Post by snacky on Jul 28, 2014 21:14:25 GMT
With all of the cultural garbage about sex it is no wonder that WM, or anybody else in the nineteenth century for that matter, was confused about sex. In the nineteenth century, most brides and many grooms were virgins when they married. A bride was expected to be perfectly innocent of anything sexual yet somehow the groom was expected to know what to do. Nevertheless, she was supposed to be a willing participant in sexual relations with her husband whether he knew what he was doing or not. The idea of her enjoying sex was anathema to most "moral" people.
The woman's pleasure during sex was not considered as part of the equation. By definition, a man was satisfied, at least to agree, by the fact that he experienced climax. It was an enlightened man, indeed, who considered his wife's satisfaction and who was willing to accommodate her.
The flip side of this viewpoint was that a woman who found and even sought sexual pleasure was somehow or other immoral or depraved. After all, a woman in the throws of passion sexually excited men therefore it had to be in some way or other connected to the devil. Nevertheless, a man was not held responsible if the gave into the urges he felt, but the woman was.
And here the mind bending circular argument for the justification for men's enjoyment of sex and the woman's acceptance, but not enjoyment of sex, begins.
The line between "proper" sexual relations between a husband and wife and those that were "immoral" was very thin indeed, and anything that was remotely enjoyable was "improper." read evil, sinful. There was no gray area at all, so the "acceptable" range of sexual experience was equally narrow. What we think of as having great sex and lots of fun within the confines of marriage would have dumbfounded most Victorians, but by no means all of them. Nevertheless, even today there are men who believe their wives are some sort of "sacred" vessel and their lovemaking is not at all adventurous.
What does this have to do with William Murdoch and the dirty pictures? Well, he is a man of his time and (I believe) a virgin. He knew that intercourse existed and even knew how it was supposed to be done, but he believed it was meant for the procreation of children. Anything that departed from that essential role of sex was wrong and lead to degradation.
Enjoying the experience as a way to strengthen a relationship was an idea he had never thought of, but I am betting he will soon discover the wonders that await him and Julia. Furthermore, I suspect his theoretical "knowledge" of things sexual is far more extensive than practical.
Riffing on what you have said, I think one way William is "modern", is he does consider Julia as a full human being and he wants her to be happy in every way. He brooded in The Kissing Bandit over being able to "arouse her passions". But perhaps some Catholic guilt about "dark places" will still accompany such arousal...?
I see also that you are on team "Virgin". It's good to have the argument spelled out for that! The argument from history is certainly strong even if the TV/canon evidence is ambiguous!
I will say that if William is a virgin, he almost waited too long. Even if Julia could fix her side of the infertility equation, isn't William on the edge of past his prime for fatherhood?