Episode 10: Thigh Fencing and the Saffron Massage

In this episode, co-hosts Gretchen and Leigh will take you on a tour of medieval Arabo-Islamic erotic literature and the many delightful descriptions of queer female experience it contains. Remember way back in episode two when ‘thigh fencing’ came up? Well, that and other martial imagery for wlw sexual experience come from medieval Arabo-Islamic poetry! Like shield banging, jousting without a lance, or our new favorite---the saffron massage. Plus, we’ll dive into cross-dressing heroines, the music of love (moaning), and the first lesbian couple, Hind and al-Zarqa’!


0:00 – Introduction
5:57 – Historical Context: Medieval Arabic Erotic Tradition More Generally
25:52 – Historical Context: Arabic Literature and Western Courtly Love Poetry
36:11 – Fun Segment: Word of the Week
42:38 – Tribadism and Queer Lady Love in Arabo-Islamic Writing
1:03:17 – Tales of Cross Dressing and Same-Sex Marriage
1:16:10 – People Examples
1:24:41 – Takeaways
1:30:25 – How Gay were They?
1:33:18 – Closing and Where to Find Us Online

For a full list of sources and bonus content, visit our Notes page! 

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Episode 3: Mei Ai Hold Your Hand? Homosexuality in Imperial China

As your hosts return to examine the unexplored corners of history to highlight overlooked queer ladies, gents, and gentle-enbies, they bring a conversation about homosexuality in Imperial China. They will discuss the unique tradition of male homosexuality present for over 2500 years, what made it possible, and how tragic it’s loss is for modern China. And don’t worry, even though female homosexuality doesn’t have the same strong literary tradition, there are plenty of delightful stories, and a new ‘word of the week’ related to queer lady experience!


0:00 – Introduction
3:55 – Main Topic: Homosexuality in Imperial China
      13:38 – Social Context: Confucianism, Daoism, and Conceptions of Sex
      22:46 – Social Context: Different Kinds of Sexual Relationships Between Men
      23:41-24:36 - CONTENT WARNING: pederasty mention
      30:23– Examples!
1:10:30 - CONTENT WARNING: pederasty mention
1:11:50 – Word of the Week: dui shi (“shared eating”)
1:17:33 – Takeaways
1:20:14 – How gay were they?
1:23:06 – Where to find us online

For a full list sources and bonus content for this episode, visit our Notes page!

Apple Podcasts  |    Google Play    |    Stitcher    |    Download

Episode 2: Cloistered Queers

In this episode, your hosts Gretchen and Leigh continue to examine the overlooked and underappreciated queer ladies, gents, and gentle-enbies in the unexplored corners of history by traveling to the cloisters of Medieval Europe. They’ll uncover unique views of sex and sexuality that made the practice of ‘brother making’ possible both within and outside the monastic community but also made it hard for medieval theologians to understand sex between women. Come slake your thirst for Jesus queer poems and love letters because guess what? There are lots of monks and nuns with a strong desire for “special friendship” with each other.


0:00 – Introduction
1:31 – Word of the Week: Adelphopoiesis and Affrerement
6:30 – What do you mean they’re not straight?
     6:40 – Social Context: Medieval Views of Sex & Sodomy
     10:15 – Social Context: Sex Between Women in the Middle Ages
     26:00 – Social Context: Escaping Heteronormativity through Monastacism
     33:35 – Homoeroticism Among Female Mystics
40:40  – The Lives and Love Letters/Poems of Gay Monks and Lesbian Nuns
     1:10:00-1:19:21 – CONTENT WARNING for discussions of sexual violence
1:23:17 – How gay were they?
1:26:40 – Where to find us online

For a full list sources and bonus content for this episode, visit our Notes page!

Apple Podcasts  |    Google Play    |    Stitcher    |    Download