Channel Your Inner Courtesan
They are the legendary women standing behind every great man of history.
From Napoleon’s Josephine and Louis XV’s Madame du Barry, to Charles II’s Nell Gwynne and Wyatt Earp’s Shady Sadie, courtesans have spearheaded many a sexual revolution and were often some of the most educated and entertaining women of their day.
Courtesans may have provided sex for the various men in their lives, but these women were not ‘just’ prostitutes – their duties went much deeper.
A good courtesan would be knowledgable about the world (often self-educated,) and be able to hold conversations about politics, economics, history and art.
They were funny, witty, sharp and confident and, above all, they would have brilliant business minds and be able to read men like books.
Courtesans were in control of their own fates and, to this day, they are considered some of the cleverest women in history.
I’ve taken some of the most renowned courtesans throughout history and used their stories to show how you can channel their talents to help boost your self-confidence, make you eminently dateable and transform you into a tigress in the bedroom.
The Confident Courtesan
Nell Gwynne (1650-1687)
The mistress of England’s King Charles II, Nell is famous for her rags-to-riches story.
So, if you’re lacking in self-confidence, the tale of a humble girl from a poor part of London who rose to become a respected and much-loved courtesan and companion of the country’s monarch, should be an inspiration.
Nell’s father died when she was young and her mother was an alcoholic who ran a brothel, so the odds of Nell amounting to anything at all were slim.
Employed by one of her prostitute friends, Orange Moll, to sell fruit at the King’s theater during performances, the attractive Nell was soon drafted into the theater’s acting troupe at aged 15.
With training and networking among London’s high-society thespian set, Nell turned into a confident young performer and she proved to be a natural upon the stage.
Not only that, but she began to attract the sexual attentions of her rich and connected audience.
Prior to meeting Charles II, Nell was the mistress of numerous nobles, intellectuals and actors.
Her ‘procurer’ was the Duke of Buckingham, who regularly set her up with wealthy clients.
As her confidence grew, Nell quickly learned how to please a man and also was unafraid to ask for what she wanted – very courageous for a young girl from the poverty classes in 17th century London!
When the King eventually noticed her, Nell even had the cheek to demand 500 a year (around $30,000 today) to ‘be kept’ as his mistress. The King refused, but Nell’s confidence intrigued him.
At last, the two became lovers and together they had two children, both recognized by the Crown.
Nell had to battle many other mistresses for control of the King’s bedchamber, including the famous Barbara Palmer, who herself had five children by Charles, but Nell’s sharp wit, supreme confidence and irascible sense of humor always proved irresistible to the King who, on his deathbed, famously asked “let not poor Nelly starve.”
By channeling Nell Gwynne, you’ll be inspired to stand up and be proud of who you are.
It doesn’t matter what class you are, how much money you have or what parts of your body you hate.
Treat the whole world as a stage and decide which character you want to be, then become her.
Confidence has no boundaries or prejudice, but it’s something everybody notices, especially men. So forget what others do or say and just think “if Nell could do it, then so can I.”
The Sexual Courtesan
The only woman to go from courtesan to saint, Theodora was a high-class prostitute in Byzantium (modern day Turkey) who was said to be “superior in intelligence to any man.”
Although raised in the poor classes, Theodora was charismatic, beautiful and self-educated.
Becoming a prostitute at a young age, she was quick to realize that a woman who could command sexual respect could also command personal respect.
She made it her business to know how to read men and went out of her way to satisfy them sexually knowing that, if her client was happy, then she would be amply rewarded financially.
Theodora was so admired she soon drew the attentions of Emperor Justinian, who marveled at her sexual prowess and was determined that no other man would experience the pleasure Theodora gave him- so he married her.
Now the Empress, Theodora was now one of the most powerful women in the Empire, although this did not stop her from learning new sexual techniques to use on her husband – she was streetwise enough to know that she could easily be replaced should the Emperor’s lust wane.
Theodora also used her sexual power to persuade her husband to let her become involved in the politics of the day.
Her extraordinary influence over him meant she was able to convince Justinian to legalize consensual prostitution, expand the rape law to include low-class women and prostitutes, and to outlaw brothels which employed slaves.
In other words, Theodora fought for the rights of women to sell sex with their full consent, but also to protect others who were being forced into prostitution by their pimps.
Other reforms that Theodora influenced included separate prisons for women (with nuns as guards,) founding a ‘retirement home’ for former prositutes where they could live out their remaining days in peace and safety and, her most important leacy, convincing Byzantine society that women should have the same sexual freedom as men.
In a world where women were treated like second class citizens (or worse) and sex was about the pleasure and fulfillment of men, Theodora was a torch-bearer for the sexual rights of women.
Not just that, but she was insistent that women should enjoy sex as much as men, that they had a right to sexual pleasure and shouldn’t be afraid to ask for what they wanted.
Using Theodora as inspiration, you will discover hidden sexual strengths you never knew you had.
If you can imagine all the obstacles she had to overcome nearly 2,000 years ago in a completely male-dominated society, to fight for women’s rights, then the fences you have to jump today are bound to feel tiny in comparison.
The Datebale Courtesan
Veronica Franco (1546-1591)
Possibly the most famous courtesan of all time, Veronica Franco learned the art of seduction at a young age as her own mother was a high-class “onesta” (Italian courtesan.)
After a failed marriage in her teenage years, to a wealthy Venetian merchant, Veronica began targeting other rich businessman, nobles and royals, and educated herself to such a high level she was able to out-debate many of her suitors and clients. She also wrote poetry and fought for women’s rights.
The reason Veronica Franco makes the ideal courtesan to channel when it comes to dating, is that she was an expert in making men feel at ease and drawing them to her confident aura.
She wasn’t only beautiful, she was super-aware of what men wanted and how to give it to them.
She knew that listening was one of the most valuable skills she had, and she was adept at flattery, charm and massaging the egos of nobles, princes and kings who needed to hear how great they were! Veronica wasn’t just a high-class prostitute or escort, she was a much-valued companion to many men and, when she was arrested for witchcraft by the Catholic Inquisition (many courtesans were accused of the crime,) Veronica gained a rare pardon thanks to the intervention of numerous well-connected clients who spoke on her behalf.
By channeling Veronica Franco, you can learn how to behave confidently and comfortably around men you’ve only just met, and make them want to be around you.
Possessing the same aura of calm, being knowledgeable about different subjects and encouraging your date to ask questions and engage in varied conversation, will not only boost his ego, it can do wonders for your own.