I suspect you, like me, have rolled your eyes at a fair few weird sex tips in your time. From the infamous Cosmo ‘put a donut on his penis then eat it off seductively‘ to the supremely arrogant ‘guaranteed’ tips on how to blow someone’s mind in bed. But no matter how strange the sex tips of today, they’re not a patch on these weird sex tips from history…
This week I saw plenty of outlets covering this story about a very old sex manual. Written around 1720, when George the 1st (the dapper gentleman in the image above) was on the throne, it offers tips for couples on everything from how to have sex to how to influence what your baby looks like.
Some of them seem quite romantic, despite being ridiculously gendered:
“When they have done what nature can require, a man must have a care he does not part too soon from the embraces of his wife”
It’s hard to fault a sex tip that amounts to ‘have a bit of a cuddle afterwards, yeah?’ Unless you don’t like cuddles or have to rush to the bathroom to wipe off all the lube, of course… But that’s about the only sex tip I can find which would cause anything other than gales of laughter if you offered it to people today.
The BBC article translates one of the tips as:
“Want a girl? After sex, a prospective mother should lie on her left. For a boy, she should lie on her right.”
Not sure your doctor would give you the same advice today. Nor would they tell you that if you want to improve your sexual potency you should eat “eggs, sparrows, blackbirds, gnat snappers, thrushes, partridges, parsnips, young pigeons, ginger and turnips.” Those Georgians clearly had no qualms about eating songbirds.
But it wasn’t just the Georgians, I went on the hunt for a few more weird sex tips from history…
Victorian sex tips
Back in 2014, Salon did a round-up of some of the weirdest Victorian sex tips, and my absolute favourite is this one:
“[T]he party whose temperament predominates in the child was in the highest state of orgasm at the period of intercourse.”
In other words: your child will grow up to be like whichever of you had the best orgasm while you were conceiving.
At the other end of the spectrum, my least favourite tip basically amounts to ‘if you’re a woman, try very hard not to have sex with your husband.’ Ruth Smythers, who wrote a book of advice aimed at helping young brides, told them that when it comes to sex:
“GIVE LITTLE, GIVE SELDOM, AND ABOVE ALL, GIVE GRUDGINGLY. Otherwise what could have been a proper marriage could become an orgy of sexual lust.”
Sounds about as fun as a day trip to the workhouse.
Tudor sex tips
Let’s head a little further back in time, to one of my favourite historical periods: the Tudor era. Mainly my favourite because I’ve read through Phillipa Gregory’s stormy Tudor fanfiction novels more than once (check them out, they’re amazing), but also my favourite because oh boy did those Tudors have some weird ideas about sex. And for the strangest sex practices, you have to look right to the top: the Royal family.
When a royal in Tudor times got married, after the wedding and the feast they’d have the ‘bedding ceremony’. This was essentially an opportunity for a voyeuristic look at the King and Queen getting into bed together. The Queen would retire to the room to prepare for bed, then the King would come in with all his courtiers and advisors, and people would gather round to make sure the marriage was consummated. Apparently this wasn’t always quite what you’d think – often people just wanted to see the couples’ naked legs touching as ‘proof’ of consummation.
And don’t get me started on contraception. Naturally, back in those deeply religious times, the Church had a huge sway over people’s sex lives, and sex was supposed to be for procreation so contraception of any kind was banned. This didn’t stop people, though, just as abstinence-only education doesn’t stop people needing condoms in this day and age. Imaginative Tudors who wanted to have sex used anything from the withdrawal method (just pulling out before you come – one of the least reliable forms of birth control) to inserting vinegar-soaked wool into their vaginas (please don’t try this at home). There were even condoms back then, though nothing as exciting as the ribbed and flavoured ones you get today: the condoms they had were made of lambskin.
Make up your own sex tips!
Nice though it is to take a trip down the annals of history, it’s nice to return to the present and realise just how lucky we are to know more about sex and relationships than our ancestors. Better contraception, more understanding of how babies are conceived, awesome sex toys to play with, and above all sex that isn’t just about what the court or the church tells us to do: it’s about what we want to do. So let’s put away the weird sex tips for now, and just have the kind of sex that we actually enjoy. If you need a kick-start, spend £30 on the site today, use the code SAVE30, and we’ll send you a free sexy gift… and we guarantee it’s not a Georgian sex manual.