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To aid in this feat, Smythers recommends: “Feigned illness, sleepiness, and headaches [which] are among the wife's best friends in this matter.” If that doesn’t work, “Arguments, nagging, scolding, and bickering also prove very effective, if used in the late evening about an hour before the husband would normally commence his seduction.”“When he comes groping into the room she should make no sound to guide him in her direction, lest he take this as a sign of encouragement. There is always the hope that he will stumble and incur some slight injury which she can use as an excuse to deny him sexual access.”Men, too, were advised to have sex in the dark, but only so they wouldn’t have to look at their “ugly” wives, according to Aristotle’s Masterpiece, which was, as you can probably guess, neither a masterpiece nor written by Aristotle: “[I]f she is ugly, the advice is: do it in the dark.”Here’s good ol’ Ruth again: “If he attempts to kiss her hand, she should make a fist.
If he lifts her gown and attempts to kiss her anyplace else she should quickly pull the gown back in place, spring from the bed, and announce that nature calls her to the toilet.”“As soon as the husband has completed the act, the wise wife will start nagging him about various minor tasks she wishes him to perform on the morrow.
Their inclusion of passionate heroines into their texts was controversial, the wider, ‘respectable’ public were offended by these ardent females who disregarded the traditional idea of ‘femininity’.
By modern standards novels such as The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Ruth and Lady Audley’s Secret, are considered to be relatively modest in their sexual content.
As with many elements of Victorian England, strict social and moral codes dictated rules on how hair should be worn.
Social rules and guidelines on how the female body should look, and how it should be dressed, objectified the body and encoded femininity within these rules.“[T]he party whose temperament predominates in the child was in the highest state of orgasm at the period of intercourse.”If one is trying not to beget a child, Becklard advised that, immediately after the conjugal act has occurred, “dancing about the room before repose, for a few minutes, might probably have that effect.” This is, of course, contrary to logic (and to the plot of Dirty Dancing, which is where we get all of our sex advice).But if you really don’t want to get knocked up, “trotting a horse briskly over a rough road on the following day would ensure it.” He also noted that “strong victuals” and “spirits that promote thirst” are also “great enemies to reproduction.”“Solitary practices,” as masturbation was called (also the “solitary vice” and “onanism”) were discouraged because “they arrest the growth of stature” and “stop the growth of the organs, and the development of the various functions …Victorian sexuality is explored in the Foucauldian sense; as something very much present in the power relationships of the time.The Victorian age was one of great change largely brought about by the industrial revolution and the ‘historical changes that characterized the Victorian period motivated discussion and argument about the nature and role of woman — what the Victorians called "The Woman Question."’ Female writers were able to partake in discourse on their gender and writers such as the Brontes, Elizabeth Gaskell and Mary Braddon were challenging conventions as to what constituted decent female behaviour in literature.
Below are some of our favorite tidbits on “conjugal passions.”In 2012, Missouri Senate candidate and Republican Todd Akin told a television station that women can’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape” because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” We wonder if Akin got this absurd notion from brushing up on medical tracts from the ‘50s -- the 1850s, that is. D., wrote a sex book for the masses, with a title as hard to swallow as the advice itself.