A Wronged Woman: The Portrayal of Madame du Barry

A French Revolution blogger recently remarked on the portrayal of Louis XV’s mistress, Jeanne du Barry, in many books about Marie Antoinette. Madame du Barry is shown as an uncouth whore with little to no manners, an inferior to the fresh, polished dauphine Marie Antoinette, who takes great pleasure in slighting her. The rivalry between Louis XV’s maitresse-en-titre and the young dauphine was the talk of Versailles in the last years of his reign, but many works of fiction tend to take Marie Antoinette’s part in it. After all, Jeanne du Barry was nothing more than the king’s whore, whereas Marie Antoinette was the daughter of the Austrian empress and a member of a family who could trace themselves back to the Roman nobility. Continue reading

How To Deal: Living with Vaginismus

Q. I have vaginismus and have never been able to have penetrative sex. While my boyfriend is supportive, he lives in another state and will be at least 300 miles away for the next 2-3 years. We see each other several times a year (and will see each other twice a month when he moves closer to me in the spring), but we’re both relatively inexperienced/awkward and have been struggling to find pleasurable alternatives to penetration. The whole situation has made me so depressed about having sex that my sex drive has evaporated and none of my regular “fixes” (reading racy novels, sending my boyfriend sexy texts) are helping. My boyfriend is worried about my lack of desire and how we’re going to balance his desire for penetration with my issues. He wants me to be enthusiastic about our sex life but doesn’t know how to help. Continue reading