As a historical document, this audiobook is far more entertaining than it has a right to be. It's a wonderful, funny, sad peek into the emotional agonies of a sexual era that is happily past. Or is it?
You won't know quite whether to laugh, cry, or thank Dr. Wakely for his almost criminally Victorian little 1846 book whose original, full title is: "Woman and Her Secret Passions Containing an Exact Description of the Female Organs of Generation, Their Uses and Abuses, Together with a Detailed Account of the Causes and the Cure of the Solitary Vice".
If that doesn't have you panting breathlessly, some of the good doctor's rather indiscreet patient stories will. Masturbation is the evil he seeks to cure, and based on the original cover, you'd be forgiven for assuming it was a best seller. We don't know.
Despite stating that it was "for sale by all booksellers", one wonders who would have the nerve to make such a purchase in 1846. Men could have purchased it for the racy stories, and when you first dive in, you might think it was written for precisely that purpose.
But Doc Wakely should be given at least the credit for recognizing that the clitoris exists, that it was the "seat of female pleasure" (if parenthetically he felt it was only that when coupled in blissful matrimony), and that he does not condemn female pleasure outright.
He does give a fairly good account of the uses of the "female organs of generation", but the abuses he blames for all manner of physical, emotional, and psychological ills. In men, he is certain beyond doubt that masturbation leads to IMPOTENCE (his capitalization).
He tells young women not to lie in bed until late morning "...because of the fatal habits to which it sometimes gives rise, and which it fosters to a most alarming degree."
Of a pair of fun-loving newlyweds, he remarks upon their reaching a point of asexual relations:
"For a few days they enjoyed great pleasure, but as they continued this course week after week, they exhausted the flame of pleasure. To speak plain English, they wasted their seminal fluid too lavishly - they drained their bodies of that precious liquid, which is the cause of beauty, youth, and love."
Of another patient whom he examines, he states, "I also discovered that she was finely formed for giving the highest pleasure to a companion equally amorous with herself." Oh doctor!
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