History of Sex, Love and Sexuality 1830-1870

About the history of sex, love, and sexuality from 1830 to 1870, the sexual repression of the Victorian Age begins, Arabian Nights comes out, Comstock gathers steam in America, first underarm deodorant.

1832--Dr. Charles Knowlton, an American physician, advocated the use of such birth control devices as the sponge and condom, as well as the practices of withdrawal and douching.

1837--Victoria ascended the throne, officially beginning the Victorian Age. This was a period of sexual repression during which people in polite society called a chicken breast a bosom, banned advertisements which would reveal that ladies' underwear had legs, and put crinolines on piano legs.

1839--The Commissioner of Metropolitan Police in London estimated that there were 933 brothels and 848 houses of ill-fame in the city.

1841--The publisher of Shelley's Queen Mab was convicted of publishing obscene material.

1845--In Java chastity belts were still being used.

1847--Marie Duplessis died. Born to a poor peasant family, she rose to become France's most expensive and desired courtesan. At the age of 19, she had 7 gentlemen supporting and sharing her, each allotted one night of the week. Among her more notable lovers were Franz Liszt and Alexandre Dumas, fils. Dumas based his novel and play, La Dame aux camelias, on her life. The Verdi opera La Traviata was, in turn, inspired by the Dumas play.

1847--Chloroform was 1st used for childbirth. Church people who were against it quoted the Bible, which said children should be "brought forth in sorrow." However, Queen Victoria, who had had 6 children in such "sorrow," tried chloroform in 1853 and liked it.

1853--Sir Richard Burton, author of the Arabian Nights, regaled friends with the true story of a group of Englishmen who traveled to the Mideast to visit a Muslim sultan. The sultan invited his guests to join him and his wife on a camel-riding tour of the area. As the group of Englishmen watched, the Muslim sultan's wife mounted her camel, lost her balance, and tumbled back off. As she fell, her dress slipped up and her private parts were revealed to all. To the surprise of the Englishmen, the sultan was not embarrassed. On the contrary, he was pleased--because his wife had kept her face covered during her fall.

1857--The Obscene Publications Act was passed in England.

1864--Asa Mercer arranged to have a group of unmarried girls sent to Puget Sound to uplift the "bachelor element" which was "almost wholly beyond the reach of female influence and its wholesome results."

1865--Anthony Comstock, an American, began a campaign for the suppression of vice, a campaign to which men like J. P. Morgan contributed. Comstock's slogan was "Morals, not Art or Literature." He was known to have also said, "Books are feeders for brothels." He demanded that all figures in art works be clothed or at least wear fig leaves over the genitals.

1870--The 1st underarm deodorant was created.

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