History of Sex Manuals The Answer

About the history of the Answer by William James Chidley, history, overview and advice from the sexual manual.

The Development of the Sex Manual

THE ANSWER (1911)

Instructor: William James Chidley (1860-1916). An Australian toyshop owner adopted the young Chidley from a foundling home. Chidley's boyhood experiences included slamming a toilet seat on his turgid penis to prevent total erection; it later turned black. As an adolescent, Chidley masturbated while being titillated by French postcards and experienced a great sense of guilt. His first real sexual experience was with a prostitute; later he lived with a woman he met in an Adelaide repertory company. When a doctor diagnosed him as tubercular and gave him two years to live, Chidley went on a regimen of fruit and nuts and abstained from sex in order to cure himself. Evidently the plan worked, for by the late 1880s he was healthy and expounding a new theory--that erection outside the vagina was unnatural. His book, The Answer, which details the theory, was published by Chidley himself in 1911, the year the author moved from Melbourne to Sydney. There he paraded about in a thin, neck-to-knee tunic (yes, he wore underpants) and handed out copies of his book from a carpetbag. He was arrested, fined, jailed, and committed to mental institutions several times, in spite of the fact that many sympathizers--including Havelock Ellis--felt he was unjustly persecuted. The last line of Chidley's final public message read: "Mine has been an unhappy life, but it contains a moral, namely, that all my misery comes from that `erection' in boys and men. Farewell." He died in an insane asylum.

Overview: One day Chidley was lying naked on a bed talking to his girl friend Ada when somehow his flaccid penis "found its way into Ada's vagina." His theory is predicated on his conviction that human intercourse as commonly practiced with the erect penis entering the vagina is unnatural. For proof, he points to animals, among which intercourse "depends on the readiness of the female." Nature, he says, uses forces of gravitation, air pressure, and peristaltic action to draw the penis into the distended vagina. "It should be enough to point this out; the crowbar has no place in physiology." He claims that primitive people had a sexual season similar to that of animals.

The "perverted sex habits of males" cause unhappiness and "stress and strain" in women. Erections are an inherited weakness, and they arise from a lack of muscular tone; after all, he asks, aren't all swellings the result of a loss of tone? Intercourse by the old method causes all kinds of ills, according to Chidley. Among the 50 he mentions: insanity, misery, suicide, epilepsy, crime, opium smoking, obesity, tuberculosis, blindness, pigeon toes, loss of teeth, heart disease, diabetes, and asthma. He points to before-and-after pictures of the famous and not-so-famous, including Edward VII, to show how the accumulated "shocks" of "unnatural coition" cause eyebrows and other features to distort, heads to change shape, eyes to pull closer together. The book ends: "Paradise O Paradise."

Advice:

1. Become a vegetarian if you aren't one already.

2. Be a nudist or at least wear more sensible clothing.

3. Change your sexual habits. Make it a rule never to allow yourself (if a man) to "commence thinking of our present coition with desire. It poisons the mind and paralyzes all better motives.... That is the brazen serpent in this wilderness of sin and evil." Instead, enter the woman with a soft penis and be a part of this scenario: "They inhale from each other's lungs, their navels cup with electric thrills, her young vagina becomes erect and waits--like a set trap--until in that fusing embrace his unerect penis touches her clitoris, when her vagina flashes open and his penis is drawn in by pressure of air and secured by its head." It's acceptable for the penis to be erect inside the vagina, where a vacuum is formed as the sphincter closes, thus creating suction. Note: Chidley's "answer" is hardly in the mainstream of modern thought about sexuality.

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