Women’s Petition Against Coffee of 1674

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“Cuckol’d by Dildo’s”: A Woman’s Threat

“Never did Men wear greater Breeches, or carry less in them of any Mettle whatsoever”.

Apparently, size mattered to women in seventeenth century London. Size was not the only thing that mattered along with the brash statements that were made in the Women’s Petition Against Coffee of London in 1674.

Women’s Petition Against Coffee of 1674

Harsh words of the petition used coffee as their object of dissatisfaction in men. In the Women’s Petition Against Coffee , it states that women “…find them [men] not capable of performing those Devoirs which their Duty, and our Expectations Exact” in the bedroom due to the “…bewitching effects of this most pernicious COFFEE”.

Seventeenth century London men and women found themselves in turmoil over the bitter, black liquid, and the coffee houses that served it. Coffee and coffee houses became the target of women’s disgruntlement of the home and bedroom.

The effects of coffee were being used for a higher grasp of power by women. Anonymous author of the petition, observed the power coffee held over men.

The black liquid gold captured men of all status and lured them to the numerous coffee houses instead of their wives’ beds. Due to this sudden increase of absent men in the homes, women began to point fingers at the coffee itself.

What is the best way to get at a man? Go below the belt, and the author of the petition did just that.

Men found themselves made a mockery of by the Women’s Petition Against Coffee. Their sexual identity was being questioned by the lesser sex in terms of their masculine duty in the bedroom as well as the women’s expectations.

That, in itself, was unheard of, a woman questioning the sexual prowess of a man and impeding her own expectations of sexual ideals on him. Men “…ran the hazard of being Cuckol’d by Dildo’s” if the demands of the women in the petition were not met.

In an era of masculinity, the public sphere and patriarchalism, the writer (man or woman) of the Women’s Petition Against Coffee, stoked the fires of a gender revolution.

Coffee became the trojan horse for gender role and sexual reformation that would later take hold in the eighteenth century.

“Coffee…makes the erection more Vigorous”: A Man’s Answer

“But why must innocent COFFEE be the object of your Spleen?” questioned men in The Mens Answer To The Womens Petition Against Coffee o f 1674.

Not fooled by the use of coffee as a trojan horse, men answered the Women’s Petition Against Coffee with fierce arguments of their own. In their aim to persuade, the men’s petition states “….certain we are, that there never was Age or Nation more Indulgent to your Sex…”, a statement that would later be tested in the eighteenth century.

Arrogance at its best, men of London believed that the women represented in the petition were already put on a pedestal for their time.

Indulgent to them in more ways than one, men could not believe the absurdity that women would blame coffee for their troubles in the bedroom. To men, coffee was an escape from the women and society that they had to deal with.

Coffee and coffee houses offered men of seventeenth century London many ways to idle the day away. Politically and socially, coffee houses were places of great learning and “…the Coffee house [was] the Citizens Academy, where he learns more Wit than ever his Grannum taught him…”.

Coffee to the men, as to the women, became just a vehicle for a greater statement. Coffee was new and enticing to London, making critics and lovers alike a little weary of the powers it held over men.

Weary or not, the women’s views in their petition struck a chord with men and men’s views of themselves and the world around them.

The Women’s Petition Against Coffee mocked the effects that coffee had on men and their ability to perform in the bedroom. That did not go unnoticed by the men’s return petition.

According to the written work, “…Coffee Collects and settles the Spirits, makes the erection more vigorous, the Ejaculation more full, adds a spiritualescency to the Sperme…” and also “…proportionate to the ardours and expectation too, of the female Paramour”.

A bold statement in return to a brash one done by the Women’s Petition Against Coffee’s original statement of impudence.

Not only did men attest to the great effect coffee had on the act of sexual intercourse for men but also the way it upheld the enthusiasm and passion of the woman.

This was a relatively new idea. The enthusiasm and passion of a woman was an unspoken and often times, shunned proposition.

Coffee and the discussion of its properties, equal to men and women, bridged the gap between sexual expectations.

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