Court records that record witness testimony are a rich source for attitudes if not for actual behavior; they provide first-person accounts from people who are otherwise silent in the medieval record.
During the Middle Ages a woman’s virginity was highly prized. A lady was expected not to have sex until she was married, and that her wedding night would be a kind of test to show that she had remained ‘pure’. However, if she did have sex before, was there a way she could cheat on this test?
Chastity belts have been the subject of schoolroom and music hall humour for as long as most of us can remember. But did they really exist and for the purpose suggested?
Gawain’s reputation as a philanderer precedes him; the best known example is the comment of Bertilak’s wife in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, whose disbelief that the famous and courteous Gawain could be alone with her and not crave a kiss is notorious
Late 16th century Venice, where a woman can be a nun, a wife or a courtesan. For Veronica Franco, the free spirited girl scorned by because of her lack of wealth, the choice is an obvious one…
Veronica Franco and the ‘Cortigiane Oneste’: Attaining Power through Prostitution in Sixteenth-Century Venice
Franco was a published author, a poet, and counted the King of France among her lovers.
Although it is now widely accepted that Lady Godiva never mounted her horse ‘bareback,’ the infamous Domesday Book documented she was indeed a landowner in Coventry. In isolation, this tale is a pleasurable story of risk-taking.
Over a thousand years before Viagra was invented, medieval men were looking for ways to treat erectile dysfunction. We take a look at the prescriptions offered in one of the most popular medical textbooks from the Middle Ages.
If you follow the advice of Caterina Sforza, ‘you will see that thing become so narrow that you yourself will be in admiration.’
Marie Kelleher will discuss the medieval roots of gender and sexuality in Spanish colonial law, beginning with the written law (both secular and ecclesiastical) and how it defines the parameters of respectable female behavior.
This thesis is an historically based inquiry into the aesthetic function and moral significance of the themes of marriage, fornication, and adultery in Chaucer’s poetry about sexual love
Using medieval western art to speak of female sexuality is difficult.
In a letter written as part of his work for the Irish Department of the Ordnance Survey in 1840, Thomas O’Conor recorded his reaction to a “Sheela- na-gig” sculpture—the image of a naked woman shown exposing her genitalia (fig. 1)—that he saw on the old church at Kiltinane, Co. Tipperary.
An examination of the lives of the transvestite saints whose legends and myths help set Western attitudes toward transvestism.
How was long-term celibacy thought to affect the health of religious men? How could medical knowledge help clerics to achieve bodily purity?
Prevention Strategies and Changes in Sexual Mores in Response to the Outbreak of Syphilis in Europe in the Early Modern Age
Prevention Strategies and Changes in Sexual Mores in Response to the Outbreak of Syphilis in Europe in the Early Modern Age By Eugenia Tognotti Journal of Ancient Diseases and Preventive Remedies, Vol.2:2 (2014) Abstract: In the same way as AIDS in the 20th century, syphilis was the sexual scourge of the 16th century. Both of these […]
In this essay, I analyze the keeping and divulging of secrets as they relate to aspects of love and sexuality portrayed mainly in a selection of medieval Arabic romances known as the ‘Udhri love stories.
In this paper, I will show how Nicolette is constantly, deliberately, changing, in appearance and identity, from the beginning of the story, and how she is thus Izzard’s action transvestite.