gender Tag Archive

Sex and History: An Introduction to Sexual History Tour

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V0047298 Various sex aids, including dildos, artificial vulva, penis Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Various sex aids, including dildos, artificial vulva, penis supports etc. Colour woodcut, ca. 1830. Published: [ca. 1830] Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Colour woodcut, ca. 1830. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images http://wellcomeimages.org

I must confess… I have a fetish. It’s an obsession, an itch I have to scratch, a passion that cannot be contained.

I have a thing for research. Not just a simple search engine pass over something, I mean I dig into every bit of thick minutia until I’m rolling in so much knowledge I can barely contain myself. I love large heaps of information; deeply descriptive documentaries, epically explained examinations, audio books, magazine articles, not just Google search but every kind of search engine (yes, I’ve been known to Bing). My dedication to research often knows no bounds so just trying to find out the best deal on a new fridge, the best brand of running shoes or even does a high quality body safe silicone ejaculating dildo exist will become hours of leaving no stone unturned. I find learning everything from the results of archeological investigations into the building techniques of the Sphinx to when was the first brassiere developed can lead us to think about the past differently. It can make us look at our lives right now differently too.

When I started writing about sexuality years ago I found myself writing an article detailing how we’ve changed as a culture when it comes to sexual repression and sexual freedom. Dealing with conservative wing nuts that want to take control of our sexuality is not surprising. I know that people think our evolution should be farther along when it comes to sexual expression but it really hasn’t been that long of a journey for us and we’ve gone back and forth many times. I reminded people that we’ve had times that were more open (Hellenistic Era, Renaissance Era, Post-Revolutionary France, Jazz Age, the 1960s) and times where repression ruled (Late Middle Ages, Puritanical Colonial Era, Victorian Era, the 1950s). It’s been a tug of war across the ages, a pendulum swing, an ebb and flow.

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Sexuality in Dress

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CorsetPullHardStereo

Sometime in my distant past, I was part of an education program about life in the Victorian era. We dressed in reproduction clothing and talked about life, culture and architecture around the turn of the century. One of the presentations I did was on how upper middle-class women dressed at that time. I would start with just my “unmentionables on” which were my split crotch drawers, a chemise that went down nearly to my knees and a partially laced corset. Under my drawers, I had on some thick tights since it was always cold in that room. I had a maid who dressed me while I talked to the guests. She tightened my corset, helped me put on my corset cover, then my petticoat, followed by a skirt then the matching bodice of my gown. I did this over and over again as groups came through at regular intervals.

In another part of the house (this was in a renovated historic home) other reenactors talked about courtship, running a household, local business, and the “fads” and “new innovations” of the day. Before we began to receive guests, I was called into the parlor by another reenactor who wanted to introduce me to his friend who was new to our merry band of history players. I was waiting for our first group to arrive so I was in my chemise, drawers, and corset. Since it was winter I had a long velvet shirt I brought that looked somewhat like a short dressing gown. It was not buttoned up in front so I could just throw it off when our visitors arrived. I was introduced to the new addition and we began talking about our day and what it’s like to speak in character in front of guests.

I began to notice the new recruit seemed to be avoiding my gaze. I have a tendency to look people in the eye when I talk but not in an aggressive way, just in a connecting way. His body language seemed to broadcast a bit of unease and he kept turning away and spending most of the time just looking at the other gentleman. Finally when I asked a question that required a long answer from him (not intentional since I wasn’t really sure what was going on) the oddest thing happened. When he turned to talk to me, he raised his hand and kept it outstretch as if I had a blinding light coming from me and he had to shield it. He then laughed nervously and said he just couldn’t talk to me dressed like that. It was very distracting and it felt wrong looking at me while I was undressed.

Undressed??

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