Female Love and Leather Machines in the Early Modern Period

Here is a short passage from an excerpt of Sex & Punishment, posted in Boing Boing:

“Perhaps because the Bible ignores same-sex female relations, or maybe because men cannot imagine that women could experience sexual pleasure without them, lesbian relations have been given inconsistent treatment by the law. It was mostly ignored until the Renaissance, when courts started to punish women who dressed like men and used “artificial instruments” with each other.

Can two women love each other sexually? Eighteenth-century morals said no, at least where the females involved were respectable. Among the better classes, lesbian relations were impossible to imagine. Good women could love and embrace each other, sleep together, and write each other passionate letters; all that was noble. But loving and making love were entirely different matters. Unless they were gratifying their husbands, women of “character” were imagined as sexually numb creatures. British judges allowed that females of “Eastern” or “Hindoo” nations might act differently, but not the women of the “civilized” world.”

For the full article, visit: BoingBoing.net