ON SEXUAL CUSTOMS OF PEASANTS IN 16TH-18TH CENTURY POLAND. CONSENT AND PUNISHMENT
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The article addresses some problems of rural sexual customs in the early modern times. It is based on village court books and other legal and literary sources. From the end of the 16th century, a particular moral code was gradually being applied to the sexual life of peasants as a result of the pastoral work initiated after the Council of Trent in 1545. The role of the traditional system of values was restricted. Basically, the autonomous peasant sexual ethics was much less strict than the model advocated by the clergy. For example, sexual activity by unmarried men and women was tacitly approved on condition that some standards were observed. The peasant culture also permitted divorce of couples and justified some cases of adultery, giving spouses some sexual freedom. However, in the second half of the 18th century the standards of sexual ethics of the Polish peasants were made much stricter - pre-marital sex was not approved, stricter control over married couples was exercised, some deviant behaviours were not tolerated. Civilisational changes were not far-reaching, however. There was no position on masturbation. Methods of courtship and techniques of sexual intercourse continued to exhibit many archaic features.
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