@NBlackthorne on The Victorian Era and Sex Disorders

After writing my masturbation post a week or so ago, my awesome pal and fellow author, Natasha Blackthorne, reached out to me to let me know how much she enjoyed the post & that her upcoming new release had strong ties to the miseducation surrounding masturbation. I was THRILLED! Of course, considering I absolutely adore her historical erotic romances, I invited her to come over and play in my sandbox for a while. So, without any further ado, here’s the lovely and talented Natasha Blackthorne!

  
First, I’d like to say a big thank you to Kitt, for inviting me to her blog to discuss some of the history that underlies my upcoming release, The Delicate Matter of Lady Blayne. Kitt has one of the most interesting and engaging blogs on sexual positivity and I am always honored to be a guest here. 

The Regency period is fascinating to me for many reasons. For me, it’s the psychological pressures and the resulting changes that took their society from the relative sensual indulgence of the Georgian era to the more, at least outwardly, restrictive and repressive Victorian era. To explain where the darker aspects of my story came from, I’ll give a little historical background information. 

The History

During the late Georgian Era, the emergence of the industrial age and the continued expansion of enclosure (the consolidation of formerly small and plentiful landholdings and farms into a smaller number of large estates owned by an elite group) the pressure on resources and jobs reached maximal levels.  

By 1789, Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus, wrote an essay on “the Principle of Population”, painting pictures of humanity overcome by a population boom that drained all resource and led to mass starvation and suffering. He believed this population explosion would be fueled by out of control carnal lusts and proposed universal self-control and chastity as a preventative measure. 

The upper class wanted to conform to behaviors and self-control that would separate them from the increasing encroachment of upwardly mobile middle and lower classes. If mere birthright no longer guaranteed that a person was “worthy” of being privileged, then they would prove that they were morally superior and worthy by their behavior. 

Of course, uncertainty regarding overpopulation and shifting socioeconomic status was only one of the many anxieties swirling in the general psychological undercurrent. The Regency generation had already grown up under a cloud of anxiety due to the uncertainty caused by the Napoleonic Wars. It was a generation plagued by so-called fragile nerves and anxiety disorders. In response, doctors, both the well-intentioned and the unscrupulous, stood ready to prescribe the cures. 

This undercurrent of anxiety over health, both physical and mental, led to a push for more control over the human sensual animal. Unfortunately, the ladies bore the larger brunt of the pressure because men continued to have their sexual outlets in secret and away from normal, socially sanctioned family life. The human body became seen as a closed system of sexual energy, orgasm began to be referred to as a draining; a sort of “spending” instead of as a healthy release. Emotional disorders diagnosed in girls and women were tied to “inappropriate” sexual expression and desires. Female masturbation became a primary focus/target.

We associate the idea that “misuse” of sexual energy leading to mental debility most strongly with the Victorian Era, but the roots for these attitudes began earlier. Famous physicians with interests along these lines were men like Dr. Thomas Beddoes. He believed that sexual reading materials could lead to gluttonous desires and ruin young people’s nerves. 

Dr. Samuel Solomon, who published A Guide to Health in 1795, blamed frigidity, nervous disorders, general physical debility and infertility on early masturbation in females and called it the “foul pollution” among other names. He presented his “cordial balm” as a cure all for such excesses and likely sold a great deal of it to lonely, awkward young people who lived hard lives with little solace except a solitary one. These are just a couple of examples of the types of thinking that were beginning to circulate in the late Georgian period. 

The Delicate Matter….

In my story, The Delicate Matter of Lady Blayne, Catriona is a young widow who has already gone through some experiences that have prevented her from expressing her true self. She’s trapped in a role that she has long outgrown and shamed for some very intimate sexual behaviors that were no one else’s business. But those around her want to control her, to prevent her from achieving her adult independence. And her sexuality is one area where they have invaded her privacy in an attempt to suppress her. 

Under pressure, she becomes distraught. Desperate. Others see her deep depression, not as a cry for help, but as a sign that she needs to be fixed so that she can return to her former, girlish role.  

Her late husband’s mother contacts a well-respected physician, Dr. Meeker, who is said to have an excellent track record with “handling” out of control and deeply disturbed ladies. This doctor believes that female sexual energy is a potentially destructive force on a woman’s mental and physical health.  

His prescription is to attempt to control and redirect Catriona’s exceptionally self-indulgent sensuality and to tame her sexual desires. His dark eyes and coolly intelligent, charismatic manner, fascinates Catriona at first, while his sympathetic understanding overwhelms her. He promises what she needs most. 

She is quickly trapped in a relationship of manipulation and abuse of trust. She becomes the subject of the most invasive and abusive experiments at his hands, with emotionally destructive consequences. She’s driven the ends of her ability to cope and, at the start of the story, she is battling in the only way she knows to overcome the manipulation and brainwashing to which she has been subjected. She’s fighting for her sanity. 

The hero, James Blayne, is her late husband’s cousin and the new Baron Blayne. A former naval officer and hero of the Napoleonic Wars, he’s a highly self-controlled gentleman, determined to protect her against any further abuse. He’s disconcerted by her alluring, sensual nature even while he experiences an overwhelming temptation to follow her lead and indulge in both sexuality and other sensual pleasures. His life has been one of duty, honor and obligation. Now his interactions with Catriona makes him question, for the first time, what is really important in life. 

When Catriona reached out to him, she did it out of self-preservation, a desperate chance to escape. But will she end up saving him as well? 

Wow, Natasha, it sounds like you’ve really outdone yourself this time & I can’t wait till your new release! What do you guys think? Is it any wonder I’m so thrilled to be one of the many authors participating in your Online Release Party on Facebook? All are welcome to join the party and WIN FREE STUFF, by the way. Just click the link to join. 

And if you’d like to learn more about Natasha, here’s where you can find her:

Blog: http://natashablackthorneblog.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Natasha-Blackthorne/217388964952800?ref=br_rs

Twitter: @Nblackthorne

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4878430.Natasha_Blackthorne

Google+: https://plus.google.com/109806914738068189660

Never Forgotten

The story I’m about to tell is part fact, part fiction. Much is derived from my Grandfather’s story of his time in the military during WWII, but some is artistic embellishment. Some of you may recall from this post that my grandparents actually married as he was headed off to war. Parts of these are from actual stories he shared with us, but most of it is fiction.

Rock Island National Cemetery

Rock Island National Cemetery

“Hey dad! Where ya goin’?” Kevin raced to the black Cadillac. He turned to face his son, leaving the keys dangling in the door. “The party’s gonna start soon.”

Adam reached down and ruffled his son’s blond hair. “I’m going to visit with an old friend for a while. I’ll be back.”

“Can I come?” His carbon copy hopped from foot to foot with the unbridled energy only a ten year old possessed.

He stared out at the festively decorated street for a moment as he debated his answer. Was Kevin old enough to understand? To appreciate? He turned the key in the heavy metal door and yanked it open. With a shrug he decided there was no time like the present.

“Get in, kid.” With a sweep of his arm, he gestured for him to slide across the bench seats to the passenger side.

“Yes!” Kevin’s small fist punched the air in excitement.

Adam called out to his wife through the screened front walk up. “Elise, I’m taking Kev with me, okay?”

Her voice came through the front door. “See you boys soon. Don’t stay out too long. Company will be here soon and I’ll need your help on the grill.”

He reassured her quickly, got into the car, and backed out of the driveway. As they drove down the road, he half-heartedly listened to Kevin chatter about the parade, the cook out, and his excitement at nearing the end of the school year. The rest of him prayed he’d find the right words to share with his son.

As he turned the car into the drive, past the large stone walls and open wrought iron gate, he felt his son’s eyes go from the letters on the wall to his face. “Hey, dad.”

“Yes, son?” He glanced over at his son. For once, the boy was still, his blue eyes, solemn.

“That sign said Rock Island National Cemetery.” He paused, his small fingers pulling nervously at the edges of his denim shorts. “Are your friends meeting us here?”

He parked the car and motioned for his son to get out. “You could say that.”

Adam stepped from the vehicle and walked around to the passenger side where his son stood waiting. He slung an arm around the boy’s shoulder and guided the way down the familiar path. It was time.

“Kevin, do you remember when I told you that I used to be in the Navy?” He slowed his gait as they walked through the grassy areas and wove their way around tombstones.

His son nodded.

“Your mom and I had just gotten married when I was called away to war. You and your sisters weren’t even born yet.” He smiled down at his boy. “In fact, your mom found out she was pregnant with Katie while I was on a ship heading to Europe. Of course, I didn’t know that. All I knew was that Hitler was trying to take over the world and it was my turn to fight. It was my duty to help keep our world safe.”

He swallowed hard. “There were a lot of guys just like me on that ship. Young. Excited. Wanting to make a difference in the world. But we were also a little bit scared. I mean, it was war. People could die in war. Not that we really thought it could happen to us.”

He stopped in front of a tombstone, placed his hand gently against the white, worn marker and closed his eyes for a moment. “Hey Charlie, I brought some company today. This is my kid, Kevin. I wanted him to meet you.”

He watched as his son stepped forward and traced the name carved into the hard marble, blue eyes squinting with focus and curiosity. “Charlie was one of my first friends on our ship. When we found out we grew up a few miles apart, we became best buds. One day, we were put on duty to clean the hull of our ship. We were scraping away when my stomach began to bother me. Charlie sent me back up to go lie down until I felt better. He said he’d finish everything off. I’d just headed for my room when we came under fire. I ran as fast as I could to see what happened. A missile had hit our ship right where I’d been just minutes before. Charlie didn’t stand a chance. It could just as easily have been me.”

His son wrapped his arms around him, and he squeezed back, running a hand through his son’s blond hair. “Two times while I was at war I almost died. That was the first time. I guess God was sending me a message to let me know he wasn’t ready for me yet. But in the meantime, I come here every Memorial day to hang out with my friend. To make sure he’s remembered. To tell him thank you for saving my life, even though he had no idea at the time. I pay my respects, then come home to enjoy your mother’s parties and count each and every one of you as my blessings.”

Kevin took a deep breath; the long ago conversation with his dad feeling like yesterday, rather than 40. He watched as the honor guard folded his father’s flag while a lone trumpet played “Taps” in the background. As the soldier marched toward him and presented him with the cloth triangle of red, white, and blue, he accepted, holding it close to his chest. Sixty years later, his dad would be reunited with his friend.

“Charlie.” His smile was bittersweet. “Wherever you are; thanks for giving me this time with my dad. Hope you guys are enjoying a beer together in person. I know he was looking forward to seeing you again.”

Natasha Blackthorne Talks Passions & Influences…#TrustMe!

I love Social Media. So many of my incredible friends have been met through this venue…including my guest today. I discovered Natasha Blackthorne through a link shared on Twitter by one of the many fabulous people I follow. It led to a blog and a spotlight of one of Natasha’s exciting, erotic romance books, A Measured Risk (Hello, historical erotic romance–something that up until this point had not really piqued my interest). Her excerpt only whetted my appetite for more, so I got the book and began to follow her.

As often happens in the blogoverse, our paths crossed again when we found ourselves on the same Triberr tribe….and we became friendly both through Twitter and Facebook. She was as awesome one on one as her books were! Of course, when I found out she’d just released a new book, I jumped at the chance to introduce this lovely woman to you guys. So, without further ado, I give to you…. The steamy, ever-so-talented, Natasha Blackthorne!

Hello Everyone!

I am very honored to be a guest today on Kitt’s blog. She asked me to talk about my passions and how they affect my writing.

I have always been drawn to observe people and I have wondered why they do the things they do. Where did we all come from? How did we develop? These are questions that drove me at an early age to look through the books in my Dad’s bookshelves. He had so many different interests, psychology, sociology and anthropology. I really enjoy learning what makes people tick. Many times, I develop a story so that I can explore an internal conflict that a person may have and how would that influence the way they interact with life and the people they love and those they hate.

History has always been my biggest passion. I am most interested in the Early Modern era from 1300 to about 1840 AD. I love social history and studying what philosophical ideas were affecting people. I like to study how people lived on a daily basis, what thoughts drove their moment-to-moment actions. I want to understand what it was like to live in the past from the bones outward. Most interesting to me is what would it be like to be a person who had a personality or idealistic drive that put them strongly in opposition to the ideas and expectations of the time. Books on the social and psychological aspects of history provide a wonderful, and often myth busting, view into the past. They can give such a fresh and fascinating second glance at issues and fuel ideas that come at history from a new perspective. I am very grateful to the historians who write these books and they keep me in love with the past.

I have always loved to read. Historical biography fascinates me. It is one way to get under the skin of a person who lived in the past. There are so many stereotypes and misconceptions about how people were in the past. So much modern understanding about people in history comes from their entertainment literature. Such literature can give a view into how people wanted to be seen, what they aspired to be. But I always want to get a deeper view into the juxtaposition between what people wanted to be and what they really were. The best way to get this deeper, more realistic view is to read biographies, especially those that feature many quotes from original sources such as letters and diaries. I am most interested in their emotional, psychological and sexual lives. I want to gain an intimate understanding of historical people.

My Wild, Wicked and Wanton series is an example of how my writing is fueled by these interests. Beth McConnell is a young woman who wants the acceptance of her loved ones. Yet she’s also a very assertive personality and possessed of an exceptionally strong sexuality. The era in which she lives doesn’t value these traits in a woman, especially not in a respectable young woman. And Beth wants to be good. But her inner passions and desires drive her to take chances counter to that longing to be respectable. So how would she cope with this conflict? That is what propelled me to write my first erotic historical romance submission, Grey’s Lady.

 

TrustMeNblackthorneMarch142013

 

I am very excited to mention that I have a new release, Trust Me. It is book two in the Regency Risks series.

Trust Me is the sequel to A Measured Risk, Regency Risks, Book One

Erotic Romance, Regency Historical, Light BDSM, Rubenesque, Novel Length: approximately 100,000 words.

Anne and Jon’s story continues.

Is she insane?

All of Mayfair is whispering the question.

Anne Lloyd, the new Countess of Ruel, thought she’d finally begun to heal from having witnessed the terrible death of her first husband. But, from her new husband’s grandmother to his ex-mistresses, it is all that is on everyone’s lips. What scares her more than the potential social ruin is that even she isn’t sure they aren’t right.

Jonathon Lloyd, the Earl of Ruel, has commanded men on the battlefield and women in the ballrooms and bedchambers with his dominant personality. It tears him apart that he can’t command his wife’s terrors to go away. To top it off, he has to battle his grandmother for Anne’s acceptance as the new Countess. There are times when it seems that the bloody battlefields of Europe were easier to navigate than the so-called civilized graces of Society.

There are those who will stop at nothing to tear apart the fragile bond between the newlyweds. Can Lady and Lord Ruel learn to trust each enough to keep their love, and her sanity, intact?

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Thank you very much to Kitt, for inviting me here today. I enjoyed talking about how some of my passions inspire my writing. Readers who would like to contact me are invited to either friend me or subscribe to my public feed on Facebook, where I am most socially active. Or stop by and visit my blog. You’re also welcome to follow me on Twitter!

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Natasha, you’re welcome to visit any time. As for you guys….any questions for Natasha? Care to share what passions you have that fuel your writing? Can’t wait for Natasha to experience my wild and quirky group of friends!