History of Sex Manuals The Art and Science of Love

About the book The Art and Science of Love by Albert Ellis, history, overview and advice from the sexual manual.

The Development of the Sex Manual


Instructor: Albert Ellis (b. 1913). Ellis's credentials for writing a marriage manual are impeccable. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Columbia University, directs the Institute for Rational Living, and is a fellow of the American Psychological Association. The Ellis school of psychology is highly respected, and its basic tenet--that rational ideas should be substituted for irrational ones--is the foundation for his sexual advice. The Art and Science of Love is only one of his many books about sexual matters. Others include The Psychology of Sex Offenders, The Encyclopedia of Sexual Behavior, and The Civilized Couple's Guide to Extramarital Adventure.

Overview: "Man or woman is far more than penis or clitoris," says Ellis, who believes that only our upbringing keeps us from experiencing the whole spectrum of sexual outlets, from daydreaming to sex with animals. Almost anything goes, and Ellis stresses only one no-no--concentration on any one method; even straight missionary-position intercourse can lead to a fetishistic pattern. "So-called" perversions, he says, are "essential for maximum arousal and satisfaction in millions of individuals in today's world."

The book is grounded in solid research, e.g., the results of studies in psychology and anthropology. Woman's orgasmic capacity is fairly recent in terms of the evolution of humans, Ellis says. When he talks of the quick arousal of men and the diffuse arousal and capacity for multiple orgasms of women, he wonders if these characteristics are innate or cultural. Some of the authorities he quotes tend to be sexist. One, O. H. Mowrer, claims that women get frigid because they are "imbued with masculine ideals" and have "little or no conception of real womanliness."

Almost everything is included: internal and external human sex organs; ways of arousing a partner; main positions for kissing, caressing, and intercourse; sexual deviations; fertility and birth control.


1. Masturbation can help a woman overcome frigidity.

2. If you have an extramarital affair, be loving with all involved. Be discreet but don't lie. Only if both husband and wife agree that extramarital affairs are permissible should either or both participate in them.

3. Tell your partner what your desires are: "If . . . you like your sex with the lights on, with music playing, in front of mirrors, rolling on the floor, slow or fast, orally or manually, by land or sea, for heaven's sake, say so. And do your best to discover, by words as well as deeds, what your mate likes, too."

4. Using a device like a vibrator or French tickler (fancifully shaped condoms designed to stimulate the female) is no more odd than eating with a spoon or chopsticks.

5. See your partner "as a person rather than a sex machine." Don't equate his or her worth with sexual competence.

6. Agree on a signal indicating readiness for intercourse, a tap on the head, for example.

7. Simultaneous orgasm is not necessary for a satisfactory love life.

8. Favor the partner who has greater sexual difficulty. For example, if a woman is slow to come to orgasm, use a position that also slows the man down.

9. Don't be distracted by thoughts of sexual success when making love.

10. Don't engage in sex when you don't feel like it. But when you do feel like it, don't be guided by anything except your own desires and those of your partner. Averages mean nothing. Age needn't hold you back.

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