History of Sex, Love and Sexuality 1870-1900

About the history of sex, love, and sexuality from 1870 to 1900, in America the Comstock Act passes, spiked cages are advocated to stop masturbation, Freud publishes.

1872--Sexologist Kraft-Ebbing coined the term "sadism."

1873--The "Comstock Act" was passed by the U.S. Congress. This stipulated that it was illegal to send obscene materials through the mails. Comstock got himself appointed special agent for the post office and claimed that in his 1st year in this job he seized 200,000 pictures and photographs, 100,000 books, more than 60,000 rubber articles (probably condoms), 5,000 decks of playing cards, and 30,000 boxes of aphrodisiacs.

1880--At the age of 73, Lady Jane Ellenborough, one of the most glamorous nymphomaniacs in history, complained of her husband, an Arabian sheik, "It is now a month and 20 days since Medjuel last slept with me! What can be the reason?" Among her countless lovers were Honore de Balzac, King Ludwig I of Bavaria, and Ludwig's son, King Otto of Greece.

1883--Henry Varley delivered a lecture to an audience of 3,000 men on the "terrible and destructive sin of Onanism or self-abuse--a practice as common as it is hateful and injurious." He claimed that masturbation caused short stature, a contracted chest, weak lungs, and other disabilities.

1885--W. T. Stead, a London journalist, bought a 13-year-old girl for pound 10 and kept her in a brothel. Though he did this solely as research for a series of articles against prostitution, he was imprisoned.

1887--J. L. Milton in Spermatorrhea, which reached its 12th edition in that year, advocated the use of cages lined with spikes to prevent boys from masturbating and discussed a device which would ring a bell in the parents' room if a boy had an erection.

1888--Mark Twain published 1601, an underground classic in pornography. Twain told a Cleveland librarian: "If there is a decent word in it, it is because I overlooked it." U.S. Secretary of State John Hay printed a secret edition of this book on the presses of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

1895--Oscar Wilde, the famous writer, was locked up in Reading Gaol. Accused of homosexual practices by the Marquis of Queensbury, Wilde had been brought to trial and found guilty.

1895--Freud and Breuer published Studies in Hysteria, a pioneer work in psychoanalysis. Freud's theories about sex and the importance of sexuality in all aspects of life had a tremendous effect on people all over the world. Until around 1910, his ideas were generally denounced by medical men and the press. Some doctors called psychoanalysis "mental masturbation" and Freud a "Viennese libertine."

1900--An American gynecologist said to a group of doctors, "I do not believe mutual pleasure in the sexual act has any particular bearing on the happiness of life." At the time, estimates of female frigidity ranged from 10% to 75% of all women.

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