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Prostitution in the Victorian Era

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Prostitution in the Victorian Era

There were many prostitutes during the Victorian era. Most were lower-class women, with the exception of the mistresses kept by upper-class men. According to Victorian standards, respectable women did not consider sexual intercourse pleasurable. It was their duty to be intimate with their husbands. Having affairs was disgraceful (Waters). Prostitutes, on the other hand, were sexually intimate with men because they enjoyed sex. Men enjoyed prostitutes because they could not enjoy their wives. Victorian femininity was not defined by sexual pleasure, while Victorian masculinity was defined by sexual pleasure and conquest.

Prostitutes did not necessarily “enjoy” their sexual encounters with men, as Victorians tended to believe. Prostitution was their survival. Lower-class women did not become prostitutes because they wanted to. They became prostitutes because they had no alternate choice for survival. There were few options that allowed women to live off her own income instead of her family’s income, and once she e...
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