"The law against sodomy goes back fourteen hundred years to the Emperor Justinian, who felt that there should be such a law because, as everyone knew, sodomy was the principal cause of earthquakes.Cited in Simon Winchester's A Crack in the Edge of the World, which I'm currently reading.
"Sodomy" gets them. For elderly, good-hearted audiences, I paraphrase; the word is not used. College groups get a fuller discussion of Justinian and his peculiar law, complete with quotations from Procopius. California audiences living on or near the San Andreas Fault laugh the loudest - and the most nervously. No wonder."
--- Gore Vidal, Matters of Fact and Fiction, 1977