In the Viking culture(ca 789-1066), to be a homosexual man was not automatically considered to be unnatural, evil or perverted. These concepts were introduced together with christianity. Nevertheless, vikings looked down upon homosexual men that did not want to get married(a fuðflogi, or "man who flees the female sex organ") as well as homosexual men who took the passive part of the relationship.

The word for a man who played the passive or female part in a male homosexual relationship was ergi, and the the main reason for the scorn of such a man was that they were considered to be weak men; followers, rather than leaders. Many insults in Old Norse were related to the concept of Nið, or passive male homosexuality, including níðvisur ("insulting verses"), níðskald ("insult-poet"), níðingr ("coward, outlaw"), griðníðingr ("truce-breaker"), níðstöng ("scorn-pole"). It is interesting that as late in the mid-twentieth century the word "niding" was still in occasional use in the Swedish language to mean "an evil or bad person, someone who does ill deeds".