From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Whore dialogues" were a popular literary genre during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. These are dramatic conversations between an older, experienced woman and a younger, inexperienced maiden. They combine sex education, medical folklore, and erotic literature. The term was coined by Peter Wagner in the essay "The Assertion of Body and Instinct", published in the 1985 Penguin edition of John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. Wagner also mentions the genre of the 'whore biography', taking as examples Defoe's Moll Flanders and Roxana.
Generally regarded as being the first in its genre, Lucian's Dialogues of the Heterae, is a precursor to the better-known whore dialogues of Renaissance literature, which started with the Ragionamenti (1534–36) by Pietro Aretino and became popular in France with publications such as L'École des filles (1655), Académie des dames ou le meursius francais (1659), and Vénus dans le Cloître (1683). Together, these books form the cornerstone of 17th erotic literature.
Venus in the Cloister is considered to be the first French whore dialogue. Before Jean Barrin’s work, this form of writing was started by Pietro Aretino's Ragionamenti (1534-36). La Retorica del puttane written by Ferrante Pallavicino (1642) and The School of Venus (1680)and A Dialogue Between a Married Lady and a Maid (1740) are considered to be important works in this genre of pornographic writing. In such stories, dramatic dialogues are exchanged between an older experienced women and younger woman. The older woman imparts her knowledge of sexual experience through lessons or life stories that tend to be profound and pleasurable all at once.
The convent was considered to provide a repressive environment where such sexual relations between nuns were considered to be quite common. This oppressive setting of the church and subsequent lesbian relations that developed as a result was a popular theme in literature during the reforms of Protestantism and Counter-Reformation.L’es Ecolles de Filles, translated as The School of Venus (1688) and Denis Diderot's La Religieuse (1796) are popular examples of this emerging theme in the literature of that time.