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There are well-reproduced illustrations of many of the leading players, such as Penelope Devereux, sister of the Earl of Essex, who was cruelly treated and then divorced by Lord Rich, received love sonnets from Sir Philip Sidney, and had a long affair with the married Lord Mountjoy. We are also filled in on brothels, pimps, whores and venereal disease treated by means of a "sweating bath" in which the skin was coated in liquid mercury.

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And there are some amusing pages on male impotency. But Haynes is not able to tell us very much about the couplings of the middling sort of Elizabethans, the people like you and me. Literary evidence is given as much weight as the more traditional forms of historical documentation such as legal statutes, diaries and letters. Since the theatre and popular romance were - like romantic fiction and the movies today - the places where ordinary people lived out their sexual fantasy-lives, this approach is justifiable, though Haynes is perhaps not sufficiently suspicious of his material.

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We should not assume that all we read, or see on the popular stage, is true. Mr Haynes is especially interested in "transgressive" sexuality, and the presence in the Elizabethan theatre of an abundance of lovely cross-dressed boys masquerading as spunky girls in breeches perhaps leads him to an exag gerated sense of sexual orientation being as unashamedly fluid in the lateth century as it has become in the lateth. He sometimes forgets that Elizabethan England was a God-fearing nation in which Puritans were an increasingly vociferous presence.

If everyone had followed the strict rules of the Church then there would have been no cases of illegitimate children being born and the general population of England would not have continued to grow as it did over the centuries. No matter the period, men and women fell in love and followed their natural desires and urges and engaged in sex.

Sex began in 1563

She is a researcher, writer and educator who has a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education with Honours and currently works with children with disabilities. Visiting England in furthered her passion and when she returned home she started a website, queentohistory. Sarah lives in Australia, enjoys reading, writing, Tudor costume enactment and wishes to return to England one day. I mentioned this on one of the forum pages. H use Intercural sex, with Mannox and possibly with Culpepper.

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H and Culpepper had sex in the fullest sence but I feel that they may have indulged in foreplay. H and Dereham had sex, but given how full on their relationship was I feel that K. H must have had a secret weapon up her sleeve to prevent pregnancy, or must have been very lucky not to get pregnant. But her marriage with Henry also resulted in no pregnancy too.

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This may have been down to Henry as I think he was by that time pretty much firing blanks, but there again could K. H been infertile herself?

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View All Events. Anne Vavasour bore a son on March 23, She was born circa She was not Membership Login Username or Email:.

Sex In Elizabethan England

Remember Me. July 27 pm - pm BST. August 24 pm - pm BST. Marriage in Tudor England wasn't fun for most women, whether or not they were wives or ladies of the night in Elizabethan cathouses. Intercourse wasn't for pleasure, but for the purpose of giving birth to children. So then, what was childbirth like in Tudor times? Not much better: dirty, isolated, and pretty darn painful. All around, sex was pretty awful back then.

Contraception was traditionally illegal in England in Tudor times, and had been for several centuries. Female contraceptives still existed, but they didn't employ particularly advanced methods.