Well of course the Puritans liked sex!

They were undoubtedly odd but they were not mad:

The famously strait-laced 17th-century sectarians who helped settle America weren’t nearly as priggish as you might think.
A leading scholar claims that the Puritans were in fact sexy, and saw sex and love as important factors to help form a passionate relationship.
The claim is based on letters penned by Puritan forefathers including Colonial Gov John Winthrop, which are said to evoke more passion than prudishness.

They took a very dim view of sex outside marriage and a very hearty approach to it within.

One way to tell is to look at the size of their families……

25 thoughts on “Well of course the Puritans liked sex!”

  1. Sigh… the point of the puritans was to follow the Bible and not going outside of it, which allows for (and IIRC even tells the reader) to have lots of sexy time in marriage. But not outside of it.

    FFS

  2. Using John Winthrop as an example is flawed as he was famously a moderate and prevented some of the excesses the hardliners wanted to follow. Soon after Winthrop died was when the Massachusetts Colony started going nuts, even executing Quakers.

  3. One way to tell is to look at the size of their families……

    This actually has little to do with how much (or little) people like sex. Large families are a *retirement* plan – not a result of an active sex life. in lots of different societies across time and space large families have been the norm. Its why pressure to family-plan and use birth control are not effective in poor areas – they’ve *been* family planning, just with a different set of priorities than the NGO’s pushing condoms.

    Hell, even if you begrudgingly only had sex once a week, if you’re not actively trying to prevent pregnancy you’re likely to end up with a child every year. The ‘withdrawal’ method has something like a 10% failure rate.

  4. “Soon after Winthrop died was when the Massachusetts Colony started going nuts, even executing Quakers.”

    Well, everyone has their limits.

  5. The Inimitable Steve

    “Soon after Winthrop died was when the Massachusetts Colony started going nuts, even executing Quakers.”

    Probably got sick of eating their damn oats.

  6. The Other Bloke in Italy

    Good point, my dear Ecks. Ian went quiet for a while in the spring, and has gone adrift again this summer. I hope he is OK.

  7. The Puritans were not that different from the established church of its day in terms of sex teaching.
    And a child every year or two was pretty common in that society – pregnancies not always going to term, deaths in birth or soon after, childhood disease etc. The people needed large families to have someone able to support them in old age.
    Never mind getting the work done.

    Sex would not have been as frigid and quiet as in modern times. People these days tending not to want the kids in bed with them while the adults are having sex…. or kids watching, or other adults watching…. or listening. 🙂

  8. As the late Bill Hicks the only reason we are all here is that there must have been a whole lot of fucking going on

  9. BniC – pregnancy can happen from just the once, or from just a few seconds…..
    As many a mother of teen daughters will tell them.

  10. ALL:

    When the Pilgrims (Puritans) landed from the Mayflower, they were greeted by one, hand extended to shake, “Hello,–they call me Sam.” A native of somewhere in the Caribbean, he’d spent a lifetime on ships (mostly Portugese) and all over the world, several times in London, ending up with the Narragansetts.).

    Others (5) had some semi-extensive experience rowing out to
    trade with English fishing vessels (and picking up some of the language during those experiences). But one had even been persuaded to return with them to England, where he spent 5 years in becoming a journeyman cabinetmaker before deciding “America is where it’s at!” and returning to his home.

    Are you English guys aware that William Penn (whose royal grant gave him a strip about 200 miles north to south and extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific) was eventually
    buried in a pauper’s grave in Old Jordan in the yard of a barn built from timber salvaged from the Mayflower? (Or that the ship itself had, previously, been a delivery ship in the North Sea for Heinlein Brewing?
    impoverished (folks here just wouldn’t pay their rents) and
    eventually returned to England and life as a pauper

  11. Evidently Prof. Francis J. Bremer is something of an ignorant twat.

    Back in the day (late ’70s, when I was still a History major at college), Prof. John Dickinson made a point of teaching us that the Puritans were far more practical than puritanical when it came to subjects such as sex and alcohol.

    There’s been plenty of scholarship available since the 50s and 60s that established what Bremer claims to have discovered.

    If nothing else, this shows what historical scholarship in the USA has devolved to… But then again, when the primary criteria for getting a college teaching post is a membership in the CPUSA, this is the sort of shit you end up with.

  12. William Penn wasn’t buried in a pauper’s grave. He was buried in Jordans Quaker burial ground in a standard Quaker burial plot. Quaker burials are frugral, and Penn was penniness (!) when he died, but that doesn’t mean he was buried in a pauper’s grave.

  13. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Some fairly large proportion of brides in colonial New England were pregnant on their wedding days.

  14. Some fairly large proportion of brides in colonial New England were pregnant on their wedding days.

    I believe that was normal, pre Victorian era, as it was so important to have children. (I don’t have time right now to find references though.)

    As I understand it, engagement was when couples would start trying for children. If pregnancy didn’t happen within a reasonable time then it was not unusual for the marriage to be called off and each party to try their luck elsewhere.

  15. “Even executing Quakers”

    So, something else we could learn from the Puritans, I’m thinking of one particular Quaker…..

  16. Agammamon:

    This actually has little to do with how much (or little) people like sex. Large families are a *retirement* plan – not a result of an active sex life.

    Tim Worstall himself wrote about this back in February 2015.

  17. BniC – a bunch of communist non-conformists? Who would want them?
    They could not do as they wished under the gaze of the established churches.

  18. So Much For Subtlety

    Martin – “pregnancy can happen from just the once, or from just a few seconds…..”

    It can. But the odds are people with a large number of children are having a lot of sex. Because a million to one shot tends to only happen once in a million tries.

  19. So Much For Subtlety
    Because a million to one shot tends to only happen once in a million tries.

    Absolutely true. However pregnancy is more along the lines of a one-in-ten shot.

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