So, is sex sexier today than it was four hundred years ago?
Seriously. That's the punchline. And everyone in the audience let out a collective "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwuuuuuuuurgh!"
I know. According to some Republican lawmakers, ladies aren't actually human or due equal protection under the law, but we are still mammals.
Which is a roundabout way of saying, in the 1600s, probably it was not that big of a deal, but then also you may have gotten a pass for missing some teeth, too.
Anyway, Eleanor Herman's (local author! Went to Towson and lives in Maclean!) Sex With Kings is a snappy romp through the royal bedrooms of European nobility. All of the usual suspects are here, from Madame du Pompadour to the greedy and raging Lady Castlemaine to the equally greedy charlatan Lola Montez, and even wraps it up with the (former) Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Sex With Kings has sparkling prose and is sprinkled liberally with excerpts from diaries, love (and hate) letters, and snippets from diplomatic missives, such as the one that delightfully described Madame Conyngham's flashing the royal goods at a nonplussed diplomat. There are moments of pathos, particularly in Herman's description of the longsuffering Madame du Pompadour's relationship with Louis XV. Of course, royal mistresses are disposable, but du Pompadour held her position for a remarkably long time, although at great personal cost.
Sex with Kings is sometimes repetitive and is very Euro-centric - the kings of England, France, and Germany have center stage here - but it's a very intimate look into the bedrooms of Europe's kings.