So, you know your way around sex in the 21st century.* But how would you have fared ~sexually~ in the19th century?
Thanks to Edward Pollock Anshutz, a homeopathic medicine practitioner who lived from 1846 to 1918, you can now test your 19th century sex knowledge.
This quiz is based on the advice Anshutz provides in his 1896 book Sexual Ills and Diseases: A Popular Manual, Based on the Best Homeopathic Practice and the Latest Text Books.
*If you want some 21st century sex ed., please read this for starters.
God, the crown, one's eldersThe church, the fairer sex, and one's future prospectsThe church, one's elders, and the fairer sexGod, the human race, and one's own physical welfare
According to Sexual Ills and Diseases: A Popular Manual, Based On The Best Homoeopathic Practice And The Latest Text Books, masturbation is a sin against god, the human race, and one's own physical welfare.
Premature decayImbecilityInsanityAny of the above
According to the author, masturbation can cause either premature decay, imbecility, or insanity. (Worth it!)
Unwanted erections / shame, nausea, and fatigueInvoluntary discharges of semen while sleeping / slight headache, mental dullness, wearinessUnmarried sex / erectile dysfunctionErect nipples during masturbation / chafing, sadness
Beware wet dreams; they might be followed the next day by "a feeling of lassitude, slight frontal headache and mental dullness."
Sex with a harlot free of venereal diseasesCold water hydrotherapyMarriage with a healthy womanAbstaining from masturbation for a fortnightAbstaining from coitus for one revolution of the earth around the sun
"[S]ome physicians have advised intercourse with harlots...Marriage with a healthy woman is the one true relief..." That said, a man who would marry a woman just to cure himself of the ills brought on by excessive sexual intercourse "must be a contemptible creature indeed."
show symptoms of hysteria, impeded self-controlhave a nervous temperament, a vivid imaginationare immodest, have a nervous tempermentare unmarried, masturbate excessively
Quoting an expert named Dunglison, the author states that nymphomania occurs particularly in those "who possess a nervous temperament and vivid imagination."
Time spent outdoors, refraining from foul language, and abstaining from impure thoughtsAvoiding red meat, tithing to the church, and fresh airA clean life, time spent outdoors, and good foodExercise, drinking milk, and bathing daily in warm water
Turns out that "A clean life, an out-door life, with good food, aid in a cure [to impotence], as they do in all sexual ills." Who's up for a hike?!
The woman should be encouraged to get married at once.The woman should undergo psychodynamic talk therapy and her community must be understanding that the woman will not be expected to engage in sexual intercourse until, if ever, she desires to again.An herbal homeopathic treatment should be administered.The woman should engage in vigorous exercise and abstain from consorting with harlots.
Women who dread sex should take Lycopodiiim 30, one of the herbs that the author also suggests for men suffering from impotence.
Their husbandly duty to satisfy their wivesTheir duty as men to spread their seedThat all men are liars especially about anything sexualThat nervousness-related impotence in men can cause sterility if left untreated
"Men are oppressed by the fear of being laughed at; they recall what other men of their acquaintance have boasted of their powers, and compare those boasts with their own untried, or little tried ability, forgetting the psalmist's assertion that all men are liars, and, it may be added, especially so concerning things sexual."
Abstain from tea and coffeeAbstain from alcoholAbstain from sexAbstain from vigorous exerciseAll of the above
Patients with gonorrhea "must abstain from all alcoholic drinks, tea, coffee and tobacco; also from all violent exercise...He should also avoid all sexual intercourse, not only for the sake of others, but for his own sake, until completely restored to health."
Sexual desireNervousnessMenstruationAbility to orgasm
The author notes that while menstruation may occur periodically after marriage, generally a woman menstruates "until she is solicited in marriage by an acceptable suitor."
No more than once in a fortnightNot oftener than once per weekThree times in as many months10 times every two score days
"All coition should be...not indulged in oftener than once a week."
Daily vigorous exercisePeriodic sex with a prostituteAbstaining from masturbationRefraining from excessive sexual intercourse
Older men who have been "temperate" in their practice of engaging in sexual intercourse are more likely to be virile up until and beyond the age of three score and 10 (70).
Wearing tight pants without an undergarment, sitting cross-legged, taking a warm showerDallying with a female, riding horseback, evacuation of the bowels or bladder, lascivious imaginingsSitting upon a hard stool, wearing an ill-fitting bathing costume, riding a bicycle
If a man should ejaculate during the day — unless he is dallying with a female, riding horseback, evacuating his bowels or bladder, or indulging lascivious thoughts — "surely there exists an irritation and weakness in the sexual organs which is pathological."
Engaging in a sexual act with someone of your genderHaving sex in a way that prevents conceptionHaving intercourse outside of wedlockHaving intercourse with a woman who is menstruating
Having sex in such a manner as to prevent conception can be done in a variety of ways "always with detriment to the health of both man and woman." Indeed, according to the author, its effects can be more deleterious than those resulting from masturbation.
Hysteria in womenEventual sterility in menErectile dysfuncitonDegradation of the moral characterAll of the above
Having sex with your wife while trying to prevent conception can cause impotence. And the cure is natural coitus with the objective to conceive. As the author explains, "Some years ago a wise old doctor said that he cured many of his married patients by 'prescribing conception.' That prescription will cure many, no doubt."
How Rad Would Your Sex Life Have Been In The Victorian Era?
You might've had a rough go of it sex and sexual health-wise in the 19th century. But hopefully you're crushing it in the 21st!
You have a pretty OK handle on 19th century sex stuff. Not sure where you picked it up, but many congrats on your knowledge!
OK so you know a weird amount of 19th century sex stuff. Either you had really questionable sex ed., or you just, like, know this stuff. Either way: impressive!