vinylthevampire asked: by any chance do you know if women in the victorian era was more sexually active? or was it limited?
1. I want you to know I am massively unqualified to answer this question. I am not an expert. I just like porn and think the Victorian era was entertainingly batshit.
2. More sexually active compared to who? To when? To now? To the Georgian era? How are you defining “sexually active” anyway?
If you’re asking if Victorian women had sex outside of marriage, then yes, that happened. Not so much to the degree, probably, that happens now in unmarried young people, mostly because now we have reliable birth control, and also chaperonage rules and social mores have changed. But the chaperonage rules and social mores of the Victorian era depended a lot on the class anyway.
Victorian thoughts on sex and sexuality were contradictory and complicated. The medical establishment at the time was more or less convinced women had no sexual desires and if they did have sexual desire there was something wrong with them (men weren’t left out of the medical batshittery—google anti-masturbation devices and prepare to be traumatized for life. Some medical professionals were convinced that sex—especially sex that didn’t involve sticking your dick in your wife—would basically kill you). This led to the thinking that women who loved and lived with other women weren’t having sex because women didn’t want sex and also you can’t have sex without a man. When confronted with the fact there were sexual activities happening between women, the women were labeled as deranged.
And then, of course, there’s the massive gulf between what the medical establishment and the marriage advice people and prevailing “wisdom” thought people should behave and what everyone was actually doing. Women obviously have sexual desires and obviously act on them and always have and always will. Women were participating in porn. Women were using whatever methods available to prevent or terminate unwanted pregnancies.
And then there’s the intersection of class, and I don’t even know where to start with that. Women’s lives were heavily policed and their interactions with the opposite sex were heavily policed, but the policing was less so for lower class women.
Overall, women’s sex lives were more limited than they are in the US today, due to lack of birth control and information about birth control, lack of mobility, more restrictive social mores, more restrictive laws, etc. But that doesn’t mean women weren’t having sex.