Human sexuality is something that’s often viewed as taboo and this is the reason why talking about Viking sexuality is not that popular. You’re probably familiar that sexuality was an important aspect of the Viking culture as it was a way for them to procreate and continue their bloodline. However, there was other interesting information aside from biological reproduction that you should know about.
Sex for Viking people definitely went beyond their natural instinct and fundamental desire to propagate their species. Vikings were also not behind when it came to experiencing and sexually expressing their attraction towards other people. They did it because of that basic human drive to seek enjoyment and pleasure with men, women, or both genders. Yes, you read that right! Homosexuality was acceptable in Norse society but there were restrictions.
Married men were allowed to have sexual relationships with other men as long as it didn’t interfere with their marriage. Single guys on the other hand, enjoyed the same fate provided that these same-sex encounters wouldn’t deter and discourage them from marrying girls in the future. Norse men wouldn’t get in trouble as long as they didn’t run away and disregard their conjugal duties like having sex with their legal wives.
It was also important for Viking men to be passive rather than submissive in homosexual relationships. It was not acceptable in their culture to gain pleasure by being penetrated but the other way around. Norse men tried their best to be the passive ones and do the penetrating because they could have been branded as “sordinn” (penetrated). This was actually one of the worst insults that could have been heard from their enemies. They needed to fight until death in order to defend themselves (whether they were guilty or not) after being labeled as “sordinn”.
The shame and embarrassment from being insulted as “sordinn” was enough for Viking men back in the day to fight just to get their honor back. However, grave consequences were given to those who were proven guilty. They were automatically labeled as “ergi” or unmanly. Being branded as “ergi” meant that they were believed to be weaklings and looked down on as people with no use in society. Consequences like this didn’t apply to male homosexuals who were dominant though. On the other hand, there were no records that lesbianism among the Norse community occurred but a Bishop named “Porlakr Porhallson” who lived in the 12th century stated that “if women satisfy each other, they shall be ordered the same penance as men who perform the most hideous adultery between them or with a quadruped.”
Other written records and historical documents also revealed that Vikings were reluctant and coy about some of the things that went down during their sexual encounters. It was up to the imagination of the readers to figure out the whole story by themselves. However, they didn’t hold back and used some not so reserved terms in there like “kunta” (genitals), thwat, etc. It was also concluded that they were romantic people since their sexual desires (munuth) could actually have been a “love thought.” This word was derived from the root word for love “mun” and that of thought or memory “hugr.”