Valentine's Special: 13 Moments from the History of Sex
Thursday Thirteen for 02/01/2007
Hello February, the month of loooooove! Several years ago I bought my husband a wonderful little book called Great Moments in Sex by Cheryl Rilly. It's a fabulous book filled with interesting tidbits. I also called up my mother and recommended that she buy it as a gift for my father. If you are looking for something a little different to get your Valentine, this might be a good option. Here are 13 moments from the book that I wanted to share with you.
*The content may be mature in nature or include mature terms - so if you know you shouldn't be reading it - please move along.
1. Circa 1850 B.C. Cervical caps, diaphragms, and jellies to prevent the little swimmers from doing their job are mentioned in the Egyptian Kahun Papyrus.
2. C 500 B.C. The Pythagoreans define sperm as a "clot of brain containing hot vapor within it." With every ejaculation, man loses more of his gray matter.
3. C. 1200 B.C. The custom of veiling a woman's face originates in Assyria. Only "respectable" women are allowed to do so. Failing to wear a veil or a woman of lesser rank wearing one both merit the same punishment: flogging.
4. C. 450 B.C. After centuries of being sequestered in the back of the house and shunned by men in general, Greek women begin their revolt against the men's club Greece has become. Taking a cue from the hetairai, women are educated and put more emphasis on their physical attributes than on their broodmare capabilities.
5. C 500 B.C. The hetairai of Greece take center stage. Known for their beauty and intelligence, many of them become famous. There's Clepsydra, given the name of a Greek hourglass because she's so much in demand that she uses it to time her sessions with lovers. The line forms at Cyrene's door because she knows 12 ways of having sex.
6. C. 50 Mark Antony is remembered for his liaison with Cleopatra. But before his marriage to the Queen of the Nile, Antony does enough romping to earn a reputation. His sex drive is so strong that he outdoes and scandalizes Caesar by keeping a harem of both sexes in Rome.
7. 77 In Natural History, Pliny sends out the alarm against menstruating women. Wine turns to vinegar, seed becomes sterile, and fruit falls from trees under which she stands. She'll blunt razors, rust metal, and take the polish off ivory and mirrors. With just one look, swarming bees die at once. (Yeah, even then they were scared of the PMS)
8. 1570 Chinese erotic art reaches a pinnacle with the production of printed color albums. Every elegant page is folded in an accordion pleat measuring about ten inches square and is accompanied by a poem to complement the picture.
9. 1722 Daniel Defoe's classic Moll Flanders is added to the list of immoral immortals.
10. 1844 Goodyear develops the vulcanization process for rubber and puts an end to animal-skin condoms.
11. 1966 Twiggy, the first fashion model to achieve international celebrity, drastically changes the ideal female body type. Gone are the curves of Marilyn Monroe.
12. Chocolate was once considered an aphrodisiac. Today there's proof that it may be true. The treat contains phenylethylamine, a stimulant that is similar to the chemicals released by the body during sex. The Aztecs allow only members of the court to drink the liquid because of the power it imparts.
13. Forget aphrodisiacs, love potions, and wishing on a star. If you really want to know whether you'll meet your true love, follow the Valentine's Day advice offered in Poor Robin's Almanac in 1729 - if you dare: "... In the Evening of Valentine's Day, do take two White Oak Leaves, and lay them across your Pillow, when you go to bed, putting on a clean Shift or Shirt, and turning it the wrong Side outwards, lay down and say these words aloud, Good Valentine be kind to me, in Dreams let me my true Love see. So carefully drawing your right Leg behind you, put it over your left Shoulder. In like manner put your left Leg behind you, laying it across your right Shoulder; and be sure take Care that the Soles of your Feet meet under your Chin. Then go to Sleep as soon as you can. And if you dream you see two Moons touching each other, you will certainly be marry'd very speedily, when you be a young Man, Maid or Widow."
Ok... I have no idea what kind of pretzel twisting they did in 1729 to come up with these crazy ideas.