward VIII is the only man in British history to abdicate his throne. Edward VIII was just a prince when he was introduced to Wallis Simpson in 1931. At the time Wallis Simpson was married to Ernest Aldrich Simpson who was an American citizen and a British shipping executive. It was the second marriage for Wallis, which did not place her in a favorable position for a relationship with the heir to the British throne. However, Edward VIII did not care and still pursued a relationship with Wallis Simpson when his other lover Lady Furness was visiting relatives in America.

Lady Furness had introduced Wallis and Edward but was not prepared for the two to become romantically involved in 1934 while Wallis was still married. Edward insisted that their relationship was not physical and that there was no need to call her his mistress, but the King and Queen refused to believe him. They also refused to accept Wallis Simpson as a suitable partner for Edward. They had the prince and Wallis followed by the metropolitan police in order to provide updates on the growing relationship and to find information on the married woman.

On January 20, 1936, Edward VIII took the throne and Wallis Simpson was finally allowed to attend more functions at the palace. Despite her regular appearances at events, it was always noted that her husband was never on the guest list. In October of 1936, it was becoming apparent that Edward VIII wished to marry Wallis Simpson as soon as she was legally able to. The King was advised against it as the British people would never accept her as Queen both for her background and reputation.

There were some close to the King who believed that Wallis Simpson held some sort of control over him. Some believed she released him from a dysfunction that he had, while others believed that the pair were in a sort of sadomasochistic relationship. Many found the behavior and manners of Wallis Simpson appalling and found that she bullied and expressed contempt for Edward VIII. When it became clear that Edward VIII would not be allowed to marry Wallis Simpson as King, he abdicated his throne in December of 1936. The throne passed to his brother and Edward VIII was then free to marry Wallis Simpson. He did so and the couple remained together for 35 years.

10 Ways Lovemaking Changed the World
Richard and Mildred Loving. nytimes.com

Interracial Marriage in the U.S. was Legalized Because of Pre-Marital act

Mildred Delores Jeter was a young woman who was dark skinned but considered herself to be more Native American than black. In 1957 she fell in love with a white man by the name of Richard Perry Loving. They were six years apart but still a young love flourished between them and at the age of 18, Mildred found herself pregnant. The couple decided that they would do things right and get married. Unfortunately, the couple lived in Virginia, a state which was still under the Racial Integrity Act of 1924. The Act made the marriage of whites and non-whites a criminal offense.

To get around the law, the couple traveled to nearby Washington D.C. where interracial marriage was legal. They got married in June of 1958 and then returned home to Virginia. A month later, an anonymous tip had the police raiding the couple’s home in the early hours of the morning. The police had been hoping to catch the couple in the act of lovemaking as that was also an illegal offense in Virginia. The police found the couple sleeping in the same bed and when questioned by police, Mildred told them that she was Richard Loving’s wife by pointing to the marriage certificate on the wall.

The police responded that the certificate was not valid in Virginia and the couple was arrested. On January 6, 1959, the couple pleaded guilty to living as man and wife “against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth.” They were both sentenced to a year in prison but the sentence was suspended as long as they left Virginia and did not return together for 25 years. The couple moved to the District of Columbia but over the years struggled with the sentence. Both of their families had lived in Virginia for generations, and it was a struggle to never be able to visit their families together or even be allowed to live in their home state.

The Lovings, by 1964, had had enough of being forced away from their home and family. They appealed the decision with the help of the ACLU and the case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. It was then decided in a unanimous ruling that the convictions against the Lovings be overturned. The Supreme Court ruled that anti-miscegenation laws were racist and that the rights of an individual to marry someone of any race could not be infringed upon by the state.

10 Ways Lovemaking Changed the World
1950s couple on a date. Pinterest

Acts Became More Open With the Spread of Cars

In the 1920s, it was the age of the automobile. More and more people were able to afford cars and as time went on, more and more young people were able to own cars or borrow their parents’ car. As teenagers and young adults become more mobile they were able to be more independent and it wasn’t long before they noticed that cars had another advantage. Cars were basically a cheap, mobile hotel room. It was easy to find a secluded spot and then have some fun making out or even going further.

It was quickly realized that cars were potentially degrading American morals. Men were able to use cars to find their way to brothels and prostitutes were able to proposition men on street corners. It was now possible for men to simply enjoy a prostitute within their own car rather than having to travel to a hotel room. But more alarming was the way that cars allowed teens and young adults a way to be free of parental supervision. Pre-marital act was on the rise from 1910-1930 as cars became a common household item.

The proliferation of cars was also coming at a time when women were becoming more independent and less cloistered. They were dancing the Charleston, listening to jazz music, wearing pants and riding bicycles. Women were seeking education and jobs and dating was becoming a regular thing. Now a man would pick up a girl at her home and take her out for dinner and entertainment. As it became the custom for the man to pay, a working girl was often expected to offer him something in return. As it was often the only way a woman could afford such luxuries they often obliged the requests of their date to go all the way in the backseat of the car.

The use of the car for an easy way to hook up and have an act only increased throughout the 50s and 60s and was attributed as part of the revolution. Now young adults often owned their own cars or households would have more than one car which allowed for even more ease of transportation and privacy. As the norms loosened with women becoming more independent and young adults being more interested in free love and fighting against the stiff cultural norms, the rate of premarital acts skyrocketed. The car, the prosperity of the 50s and the rise of teenagers with their own cars led to drastically changing attitudes about intercourse among young Americans and future generations.

10 Ways Lovemaking Changed the World
J. Edgar Hoover. biography.com

Edgar Hoover Had a intercourse File to Influence and Intimidate his Enemies

It is no secret that when J. Edgar Hoover was in control of the FBI that he often exceeded its jurisdiction. He turned the FBI into an unparalleled crime-fighting agency and instituted a number of modernizations to police technology. He was director of the Bureau of Investigation in 1924 and went on to help found the FBI in 1935. He was the director of the FBI from 1935 until his death in 1972. He even had the rules changed so that he could remain director even after he passed the age of 70. Many believed that Hoover was much too old to be an effective leader of the FBI but both Presidents and members of Congress feared the consequences of dismissing him.

J. Edgar Hoover used his position and his resources as director of the FBI to create files on those he found to be a threat to himself or to the country. This included political opponents, civil rights leaders, and communists. Hoover was frustrated by the decisions of the Supreme Court and the Justice Department in regards to being allowed to prosecute people for their political opinions so he decided to take matters into his own hands. In 1956, he created a covert program called COINTELPRO that allowed him to go after communists or people he viewed as a threat.

COINTELPRO was originally created to fight the Communist Party but it expanded to include just about any person or organization that Hoover found to be a threat to national security. Even those who were considered to be nonviolent became targets of the program because they had the potential for violence. Black nationalist groups, white supremacist groups, women’s rights groups, the American Indian Movement and the National Lawyers Guild were just a few of the groups that invoked the ire of Hoover and COINTELPRO.

COINTELPRO would threaten and intimidate those they targeted by planting fake media stories to discredit individuals. At times stories of affairs or deviant behavior would be spread to the media, even after a person’s death. As part of the program of intimidation and blackmail, Hoover had spies follow his targets and find what they could. In many cases, they found evidence of infidelity that Hoover would later use to blackmail people into compliance, including Martin Luther King Jr. There are some who believe that the reason many presidents and members of Congress refused to let Hoover go, despite his turning the FBI into a secret police force, was that he held similar files on their transgressions.

10 Ways Lovemaking Changed the World
Charles II of Spain. wikipedia.org

The End of the Habsburg Dynasty

The Habsburgs were a powerful family in Europe from the 13th century up until the 20th century. In 1516 Charles I became ruler of the Spanish Empire and in 1519 he became the Holy Roman Emperor (Charles V). Charles V’s reign was marred by almost constant war as many feared that his power would lead to a universal hegemony. He abdicated his thrones at the age of 56 to retire to a monastery. He left the Holy Roman Empire to his brother Ferdinand I and the Spanish Empire to his son Phillip II. This split the family into the Austrian Habsburgs and the Spanish Habsburgs.

The Spanish Habsburgs sought to keep their blood pure and limit rivalries within their family. They did not want any outside powers making claims to their throne. In order to protect their hold on the throne, they practiced intermarriage. From the time that they took the throne marriages were common between uncles-nieces and cousins. Over the 200-year reign of the Habsburg dynasty in Spain, nine out of 11 marriages occurred between family members, often uncles-nieces or first cousins. The limited gene pool meant that genetic disorders were far more common and dangerous recessive traits were more likely to pop up.

About half of the babies born into the Habsburg family died before reaching their first birthday. This was a huge contrast to the only 20% of babies who died before their first birthday in the Spanish villages. Deformities, genetic disorders, and other problems were also far more common among the Habsburg family. Studies have now shown the that over centuries of inbreeding the effect of inbreeding on later generations was largely increased. When Charles II was born in 1665 he had an inbreeding standard the same as if his parents had been brother and sister, even though they were uncle and niece.

Charles II suffered greatly from the years of inbreeding. He was unable to speak until the age of 4 and unable to walk until the age of 8. He was largely raised as an infant until he was ten. He had intestinal problems and was considered to be mentally disabled and infertile. He had two marriages, neither of which were able to provide an heir to the throne. His half-brothers all died and he was left as the last male of the Spanish Habsburgs. His fragile health led to his own demise at the age of 38 in 1700, with his death came the end of the Spanish Habsburgs.

10 Ways Lovemaking Changed the World
Kitty Fisher. wikipedia.org

The First Modern-Day Celebrity Became Famous for her Promiscuity

Many of today’s celebrities get a rap of being famous simply for being famous. They are not actors or musicians but many of them are part of a societal elite that allows them to have the money to make an impression. That money also means a brand and a way to push forth their own celebrity, sometimes even with scandalous rumors and physical acts tapes. This might feel like a new phenomenon but it is anything but. In the 18th century newspapers were just as fascinated with scandal as we are today, the more promiscuous the better.

In fact, British newspapers would tell stories of the local prostitutes, the lewder the prostitute and her stories, the better. Prostitutes were known to publish books and have prints made of their portraits, which sold by the thousands. One of the first and most revered of these prostitutes was Kitty Fisher. She first started to get attention in her teen years and then after she drew the eye of prominent artists, her picture spread throughout the local gentry. She was skilled at publicity and her affairs with men of wealth spread far and wide. Her appearance and dress became role models for women who wanted to turn men’s heads.

It was common for courtesans of the time to do their own PR. Kitty Fisher put out her own advertisements that allowed men to know they would not only be getting stimulated by her body but by her skills at conversation as well. She rose up through the ranks enough that her clientele became more and more wealthy and upper class. There were even nursery rhymes that spoke of how Kitty Fisher was stealing the lovers of the other prostitutes. Kitty also had a very public falling out with Maria Lady Coventry after bragging about having a relationship with Lord Coventry.

As copies of her portraits spread she became one of the world’s first “pin-up” girls. And it wasn’t just her romantic exploits that dominated the newspapers. When she fell off her horse while riding in a public park, the newspapers had a field day. They mocked her in prints and ballads and satire and the story remained in the papers for months. There were even books written about the incident and the tale of the “fallen woman.” Kitty became so wealthy from her lovers and her publicity that she was said to spend twelve thousand pounds a year and be the first in her social class to employ servants.