In the early modern period, Christian communities throughout Europe were struggling to find ways to regulate desire and reform practice in order to prevent sexual immorality. Many Christians believed that their society was becoming increasingly immoral and that this trend could be reversed only through the use of force.
The Catholic Church had long taught that sex was sinful outside of marriage, but many members of the church were beginning to question this teaching. Even within the church, there were disagreements about how exactly people should be punished for having sex outside of marriage. Some argued that the only way to keep order in society was through harsh punishments like death by burning at the stake or imprisonment. Others argued that these punishments were not just; they also went against God’s laws because they punished someone who had not harmed another person physically or emotionally. This group believed it was better to focus on reforming people by punishing them spiritually rather than physically—by excommunicating them from the community or otherwise shaming them publicly so they would feel bad about themselves and want to change their behavior in order to regain their honor within society again later on down the line (or so they hoped).
In the early modern world, Christianity and sexuality were inextricably intertwined. This was not a new development; in fact, it can be traced back to the New Testament itself. The first Christians were persecuted for their beliefs and practices, but they also faced criticism from within their own ranks. This led to a great deal of discussion about how Christians should best practice their faith. In this paper, I will examine some of these discussions as well as how they influenced Christian practice over time.
About christianity and sexuality in the early modern world: regulating desire, reforming practice
My focus will be on two key areas: what sexual behavior was considered acceptable or unacceptable, and what forms of physical intimacy could be practiced between married couples without being sinful. I will also look at how these issues played out among the different denominations within Christianity (i.e., Catholics versus Protestants).
In the early modern world, Christian authorities were increasingly concerned with regulating sexual behavior, especially among the lower classes. This concern led to efforts to reform sexual practice rather than simply punish it.
It is important to note that the early modern world was not simply a time of theocratic rule; it was also a time of intense social and political change. The Protestant Reformation took place during this period, and its effects on sexuality have been well documented by historians. However, there are other factors that contributed to this change in attitudes about sex and sexuality.
One such factor was the rise in literacy rates across Europe. As literacy increased, so did access to books and literature—primarily religious texts such as Bibles or translations of ancient texts into local languages where they had not previously been available (such as Latin). This meant that more people were reading about topics like sex and sexuality in these texts. It also meant that more people were writing about these topics themselves (for example, Martin Luther). In addition to this growing wealth of written material on sex/sexuality topics, there was also an increase in artistic depictions of sex acts through paintings such as those by Hans Holbein the Younger which depicted couples engaging in various sexual positions (and sometimes multiple partners at once).