Once again, I am participating in a themed blog circular as presented by Ms. Rabbit Write. Just as last time we discussed make-up, this entry is for Lady Porn Day. I realize this is a most out-of-the-ordinary topic for Hersteria, but I feel it important to educate the masses as to smut’s place in history and its consequences. I have provided examples of the obscenities to which I refer as well as a handy guide to help gentlemen avoid licentiousness.
Maintain a vigilant and virtuous mind, dear readers, and remember: When you touch yourself, the saints cry.
Miss K. LaMoine
A little side boob and derriere went a long way back then.
To be honest, this assignment was a bit of a stumper. I naturally assumed that somewhere within my library of antique sex and marriage manuals, an author would have addressed the issue of women and pornography. However, other than instructions on how to keep young girls from masturbating, there was nary a single mention as to a woman’s relationship to the erotic. It didn’t help that until relatively recently, there was barely, if any, porn made for women.
From these findings, I believe we can safely assume that women simply weren’t sexual before 1950. Moving on.
Whereas modern porn is typically an all-or-nothing, take a good look at my how-do-you-do event, 19th- and early 20th-century smut was more evenly mixed. Sure, you could get your overt photos of folks coupling (often while wearing befuddling hats [NSFW]). But more often than not, the available photos and films were simply naughty: women in various states of undress, typically in a specific setting (the kitchen, the country, the boudoir), and almost always with a sly almost-smile.
Can you spot all the things wrong with this photo?
1. nudity and lingerie
3. a woman in the workplace
(pic via Silent Porn Star)
Even if there wasn’t a whole lot to see, there could be a whole lot to see, if you looked hard enough. For better or worse, if a person was of a certain mind frame, the erotic/obscene could be found everywhere, just waiting to muddy otherwise virtuous minds. For some, this constant scanning for obscenities led to wild claims.
“The appeal to the amative and sexual nature is so universal in novels that it might safely be laid down as a rule that no young men or young women should be permitted to read a novel before they arrive at the age of twenty-five.” — What a Young Man Ought to Know (1904)
Seven decades later, folks were downright blasé about actual nudity.
“Most pornography can be divided into two categories, visual and literary. These days most visual pornography consists of photos, all basically the same. The beginner’s collection shows naked women with emphasis on the breasts and genitalia. Since all females have identical equipment, if you see one, you’ve seen them all. Once the dramatic revelation that women have a clitoris, vagina, labia, and breasts sinks in, there are no more surprises.” — Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask (1970)
Ho-hum, vaginas. Which is healthier: panic or boredom?
Um, Miss? I … I don’t think that’s how you fix a bicycle.
(via Mistress Evelyn)
Hersteria’s Guide to Moral Purity
(You may notice that this is directed toward menfolk. I found it unnecessary to provide a similar list for women, as decent ladies do not harbor such thoughts.)
Gentlemen! Do not dwell upon the following:
• A lady’s bloomers or knickers • Ladies wearing trousers
• Irises • Velvet-lined gloves
• Stockings • Muffs
• Lemon meringue • Omelets
• A well-folded beach blanket • Bicycle seats
• Mason jars • Drapery tassels
• Bare ankles • Partially closed draperies.
• Bowling pins • Voting booths
• Side saddles • Boules of freshly risen dough
• Peach halves (with or without syrup) • Un-salted mackerel
• Conch shells • Dart boards
• Bananas • Billiard pockets
• The works of Georgia O’Keefe • Doilies
• Dictaphones • Hat pins
• Hat boxes • Vulvas
Sexy is where you find it.
*Thank-you to Mr. N. Marshall, Mr. J. Crock, Mr. P. Jurgaitis, and Mr. J. Thaxton for their help in list-making.