Sunday, 31 August 2014

Wham Bam Thank you Ma'am - Sex and the Georgians

Unlike the Victorian's who followed this glorious page of history, the Georgian's had far fewer reservations about the subject of sex. In fact you might say that by comparison they had none. Leafing through the works of Henry Fielding you catch a glimpse on a wink and a nudge as a bawdy atmosphere, dripping with wit, reveals it self. If sex was taboo then there was little evidence of such. It seems the reverse to be true. Georgian's seemed to revel in the act of copulation. They divined the subject into higher realms.
In Tom Jones, Henry Fielding writes what is perhaps the most erotically charged food eating display of courtship. Each morsel seems to represent something other than merely the consumption of food. The text is ravenous, hungry, salivating but the food being consumed is nothing but foreplay.
"Now Mrs. Waters and our hero had no sooner sat down together than the former began to play this artillery upon the latter. But here, as we are about to attempt a description hitherto unassayed either in prose or verse, we think proper to invoke the assistance of certain aerial beings, who will, we doubt not, come kindly to our aid on this occasion.
“Say then, ye Graces! you that inhabit the heavenly mansions of Seraphina’s countenance; for you are truly divine, are always in her presence, and well know all the arts of charming; say, what were the weapons now used to captivate the heart of Mr. Jones.”
“First, from two lovely blue eyes, whose bright orbs flashed lightning at their discharge, flew forth two pointed ogles; but, happily for our hero, hit only a vast piece of beef which he was then conveying into his plate, and harmless spent their force. The fair warrior perceived their miscarriage, and immediately from her fair bosom drew forth a deadly sigh. A sigh which none could have heard unmoved, and which was sufficient at once to have swept off a dozen beaus; so soft, so sweet, so tender, that the insinuating air must have found its subtle way to the heart of our hero, had it not luckily been driven from his ears by the coarse bubbling of some bottled ale, which at that time he was pouring forth. Many other weapons did she assay; but the god of eating (if there be any such deity, for I do not confidently assert it) preserved his votary; or perhaps it may not be dignus vindice nodus [a knot worthy of a god to untie], and the present security of Jones may be accounted for by natural means; for as love frequently preserves from the attacks of hunger, so may hunger possibly, in some cases, defend us against love.
“The fair one, enraged at her frequent disappointments, determined on a short cessation of arms. Which interval she employed in making ready every engine of amorous warfare for the renewing of the attack when dinner should be over.
“No sooner then was the cloth removed than she again began her operations. First, having planted her right eye sidewise against Mr. Jones, she shot from its corner a most penetrating glance; which, though great part of its force was spent before it reached our hero, did not vent itself absolutely without effect. This the fair one perceiving, hastily withdrew her eyes, and leveled them downwards, as if she was concerned for what she had done; though by this means she designed only to draw him from his guard, and indeed to open his eyes, through which she intended to surprise his heart. And now, gently lifting up those two bright orbs which had already begun to make an impression on poor Jones, she discharged a volley of small charms at once from her whole countenance in a smile. Not a smile of mirth, nor of joy; but a smile of affection, which most ladies have always ready at their command, and which serves them to show at once their good-humor, their pretty dimples, and their white teeth.
“This smile our hero received full in his eyes, and was immediately staggered with its force. He then began to see the designs of the enemy, and indeed to feel their success. A parley now was set on foot between the parties; during which the artful fair so slily and imperceptibly carried on her attack, that she had almost subdued the heart of our heroe before she again repaired to acts of hostility. To confess the truth, I am afraid Mr Jones maintained a kind of Dutch defence, and treacherously delivered up the garrison, without duly weighing his allegiance to the fair Sophia. In short, no sooner had the amorous parley ended and the lady had unmasked the royal battery, by carelessly letting her handkerchief drop from her neck, than the heart of Mr Jones was entirely taken, and the fair conqueror enjoyed the usual fruits of her victory.”

If Henry Fielding teased us with his suggestive text then John Cleland, a victim of penury, took the whole subject up a notch when he published his infamous work, Fanny Hill

"I lay then all tame and passive as she could wish, whilst her freedom raised no other emotions but those of a strange, and, till then, unfelt pleasure. Every part of me was open and exposed to the licentious courses of her hands, which, like a lambent fire, ran over my whole body, and thaw'd all coldness as they went.
My breasts, if it is not too bold a figure to call so two hard, firm, rising hillocks, that just began to shew themselves, or signify anything to the touch, employ'd and amus'd her hands a-while, till, slipping down lower, over a smooth track, she could just feel the soft silky down that had but a few months before put forth and garnish'd the mount-pleasant of those parts, and promised to spread a grateful shelter over the seat of the most exquisite sensation, and which had been, till that instant, the seat of the most insensible innocence. Her fingers play'd and strove to twine in the young tendrils of that moss, which nature has contrived at once for use and ornament.
But, not contented with these outer posts, she now attempts the main spot, and began to twitch, to insinuate, and at length to force an introduction of a finger into the quick itself, in such a manner, that had she not proceeded by insensible gradations that inflamed me beyond the power of modesty to oppose its resistance to their progress, I should have jump'd out of bed and cried for help against such strange assaults."

"Instead of which, her lascivious touches had lighted up a new fire that wanton'd through all my veins, but fix'd with violence in that center appointed them by nature, where the first strange hands were now busied in feeling, squeezing, compressing the lips, then opening them again, with a finger between, till an 'Oh!' express'd her hurting me, where the narrowness of the unbroken passage refused it entrance to any depth.
In the meantime, the extension of my limbs, languid stretchings, sighs, short heavings, all conspired to assure that experienced wanton that I was more pleased than offended at her proceedings, which she seasoned with repeated kisses and exclamations, such as 'Oh! what a charming creature thou art! ... What a happy man will he be that first makes a woman of you! ... Oh! that I were a man for your sake! ... with the like broken expressions, interrupted by kisses as fierce and fervent as ever I received from the other sex."

Then of course we have the celebrated Daniel Defoe. A man of satirical wit whose works as a writer helped birth the modern novel. Not only did he author Robinson Crusoe but also that naughty minx Moll Flanders and, lest we forget, the equally energetic Roxana.

Both of these ladies enjoyed the odd foray with gentlemen. Both inclined to robust, even licentious behaviour. Moll famously fell in love, and willed away the occasional night with, her brother. In fairness she didn't know they were kin but bonk him she did. Roxana's fall from wealth took her down a road to prostitution. Not a lowlife penny upright tart but a comely whore of the landed gentry. In other words she shagged the rich and, much like Robin Hood, gave the proceeds to the poor - her self in this case.

Moll's passions were likely as not inflamed as much by the size of a man's purse as by his quivering member.

"Then he walked about the room, and taking me by the hand, I walked with him; and by and by, taking his advantage, he threw me down upon the bed, and kissed me there most violently; but, to give him his due, offered no manner of rudeness to me, only kissed a great while."

"My colour came and went, at the sight of the purse and with the fire of his proposal together, so that I could not say a word, and he easily perceived it; so putting the purse into my bosom, I made no more resistance to him, but let him do just what he pleased, and as often as he pleased; and thus I finished my own destruction at once, for from this day, being forsaken of my virtue and my modesty, I had nothing of value left to recommend me, either to God's blessing or man's assistance."

Here we have, if not a plenty, a limited array of erotic writing. In truth the Georgian's had a liberal attitude to sex and to all the so called perversity that went with it. That said, they were nothing like the world of today. They would have baulked at much of what is now available on the internet and I, having trawled the nether world regions of said technology, have to admit to finding a great deal of it rather unpleasant, fraudulently violent and demeaning to women. What would our Georgian ancestors have made of Elise Graves escapades? I dread to think? They sure seemed to have a stomach for the ribald and bawdy.
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

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