The Repressed Sexuality of Victorian England

By Leigh Court

The buzz is that New York publishers are buying ‘hot historicals’ right now, and that’s good news for a lot of us, including me — I write erotic Victorian romance for Red Sage Publishing’s Secrets anthologies.

Queen Victoria had nine children, so let’s face it — she obviously knew a thing or two about sex. And yet, the Victorian era was noted for (among other things) its veneer of repressed sexuality. Why? Its strict set of moral standards was partly a reaction to the permissiveness of the previous Georgian era and Queen Victoria’s observations of how those loose morals affected people’s opinion of the monarchy.

And it probably didn’t help that when her husband Prince Albert died in 1861, she went into mourning, and wore black for the rest of her sixty-three year reign.

In fact, things got so somber in Merry Olde England that not only was the sight of a female ankle considered scandalous, even table legs were kept covered and out of sight! And yet it was also during this bleak time that Richard Francis Burton introduced the Kama Sutra to England. Burton was an exceptional soldier and explorer, but his most lasting legacy may have been bringing back a translation of writings by a celibate Indian scholar called Vatsyayana, about his people’s most basic beliefs and, um, well, er… practices. 

The Kama Sutra plays a big role in my latest Victorian novella THE BET, which is featured in Secrets Volume 27: Untamed Pleasures. My hero Damian Hunt, Viscount Atherton, brags to his friend George Beringer that he can… satisfy… a woman using just his words. The contention is so outrageous that George wagers his London townhouse Damian can’t do it, but insists the girl for the bet must be a virgin. Damian stands to lose his prized racehorse if he can’t make good on his audacious boast, so he plans on using the Kama Sutra to help in his verbal seduction. 

Of course, once Damian lays eyes on the virginal Claire, she is not what he expected, and all bets are off, so to speak! 

Chrissy Dionne of Romance Junkies gave THE BET a 5 Blue Ribbons review, and said “THE BET is Ms. Court’s second SECRETS novella and certainly has cemented herself a place on my authors to watch list.”   

I love reading and writing historical romances, so I, for one, am glad that
New York publishers are buying hot historicals. Everything old is new again!

11 Responses to The Repressed Sexuality of Victorian England

  1. Jenna

    Oooh, I love reading historical romances, and I *loved* your story The Disciplinarian in Secrets Volume 15. Can’t wait to read this one!


  2. Alyssa

    That is too funny about the table legs! Did you get your own copy of the Kama Sutra?

  3. Leigh Court

    Yes, Alyssa, I had to read the Kama Sutra for um, er, research purposes!


  4. Leigh Court

    I’m so glad you enjoyed The Disciplinarian, Jenna! I love to grab readers right from the first line of a story, and that story sure had a hook! “Clarissa, I’m sending you to The Disciplinarian.” Ooooh, can’t you just hear the sinister jeopardy in that line?


  5. Lucie Simone

    I have to say that The Discipliinarian was the first “hot” historical I’d ever read, but it was not the last! I just love those stories of repressed sexual desire…!

  6. Danielle Cotton

    I LOVED The Discipliinarian!!!!

  7. Leigh Court

    Thanks Lucie & Danielle! I hope you’ll enjoy The Bet in Secrets Volume 27 just as much…


  8. Titania Ladley

    Hey there, Leigh, great post! Historicals are my fave to read—can’t wait to get my hands on Vol. 27 and The Bet. LOL, too funny about the table legs. Congrats on the 5-star review and the new release!


  9. Lindy

    I’m glad to hear it too, because I love hot historicals! 🙂

  10. Kathy

    I haven’t read much in the way of hot historicals, but the story sounds intriguing…and I DO gamble and can never refuse a good bet!

  11. Mary Campbell

    Leigh, I haven read any historical romance books but i am game to read anything romance especially if it a hot romance.


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