Women talking sex, then

Among the female authorities cited in the Encyclopedia of Pleasure is Hubba al-Madinayyah, who is said to have lived in 7th century Medina (and to whom is attributed plenty of straight-talking advice and freewheeling behavior), Barjan and Hubahib (two female characters who appear in an earlier, 9th century text on women and sex) in  and Alfiyya, an Indian woman thus named from the thousand (alf, in Arabic) sexual partners she is reported to have bedded. And then there is Bunyan Dakht, a Persian woman whose insights into female sexuality are quoted at length:

“In fact, sexual desire was divided into eleven parts of which human beings were given ten parts and all the other animals were given one part. Then the ten parts which were given to human beings were also divided so that a woman was given ten parts and a man was given one part. If a man’s lust is so little in comparison with that of a woman and if no sooner does a man see that a woman is easy to have sexual union with than he burns with sexual desire, it follows that a woman, on account of her excessive lust, should be a passionate lover of men.”

Although little biographical detail is offered on these women, their vast sexual experience is presented as a badge of authority rather than a black mark against their character.