Created By: Aruelle2 on April 27, 2013 Last Edited By: DoctorCooper on July 15, 2016

Historical Sex Life Upgrade

When a historical figure has more of a sex life than history gives them credit for.

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It is generally accepted that Queen Elizabeth the first was a virgin. She was called 'The Virgin Queen' after all. But for whatever reason a show chooses to spice up her love life a little. Or a lot.


  • Anonymous portrays Elizabeth as being incredibly promiscuous. - ZCE
  • The Doctor dropped by Elizabethan England and... had an audience... with Her Majesty. - ZCE
  • Practically the entire plot of Film. - ZCE
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • April 27, 2013
    Hmm... I'm wondering if rather than limit this to Queen Elizabeth, this might be expanded to something like Historical Sex Life Upgrade. This was alleged of various Popes (who are theoretically supposed to be virgins.) Also, Catherine the Great had a pretty active love life, but this is frequently flanderized into her being this freaky sexual deviant. (That Poor Horse...)
  • April 27, 2013
    ^That's doable.
  • April 27, 2013
    Another example I just thought of, The Last Temptation Of Christ got a crapton of controversy because it depicted Jesus struggling against sexual desire. Not actually giving in, it was lambasted just for suggesting he might have had a functioning sex drive at all.
  • April 27, 2013
    I have to somewhat question the line "though there is some debate, it is generally accepted that Queen Elizabeth the first was a virgin" (my emphasis).

    Generally accepted by who? I mean I know obviously what her sobriquet was and I'm not saying it necessarily wasn't true, but how would we know what went on behind closed doors?

  • April 27, 2013
    Does this really need to be confined to Historical Domain Characters? Fictional royal characters can be portrayed as virgins even though they aren't (and be portrayed as hedonists even though they really are virgins). If it's not specific to HDCs, then can we not snowclone it?

    Edit: Sorry, I forgot to mention that it could definitely use a better name and that I agree it shouldn't be confined to Queen Elizabeth (even if it's confined to HDCs).
  • April 27, 2013
    • Played with in the Rodgers and Hart song "Queen Elizabeth" (from the revue Garrick Gaieties). Elizabeth claims to still be the Virgin Queen, technically speaking, but goes on to explain how "even a queen has her moments."
  • April 27, 2013
    Why not just make the more general trope that's an inversion of the Urban Legend Love Life? Perhaps The So Called Virgin?
  • April 28, 2013
    I'm going to have to disagree with the premise of Elizabeth here. Yes, she publicized the idea she was a virgin, because it was great for her image, but it's very dubious that she actually was, given that she had notable male paramours.

    Historical Sex Life Upgrade sounds like a great trope, though, given the penchant for cable TV's new Sexy History series like The Tudors.
  • April 28, 2013
    Regardless of what happened in her real life, Elizabeth I is known as The Virgin Queen because she was never married. Elizabeth's unmarried status inspired others to portray her as a virgin or a goddess in poetry and paintings. It's not that her sex life is being upgraded so much as she is being portrayed as more human than artists showed her to be.

    "Practically the entire plot of Film/Elizabeth" doesn't say anything about her sexuality.
  • April 29, 2013
    • While not shown to be having sex, Elizabeth I is shown to have a crush on several men throughout the second season of Black Adder.
  • July 28, 2014
    Michael Moorcock's expy of Elizabeth I, Gloriana, is queen over a not-quite England in one or more parellel worlds. She is demonstrated to be sexually frigid, and desperately seeking the key to unlock her sexuality and give her an orgasm.
  • July 28, 2014
    This is far too specific, even if not, we would have a case of a missing supertrope. So either we create Historical Sex Life Upgrade and this, or convert this into Historical Sex Life Upgrade, hopefully continuing the running gags of the other Historical upgrades. So You've found a period of history with enough explosives to keep the audience interested, but wait they want sex appeal! Simply spruce up the sex lifes of historical figure, or original characters from another era, and ignore anything that doesn't fit your artistic vision.
  • July 28, 2014
    Changed to Historical Sex Life Upgrade with as little extra verbage as possible
  • July 28, 2014
    • In Against the Tide of Years, King Kashtiliash hooks up with (and ultimately marries) Kathryn Hollard, one of the soldiers from Nantucket.
  • July 28, 2014
    Fix description plz.
  • July 29, 2014
    The examples on the draft are all Zero Context Examples
  • July 13, 2016
    I don't think we have this, eh? It needs cleaning up though.
  • July 14, 2016
    Fleshing out the Anonymous example.

    • Anonymous depicts Queen Elizabeth I as incredible promiscuous, having had so many bastard children she's basically lost count of how many. It eventually turns out Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford and writer of Shakespeare's plays, himself was a child of Elizabeth but left his paternal family raising him in secret before he could find out the truth. One thing led to another, and he ended up unknowingly committing incest with his own mom and her conceiving a double bastard child as the true heir of England.
  • July 15, 2016
    See also Eternal Sexual Freedom, in which characters are shown openly engaging in casual or multiple-partner sex in sexually-restrictive eras with no consequences.