THE VATICAN AND (HISTORICAL) SEX

Posted on December 7, 2011 by

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I’ve just done a series on “penetrating the Vatican” for Slate, which is running this week (one episode a day) — about the secrets of the Vatican Library (Day One), the private tours of the Sistine Chapel (Day Two) and oddities like the Vatican supermarket (Day Three)

Coming up are the Secret Archives and the pope’s bathroom, which is covered with erotica by Raphael in 1516…

A lot of Slate readers (presumably the vocal Catholics) seem to have taken umbrage that I refer to sex a lot in the story — either with hidden erotica from the Renaissance, medieval erotic tomes, the Showtime series the Borgias or the so-called “Joust of the Whores,” a highlight of Papal debauchery.

It’s an interesting experience — many of my stories are quite innocuous, but something about the Vatican and sex seems to touch a few buttons… either that or the readers who comment have no sense of humor at all!  (No doubt it’s both…)

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