Sex tips, from the year 1894

Getty ImagesGetty ImagesImagine a time when sex was seen as "at best revolting and at worst rather painful." According to The Sun (and well, anyone who's ever taken rudimentary history lessons), the Victorians, not exactly known for their raunchy bedroom antics, perceived a woman's um, "wifely duties" as something to abhor. Sex Tips for Husbands and Wives was penned by Ruth Smythers, a vicar's wife, in 1894. Some amazing gems:

  • The wise bride will permit a maximum of two brief sexual experiences weekly - and as time goes by she should make every effort to reduce this frequency.
  • A selfish and sensual husband can easily take advantage of his wife. One cardinal rule of marriage should never be forgotten: Give little, give seldom and above all give grudgingly. Otherwise what could have been a proper marriage could become an orgy of sexual lust.
  • A wise wife will make it her goal never to allow her husband to see her unclothed body, and never allow him to display his unclothed body to her.
  • Once in bed, the wife should turn off all the lights and make no sound to guide her husband in her direction, lest he take this as a sign of encouragement.
  • When he finds her, she should lie as still as possible. Bodily motion could be interpreted as sexual excitement by the optimistic husband. Sex, when it cannot be prevented, should be practised only in total darkness.
  • Clever wives are ever on the alert for new and better methods of denying and discouraging the amorous overtures of the husband. Arguments, nagging, scolding and bickering prove very effective if used in the late evening about an hour before the husband would normally commence his seduction.
  • By their tenth anniversary many wives have managed to complete their child-bearing and have achieved the ultimate goal of terminating all sexual contacts with the husband.

Compare that to the lessons offered by Holly Hollenbeck, author of the 2008 book, Sex Lives of Wives:

  • Exude tremendous enthusiasm for sex and have it as often as possible. Try never to say no and do not start thinking or talking about other chores or problems during it.
  • Create variety - make love as a "lady" then next time, play it nasty as a "tramp". Alternate the pace - sometimes fast and frantic, sometimes slow and romantic, using different sound effects, including sexy compliments breathlessly uttered, pleasurable moans and sighs and nasty encouragements.
  • Be assertive about what you want, taking care that any ideas do not come across as criticism. Try incorporating what you would like him to do by working the suggestions into the details of a story. Describe how hot such action would make you or your character in the story feel.
  • Tune in to what he loves and share it with him - if he likes watching sexy movies, suggest watching one together. Visit a bookshop and choose some erotic stories you can read to each other, surf the web with him and share "chats".
  • Venture outside the bedroom and seek unusual locations for sex. Have a mental fixation on the sensation - focus only on his and your pleasure.
  • Know what turns you on - your desire will heighten his. Good things for women to try include having an ear sucked, a foot rub, leaning on a vibrating washing machine during the spin cycle and feeling the spray of a pulsating showerhead.

Damn, looks like you really have come a long way baby.