Using your wand creatively — Sex and Sexuality in Harry Potter

In my continuing, unnecessary series about the Harry Potter universe, I’ll be looking into sex and sexuality or as I like to call it, “Why Engorgio is the best spell in the world and why Reducto isn’t its counter-charm.”

Aside from a few scenes where people are snogging and the chapters upon chapters where Harry’s adolescent inner beast howls, sex and sexuality really aren’t covered in the books or the films.

We never get to see into the intricate horizontal dance that produces half-blood witches or wizards, the vagaries of inter-species dating, the creation of half-breed individuals, or how students at Hogwarts learn about the preventatives measure they can take to avoid teen pregnancy or STDs.

There’s also no 18+ section of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes joke shop either, although Love Potions should probably be illegal (I will be getting to that in a little while). As they are books meant for young adults (don’t say kids!) and author J.K. Rowling never shows explicit sex scenes.

There are articles out there that cover the implied sex, but there’s nothing in them that actually says how witches or wizards get down and dirty. So how do they? Why do they? How down and dirty does it get?

As far as any reader can tell, the wizarding world is, perhaps, devoid of sex, although all the little kids running around are a clear indication that procreation is, in fact, happening.

Considering that students start at the School for Witchcraft and Wizardry at the age of 11, I’ll also just assume that we don’t have to start worrying about sex education until about 6th year. So there’s a lot of questions left unanswered, but here’s to trying to answer some of them.

Sex at Hogwarts

Although the young men and women at the school of Witchcraft and Wizardry are separated by magical stairs leading to each other’s dormitories, there’s nothing that says students can’t go to an empty classroom to get down and dirty. However, where are witches and wizards supposed to get condoms from?

Considering the first condoms date back before the 15th century, we can only assume that wizards know of them. Then again, considering the number of kids Arthur Weasley has and the fact he doesn’t know the exact use of a rubber duck, his example doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

There’s also a bit of an unwritten/written rule in the universe that Muggle artifacts are not allowed within the walls of Hogwarts, so we can assume that extends to condoms, but not to birth control pills.

So how would Hogwarts students protect themselves during sex?

Shield Charm

Right off the bat, we’re getting into some pretty uncomfortable territory. Considering there are easy preventative measures Muggles can take, using a spell to avoid STDs or pregnancy seems a little obtuse.

Using a Protego Charm, a witch or a wizard could potentially prevent their partner from getting pregnant by creating a simple magical barrier, but whether you create it on the wizard’s penis or in front of the witch’s cervice really depends on the size of your wand…

The Shrinking Charm

Oh god, well much like the shield charm this solution would have to be used internally. Whether it’s shrinking down the wizard’s vas deferens to prevent sperm from mixing with the other fluids or witch’s cervix… you can probably tell that this solution isn’t the easiest one in the spell book.

The Shrinking Charm is also known as the counter-charm to the Engorgement Charm, but considering the consequences of misusing it as we saw with Harry’s cousin Dursley’s tongue after eating a Weasley tricky treat… you could end up in a bit of pain with a part of your body a little too engorged.

Bubble Head Charm

Well, it could work! In the Goblet of Fire, Cedric Diggory uses the spell to create a protective bubble around his head that allowed him to breathe under water. Using the same spell, one could potentially create another bubble of air around another head and keep whatever is trying to get out inside.

Considering however that the spell creates a bubble of air around whatever body part you place it onto, a wizard might end up being a little too rotund to actually fit it into whatever crevice you should choose to stick it into.

Impervius Charm

Much like the shield charm, the Impervius Charm makes a person or an object virtually untouchable. Whether that means you’re able to use the spell on a specific part of your body isn’t really known, so you might be with your partner and suddenly find yourself flying across the room.

Vanishing Spell

Hey, how’s your pullout game? It might not be too good. According to Planned Parenthood, 4 out of every 100 women who have a partner who does it correctly will get pregnant and 27 out of 100 women who have a partner who does it improperly will get pregnant. Kinda staggering odds when compared to the rubbery alternative.

So why not cut out the middle man and just use a vanishing spell to get rid of a guy’s *ahem* once he’s done? Well, considering it won’t help with the prevention of STDs or STIs, you might also vanish your insides away, so there’s that too.

***

Thoughts so far, sex is complicated enough without magic being introduced into the mix. Considering how much can go wrong with a simple spell, wouldn’t it be easier to just use condoms?

Well at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, we never hear Madam Pomfrey lecturing students about the risks of sex before the Yule Ball. So we can only assume that students would use all kinds of magic before, during, and after sexual activity.

So what’s the big deal? Why’re we talking about this and making everyone uncomfortable? Well, there’s a whole bunch of insane stuff in the Harry Potter universe that make sex a little more dangerous than what we Muggles experience.

Love Potions

Love Potions in the Harry Potter universe do exactly what you might expect them to do: they make the victim fall hopelessly in love with the intended target. It’s also the wizarding world’s equivalent to date rape drugs. And as you might know one of the tenets of magic is its inability to create real love.

Once upon a time, Merope Gaunt, a witch from an old wizarding family, used a love potion on a muggle named Thomas Riddle. A few years later, Tom Riddle Jr. was born and would become the greatest dark wizard of all time… so there’s one good reason not to use love potions right there.

In essence, love potions are date rape drugs; however, to remain effective they can be used over long spans of time. And they can some devastating effects. Riddle Sr., after escaping the clutches of the potion, abandoned Merope and her son. Strong love potions like Amortentia also take on the smell of a wizard or witch’s favourite thing, so it’s rather alluring. What’s worse is that mild versions of love potions are commercially available to students meaning date rape could run rampant at Hogwarts.

Beguiling Bubbles, Cupid Crystals, Heartbreak Teardrops, Kissing Concoction, Twilight Moonbeams, Calamity Lotion, and Crush Blush are just a few items from the WonderWitch line sold at the Weasley joke shop in Diagon Alley. Beguiling Bubbles was actually used on Ron Weasley after he ate a box of chocolate from fellow student Ramilda Vane. He only saw a photo of her face and hit Harry when he questioned his infatuation with her.

Imperius Curse

The Imperius Curse or Immmmperiooooooooooo, as fake-Moody Mad Eye uttered during a class, is one of the three unforgivable curses. It allows the curse utterer to utterly control the victim and bend them to their will. Whether that’s sneaking into the Department of Mysteries like Broderick Bode or attacking his fellow competitors like Victor Krum, the curse is devastating and few people are able to repel it.

Now you can imagine how troubling it would be to know that Harry Potter’s entire class had learned how to use the curse and could potentially be using it on their classmates right now. The problem with the curse is that the user and victim can get away with some awful stuff. Say you just killed someone. Now if you’re a smarty pants, you could say that you were under the influence of the Imperius Curse and were forced to do it. It’s easy enough to find out the symptoms that people suffer from, so faking it might not be too hard.

Deflecting the Imperius Curse is all about willpower, but if you’re a little kid and have little to no knowledge of Defense Against the Dark Arts due to Dolores Umbridge then you might not have much of a chance against it. It’s just another mind-altering spell that could make you do practically anything and also help people get away with doing awful stuff like rape or a convenient excuse to get away with it.

Petrification Curse

Petrificus Totalus is just one spell in a witch or wizard’s arsenal that can hinder, stop, or freeze a foe. While it has practical usages during something like Care for Magical Creatures or during combat, there are also some troubling possible usages for petrifying curses. Aside from the obvious, well that’s about it really.

You could use the curse to stop someone from getting away and unless they use a shield charm to repel it, there’s no way to stopping you from getting close and using it. It’s also an easy spell to master and learn as Hermione Granger was able to use it just after her first-year at Hogwarts.

***

So yeah, there are a lot of ways that magic can be used to injure, maim, or make sex a fairly awful experience for everyone, but if there’s proper education happening at Hogwarts then these problems can be prevented.

For instance, in almost every class students are given the tools and abilities to successfully repel these dangers. When they’re finally able to be safe during sex then they can actually start to have fun with it.

Fun with Magic Sex

Buy hey, why can’t magic sex also be fun? There’s no reason to think that Dark Witches and Wizards would dominate in the bedroom. A whole host of spells exist out there that could make sex a little more tantalizing and I don’t mean using a vibrating charm on your wand.

Engorgement Charm

Engorio, or the engorgement charm, makes a part of your body or someone else’s body expand by degrees. That means you could take a wand, point it at your penis, and make it a whole lot bigger if you wanted to… what, too on the nose? That’s what an adolescent wizard’s first instinct would be after learning the spell. I doubt a teenage witch would be stupid enough to use this dangerous spell on themselves, but I wouldn’t put it past a teenage boy filled to the brim with hormones to do it.

The trouble with the engorgement charm is that if you’re not attune at using it the spell can easily go awry. I don’t mean that a penis would just keep growing and growing until it wouldn’t fit in the room, I mean that it would explode. In the books, Fred and George Weasley use an engorgement charm in the form of a chocolate on Dudley Dursley.

The effect was his tongue expanded to such a size that it choked him. Basically, the engorgement charm could give someone a little extra girth, but you damn well better be prepared for the consequences of the spell gone wrong.

Polyjuice Potion

In their second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry, Hermione, and Ron manage to create a batch of Polyjuice Potion.

Aside from it begin a fairly illegal activity, it’s pretty damn impressive that they were able to do it. The potion’s effect is that it turns you into another person. It wholly changes your appearance, but requires that you have a hair or some part of the potionee available.

Can you say roleplay? Aside from the essence of crab aftertaste, Polyjuice Potion would allow couples to turn into one another if for a brief period of time. They could experience what it’s like to be on the other side of a sexual relationship, but they could also use it to be a little more daring.

Stealing a hair from someone would give you the ultimate chance to do the dirty with someone else, but the ethical boundaries being broken at that point are a little jarring and would probably end up creating more questions than its worth. The potion can also be used to create animal/human hybrids, so there’s a chance of using the potion to do some seriously weird stuff.

Invisibility Cloaks

Voyeurism, or the desire to be arrested for public indecency, would certainly receive a boost if invisibility cloaks were around. These cloaks made from the hair of a rare, wild animal render the person underneath invisible.

Although most cloaks work pretty well, only one is completely effective and Harry Potter owns it. However, with a cloak in hand and a devil may care attitude, you and a partner could get up to some pretty weird stuff.

Even wanted to have sex in front of a huge crowd of people? Pull on the cloak and go out into the world as it’s now your oyster. Have a Kevin Bacon/Hollow Man fetish? Well, give your partner the cloak and be amazed as you’re suddenly feeling an invisible hand touching you inappropriately, and be even more amazed when it turns out the person underneath is someone totally different. And that’s the problem with the invisibility cloak, it basically makes you into an evil pervert no matter what.

The Ring of Gyges is part of Plato’s Republic and explains all the pitfalls of being invisible. As kinky as invisible sex would be, I can’t help but feel it would get kinda creepy after a while.

***

Sexual Identity in Harry Potter

Well, admittedly even the fun you can have with magic sex are still wrought with danger and moral grey zones. However, we power on full well knowing I’ve written about 2,150 words in this article so far and there’s still a lot to talk about. Aside from the difficulties associated with using magic during sex, there’s a hidden world of troubled sexual desires at odds in the books.

The most notable example of problems with sexuality comes in the form of half-blood and pure-blood witches and wizards. It always comes back to the blood.

Blood Identity

A Muggle-born witch or wizard, or Mudbloods as douchebags call them, is a witch or wizard that is of mixed-magic upbringing. That means neither their mother or their father was a witch or wizard, and like Hermione Granger was born with magical powers. Either way, some “pure-blood” wizards see these Muggle-born wizards as abominations who are diluting the magic gene pools.

There’s also an issue with half-blood witches and wizards. These individuals are born to families where one side is magical and the other side is Muggle like Colin Creevy of Gryphindor. His Dad was a milkman… does England still employ milkmen? Anyway.

Sound familiar? Well the issues seen with mixed-magic kids can be seen as a parallel to issues of parenting in gay marriages or even parenting in mixed-race unions. Whether in Harry Potter or in the real world, the idea of an “other” in society procreating with the people of the status-quo often incites all kinds of bad stuff.

In Harry Potter, some people a very hard line stance against people who are born of mixed origins.

We see dark wizards like Voldemort kill those who would interact or have relationships with Muggles, or non-wizarding people. During a scene in the last book and second last film, we see Voldemort mock people like Charity Burbage who taught Muggle studies at Hogwarts. He says that she would see pure wizards mate with Muggles, a thought that was met with quite a bit of derision by the people in the room. And then he zapped her and she was dead… well, now you can see the issues of sexual identity.

The creation of muggle-born wizards and procreation with muggles is at the centre of the Death Eaters’ problems with humanity. They see themselves as being better and frown upon those who were born different than them.

Muggle Unions

As a Muggle lover, you are an “other” in society. They are cast off as being abnormal and feared by people who choose not to accept them. In modern wizarding times, some people like the Weasleys are capable of accepting Muggle unions, but even then they see people like Squibs as being weird.

I always wonder what Molly and Arthur Weasley would think if one of their sons or their only daughter chose to wed someone outside of the wizarding world? They’d probably gently tell them that they “aren’t like us” or simply “wouldn’t understand” what being a wizard is all about. Due to the pressure, the Weasley in question would likely marry someone from the wizarding world or else end up like that one cousin who works in Muggle town.

At the core of these issues of pure-blood and half-blood witches and wizards is a crisis of sexual identity. Should a witch or wizard keep their sexual tendencies within the “pure” side of things or do they risk “muddying” themselves by interacting with Muggles?

Most don’t really seem to care like Seamus Finnigan who comes from a mixed-magic family while others like Petunia Dursley simple hate witches and wizards because her sister Lily Evans, Harry Potter’s mom, was the favourite in the family.

Sexual preferences and mixed race unions

And then there’s issues surrounding homosexuality in the wizarding world. As most of us know, Albus Dumbledore is gay and had a supposed relationship with a powerful wizard in the past. However, many criticize author J.K. Rowling for keeping his sexuality a secret. What does that matter?

Not too much, but we never really find out the wizarding world’s stance on homosexuality. With all of the discrimination around the blood origins of witches and wizards, it’s safe to assume that your sexual preferences would also be in the crosshairs for publications like the Daily Prophet.

Even more troubling is the wizarding world’s stance on mixed-race marriages and children. People like Hagrid are discriminated against for being half-giant. The teacher and groundskeeper at the wizarding school stands more than seven feet tall and is respected by most of the studentry. He’s even loved by some like Harry, Hermione, and Ron; however when Ron finds out he’s actually half-giant the inner wizard pops out.

Hagrid is no longer the kindly giant most think he was, but more along the lines of a mixed race giant like the ones in Shingeki no Kyojin. To Ron’s defense, giants were used as part of Volemort’s army back in the day and they can be rather viscous, but the fear associated with them is just that. Giants are misunderstood because they are dying out and desperate, they looked to the dark wizards for protection and received it; however, in their haste they ended up even more chased away from society.

Half-Giants like Hagrid are feared just like werewolves who are characterized as being children-eating monsters. While Fenrir Greyback might be a prime example of a werewolf who preys on children, the same kind of discrimination was used in the Muggle world against gays who were cast as pedophiles in old propaganda films. It’s the kind of stuff that creates people like Dolores Umbridge who simply hate mixed-race people and discriminate against them openly.

People can’t help being born the way they are and Albus Dumbledore knows exactly the struggle people like Hagrid face on a day-to-day basis. It’s only through love and empathy that people will realize that the kindly groundskeeper they all know and love is what the giants could be if given a chance to actually integrate into society without so much fear entering into the mix.

***

With magic thrown into the mix and with so many more ways to discriminate, the issues of sex and sexuality in Harry Potter’s universe are quite diverse. There’s issues of gender and identity, race and sexual preference, but also the ever-present moral grey zones of using magic to help or hinder the act of sexual intercourse and the discovery of one’s sexual identity.

Basically, sex in this world and theirs isn’t a simple affair. The young witches and wizards aren’t given proper sex education at the school and its only through brief encounters with professors like Remus Lupin and Hagrid that they learn that mixed-race witches and wizards aren’t all too bad.

However, to allow students to be separated into houses, one of which actively discriminates against mixed witches and wizards, doesn’t give students a great head start in learning how to empathize with others.

To each their own I supposed and no one can or should impose personal beliefs on young minds; however, we’ve all see the road that Dark Wizards take and where it leads to for people with different sexual identities outside of the “norm” set by people like Tom Riddle.

If nothing else, we see just how dangerous sex is in the Harry Potter universe and perhaps why wizards are dying out across the world. Having to keep their world a secret while insidious forces work to undermine the very survival of their magical society puts a strain on the population as a whole. To allow the wizarding blood to remain “untainted” would lead to a society that would crumble under the weight of its shared ancestry.

It’s only from the efforts of wizards like Albus Dumbledore and Hermione Granger that empathy and understanding seep into wizarding society. Without their efforts werewolves and giants would still be confined to their caves slowly waiting to die off.

Sex and sexuality are never truly touched on in Harry Potter, but there are some good lessons in the books for readers of all ages. They teach us that although someone may be different, we all share the same world and thus have a place within it.

Ultimately, it’s love that is the undoing of the dark wizards in the books and love that makes the world whole again. I can only hope that future generations of witches and wizards are able to learn something from the lessons taught by Hogwarts’s greatest headmaster and the professors who were in his employ.

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