In March 2015 Jennifer Evans (@HistorianJen) and I recorded an interview with The AskHistorians Podcast. Ours is episode 32 and can be listened to below:
Jennifer has written an amazing book on aphrodisiacs and sexuality in early modern England which can be purchased here.
The book’s chapters are:
Texts, Readers and Markets; The Reproductive and the Infertile Body; Provoking Lust and Promoting Conception; Enchanted Privities and Provokers of Lust; Aphrodisiacs, Miscarriage and Menstruation
If you want to read a review first have a look at Alec Ryrie’s blog.
Ryrie’s review contains the memorable line that
Jennifer’s book carefully traces the uses of aphrodisiacs to treat fertility problems across the period, which is a useful corrective in itself, but I think also raises some more profound issues about the acculturation of sexual desire. It seems pretty clear to me from some of her sources that, in this period, fertility was itself desirable, and fertile sex was sexy sex.
How could you not want to read it after that!