Get Adobe Flash player

victorian era

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

The Art of Erotic Spanking

Erotic spanking has had a special place in the hearts of many for thousands of years. The first descriptions of erotic flagellation appear around 600 B.C. and erotic spanking as an art in the world of pleasure gained even more prevalence in the Victorian era, where much of the erotic art and pornography of the day featured arousal and stimulation gained from flagellation and spanking. Spanking is most definitely the most common form and most socially acceptable form of BDSM in society today. So, whether it’s your cup of tea to be bent over someone’s knee or whether you sqweel with pleasure at the thought of spanking your partner yourself, here are some fun tips to try:

  • Set the mood. Decide what you want your theme to be or simply spice up the room with some candles, incense or low lighting to create the perfect atmosphere.
  • Choose Your Weapon. Well, kind of. Obviously there shouldn’t be any actual pain (at least nothing that leaves a mark! ;)), but you should decide what kind of tools you want to utilize throughout the day (or night) with your partner. Whether you and your partner decide together is up to you, but there are a number of options to choose from including bare hands, whips, paddles, floggers, and a number of other fun tools.
  • Choose A Spanking Style. Yes, there are spanking styles! You can spank lightly, firmly, in quick succession, long drawn out strikes with sensual massage in between, and anything in between those varieties or in combination. Choose one or try them all!
  • Choose One or More Spanking Positions. There is a wide selection of places to deal out proper punishment 😉 including over the knee, on your knees, tied up in varying juxtapositions, handcuffed to the bed, the door or some other object firmly allocated to the ground, lying on a bed, bent over a couch, and more. Feel free to try what suits you or switch places depending on which ones hold your interest.
  • Communicate. Communication is one of the most, if not the most, important things to keep in mind during any sort of BDSM fun. Be sure to communicate what you want (if you are the spanked) to your spanker 😉 for the night. It is important to be very vocal about what you want otherwise you’re keeping your partner in the dark and may not enjoy the session as much as you could. If they’re doing everything right, remember to use encouraging words every now and again so that they know you’re enjoying yourself. Your partner will definitely appreciate this as they will enjoy giving you pleasure.
  • Have Fun! Relax and have a good time. Trust is really important for something like this and if you’re both beginners, don’t worry about the rules just yet, simply have a good time and take things slow.

Have a blast!

(I know I would!)

Sexual Activity: Victoria Era Vs. Modern Day

Photo by Simon Howden

In the Victorian era, sexual intercourse was a practice only considered socially acceptable in order to procreate. Sexual desires were accepted for men, but considered not virtuous for women. In fact, promiscuity was thought to be a sign of national decay. Early love manuals encourage intercourse for pleasure, but caution readers to refrain from intercourse too frequently because many thought too much sexual activity could be harmful insofar as to say it caused cancer, heart conditions and hysteria. Sexual activity acceptance took an even bigger hit in the 1840s after Sylvester Graham claimed in his writings that women experienced no need or want for sexual pleasure and that they did not care about sex in marriage. Other manuals upheld the idea of “marital continence” or the practice of a couple (husband & wife) choosing to abstain from any sexual indulgence in any form. Those women who did seek sexual fulfillment were seen to be leading lives that were not God-filled.

One of the few who challenged the belief that women had no need for sexual experiences was physician Elizabeth Blackwell who believed that a female’s lack of sexual lust came from a fear of injury or death during childbirth and that women were passive due to the fact that men would be rushed to perform quickly leaving women without satisfaction or fulfillment. Other doctors believed that at certain times a woman’s capacity for sexual pleasure was much greater and more intense and prolonged than a male’s.

A belief parroted in Alkaloidal Clinic (1891) declared that women’s lack of education made them believe sex to be immoral and indecent, resulting in a complete race of sexless women who could experience no pleasure during vaginal intercourse. This belief dominated society in the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s.

Change in society about female sexuality came with what was often referred to as the “sexual revolution.” Beginning in the 1950s with the writings of Simone De Beauvoir in which the importance of clitoral stimulation and sex purely for sexual pleasure was emphasized, these new ideas in combination with the women’s liberation movement were in stark contrast to Freudian beliefs that the vagina was the only source for sexual pleasure and orgasm.

Another firm step forward came in the 1960’s when living ideals were all about “sex, drugs & rock & roll.” By the 1970’s, premarital sex was becoming much more acceptable as a social norm. Because of the strides made in the 1960’s, it was finally acknowledged that men and women have an equal need for sexual fulfillment and pleasure.

Today, sex is much more openly accepted and even discussed frankly in society. Although we still have a long way to go in order to accept all the facets of sexuality, we have come an awful long way from chastity belts and clitoridectomy (removal of clitoris).