Sex and The Wild West.

Old West Madam Mattie Silks, 1877.

If the success of Westworld is any indication, people tend to have a thing for America’s Wild West. Whether it’s the lawless spirit or the intrigue of role-playing, it turns out that, for many of us, the milieu of America’s frontier is rather appealing.

So what exactly was sex like in the Wild West?

Love was love.
Counter to recent history, homosexuality wasn’t really considered a taboo. In fact, same-sex relationships amongst the virile men of the West were actually quite normal. With women in scarce supply, it was considered only natural for men to engage in sexual activities with each other. Cowboys and miners even often coupled up in unions known as “bachelor marriages.”

Ladies ruled the night.
The women who did happen to live in the Wild West were frequently prostitutes, but, again, such practices weren’t always frowned upon. In some places, brothels were the most-grand and elegant places in town, and the madames often held great influence in the community. Prices for a romp in the sheets ranged from 25 cents to $1.

Contraception was deadly.
Pregnancy and childbirth were a dangerous business back on the American frontier, but the methods of contraception were equally so. Since condoms were highly expensive, most women resorted to ingesting poisonous “abortifacients” that would induce a miscarriage. Needless to say, it didn’t always end well.

Some things were considered a little too exotic.
While in many respects, the Wild West was somewhat of a free-for-all, there was one thing that cowboys deemed a little too exotic: oral sex. Perhaps the word fellatio itself made it seem too intimidating, but many people — prostitutes included — considered the act to be too “French.”

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