How to Cheat on a Virginity Test

Lovers in Bed - from British Library MS Sloane 2435 f. 9v

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 and birthing girdles

A sketch of a chastity belt from an early 15th century manuscript of "Bellifortis" - perhaps included as a joke.

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?

The Lady’s Man: Gawain as Lover in Middle English Literature

Sir Gawain, by Howard Pyle from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)

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

Movie Review: Dangerous Beauty

Veronica Franco (Catherine McCormack) kisses her lover, Marco Vernier (Rufus Sewell) in, "Dangerous Beauty".

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

Veronica Franco, painted by Domenico Tintoretto (1560–1635)

Franco was a published author, a poet, and counted the King of France among her lovers.

Genre Medievalisms: Geek Goes Chic!

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in HBO's, 'Game of Thrones'. Photo courtesy of blastr.com (TV Guide)

Is Cersei a collection of bad medieval stereotypes? Have nerds gone mainstream? Were American cowboys a modern retelling of the medieval knight? Put down that comic, put away your bag of dice, and indulge your inner nerd.

Finding Truth in the Myth of Lady Godiva: Femininity, Sex, and Power in Twelfth Century England

Lady Godiva by John Collier, c. 1897

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.

Medieval Viagara

medieval anatomy figures

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.

How to restore virginity – advice from Caterina Sforza

Caterina Sforza

If you follow the advice of Caterina Sforza, ‘you will see that thing become so narrow that you yourself will be in admiration.’

The medieval roots of gender and sexuality in Spanish colonial law

Marie Kelleher

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.

Chaucer the Love Poet: A Study in Historical Criticism

Wife of Bath

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

The Trouble with ‘Female Sexuality’

medieval woman and unicorn

Using medieval western art to speak of female sexuality is difficult.

‘Hag of the Castle:’ Women, Family, and Community in Later Medieval Ireland

Sheela-na-gig from the Fethard wall in Fethard, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, detail, 12th c.

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.

Transvestites in the Middle Ages

Saint Pelagia

An examination of the lives of the transvestite saints whose legends and myths help set Western attitudes toward transvestism.

The Episcopal Body and Sexuality in Late Medieval England

Thomas Becket, with mitre, pall and cross, being consecrated.

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

Maria Salviati portrait by Pontormo, c. 1543.

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 […]

On the Significance of Secrecy in the Medieval Arabic Romances

Brooklyn Museum - Layli visits Majnun in the Grove

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.

Nicolette : action transvestite, or, who and what is the heroine of Aucassin et Nicolette?

Aucassin and Nicolette, 19th-century oil-on-canvas by Marianne Stokes

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.

medievalverse magazine
Show Buttons
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkdin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Hide Buttons