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