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Attitudes to Women in the Nineteenth Century by John F. Wake

Attitudes to Women in the Nineteenth Century by John F. Wake
5 Jul 2019


(Men enjoyed sex and women were there to provide it).

One driver in Victorian rationale was that men and women were different in their wants and desires. They, in the guise of Parliament, saw women as housewives or human beings with differing needs to men. Men with strong sexual desires had to be catered for, sometimes clandestinely, and needed prostitutes to do so. Decent and God fearing women did not have sexual desires as strong as men, as loving a man was singular, whereas a man could love his wife, yet could need multiple sexual partners to keep him satisfied, especially after a hard days work. Some may think it is a generalisation but one has only to read and research the times to realise that behind the moral 'backstop' of many (not all) high ranking Victorian men were a little 'loose principled in their desires'.

To précis the morality of the 'man v woman' sexual needs principle, is that Victorians thought that men were seduced more by women and usually acceded to that sexual temptation. Women were not tempted as such by sexual inducements if they loved their husbands. It appears that most women did love and respect their husbands therefore they did not stray. Men had stronger sexual urges and could 'run' a mistress or concubine without affecting his love for his wife. So everyone was happy?

Therefore take out the upper class dalliances with their 'posh' Mistresses and look at the women being 'used' by men, we find it is always the women from the lower classes who became prostitutes.

A survey was done at a woman's Victorian prison asking convicted prostitutes of their backgrounds. It seems patently obvious that prostitution was concentrated within the 'working class', even though many a middle or upper class man used their services. The survey came to an obvious conclusion, 90% of the prostitutes werefrom homes of labourers and unskilled workers. The women themselves had been either unemployed, or in low paid and unskilled jobs, such as cleaning, hawking or charring. 


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