Philadelphia Was America’s “Sin City” in the 18th Century

At least, that’s what a new piece at Huffington Post suggests:

After the Revolutionary War Philadelphia experienced a sexual golden age, replete with casual sex in alleys, brothels, taverns, and anywhere else that seemed convenient.

Many referred to Philadelphia then as “Sin City.”‘

Venereal disease, the downside of libertine pleasure, was so common it ran rampant among city residents. Out-of-wedlock pregnancies and little illegitimate children were everywhere.

To handle the venereal epidemic, a Frenchman named Moreau de St. Mery ran a bookstore in the city from 1794 to 1798, which offered prophylactics and “cures” for venereal afflictions.

There was a backlash in the early 1800s, though, with “unmarried pregnant women were forced into the almshouse and forced the other children of these women to work to pay off their debts,” making the wanton public sex a little bit less fun for everybody.