Patients, Practitioners and Lodgers: : Male Sexual Health Patients’ and Their Healers’ use of Location in Early Modern Medical Encounters
Early modern medical literature is littered with complaints about the behaviour of male sexual health patients. Practitioners were particularly aggrieved that reckless consumption of food and alcohol and engaging in sexual activity undermined their efforts to cure the body. These complaints reveal that the relationship between medical practitioners and their male patients was sometimes difficult, and characterised by the tense negotiation of authority. In addition to the neglect of prescribed regimens, space was used by patients in their attempts to exert authority and control over the patient/practitioner interaction. This article examines the ways in which patients and healers called upon and manipulated space in order to control the medical encounter. The article contributes to the historiography that explores the contexts in which manhood and masculinity were negotiated. While historians have focused on the relationship between male medical practitioners and female patients considering male experiences of medical treatment is equally as important. The article argues that space is just one element of the medical interaction that deserves further investigation and scrutiny.