IMC 2004: Sessions

Session 720: Medieval Masculinities, II: Sex, Abstinence, and Meaning

Tuesday 13 July 2004, 14.15-15.45

Organiser:Rachel Stone, Department of History, King's College, University of London
Moderator/Chair:Katherine J. Lewis, Department of History, University of Huddersfield
Paper 720-aSize Matters: Penile Problems in Sagas of Icelanders
(Language: English)
Carl L. Phelpstead, School of English, Communication & Philosophy, Cardiff University
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Sexuality
Paper 720-bClerical Masculinity: Virginity, Sex, and the Upper Clergy in Late Medieval England
(Language: English)
Patricia Cullum, Department of History, University of Huddersfield
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Gender Studies, Sexuality, Social History
Paper 720-c'Resisting Manfully' or 'Mad About' a Girl: Controlling Sexual Desire in the Late Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Catherine Rider, Department of History, University College London
Index terms: Gender Studies, Hagiography, Medicine, Sexuality

This session looks at the contradictory ideas surrounding men having or not having sexual intercourse. How important was sexual activity and potency for lay and clerical masculine identities? What were the perceived meanings of bodily states (such as impotence or virginity)? If men were not sexually active, whether because of impotence, church pressure, personal asceticism or magic, how was this seen? Could men actually restrain their sexual desire? What was the role of women in this struggle for male self-expression or self-control?