Medieval Aphrodisiacs to Not Try At Home

Rosalie Gilbert, author of The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women, has written a blog post on how to win at love- read Rosalie’s post here.

Arnica is, apparently, quite lust-inducing.
Arnica is, apparently, quite lust-inducing.

The world of medieval herbals sometimes seems like it has valid grounds for use. Many tonics are things we use today. Lavender to promote good sleep and restfulness, chamomile to calm nerves. Often medieval herbal medicine has a lot going for it, but at other times, like this one, we are left wondering how this kind of rumour got started in the first place, let alone carefully written down and recommended for others to try.

Just touch a person’s skin  with fresh arnica and get results in the love department? One assumes one needs to be close enough to touch them in the first place, so a certain degree of familiarity is required. At this point, with the target in range, introductions made, and chit chat out of the way, the technique of the skin touching might be the key to the level of success attained.

Flailing a fist full of uprooted plant around may seem slightly more a flagellant than a turn on which is unlikely to arouse any passions (unless that’s your thing,) but slowing tracing a sprig of scented blossom down bare skin following a hot, scented, candle-lit bath may well get the results as promised.

Mind you, if that’s the modus operandi, it’s fairly certain that any sprig of flowers would do the trick, not just specifically arnica. Just saying.


The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women

An Inside Look at Women & Sex in Medieval Times

An inside look at sexual practices in medieval times. Were medieval women slaves to their husband’s desires, jealously secured in a chastity belt in his absence? Was sex a duty or could it be a pleasure? Did a woman have a say about her own female sexuality, body, and who did or didn’t get up close and personal with it? No. And yes. It’s complicated.

Romance, courtship, and behind closed doors. The intimate lives of medieval women were as complex as for modern women. They loved and lost, hoped and schemed, were lifted up and cast down. They were hopeful and lovelorn. Some had it forced upon them, others made aphrodisiacs and dressed for success. Some were chaste and some were lusty. Having sex was complicated. Not having sex, was even more so.

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