History of Sex and Sexuality from 1834 to 1864

About the history of sex and sexuality from 1834 to 1864 A.D. including trivia about the Victorian era, divorce, and Mormons.

UNCENSORED HIGHLIGHTS IN THE HISTORY OF SEX

1834 "A Lecture to Young Men on Chastity, Intended Also for the Serious Consideration of Parents and Guardians" was written by Sylvester Graham (1794--1851), best remembered for inventing the graham cracker. Probably the most hilarious condemnation of sex ever published, it gave bountiful advice and declared that excessive sexual desire heightened by "high seasoned food, rich dishes, the free use of flesh" led to insanity. Graham also warned that married couples overdoing it sexually would be struck down with "languor, lassitude, muscular relaxation, general debility and heaviness, depression of spirits, loss of appetite, indigestion, faintness and sinking at the pit of the stomach, increased susceptibilities of the skin and lungs to all the atmospheric changes, feebleness of circulation, chilliness, headache, melancholy, hypochondria, hysterics, feebleness of all the senses, impaired vision, loss of sight, weakness of the lungs, nervous cough, pulmonary consumption, disorders of the liver and kidneys, urinary difficulties, disorders of the genital organs, spinal diseases, weakness of the brain, loss of memory, epilepsy, insanity, apoplexy, abortions, premature births, and extreme feebleness, morbid predispositions, and an early death of offspring." If that dire warning wasn't sufficient, Graham later announced that every ejaculation lowered a male's life expectancy.

1837 In England, the age of sexual repression and moral hypocrisy began as Victoria ascended the throne. (Privately, it was said that Victoria was sexually liberated, and that it was her husband, Albert, who was the prude.)

1843 Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, first exhorted his followers to practice polygamy.

1846 The Oneida Community of New England was founded by J. H. Noyes, who urged members to practice both free love and birth control. (See "Utopians--Doers," Chap. 31.)

1847 A British physician named Simpson angered churchmen when he administered the newly discovered chloroform to a woman in childbirth. The church claimed that to shield a woman from the natural agony of delivery was a blatant violation of the Bible's commandment that women should bring forth their children in sorrow.

1857 A court for divorce and matrimonial cases was established in England. Men were permitted a divorce on the grounds of adultery alone; women had to prove not only adultery but additional abuses such as sodomy, rape, bestiality, or incest as well.

1864 The Lancet, Britain's leading medical journal, warned of the sex traps involved in hypnotizing women (hypnotism was then known as animal magnetism): "The magnetizer--independently of making the passes and of fixing his eye upon her--often takes her hands between his and then draws his fingers over various parts of her body, now over her face, and then over her body and legs, pressing, perhaps, his knees against hers, and sometimes applying (we have seen this done) his lips to her stomach, and making insufflations upon it. Have we said enough to show that--in some cases at least--the use of animal magnetism is morally dangerous? We have heard it acknowledged by a most zealous practitioner of the art, that he has, more than once, witnessed all the excitement of action coition thus produced in a woman."

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