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How Rad Would Your Sex Life Have Been In The Victorian Era?

Do you know which tinctures can cure impotence? And what terrible fate awaits masturbators?

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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.

  1. 1. Masturbation is a sin against ____________.

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    God, the crown, one's elders
    The church, the fairer sex, and one's future prospects
    The church, one's elders, and the fairer sex
    God, the human race, and one's own physical welfare
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    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.

  2. 2. And, while we're at it, which of the following can masturbation cause?

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    Premature decay
    Imbecility
    Insanity
    Any of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    According to the author, masturbation can cause either premature decay, imbecility, or insanity. (Worth it!)

  3. 3. _________ doesn't/don't harm men's general health but may be followed the next day by ___________.

    Unwanted erections / shame, nausea, and fatigue
    Involuntary discharges of semen while sleeping / slight headache, mental dullness, weariness
    Unmarried sex / erectile dysfunction
    Erect nipples during masturbation / chafing, sadness
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Beware wet dreams; they might be followed the next day by "a feeling of lassitude, slight frontal headache and mental dullness."

  4. 4. Which of the following is the one true cure for the physical ills brought on by excessive sexual intercourse?

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    Sex with a harlot free of venereal diseases
    Cold water hydrotherapy
    Marriage with a healthy woman
    Abstaining from masturbation for a fortnight
    Abstaining from coitus for one revolution of the earth around the sun
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "[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."

  5. 5. Nymphomania "is an insatiable, and a seemingly irresistible, impulse in females for gratification of sexual desire" that's likely occur in women who __________ and __________.

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    show symptoms of hysteria, impeded self-control
    have a nervous temperament, a vivid imagination
    are immodest, have a nervous temperment
    are unmarried, masturbate excessively
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Quoting an expert named Dunglison, the author states that nymphomania occurs particularly in those "who possess a nervous temperament and vivid imagination."

  6. 6. Which of the following, along with taking sulphur, can help cure impotence?

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    Time spent outdoors, refraining from foul language, and abstaining from impure thoughts
    Avoiding red meat, tithing to the church, and fresh air
    A clean life, time spent outdoors, and good food
    Exercise, drinking milk, and bathing daily in warm water
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    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?!

  7. 7. When dread of the sexual act occurs in women how should it be treated?

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    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.
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Women who dread sex should take Lycopodiiim 30, one of the herbs that the author also suggests for men suffering from impotence.

  8. 8. According to the author, impotence due to nervousness can be brought on by recalling the sexual boasts of other men. What should impotent men in this situation remember?

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    Their husbandly duty to satisfy their wives
    Their duty as men to spread their seed
    That all men are liars especially about anything sexual
    That nervousness-related impotence in men can cause sterility if left untreated
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "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."

  9. 9. If a man has gonorrhea, what should he do (in addition to seeking medical treatment)?

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    Abstain from tea and coffee
    Abstain from alcohol
    Abstain from sex
    Abstain from vigorous exercise
    All of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    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."

  10. 10. What do women stop experiencing upon marriage?

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    Sexual desire
    Nervousness
    Menstruation
    Ability to orgasm
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    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."

  11. 11. How often should you have sex?

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    No more than once in a fortnight
    Not oftener than once per week
    Three times in as many months
    10 times every two score days
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "All coition should be...not indulged in oftener than once a week."

  12. 12. What helps maintain erectile function in older men?

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    Daily vigorous exercise
    Periodic sex with a prostitute
    Abstaining from masturbation
    Refraining from excessive sexual intercourse
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    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).

  13. 13. "A healthy man never loses semen involuntarily when awake." So, men should be concerned about "diurnal pollutions" (aka ejaculating while awake) UNLESS it happens during which of the following activities?

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    Wearing tight pants without an undergarment, sitting cross-legged, taking a warm shower
    Dallying with a female, riding horseback, evacuation of the bowels or bladder, lascivious imaginings
    Sitting upon a hard stool, wearing an ill-fitting bathing costume, riding a bicycle
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    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."

  14. 14. The physical effects of ____________ may be worse than those that following masturbation.

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    Engaging in a sexual act with someone of your gender
    Having sex in a way that prevents conception
    Having intercourse outside of wedlock
    Having intercourse with a woman who is menstruating
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    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.

  15. 15. "Conjugal onanism" — aka having sex in a way that prevents conception — can lead to what?

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    Hysteria in women
    Eventual sterility in men
    Erectile dysfunciton
    Degradation of the moral character
    All of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    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?

Victorian sex newbie

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!

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Victorian sex enthusiast

You have a pretty OK handle on 19th century sex stuff. Not sure where you picked it up, but many congrats on your knowledge!

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Victorian sexpert

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!

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