Episode 10: Thigh Fencing and the Saffron Massage


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By Leigh Pfeffer. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

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

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38 episodes