Is it really true that having too much s*x and engaging in s*x after a meal could be catastrophic to your life? Here is what you need to know.
Unnatural s*x positions can kill and bonking more frequently than once a month risks harming the organs from the “accumulation of nervous force”.
These sex tips given to girls at the time by Victorian health experts are compiled in a new book and show a completely different approach from the advice given in today’s glossy magazines.
Warning against having sex standing up, from behind or with knees drawn up, one Victorian expert says: “No female can desire such intercourse as this because she cannot enjoy it.”
Another assures readers: “A woman of delicate mould and constitution may be fatally injured in this manner.”
Sex after a big meal could trigger a stroke, while blindness, insanity and even death could occur from “over-excitement” during the act.
Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide To Sex, Marriage And Manners by US historian Therese Oneill tells us the adage at the time was: “The woman who goes to bed with a man must put off her modesty with her petticoat and put it on again with the same.”
When it came to washing, women were told a freezing cold sponge bath standing up was the best method, as having a bath in a warm room encouraged “torpor, masturbation and consumption”.
Yet another health writer pointed out that a consequence of warning women not to touch themselves was that some were left afraid to wash.
It was largely assumed women derived little pleasure from sex and a woman’s first time “having her corn ground” would be thoroughly unpleasant.
On this subject men, too, are given some helpful advice.
Dr George W Hudson’s Marriage Guide For Young Men in 1883 warns them: “You must be patient — never try to force matters at all. Be as tender as a mother with her child.
Remember that the pleasures of married life will be anything but pleasures to the young maiden you have taken for your wife.”
And Dr Kellogg, of breakfast cereal fame, warns: “The most heroic battle which many a man can fight is to protect his wife from his own lustful passions.”
He solemnly proclaims bad sex on the wedding night can even kill, warning: “Undue violence may give rise to a dangerous and even fatal haemorrhage.”
The female anatomy was also a mystery, with James Ashton’s The Book Of Nature describing the vagina as a “curved tube that possesses some curious powers which are in action only during connection with the male”.
And women were strongly encouraged to have many children, with one book saying, “Womanhood is incomplete without them”, while Oneill tells how women were sternly warned: “Nature abhors an empty womb.”
Despite the conservative dress of the era, research shows some Victorian women actually wore crotchless panties.
Oneill jokes in her book: “Ever wondered why the saucy, high-kicking can-can dance at the Moulin Rouge was so popular?”
But in fact the racy underpants had a far-from-romantic purpose, enabling ladies burdened with many layers of clothing to crouch over a chamber pot without disrobing.