This Valentine’s Day weekend, couples nationwide will come together to do some serious “Netflix and chilling.” But when they get a chance, lovebirds might want to consider putting down the laptop and picking up a copy of the erotic 1861 book, “The Book of Nature; Containing Information for Young People Who Think of Getting Married, on the Philosophy of Procreation and Sexual Intercourse; Showing How to Prevent Conception and to Avoid Child-Bearing. Also, Rules for Management During Labour and Child-birth.”
Sounds hot, right?
The book, written by sexual physiology lecturer James Ashton, M.D. and a part of the Duke University Historical Collection, recently resurfaced on The Paris Review and internet archive and certainly has some, um, interesting advice for the randy young people of the nineteenth century about sex, marriage and procreation. For some sexy Civil War-style intimacy, here are eight romantic pieces of advice straight from the pages that’s sure to kick your Valentine’s Day off:
1. Keep it clean.
“Always carry to bed a clean napkin….”
2. Choose your timing.
“The proper time for sexual indulgence is an important consideration…. Persons who are predisposed to [dyspepsia, indigestion, and other affections of the stomach] should never have sexual intercourse just before eating, nor very soon after a full meal.”
3. Eat plenty of phosphorous.
“The particular food which is calculated to stimulate the sexual organs is shell-fish, or sea fish of any kind, and turtle, as these generally contain phosphorus.”
4. Hope that your past doesn’t catch up to you.
“Young girls of amorous desires get up a sexual excitement, and produce masturbation…and in boarding schools they often practice the habit upon one another until they caused repeated Orgasms, and in this manner injure their health.”
5. Practice safe sex.
“Some men tie up the scrotum to prevent a discharge of Semen, and thus hope to avoid impregnating the female.”
6. But not too much sex — that’s a bad thing.
“One of the greatest evils to mankind is a too free sexual indulgence by young men and boys. It not only injures their vital powers, but affects their intellects.”
7. And whatever you do, keep it missionary.
“…the position of their bodies during the nuptial act. Any unnatural performance of this act is apt to impair the health of the female and many women have been seriously injured…. No female, no matter how robust, can enjoy sexual intercourse except in the position intended by Nature.”
Make sure to share this wisdom with your lover, it may come as news to some.