6 Historic Sex and Dating Rituals You’ll Be Glad Died Out

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Ending A Marriage Meant Being Sold At Market (If You Were A Woman)

Marriage used to be simple. Two people vowed to live their lives together, angry, on a farm, facing none of the risks posed by extramarital sexting, or extramarital streaming, or one of them taking up vaping. And while that sounds delightful, one upside today’s lovebirds have is that there are options for escaping a doomed relationship other than “selling your ex-partner like an unwanted exercise bike.” Which was something which actually happened.

Up until the 1850s, getting divorced in England involved navigating a complex annulment process or petitioning parliament into drafting a law to allow it, which essentially invited the government to cross-examine you on your erectile dysfunction. In absence of either the money or mutual hatred necessary to put themselves through such a process, it used to be commonplace for couples in rural areas to offer themselves for sale to other potential suitors.

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This may still be occurring in some of the shadier parts of Craigslist, come to think of it.

And by “themselves,” we mean “the wife.” Although this was a mutually agreed-upon process, there was never any question of the wife putting the husband out to someone else’s pasture. One person walked away single and rich, the other walked away with another husband, and that was that.

Mind you, the wife had some control over this process. In the event that her husband was on the cusp of selling her off to a drunken psycho, the wife had the option to veto any sale that she wanted, thus affording her some hope of being paired off with one of those long-haired lotharios who are always buying women at the market.

And how much could you buy a bride for, you ask, checking your wallet? Well, that all depended on the husband. If he was a businessman, he’d certainly try to get a good price, if only for the sake of his own reputation. But if the husband was a drunken wretch, he’d sell her for whatever pocket change someone had … or a pint of beer, as one wife in 1862 found to her dismay.

When they aren’t ruining history like two drunkards with a time machine, Marina and Adam can be found on Twitter. Adam also has a Facebook page, but that’s only for the cool kids. Uncool kids will appreciate that Marina is behind the times and still needs one — please help her. Thanks again for enduring the punchy puns of Team Marinadam! See you next time!

Also check out 7 Ways Dating Used To Be A Horrifying Game Of Roulette and 6 Reasons Online Dating Will Never Lead To Love.

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