Since I’m on tour with Combustion, which has revisionist-Victorian overtones, I thought I’d take this blog post to talk about the sexually conflicted Victorian period as it really was, not as I reimagined it.
People tend to think of the Victorians as being pretty darn uptight when it comes to sex. And in a way, they’d be right: the same rules and regulations that governed all aspects of Victorian life didn’t exclude sexuality. Men prided themselves on controlling their baser instincts, and women were considered not to have many sexual feelings at all!
At the same time, though, the Victorian era was a time of rampant prostitution. Regulating sexuality didn’t really control it; instead, those regulations pushed sexuality underground. Women’s sexuality was still considered abnormal, however. Any aberrant behavior by a woman was considered a sign of hysteria, pent-up sexual frustration, to be “cured” by a doctor who would bring a woman to orgasm by hand in his office.