The Medieval Safe Sex Flowchart

UPDATE 10/9/09: Here’s a scan of the original page, since the Flickr post is now private (and since so many people are coming here again):

I’ve been meaning to scan this chart myself, ever since I first saw it photocopied in the class packet for Lee Patterson’s Canterbury Tales class, but someone saved me the trouble (via BoingBoing). It’s a handy flowchart from James A. Brundage’s book Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe that summarizes when its safe (theologically speaking) for one to have sex in the Middle Ages. Here’s the link to the Flickr post.

I know flowchart humor is all the rage lately, so you’ll want to see it its full glory, but here’s a transcription of the questions:

–Feeling Randy? Yes: continue. No: Stop! Sin!
–Are you married? Yes: continue. No: Stop! Sin!
–Is this your wife? Yes: continue. No: Stop! Sin!
–Married more than three days? Yes: continue. No: Stop! Sin!
–Is wife menstruating? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Is wife pregnant? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Is wife nursing a child? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Is it Lent? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Is it Advent? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Is it Whitsun week? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Is it Easter week? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Is it [any other] feast day? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Is it a fast day? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Is it Sunday? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Is it Wednesday? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Is it Friday? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Is it Saturday? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Is it daylight? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Are you naked? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Are you in church? No: continue. Yes: Stop! Sin!
–Do you want a child? No: Stop! Sin! Yes: GO AHEAD! But be careful: No fondling! No lewd kisses! No oral sex! No strange positions! Only once! Try not to enjoy it! Good luck! And wash afterwards!

It’s funny. I never considered James Brundage to be the sort of historian who’d use so many exclamation points so cavalierly. Those wacky canon law experts.

Also, I found a handy summary of the book from whence the flowchart was lifted here.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • highlyeccentric

    AHAHAH!

    anyone else struck by the common ground between the days when one can’t have sex and the days on which, under the Truce of God, one can’t make war?

  • LLCoolCarlIII

    I had considered writing an equivalent flowchart myself, but I think this flowchart craze is about done. Surely, making love and making war were both things that had to be carefully scheduled in the Middle Ages.

  • TerriGtoo

    I know Jim Brundage from the many years he spent teaching at UW-Milwaukee. Incredible person. Top notch instructor. Those who had him for classes can consider themselves lucky indeed for having been able to learn from a top expert in the Crusades and Canon Law. He does have a quirky sense of humor! Many times he would make comment with a gleam in his eye. Good fun indeed for those who picked up on what he was actually saying.
    Terri Novak-Gordon
    Milwaukee

  • TerriGtoo

    I know Jim Brundage from the many years he spent teaching at UW-Milwaukee. Incredible person. Top notch instructor. Those who had him for classes can consider themselves lucky indeed for having been able to learn from a top expert in the Crusades and Canon Law. He does have a quirky sense of humor! Many times he would make comment with a gleam in his eye. Good fun indeed for those who picked up on what he was actually saying.
    Terri Novak-Gordon

  • http://shalinsiriwardana.asia/ Shalin Siriwaradhana

    It looks more like a electronic circuit, more than a flowchart. Here are some more diagrams that I’ve found in Creately Diagram Community

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