16th Century Sex and Masturbation

Recently I’ve been inundated with vampire work- more so than usual. Under normal circumstances that would thrill me to no end, being that I’m a vampire author and very much obsessed with them (Check out my article, Mama’s Obsessions, for proof!). Lately, though, it’s been vampire mania at my house because of the new book I’m writing about Elizabeth Bathory. Um, and by the way, that woman was really crazy. Like, straight jacket crazy.

I started researching and found that not only were there romances involved, several in fact, but Bathory was also one of the first recorded bisexual women in history. That means that there is LGBT sex involved, too. As a matter of fact, Bathory didn’t just have a few moments here and there with other women, she had a lover/girlfriend towards the final years of her life.

As a quick note, though, her girlfriend helped her torture and kill over 600 young, female virgins so that she could bathe in and drink their blood because she thought it would make her look younger. See. I told you she was straight jacket crazy.

The odd thing is that I really love her story. Not because she was such a great lady, she totally wasn’t, but because she was so terrible and she was part of the influence over Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The frustration I’m having is the result of the crazy research I’ve done and the things that I’ve discovered.

All other thoughts aside, researching about her life in Transylvania between the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries has made me think about how far we’ve all come. Not just the LGBT community, but everyone. I think that in this day and age people sometimes forget that just a few hundred years ago, women were property. Men were owners. Women were forced to submit. Men were to be dominant. Given those sad facts, it makes me wonder how a marriage (especially arranged ones), in that time, would have worked if the husband loved to be submissive and the wife loved to be dominant? Did they switch roles when in public or did they wind up totally miserable for their entire lives? And what if a very dominant male was married off to a very dominant female? What would happen to a woman who was caught having a romantic relationship with another woman? Was it just frowned upon or were they punished for it? Bathory never was (neither was her very openly bisexual aunt Klara) but that doesn’t mean that other women, of lower financial ranks, were not punished or burnt at the stake for witch craft.

I think that her good old Aunt Klara probably had it made. She was openly bisexual, but wealthy enough that no one could do anything to her. After all, the Bathory family pretty much were the sixteenth century versions of today’s Kennedy family. Also, Klara had a constant flow of ladies coming in and out of her castle. I think that probably meant that it was very possible that she would take in those with her “affliction” and give them a place to hide away or relax so that maybe they didn’t feel so odd. Back then, if your sexual orientation was anything other than straight, there were serious consequences, as I’ve stated before. Clergy, as well as the rest of society, looked at things like masturbation and homosexuality as some sort of illness that had to be medically treated, though I’m pretty sure that the afflicted probably didn’t feel that way.

Masturbation itself in those times was considered a very dirty, wrong, horrible thing that meant that the masturbator needed to be cured of their deviance immediately. Chastity belts were created for both sexes to wear if they were caught. Iron and other metals were used to create these horrible contraptions. It was thought, back then, that if a man was masturbating and spilled his seed anywhere other than inside of a woman’s vagina, it was wasted and that his supply would run out if he wasn’t careful. They really thought that a man was only equipped with so much semen to last his entire life and similar thoughts pertained to a woman’s body also.

 

I'll bet those chafe...

Punishments for homosexuality and masturbation ranged from moderate (scolding, chastity belts, etc) to severe (being tried for witch craft, being sent to a convent, chastity belts, and sometimes even torture or death). If those same rules still applied, how many of us would be alive right now? I’d have been tried for witch craft by the time I was about fifteen. Maybe sooner! Um, and I have a feeling that many of my male friends would have ran completely, slap out of semen by now, too.

Being that it’s National Masturbation Month, I wanted to share some of this information with Good Vibrations readers because I was thinking that it may give you a whole new appreciation for masturbation.  A few centuries ago, if you were masturbating (and even if you didn’t get caught), you would be doing it with the complex that it was wrong and horrible and that you were wasting good semen or wasting good…whatever else. That had to give men and women both a serious mental kick in the pants!

If you’re of any sexual orientation other than straight, you can celebrate that, too. A few hundred years ago, a lesbian couple couldn’t be proud to be lesbians for fear of chastity belts and beheading. Sure, there are still raging homophobes out there, but I’m very well convinced that some of them just don’t realize that two women or two men can love each other and make love to each other and that it’s okay to have those feelings. Sometimes a little education goes a long way. Then again, sometimes you’re wasting your breath, but that’s okay, too. You can’t educate the entire world in a week, and even if you could, not everyone is always going to be willing to listen. However, if you are happy, that’s pretty much all that matters, in my opinion.

 

I'll take this over a chastity belt fashioned and welded by the village idiot any day...

I guess this means that we can raise a toast to declaring open season on masturbation, sex with a same-sex partner, and the awesome feeling that you get when you know you can do it without the fear of wearing a horrible metal chastity belt (unless you like that sorta thing) or having your head lopped off, and I’m pretty attached to mine. It’s a great feeling to know that we have come from a world where masturbation and homosexuality were very much frowned upon and punishable by death (in some cases) to a world where we are, for the most part, free to do whatever we really want to do. I’ll never, ever, under any circumstances, take my right to masturbate freely in my own home for granted, ever, ever again. We have gone from incredibly uncomfortable chastity belts that were welded by the village idiot to really awesome vibrators like the G-Twist, my personal favorite. History can really humble a person, especially where sex practices are concerned.

Happy 16th Century Self-Love Fucking!

Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations is the premiere sex-positive, women-principled adult toy retailer in the US. An iconic brand and one of the world's first sex toy shops to focus specifically on women's pleasure and sexual education, Good Vibrations was founded by Joani Blank in 1977 to provide women with a safe, welcoming and non-judgmental place to shop for erotic toys. Good Vibrations has always included all people across the gender spectrum, and is a place where customers can come for education, high quality products, and information promoting sexual health, pleasure and empowerment. Customers can shop Good Vibrations' expertly curated product selection across any of its nine retail locations or on the GoodVibes.com website, where they can also find a wealth of information pertaining to sexual pleasure, exploration and education.

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