History of Sex and Sexuality from 1788 to 1832

About the history of sex and sexuality from 1788 to 1832 A.D. including trivia about ballet, obscenity, and sutte in India.

UNCENSORED HIGHLIGHTS IN THE HISTORY OF SEX

1788 Mary Wollstonecraft's Mary, a Fiction, the first lesbian novel written by a woman, was published. It was based on Mary's real-life passion for Fanny Blood, an emotion Mary's husband once described as "so fervent [that it] constituted the ruling passion in her mind." It is now an extremely rare and much-sought-after book.

1798 The Bishop of Durham warned Britain's House of Lords that France had given up on the idea of conquering England militarily and was instead attempting to destroy the moral under-pinnings of English society by smuggling in hordes of ballet dancers.

1798 The Duties of the Female Sex set forth same in unmistakable terms: submission, honesty, and providing pleasure for men. The book bespoke a widespread reversion to medieval notions of women's responsibilities at this time. Earlier, Mary Wollstonecraft had published Vindication of the Rights of Women, bringing scorn upon her from all quarters. Hugh Walpole called her "a hyena in skirts," and Ladies' Magazine ran the documented story of four young women who had been shamelessly perverted by reading the Wollstonecraft book.

1821 A Massachusetts court found printer Peter Holmes, the American publisher of Fanny Hill, guilty of smut-peddling, in the nation's first obscenity trial. Oddly, Massachusetts was not to pass a specific law defining and outlawing obscenity until 1824.

1822 A statue of Achille representing the invincibility of the Duke of Wellington was unveiled in Hyde Park (where it still stands). A gasp of horror swept the crowd of spectators when they realized they were witnessing the unveiling of London's first nude statue--especially since it had been commissioned and paid for by the women of England. Within a few days Achilles miraculously grew a fig leaf.

1824 Mary Wilson, London's most successful brothel owner, outlined her ambitious plans to open a luxurious brothel for women only in an essay titled "Adultery on the Part of Married Women, and Fornication on the Part of Old Maids and Windows, defended by Mary Wilson, Spinster. With Plans for Promoting the Same, Addressed to the Ladies of the Metropolis and Its Environs." Her salon was to be stocked with "the finest men of their species I can procure . . . all kept in a high state of excitement by good living and idleness," and there "any lady of rank and fortune" could "have one or a dozen men as she pleases." Subscription was to be 100 guineas per annum. Sadly, Mary failed to get her plans off the drawing board.

1827 Condoms made of tortoiseshell and leather were in use in the Orient.

1829 The British government banned the Hindu practice of suttee in India and elsewhere throughout the Empire, although it continued until at least 1905. Suttee was the enforced immolation of a widow on her husband's funeral pyre. In 1803 there were 275 recorded instances of it within 30 mi. of Calcutta.

1832 Dr. Charles Knowlton wrote The Fruits of Philosophy, in which he explained the importance of the postcoital douche, which he claimed to have invented. The liquid for the douche was a solution of alum mixed with any astringent vegetation like green tea or raspberry leaves. The following year, Dr. Knowlton was arrested in Cambridge, Mass., and jailed for three months for trying to sell his book.

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