I’ve been thinking lately about the role of the kept mistress through history. And to be clear I am not referring to, and I have a complete abhorrence of, child brides, sexual slavery, concubines et al. Back in the middle ages and for some time after it was quite common for a gentleman to keep a mistress, and she was kept in that her expenses and sometime lavish lifestyle was catered for. She was not a prostitute, even though she was compensated in a monetary sense as she kept a relationship with the one man and payments weren’t directly related to the sexual act. She did however fulfill the mans desire for a kind of love that is quite different to the companionship and comfort love that is so ably provided by a mans wife.

And then came a shift to a more puritanical and stricter religious society (at least in the western world) that did not accept the role of the kept mistress as easily, requiring her to be hidden away if she was to keep that role at all. And relatively soon after that came womens rights, education and a rising divorce rate which meant a woman with more options may feel less compelled to stay in the role of the kept mistress.

So who fulfills the role of the mistress now? Of course there are empowered ladies fulfilling this role with pride but does the modern sex worker fill this niche in some respect?