Closet Ravers

Ignorant moderns imagine that when a Victorian was “protecting a woman’s honour”, this meant in some way preventing her having sex. Not at all, it meant pretending to third parties that you weren’t having all that hot sex with her. A gentleman concealed his amorous affairs. A remark by Edith Wharton makes that quite explicit.

Theoretically, therefore, every Victorian woman could have been having it off continually, but pretending she wasn’t, while also pretending to believe all the other Victorian women in their own denials. Or perhaps they did believe one another, which would result in everyone thinking that they were the only ones having it off. I have myself seen something similar in Singapore, where a young woman was afraid to tell even her best girlfriend that she was not a virgin, without wondering whether perhaps her friend was in the same situation.

Really, almost everything that goes now went then too, just with more discretion. That means that fucking in public would be quite out of the question, and sex tapes if they had the tech, but who knows what a fly on a Victorian wall could report?

The policy of concealment meant that we really have no idea who was doing whom, because they don’t get in our faces about it. Is this really the same thing as “sexual repression”? A time-travelling Victorian might wonder whether those having sex on the dance-floor were really enjoying it as much as he or she had just done in private, or were making some kind of point.

Posted on December 28, 2012 at 11:30 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: WHAT WOMEN WANT, WWW, Miscellaneous

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