by Alison Nastasi)
With Valentine’s Day approaching, love is in the air. Ignoring the whole corporate manufactured holiday thing, we can’t think of a better way to get you in the mood for love than with a fun, vintage book about sex. Part curious time capsule, part laugh riot, these guides are sure to charm. Head past the break to indulge in some good old-fashioned loving between the pages of these sexy (and chuckle-worthy) manuals.
Playboy’s Book of Forbidden Words
Playboy’s “liberated dictionary of improper English” contains over 700 “uninhibited definitions of erotic and scatological terms.” The risqué guide was written by former associate editor Robert Anton Wilson, who had a penchant for esoterica and became known as an agnostic mystic. The cover teaser on the pictured edition (above) proves that absurd names for so-called sexy dance moves haven’t changed. “Cement mixer” sounds just as goofy as “twerk.”
A Housewife’s Guide to Auto-Erotic Devices in the Home
“What sorts of ladies are these do-it-yourselfers? What kinds of bizarre tastes do they harbor? Why and how do they find solace, even complete satisfaction, in home-fashioned masturbatory devices?” Jane Long’s A Housewife’s Guide to Auto-Erotic Devices in the Home ponders these very important questions in this hilarious faux “report” on happy homemakers having real orgasms, with their attentive vacuum cleaners, for the first time in their Stepford lives. “Yes, for the first time in my life, I was making myself have an orgasm!” one passage reads. “Not like before, when I’d had them involuntarily, at the end of a dream, you see.”
Let’s Make Mary: Being a Gentleman’s Guide to Scientific Seduction in Eight Easy Lessons
If you can get past the cringeworthy cover of a woman with her clothes torn off running from a gang of overly determined creeps (and the iffy title), this 1937 gentlemen’s guide is a humorous, pulpy take on attracting the opposite sex.
The Art of Kissing
“The lips are not the only part of the mouth which should be joined in kissing. Every lover is a glutton,” Hugh Morris’ 1936 guide to kissing advises. Old-timey takes on locking lips include the “spiritual kiss,” “nip kiss,” and the worrisome “pain kiss.”
The title of this one roughly translates to: “Young Person’s Sexual Song-with-Animal-Legs.” We don’t know either — but if you’re looking for lurid photos of a couple holding hands, grooming each other, and simulated oral sex with a mannequin, then this 1960’s Japanese sex guide has your name written all over it.
Just some harmless, but totally awkward, group sex with friends while blindfolded. “Participants are not porn models, but people who seeks to broaden the experience of life and allow group sex in as part of their attempt at creating a relaxed free and happy relationship between people,” the cover of this 1960’s Danish book tells us. Meanwhile, strong undertaker hat game from the guy in the fur coat.
The ABZ of Love
We’re fond of this ahead-of-its-time “personal and subjective supplement” on sex and relationships, published in 1963. Husband and wife author duo Inge and Sten Hegeler discussed progressive topics such as homosexuality and birth control. Expressive line drawings from artist Eiler Krag bring it all to life.
Here’s a 1956 modern man’s guide to “making love to a chick,” which includes tips on breath control strangulation and wrestling moves.
The Folklore of Sex
On the subject of venereal disease: “Everyone, of course, is against venereal diseases. But the interesting question is: Who is against being against them? And the surprising answer is: Quite a few Americans.” Hmm.
Sinema: American Pornographic Films and the People Who Make Them
This is what Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan was up to before he was slamming James Cameron’s Titanic, causing the director to have a public hissy fit.
Aphrodisiac: Erotic Drawings by John Boyce for Selected Passages From the Works of Anaïs Nin
Psychedelic-era renditions of Anaïs Nin à la Aubrey Beardsley.
Behind Closed Doors: A Marriage Manual With Nearly 2000 Photographs
Married sex tips include tripping your wife down the stairs.