Jane Austen never had sex because she was too middle-class, according to the TV historian Lucy Worsley.
Worsley believes many women in Georgian Britain did have sex out of wedlock, but because Austen never married and was part of the "pseudo-gentry", becoming pregnant would have been "world-shattering".
Speaking at the Hay Festival, Worsley said: "Did the spinster Jane Austen ever have sex with a man? The answer is almost certainly not.
"That comes back to the pseudo-gentry thing. Women lower down the social scale before Jane might very often have sex before marriage ... but as Jane was so economically and emotionally dependent on her family, if she became pregnant ... it would have been world-shattering."
Austen regularly attended social gatherings, but never found a husband and died aged 41 in 1817.