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The Victorian Guide to Sex: Desire and deviance in the 19th Century

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3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  15 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
An exciting factual romp through sexual desire, practises and deviance in the Victorian era. The Victorian Guide to Sex will reveal advice and ideas on sexuality from the Victorian period. Drawing on both satirical and real life events from the period, it explores every facet of sexuality that the Victorians encountered. Reproducing original advertisements and letters, ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published May 15th 2014 by Pen & Sword Books Ltd (first published January 1st 2014)
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K.J. Charles
I've been hugely looking forward to this as I follow the author's very entertaining Twitter feed (@FernRiddell if you like Victoriana). It's crammed with fascinating stuff, giving a much broader and more nuanced view of Victorian attitudes to sex - including a huge emphasis on female sexual pleasure (many people believed the woman could only get pregnant if she had an orgasm. I like this theory.)

I wasn't entirely sold on the way it's presented, as a series of guides written by fictional Victori
...more
Jerome Lyte
Jun 28, 2015 Jerome Lyte rated it it was amazing
Fern Riddell goes after the tired cliche of Victorian England realm of prude or deviants in an original, engaging and witty style.
Kerry
Feb 24, 2016 Kerry rated it it was ok
In theory, an interesting idea. However, the research undertaken would be more usefully shared in a more straightforward manner. While I can appreciate the desire to be creative and try to make a topic of history accessible in an innovative way, someone with more than a passing interest in history in general or this topic in particular may not get much out of it.

Unfortunately, the telling-history-through-the-perspectives-of-different-characters gimmick flops. This effect is partially due to the
...more
Suzie Grogan
Aug 06, 2016 Suzie Grogan rated it liked it
An enjoyable romp, debunking the myth of Victorian prudery, but in my view it would have been better written in Fern's own, very intelligent, voice rather than using different characters to take us through each chapter. Too often the voices sound similar because it is actually Fern speaking, rather than her fictional guides. But her comprehensive and fascinating research shines through, and whilst it occasionally makes her characters a little superfluous and occasionally a distraction (trying to ...more
Johanna
May 29, 2014 Johanna rated it really liked it
A very well thought out amusing run through Victorian attitudes to sex. Clearly laid out and causing the reader to see past the usual stereotypes of Victorian behaviour. I particularly enjoyed the introduction for setting the scene and the individual advice column type chapters each dealing with particular topics or speaking to a specific audience. Fab!
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Dec 20, 2014
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