Harem (Turkish from Arab Ḥarām, forbidden) refers to the sphere of women in a polygynous household and their quarters enclosed and forbidden to men. It originated in the Near East and came to the Western world via the Ottoman Empire.
A harem may not only house a man's wives but also his mother, daughters and other female relatives, as well as eunuchs and slave girls to serve the aforementioned women, dancing girls and pleasure slaves for the man.
In more modern usage, "harem" may also denote a number of women followers of a man.
Harems in spanking stories
Some spanking stories revolve around a single spanker, traditionally an Arab potentate, with a harem of submissive spankees. The spanker takes on a leadership or parenting like role and the harem of spankees become his or her subordinates.
The archetypal British novel The Lustful Turk, or Lascivious Scenes from a Harem (1828) introduced the Arabian harem to spanking/BDSM literature. It served as a template for countless later novels, most notably, Birch in the Boudoir, also known as Beauty in the Birch (1905) by Jean de Villiot. Other vintage flagellation novels include Au Service du Sultan Rouge (1894-1896), and Les Mystères du harem (1910), both by Henri Gaultier de Saint-Amand.
La bastonnade au Harem, illustration by Gaston Smit.
Arabs whip white slave girl; illustration by Carlo (c. 1930s).
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