Molly-house was a term used in 18th- and 19th-century Britain for a meeting place for homosexual men. The meeting places were generally taverns , public houses , coffeehouses  or even private rooms  where men could either socialise or meet possible sexual partners. Despite the reputation of molly-houses as places of holding heavy sexual connotations, some historians are reluctant to classify them as brothels. Rictor Norton , for example, argues that the regular customers could have been in fact mutual friends, at least at the beginning, since consistent evidence concerning male prostitution seems to be insufficient in Britain until the s. From onwards, homosexual relations and sexual activities remained illegal and were frequently prosecuted, with homosexual sexual activities being included in the offence categories of buggery and sodomy the terms which were often used interchangeably , they remained capital offences until
The Slide and the Excise: NYC’s Most Notorious 19th Century Gay Bars
The Victorians’ surprisingly liberal attitude towards gay men - HistoryExtra
Having sifted through more than , criminal cases at the National Archive at Kew, covering the s through to the s, historian Jeff Evans from Manchester Metropolitan University concludes the supposedly prudish Victorians had a far more lenient attitude to sex between men than their s counterparts. Fewer than such trials have been uncovered for the period from up to the outbreak of the First World War, which at first glance would appear to suggest a rate of fewer than five such prosecutions per year. There are records of such sentences leading to suicides, both attempted and realised. Were more lenient sentences a reflection of the emergence of a more tolerant attitude? He henceforth had all his work published abroad. But his work was only privately published and circulated, and upon his death his family destroyed his papers. The criminalisation of commercial male-female sex only applied to women, for instance: men were not punished.
Gay Culture in 19th Century New York City
Until the s trials for sodomy provide extensive accounts of the otherwise hidden world of molly houses and homosexual prostitution. In the last decade of the eighteenth century, and throughout the nineteenth century, however, the details of these trials are censored, and the Proceedings give only the barest facts of each case. From this period onwards, the best details of behaviour and attitudes within the Gay community can be found in trials for blackmail, and in the incidental accounts that emerge in trials for other crimes. Throughout the eighteenth century and up until , all penetrative homosexual acts committed by men were punishable by death.