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Sex and the Early Modern Public House

Seminar questions


  • In which ways did the worlds of public drinking and sexuality intersect?
  • Did public houses foster the 'sexualization' and 'marginalization' of women in early modern society?
  • DEBATE: Were early modern public houses a 'mass school' for illicit sexual activities?


Core reading


Martin, A. Lynn, Alcohol, Sex and Gender in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), esp. chapters 'Sex & Alcohol' and 'Alehouses, Taverns and Prostitutes'



Further Reading


Beneder, Beatrix, Männerort Gasthaus? Öffentlichkeit als sexualisierter Raum (Frankfurt,

Dabhoiwala, Faramerz, The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution (2013)

Foyster, Elizabeth, Manhood in Early Modern England: Honour, Sex and Marriage (London, 1999)

Flather, Amanda, Gender and Space in Early Modern England (Woodbridge, 2006)

Gowing, Laura, Domestic Dangers: Women, Words, and Sex in Early Modern London
(Oxford, 1998)

Ingram, Martin, Church Courts, Sex and Marriage in England, 1570-1640 (Cambridge, 1987)

Naphy, W. P., Sex Crimes: From Renaissance to Enlightenment (2004)

Rocke, Michael, Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence (1996)

Wiesner, M., Christianity and Sexuality in the Early Modern World: Regulating Desire, Reforming Practice (2nd ed, 2010) [survey work illustrating the broader thematic & chronological context]

Freudenberger Cellar

Sigmund Freudenberger, 'Scene outside a Wine Cellar' (drawing, late 18thC). Kunstmuseum Bern.