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Combining research with original interpretations, and quoting sources from medieval Christian Europe, Jewish medieval culture and the Islamic world, this highly readable study provides an overview of medieval culture and how it developed sexual identities that were quite different from the identities we think of today.
Using a wide collection of evidence from the late antique period up until the fifteenth century, this informative and intriguing volume illustrates how sex in medieval times was understood, and how, consequently, gender roles and identities were seen very differently from the ways in which our society defines them.
Challenging the way the Middle Ages have been treated in general histories of sexuality, the author examines how views at the time were conflicted and complicated. Focusing on 'normal' sexual activity as well as what was seen as transgressive, the chapters cover topics such as chastity, sex within marriage, the role of the church, and non-reproductive activity.
Sexuality in Medieval Europe is essential reading for all those who study medieval history, or who have an interest in the way sexuality and sexual identity have been viewed in the past.
1. Sex and the Middle Ages 2. The Sexuality of Chastity 3. Sex and Marriage 4. Women Outside of Marriage 5. Men Outside of Marriage. Afterword: Medieval and Modern Sexuality