How accurate is \u2018Bridgerton\u2019s\u2019 tale of sex and scandal in Regency England? We asked You\u2019ve probably never seen a period piece quite like \u201cBridgerton\u201d before. Set in 1813 London, the juicy drama, from executive producer Shonda Rhimes, follows beautiful young aristocrat Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) as she makes her social debut with the goal of marrying for love. Based on the novels by Julia Quinn, \u201cBridgerton\u201d consciously takes some license with history: The romantic lead, the dashing Simon Basset, a.k.a. the Duke of Hastings (Rege-Jean Page), is Black, as is Queen Charlotte \u2014 a real-life monarch believed to have descended from a Portuguese noble line with African ancestry but who did not bring about a sea change in race relations in Britain or its empire, which abolished slavery in 1833. \u201cBridgerton\u201d also goes there when it comes to sex \u2014 which, of course, was part of everyday life in Regency England. \u201cI was obsessed with the 1995 BBC \u2018Pride & Prejudice.\u2019 Obviously, Colin Firth coming out of that lake with the white shirt is seared in my mind,\u201d says creator and showrunner Chris Van Dusen, a veteran of the Shondaland series \u201cScandal,\u201d not exactly known for its restraint. \u201cBut I wanted to see a period piece that went further than that.\u201d Daphne \u2014 who is ignorant of the birds and the bees on her wedding night \u2014 might seem naive to contemporary viewers, but when it comes to courtship, marriage and sex, \u201cBridgerton\u201d adheres to a certain level of social realism, even if it gets much more graphic than Jane Austen ever did. Executive producer Shonda Rhimes gives Regency-era London the \u201cScandal\u201d treatment in her first project for the streamer, based on the romances of Julia Quinn. \u201cI refer to this season as \u2018the education of Daphne Bridgerton,\u2019\u201d says Van Dusen. \u201cShe starts out as this young innocent debutante who knows very little of love. And she knows nothing of sex. And over the course of the series we watch her transform entirely.\u201d Here\u2019s a look at the realities of sex, romance and scandal in Regency England. What was the marriage market? Think of it as the high-society version of \u201cThe Bachelorette.\u201d Each year, a small group of aristocratic British families descended on London for the roughly six-month social season, when balls, concerts, dinners and other lavish parties brought together eligible young men and women, says \u201cBridgerton\u201d historical consultant Hannah Greig. As depicted in the series, the season began when young women from noble families were presented before the real-life Queen Charlotte at the ball she first hosted in 1780, while standing beside an enormous birthday cake. (The tradition carried on with each sovereign until Queen Elizabeth II nixed the practice in 1958.) Romance was in the air, but the real aim was to bring together wealthy, influential families and \u201ckeep the money and the power within a fairly small circle of society by controlling the pool of suitors,\u201d says Greig. Women like Daphne would have had some control over who they danced with or agreed to court publicly, but the pool of candidates was limited, and perhaps only a few of the bachelors would have been especially desirable. \u201cThat\u2019s what gives it the \u2018market\u2019 aspect,\u201d she says. Daphne and Simon stroll the promenade together in order to create the idea that they are a couple. Going public \u2014 with chaperones, of course \u2014 was a critical step in the courtship process. \u201cPeople notice a couple together and it becomes taken as writ that they are engaged to be married,\u201d Greig says. \u201cMarriage is not just a private contract, it\u2019s about presenting yourself in public.\u201d For women, there was enormous pressure to secure a marriage within a single season. If you return for a second season, \u201cYou\u2019re never really going to be seen as eligible,\u201d she adds. In Austen\u2019s novels, courtship usually takes a year, says historian Amanda Vickery, author of \u201cThe Gentleman\u2019s Daughter: Women\u2019s Lives in Georgian England.\u201d Anything longer would \u201cput female reputation at risk.\u201d There was not yet a formal age for debuting in society, but women were usually in their late teens, says Greig; men were a bit older, and had usually spent a few years on a \u201cgrand tour\u201d of Europe \u2014 an extended gap year, basically \u2014 where they \u201cpretended to look at art,\u201d she says, and were known to visit brothels. Would a single https:\/\/besthookupwebsites.org\/transgenderdate-review\/ woman caught alone with a man be ruined? If someone spotted an unmarried woman canoodling with a man in a dark garden \u2014 as happens to Daphne \u2014 she would have been in major trouble. \u201cNo virtuous young lady could be alone with a man to whom she was not related. Not only should she be pure, she should be seen to be pure,\u201d says Vickery. \u201cChastity, modesty and obedience were the preeminent female virtues. Her sexual virtue had to appear unimpeachable, or she would be ruined on the marriage market.\u201d Vickery cites James Fordyce, a minister who published an influential book called \u201cSermons for Young Women\u201d: \u201cRemember how tender a thing a woman\u2019s reputation is; how hard to preserve, and when lost how impossible to recover.\u201d All this policing was more about money than morality, says Greig. \u201cThe point of marriage in the aristocracy is to produce a legitimate heir, so if there is any question abut the legitimacy of the person who is inheriting that estate, it throws the whole idea into disarray.\u201d Young women would be accompanied in public by a chaperone \u2014 an older family member or even a friend the same age. The point was to preserve their reputation and limit their contact with members of the opposite sex, lest they fall for an actor or footman or someone else inappropriate, Greig says. \u201cThere was a sense in which these women were considered property assets to be managed.\u201d So would Daphne know anything about the birds and bees? \u201cThere would have been nothing in the way of formal sex education \u2014 mothers might have given some premarital counsel to daughters, but although it almost certainly wasn\u2019t actually \u2018Close your eyes and think of England\u2019 it may not have been much more illuminating,\u201d says Lesley A. Hall, a historian of gender and sexuality. \u201cMarried sisters or friends might have provided some information. Also, it\u2019s clear that servants\u2019 gossip also conveyed knowledge, though not necessarily helpful or accurate knowledge, to children.\u201d It wasn\u2019t until late in the 19th century that feminists involved in the social purity movement began to argue \u201cthat it was wrong to equate ignorance with innocence and that girls should have some knowledge of sexual matters,\u201d Hall says.