Those Naughty Victorians

Victorian porn entertains me.

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. 

thatsuzychick asked: to me this blog just proves that porn has been the same for forever

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There’s been a sudden influx of followers in the last month so, uh, hi y’all.

I’m glad you like Victorian porn. There are lots of silly hats. Have fun!

zodiarch asked: Can you please point an interested party towards resources/materials/etc on how the victorians felt about hair qua erotic/romantic subject, as per your last ask? Because I'm suddenly mightily interested in what they thought about hair.

Well I don’t know if you have access to JSTOR (if you’re not a student, check your local library, or sometimes colleges nearby have public access computers and subscriptions), but here’s the paper that first got me interested. 

The Power of Women’s Hair in the Victorian Imagination
Elisabeth G. Gitter
PMLA, Vol. 99, No. 5 (Oct., 1984), pp. 936-954
Article DOI: 10.2307/462145
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/stable/462145

Also here’s a book which I haven’t read but want to:

Representations of Hair in Victorian Literature and Culture
Galia Ofek
Published Farnham, England ; Burlington, VT : Ashgate, c2009.

You might have to get it through an interlibrary loan, because it’s an academic textbook and stupid expensive. But it looks really interesting.

dokine asked: I would like to ask a question that I have been curious for an answer. Weren't the legs considered the most obscene part of the woman's body instead of the breasts back in the Victorian period?

Oh man is this a complicated subject am I in no way qualified to answer.

I wouldn’t say obscene so much as taboo, maybe? Also I would say it depends more on the decade within the Victorian era.

I mean, no one was walking around with their tits out—evening wear could have a fair amount of cleavage, but for daytime pretty much everything from the neck down was covered. 

Showing leg was definitely taboo, but I kind of want to say legs were a source of fascination, anxiety and eroticism because they were something it was easier to catch a glimpse of than, say, a nipple. There were obscenity laws about how many inches skirts could be above the ankle, there are poems and stories and stuff featuring the male seeing the lovely, slim, well turned ankle of a woman alighting from a carriage and suddenly being fixated on it and consumed with passion. But there are also the same genre of sexy stuff about shoulders, or arms, or hands, or hair (hair is a big one. The Victorians had so many feelings about hair).

I also think the illicitness of seeing that ankle and possibly some of what’s above it provides a thrill. Seeing something you’re not supposed to see, especially if its an erotic thing, is always interesting and gives you a rush of power…I mean, now boys (I hesitate to call them men because this is NOT the behavior of adults) take those upskirt shots of unwilling and unaware women because the illicitness makes them feel cool and powerful. 

The more covered up a body is, the more tantalizing the edges of the coverings are. 

Outside of our usual time purview, but weird enough that I had to share.
Shared with me by a reader, thank you darling.

Outside of our usual time purview, but weird enough that I had to share.

Shared with me by a reader, thank you darling.

(Source: arctidae, via changeiscming)