The Expected and Actual Virtuous World of Love, Sex and Morality of Maidservants in the Bourgeois Households

  • Andrej Studen Inštitut za novejšo zgodovino, Kongresni trg 1, SI-1000 Ljubljana
Keywords: bourgeoisie, maidservants, love, sex, moralss, illegitimate children, prostitution


In the bourgeois families maidservants were obligatory – we could say self–evident. They characterised the bourgeois cultural life and status and played an important role in the bourgeois families. In the bourgeois households they were responsible for domestic and personal chores. A comprehensive analysis of the issue of servant girls cannot avoid the world of contemporary love, sex and morality. Double standards were characteristic of the bourgeois society, and sex drive as a need was only acknowledged as far as men were concerned. Men could seek the satisfaction of their desires outside of what was deemed as socially acceptable. Double standards also flourished behind the closed doors of the bourgeois homes. On the basis of the preserved resources the contribution explores sexual and love affairs of bourgeois fathers and sons involving servant girls. These are the typical patterns of the so–called lower forms of love or ordinary love with the aim of satisfying the sexual needs of bourgeois men. The author also focuses on the issue of illegitimate children, prostitution, and harmful pulp literature. Many girls came to the cities and became maidservants in the hope of getting married. Therefore these girls also pursued their hope for a better life with personal ads. The search for an appropriate husband could also be dangerous, since servant girls could also become victims of con artists or even murderers.