Urban prostitution has become one of the most pressing social issues of today. Innocent girls, who are always on the look out for greener pastures, have become easy targets. Pimps lure these girls away to cities, and force them into prostitution. Many developing and developed countries have been seeing an increase in this trend lately. In this document, we will look at prostitution as it existed in the Middle Ages. Urban prostitution is not a product of the medieval period. Prostitution has been one of the oldest known professions after hunting and gathering, it has existed since time immemorial.
Despite the initial taboo attached to this profession, prostitution began to be accepted as a way of life in major cities in the medieval period. Men, from time immemorial, have always been ready to pay a price to obtain sexual favors. This has not only created a certain demand in this sector, but, has also kept this demand alive.
The history of prostitution was not addressed by medievalists, as it was taboo. Apart from this, since there are few sources that discuss this issue, it becomes difficult to study this problem. Understanding the social significance of prostitution in the medieval cities may lead to better understanding of the collective mentalities of the people in the medieval ages , their cultural values, traditions and other structures, which were present in the family and city. During the Middle Ages, despite the tolerance that people had towards prostitution, some canonists urged prostitutes to reform. The length of the medieval period, and its developments did have quite an impact on prostitution.
During the High Middle Ages, prostitution became a business. Countries like France and Germany set aside certain areas where prostitution could be tolerated. Any trade outside these areas was considered punishable. Prostitutes also found a fruitful market during the Crusades, as 20% of their clientele consisted of clergy. Sixtus IV was the first Pope who imposed a license on these brothels, and ordered the execution of people getting into prostitution.
Usually, the prostitutes are maids, girls rejected by their families after rape or pre-marital pregnancy. (At Avignon in the fourteenth century, 27% of prostitutes were victims of rape Dishonored,they can no longer expect to live tthe life of an honest woman, and assume family roles as that of wife and mother. The vulnerability comes here often from having to fend for themselves. This is also true of certain abandoned women and a significant number of widows.
Some simply do not find other means to live and selling their bodies for want of work. Only 15% of them seem to have chosen this profession, without the constraints of poverty, but on their own initiative.
For most girls, prostitution began at the age of 17. It appears nonetheless that one third of them are sold before 15 years. This is especially true for girls prostituted by their families.
Regarding sexual practices, they are commonly oral, anal, manual and interfemoral. For contraceptive reasons, prostitutes normally bypass vaginal intercourse.
Tags: prostitution, vaginal intercourse, brothels
[...] While prostitution is flourishing in emerging and prosperous cities rather than the declining, it remains a fundamental dimension in all of medieval urban societies, a dimension too little analyzed by historians. Bibliography BRUNDAGE , James. Sumptuary laws and prostitution in late medieval Italy . Journal of medieval history , March 1987 BRUNDAGE , James, Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe , University Of Chicago Press BULLOUGH Vern & Bonnie , Women and prostitution. A social history , Prometheus Books , Buffalo DALLAYRAC , Dominique , File prostitution , Robert Laffont, Paris DECKER, John F , Prostitution : Regulation and Control, Fred B. [...]
[...] Thus , prostitutes may be rejected by the ecclesiastical authorities. This is for example the case where Bishop Chartres refused , during the construction of Notre Dame, the gift of a stained glass from Parisian whores . The doctrine of the Church does not appear unambiguous in this area. Thus some theologians questioned the status of this special activity. Thomas Cobham , Archbishop of Canterbury believed in the early fourteenth century , that women 'foles their horns ' must be treated as mercenaries. [...]
[...] In this case, we in the presence of destitute prostitution. Only 15% of them seem to have chosen this profession, without constraints of poverty, but on their own initiative. Those excluded from the supply system can be seen as constituting the larger ranks of the urban prostitute army. For most girls , prostitution began at the age of 17 years. It still appears that a third of them were sold before their 15th birthday . This was particularly true of girls forced into prostitution by their families. [...]
[...] This harsh repression led to the development of an underground illegal prostitution which was more rampant than ever . Before complaints of urban populations ( men are more protective because of their wives against the onslaught of violence) , as well as the impractical nature of this royal decree , the edict was revoked in only two years later. The new ordinance dated the same year proved to be much more tolerant . Prostitution was restored but had to be confined away from churches, cemeteries and honest streets. [...]
[...] Attitudes of urban power in the face of prostitution seem to be particularly taciturn between the XIII and XV century. Can we see a consequence of the complexity of the urban fabric ? One thing is certain , the Church , another major player in the city, was also divided on the subject. C : Analysis of the ecclesiastical outlook Ecclesial discourse reported a double standard with regard to prostitution. Firstly , it stated that a woman who engaged in such acts must undergo penance for six years. Her partner must fast for ten days. [...]
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