Monday, May 28, 2007

If there was one question...

If there was one question you wanted to ask about the sexual climate during the Regency period, what would it be?

I'm doing a talk at the Beau Monde conference in July (the Beau Monde is the Regency specialty chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA) in case you were wondering) called Sex in the Regency (subtitled: What Jane Austen Knew and Lord Byron Didn't). So this is why I ask.

I have a goodly portion of the talk done, and a mental date with the University Social Sciences library in a week (because I've read some verra interesting tidbits on Caro Lamb which puts a whole different slant on her, sorta) for some last minute research notes.

Last minute because the handouts are due in two weeks.

I have a bit of Rowlandson, some familiar stuff on what Jane Austen knew, availability of erotic works, and Byron. I even have the last sentence. But something is missing, and I cannot figure out what it might be....

And so I turn to you, dear readers, and my fellow crumpets to see what it is I'm missing.

If there was one question you wanted to ask about the sexual climate during the Regency period, what would it be?



(Sorry for the lateness -- but a girl is allowed to sleep in on a holiday, isn't she? (This is a complete lie -- I was up at seven, off to breakfast, shopped and planted two marguerites, got two loads of washing on before I remembered to come here)

7 comments:

Mina said...

I always wanted to know what women were told to expect from the marriage bed. What "the talk" would have been like in the period.

Celia May Hart said...

Ooh, mina, good question! I suppose some of the answers might be found in an etiquette book of the time. Hmm, wonder where I can find that out ...

Shelli Stevens said...

I'm not familiar with writing this genre, but I think it would be fascinating to listen to any information you had!

And that's a great question, Mina!

janegeorge said...

Your workshop sounds fabulous. I'll be there!

Jane Lockwood said...

I covered some of this material for Pam & Janet Evening, aka Writing the Hot Historical, which Pam Rosenthal and I are giving at Dallas, and the view of Regency sexuality was extremely conflicted. What we think of as "Victorian" attitudes were in full swing back then with amazingly hypocritical double standards. But there were also a lot of women in no need at all of any variation of "the talk" and who had a fairly frank attitude toward sexuality. I think historians will be regarding our own times in much the same way.

So my question would be (other than is anyone enjoying it and not feeling guilty about it?) how did gently bred people talk dirty to each other in the marital bed?

molly said...

Hmm, I'm a few days late but I can think of some topics I'd be interested in. How about class differences in attitudes to sex, and in how much sexual freedom and knowledge women had?

Also, in different books I've come across prostitutes, courtesans, demimondaines (I probably spelled that wrong), mistresses, actresses (who were also mistresses) etc. - I'd love to hear discussion of the different terms or kinds of "fallen woman"hood and what they all meant socially.

Or how about attitudes to homosexuality?

gosh I'm just full of questions today.

Celia May Hart said...

Jane -- I've already marked that talk to go to!! I'm also gonna go over the attitudes, but I think I'm going to have a slightly different take. Maybe we're not reading the same books!

Molly - class attitudes is touched on, but as the Regency subgenre is mainly middle-to-upper class, I won't be going into it a whole lot. The consequences of "falling", I will get into.

If I get into homosexuality, it'll also be brief -- but I'll be sure to post about it here -- I promised when we started this blog that I would -- but I haven't unearthed my original set of notes on the subject yet. I'm afraid to open the filing cabinet. *grin*