Boston Post, Massachusetts, April 28, 1895
I love how queer this shit is! Boston Post is all “Ladies, please make out… here’s some options.”
There’s a reason for that. It was still considered risks to show men and women kissing. It was an actual crime to depict men kissing other men. The only safe option was female-female kissing. Which seems to have backfired on them. “We can’t further an amoral lifestyle! Let’s use women”
Well, women were not considered sexual creatures… not “well bed” women anyway. They got married and “did their duty” but society (and I mean men) didn’t think women should be enjoying it or seeking it out.
Look at vibrators, they were invented because doctors were getting tired of having to manually stimulate women to relieve their “hysteria”. Lol. Doctors were giving women orgasms to keep them from being grumpy. But no one saw this as anything to do with sex.
Mistresses could be sexual… wives and unmarried women could not.
If I might correct you on a few points…
You have to remember that prior to this period of Victorian repression, women were absolutely sexual. In fact they were considered overly sexual, wanton. Original sin came from women, and they were the root of carnal lust. The reason women wore the outfits depicted, the reason those fashions became popular, was because it was considered indecent for women to express sexuality. The years became successively more and more repressive of the natural urge, true, but it all extended from the original oppression of female lust. The manual stimulation of which you speak was not something doctors dreamed up to help women. At the time, women had been socially marginalized. As I said in another post, as there became more and more expendable wealth and a growth in the middle class, as soon as the industrial automata commenced to handle most tasks, women were shoved into parlors and given meaningless tasks. They felt, as is quite right, useless and uninvolved. Bored. And their men invented the term hysteria to genderfy their righteous dissatisfaction. First they tried to numb female anger with laudanum and opium. When that didn’t work and resulted in embarrassing incidents, male doctors decided that there should be another treatment.
In addition…at the time, it was considered impossible to conceive without the female orgasm. Which meant that this sort of treatment was also used as a fertility treatment. But this had a double edged quality to it, because the perception meant that if a woman conceived, she couldn’t possibly have been coerced.
I hope that clarifies the time a bit more.