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My Secret Life

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  305 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
A rare look at the hidden side of Victorian life From his precocious childhood to the end of what he calls his "amatory career," an adventurous Victorian known only as "Walter" records a breathtaking carnal epic through hundreds of sexual encounters during an era of notorious repression.
ebook, 592 pages
Published November 6th 2007 by Signet Classics (first published 1888)
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Jul 21, 2013 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
Don’t judge me.

I have a very good reason for reading this excessively graphic, insistently perverse, Victorian-era sex memoir. I’m researching, you see, for this, ah, for this book I’m writing about mid-19th century London scullery maids.

Or something.

Let us be honest with each other. We all know why I read Anonymous’ My Secret Life. The reason is simple. Because it’s there. I am the Mallory of prurient interest and this is my Everest.

I can still sense you judging me.

Alas, this is who I am. I
You will read few books as bizarre as this one. It's the multi-volume memoir of an anonymous "Victorian gentleman," recounting his prodigious sexual exploits with a bewildering variety of partners -- ranging from whores to little girls to young men to aristocratic ladies -- and the weird thing is, it's way too weird to be firmly shelved on the "Victorian Porn" shelf, a la "The Pearl." It's too compulsive, too fixated on inconsequential detail to be serving the principally utilitarian interests o ...more
Sep 09, 2012 Catalina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boy, is this really happening in the Victorian era? I remember so well reading Sense and Sensibility and waiting for the bloody kiss to happen...but noooo, you can't have that in a Victorian novel; while the reality was actually so bloody obscene :D!
So this novel was interesting first for putting into light the 'underground' sexual life of women and men in the very puritan Victorian-era and second, as a step in the erotica evolution: from Life of an Amorous Man(where explicit descriptions were c
Laura E. Hall
This is one of the bawdiest books I've ever read, and if anyone ever tries to tell you the Victorians were uptight about sex, point them at this volume.

It offers an unparalleled glimpse into Victorian sexuality, from everything to social attitudes toward the female body (generally and unsurprisingly, they're there for male consumption), sexual awakening and exploration (not always consensual), relationships between the monied class and their domestics, prostitution (by choice and by chance), bi
Lee Rene
I can't really rate this book as an enjoyable read but My Secret Life is invaluable for anyone interested in Victoriana. The voluminous work details the exploits of a bounder who rarely looks for sexual partners from his own social class but instead rapes and pillages the vaginas and other orifaces of poor girls, maids, sailors and street prostitues with joyous abandon. My Secret Life is more 19th Century social history than erotica. Emotions are rarely involved, the sex often brutal, the author ...more
Rob Bliss
My edition said it was written by Anonymous ... I guess give it a 100 years and you can come out of the closet.

I didn't like this for the sex. He has a lot of it, and its very repetitive. Then again, he writes about things that sexual education people would write about fifty or sixty years after him, so you could say he was ahead of his time.

Ahead of his time also in that he's not afraid of being gay or bi or ... anything really. He is incredibly liberated. Possibly too much. (But how Victoria
Sep 08, 2008 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sort of hard to form an opinion of this book. On one hand it it is at first disturbing because the writer begins with recollections of being abused as a child and then moves on to his harassing, exploiting, raping, purchasing and seducing women. At times he seems almost delusional in his belief that every woman "wants it" so i suspect that some of what he believes are seductions are really not as consenting as he thinks. On the other hand, here is a rare insight into the sexual psychology of the ...more
Nov 13, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: erotica
One of the most bizarre books of erotica ever written, it seems to be less an account of any actual events than a stream-of-consciousness of episodic fantasies; perhaps the man sat down at his table every night and wrote himself a little something to wank to?

It's not good, in the traditional sense, but it is extremely revealing of Victorian erotica, psychology, class structure, and much more -- an interesting snapshot of what was "taboo" in those days, and the apparently unparalleled normalcy o
Jan 23, 2008 Ivy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anatomists
I found this raunchy little number at a bookstore in Paris' Quartier Latin. If I remember correctly, it chronicles the many and various sexual exploits of a Victorian bachelor as he makes the rounds at all the posh resorts in Europe. It's graphic to the point of technical, and quickly gets tedious, although one quickie encounter with a sailor and a prostitute in a muddy alley stands out as particularly funny and original. I didn't finish the book, but sold it in Prague because it made me feel di ...more
Margot Note
I could write oodles on this book. All I can say here is that it’s worth a read even though Walter’s exploits can be repetitive. Then, blammo, he tries something new to satisfy his curiosity/Foucauldian “will to knowledge.” To think that this was abridged from 11 journals worth of materials! P.S. Let’s bring back the term “gamahuching.”
Dec 19, 2009 Takipsilim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Victorian fun from behind closed doors. The anonymous author doesn't flinch in details that would equal a good issue of Hustler and proves that sex doesn't change, only the clothes people undress. Whether fact, fiction, or both, as history and erotica this book is essential and once read will stay with you for life.
Tara Lynn
Ahhh, porn.
Jul 27, 2013 Michel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cultures, bio
I don't remember this book as erotic, nor is it really a confession: no regrets, no ethical or social concerns, or any other feeling. Kind of a pre-D.H.Lawrence without tenderness or respect for the other participant(s).
It includes scenes that would horrify today even more than then: sexual harassment of servants, rape, statutory rape, even pædophilia, and very little reference to shared pleasure.
The unabashed diary of a misogynist sociopathic sex addict, it is also a cautionary tale: if a moral
Sep 25, 2012 Malou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the first erotic book i read. this book was first published in the late 1800's. to my (not-so) young and (not-so) innocent mind the book was scandalous, shocking, frank and graphic (aka interesting read). at that time, reading 'My Secret Life' was my secret life. :) being brought up as a conservative roman catholic, i thought i was committing mortal sin and will go straight to hell when i die...but what the hell, I was already consumed by intrigue to stop. it may not be the best book i read, but ...more
If this was written today, Walter would have been a blogger!
May 09, 2012 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not for the faint of heart, but a great look into the real Victorian England. Why do you think they were so prudish? Because people like this existed.....
May 05, 2010 Ana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm going to be honest: I didn't finish this book. I managed to read probably half of it before it got so boring I just had to stop. I think the big problem I had with this book was the fact that it is such a big book that just... keeps repeating itself - he has sex with a girl, then with another one, then with another one, then with whores and maids and more girls and married women and it's always. the same. shit. Besides that, this 'gentleman' annoyed the hell out of me several times along the ...more
This is an erotic book about one man's sexual escapades. It seems he was the Wilt Chamberlain of the Victorian era as he was constantly strooping someone. He may be the reason all sex laws were made. According to him he pretty much forced himself on any servant in his parents home to any he saw walking down the street to copulate with him. According to him "all women wanted it even if they didn't know it and once they saw a stiff c**k realized as much". He also seems to have been a pedophile lus ...more
May 13, 2013 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
By "complete", I mean that I read about a third of it before getting fed up. Boring, repetitive, and unpleasant. The protagonist is an arrogant user of people who doesn't take any responsibility for his actions, nor suffer any consequences from them.

Let me take this bullet for everyone, and say don't bother with this one.
This is less erotica than an interesting account of gender and sexuality in the nineteenth century. Whether it is autobiographical or entirely fiction doesn't matter as much as the fact that one man thought his sexual exploits and the variety of encounters he depicts were of interest to the world in which he lived.
Sep 20, 2012 Ilona rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is truly unbelievable. It is bizarre, obscure, sometimes tiring and sometimes disgusting, but worth reading if you enjoy turn-of-the-century English and French literature, erotica, and books with rare/unusual provenance. I found my 1400-page copy at the Goodwill! More details to be added later.
Jan 18, 2009 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this two-volume epic several years ago, & I was shocked not only by what was described, but also how well it was described.
I recommend it to anyone, excluding the prudish, impatient (the version I read was approxiamately 2500 pages), or the faint of heart.
Good Luck!
Mar 27, 2007 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
dirty, dirty, dirty. victorian smut at its best. supposedly true exploits of a victorian gentlemen as he seduces and pays every woman he comes in contact with. good companion with erotomania, the story behind the man they are pretty sure is the author of my secret life.
Jan 02, 2008 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Somewhat more perverse than DeSade, reasonably fascinating...
H. P. Reed
A well written memoir, boring in it's self-absorbtion, by an unlikable pederast.
Gaynor Jones
Mar 03, 2017 Gaynor Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am pretty sure this book had a brown paper cover when I read it about 40+ years ago. It seemed 'wow' at the time. Much better than Lady Chatterley's Lover
Jo Ann
Sep 26, 2007 Jo Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nancy

Very dirty. Author was actually 'Anonymous', however this program doesn't let you enter books without an author.

Banned for a 100 years for being too obscene and pornographic, this sex diary of a Victorian gentleman is considered an historic and erotic masterpiece.

First published in Amsterdam , the next hundred years, it remained banned and considered too racy to publish.

No-one really knows the true identity of "Walter". But biographer Ian Gibson cl
This edition is 576pp--- a mere fraction of the 11-volume original. Original sets of course now sell for the price of a good car, and going through all eleven volumes would make the reader as obsessive-compulsive as the anonymous author (was he really Henry Spenser Ashbee?). Nonetheless, a fabulous (if sometimes depressing) read--- though more for what it says about Victorian fantasies than for the sex itself. Of course, Steven Marcus' essay on "My Secret Life" in his "The Other Victorians" is a ...more
Nov 15, 2011 Emma rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I understand that this is pretty much an unedited script that somebody wrote in 'Victorian Times' and though that does make it interesting, considering the time period, it is so dull. I have read a lot of erotica but this didn't have an inch of a storyline. It is just a mass of jumbled up stories about a man taking advantage of servants. I didn't get it finished because though at first it is intriguing and seems so naughty considering it's time period but it is so boring. The repetition of the p ...more
Геллее Авбакар
It was a very sexual diary of a Victorian gentleman who made some sexual adventures with his home maids with his proper teachers and How he discover this whole sexuality thing inside him, He could be considered as pervert since he gave sexual pleasure a big importance.
His diary was full of description of sexual object the human may encounter during adult hood, for me it was freak to keep a diary with such a disgusting details.
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Some Like It Hot!: My Secret Life 2 30 Sep 18, 2013 12:21PM  
Some Like It Hot!: My Secret Life 1 14 Sep 15, 2013 11:04AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine request 9 35 Oct 26, 2011 12:17AM  
  • City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London
  • The Pearl
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  • Pleasure Bound: Victorian Sex Rebels and the New Eroticism
  • Venus in India or Love Adventures in Hindustan
  • The She-Devils
  • White Stains - Anaïs Nin & Friends (Delectus Classics of Erotic Literature)
  • The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde
  • The Complete Polysyllabic Spree
  • Neü Sex
  • Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom, and Other Writings
  • Harriette Wilson's Memoirs: The Greatest Courtesan of Her Age
  • My Life and Loves
  • Emmanuelle
  • The Flatiron: The New York Landmark and the Incomparable City That Arose with It
  • Macho Sluts: Erotic Fiction
  • The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde
  • The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde
Books can be attributed to "Anonymous" for several reasons:

* They are officially published under that name
* They are traditional stories not attributed to a specific author
* They are religious texts not generally attributed to a specific author

Books whose authorship is merely uncertain should be attributed to Unknown.
More about Anonymous...

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