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Sex in an Old Regime CityYoung Workers and Intimacy in France, 1660-1789$
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Julie Hardwick

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190945183

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190945183.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 September 2021

Peril Stories

Peril Stories

Licit Intimacy, Space, and Community Safeguarding

(p.43) 2 Peril Stories
Sex in an Old Regime City

Julie Hardwick

Oxford University Press

As young couples began their relationships, their intimacy from the start was a community project in which they were allowed extensive room to explore, in emotional as well as physical terms, relationships with potential life partners as long as they observed the conventions by which working communities defined what was licit. Their intimacy could be expansive as long as they conducted it in public spaces. The commitment to marry was soon followed by intercourse as part of the many steps into marriage rather than a “wedding day.” The promises to marry were accompanied by a shift to intimacy in personalized, interior spaces where women often described men’s use of violence as intrinsic to their first experience of intercourse. Community safeguarders sought to manage the risk of youthful intimacy by marking the boundaries, but courtship, even as it offered the potential opportunity of marriage, remained a perilous time for young women.

Keywords:   sexual violence, courtship, material culture, marriage, intercourse, safeguarding, emotions

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