Sex in the Victorian Era
During the Victorian era, men were dominant and women were considered submissive and weak. Worst of all, homosexual males were hunted down and executed like animals. It was a time full of contradictions where sex was frowned upon and religion beliefs were the way of life. Nevertheless, adultery, pornography, and prostitution were common. Certainly the Victorian era would have been a better time for a heterosexual male to live in, but it was a terrible time for women and for homosexual men. For people in homosexual relationships in the Victorian era, it would have been considered a deadly time. Although the church had less power than in previous times, people in the Victorian era were to obey and follow the conservative religious way of life and were to understand their roles given to them by the church.
The inequalities both for gender roles and people who were seen as different or abnormal were certainly evident. For those who moved far from their role or did not fit into society’s well-scripted role, they were viewed as deviants, outcasts, and were likely to be executed. Straight men were seen as the protectors and the heroes and had fewer rules to obey. Women on the other hand were seen as fragile, weak, and even playing a musical instrument was a reminder of how different both genders were viewed, especially when it came to sex. For example, women were to enjoy music, but were limited to playing certain instruments because some were considered too sexual. After all, getting caught playing the flute for a woman was seen as “unladylike.” God forbid a woman got caught playing the cello.
Although the inequities between gender roles were unfair, the inequities between straight man and gay man were even more extreme. Gay men were seen as having mental disorders and were viewed as sinners. At one point, they were hunted and executed. In contrast, straight men could indulge themselves with prostitutes. After all, a man’s semen at one point was considered too precious to be wasted on masturbation. Because people in the Victorian era were controlled by religious beliefs, gender inequalities were far too extreme and homosexuality was seen as a disorder rather than a natural creation. Surely the Victorian era was a period better suited for the straight man and not a woman or homosexual.
I am convinced that I would have not enjoyed living in this period of time. However, after researching the facts, I have come to realize that the Victorian era is not that different from our present time, and religious beliefs are still far too extreme. It is clear that globalization has increased diversity in our modern world, and as a society we have come a long way from the dark days of witch burning and segregation. However, gender, social, and cultural inequities still exist, and in some parts of the world people who demonstrate homosexual behaviors are persecuted or even executed. In my opinion, religion has contributed to how societies come to view certain groups of people and has determined how society should live everyday life, including how to manage their sex lives. Religion will probably continue to have an influence on future societies and it will continue to direct, control, and rule as it sees it fit. Similarly, people like me will continue to be marked as outcasts and deviants and will continue to fight for our natural human rights.