The fertility of enslaved women was examined by owners to make sure they were able to birth as many children as possible. Secretly, slaveowners would impregnate enslaved women and when the child was born and grew to an age where he could work on the fields, they would take the “very same children (of their) own blood and make slaves out of them,” as pointed out in the National Humanities Center Resource Toolbox on Slaveholders’ Sexual Abuse of Slaves.
It was common for the slave to be subordinated sexually to the master–even men with enslaved males. It was part of the enslaved man’s function as an “animated tool,” an instrument of pleasure.
When enslaved males turned 15 years old–and younger in some cases–they had their first inspection. Boys who were under-developed, had their testicles castrated and sent to the market or used on the farm. Each enslaved male was expected to get 12 females pregnant a year. The men were used for breeding for five years. One enslaved man name Burt produced more than 200 offspring, according to the Slave Narratives.
To combat the high rate of death among the enslaved, plantation owners demanded females start having children at 13. By 20, the enslaved women would be expected to have four or five children. As an inducement, plantation owners promised freedom for enslaved female once she bore 15 children, according to Slavery in the United States by John Simkin.
If the enslaved woman was considered “pretty,” she would be bought by plantation owner and given special treatment in the house, but often subjected to horrifying cruelty by the master’s wife, including the beheading of a child because he was the product of a enslaved-master affair.
Often, the plantation owner would entertain his friends by forcing the enslaved Blacks to have orgies–multiple pairings having sex in front of them. And the white men often would participate in the debauchery.