In the 1600s, Puritans expelled James Mattock from the First Church of Boston for refusing to have physical relations with his wife.
Although the community clearly saw Mattock’s self-deprivation as improper, they most likely had the suffering of his wife in mind before expelling him. According to these Puritans, physical desires were a healthy and natural part of life as long as they remained hetero$exual and confined to marriage.
Back then, the consensus was that men could give up getting down with little trouble. However, such a deprivation would have been comparatively harder for women since they wanted and needed physical affections much more than men.
From ancient Greece to the early nineteenth century, the assumption was that women had a comparatively greater physical drive. According to Francisco Plazzonus, childbirth wouldn’t be worthwhile if the pleasures derived from getting down were not greater for women than men. According to Montaigne, physical affection is a discipline born in the veins of women.
In addition to having far more knowledge compared to men, women were considered incomparably more adept and ardent in lovemaking. By then, the idea that women lacked passion had not yet taken hold. Enoch Heinrich Kisch, an Austrian gynecologist, believes the natural impulse in women is so powerful that its primitive force dominates their entire nature at certain periods of life.
Having passion was later deemed as an indication of the inferior moral, intellectual, and reasoning capabilities of women. This particular notion served to justify the tight control husbands and fathers exerted. Power and influence came into play.
Since men had superior self-control abilities and therefore not as consumed with lust as women, they were more naturally suited to hold powerful and influential positions. Havelock Ellis, an early 20th-century psychologist, documented this ideological change, citing various historical sources of nearly the same mindset regarding women’s greater physical urge.
According to Nancy Cott, a historian, the rise of evangelical Protestantism catalyzed this change. Since congregations were increasingly made up of middle-class white women, Protestant ministers probably saw the wisdom in portraying these congregants as moral beings.
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