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Sacred Symbioses and Feminine Succubi: Humoral Theory and Sexual Intercourse in Early Modern Europe

Abstract
Socio-medical tools for making sense of gender and sex in Early Modern Europe were grounded in humoralistic concepts traceable from classical medicine. Some modern scholars have analyzed the implications of the sexual dimorphism of humoral properties in terms of women’s status or men’s status. Still, little has focused on the actual interaction between the sexes. I use multiple mid-seventeenth-century treatises on women’s health and a contemporary love poem, as well as earlier humoral musings and recent scholarly works, to explore the role of sexual intercourse in Early Modern women’s humoral health.
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