Let's talk about sex, baby

The Times (London) has a wonderful piece by John Naish, the kind that makes me want to run out and buy his book, "Put What Where? Over 2,000 Years of Bizarre Sex Advice":


The tradition of bestselling love guides goes back to the Ancient Chinese. Our earliest known manuals were first written in 300BC and buried in a family tomb at Mawangdui, in Hunan province. Recent translation reveals the timeless nature of the subjects they tackled.
Written as Cosmo coverlines, they would look like this: Four Seasons of Sex — and Why Autumn is Hot, Hot, Hot; Wild New Positions; Tiger Roving, Gibbon Grabbing and Fish Gobbling; Aphrodisiacs to Keep You Up All Night!Plus Exclusive! Your Love Route to Immortality. [LINK via Arts & Letters]
Today we call that spam. The quality of advice has mercifully improved over the centuries but not without some interesting detours. A sampling:

Dr John Cowan, The Science of a New Life (1888): "Constricting the waist by corsets prevents the return of blood to the heart, overloads sexual organs and causes unnatural excitement of the sexual system. The majority of women follow the goddess Fashion and so also wear their hair in a heavy knot. This great pressure on their small brains produces great heat and chronic inflammation of their sexual organs. It is almost impossible that such women should lead other than a life of sexual excess."

William Chidley in 1911 "urged people to live on fruit and nuts and to practise a method of flaccid intercourse apparently based on horses’ sex lives."

Marie Stopes wrote a bestselling manual in 1918 that claimed all women experienced a "sex tide" of passion that ebbed and flowed every two weeks.

Havelock Ellis, Psychology of Sex: a Manual for Students (1933): "Fainting, vomiting, involuntary urination, epilepsy and defecation have occurred in young men after first coitus. Lesions of various organs have taken place. In men of mature age the arteries have been unable to resist the high blood pressure and cerebral haemorrhage with paralysis has occurred. In elderly men the excitement of intercourse with young wives or prostitutes has caused death."

Finally, Dr Alex Comfort offered up this little gem in The Joy of Sex (1972): "Never fool around sexually with a vacuum cleaner."
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