Sex…and the Middle Ages: Enter at Your Own Risk!

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The religious-right today has nothing on Sex in the Middle Ages…when the Church dictated all things…even how you were to have sex. Anything other than the common “missionary position,” for example, was considered unnatural and therefore a sin, according to the Church. The woman on top position, or entering her from the rear (sex a tergo) were not favored because they interfered with the natural order of male-female roles. The belief was that semen would be “driven” back into the man causing him to become pregnant!

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Anal and oral sex were sins because they could only be practiced for pleasure, not procreation, which for the purists was the only purpose of sex.

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Punishments for those using “deviant” sexual positions could be very harsh: three years’ penance for the woman on top and the same for both oral intercourse and sex a tergo (“doggy-style”), which was generally seen as the most sinful position … with the possible exception of anal intercourse.

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These were the official ideas of the Church, but some “progressive” theologians began to question these ideas. Albertus Magnus named five sexual positions and ranked them from most acceptable to least acceptable:

1) missionary

2) side-by-side

3) sitting

4) standing

5) a tergo (“doggy-style”)

Magnus said the missionary was the only completely “natural” position; the others were “morally questionable” but not “mortally sinful”. One would think that in certain situations, however (such as extreme obesity) these other positions could be not only acceptable but even practical.

Now all that sword-play makes sense…compensation for a rather boring sex-life…then again, just because they weren’t supposed to…doesn’t mean they didn’t!

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Naughty Medieval Times.

dr.c.

Genitalia: Look Weird, Feel (and Taste) Great — (NSFW – Naughty Post)

I may have blogged this before in fact I am almost sure I did, but in the absence of any original thoughts today perhaps I’ll delve back into older thoughts, that today feel pertinent and are certainly worth a re-analysis.

As many women do, I often receive pictures of men’s junk. Typically in an erect state, this disembodied member carries less-than-no sexual appeal to me.

(Women I think you can agree with me on this, even IF you have told HIM differently. Yes to it’s true men, hurting a man’s ego is a sin, we would prefer to lie…sometimes. I would say, some of you men do the same…as I think my pussy looks nothing like a “butterfly.”)

Am I to imagine myself impaled on your oh-so-swollen and gigantic phallus? Or fantasize about what it would be like thrust down my oh-so-slippery throat?

I KNOW you men imagine these things in great detail, it’s YOUR PENIS after all and it’s “fucking amazing” because of that fact…is it? I mean, isn’t it?!

Of course it is…

To YOU.

Men, we see it (genitalia) a bit differently.

Perhaps, or rather due to, society’s need to shame the female nether regions we women often enact hang-ups concerning genitalia—yours and ours.

We don’t particularly “like” the look of your junk (no worries many of us love the way it feels), and more often than that we don’t particularly “like” the look of OUR OWN JUNK (again no worries many of us love the way it tastes).

Why the discrepancy? Between how men and women view their own sex organs?

Why the self-pussy-hate?

Why don’t we love our oddly-colored-awkward folds with the same tenacity you men flout your lumpy-cylindrical-oft’ crooked-attached-to-octopus-balls genitalia with?

I’ll tell you why.

Because genitalia, men, women, animal, are ALL WEIRD looking. Not that weird is bad, it’s not…it’s damn functional, but we need to reach a middle ground here. How about this:

Men’s hard penises are not instant visual aphrodisiacs & women’s vaginas no not look like “butterflies.” Neither one is beautiful, or bad…BOTH ARE WEIRD.

Once I heard Sandra Bernhard in an interview say,

“Come on who are we kidding? All genitalia are unattractive! They look like sea anemone.”

I remember feeling indignant after the first half of that statement, and shaking my head in complete agreement upon hearing the second.

They are. They do!

So what are we to take from all of this?

Two things, I think:

1. I would like to receive fewer pictures of penises.

2. I would like to receive ANY pictures of vagina.

And I will start:

There…that should balance things out a bit!

(And Yes THAT IS ME, incidentally.)

NOW its your turn, ladies! I’m waiting!!

Xxx c.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY FOR NEW YORKERS (via SITYSCAPE)

Speechless and so happy!!!

MARRIAGE EQUALITY FOR NEW YORKERS Lawmakers pass the bill for "Gay Marriage" in New York. Celebrities like Lady GaGa, Neil Patrick-Harris, Ricky Martin and John Legend react to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's signing legislation making gay marriage legal in New York. "I have never been prouder to be a lifelong New Yorker than I am today with the passage of marriage equality"- Cyndi Lauper says in a statement. … Read More

via SITYSCAPE

Marie Antoinette: Misunderstood princess & ill-fated queen (reposted via http://conchitasopenbook.tumblr.com)

Historical non-fiction, as related to royal-women of the ages, has always fascinated me. Their lives were lived in an indulgent manner as foreign to me as the countries they ruled and customs they followed. Still I repeatedly find myself picking-through the next Allison Weir…indulging in the fast-paced historical-fiction of Phillipa Gregory…plodding through the dense and well documented non-fiction biographies of Nancy Goldstone…I always come-back.

The inescapable draw being, I believe, the simple humanity that connects these very REAL women. Yes, they were queens…yes they lived lives filled with eccentricities that very few will ever match and yet they were also mothers, daughters, wives, lovers…they experienced great achievements alongside terrible failures…they celebrated and they grieved and they did so…much like ANY OTHER WOMAN…with all of their hearts.

The main difference, unlike other-women, their successes as much as their failures were witnessed and then judged by their entire countries, and for some, the world. So perhaps it is the magnification of human experience that intrigues. Many of these women chose lives in which decisions cost them blood…both loved ones’ as well as their own. And none so ill-fated a story than that of Marie Antoinette.

Antonia Fraser’s novel, Marie Antoinette: The Journey, based on the true events of Marie Antoinette’s life from childhood until her death at the age of 38, depicts the complexities of politics and culture that cast this French Queen as such a rebellious and infamous historical figure. I have Quoted the novel and film based-on-the-novel (Directed by Sophia Coppola) extensively here as well as in my other blog (www.nymphobrainiac.wordpress.com) and even attempted to embody Madame Antoinette for this past Halloween.

Much has been said about this notorious French royal and yet not much is fact. However, we have Antonia Fraser’s widely read (2001) novel to thank for illuminating much of the truths about this historically monumental woman’s life. As one might guess, Marie Antoinette’s life was not all indulgence and golden opportunities…rather as a foreign-born princess she was to forever to remain a political outsider to her people and political pawn to her family.

Volleyed between her duties as French sovereign and Queen of one of the wealthiest political powers of the 18th century and the political designs of her overbearing mother, the ruling Queen of Austria; Fraser describes for us a very young woman who early in her rule (beginning at the age of 14), caught between these two dialectical forces, chose to indulge in the superficialities of life. She was fashionable, she was fun, she threw great galas, she sang, she acted, she traveled, she gambled, ALL to excess.

And yet, she was also a great supporter of charities, particularly those that catered to women and children. Marie Antoinette was singularly responsible for the rise of fashion in Paris and supported all of the arts equally. She truly gave as much as she got. She was a “glittering star” of the era…and unfortunately, the perfect scape-goat for all that the common-people despised about the inequities of the French royal rule.

Enter…1789…The French Revolution.

Without an adept political voice to defend herself, nor the savvy to predict what danger she and her family were in…the fall of the French royalty was swift. Immediately The King’s power was stripped and much of the royal cabinet was imprisoned or be-headed; there were a few botched escape attempts of the royal family and then the final imprisonment of The King, Queen and their young children.

Their story is iconic and well documented in history books, however I believe that Fraser does a particularly good job of depicting a uniquely perceptive version of these events. We feel for The Queen and her naieve understanding of the political views that would eventually seal her fate, her undying commitment to The King…refusing to leave him even when she could have escaped safely alone…and above all her love for her children…a love that guided her every decision in her life…and at the time of her eventual death.

Fraser paints for us a woman…caught in the political circumstances of an extraordinary life…which perhaps seemed to always be just out of her grasp.

She was a lover of the pleasures of life and conceivably as a princess, not properly endowed with the adequate skill to navigate life’s many displeasures.

She did NOT say, “Let them eat cake!”

She DID say…to her sister-in-law, on the day of her beheading:

‘I have just been condemned to death, not a shameful death, that can only be for criminals, but in order to rejoin your brother (The King). Innocent like him, i hope to demonstrate the same firmness as he did at the end. I am calm, as people whose conscience is clear. My deepest regret is having to abandon our poor children; you know that I lived only for them and for you, my good and tender sister’ (Marie Antoinette, p.495)

Marie Antoinette is an honest portrayal of an alternately despised and celebrated character in our world-history. Let me re-phrase that, Marie Antoinette is a literary portrayal of a woman honest, to her heart. Thank you, Antonia Fraser…for your ability to weave historical fact with palpable feeling with the lightest of touch.

Great read guys…pick it up and DIG IN! xxx c.

(originally posted in: http://conchitasopenbook.tumblr.com/)

Josephine Baker: The Icon

It was the Roaring 20’s when Josephine Baker enjoyed initial success as a performer. The zeitgeist of the time created the perfect backdrop for a woman who represented racial-difference, sensuality, strength, creativity, and talent to rise to fame. And rise she did, like a meteor, in Paris particularly Ms. Baker became one of the most highly paid and appreciated artists of her time. Of course, all of this attention was not without it’s flip-side as she also endured racism and segregation in the U.S. However, she never backed down and was as famous as champion of causes as she was as a performer. Take a moment if you will to read the short biography and to enjoy some of her most iconic performances, below…

Josephine Baker sashayed onto a Paris stage during the 1920s with a comic, yet sensual appeal that took Europe by storm. Famous for barely-there dresses and no-holds-barred dance routines, her exotic beauty generated nicknames “Black Venus,” “Black Pearl” and “Creole Goddess.” Admirers bestowed a plethora of gifts, including diamonds and cars, and she received approximately 1,500 marriage proposals. She maintained energetic performances and a celebrity status for 50 years until her death in 1975. Unfortunately, racism prevented her talents from being wholly accepted in the United States until 1973.

Humble beginnings

She was born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 3, 1906 to washerwoman Carrie McDonald and vaudeville drummer Eddie Carson. Eddie abandoned them shortly afterward, and Carrie married a kind but perpetually unemployed man named Arthur Martin…

Josephine grew up cleaning houses and babysitting for wealthy white families who reminded her “be sure not to kiss the baby.” She got a job waitressing at The Old Chauffeur’s Club when she was 13 years old. While waiting tables she met and had a brief marriage to Willie Wells. While it was unusual for a woman during her era, Josephine never depended on a man for financial support. Therefore, she never hesitated to leave when a relationship soured. She was married and divorced three more times, to American Willie Baker in 1921 (whose last name she chose to keep), Frenchman Jean Lion in 1937 (from whom she attained French citizenship) and French orchestra leader Jo Bouillon in 1947 (who helped to raise her 12 adopted children).

Josephine toured the United States with The Jones Family Band and The Dixie Steppers in 1919, performing various comical skits. When the troupes split, she tried to advance as a chorus girl for The Dixie Steppers in Sissle and Blake’s production Shuffle Along. She was rejected because she was “too skinny and too dark.” Undeterred, she learned the chorus line’s routines while working as a dresser. Thus, Josephine was the obvious replacement when a dancer left. Onstage she rolled her eyes and purposely acted clumsy. The audience loved her comedic touch, and Josephine was a box office draw for the rest of the show’s run.

Parisian sensation

She enjoyed moderate success at The Plantation Club in New York afterShuffle Along. However, when Josephine traveled to Paris for a new venture, La Revue Nègre, it proved to be a turning point in her career. Amongst a compilation of acts, Josephine and dance partner Joe Alex captivated the audience with the Danse Sauvage. Everything about the routine was new and exotic, and Josephine, boldly dressed in nothing but a feather skirt, worked the audience into frenzy with her uninhibited movements. She was an overnight sensation.

Josephine’s immense popularity afforded her a comfortable salary, which she spent mostly on clothes, jewelry and pets. She loved animals, and at one time she owned a leopard (Chiquita), a chimpanzee (Ethel), a pig (Albert), a snake (Kiki), a goat, a parrot, parakeets, fish, three cats and seven dogs.

Her career thrived in the integrated Paris society; when La Revue Nègre closed, Josephine starred in La Folie du Jour at the Follies-Bergère Theater. Her jaw-dropping performance, including a costume of 16 bananas strung into a skirt, cemented her celebrity status. Josephine rivaled Gloria Swanson and Mary Pickford as the most photographed woman in the world, and by 1927 she earned more than any entertainer in Europe. She starred in two movies in the early 1930s, Zou-Zou andPrincess Tam-Tam, and moved her family from St. Louis to Les Milandes, her estate in Castelnaud-Fayrac, France.

A 1936 return to the United States to star in the Ziegfield Follies proved disastrous, despite the fact that she was a major celebrity in Europe. American audiences rejected the idea of a black woman with so much sophistication and power, newspaper reviews were equally cruel (The New York Times called her a “Negro wench”), and Josephine returned to Europe heartbroken.

Righting wrongs

Josephine served France during World War II in several ways. She performed for the troops, and was an honorable correspondent for the French Resistance (undercover work included smuggling secret messages written on her music sheets) and a sub-lieutenant in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. She was later awarded the Medal of the Resistance with Rosette and named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French government for hard work and dedication.

Josephine visited the United States during the 50s and 60s with renewed vigor to fight racism. When New York’s popular Stork Club refused her service, she engaged a head-on media battle with pro-segregation columnist Walter Winchell. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) named May 20 Josephine Baker Day in honor of her efforts.

It was also during this time that she began adopting children, forming a family she often referred to as “The Rainbow Tribe.” Josephine wanted her to prove that “children of different ethnicities and religions could still be brothers.” She often took the children with her cross-country, and when they were at Les Milandes tours were arranged so visitors could walk the grounds and see how natural and happy the children in “The Rainbow Tribe” were…

Sad farewells

Josephine agreed to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall that same year. Due to previous experience, she was nervous about how the audience and critics would receive her. This time, however, cultural and racial growth was evident. Josephine received a standing ovation before the concert even began. The enthusiastic welcome was so touching that she wept onstage.

On April 8, 1975 Josephine premiered at the Bobino Theater in Paris. Celebrities such as Princess Grace of Monaco and Sophia Loren were in attendance to see 68-year-old Josephine perform a medley of routines from her 50 year career. The reviews were among her best ever. Days later, however, Josephine slipped into a coma. She died from a cerebral hemorrhage at 5 a.m. on April 12.

More than 20,000 people crowded the streets of Paris to watch the funeral procession on its way to the Church of the Madeleine. The French government honored her with a 21-gun salute, making Josephine Baker the first American woman buried in France with military honors. Her gravesite is in the Cimetiére de Monaco, Monaco.

Josephine Baker has continued to intrigue and inspire people throughout the world. In 1991, HBO released The Josephine Baker Story. The movie won two Emmys, for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries (Lynn Whitfield) and Outstanding Art Direction. The movie also picked up one of three Golden Globe nominations. –http://www.cmgww.com/stars/baker/about/biography.html

Josephine Baker, she left us a legacy that speaks to equality in creative expression…talented, powerful and enduring she is a true iconic inspiration.

xxx c.

Feisty Friday Quotes: Anne Boleyn’s execution speech

I fear I have become a bid morbid this week, with Dia De Los Muertos, Marie Antoinette, and such…call it a passing obsession or just a moment of repose…and reflection…whatever it is, I will end it today with one of my favorite “goodbye’s”…Queen Anne Boleyn‘s execution speech May 19th, 1536 (Check out my previous entry detailing, The Lady In The Tower by Allison Weir HERE).She went to her death with as much courage, determination, and vigor as she lived her life with:

Good Christian people, I have not come here to preach a sermon; I have come here to die, for according to the law and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak of that whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the King and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never, and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord.

And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me. (Quoted from “Anne Boleyn”, Joana Denny, and taken from “The Triumphant Reigne of King Henry the VIII” by Edward Hall, 1904)

When I read the speech in The Lady In The Tower, I cried…when I saw the same scene depicted in HBO’s series The Tudors…I wept piteously.

Here is the scene with Natalie Dormer playing Anne:

Sad, brave, and somehow perfect…another instance wherein we are reminded of our intimate relationship with DEATH in life…enjoy your weekend, xxx c.

 

Marie Antoinette: From maligned queen to gay icon?

I just completed reading Antonia Fraser‘s Marie Antoinette, a 600+ page tome recounting the adventurous and ill-fated life and eventual downfall of this 18th Century Queen of France, and while I will certainly be detailing a review in my Tumblr Blog (Conchita Open Book), something particularly interesting and relevant to nymphobrainiacs everywhere, struck me:

MARIE ANTOINETTE IS A GAY ICON

It did not happen overnight, and the seeds of this modern-celebration were sown in her much criticized (at the time) intimate relationships with select women in her life (the sexual nature of which never confirmed)…she was however eventually condemned for these relationships, a price paid in her own blood when she was beheaded in October of 1792, at the height of the French Revolution (a revolt against the royalist system).

As Fraser writes:

The idea of Marie Antoinette as a tribade-the eighteenth century word for a female homosexual, based on the Greek word for friction-was sedulously preached at the time in lewd pamphlets as a means of abuse. But it has meant that her name…has been entered more pleasantly in homosexual annals as worthy of honour. (p. 510)

I suppose what is most disturbing to me is not that Marie Antoinette became a gay icon (if you will allow) but that she was later lauded for the very thing she died for…part of me celebrates:

Marie Antoinette The Martyr!

Yet, another part of me weeps…saddened that the LTGB community must turn to sensationalized and unconfirmed scandalous accounts of alternate romantic relationships rather than real, loving, celebrated relationships.

Marie Antoinette has become a caricature of  The Sexualized and Objectified Woman…simultaneously admired and maligned throughout the ages…and perhaps that is very reason why We are ALL so attracted to her…

xxx, c.