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Aeon magazine is just a grand cornucopia of interesting facts. My knowledge of medieval sexual practices has been doubled if not trebled by just reading the one article I’ve quoted here. :)

It is fascinating how well we actually did without the scientific method to back up our ‘facts’/ Admittedly there is some wack-a-loonery to be had when it came to medieval medicine, but sometimes they got it right (for the wrong reasons usually though).  Katherine Harvey writes:

    “Although the most famous cases of death by celibacy relate to male clerics, women were, in their own way, equally vulnerable to this medical problem. According to contemporary medical theory, both sexes produced seed that was necessary for conception – and just like semen, the female seed needed to be expelled from the body during regular sexual intercourse. In a woman who was not sexually active, the seed would be retained within her body; as it built up, it would cause suffocation of the womb. The symptoms of this condition included fainting and shortness of breath, and in the most serious cases it could be fatal. For women, as for men, the best way to avoid death by celibacy was to get married and have regular, Church-sanctioned intercourse with one’s spouse. If this was not possible, there were a range of useful remedies, including restricted diets and vinegar suppositories. Some physicians, however, recommended a rather startling alternative: masturbation.

    Unsurprisingly, the medieval Church took a rather dim view of this practice: most medieval penitentials (handbooks for confessors) identified masturbation as a sin, and imposed heavy penances for it – typically around 30 days of fasting, but sometimes as much as two years. On the other hand, masturbation was usually placed towards the bottom of the hierarchy of sexual sins, and confessors were permitted to make some allowance for those (including unmarried youths) who lacked another outlet for their desires. This caveat reflects the Church’s awareness of contemporary medical teachings: it was impossible to ignore the fact that medical authorities from Galen onwards had recommended masturbation as a form of preventative medicine for both men and women.

    Later medieval physicians were rarely as explicit as Galen and other ancients. Late medieval medical books rarely mentioned male masturbation. For women lacking regular sexual relations, they offered a variety of treatments, including, stimulation of the genitals (either by the patient or by a medical professional). Such treatments were particularly suitable for women who were suffering from suffocation of the womb. If such a woman could not marry (for example, because she was a nun), and if her life was in genuine danger, then genital massage might be the only solution, and could even be performed without sin. The 14th-century English physician John of Gaddesden thought that such a woman should try to cure her condition through exercise, foreign travel and medication. But ‘if she has a fainting fit, the midwife should insert a finger covered with oil of lily, laurel or spikenard into her womb, and move it vigorously about’.”

It must have been quite the controversy as the medical solution meant you were going to hell.  It makes me glad that we can now laugh at people who use terms like “the devil’s doorbell” earnestly. :)

 

Scribbles In The Corner

I don’t know how to draw but I made this because I’m tired of people thinking we don’t need feminism. These are just everyday examples of patriarchy, sexism and toxic masculinity. The tip of the misogynist iceberg.

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Pornography is not free speech. It is a teaching tool for toxic patriarchal values that hurt women. Need to start looking into the topic of the harms of pornography? This list isn’t a bad place to start.

I’m following the Meghan Murphy Twitter-ban debacle and one of the places where I landed was the Quillette.  As it turns out, Megan Murphy has written a piece describing what happened to her and her struggle with the totalitarian ideology of transactivism.  I liked what MM wrote, but I found the comment section more interesting as the user base seems to self describe itself as the ‘rational middle’.  I worry when I see phrases like that because often they end up in the barren hellscape known as American Libertarianism.  *shudder*

Now there was some back and forth in the comment section,  but generally the tone was, “well this is what feminism has wrought and it’s bastard child has come home to roost”.  I’m not sure how the fight for female liberation begat the current state of trans-insanity, but for many commentors the two movements are intrinsically linked.

A couple of radical feminists made an appearance, one I suspect is a dude sponsored sock, as the claiming to be a rad-fem and then conforming almost exactly to the male approved stereotype of what a rad-fem is, just cannot be real.

A second rad-fem entered the debate and this is her comment:

 

“I enjoy how afraid you are of losing your job for telling jokes. I also enjoy how thoroughly you & other men take on this specific tone—have you noticed yet? It’s the “rational” tone. Literally every male commenter has used it thus far. Men can be rational about women’s issues as they experience almost no part of them. What you’re really saying when you cry about the change in feminism is that women don’t worship the ground you walk on anymore, & this has had repercussions for your ego & your sense of place (ie perceived significance) in the world.

I, for one, don’t really enjoy self-application of the title “man-hating”… feels very corny to me. What I do enjoy is speaking with women who are enlightened to the fact that they, unlike their mothers, do not have to settle for second best, settle for a man who disrespects her, hurts her, abuses her.

I think it’s telling that you’re so afraid of a world where men are not the main axis of women’s orbit. What exactly are you scared of? That women will make men walk on all fours with studded leashes around their necks? Get a grip dude. There is nothing women could do to men that is worse than men have done to women. With 90% of all violent crimes committed by men, your son has a greater chance of getting murdered by a man than getting falsely accused of sexual assault at the workplace.

Ultimately, the weird, fantastical fears you harbor are just excuses. Justifications for choosing to sit back & whine about what feminism has apparently “done” to men, when despite feminism’s very best efforts, men continue to harass, assault, abuse, rape, mutilate, & kill women. What you’re afraid of is change. Not feminists. At least own up it.”

Of course, none of the centrist rationalists have responded.  Funny that, when confronted with someone knowledgeable who is quite willing to charitably engage the response is crickets.

Tanya correctly observes the near thematic use of the “rational tone” and how problematic it is trying to deal with people who, calibre of intellect notwithstanding, don’t get the fact that the societal experience for men and women is quite drastically different.

I’ll finish with the thread now, but I thought it would be good to share some perspectives from the ‘rational middle’.

Christmas time.

Celebrate the season; live with loss.

Be happy; feel the keen echoes of what once was.

Remain standing; help others when you can.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year from all of us here at DWR.

Arbourist
Mystro
Bleatmop

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