Like sex during the Black Plague or sex on the Silk Road , sex during the Renaissance was a practice in contradictions. Popes told their followers not to engage in intercourse before marriage while hosting sexually charged parties in the Vatican. Preachers condemned fornication while cities legalized prostitution. And female doctors promoted contraception while religious moralists claimed it was a sin. And then there's homosexuality in the Renaissance.
While there Sesuality many reasons for this, an important one is that the Church only acknowledged the potential for a sexual identity in a woman partaking in sexual intercourse with her husband alone. William Clowes was the first British venereologist. The appearance of a society based on the concept of courtly love placed women on the pedestal of Ply boy xx. In her essay, she writes about topics affecting the sexuality of women such as, religion, marriage, and male dominated Sexuality during renaissance. Tannahill, The reformation had a substantial impact on how the clergy perceived sexuality.
Nude tufts. Female Humanists in Renaissance Italy Essay
Show More. After marriage, women were stuck in Indian couples nude fondling photos home where the Sexuality during renaissance was the head of the household and Sexuality during renaissance all of the decisions. Love and sex in Italian Renaissance art People have always had sex, but only recently have they started talking about it. It is testimony of the just wrath of God against that filthy sin of fornication, the original cause of this infection, that breedeth it, that nurseth it, that disperseth it. Women came in for especially heavy abuse. Sex in the Renaissance was frowned upon by the church unless it was practiced a in the marriage bed, and b for the purpose of procreation, not pleasure. People in the Renaissance didn't just float around in fancy dresses, dance in masques and eat peacocks with their feathers stuck back on after roasting. Though King Edward II fulfilled his kingly duty by producing four children, his wife and the Parliament were perpetually hostile to his sexual preferences. While some parts may tell you more than you wanted to know, the Sexuality during renaissance and first chapter are straight up the best thing you can read on this topic. In this way homosexuality during the Renaissance was caught up in the intellectual, artistic and political ferment of the times, which was the main characteristic of this historic period.
When Europe came out of the Dark Ages and Byzantium fell, Italy emerged as not only the most powerful nation, but also the leading patron of the arts.
- The Renaissance in the history of the world, especially the western hemisphere, is seen as a time which turned the course of human civilization.
- The public record usually expunged references to gays, gays themselves were largely silent or silenced, and literary sources and histories, written by our opponents, are defamatory.
- There is perhaps no activity more universal to the human condition than sex.
Medieval female sexuality is the collection of sexual and sensual characteristics identified in a woman from the Middle Ages. Like a modern woman, a medieval woman's sexuality included many different aspects. Sexuality not only included sex, but spread into many parts of the medieval woman's life.
Everything in her life ultimately led to marriage, and it was within wedlock that her sexuality developed and took shape into what today could be recognized as a sexual identity. The scope of sexuality for a married woman during the Middle Ages was broader than that of an unmarried woman. While there are many reasons for this, an important one is that the Church only acknowledged the potential for a sexual identity in a woman partaking in sexual intercourse with her husband alone.
Outside of marriage, virginity and purity were prized, and sexuality was limited to small displays of beauty, such as embroidered hair coverings or fine clothes. Chastity removed the possibility for any kind of sexual identity as would be seen in the 21st century. Even medical problems related to female organs were disregarded with the understanding that only sexually active women could have them, and even so, help was difficult to find.
However, within the bonds of marriage came sexual intercourse for these medieval women and with it, sexual problems. Those problems included conception, birthing, abortion, and health problems related to sexual organs. The most important piece of a woman's sexuality did not directly relate to what women believed about their own sexuality, but more so the roles assigned to them through the beliefs, superstitions, and decrees of the Church, the law, and men.
These three entities came to define female sexuality and sexual identity in the Middle Ages. Sexuality for the medieval woman began before marriage as a young virgin. It was not necessary for her to be beautiful to be married off because marriage was traditionally based on politics, material wealth, and social status. It would have been intensely disapproved of for a man and woman to marry based on physical attraction or love.
When a family made a match for the daughter, choosing a mate based on sexual attraction was never considered. It was very rare to find references to love and beauty in the negotiations for marriage between two families. However, it was not unheard of for young men and women to create relationships for themselves with sexual attraction in mind.
Women displayed their availability for marriage through their hair, which would have been a great symbol of sexuality in the Middle Ages as it was kept hidden. Medieval women allowed their hair to grow throughout their lives. Married women would have kept their long hair tied up in braids beneath a head covering of some sort. Single women would allow their hair to fall freely over their bodies signaling that they were available for marriage.
A woman's clothing was particularly important in attracting male attention for the intention of marriage. In fact, a beautiful woman in poor clothing would go generally unnoticed while a much less attractive woman in fine clothing would receive far more male attention, although modesty was throughout considered to be her greatest triumph.
Legally, if a woman were to dress like a whore, she could be codified as one. It was understood that a certain amount of physical attraction between potential partners was necessary to encourage reproduction by allowing the male to be stimulated sexually. Once married, the importance of fidelity directly related to a woman's honor and her acknowledgment of male control of her sexuality. While an unconsummated marriage was subject to annulment, once a woman lost her virginity to her husband, the consummated marriage was permanent.
Sexual problems within a marriage, especially in explanation to an unconsummated marriage, existed in a woman's claim of her husband's impotence and inability to penetrate her or in a man's claim that his wife's vagina was too narrow or that it was somehow blocked. The act of adultery was considered by far the worst of sexual sins, but it is noteworthy that usually only women would be punished for it.
A husband would be forbidden to murder his adulterous wife, but if he did, the courts were reluctant to punish him. Although adultery was a severe sin, a woman had another option and that was of separation from her husband. While divorce did not exist with regards to its forbidden status within the Church, a woman could file for a separation from her husband on the grounds of ill treatment and in many cases was granted the separation. Sex outside of marriage did of course exist, but promiscuity was considered to be more heinous in females than males.
However, the German Schwabenspiegel allowed a woman over twenty-five to engage in sexual activity without her father's consent or threat of the loss of inheritance. Most of those beliefs revolved around women during intercourse. It was acknowledged that women had sexual desire, but it was also believed that women were extremely lusty and seductive, more susceptible to temptation, and always ready to engage in sex. Medieval women were assumed to be far more insatiable than men and a woman's lust would have been considered her ultimate sin.
She was believed to receive far more pleasure from a sexual encounter than men and reach her sexual readiness far earlier than men. Perceived as more sexually mature than males, women were expected to conduct themselves to higher standards than men, leading to a double standard of sexual morality.
One threat of the natural male hierarchy occurred in the bedroom: women were to give their husbands pleasure by being submissive so that he may impregnate her. It was a sin for a woman to dominate a man by reversing roles in the bedroom because it made the husband subservient to the wife. However, it was a firmly held belief that because the man could not produce his portion of what was required for the woman to become pregnant without him reaching orgasm, it was likewise believed that the woman could not conceive a child without her also reaching orgasm; one consequence of this belief was that women who were raped and conceived a child were thought to have experienced pleasure from the experience, in spite of any other evidence to the contrary.
The laws of the Catholic Church and the secular laws of the medieval period mixed into, generally, one united front. Whatever would have been a concern for the Church, was automatically reflected in the concern of the secular court.
The ultimate purity for the Church was for one to maintain virginity throughout one's life, but if one must have a sexual life, it would then only be legitimate for procreation through marriage.
The sin of women's sexual immorality, love of extravagant dress, and petulant nature were common themes of medieval sermons. However, for a woman, sex was a very limited activity because of the restrictions placed on the instances in which she could engage in sexual activity. For example, sex was a forbidden activity during the following times: Sundays, sometimes Fridays and Wednesdays, the feast days of the saints, periods of fasting such as Lent or Advent , and during a woman's life when she was considered to be impure.
Since the goal for a woman was to give birth to as many children as possible and nurse them all into good health, a woman, given the set restrictions, would not have had much time to engage in sexual activity. When a woman did have sex with her husband, there also existed laws in the bedroom.
Sex in the missionary position was the only form of sex deemed acceptable and natural. All other positions and sexual acts were considered sodomy ; the charge of sodomy was so serious that it would have been tried in the secular court and possibly been subject to a death sentence.
Another large piece of female sexuality of concern for the courts was that of prostitution. A woman selling sexual services during the Middle Ages was, in theory, frowned upon by the Church as committing a sin, but in principle and in practice, the authorities believed that prostitution was a necessary evil and a public utility for preventing men from worse sins.
While the Court and the Church sought to limit women's sexuality through the law, clearly in many ways it was a failure. Perhaps the most important aspect of a woman's sexuality was not how she used her body for sexual purposes, but the state of her physical sexual health. Female medical experts of the period such as Trotula and Hildegard of Bingen had great interest in sexual topics concerning women and desired to aid women in the upkeep of their sexual health.
These healers were interested in: fertility, obstetrics , women's diseases, reproduction, sexual appetite, and so forth. Doctors and healers well understood the medicinal use of plants and herbs and were regularly consulted about menstruation , contraceptives , and abortion aids.
Menstruation was universally seen as a means of purification and as the blood supplied to the fetus and the blood converted to breast milk for nursing. Often women would come to healers or herbalists to receive a concoction which would instigate menstruation.
Although it may be hard to understand why this would be desired, it becomes evident that this was an abortion aid. Stimulating menstruation in a woman who had recently become pregnant would deliver a miscarriage and hence abort the embryo.
It was believed that there was a window of time between when receiving a man's semen and when impregnation would occur. There was a great reluctance to give wives any form of birth control and what recipes did exist had terrible directions and caused more harm than good. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The collection of sexual and sensual characteristics identified in a woman from the Middle Ages.
This article includes a list of references , related reading or external links , but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. May Learn how and when to remove this template message.
This article is an orphan , as no other articles link to it. Please introduce links to this page from related articles ; try the Find link tool for suggestions.
December This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. October Learn how and when to remove this template message. Salisbury, ed. Bennett et al. Bollough and James A. Brundage, eds.
Categories : Women and sexuality Medieval women. Hidden categories: Articles with short description Articles lacking in-text citations from May All articles lacking in-text citations Orphaned articles from December All orphaned articles Articles needing additional references from May All articles needing additional references Articles needing additional references from October All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from December Articles with unsourced statements from August Namespaces Article Talk.
Subscribe to ArtTrav via Email Enter your email address to conveniently receive new posts by email. Many of these "sodomitical" relationships were apparently tolerated and even encouraged by parents and relatives who saw that they could gain protection and political advancement from a son's well-placed lover. There were two main variations. The early outbreaks of the disease were especially devastating, presumably because there was no natural immunity to it. Sodomites in fifteenth century Tuscany: The views of Bernardino of Siena. During the Renaissance, Florence developed a reputation for being pervaded with homosexuality - "sodomy" in the language of the time. Very soon such ecclesiastical measures soon found state support as numerous heads of state outlawed homosexuality and imposed the death sentence.
Sexuality during renaissance. Female Humanists in Renaissance Italy Essay
Cornelis Bos after Michelangelo, drawing, Leda and the Swan. One of the most fun depictions of erotic mythology is the fresco cycle by Giulio Romano commissioned by Federico II Gonzaga in In a private dining room, the riotous Wedding of Cupid and Psyche depicts amorous guests — I illustrate the tamest scene here. Most other metaphorical expressions of love use Cupid as a symbol.
In the page shown below, true love gold is tested by two Cupids. While most of these plays and treatises were not illustrated beyond perhaps a frontispiece, the most famous case of erotic engraving and equally erotic text during the 16th century is I Modi. The book, published in and , was of course banned and burned by the pope, and only fragments of the images survive. These fragments in the British Museum suffice to give us a glimpse of something that must have been very racy indeed.
British Museum — fragments of i Modi click to see on their website. Nonetheless it was no less racy than I Modi , it just had this veil of mythology superimposed on it. For example, the inside of cassone lids — the trunks usually placed around the bed in the Renaissance — sometimes had nudes painted on them.
Even earlier, amusing little erotic references could be found in the margins of illustrated manuscripts, where they would only be seen by the elite men that owned them. If you decide to read it, let me know what you think. I promise to get to it soon. Another general public book that talks about some amusing aspects of sex in the Renaissance is How to Do It: Guides to Good Living for Renaissance Italians , which similar topics to those found in more academic books, but does away with footnotes and heavy-handed writing.
While some parts may tell you more than you wanted to know, the introduction and first chapter are straight up the best thing you can read on this topic. Email Address. This event was a cultural movement for the. The Renaissance was a time of enlightenment and discovery around the world. There were many advancements in culture, art, and science.
An interesting area to look at for this period would be the advancements made based on gender. Historically, women do not always have a significant impact on their culture, and they do not always have the same standing as their male counterparts. Margaret L. King and Joan Kelly-Gadol delve deeper into the issue of gender advancements during the Renaissance when they.
That is, the culture of ancient Egypt. The depiction of women during the Renaissance could be described as varied, if we were to view the changes of the role of women during this time as distinct and diverse.
In her essay, she writes about topics affecting the sexuality of women such as, religion, marriage, and male dominated societies. The people in society judge women. Home Page Research Sexuality in the Renaissance.
Sexuality in the Renaissance Words Oct 17, 9 Pages. During the Renaissance period, sexuality impacted how people, both men and women, were treated and how they behaved.
The lives of women were completely defined by the ideals of sexuality that were enforced during that time. In the Renaissance, this definition was accompanied with ideologies of gender. This incorporated knowledge led to their notions of the female being inferior to the male based on what was …show more content…. A young woman would marry a man who was usually significantly older than she was.
After marriage, women were stuck in a home where the male was the head of the household and made all of the decisions. Woman were forced to marry men that they barely knew, thus even the most intimate details of their lives were decided not by them, but by others.
Love was usually not a factor in the marriage equation. Wife-beating was also allowed and men sometimes imprisoned, starved, and humiliated their wives. On the other hand, men did the same thing but were not punished for it. These men even had children outside of their marriage and the wife was expected to take care of them just the same.
This happened mostly with high status families, but in poorer families men resulted to bigamy of desertion.
Medieval female sexuality - Wikipedia
There is perhaps no activity more universal to the human condition than sex. People of all ages and cultures throughout history have engaged in sexual activity for a variety of reasons, the most obvious being for the purpose of reproduction. Sex is not only shaped by culture, but also serves to shape the culture as well. We argue, in short, that sexuality has been continually reshaped by the changing nature of the economy, the family, and politics. Obviously, this claim does not just hold true for sexuality in America.
The perception of sexuality today is different than it was in Our perception of sex and its place in our cultures changes because—as many authors have pointed out— gender and sexuality are cultural constructions, often devised to serve political ends. This paper will examine sexual relations during the Renaissance and the Reformation, roughly from to It will discuss the nature of sexual relationships during this period, examine sex as a part of culture, investigate how the church and religious leaders dealt with sexuality, and explore the role played by sexually transmitted diseases in shaping Renaissance society.
For women, the prime benefit of the middle ages was the emergence of courtly love. Although they were still regarded by men as inferior, and simply as vessels for producing children, women did gain from the spectacle of the troubadours wandering the countryside presenting their love lyrics. The appearance of a society based on the concept of courtly love placed women on the pedestal of virtue.
This created a dualism in society that continued throughout the Renaissance. Women were simultaneously viewed as both virtuous and beautiful, and as wanton pleasure seekers Tannahill , This last view is corroborated by the fact that much of the period folk literature expressed male fears about women as potential castrators, and about women who had the power to exhaust their husbands and make them ill as a result of their voracious sexual appetites Hale , The belt may originally have been designed as a protection against rape, a common hazard in medieval times, but it proved a godsend to husbands who still subscribed to the age old belief that women were natural wantons.
According to Ruggerio, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries saw the emergence of two sexual worlds: the world of marriage and procreation, and the libertine world in which women were raped, prostitutes pursued, nuns seduced, and boys sodomized.
Some men and most women would have passed all their lives in the first world. An unspecified number of men and a minority of women on the other hand, lived either wholly in the second world, or went back and forth between the two according to their stage of life. According to Trumbach:. The change would have occurred around with the emergence of modern culture. At that point, the rise of egalitarian ideas and their impact on an older patriarchy began to change the nature of marriage, gender, and sexual relations, and opened the way for the development of romantic and companionate marriage, the concept of gender equality, and the division of the world into a heterosexual majority and a homosexual minority.
Since sexual pleasure was supposed to be sinful, it is probable that many people only engaged in sex for this specific purpose. Socially, sex was generally seen as a necessary evil, but many obviously participated for reasons other than procreation. A quick look at the records of illegitimate births confirms that sex did not always occur inside of marriage McLaren, One of the problems that people faced was the lack of reliable methods of birth control. Publications of folk remedies also indicate that people had sex for reasons other than having children.
One widely practiced method of birth control, frowned upon by the church, was the practice of anal intercourse. Enduring sexual relationships and marriages often began with violent seductions that could be legally classified as rape. Consequently, the rape of young women of marriageable age received the lightest punishment of any sexual crime. The rape of a noblewoman by a plebeian, or the seduction as it was presented of a nobleman from his familial duties by a common woman— these were taken most seriously of all because the patricians who applied the law were interested not in upholding Christian morality, but in defending patrician honor and family continuity.
Trumbach, Societies of the Renaissance were organized in such a way as to attempt to control the passions of the flesh. Such passions, left untamed, were thought to threaten the social order.
One of the popular ways of binding such passions was through marriage. Unlike marriages of today, these were often alliances that bound two families together. Other attempts to control bodily passion were largely the province of the state and the church.
In the fifteenth century, the development of the private bedroom had important impacts on sex. People now had more privacy. This probably made sex more frequent, and also led to more partners. While sex in marriage had previously been a sin, albeit a minor one, the reformation brought forth the ideas that marital love, mutual pleasure and desire, and enhancement of marriage could be achieved with, or benefit from, the practice of sexual intercourse.
Although moderation was still advised, and sex outside of marriage was still condemned, sex became a part of the emerging romantic love where marriage was based on romance rather than on family interests. Just as reformation ideas emphasized the importance of the individual, so too did Protestantism encourage a heightened sense of the family as a discrete unit. Courtship and marriage within the middle and upper classes continued to hinge largely upon property alliances.
For other social groups, however, love became one element in the choice of a mate. Once wed, husbands and wives were encouraged to learn to love each other, a significant departure from an older ideal of extramarital and unrequited courtly love.
Prostitution was widespread in the Renaissance and in all the major cities they could be found in great numbers. Private enterprise prostitution had flourished in Europe since time immemorial, and nothing its rulers could do succeeded in stemming the tide. Indeed, when St. Louis Louis IX of France tried to put an end to it, the irate bourgeois of Paris complained that it was no longer safe for their wives and daughters to appear upon the streets.
In Venice, according to the chronicler Sanudo, there were 11, filles de joie in a population totalling , However, sodomy also included other activities such as bestiality, and general debauchery. As the Renaissance began, there were proscriptions against sodomy, but they were not strongly enforced. In the fourteenth century, a variety of anti-sodomy laws were enacted by the North Italian city states.
These enactments laid the groundwork for a greater European trend toward secular anti-sodomy legislation in the fifteenth century. There were also a number of anti- sodomy purges throughout Italy during the fifteenth century, the Savonarola episode in Florence being the most notable Dyne , These purges appear to have taken place for two reasons.
First, the practice of sodomy was initially believed to have been a lightly regarded step along the path to adult heterosexuality. They believed that the practice of sodomy had incurred the wrath of God, manifest as the recurrent outbreaks of the plague.
There was also the problem of declining population in plague stricken Italy. People looked down on practices like sodomy in a society that was having difficulty keeping reproduction at a constant level. Constantly reminding his audiences of their dramatic population losses, Bernardino placed the blame squarely on sodomites.
These factors all conjoined to create a new, more hostile atmosphere for those who chose to practice sodomy. The Italian authorities instituted a number of measures in an attempt to constrain the practice of sodomy. These included the official sponsorship of prostitution, new and harsher laws for those caught practicing sodomy, and more effective police surveillance. Florence and Lucca went so far as to establish civic magistracies, in and respectively, whose sole task was to prosecute the crime of sodomy Rocke, 8.
As in other times throughout history, even though the regulatory system attempted to prevent sodomy, the practice continued. For women in the Middle Ages, the creation of special status for the Virgin Mary within the church was very important. Arriving from Byzantium, the cult of the Virgin was brought to Europe during the twelfth century by people returning from the crusades.
Under the influence of St. Bernard, many Cistercian abbeys were created. The monks of the Cistercian Order were dedicated to the Virgin, wearing white in her honor. They also began to build special chapels to her in their cathedrals.
By the thirteenth century, the combination of worship of the virgin and the love lyric had transformed Mary into the ideal archetype of womanly virtue. Although her image was initially quite courtly, the influence of the Franciscans in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries transformed the Holy Virgin into the protector and mother of the poor and downtrodden Tannahill, While the church helped to benefit the image of women, it also kept them in a position of inferiority.
His position on women became the position that clergy in general subscribed to for over years. Aquinas also thought that since the man was the head of the family, had the capacity for reason that women lacked, and since he took the active role during sexual intercourse; the male sex was clearly superior.
Regarding marriage, Aquinas thought that it had only two recommendations: It allowed children to be conceived without sin, and it kept men out of sexual trouble. Aquinas also went into great detail listing the various sexual sins in their corresponding order of magnitude. These included:. The church also took a most interesting position regarding prostitution, considering that fornication and adultery were considered sins.
The church could not and did not want to ban prostitution. Take away the sewer, and you will fill the palace with pollution. Take away prostitutes from the world and you will fill it with sodomy. So the church found itself in an interesting position. Supporting one evil to prevent a greater one led the church to create a number of brothels.
However, the church also realized that prostitution was also a sin. These homes were supported by local patronage, and local people obviously gave generously, as the Soul House in Vienna became the richest institution in the city.
It created quite a scandal in when most all the ladies living there suffered from a multiple relapse. Tannahill, The reformation had a substantial impact on how the clergy perceived sexuality. The new views of protestantism, with an emphasis on individuality and the family created important changes in clerical views regarding sex.
To Luther, virginity or abstinence from sex were abnormal conditions which could be overcome by marriage, which was just as necessary to men as eating and drinking. Even though separation without remarriage was the only form of divorce that Christ had specifically sanctioned, Luther chose to accept this as advisory rather than mandatory. He believed that adultery on the part of either partner automatically dissolved a marriage, and that if a woman refused conjugal rights to her husband or one partner prevented another from leading a pure life, divorce was the only practical alternative.
While Luther primarily saw women as potential marriage mates and sexual partners, Calvin took the slightly more constructive view that women could also be indispensable companions and helpmates Tannahill, As the views of Calvin and Luther gained currency across Europe, the Catholic idea that marriage was acceptable primarily as a way to channel lust and prevent sexual sin gave way to a belief that marital love, as well as the need to produce children, could justify sexual intercourse.
At the same time, by placing a new emphasis on the importance of sexuality within marriage, Protestantism distinguished more clearly between proper sexual expression sex between married partners and sexual transgression acts that occurred outside of marriage.