medieval women lived today, they'd still be thinking about sex
the way we do.
Margaret would be updating her status
to "in a relationship with God" while her disappointed
husband changed his from "just married" to "it's
complicated." Margery would be picking up the ingredients
for a sexy night in and doing some special baking. Perhaps
Rose might be stopping off at a sex shop for some quality alone
time supplies. Alice would still not be walking home in the dark
for fear of being molested and Anne might be facing her abusive
husband in court. The church would still be on its soapbox loudly
telling women what they could and couldn't do with their own bodies.
This much we do know, but have you
ever wondered what sex was like for the medieval woman? Were women
slaves to their husband's every desire? Were they secured safely
and jealously in a chastity belt in his absence? Was sex a duty
or could it be a pleasure? Did the medieval woman have any say
about her own body and who did or didn't get up close and personal
with it at all? Ever? About any of it?
So much more than you might think.
The intimate lives of medieval
women were as complex and as complicated as ours today with very
little being clear cut and many of the issues relating to sexual
relationships having distinctly blurry edges. Women then, as now,
loved and lost, hoped and schemed, laughed and cried, were lifted
up and cast down. They were hopeful and lovelorn. Some were chaste
and some were lusty. Some had sex thrust unwillingly upon them
and had to deal with the consequences. Others made aphrodisiacs
and dressed for success.
Sometimes having sex was complicated.
Sometimes not having sex, was even more so. In spite of the hundreds
of years which separate the very secret sex lives of medieval
women and the sex lives of modern women, many similarities remain.
Only the actual women have changed.
Hundreds of years separate the very
secret sex lives of medieval women and the sex lives of modern
women. Only the actual women have changed. These true stories
and astonishing facts about medieval sexual health and hygiene
might surprise you!
Fans of the Time Traveller's
Guide to Medieval England, Medieval Women and Terry
Jonses's Medieval Lives will meet real women and hear their
voices in The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women.
© Rosalie Gilbert
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