Jennifer Evans

Aphrodisiacs, Fertility and Medicine in Early Modern England

Jennifer Evans

Talk: Aphrodisiacs, Fertility and Medicine in Early Modern England

It was common knowledge in early modern England that sexual desire was malleable and could be increased/decreased by a range of foods-artichokes, oysters and parsnips. Her book argues that these aphrodisiacs were used not for sexual pleasure, but to enhance fertility and reproductive success. It draws on a range of sources to show how aphrodisiacs were recommended for the treatment of infertility, and how men and women utilised them to regulate their fertility. Aphrodisiacs were more than just sexual curiosities - they were medicines which operated in a number of different ways unfamiliar now, and their use illuminates popular understandings of sex and reproduction in this period.

Jennifer Evans

Jennifer Evans is a senior lecturer in the history at the University of Hertfordshire. Her research is focused on the body, medicine and gender from 1550-1750 and the understanding of infertility/treatments in early modern England. She is also a director of the Perceptions of Pregnancy research network, which brings scholars together to examine aspects of fertility, pregnancy, and early parenthood.

Aphrodisiacs, Fertility and Medicine in Early Modern England (Royal Historical Society Studies in History New Series)

This book argues that these aphrodisiacs wereused not simply for sexual pleasure, but, more importantly, to enhance fertility and reproductive success; and that at that time sexual desire and pleasure were felt to be far more intimately connected to conception and fertility than is the case today.

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