(BLSB) - The "Ideal Age" for Young Male Beloveds in Ottoman Turkish Literature, as Featured in 'Ardour-Inducing' by Sünbül-zâde Vehbî

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From "Three Genders, Two Sexualities: The Evidence of Ottoman Erotic Terminology" by İrvin Cemil Schick, in Sex and Desire in Muslim Cultures: Beyond Norms and Transgression from the Abbasids to the Present Day, edited by Aymon Kreil, Lucia Sorbera and Serena Tolino, Gender and Islam (London: I.B. Tauris, 2021). Footnotes omitted.

Note: Ardour-inducing (Şevk-engîz) is an Ottoman bawdy poem by Sünbül-zâde Vehbî (d. 1224/1809), written in the form of a debate between two men on the respective merits of sexual relations with women and with boys.[1]

The ideal age for boy-beloveds was described fairly precisely by Vehbî in his Şevk-engîz:

A new moon [shaped] like his eyebrows when a child,
He becomes a full moon when he reaches his fourteenth year.
[...]
[First] a child, he becomes a beardless youth to play with;
Once his beard sprouts, playing with him goes bad.

The word emred (from the Arabic amrad), which appears in the second couplet, signifies beardless youth and is a recurring theme in Ottoman – as well as Arabic and Persian – literature.

References

  1. İrvin Cemil Shick, "Three Genders, Two Sexualities: The Evidence of Ottoman Erotic Terminology"; Aymon Kreil, Lucia Sorbera and Serena Tolino, eds., Sex and Desire in Muslim Cultures: Beyond Norms and Transgression from the Abbasids to the Present Day, part of the Gender and Islam series (London: I.B. Tauris, 2021), pp. 89 and 90.


See also

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