Sex and Sexuality in Victorian Britain by Violet Fenn

Sex and Sexuality in Victorian Britain by Violet Fenn* is a short, but really fascinating book. I like that she started by tackling the most controversial views, such as age of consent, which was 12. While now we have very different views, we should always be considerate of the views that the people we talk/read about had at that time. Children aged 9 were working in factories and mills up and down the country, so 12 was not seen as a tender age. It’s easy to fall into the trap of judging, which is keeping us from understanding and she has done a good job at avoiding that.

Sex and Sexuality in Victorian Britain by Violet Fenn

For such a short book it is incredible how many details she managed to include. All major topics are covered, from how people dressed to chaperoning to prostitution and homosexuality. She deals with preconceptions too and that is great. The writing style is funny, which is not something that I would have preferred for this topic, but it makes the book more commercial and interesting for a wider audience. Also, I gave the book 5 stars, so it was not a real issue for me.

Overall this book is both enjoyable to read and informative, so it is well worth reading.

Sex and Sexuality in Victorian Britain by Violet Fenn

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes!
Published by: Pen & Sword History
Year it was published: 2020
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): History
Pages: 120

About the author: Violet Fenn has always been fascinated by history and human behaviour. She specialises in lighthearted and entertainingly straightforward investigations into the changing cultural attitudes towards sex and mortality. Her previous titles include Sex and Sexuality in Victorian Britain and A History of the Vampire in Popular Culture.
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword

*I was sent a copy of Sex and Sexuality in Victorian Britain by Violet Fenn for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.



6 thoughts on “Sex and Sexuality in Victorian Britain by Violet Fenn”

  • I agree with just about all the comments ‘FictionFan’ and yourself made, around the subject of infantilising young adults, both men and women. We have a niece who is 30 and a nephew of 28, both still living at home and whilst I realise that is as much for economic reasons as anything else, the way they are still pandered to by their respective parents, really is mind blowing. At their ages we had been married for almost 10 years, had to move away from our home towns and families because of my husband’s forces commitments and had taken on the responsibility of a mortgage with interest rates approaching 15%!! ———– I still think it is good that we have moved on from the days of setting children to work at 9 years old, however a couple of years National Service wouldn’t do todays youth any harm at all! —————– Sounds like an interesting read, thanks for sharing 🙂
    Yvonne (@Fiction_Books) recently posted…The Commandant’s Daughterby Catherine HokinBooks On TourReviewMy Profile

    • I know. I’ve started to support myself while at uni, I got married in my mid-20s, and so on. This didn’t “ruin” my life, it enhanced it. So I agree with you.

  • Yes, 12 is young, but we’ve gone the other way now by infantilising women well into what used to be seen as adulthood. It makes me laugh when people behave as if twenty-five-year-old women are “girls”, or that 17-year-old women aren’t capable of saying no to “predatory” men. What age do we have to be now to be considered grown-up? Thirty? Fifty? Never? Of course, women bring a lot of it on themselves by trying desperately to look and act like schoolgirls into their middle-age, as if becoming a woman is something to avoid…

    • Infantilising teenagers and 20-somethings is an issue for me too. A 17-year old can actually do a lot of things if they are encouraged too, can be mature and responsible. For me, they lose an important part of their lives by acting like schoolgirls. What’s wrong with being a woman? All that #girlboss and girl power and so on are just bonkers.

      I read history and I read news from around the world, where children had huge responsibilities by the age of 10, were studying 8-10 hours a day or working 10-12 hours a day. It seems crazy that a 12-year-old can’t be left alone for 30-40 minutes in her own home in case she wants a cup of tea and, apparently, is not able to boil water on her own (true story, I thought they are mocking me when they said that).

  • By the time I finished your review, I was convinced this one will have to go on my wishlist. I’m hoping to get to the book about Ancient Rome in the next month or two.
    Kelly recently posted…And more hummusMy Profile

    • I hope you enjoy both of them 🙂 Very soon I will share reviews for a couple more books from this series.

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