Considering bad motherfuckers: Hildegard of Bingen and Janelle Monáe

I, like all the best people, have spent the last month or so being absolutely amazed that there was a time before Janelle Monáe’s ‘Dirty Computer’ existed, and that apparently there was music before now. It’s a lot to deal with, you know? Obviously, this album is important for a number of reasons, the most pressing of which is that it BANGS. However, it is also an amazing record of queerness and female auteurship in a male dominated society.

And of course, all of this is rather like the work of Hildegard of Bingen.

Continue reading “Considering bad motherfuckers: Hildegard of Bingen and Janelle Monáe”

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On Incels and Courtly Love

knight and chad

Because the world is a garbage place, unfortunately this week suddenly a few more people are aware of what Incels are, and that said Incels are capable of killing people because they are simultaneously incapable of getting play.

Now this is hugely upsetting, disappointing, and all-around disgusting. Also, like pretty much every disgusting thing about our society’s relationship to sex and love, we can trace its roots to the horrifying ideas of relationships and love enshrined in the concept of courtly love.

Continue reading “On Incels and Courtly Love”

On Courtly Love, Sexual Coercion, and Killing Your Idols

Presumably, there will come a time when we will no longer need think pieces on how courtly love as a construct has poisoned romantic and sexual interactions – especially straight ones. Unfortunately, today is not that day, and we have learned once again, and to our sorrow, that our favs are problematic and our idols must be sacrificed. So, we’re gonna talk about it.

I am here to tell you that any time you hear about men being super pushy about sexual advances and not taking no for an answer, you can pretty much trace the enshrinement of said behaviour back to the OG problematic bin-fire, Andreas Capellanus.

We’ve talked about Andreas several times before because he has a lot to fucking answer for. For those new to the game (and sleeping on my insights about Hotline Bling), Andreas, was, as his name suggests a chaplain. Obviously, he was therefore uniquely suited to giving out romantic advice. He wrote an actual guide on the rules of love, called De Amore, which is really something fucking special.
Continue reading “On Courtly Love, Sexual Coercion, and Killing Your Idols”

The history of penis in vagina as default sex at Bish!

 

I’m super delighted to have written a piece for Bish (insert fan-girling here) on the History of Penis in Vagina Sex as Default Sex.

Come for an explanation of why the Church are total haters about any sex that can’t get you knocked up, and stay for Justin’s insight on, well, basically anything involving sex, gender, relationships, and self esteem.

Massive plug here also for Justin’s book Enjoy Sex (How, When, and If You Want to) with Meg John Barker. Spoiler alert: enjoying sex usually requires more than inserting tab a into slot b, and that’s why the Church wanted to limit sex to just that.

Anyway, um, enjoy!


For more on sex in the medieval period see:
These hoes ain’t loyal – on prostitutes and bad bitches in medieval and hip hop culture
On women and desire
On power and entitlement to the bodies of lower status women

Sex and the (medieval) city: social hygiene and sex in the medieval urban landscape

I gave a talk for the London Science Museum Lates on medieval sexuality and the ways in which cities responded to what were considered the competing needs for sex and a harmonious Christian landscape.
Included: swearing, manuscript pictures of penises, and a lot of talk about sex work.
Enjoy!


For more on sex work in the medieval period see:
These hoes ain’t loyal – on bad bitches and prostitutes in medieval and hip hop culture
On sex work and the concept of ‘rescue’

For more on sex and attraction in the medieval period see:
On women and desire
The history of penis in vagina as default sex at Bish!
On incels and courtly love
On courtly love, sexual coercion, and killing your idols
On the ideal form of women
On power and entitlement to the bodies of lower-status women, or, the thing that IS actually medieval about Trump
On Hotline Bling and courtly love

On women and desire

Like many people, you may have been hearing for your entire damn life about the ‘mystery of the female orgasm’. Over and over again, we have been assured, that not only is it mysterious how women orgasm, but why they do.  We toss about at night, unable to sleep, haunted and desperately hoping for ‘seven weird tips to drive her wild’. More recently, a whole army of apps determined to show you how to ‘make’ women come, and sometimes enumerating the ways in which that can be done.  (Twelve apparently.  No more. No less.)

Like the mysterious female orgasm there is the twin scourge of ‘female low libido’ or ‘low sexual desire’, which is apparently common enough that if you google it in London an NHS webpage will pop up to inform you why you’re not feeling it.

Could women be disinterested because of the orgasm gap? And the fact that everyone goes around acting like whether or not women orgasm is a deep and unfathomable secret that could not be solved by paying attention to your partner(s) during sex?  WHO KNOWS.  IT IS SO MYSTERIOUS.

Obviously, there is a lot to unpack here, and like me, you may be sick to death of hearing about the whole goddamn thing, because who isn’t fucking tired of the patriarchy? (I’m weary.  So very weary.)

Continue reading “On women and desire”

On power and entitlement to the bodies of lower-status women, or, the thing that IS actually medieval about Trump

Elsewhere, we have discussed why it is that the use of the word ‘medieval’ as a pejorative is, in general, quite lazy and a convenient way of distancing ourselves from the terrible things which take place in our own time.

Having said that, the medieval world still very much influences many of our political institutions, and our mind-sets.  If we consider, for example, that the Church and a universal concept of the West as the home of Christendom to be the overriding hallmarks of the medieval period, it helps us understand why for many people, theoretical Christian values are seen as an inherent part of being Western.

Continue reading “On power and entitlement to the bodies of lower-status women, or, the thing that IS actually medieval about Trump”