Why The Sex Lives Of Harry Potter Characters Must Be So Complicated

J.K. Rowling doesn't skimp on detail. The Harry Potter author has created family trees just as dense as George R. R. Martin's (or pretty close). She's thought of Latin names for a swarm of spells. She's written entire appendices devoted to magical beasts and the history of Quidditch. She even continues to add addenda to her seven novels.
For a universe this rich, it's conspicuous that Rowling entirely glosses over one fundamental area of human interactions: Sex. The Harry Potter series take place in a boarding school full of young, virile witches and wizards. Aside from racking up house points and figuring out what shape your Patronus takes (mine's a St. Bernard), what else is there to do in Hogwarts' dimly lit hallways? They don't even have wifi.
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Granted, the books are intended for a young audience. Still, magic must have fascinating implications when it comes to the world of sex and dating. Looking back on the Harry Potter series as an adult, those implications get pretty big. How can you ever trust someone, knowing they might be slipping love potion into your coffee?
Here are the questions I, as an adult whose days reading Harry Potter on summer vacation are long over, wondered while revisiting the series on Harry Potter's birthday.
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Is Knockturn Alley the Wizarding World's red light district?

There's a reason why Harry Potter isn't supposed to walk through Knockturn Alley, and perhaps it's more than just the shops selling skulls and waving their Dark Arts flag from the doorway. Maybe one of the dingy alleyways leads to various dens of inequities, including brothels, sex shops, and magically-enhanced parties.
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Do the paintings spy on students' trysts?

Let's say a seventh-year Hufflepuff sends a seventh-year Gryffindor a note during Charms to meet on the third floor, left wing of the castle at midnight. On the way, the Gryffindor passes by a series of portraits.

Soon after, the paintings' gossip train leaves the station. Whispers and rumors shoot down the hallway from portrait to portrait. By the next morning, the entire castle knows just who met up last night, and for how long.

I repeat: Do not trust the paintings. Looks like that invisibility cloak must come in handy.
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Do wizards have the best sex toys ever?

If a wizard can think of a pleasure machine, surely they can build it with the twist of a wand. And, if so, are these toys sold in an 18+ section of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes? Is the section protected from Mrs. Weasley?

Then, there's the question of visual stimulation. The wizarding world might not have internet, but they do have impressive technology. If photos on the wizards' newspapers move, who's to stop an entrepreneur from distributing "adult-only" papers?
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How do interspecies pairings work?

First, there's the question of physical compatibility. Hagrid's mother was a giant and his father was an average-sized wizard. We can't imagine that pairing was tremendously satisfying for his mother.

Then, there's the question of consent. Tonks and Lupin were, sadly, only married for a brief period of time. Yet when Lupin was in wolf form, would Tonks, hypothetically, be able to consent? If Lupin sought out another wolf with whom to copulate while he was in wolf form too, would that count as cheating?
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Are wizards encouraged to marry their high school sweethearts?

Harry Potter's parents, Lily and James, began dating their final year of Hogwarts. They married at 18, had Harry at 20, and died at 21. Like his parents before him, Harry Potter married Ginny Weasley at the end of their teen years. The list of young marriages goes on and on. Ron, Hermione, and Draco also got hitched right after graduating (the first two to each other).

The proof is there. Young marriages abound in the wizarding world. The question is why?

Perhaps wizards are herded towards early monogamy because their magical abilities could potentially turn dating into a nonstop carnival of mischief. Or, since there are simply fewer people in the magical population, wizards and witches are content to stay put with what they have, and live without the temptation to Tinder.
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Did Harry Potter only sleep with one person?

It looks like our boy Harry is a one-woman man. Though he dates Cho Chang during his sixth year, their nervous, quivering relationship doesn't progress. He begins dating Ginny Weasley his seventh year, and stays with her for the rest of his life. They have three children together.

The same probably goes for Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, who dated in Hogwarts and then got married.
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Is Voldemort a virgin?

Even when he was a young, good looking Slytherin, Tom Riddle was never interested in sex, dating, or stoking meaningful relationships. By the time we meet him, Tom Riddle has traveled so far from the realm of human needs that whether or not he's a virgin just doesn't matter. Likely, Voldemort died without ever experiencing a sexual relationship.
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Does magic significantly complicate consent?

Let's say a Slytherin slips a bit of love potion into your butterbeer. You're suddenly overwhelmed by desire, and you find yourself leaving your partner's side and sneaking out of the bar with a Slytherin. Can a person be blamed for the actions he or she takes while under the spell of a love potion?

At least love potions wear off after 24 hours. When it comes to consent, the implications of other, more powerful spells are downright terrifying.

One of the three unforgivable curses, the Imperius Curse lets a person control their victim entirely. Fending off the Imperius Curse is entirely a matter of willpower; sexual assaulters could potentially prey on individuals whom they consider weak. Similarly, the Petrification Curse could also be used to stop victims from moving away.
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What's up with the line of dating-oriented products just for witches at the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes store?

Just like some marketers think that women need their own version of every product (including ballpoint pens), there's an entire line of products at Hogwarts designed for a female target audience, called WonderWitch.

Witches can meander over to Weasleys', pick up a jar of Heartbreak Teardrops, Kissing Concoction, Twilight Moonbeams, or the like, and get ready to make someone fall for them — if only for a date. By ingesting a love potion, a victim falls desperately in love for 24 hours.
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What's on the curriculum for Hogwarts sex ed?

Let's set the scene. A bunch of magically-inclined children are coming of age in a castle. Given the inevitably canoodling (and lack of access to a convenience store to pick up condoms), how do witches and wizards prevent unwanted pregnancy?

They probably have a few options. The Protego Charm could function as a makeshift sponge, which Elaine in Seinfeld would love. Or, a very, very concentrated Vanishing Spell could "poof" away unwanted sperm, though that seems unreliable. Perhaps there are emergency Plan B hexes, or potions that ensure temporary sterility.

Likely, students are resourceful in bending the potions, hexes, spells and charms used during class for their pleasure — and for their safety.
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Which professor would teach sex ed?

And, more importantly, who teaches sex ed? Each professor would give his or her bent to the topic.

Professor Trelawney would play elaborate games of MASH to determine which of their high school sweethearts they'll marry, and draw out astrological compatibility charts. Snape would sneer at students' youthful ways for an hour, and then say they could read a contraceptive potion on page 28, though he doubted any of them would ever need it. Between vague and unhelpful statements, Gilderoy Lockhart would make cheeky asides to his own past sexual experiences.

Since the professors all have so much, *ahem,* personality, I could imagine sex ed falling into the prefects' jurisdiction.
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How elaborately nasty do wizard STDs become? Are there sexually transmitted jinxes?

The Wizarding World's business sector is probably staffed entirely by scheming Slytherins, who see holes in the market and seek to fill them. Somewhere, a lab is concocting elaborate jinxes for jilted lovers to unleash upon their prey, and selling them in Knockturn Alley.

Can't you just picture the mischievous, morally deviant wizards buying up STJs (sexually transmitted jinxes) and sending them whirring throughout the population? Side effects might include itching, burning, or turning into a toad after coughing.
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What else can the Room of Requirement be used for?

On the seventh floor of the left corridor of the castle is a room that's only there when it's desperately, utterly needed. In the Harry Potter books, Dumbledore's Army uses the Room of Requirement to train against the Dark Lord.

But surely this room could also be molded to fit another, less noble, more carnal set of requirements. In a castle where the paintings gossip and the prefects prowl, maybe the Room of Requirement can be used as a love den refuge from the chattery corridors.

The room could be outfitted with everything. Candles. Circular beds. Waterfalls. Hot tubs. You need it; you get it.
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Is the Mirror of Erised the ultimate fantasy machine?

When Harry Potter stared into the Mirror of Erised, his deepest fantasy played out before him. Harry saw himself flanked by his late parents, with several family members smiling around them.

Does the Mirror of Erised only reflect back our deepest soul's desires, or can it be attuned to our more fleeting, temporary desires as well? If so, then what's stopping the enchanted mirror from being an on-demand TV of contortion? Can't you just see a wandering Hufflepuff casting a locking hex on the room's door, and settling down for a pay-per-view starring himself and the mermaids living in the lake outside of Hogwarts?

That said, Dumbledore stated that people have gone mad from staring at the mirror for too long. Curious teenagers should proceed carefully.
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Do metamorphmagi have an unfair advantage at getting first dates?

Nymphadora Tonks is our favorite example of a metamorphagus, wizards and witches born with the ability to change their appearance to whatever they please. A good Hufflepuff, Tonks preserved her facial features throughout her courtship with Remus Lupin.

Yet metamorphagi could potentially mold their appearances to suit other people's desires, or their own conception of physical attractiveness. I don't know about you, but this presents the enticing, slightly dastardly opportunity to stun and bewilder people with profound beauty.
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Can we talk about the engorgement charm?

Here's one perfect example of magic enhancing — or at least interfering — with sexual relations. Engorgio, the engorgement charm, is simple: It makes a single body part expand significantly. What teenage boy in Hogwarts hasn't gone into a bathroom and engorgio'd themselves, just to get an estimation?

There's only one drawback with this charm. An unskilled, overeager wizard could easily get ahead of himself, and let the engorgement charm get dangerously close to bursting the appendage in question.
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Do voyeurs lust after the Invisibility Cloak?

It's probably a good thing that there's only one completely effective Invisibility Cloak in existence, and the endlessly straight-edge Harry Potter owns it. Otherwise, people could don cloaks and head into common rooms or Quidditch changing rooms and do a little bit of spying.
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