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Digital Subscriptions > DIVA Magazine > December 15 > Sex and the Séance

Sex and the Séance

LORNA GIBB REVEALS THE FEVERED EROTIC WORLD OF THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY SÉANCE
“Is there anybody there?” Participants at a séance attempt to speak with the dead

The word séance may conjure up images of ghostly figures, darkened rooms and bereaved people in Victorian dress huddled around circular tables, but the séance in its Victorian day was also an occasion of titillation and sexual opportunity.

Social sexual mores of the time, the public appearance of morality, and sexual abstinence before or strict monogamy within marriage, belied another world that was hidden and discreet. But the séance offered yet another possibility, an acceptable public sphere where a female spirit might appear in scanty transparent dresses, kiss a stranger on the head, or have a stranger’s hand placed on her thigh or breast to prove she was “real”.

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About DIVA Magazine

Kristen Stewart tells DIVA what has been going on for her since Twilight, why she's avoiding blockbusters and what life is like for her in the tabloid spotlight. Christmas has come around quickly! Some of us love it, some not so much, so with that in mind for our gift guide, we’ve scoured the land for queer businesses, artists and crafters so you can buy your loved ones gifts and support community businesses while you shop. Because some of us like our Christmas a little different – with the honourable exception of Susan Calman – we asked counsellor Alena Dierickx to help us with a few suggestions on how to take a more innovative approach to the festivities. We’ve a bumper crop of arts-related features this month. From queer Muslim artist Raisa Kabir’s exploration of what it feels like to be both included and excluded by your own communities to author Andrea Stuart’s beautiful and thoughtful coming out story (in extract) . Author/performer Yang-May Ooi reflects on what it means to be a lesbian Asian woman living in the West. Many of us know what it’s like to be affected by homophobic abuse and Louise Carolin’s powerful feature on this issue reflects how, despite significant legal changes, hate incidents persist. Perhaps our experiences of feeling cast out explains why LGBT people are heading to Lesvos to help refugees fleeing persecution, as Mel Steel discovers. Plus all the very best in life, scene, books, film, music and TV.
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