It's time to turn off the lights, man: what was sex like in the Wild West
Categories: HistoryBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/its-time-to-turn-off-the-lights-man-what-was-sex-like-in-the-wild-west.html
If you remember old westerns, a picture comes to mind where two cowboys stand opposite each other, off-screen music sounds, their fingers tremble over the revolvers on their hips, until someone first snatches the weapon from the holster. Before that, it should sound: "This bar is too small for the two of us." But what do these cowboys do behind closed doors? Survivors, at least. This is our material.
"When I get paid, I always do my job"
Prostitutes were considered one of the" main products " of the cities of the Wild West. Some of them behaved exactly as it seems to us: they were dirty women in ragged clothes, who carried a sheet with them, if anything, just to lay it on the ground, spread their legs and earn a brandy for themselves. In other cities, this option seemed more "prosperous". Prostitutes worked in brothels run by Madame.
Most of them were young (under 30), uneducated, and some were completely illiterate. Sometimes they were immigrants, and the prices for their services depended not only on how they looked, but also on their nationality and ethnicity. So, American women were valued more expensive than Asian or Mexican women. Native American women and red-haired women were in the greatest demand — they were considered the most passionate.
Of course, working as a prostitute was dangerous. This was done only by women who had no other alternatives — no other way to earn money, except to sell the only thing that they always had with them. These women died from diseases, in childbirth, others became addicted to drugs and alcohol, which they took instead of painkillers. Some committed suicide, and others were simply killed.
She made a name for herself serving firefighters and prospectors, and was considered an angel in the flesh. One day, Julia opened the doors of her brothel to poisoned prospectors who drank poisoned water. She took care of them on her own until they recovered.
Julia became attached to the city body and soul and even refused to leave Virginia City when the city was attacked by local tribes. She could often be seen walking around the city, while she chose outfits with a lot of fur and jewelry.
Julia was brutally murdered in her own home in 1867, and the local newspaper called it "the most cruel, outrageous and disgusting murder that has been committed in this city." She was buried, and the procession with a transparent hearse was followed by prospectors and firefighters. When her killer was found out a year later, the whole city, including the famous writer Mark Twain, came to watch his execution.
"I haven't held a gun in my hands for many years": homosexuality in the Wild West
Now there will be a surprise of surprises. Cowboys — if we don't remember the movie "Brokeback Mountain" - are seen by us as deeply masculine, a kind of macho riding horses. They spend their leisure time with prostitutes, drinking or playing cards. And, of course, to suspect such a male in connection with another such male is to cause him a grave insult and run into a bullet between the eyes.
In fact, the cowboys did not consider homosexuality as the norm, they simply did not attach much importance to such inclinations. Peter Boag, Historian, Chairman of the At the University of Colorado, the author of the book "Same-Sex relationships" (Same Sex Affairs), wrote in his work:
There were places where there were no women at all, and men spent a significant part of their time there. For example, mines. In these cases, some men took on "traditionally female roles" both in domestic and sexual relations.
This position was actively supported by the authors of the article "Bachelor's Paradise: the social world of men in the USA of the XIX century" (Paradise of Bachelors: The Social World of Men in Nineteenth-Century America). It says:
But no one called them "gay". The word itself did not exist until 1868.
We, in the USA, do not have a blowjob
It seems that oral sex has been known to people since ancient times (actually, yes), but for brutal cowboys this pleasure turned out to be too ... French. Professor Chad Heap of George Washington University, author of the book "Sexual and Racial Issues of American Nightlife, 1885-1940" (Slumming: Sexual and Racial Encounters in American Nightlife, 1885-1940), explains that blowjob or fellatio was considered too foreign among Americans.
"Yes, I've heard about a filthy whore named Charlie Princess... is that really you?"
Historian Peter Bogue also says that he was surprised to find a huge number of stories where one of the characters was engaged in cross-dressing, that is, he changed into clothes of the opposite sex. And if it is easy to understand why women wore men's clothes, then why did men do it…
But there are many cases when men "became" women. Bogue admits that "what I was not ready for was a huge number of stories about how men wore women's dresses."
Privacy? No, you haven't heard
Small houses, large rooms — Americans of the Wild West lived in such conditions. So it was normal for the family to sleep in the same bed with their own children, or even with older relatives.
How then to have sex? Earn more money. In fact, sex as an intimate practice, for which privacy is necessary, became such relatively recently, during the Reformation, under the influence of people like Martin Luther. Before that, only those who had the means to do so could afford solitude.
Perhaps the saddest fact in this story is that the woman did not have such a rich choice of what to do in life. She could have become a nurse, a teacher, or a prostitute. Women were considered "second class", and this belief created fertile ground for rape. The women knew that the police would never look for a rapist, so most of them remained silent.