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Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain

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4.08  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Peek beneath the bed sheets of Stuart Britain in this frank, informative, and captivating look at the sexual lives of the peoples of the British Isles between 1603 and 1714. Popular Stuart historian Andrea Zuvich, "The Seventeenth Century Lady", explores our ancestors' ingenious, surprising, bizarre, and often entertaining beliefs and solutions to the challenges associated ...more
Hardcover, 232 pages
Published September 19th 2020 by Pen and Sword History
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Beata
Sep 28, 2020 rated it liked it
A superbly researched non-fiction that provides insightful information on everything you would like to know about body and sex under the Stuarts and have never had courage to ask about.
Part one is devoted to detailed descriptions regarding the body and sexuality, including some information that may be disturbing to some readers. Having said that, I would like to add that the details are written in a most respectful manner. Part two focuses on the Stuarts themselves and is interesting as it uncov
...more
Farah Mendlesohn
I was very disappointed by this book. In part it’s because I’m not the right audience and I accept that — the clue is in all the exclamation marks—but also because it’s just not that good.

This is less a book in the way I understand “a book” and more a compendium of anecdotes on themes/topics: a Horrible History for adults. What that means is that having made a point, we then get say four paragraphs of mini stories about x or y person/couples. There is close to zero analysis, and once or twice t
...more
Caidyn (he/him/his)
I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

CW: discussing historical rape, pedophilia, and intimate partner violence

This was so much fun to read. The chapters were relatively short. Part One covers everything you might want to know about sex and sexuality in this time period, covering LGBTQ+ (although not called that to keep with period accurate terminology), race, gender, etc topics. It was expansive and I loved it. The second part of the book talks about the Stuart ru
...more
Barbara
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
How did people have sex in Stuart Britain? Same as us of course. Only if they got an STD there were no antibiotics to help them out. One of the reasons they wore wigs, aside from male pattern baldness, was because of syphilis. They also believed coffee caused impotence. They had no reliable birth control (though they tried) and c sections weren't a thing due to a lack of anesthesia so women died in droves due to childbirth. There was no deodorant and a lack of clean water, sanitation, and soap s ...more
Toni Mount
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When asked to review Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain, I wasn’t sure what to expect of a book on this specific topic. I discovered that Andrea Zuvich writes in a style that is both reader-friendly, without any academic-speak, yet the book is obviously deeply researched through extensive use of original source material.
Part 1 deals with Stuart society’s changing attitudes to sex and sexuality throughout the period by exploring letters, diaries, drama, poetry and a variety of literary forms. I
...more
Michelle Louise
Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain is the kind of history book I adore. It's filled with fascinating tidbits and anecdotes which really give a sense of time and place.

The book covers a wide variety of topics, more topics than I thought possible, and includes things that are related to sex but aren't immediately obvious -- like witchcraft. From pre-maritial sex, to infamous women/men, to the terminology of the day. The book covers the gamut.

One of my favorite sections was early on where the aut
...more
Émilie Weidl
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
“So, get your tankard of cock ale, sit back in your cane chair by the crackling fire, and as the smells of wood smoke and tobacco from a nearby pipe mingle with the hearty scent of freshly baked pigeon pie wafting in from next door, let us go back in time to the Stuart period…”

In this book, Zuvich tracks the macro-trends in sex and sexuality in Stuart-era Britain, using examples of real people to provide touching or hilarious illustrations thereof. She discusses the opinions of the general popul
...more
Simon Kleinig
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Andrea Zuvich has put together a book which is unique and revelatory. Writing history can be a difficult undertaking requiring a lot of research and commitment. The result can often be a ponderous assembly of facts meticulously and painstakingly put together by the author, but as dry as dust to the reader. Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain is NOT one of those books. The author has successfully combined close research with an attractive and sparklingly clear writing style which is both explanat ...more
Beth Younge
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was an excellent and concise look at the Stuart era and their relationship with sex. It covered everything I wanted and unlike the one on the Victorian era, this one had a lot more on queer and non-hetrosexual relationships. I liked the writing style and this was exactly what I wanted from a book. The writing was clear and it was easy to follow Zuvich's point.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
...more
Morgan S
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
not yet sure how i'm going to rate this one :/ Did I enjoy it? No. Do I have several specific problems with it? Yes. Do I think the writing is particularly good? No. BUT I do think this book did exactly what the author was going for, even if I don't like the end result.

There's no analysis on any of the topics mentioned in this book. There are barely any actual quantitative facts. This book is 200 pages of anecdotes strung together.
...more
ConstantReader
"Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain" offers 28 delectable chapters explaining every aspect of sexual lives of people living in the Stuart period. The author skilfully shows what life was like with an eye to delightfully interesting details. Andrea Zuvich has a wonderful understanding of life in the 17th century (she's the @17thCenturyLady after all!) and gives credible information about the meaning of sex and sexuality in Stuart Britain.

This is an academic look behind the closed doors. Zuvich
...more
Jessica
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: academic, history
4.5/5
Thank you to NetGalley and Pen and Sword for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

I really enjoyed this book. The Stuart period is one of my favourites, and it often gets ignored for its Tudor predecessor. I will fully admit, sex and sexuality is not a common topic of study for me, but I learned a lot through this book. Sex does play a role in society and culture, and Zuvich examines it from many angles. I appreciated that she included several marginalised groups including L
...more
Cryssa
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain, and my only complaint was that it had to end.

There are many history books that cover various aspects of life in the Stuart age, but this one literally goes ‘beneath the sheets’ to cover a sensitive subject rarely attempted and does so exceptionally well. The narrative flows from one topic to another and the author delivers an informative history in a refreshing style. We not only learn about the sexual preferences, rumoured or otherwise,
...more
Sarah-Beth Watkins
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Zuvich's book is an absolute treasure. Packed full of fascinating facts, scandalous snippets and tantalising tidbits. Thoroughly researched from a wealth of sources, this is a complete delve into sex and sexuality in the Stuart era at home and abroad.
The book is split into two parts. The first covers everything from adultery to infanticide, prostitution to the Stuart libertine. The second part charts the reigns of the Stuart monarchs from a sexuality perspective.
This one is going to stay on my r
...more
Claire
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With a king fond of attractive young men, a parliament driven by Puritan values, a theatrical explosion in sexualised themes and the inability of queens to bear healthy heirs, Stuart Britain was home to many matters connected with sex in one way or another, and Andrea Zuvich has covered it all with extensive delving into diaries, literature, legal records and letters to demonstrate the views and sometimes shocking realities of sex in the 17th and early 18th centuries.

The book strikes a perfect
...more
Leslie
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
The royal court of Stuart England was definitely not boring - or consistent - where sexual mores were concerned, from the relatively dissolute court of James I to the more sedate one of his son, Charles I, and then, after the interregnum Cromwell's Puritan Commonwealth, veering wildly back to the notorious excesses of Charles II and his intimates. While all this was happening in the aristocracy and upper classes, however, apart from stricter laws and public policy during the Commonwealth that af ...more
Pascale
Disclaimer: I received an advance reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sex and sexuality are topics I love to read about, and so I thought this would be great fun especially since I've read quite a bit of Tudor and Stuart era historical fiction recently. Unfortunately, this wasn't nearly as exciting of a read as I had hoped.

This reads a lot like a master's thesis (which I highly suspect it is), which is ok... and don't get me wrong Zuvich's research and knowledge
...more
Elizabeth St.John
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Written to appeal to scholars and general-interest readers alike, Ms.Zuvich's stunning new compendium of all things sexy in Stuart Britain is a wide-ranging study of the most prevalent of human emotions—love, passion, attraction—and the consequences and influences of these on social history. Divided into two parts, the first addresses pretty much every conceivable topic related to sex and sexuality, and while comprehensive and forthright (not for the faint-hearted if frank talk offends), the aut ...more
Anja
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This book provides a vivid overview of what people in the Stuart period enjoyed and also suffered when it came to sex. The author presents a broad spectrum of topics from marriage and adultery to infertility and incest and a lot more. When it came to sex, the people of 17th century Britain had to deal with STDs, superstitions and magic, lack of medical care, contraception and drastic punishment.
The first part of the book deals with all these aspects of every day sexual life, always accompanied b
...more
Carolyn Cash
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, royalty
A wonderful, easy to read resource about life during the Stuarts, examining attitudes towards sex and sexuality, and what was acceptable back then and what wasn't.

'Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain' is well-researched and a definitely must-have for anyone interested in the Stuart era.

I sure wish a book similar to this one was around when I first started researching the 17th Century many years ago.

Some things haven't changed when it comes to human nature but attitudes certainly have, especially
...more
Kristine
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain by Andrea Zuvich is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid-July.

A carry-on of the 'Sex and Sexuality in Victorian Britain,' but reverting back in time with topics, like reliance on the humours, indulgence, religious faith, and physical appearances to guide one's lifespan; glans and self-play; standards of beauty and hygiene; erotic art and literature; prostitution and escort services; romantic love; the theatre; gender roles; sexual acts, practices, disease
...more
Annarella
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's a well researched, detailed and entertaining book that made me learn a lot of new things enjoying what I read.
I liked the style of writing and how the book is organised.
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
...more
Libby
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
I thought this book would be an in-depth look at sex and sexuality in the Stuart era. Instead, it was made up of what are essentially long bullet-points.
Heather Bennett
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a romp interesting book about a seldom talked about or written about subject that is nevertheless a driving force throughout history.
Acco Spoot
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great and thorough resource looking at a variety of sexual practices, morality and legality of which, throughout the Stuart period!
Emma Butlin
Jan 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Some interesting sections but lots of surface information. Would have liked a deeper analysis at times.
Rhiannon Grant
rated it really liked it
Oct 08, 2020
Ayla
rated it really liked it
Aug 27, 2020
Kenzie Mills
rated it liked it
Nov 22, 2020
Lisa
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Jan 17, 2021
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Andrea Zuvich (b. 1985) is an independent seventeenth-century historian and anthropologist specialising in the House of Stuart (1603-1714). Zuvich obtained degrees in History and Anthropology at the University of Central Florida and is the host of the popular 'The Seventeenth Century Lady' blog. An active user of Twitter since 2009 (as @17thCenturyLady) she created the well-received #StuartsSaturd ...more

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