In 1800s era one-room houses, how public was sex? Would parents try to find a place away from the kids or was it acceptable to simply do it in front of everyone? In what era did the idea of sex being a private affair begin?

  • You don't see what happens under the blanket.
    – knut
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 21:43
  • My guess is some didn't care what the kid(s) heard while others waited until they thought the kid(s) were asleep. As for 'sex being a private affair', it seems that for much of human history individuals have had different ideas about this, and that it also depended on cultural mores at any one time. I don't think the last question has a definite era as an answer. Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 0:28
  • It was only bad when you weren't married.
    – John Dee
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 4:45
  • @JohnDee Most often it still was good, otherwise they woudln't do it.
    – Evargalo
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 9:36
  • Worth noting is that the Greek Cynics had no qualms having sex in public, on grounds that the purpose of life is to be in agreement with nature. But they really were something of an oddity in this respect. Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 20:25

1 Answer 1


"Sex is a private affair" is one of the Human Universals. IOW, most people in most cultures strongly prefer to do it in privacy.

"One-room home" has been the dominant arrangement throughout human history for purely economic reasons. Believe it or not, it was relatively common in the late USSR for 3 generations to share a single room, often separated into semi-private annexes by sheets and/or wardrobes.

This contradiction was resolved by keeping sex to night time, when the kids were, presumably, asleep.

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