Birds do it, so do bees – and it seems they’ve been at it for longer than anyone thought.
Yesterday’s discovery of a 365- million-year-old fossilised fish in Australia proves the animal kingdom started having sex thousands of years before scientists previously believed.
The fish’s belly contained an embryo showing conception happened inside the female. Before sexual intercourse like this, eggs were fertilised and hatched outside the body.
We take a look at how sex developed from the seabed to the bedroom…
356 million BC Early invertebrate are the first creatures to have sex.
100 BC – 250 AD Explicit artwork and frescos are openly displayed in Roman homes.
100 – 800 Sex acts are depicted in the pottery of
180 – 193 Cerne Abbas Giant hill figure with erect phallus is carved into cliffs in
300 Kama Sutra, meaning “a treatise on pleasure”, is written by Indian sage Vatsyayana. The collection is deemed to be so precious that images of sexual acts were later carved on to buildings to ensure the Kama Sutra survived.
1275 Age of consent in
1533 Homosexual sex between men made illegal in
1541 Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel fresco The Last Judgement is unveiled and condemned as obscene by Cardinal Carafa, who orders naked genitalia be painted over with leaves.
The Last Judgement
1655 The first pornographic novel, L’école des Filles, is published in
1665 The word “condom” appears in print for the first time. King Charles II’s physician Dr Conton popularised a male contraceptive made from dried lamb intestines that were then oiled to make them flexible. One of his earliest customers was Giovanni Casanova, who purchased 12 English caps, as he called them.
1875 Age of consent in
1885 Girls under 16 banned from having sex.
1948 The first Kinsey Report is published by zoologist Dr Alfred Kinsey. Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male tackled subjects including a sliding scale for homosexuality and heterosexuality, sadomasochism and extra-marital sex.
1953 Playboy is launched by Hugh Hefner in the
At its peak the magazine sold more than seven million copies.
1960 Contraceptive pill is invented.
1967 Homosexual acts decriminalised in
1969 Actress Jane Birkin releases Je t’aime with Serge Gainsbourg. The song was banned in the
1972 Woody Allen releases Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex – But Were Afraid to Ask, playing, among other thing, a sperm. The film includes spoof TV show What’s Your Perversion?
1989 Pornographic websites start to appear on the internet.
1989 Movie When Harry Met Sally is released starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. The fake orgasm scene has since become one of the most famous in