It’s no secret that I write pretty hot sex scenes in my romances, mysteries and main stream novels. Writing romances placed in the 1880s I always depict the hero and heroine as enjoying sex and foreplay, but did they really? I would like to think that they liked it very much indeed, but it was simply not something one discussed out of the bedroom. Words like pregnant and intercourse and the term making love were not used in polite company.
Sadly, in the good old days women were often brought up to be ashamed of their bodies and afraid of men who might want to look at them. My grandmother once told me that my grandfather had never seen her unclothed.
A true Victorian at heart, she and her sisters were born in Kansas to my great grandmother, Minna Gregg. Minna journeyed with her family to Kansas when she was 13 and when she grew up married Daniel Gregg, a handsome man who served on the first police force in the small town of Winfield.
Many times I wish I’d paid more attention to Great-grandmother’s stories and asked more questions about her early life. It occurs to me now that she could possibly have been not quite so inhibited as my grandmother. Chances are she was, though.
Of the four girls in the family, I would imagine that the youngest, Aunt Sylvia probably would have taken great pride in stripping down for her husband. A man we all knew as Joe, but never saw. Aunt Sylvia divorced him because he asked her to choose between him and taking care of her mother. Minna, you remember her, was widowed by then. She weighed somewhere around 300 pounds later in life. Despite her diet and weight, she lived to be 96 years old.
Aunt Sylvia worked for the local newspaper, and what I best remember about her is that her fingers were always ink stained. Those were the days before computers and typesetting was done by placing lead slugs (letters) in narrow ridges of the printing press. These slugs were inked by rollers, thus when a typesetter began to set letters they were inky and it transferred to their fingers, permanently staining them. She was a beautiful woman with golden hair and a statuesque figure that filled out with age.
The reason for this is that Minna was a fabulous cook with old ways. She drenched everything in butter and thick cream, baked scrumptious bread and desserts, and set a table that groaned with the weight of the food. Therefore, most of the family suffered from too much weight. But two of the girls, my grandmother and great-aunt Vera remained . . . well, not thin exactly, but well proportioned. Both were six feet tall. Great-grandfather must have been about six foot five inches.
To this day I’m curious about how many of the girls took after their Victorian grandparents and hid in the closet to change from their day clothing to their night wear. During the day Grandmother wore long cotton stockings winter and summer, the hem of her dresses always hit her mid-calf, and beneath that she wore a long slip, knee-length drawers and an undershirt over her corsett. I never knew, but from the look of her, she continued to bind her breasts long after that went out of favor. I don’t think she ever wore a bra.
As a writer I’m often curious about subjects that are none of my business, so I wonder what their sex life must have been like. It wouldn’t surprise me if they had none to speak of. It was a common belief that sex was only a tool used to procreate, and once the amount of children a couple desired had been conceived, there was no further need for the practice. Grandmother had four children, and I often wonder how many tries it took to manage that, and was that all the sex she and Grandpa enjoyed. He must have prayed nothing would take. Or perhaps they had no notion that sex could be enjoyed and simply went about the task as if they were hoeing corn or picking green beans from the garden.
None of the ladies in my books are shy about their sexual appetites, whether they live in the nineteenth or twenty first centuries. Therefore my brand: Sexy, Dark, and Gritty applies to most all of my writing.