No Happy Nonsense

The Once and Future Sex

By: Eleanor Janega
Published: 2023
Genre: Non-Fiction
Finished Reading: January 24th, 2023

The book showcases how women in the Medieval age were actually treated/how they lived there lives. The popular notion that women are now "in the workplace" more than they were ever before is wrong, a notion conceived from recency bias that the march of progress must mean today is the best time to have ever been a woman, ever ever.

Women worked all kinds of jobs back in the day; brewer, baker, laundress, sex workers, shop/innkeeper, etc. It was common enough that it wasn't made of note in particular; tax documents and other official paperwork had to be used to ascertain women in occupations.

It also dispels the current notion of women being the sexually-frigid gender who puts up with sex in order to find a meaningful relationship (with men, notably, enduring the reverse scenario).

This is wrong as hell also. Women for basically all of mankind were seen as sex-crazed freaks. Eve was kicked out of Eden because she ate from the tree of Knowledge and she and Adam realized they were naked and started enjoying the boning that they were created for. This was the bad part of everything; enjoying it.

Medieval sex was supposed to be about procreation. It was considered sodomy to do anything other than p-in-v sex. There was lots of weird/funny shit, like one seed theory vs two seed theory, and how that painted people's minds of should women enjoy sex/do they need to orgasm to get pregnant? Etc. People thought sex workers couldn't get pregnant because they didn't orgasm during sex, lol wut.

The book does a good job of highlighting how, both in Medieval times and in the current times, women have it rough. They used to exist solely as a secondary species compared to man; everything they did or could do was in the prism of how it helped men live. The author makes the case that while things globally outright are far better, women are still second-class citizens in many aspects and how frustrating that is.

Short but dense, this book felt sloggish for me at times, almost like reading a textbook. It wasn't a bad read, just one that required more focus than I had for it, unfortunately. I still got through it, and enjoyed it, learned from it.