Throughout history, many of our most common interests, aspirations, and even weaknesses as humans have remained the same. Studying history can be fascinating for educational purposes, but it’s just as interesting to see that our ancestors were as strange as we can be!

Not surprisingly, people’s minds have been the gutter pretty much since the dawn of time. Here, we’ve gathered 20 filthy historical facts that we guarantee you never learned in any high school history lesson!

1. It took a lot to kill Grigori Rasputin, one time friend of the Russian royal family, but after he was dead, his penis made the rounds through Europe. Rasputin’s 13-inch member was first severed and taken by a maid after his death, then traded between Parisian collectors for over 50 years, and finally ended up on display at Russia’s Museum of Erotica.

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2. In Ancient Greece, young men could visit the Temple of Aphrodite in Corinth, where they could have sex with the priestesses there as a “tribute” to the goddess of love. The priestesses were often young, foreign slave girls who were “donated” to the temple by wealthy Greeks.

Wikimedia Commons / Tyler Cole

3. The Nile River was undoubtedly the lifeblood of Ancient Egyptian society, but it actually had a little bit more life essence in it than most people would be comfortable with. Many Egyptian men would worship the god Atum (in myth, the very first god, who “made himself”) by masturbating in the river.

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4. The United States Civil War was utterly devastating in many ways, not least of which was to the sexual health of soldiers on both sides of the fighting. Over the course of the war, 188,000 out of 468,000 soldiers tested, — about 40% — had at least one sexually transmitted disease.

Wikimedia Commons / Library of Congress

5. Crocodiles were considered sacred in Ancient Egypt, but one of the oddest ways they were valued was that women would fashion their dung into contraceptive diaphragms. As crazy as this sounds, it may have actually worked because crocodile droppings are alkaline enough to potentially act as a spermicide.

Wikimedia Commons / Guillame Blanchard

6. Devoted rugby fans have likely seen teams from New Zealand perform the Haka, a traditional war dance originating with the island’s native Maori people. What most rugby fans don’t realize, though, is that the dance was originally performed stark naked by warriors sporting an erection. That would certainly intimidate another rugby team!

Wikimedia Commons / NAPARAZZI

7. Genghis Khan was one of history’s most dominant conquerors, and while he undoubtedly amassed a lot of land for his Mongolian Empire, he conquered in some other notable ways, too. Consider that 1 in 200 men alive today, and about .5% of all people, can trace their lineage back to him, a single man who only lived about 1,000 years ago!

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8. Much like with Rasputin, after Napoleon died, his penis was cut off during his autopsy and has been traded between private collectors since. Most recently, it was sold at auction for $3,000 to Evan Lattimer, the son of a urologist. Unfortunately for Napoleon, the auction information made public that his member only measures about 1.5 inches.

Wikimedia Commons / Jacques Louis-David

9. Vlad Tepes Dracula, the historical inspiration for the infamous vampire, was known as “The Impaler” for his preferred method of killing people. He actually loved impalement so much that during one of his imprisonments, he was found to have impaled the rats in his cell using small shards of wood.

Wikimedia Commons / Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

10. Mozart is one of the most renowned composers of the Classical era, but he had a more crude side that many people don’t know about. He actually wrote a canon in B-flat called “Leck mir den Arsch” or “Lick Me in the Ass,” which was only discovered among his compositions after his death.

Today I Found Out

11. The Diary of Anne Frank is one of the most widely read books in the world, but the version that’s been published is actually abridged from her original diaries. Few people have read them, but her complete journals include passages where she disparages her mother and talks about her nascent sexual feelings.

Wikimedia Commons / Rodrigo Galindez

 12. The first execution in the pilgrim’s Plymouth colony was actually of a 16-year-old boy named Thomas Granger. Official records reveal that he was hanged for  “buggery with a mare, a cow, two goats, divers sheepe, two calves, and a turkey,” and the judge at his trial actually said his crimes were more heinous than murder.

Wikimedia Commons / Antonio Gisbert

13. King Edward II of England was murdered in Berkeley Castle on September 21, 1327, but almost immediately, rumors spread about the gruesome way in which he died. Apparently, as punishment for his frequent sexual relations with other men, a red hot fire poker was shoved up his backside and he was left to bleed to death.

Wikimedia Commons / Bodleian College Library

14. William of Orange’s uncle, Charles II was deposed from the British throne during the English Civil War and plotted to bring the country back under his family’s rule through William. Part of his plan was making William marry his cousin Mary Stuart and then staying in the bedroom to watch them consummate the politically advantageous union.

Wikimedia Commons / Thomas Murray

15. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, women were frequently diagnosed under the umbrella term “hysteria,” and one of the most common treatments for it was for their doctors to make them orgasm. The need to make this treatment more streamlined for doctors eventually lead to the invention of the electric vibrator.

Wikimedia Commons / D.M. Bourneville and P. Régnard

16. The Battle of Agincourt in 1415 was huge turning point in the 100 Years War, and the British won largely due to their archers. What isn’t often mentioned is that dysentery had broken out among the archers, so most of them fought with their pants down, suffering from severe diarrhea and dipping the arrows they launched in their own infected feces.

Wikimedia Commons / Chroniques d’Enguerrand de Monstrelet

17. In Iron Age Ireland, not only was bestiality not frowned upon, it was considered a ceremonial rite of passage in many respects. For example, the kings of the Clan Conaill would demonstrate their strength and their loyalty to their people and region by publicly having sex with white mares, who were later slaughtered and eaten by the people.

Flicker / Ramon

18. Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States, was quite a fan of his penis, which he nicknamed “Jumbo.” He was notorious as a Senator for confronting Congressmen with whom he had disagreements at the Congressional urinals and showing them his member as a sort of power play to intimidate them. 

Wikimedia Common / Colotfox

19. Jean Jacques Rousseau was one of the great thinkers and political philosophers of Enlightenment, but he was also pretty kinky in the bedroom. He reportedly called one of his longtime lovers “maman” which means “mommy” in French and was reputedly obsessed with being spanked by all the women in his life.

Wikimedia Commons / Allan Ramsay

20. Catherine the Great, who made Russia one of Europe’s great powers, was a stunning leader and, though she never married, a huge fan of sex. She took on lovers throughout her life, having her handmaidens screen candidates for STDs, and the furniture that adorned her bedroom featured numerous carvings of male and female sex organs.

Wikimedia Commons / Fyodor Rokotov

Well, you certainly don’t learn any of that stuff in history class! It’s pretty fascinating, even if it’s a bit crude!