Get Adobe Flash player


Courtesans in History: Not Just a Sexual Matter

The word courtesan often evokes provocative and often sexual imagery when heard, but this is not always what it has meant throughout history. Often social and political climbers, courtesans were nearly always members of court, though their wealth and status level often motivated them for further advancement through the act of becoming a courtesan. In order to obtain either a stable income if they were on the less wealthy side or to gain more status and influence social or politically, courtesans were passed from benefactor to benefactor in order to gain their means to an end. Often times, if a courtesan was not wealthy, but held a place in court, she would accept this profession as a stable income or to obtain better status for their spouse (if married), or both. Although, if the courtesan chose benefactors, yet not as a means of income (ie., she was already wealthy), then her means to an end would be to obtain a better status for either herself or her husband.

In the latter arrangement in which the courtesan had embarked upon this profession for means of a stable income, she was often treated less as an equal than a courtesan who was seeking only social or political advancement. Whereas the former ran the risk of ending up in the streets as a common prostitute if she dissatisfied her benefactors due to her financial vulnerability, the latter often made arrangements with benefactors as a strict business agreement and would encounter fewer troubles given her financial security.

Whatever their status of wealth, courtesans all usually had a common basis in that they were artists, performers, or had a particularly witty personality that set them apart from others. They were usually well-educated and cultured, often times more so than many other upper-class women. They were well-versed in the art of conversation, companionship, appealing in appearance, and usually from an appropriate background either by status or wealth. While it’s true that sex was often one of their obligations as a courtesan, it was only a small part of what the profession entailed. In fact, by the early 1900’s, courtesans were seen as more socially acceptable in wealthier societal circles.

Famous Courtesans

  • Madame de Pompadour
  • Cora Pearl
  • Su XiaoXiao
  • Marie Duplessis
  • Yang GuiFei
  • Clara Ward
  • Mata Hari
  • Mary Boleyn

Homosexuality:Victorian Vs. Modern Times

Homosexuality has been the subject of controversy for hundreds of years, perhaps more. Existing since the dawn of man, it seems that many societies including those in Victorian times viewed homosexuality negatively. In the mid to late-1800’s, homosexuality was seen as the practices of a “sinner” and was thought to only be practiced by men, although we know that is likely to be very untrue. After the late 1800’s, there was a shift in society’s opinion on homosexuals from being dubbed “sinners” to being thought of as “social deviants” or “perverts.” But as I will repeat again, in the words of Lady Gaga, “A different lover is not a sin, believe capital H-I-M.”

Up until the 1980s, homosexuality was seen as a sickness caused by a weak father and a controlling or dominant mother. Since the 1980’s, many strides have been made to change the public view of homosexuals and their lives with the creation of many AIDS alliance and assistance programs, LGBT organization, legalization of gay marriage AKA same sex union in many countries and in the U.S. only in certain states, and most importantly, more of an acceptance of the homosexual community as a whole by the general public.

Although it is true that we have come a long way in LGBT rights, we still have a very long way to go in achieving equality for the homosexual community as a whole and it seems an even longer way to go in achieving an accepting view on LGBT communities from society as a whole.

Still widely disputed today, homosexuals, both male and female, experience many hardships in their daily lives including religious exile, bans from child adoptions, and, in some cases, shaming and harassment from various members of society.

I urge every reader to open their hearts and minds to accepting LGBT as a way of life that is not a choice for someone, but in the words of the brilliant Lady Gaga, they were “born this way.”

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Homosexuality:

  • The word “homosexual” is a term disliked by the gay community for it defines the person’s orientation, not them as a person on the whole.
  • Other derivatives of the word homosexual used throughout history: Homophile (1960), Homo-erotic (1916), Homophobe (1970’s), Homophobia (1969), and Homos (1930’s).
  • Homosexuality was very common in early B.C. Greece, Egypt, & Roman societies. In Greece in particular, sexual orientation was not something clearly defined or frowned upon and was not used as a social identifier as it is in present day Western societies.
  • Homosexuality is common among many animals, both domestic and wild, including dogs, birds, cats, etc.
  • The term homosexual has in the past only referred to men who are attracted to other men, but modernly refers to both men who are attracted to men and women who are attracted to other women.

To learn more about LGBT support and what you can do to learn more or help out in your community, please visit for more information.

Don’t be a drag, just be a queen. 🙂