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The 7 Worst Pieces of Sex Advice Dispensed Throughout History

Your average sex tips and advice magazine these days may be filled with super silly suggestions on what you should and shouldn’t do in bed with your partner, but this is nothing new.

In fact, since times immemorial people have been writing about sex. An ancient piece of evidence that originates from the Hindu tradition is the Kama Sutra. Still widely known today, the Kama Sutra was written sometime between the fourth and second centuries B.C. Though this was not exclusively a manual on how to have sex, the Kama Sutra provides the reader with useful information, as well as depictions of various sex positions.

Only the missionary position is “natural”

In the 13th century, when a German philosopher by the name of Albertus Magnus had his take on sexual positions, he was less liberal in his views than the author of the Kama Sutra.

Albertus Magnus was a noted bishop of his era, and the church later canonized him as a Catholic saint. He was also called “Doctor Universalis,” hence it might make sense why he shared his expertise on sex positions alongside taking care of church business.

Albertus Magnus
Albertus Magnus

As also tell us, Magnus advised that only the missionary position is an entirely “natural” style to embrace in sexual intercourse. Any other position is misbehavior.

Doctor Universalis even created a list in which he ranks the top five sex positions from the most to the least acceptable.

Progressively more sinful positions, after the preferred missionary, he lists side-by-side, sitting, and standing. Lowest scoring turns out to be the “tergo” one — Magnus’ more preferred way of saying “doggy style” in Latin.

Whether Albertus Magnus empirically proved his rank list with personal experiences, we don’t know.

Ladies, don’t “tantalize” your man with a hand

Weird, bizarre, or bad sex advice keeps showing up in different epochs. The year 1680 saw the publication of The School of Venus, or the Ladies Delight Reduced into Rules of Practice. In the book, the curious 17th century reader is introduced to a charming young virgin by the name of Katherine, and Roger, who appears to have his fair share of desires to “deflower” her.


Some of the advice contained in the lewd and raunchy language of the book is not in favor to hand jobs: “I would have no Woman tantalize a Man with her hand, since she hath a more proper place to receive and bestow his instrument.”


Next follows a strange piece of advice regarding food. We learn that Roger is not such a bad fellow after all, as —  after the act — he offers Katherine some pistachios to eat. The young woman is then informed that after sex, pistachios are “the best restorative in the World.”

It’s no good if “his thoughts wander”

Food-related sex tips keep showing up in The Book of Nature (1861) penned by James Ashton, a lecturer on sexual physiology. Te major advice here? Check the grocery store for lima beans, tomatoes, onions, or asparagus. These are cited as the best aphrodisiac foods to boost action in the bedroom.

Eugen de Blaas
Eugen de Blaas

Before we are informed about the wonderful properties of these vegetables, we are also told about other options we should consider: “the particular food which is calculated to stimulate the sexual organs is shell-fish, or sea fish of any kind, and turtle, as these generally contain phosphorus.” So, eat your turtle people!

Baby turtle eat flower
Baby turtle eat flower

Other than this, The Book of Nature provides the reader also with some philosophical advice, such as how to ensure healthy procreation and a healthy offspring. It seems one should be really concentrated when having sex, as: “When a man is performing this act, if his thoughts wander, the product will be feeble, and if his wife become pregnant the offspring will be inferior.

This fact is applied to the offspring of great geniuses, who are supposed to be thinking of something else when they beget their children, and hence their descendants are often much below them in intellect.”

Masturbating is bad

An abundance of bad sex advice can also be dug out from the Victorian days. One common sentiment is against men masturbating.

While it is suggested that some foods and drinks should be avoided in order to prevent the shameful act (such as mustard, wine or beer), according to author Henry Hanchett, the habit should be tamed from youth. Parents should “run their children around throughout the day in wild play so the children would be too tired to masturbate before bed.”

The advice is particularly applicable to boys as girls have a “low, almost nonexistent sex drive, so only truly deranged females would succumb to the temptations of masturbation.”

Don’t share your bed nor room with a spouse

The 1900s brought the advice that wedded partners should not share a bed together if they want to retain a hot sex life, as shared by redbookmag. This advice comes from a 1902 book entitled What a Young Wife Ought to Know.

The passage reads: “The custom in many English homes of each having a room, which is peculiarly one’s own, may seem to our freedom-loving natures, a cold custom; but is not this better when a proper self-control seems difficult, than a freedom which degenerates into license?”

:Jan Steen – The Sleeping Couple
:Jan Steen – The Sleeping Couple

It further says: “True, the door between these two rooms should seldom be shut, but the fact that there are two rooms relieves of many temptations, and prevents the familiarity, which even in married life breeds content.”

Further, according to the book, women are advised to engage in sexual intercourse only when they wish to have a baby.

Never, ever use lube

The tips were no better some 15 years later when British writer and sex education pioneer Walter Gallichan published his The Psychology of Marriage in 1917. One of the main messages the book has to share with the reader? It sounds familiar. Again, don’t masturbate, because if you do this you will get sick, develop a mental disease, and eventually this will lead to the “destruction of society.”

The best tip on how to save society from masturbation? It’s again in the hands of parents, who need to take proper care of their children, including to provide them with a “non-stimulating diet” and “rational clothing.”

Two years later, in 1919, American physician H.W. Long advised in his Sane Sex Life and Sane Sex Living to never, ever use lubricants. Applying any lubes is “filthy” according to this author, adding a comparison that using lubes for your private parts is “like greasing the mouth to make food slip down easily.”

Floor-scrubbing is great for the female figure

Last but not least, the year 1963 saw Ann Landers’ Talks to Teen-agers about Sex hit the bookshops. According to this author, “Housework, particularly floor-scrubbing, is not only great for the female figure, but it’s good for the soul. And it will help you take the edge off your sexual appetite.”

The same writer advising boys how to kill their their sexual temptations? “Don’t sit around and read junk that fires your imagination and stimulates you sexually. Channel your energies into constructive outlets. Go out for football, basketball or baseball. Play tennis, golf, ping-pong, soccer or handball. Improve your swimming, wash the car, paint the garage, practice the trombone, build a boat, do your homework, mow the lawn, clean the attic.”

Read another story from us:“Nature never intended that woman’s waists should be like wasps”- Victorian advice to single women

Translated? Boys, just do anything but don’t have sex. Bonus points for “practicing the trombone.”

Stefan Andrews

Stefan is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to The Vintage News. He is a graduate in Literature. He also runs a blog – This City Knows.