Counterfeiting the Loss of Virginity in Early Modern England

Join the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh for this free event looking at the cultural history of virginity and the medicinal preparations used to fake virginity in Early Modern society!

Counterfeiting the Loss of Virginity in Early Modern England

About Counterfeiting the Loss of Virginity in Early Modern England

In this talk, Dr Stephanie Allen will examine an element of female sexual fraud; counterfeit maidenheads. She will discuss the methods authors imagined women to use, including herbal concoctions, animals blood and leeches. Dr Allen will also discuss how false virgins were presented within medical texts, popular works and literature, as by using a combination of sources we can begin to understand the fears of counterfeit virginity.

Dr Allen will argue that due to the malleability of women’s bodies there was a social and cultural fear that they could counterfeit the two features of virginity, blood and vaginal tightness, to deceive men. However, the arguable fetishizing of virginity in this era, may have meant that some men were willing to be ‘deceived’ by those such as doxies (prostitutes who repeatedly sold their virginity), therefore, this talk will also examine to what extent was virginity to be desired as well as feared.

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