Married Priests? Lesbian Nuns? Yup.

Yup. Way back when, married guys could become priests. Even some of those oh-so-holy desert hermits, like the ones in the Bible, had wives! Although the hermit-y guys SUPPOSEDLY didn’t have sex with these women-they-lived-totally-alone-with-day-after-day-week-after-lonely-week. (Yeah. Right.) Hermit wives supposedly just did all the cooking and cleaning up:

  1. “Pick up scorpion.”
  2. “Eat it.” (avoid stinger).
    Come on. How much cooking and cleaning is there to DO in a desert?

“I’ve Finished Catching Today’s Lizards–Can You Think of Anything ELSE We Can Do Besides Pray For the Next 23 Hours?”

Now it is true that priests weren’t allowed to marry AFTER they became priests, only before, but their before-wives were allowed to keep living with them. Early Christians just weren’t as uptight about sexual matters as later ones. Then, a few hard#sses spoiled it for everyone.

St. Paul the Not Too Bad

The first spoilsport was the apostle Paul, but at least he had logic on his side:
He thought everyone should drop Sex For Fun because we should devote ourselves more completely to God. Less focus on our body gives more for the Spirit. But Paul realized we’re not all capable (willing!) of that much self-control, so he also said, basically, “Okay, if you MUST have sex, go ahead and marry, and then do your conjugal duty by each other.”

Even Paul, very sexist by today’s standards, felt that the duty was mutual: That husbands should satisfy their wives, too. That’s an apostolic creed (belief) I can get behind!

St. Augustine the Hypocrite

But then we come to the “great” St. Augustine. Prior to his saintliness, randy-man Augie had partaken freely–enthusiastically!–of sex. He’d even joked that when he’d decided on turning over a new spiritual leaf, he had prayed to God: “Give me chastity—but not yet.”. But the new Saintly Augie didn’t think anyone ELSE should enjoy themselves like he had.

“Just Take My Word For It–Sex Isn’t All That.”

What bugged him the most about sex was that one part of your body acts like it is the boss of all of you. The little brain runs the big brain. (Augie definitely had that right. Women had recognized the male little-brain phenomenon long before this: When an early cave-dude, Dah-Ahg, had swung his hairy noggin so fast to check out the sexy brow-ridge on the babe the next cave over, he wound up walking right into the first fire. Oh, how Pok and Neexa hooted scornfully at him!! Oral tradition tells us they actually coined two of pre-history’s first words:   “Hot Babe”.)

Annual Celebration of That Roving-Eyed Dah-Ahg’s Come-Uppance

Augustine was so full of himself he even came up with a brand new name for our little-brain parts–our privates–even though they had lots of perfectly good names already. Augie didn’t think the old names captured just how low-down dirty they were. He called them “pudenda” (“pew-DEN-duh”–that’s for more than one–just mine or yours would be a “puDENdum”) from the Latin root “pudere”—to be ashamed.

Aug decided that intercourse for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden must have been a lust-free “Insert Part A Into Part B.” kinda thing:

Do NOT Enjoy Yourselves. See Also: Following Diagram.

Substitute Pudenda for Hands (If Parts Squeak, Add Holy Oil)

But then, evil Mr. Snakey slithered by, sprinkled lust dust on Adam and Eve’s naughty bits, and turned Eve into a dirty, dirty girl. That’s why we needed to cover up those bits with fig leaves. (Too bad it wasn’t fig newtons—that could have been fun, if a bit sticky!)

Preferred Way to Remove a Fig Newton Leaf

Other holier-than-thou types jumped on the no-no bandwagon and agreed with Augie, only even more so: Sex was icky, icky, icky. Clearly the most holy folk had the least sex. Priests should most definitely avoid it. It took the Church a few hundred years to force their way with this. And they’re still trying.

Lesbians? Cool. But no SELF-Pleasuring!

The Church almost entirely ignored female homosexuality. But if nuns were found using long hard objects in private (dildos), they were punished severely. So: Males thinking women-on-women action is totally hot goes WAY back–and so does the male fear of being outperformed by something that always stays hard. (Whenever we want it, baby!)

No WONDER Nuns With Long Hard Objects Wound Up Using Them in Anger (Uh…Am I Going To Hell For Saying That?)

Gays? Less Cool. But No Biggie, Back Then.

For an uptight intolerant bunch of repressive control freaks, Church folk were remarkably tolerant of male homosexuality. The church had a “graduated scale” of tolerance: Males kissing males were punished less than two males masturbating, who were punished less than two having oral sex. The worst punishments were reserved for those discovered having anal sex. Fair-mindedly, for all of these, older participants or those who held high positions in the church were punished more than those under the age of 20.

For more than 500 years, “homosexuals were in fact treated no more harshly than were couples who practiced contraception.” (Reay Tannahill, Sex in History)

In other words, the Church gave the merest tippy-taps of a slap on the dangly wrist. (Drat. Now I’m definitely going to gay hell for saying THAT. At least there’ll be hardwood floors and good landscaping. Oooo! And Oscar Wilde!)

St. Thomas the Total Twerp

St. Thomas Aquinas bears a lot of the blame for the change. He wrote an argument “proving” that since the sexual organs were clearly designed by God for procreation (pro-cree-AY-shun–making babies), that was the only use for them, and anything else was verboten (vair-BOE-ten–not allowed): No anal sex or oral sex, whether you’re gay or straight. No sex for fun.

Surprisingly-Modern Medieval Priest Headgear

Unless you are like many young men, even today: You think that the more babies you help make, the more of a man you are, so your idea of fun is to try to make a baby every time you have sex. That makes you like a termite, or a cockroach. They make lots and LOTS of babies. In your case, you really DO have a pudendum (shameful part) between your legs–and between your ears.

Just Sorta Tacked On Bit:
Did You Know Every Priest Is Jesus’s Twin?

In 1977, at the height of feminism, the Church announced two reasons women still couldn’t be priests:
1) Jesus chose only men for his apostles
2) Each priest reminds his congregation of the actual physical Jesus, and female priests can’t do this.

Really? Do you mean to tell me that both skinny, 6’4″ red-headed Father Keavney, and short, fat, white-haired red-nosed Father Kerry BOTH reminded me of the SAME Jesus?

THIS Jesus? (A Little Too Pale for a Middle-Eastern Jewish Man, But You Get the Idea.)

What about that day I was pulled out of Catechism class and Father Keavney literally screamed at me for daring to ASK A QUESTION? Was THAT supposed to remind me of Jesus, too? I guess that must have been from the Bible’s money-changers-in-the-temple scene. But it seems to me that my every-day Catechism teacher–pretty, petite Sister Bernadette–was a lot more Christ-like.


  1. This is the fourth in a series of posts based on information from “Sex in History” by Reay Tannahill. Misplaced my notes and have donated my book to the library, but I think most of the stuff here came from around page 160.

  2. I was never taught by a mean nun. All that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing were kind, caring women–even the strict ones–and I never witnessed a hand or wooden stick of any kind raised to a child in anger.

Next Post in the Series: Better Sex You Say? And Tao!
Previous Post in the Series: Ancient Greek Dudes Were NOT Gay…Kinda

Leave a comment


  1. franv32

     /  2014/03/08

    I don’t know why you aren’t teaching Religious Studies in a school. They’d certainly sit up and listen to that lesson.
    And yes, you are definitely going to hell after writing this post. I can hear your name being crossed out of St. Peter’s list: ‘Good Souls to Allow to Pass the Gates of Heaven’ RIGHT now.


    • You give me way too much credit. Reay Tannahill, the author of Sex in History, did the heavy lifting. All I did was wade through her book and pick and choose so that you-all didn’t have to. Oops–I mean, so that you-all could TOTALLY go out and buy a copy, now that you’ve had a taste for what’s between the covers.

      As for those gates, I think my first year in college already lost me my Get-In-Free pass ; )

      BTW, no longer Catholic, but I do still pray, and try to remember to thank God for nice sights, smells, sounds, textures, and events, large and small. That includes lovely compliments from lovely fellow bloggers like you : )


    • Informative AND funny… OMG your writing delivers the whole package! :-)… just like Joey Allgood (

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, Enzo!

        How long has this sat here unreplied to? Even so, no prize for you!! The record is two years for a commenter on the Troll Village post.

        Yes, I am ashamed. HOW did I not see this? Especially given that awesome compliment–thank you really a bunch of lots–and the link over to Joey?

        I’m so very sorry.

        Ti prego, perdonami.

        –O. Babe


  2. LF6

     /  2014/03/09

    Religious corruption and sexual immorality seem to go hand in hand. Some very candid and valid points in this piece of satire I am assuming. Sex is a gift from God and can be experienced at its fullest within His confines.


    • I agree that more belief in God would help reduce immoral acts, as long as that belief is taught in the context of total acceptance and love of other-believers (not “tolerance”) rather than via a holier than thou attitude. Teaching about God or any topic is more effective when done through modelling desired behavior and asking Socratic questions–talking with, not at..

      I also definitely agree that sex is a gift from God. I am grateful to Him that I am now in a loving relationship which I pray is blessed by Him, rather than the long, loveless marriage which was sanctioned by Church.


  3. RR

     /  2014/03/09

    Sometimes I think we simply “think” too much – especially about what everyone else is doing. Good read. Cheers for that 🙂


  4. I had fun once and it was awful. I can see many women and men who adopt this as their mantra. This post was too funny. I would have enjoyed religion class in high school if my teacher were half as interesting and funny as you.


    • I’d enjoy MYSELF if I were a quarter this interesting and funny. In person, a total dullard. Ask Fang. Or Maggie.

      Seriously, it is extremely rewarding to hear that someone thinks you’re funny when you’re TRYING to be. Thank you!

      As for enjoying Religion class, had you been raised Catholic, you could have enjoyed it either way: Bored and miserable? Bliss out in martyrhood!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was raised Roman Catholic, yet I didn’t think of that. They were preaching the answers! If only I had paid attention I would have found a way to end eternal misery and boredom.


  5. This is interesting! I’ve read Augustine’s Confessions several times and some Aquinas in college but I didn’t realize they thought sex should be free of lust/that it was that way pre-fall/that oral/anal sex was forbidden. How odd.


    • Well, Aussa, unlike true scholars like you, I used a secondary source: I took Reay Tannahill’s word on all this (don’t recall if I read her endnotes, though I typically do). You read some of the primary horse’s whinnies’ sources. So I could be wrong, of courses.

      (However, in defense of Ms. Tannahill and her work, while I don’t always agree with her conclusions, I have no reason to doubt the the quality of her research or her reporting of what it revealed.)


      • I’m sure she had a better grasp of it than I did! I read it in high school back when I had time to read the world. Then I wrote a paper on it in college… amazing, I don’t remember anything about that paper. I think it was about the soul. I used to think about things. Now… not so sure.


  6. I like what you said about the nuns; that’s my own experience, too. I am always annoyed by the truism spread about that they were sadistic, frustrated women.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. Unfair. My sample size is small, but it was rather the priests I encountered who seemed unhappy, unpleasant individuals. (Whereas, I met male ministers of other faiths–married and single–who were very pleasant. What WAS it about Catholicism and the priesthood? Or was it just the sampling I encountered?)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I was a practicing Catholic for decades before I finally came to see the Church as the world’s largest cult….and even then, all those years of brainwashing were like tentacles making it hard to escape their existential hold and make a complete break. I am now a deist (not by virtue of membership or seeking to be a deist, but simply because deism happens to align with where my mind and what remains of my spirit have taken me). And, wisdom-wise and despite a more cynical sense of humor, probably better for the experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is certainly easier on the body. When very young, I used to occasionally immerse my hand into beastly-hot water in order to donate my golden goodness points to any poor schmucks stuck waiting around in Purgatory. We had explicitly been told in one Catechism class that whenever we experienced pain, we could tough it out by dedicating it to God, like the martyrs.

      Logic is my life.



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