Seriously strange sex practices

Virgins who catch salmon with their bare hands, men who have sex with bin liners and castrated penises thrown to the ducks…welcome to the weird, wacky world of sex as you probably don’t know it

This is, without apology, not going to improve your sex life in the slightest. I’ve written it purely for the fascination factor, as a salute to how diverse – and perverse – human sexuality really is.

And you thought abstinence rings were weird…

You might get a silver ring and pat on the head by an abstinence group for preserving your virginity today, but it was revered by ancient (and not so ancient) cultures. Each developed its own method of virgin authenticity.

The Incas in South America believed the breath of a virgin could ignite a smouldering fire. (An evil non-virgin was brought in to put the fire out.).

In the Jewish Talmud, you’d straddle an open wine cask while a rabbi smelt your breath. If you’d done the deed, the wine fumes would have a clear path upward.

Meanwhile, in ancient China, there was the ‘pigeon egg test’: the small, delicate egg would be pressed against the vagina and if it could be pushed inside, you’d failed the test dismally.

In medieval Europe, virgins were blessed with magic powers: able to pass through fires without burning, hold poisonous snakes without being bitten and catch salmon in their bare hands.

Modern day strange things

Back on present day planet earth, you’d think we’d have sorted our lives out a bit. But no, we’re still as bonkers. There are so many strange stories of sexual behaviour to choose from, it killed me to narrow it down to these little corkers.

There’s the Hereford man jailed first for having sex with the pavement (1993), then two years later for doing it in public with a bin liner.

The optician in Belgian arrested for making his female patients strip and dance to accordian music before he’d fit them with contact lenses (1995).

The Pennsylvanian judge who promised to let criminals off if they let him shampoo their hair (1992).

The American guy, arresting for shooting himself for sexual kicks while wearing a bullet-proof vest (1992) and the proud Frenchman, who left his 9 and ¾ inch penis to a friend in his will.

A 1948 survey found 8% of adult US males had had sexual contact with animals and seems we’re still quite fond of it. Not so long ago (1998) a man in San Francisco was charged with running a sex dungeon where you could have sex with an anteater, eels and a water buffalo.

Not only are we still having sexual contact with animals, we’re still getting caught. One can only imagine the humiliation felt by the 59-year-old man from Sussex, who sat his friends down to watch a wedding video, inserted the wrong tape and instead treated them to him having sex with the neighbours dog (1994). It’s uncertain whether the neighbours were there at the time but you can bet Rover was kept inside from there on.

Sweet but somewhat misguided was the 85-year-old Sicilian man who stabbed his wife in the shoulder when he found a hot, passionate letter addressed to her. It turned out to be written by him, fifty years earlier.

Till death do us part. “Everyone to his own taste and mine is for corpses,” said Henry Blot, the famous necrophiliac at his trial in the 19th century. He’d continued to have sex with his wife for seven years after her death.

If you think that’s odd, cast a suspicious eye over anyone abnormally absorbed in the Statue of David. A galateist or agalmatophiliac is a person sexually attracted to statues or mannequins.


Castration – removal of the testicles and or penis – might be illegal today, but back along, it was as common as a Roman orgy.

  • The testicles were removed by either crushing, twisting or tying a tight string around the scrotum, cutting off the blood supply and waiting till the whole thing dropped off. (I can see you wince from here.) If you were lucky, they simply used a knife.

Why do it? Castrated men –  eunuchs –  were hotly pursued by royalty because they were considered good employees. Unambitious, loyal and…yeah right, what everyone really meant was eunuch’s were unlikely or unable to shag your wife or mistress.

  • In Greece, eunuch’s were employed to guard the King’s harem; The Persian Emperor Darius (500BC) insisted on being supplied with 500 castrated boys every year for employment within the palace. He liked them because they were ‘docile’. Around 90%, in fact, died if both the penis and testicles were removed.
  • If they weren’t lopping off penises to create obedient, subservient men, warriors were cutting them off as battle trophies. The Hebrews liked snipping off their enemy foreskins as war mementos (sentimental folk that they were); the ancient Egyptians and Ethiopians went the whole hog and took the lot. Egyptian Pharoah Menephta collected 13,240 penises from dead Libyan soldiers in 13000BC to celebrate his victory.
  • In more recent times, a housewife in China decided the same ‘pruning’ principle that applied to trees, might work on her underperforming husband. She cut off his penis thinking it might grow back bigger and stronger. It didn’t.
  • There’s also the infamous story of two Thai wives who not only cut off their husband’s penises, they made damn sure they couldn’t be reattached. One, rather ingeniously, tied her husband’s severed member to a helium balloon, the other simply chucked it out the window – straight into the mouth of a duck.

* Some of this research was drawn from the following fascinating books: Sex, A User’s Guide by Stephen Arnott, The Book of Weird Sex by Chris Gordon and The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices by Brenda Love.