History of Sex and Sexuality from 1727 to 1770

About the history of sex and sexuality from 1727 to 1770 A.D. including trivia about Fally Hill, Catherine the Great, and castrati.

UNCENSORED HIGHLIGHTS IN THE HISTORY OF SEX

1727 Helen Morrison, a lonely Manchester, England, spinster, became the first woman to place a lonely-hearts advertisement. It appeared in the Manchester Weekly Journal. The mayor promptly committed her to a lunatic asylum for four weeks.

1729 Barely into his 20s, the English rake Sir Francis Dashwood masqueraded as King Charles XII of Sweden and thereby seduced Empress Anne of Russia.

1745 Twenty-four-year-old Madame de Pompadour was officially installed at Versailles as mistress to Louis XV of France. As she grew older, she procured young girls for the king's pleasure. In these affairs, the king pretended to be a Polish nobleman. Only one girl ever discovered the true identity of her occasional "Polish" bed partner, and she was immediately incarcerated in a lunatic asylum.

1750 John Cleland's erotic novel Fanny Hill, or the Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure was published.

1750 After being banned in London for several years, prostitution flourished anew there, with the price of a virgin's services now down from pound 50 to pound 5.

1760s For Empress Catherine the Great, the handsome officers of the Imperial Guard constituted a ready-made stud stable, from which she would select temporary lovers as the mood took her. After eyeing a prospect, however, she would first have him examined by physicians, then put through a preliminary test, administered by one of her two confidantes, Countess Bruce and Mme. Protassov. If he passed, he would then be named an imperial aide-de-camp and assigned to service in the empress's bed. Upon occasion Catherine might choose to observe his performance firsthand before giving him the nod.

1767 John Hunter (1728--1793), a brilliant English surgeon, began an experiment attempting to prove that gonorrhea was only a manifestation of syphilis and that in fact they were one and the same disease. On Friday, May 22, 1767, he dipped a lancet into some pus previously taken from the sores of a venereal patient, then inoculated the foreskin and actual head of his own penis. If his theory were correct, the pus taken from the patient suffering from gonorrhea would give him syphilis. According to his diary, by Sunday there was "a teasing itching in those parts." This lasted until Tuesday, when "the parts of the prepuce where the puncture had been made were redder, thickened, and had formed a speck." A week later "the speck was increased." This perfect description of the symptoms of syphilis seemed to prove his theory correct. Unfortunately, Hunter was wrong in his assumption that the original donor of the pus was suffering from gonorrhea. Actually he had the far more deadly disease--syphilis. However, Hunter's reputation was so great that his theory was automatically accepted, and this classic error retarded the investigation of venereal disease for 50 years. Even sadder was the fact that Hunter eventually died from the effects of his experiment.

1768 The Encyclopaedia Britannica was first issued, in installments. The entry for "Woman" stated, "The female of man. See Homo."

1770 Pope Clement XIV outlawed the 200-year-old practice of using castrati in papal choirs. These were men deliberately castrated when young to preserve their "soprano" singing voices. Persons performing such operations on young boys were excommunicated, though the boys were made very welcome into the choirs thereafter.

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