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 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
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. 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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