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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Very real historical issues

Yesterday I posted how fun it is to break the established rules in Regency England. But sneaking around behind a chaperone's back and a same-sex or ménage relationship are totally different issues.

The first will get you married off. The second will get you killed.

Every 'traditional' Regency book you read has some sort of rule breaking going on. Why? Because it's fun, it happened, and it makes for damn good drama.

In Ann Herendeen's interview she talks about bi-and homosexuality in Regency England.
It was repressive and dangerous, from the late 17th century through the early 19th century. Sodomy was a capital offense; the church was in agreement with the laws; and most of society was either ignorant or antagonistic.

The only major change that occurred during this time was that there was an increase in arrests and prosecutions of men in the Regency [1811-1820], not because there were more gay people, but because society became more aware of the concept of same-sex activity.
My characters in both Wickedly Wanton and Seduction of a Proper Lady would have been hanged if caught. Well, first they would have been publicly humiliated, jailed (possible trial though it'd be a complete farce) then hanged. Their family and friends would also be caught in this public humiliation, and gossip like that wasn't going away.

What they're doing in finding both sexual gratification and lasting love is (according to Regency and Church Law) highly illegal and immoral. There were secret clubs for gay men, with secret codes and locations for just that reason-discovery meant scandal and death.

So while it's fun and sexy to write about threesomes, there is a very real underlying danger to what they're doing.

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