Category Archives: nuns

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On “the way of carnal lust”, Joan of Leeds, and the difficulty of clerical celibacy


Loves, you may have had the pleasure of being alerted, in the Guardian (which is a SWERF and TERF-ridden rag of a paper, but hey-ho), to the important findings of Professor Sarah Rees Jones and her team at the University of York’s extremely important discovery of the story of Sister Joan of Leeds.

Joan of Leeds, in an OG proof of the fact that you cannot defeat a bad bitch (you just cannot do that), in that in the year of our Lord 1318 got Archbishop William Melton of York’s attention to the point that our boy had to write out a note…

To warn Joan of Leeds, lately nun of the house of St Clement by York, that she should return to her house…

See, your man was straight up MAD that Joan had…

…impudently cast aside the propriety of religion and the modesty of her sex … [and] … out of a malicious mind simulating a bodily illness, she pretended to be dead, not dreading for the health of her soul, and with the help of numerous of her accomplices, evildoers, with malice aforethought, crafted a dummy in the likeness of her body in order to mislead the devoted faithful and she had no shame in procuring its burial in a sacred space amongst the religious of that place…

The Archbishop of York’s register, where Joan’s case is recorded.

Why? Well, because she…

…turned her back on decency and the good of religion, seduced by indecency, she involved herself irreverently and perverted her path of life arrogantly to the way of carnal lust and away from poverty and obedience, and, having broken her vows and discarded the religious habit, she now wanders at large to the notorious peril to her soul and to the scandal of all of her order.

In other words, Joan was out to catch some D and she didn’t care if she had to fake her own death and make a dummy to replace her during burial so she could sneak out of her nunnery in order to do that.

Now, this story is notable in that Joan here was crafty AF. Making an actual model corpse in order to leave a nunnery? We stan. Having said, that, the heart of the story – a nun who wanted to get it and fled her nunnery in order to do so –  is not in and of itself that exceptional. In fact, the idea that medieval nuns were extremely horny was enough of a trope that it inspired what I am assuming is probably your fav medieval image – the penis tree loving nuns of Bibliothèque nationale de France manuscript MS Fr. 25526.

nuns penis tree
You know whomst the fuck it is.

Why were horny nuns such a stereotype of the medieval period? Well, firstly as everyone in the medieval period agreed, and as we’ve discussed before, women were by nature Very Horny. (Yes, that is a technical term.) That is why they were always running about, making dildos, cuckolding their husbands, and in general being sexually ungovernable.

Nuns, being women, were no exception to this rule. Their vow of chastity was meant to keep them off of the D and indoors where they couldn’t act like complete dick pigs, but so were women’s vows of fidelity during marriage and, well, you know how that tended to turn out.

Read the rest here..