Graduate Theses & Dissertations

Nymphs, Satyrs and Impotent Old Men
British pornographic texts arguing the texts were part of a wider cultural discourse on luxury, criticising the upper echelons of society for their decadent and vice-ridden lifestyles. Pornographic texts consistently portray the elites of Britain as partaking in sexual deviances including lesbianism, sex with dolls, dildos and household objects. The portrayals could be dismissed as tales fabricated for the titillation of the reading audience except that medical texts of the period diagnose the diseases of nymphomania and satyriasis, the rough equivalent of modern sexual addiction, as primarily affecting those of the upper class. Lifestyle was the key to diagnosis; luxurious living was thought to weaken the elite body rendering it vulnerable to excess sexual passions. Therefore, the hyper-sexual elite in pornographic texts reflected the contemporary cultural understandings of lifestyle and physiology. Author Keywords: Britain, culture, eighteenth century, nymphomania, pornography, sexuality

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