The Georgian Era is a time when the four King Georges- I, II, III and IV ruled over England. This period begins in 1714 and ends in 1830 and is remembered as the time in the history of Britain when the foundation of modern society was laid. Industrialization was born, resulting in a number of changes in the outlook of people at a social level.
Just like any other period of time in the history of the world, the idea of sexuality was something that outraged the people of the Georgian Era as well. This was because of the social norms surrounding the idea of sexual orientation and sexuality in general that the people of the 18th century England have inherited from their elder generations.
However, by this time, people had started to accept these ideas more freely, though not socially but at least on an individual level.
Attitude of the Georgians towards Sexual Relationships
The generations in England before the ones living in the Georgian Era had very high standards when it came to having sexual relationships. Most people of the upper classes, especially the royalty, was highly concerned about the purity of blood which resulted in limitations on sexual relationships.
However, by the 18th century, people had become more and more liberal about the idea of having intimate relationships and had started to embrace their personal will over what they were supposed to do as a social norm. As a result, the people of the Georgian Era experienced a lot of freedom when it came to having sexual partners, which they enjoyed as much as they could.
Both men and women during the Georgian Era had started to accept sexual relationships as a natural part of human behavior. Along with that, people were more accepting of their likes for other people as well.
Women, before the Georgian Era, were supposed to marry at an early age with a man who is appropriate for her in terms of social standards. The norm was the same during the Georgian Era as well but it had become common for them to indulge in sexual relationships outside their marriage, in case they were unhappy in their marriage.
Men also enjoyed a similar luxury and their affairs had much more acceptance in society than their female counterparts. Prostitution was common during the Georgian Era and many high-class men had been known to be visitors in brothels.
These men included the gentlemen of the society and sometimes, even the King and other members of the royal family. Not only this, men even used to have relationships outside marriage and even multiple partners at the same time.
However, it was not true for the Georgians that it was socially acceptable to get involved in such affairs. Most of them were kept a secret as long as possible and there were many that nobody at all knew ever. It was considered a social obligation for couples to stay together even they were not happy with each other, which means divorce was highly frowned upon.
Attitude of the Georgians towards Sexual Orientation
The Georgian Era can be called a time period of sexual discovery. Many people accepted homosexuality even if it was against the law. During this time, many renowned people of the society, including people in politics, authors, artists and many other upper class people started to have sexual relations with people of their choice, irrespective of their genders.
Molly House was a common phrase during the Georgian Era and referred to a place where men used to have sexual relationships with other men. These were secret places like brothels and were often located in the remotest corners of the cities.
The men of the upper classes used to visit them where they would be provided sexual favors by other men who were ‘feminine’ in their appearance, dressing and even behavior.
Molly houses had become a common part of the lifestyle of the Georgian Era people and a number of prominent people have been known to visit them in the later hours of the night. However, for women, it was neither common nor acceptable to have a relationship of sexual nature with other women. If there would have been any such cases, it was a well guarded secret and was often concealed in the veil of friendship.
What is prominent when it comes to the idea of sexuality in the Georgian Era is that people had started to come out and accept their sexual desires. This helped them to pursue them, even though in a secret manner. However, the Georgian Era is full of an abundance of examples when it comes to such relationships.
It means that even though the society of the Georgian Era was not very open about such kind of illegitimate relationships, the people of those times certainly paved a way for the further generations to come to accept their choices when it came to sexual behavior.