Vincent Bell writes to point out a discussion on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week that explores attitudes to sex and gender in a period close to Pepys’. Vincent says:

The last ten minutes of the 45 minute program was a pretty intellectual discussion between Andrew Marr and Tim Hitchcock on sex before and after the 1690/1770 period — essentially saying that the framework or world view of what it was to be male and female changed during this period due to a greater understanding / changing view of human anatomy… anyway this last ten minutes refers to Pepys diary briefly and I think perhaps puts Pepys’ ‘petting’ behaviour into perspective.

You can listen to the show on the site, although I haven’t had a chance to hear it myself yet. From Monday onwards you’ll need to follow the link to ‘Previous week’ or ‘5 January 2004’ under ‘Previous Programmes’ on the right hand side of the page to get the relevant show.

Perhaps the Background Info section could do with some pages around these topics? If you think so, I’d love to hear your thoughts for how to divide the field up. Sensible suggestions only please!

1 Comment

First Reading

Terry Willingham  •  Link

Tim Hitchcock was essentially saying that after this period there was more emphasis on penetrative sex because people had come to define themselves more than they had before in terms of male and female. Prior to that penetrative sex was positively avoided, which he claimed was evidenced by the fact that Pepys' "dalliances" recorded in his diary never went further than heavy petting.

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