History of Sex Manuals Ideal Marriage Its Physiology and Technique

About the history of the Ideal Marriage: Its Physiology and Technique, history, overview and advice from the sexual manual.

The Development of the Sex Manual


Instructor: Theodoor Hendrik van de Velde (1873-1937). Van de Velde was a solid Dutch citizen, director of the Haarlem Gynecological Clinic and author of 80 medical papers, when at 36 he left his wife and ran off with a 28-year-old married patient. For the next four years he wandered through Europe in professional and marital limbo. Then, in 1913, his wife granted him a divorce and he was free to marry his lover, who had also obtained a divorce. Information for his book came from his own love life, reports from his patients, and his personal observations of masturbating women (as a scientist, of course).

Overview: "The bridal honeymoon should blossom into the perfect flower of ideal marriage," says Van de Velde, whose sexual advice, daring in its day (as well as popular), now seems curiously old-fashioned. The Sleeping Beauty (unawakened bride) theme underlies a good part of the book, though he asserts that all women are born with the potential for complete sexual response and he urges women to give as well as take sexual pleasure. To Van de Velde, normal intercourse ("communion") is heterosexual, excludes sadomasochism and the use of artificial devices, has consummation as its goal--the ejaculation of semen into the vagina as both man and woman reach climax simultaneously or very close together. The physiology of the male and female are given in great detail, as are erogenous zones and methods of arousing one's partner. While Van de Velde is a strong believer in the "genital kiss," he refuses to use the terms "fellatio" and "cunnilingus" because he feels they have come to connote "pathological practices."

Though he correctly states that vaginal and clitoral orgasms are one and the same because of the interconnections of the nervous system, he is wrong on several other counts--including the possibility of penis captivus (locking of the penis in the vagina) and rupturing of the vagina through vigorous thrusting, both rare occurrences.


1. Constantly renew your courtship.

2. During the honeymoon, a kind of apprenticeship, the man must play Don Juan to his wife, teaching her to feel "both voluptuous pleasure and actual orgasm." Beginning sex should be conventional.

3. Neglecting love play is stupid.

4. The male should practice the "genital kiss" with "the most delicate reverence."

5. While the wife can give her husband great pleasure by reciprocating with oral-genital sex, Van de Velde warns: "Is it necessary, however, to emphasize the need for aesthetic delicacy and discretion here?" Her instincts, however, will keep her from "approaching that treacherous frontier between supreme beauty and base ugliness."

6. If a woman has difficulty achieving orgasm, the man should bring her to climax manually. Orgasm for a woman is important.

7. The "Attitude of Equitation" (woman astride the man) may bring about passivity in the male if used too often, and that is "directly contrary to the natural relationship of the sexes."

8. In kneeling positions, air can get into the vagina and make "only too audible and extraordinarily repulsive noises."

9. During "afterglow" (postcoitus), refrain from genital stimulation.

10. Don't let a wife or husband get used to a pattern of sexual frequency and intensity that can't be maintained.

11. Though a husband should consider the wife's ebb and flow of desire, he should not have to restrict intercourse to the times when she wants it the most.

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