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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