Monday 23 April 2018

Lovers' guides

Tanya Sweeney

Circa 2550BC

Emperor Huang-Ti writes the world's first how-to manual, the Chinese 'Handbooks of Sex'. Huang-Ti proved himself to be the world's first sexpert and penned a follow up, entitled 'The Tao of Love Coupling'.

3rd-1st century BC Philaenis of Samos, thought to be a

courtesan, writes a working sex manual

on a series of



Vatsyayana writes the 'Kama Sutra' in India, a compendium of the social norms and love customs of patriarchal Northern India.

12th century A Hindu collection of instructive erotic works, 'Ananga Ranga', is published. In Africa, a Tunisian doctor named Constantine the African writes 'Elephantis'.

15TH century

'The Mirror Of Coitus', written by an unknown author, is thought to be the first Western book to discuss sex positions.


Richard Carlile produces a sex manual/essay entitled 'What Is Love?', which discusses the pleasures of sex.


French physiologist Eugene Becklard releases 'Becklard's Physiology'. Focusing on fertility rather than sexual technique, Becklard sought to offer help to infertile couples ... and those wishing to "undo conception".

Late 1890s Ida Craddock writes

'The Wedding Night', and 'Right Marital Living'.

Her manuals were considered obscene: their distribution led to numerous confrontations

with various authorities, often initiated by

the self-professed mystic Craddock



Marie Stopes releases the groundbreaking 'Married Love', one of the few books to discuss sex acts in minute detail.


Sex manuals enter the mainstream with the release of David Reuben's book 'Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask)'. Using case studies from his patients, .

1970 Dr Alex Comfort's 'The Joy Of Sex' (left) becomes a worldwide bestseller, therefore paving the way for almost every publishing house to release their own sex manuals.

1996 Paul Johannides's 'The Guide To Getting It On' is released and features chapters entitled 'Kinky Corner', 'Your First Time' and 'Technology & Culture', which deals with cybersex.

Irish Independent

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