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Never, Ever Let Your Husband Touch You

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Near the turn of the last century, sexless marriages were all the rage.

Sexless Marriage

momlogic's Momstrosity: If you ever aren't in the mood to "get it on," don't forget the plight of Victorian women, who were taught only to engage in their "wifely" duties grudgingly -- if at all (particularly after they'd already popped out their allotted kids).

Consider this pamphlet allegedly written in 1894 by one Ruth Smythers (the wife of the Reverend L.D. Smythers), entitled, "Instruction and Advice for the Young Bride, on the Conduct and Procedure of the Intimate and Personal Relationships of the Marriage State for the Greater Spiritual Sanctity of this Blessed Sacrament and the Glory of God." It's no wonder that a huge percentage of women of that era suffered from what was called "hysteria" --  a malady made up by men to explain why women were so pissed off from doing all of the housework and cooking -- not to mention raising the kids and not getting any.

Symptoms of this made-up illness included nervousness, insomnia, "heaviness in [the] abdomen," irritability and a tendency to cause trouble. Believe it or not, one of the "cures" was the massaging of the patient's genitalia by a physician. (That's right: the guy who'd diagnosed you in the first place.) Those Victorians sure knew how to have a good time! 

Here's what the new bride of the turn of the last century had to look forward to:

  • Most men are by nature rather perverted, and if given half a chance, would engage in quite a variety of the most revolting practices. These practices [may] include, among others, performing the normal act in abnormal positions; mouthing the female body and offering their own vile bodies to be mouthed in turn.

  • 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.
  • While sex is at best revolting and at worst rather painful, it has to be endured and is compensated for by the monogamous home and by the children produced through it.

  • By their tenth anniversary, many wives have managed to complete their childbearing and have achieved the ultimate goal of terminating all sexual contacts with the husband.

  • Lie perfectly still and never, under any circumstances, grunt or groan while the act is in progress.

    And some things never change:

  • Feigned illness, sleepiness and headaches are among the wife's best friends in this matter. 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.

  • Nudity, talking about sex, reading stories about sex and viewing photographs and drawings depicting or suggesting sex are the obnoxious habits the male is likely to acquire if permitted.

  • 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 ... the wife must insure that there is no peace in this period for him to enjoy. Otherwise, he might be encouraged
    to soon try for more

next: Pregnant Women Are Smug
15 comments so far | Post a comment now
Black Iris March 16, 2010, 7:34 AM

I bet there were other advice marriage books out there that were more positive about sex.

One thing to keep in mind, though, they didn’t have reliable birth control.

tennmom March 16, 2010, 9:59 AM

We also have to remember that back then people didn’t have access to the hygiene products we do today. Many men were often beyond smelly!
The orgy of sexual lust is one of my favorite things about my marriage ;)

Sylvia March 16, 2010, 12:04 PM

Mrs.Smythers wasn’t real, and this most likely was not written at the turn of the last century.

S. Wesley Mcgranor March 16, 2010, 8:43 PM

This gnosticism, and its celibacy — is no doubt unbiblical.

rrragabond March 17, 2010, 12:36 PM

The threat of contracting syphilis from husbands forced to go elsewhere fed the whole Victorian,middle-class ethos of sexuality.

Fentex March 17, 2010, 4:13 PM

That sort of stuff is as indicative of
life a hndred years ago as the modern insane rantings of nutters are indicative of life today.

Just because they’re loud and their presence is hard to avoid and thus will still be visibile in the future as lpud nutters in the past are visible today does not mkae them representative of their time.

Anon March 17, 2010, 4:17 PM

This is nothing short of a Darwinian nightmare! Eveolution brings to light a mind capable of reason and understanding the mechanics behind life, in turn to be used to snuff out the process that created it. No sex: Bully!

bobdole March 23, 2010, 12:30 AM

book written by doctor: no sex, pretend not to enjoy it if you have to

doctors solution: engage in hand to lip combat with the afflicted while encouraging her to do the moving and moaning forbidden during her marital sex sessions, in the name of getting her ‘hysteria’ out…

ah, the world of old - it’s inspirational.

charlie March 23, 2010, 3:35 AM

I find this is all rather sad.

sirawexome March 23, 2010, 4:15 AM

shenanigans…people were obviously still born in the 1800s, and for a child to be born, 2 people have to have sex

James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil March 23, 2010, 4:18 AM

Note that all of this was founded upon religious ideas. As with all totalitarian systems, the first thing they with to do is control everyone’s sex life. They have long known that, when people permit you to control when, how, and if they have sex, controlling the rest is easy.

Most of the problems of the world are, and always have been, caused by religion. Mankind will never truly be free until the black yoke of religion is lifted by the clear light of truth and logic.

Demosthenes March 24, 2010, 3:06 PM

I guess whoever wrote this was both asexual and craving for a divorce in the near future.

Mark March 24, 2010, 3:18 PM

Did nobody read Sylvia’s post? This bit of fiction is just that: fiction. In fact, other sources suggest it was first written just a few years ago. While it might reflect some aspects of a Victorian life, most women at the turn of the 20th century were quite happy to have sex in their lives. That s obvious from the birth rates.

Era Saari December 3, 2010, 4:06 AM

Goodone, there are weeks I wonderabout it too.

Elisa Herbster December 6, 2010, 2:46 AM

Stopped by to say hello, I can’t believe How a marvellous siteyou have got.

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