Reading is a buzzing town of locals and commuters going about their business, scurrying to their day jobs, collecting the groceries and walking the dog.
Surrounded by rolling fields and countryside, no one would ever suspect that Reading hid such a multitude of kinky goings on! However, that office worker you see straightening his tie and smirking, that sour faced bank manager or even the guy who sells you your insurance, they all have a secret side and enjoy all kinds of kinky fetishes.
I’m often asked the question “What sort of people have fetishes?” and the questioner always seems to be expecting a wacky answer such as ‘They are all midgets or have a face full of piercings.” but in fact kinksters are perfectly normal people in perfectly normal jobs!
In every city across the UK, there will be somebody being spanked right now, males putting on female underwear, taking the strap-on or kissing someones feet. So have we become a nation of deviants despite our prudish stiff upper lip appearances?
Nothing has really changed apart from our awareness. Since the dawn of time, humanity has been looking for ways to get their rocks off. The Tomb Of The Floggings in Italy dates back to 470BC and the erotic depictions reveal that this form of corporal punishment was indeed sexual in nature.
The Vikings were known to rape and pillage and the Romans were infamous for their wild orgies. Sexual kinks were not just a male privilege in Roman times either. Many wealthy Roman females kept sex slaves and would keep them in chastity devices which they called ‘Thecas’. Real life slaves would be expected to satisfy their Mistresses and take corporal punishment when the mood took them.
Lets fast forward to Elizabethan England 1558–1603. Many historians refer to it as the Golden age – a renaissance time where national pride, art, music, poetry and theatre flourished. Sexual attitudes were fairly open too and you would not have had to stumble far to reach a brothel in this era. Homosexual sex however, was considered a crime in this age and shockingly was punishable by death.
If you were a female during this time though, sex would have not been a huge concern and fashion was elaborate and flamboyant. The corset was extremely popular in Elizabethan times, although it was worn slightly differently than to how it is now. Rather than creating an hourglass shape, it was worn to raise the bust line on a woman and flatten her shape.
Corsets later became a symbol of female oppression in the Victorian era and ‘tight-lacing’ became the norm. A tight laced corset which created a minuscule waist suggested affluence and good social stature in society. Those who spurned the design and chose not to attire themselves in the fashion were labelled as promiscuous and morally loose. This is quite ironic considering that a corset worn in this fashion emphasises the breasts and hips. However the slender shape the corset created was lent the connotations that the wearer of the corset had not yet born children and were pure and virginal.
Many historians claim that sexual repression was at it’s peak in Victorian times and this is undoubtedly true for women who were expected to be submissive and unsullied. Young girls were kept at home under lock and key and physical intimacy for the sake of pleasure was frowned upon. Sex was seen as an act that was purely intended for procreation and masturbation was forbidden. Anti masturbation devices were designed for men to remove temptation from their hands, but trends have a funny way of turning things on their head and these Victorian devices were not dissimilar to some of the more kinky chastity devices we have on the market today, for submissive men who enjoy entering chastity.
As a polar opposite to prohibiting masturbation, women suffering from a condition labelled as ‘hysteria’ at the time (which translates as sexual frustration) were prescribed ‘pelvic massages’. This involved a doctor massaging their genitals and providing relief to those affected. Some historians dispute this as being fact, but there are indeed antique sex aids circulating to this day that were produced during the Victorian era.
Funnily enough, despite the Obscene publications act, underground porn rose in popularity during this time and was often circulated away from prying eyes. With Louis Daguerre developing an archaic form of photography in the late 1830’s, it was not long before pornographic acts were photographed and became popular. With mass printing now a possibility, pornography was readily available.
Prostitution was also rife in Victorian England. The Contagious Diseases act of 1864 meant that those suspected of prostitution could be subjected to routine tests to check if they were suffering from venereal disease. Those who were found to be infected were often taken to a lock up hospital and incarcerated for amount of time, which could be anywhere from three months to a year.
Many factors spurred this on. Low wages during the industrial revolution influenced the populace and breeding outside of marriage would mean being thrown out of the family home. Furthermore, the spread of syphilis was an increasing concern which influenced moral attitudes, along with Queen Victoria’s iron fist. Lets also not forget, prostitution was a way for women to live independently outside of the patriarchal constraints and this was a time when government wanted women to be oppressed and inferior to men. Yet despite these heavy repercussions, prostitution, sex and porn was widespread.
As we take a look back throughout history we can see that sex, fetish, prostitution and pornography has always been prevalent. Where there is demand there is a supply. Back in Victorian times many women would have turned to these ways of making a living due to necessity, to feed their families and stay alive during hard times and hard labour. Nowadays there is less taboo surrounding these topics and this is a result of women’s rights, the internet, a surplus of funding to produce pornography and more readily available incomes for individuals to indulge in their vices.
Perhaps if we were to go back in time and speak to the lower classes of the Victorian and Elizabethan eras, they might describe 2017 as the golden age. Lets face it, we have more rights and better access to medical care. Women are still fighting for equal pay but have come an incredibly long way. In Victorian times a women deemed as ‘loose’ may have been locked up. The worst a women faces now (whilst still unacceptable) is being slut shamed on the internet. Masturbation is deemed as a healthy natural expression and form of stress relief in most men and women’s magazines, and porn stars and escorts are glamorised by tv shows such as “The Belle De Jour” and “Hard Candy”
Those seeking to indulge their kink or fetish can do so by hopping onto the internet and finding a willing play partner and fetish clubs are frequented by singles, couples and groups of people looking for fun. So what has allowed society to take this more lenient approach to sex and kink? For one, the collapse of the churches influence, readily available contraception to avoid unplanned pregnancies and the spread of STI’s and course the media which glamourises these products to cash in on sensationalism.
Society is as kinky and sexually active as it’s ever been, yet nowadays, unless you are a politician or a married person in the media spotlight, the repercussions are far less. An individual wanting to act upon (legal) fantasies will not face incarceration or death in Great Britain unless they are extremely unlucky. Aren’t you thankful for that!
Thank you for reading and I would love to hear your feedback on the topics raised in my blog and any additional information you have on these subjects.