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Slaves for Pleasure in Arabic Sex and Slave Purchase Manuals from the Tenth to the Twelfth Centuries

In: Journal of Global Slavery
Author:
Pernilla Myrne University of Gothenburg

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Abstract

Women probably made up the majority of the slave population in the medieval Islamic world, most of them used for domestic service. As men were legally permitted to have sexual relations with their female slaves, enslaved women could be used for sexual service. Erotic compendia and sex manuals were popular literature in the premodern Islamic world, and are potentially rich sources for the history of sex slavery, especially when juxtaposed with legal writings. This article uses Arabic sex manuals and slave purchase manuals from the tenth to the twelfth century to investigate the attitudes toward sexual slavery during this period, as well as the changing ethnicities and origins of slaves, and the use of legal manipulations.

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