Crazy Highlights From The Ideal Sex Life, 1940's Most Enthusiastic Guide to You-Know-What
How to Attain and Practice ... The Ideal Sex Life
Author: Dr. J. Rutgers; translated from the German by Norman Haire
Publisher: Cadillac Publishing, New York
The Front Page Promises: "Intended for circulation among Mature Persons only."
Discovered at: Annie Sprinkle's garage sale
"An erection occurring during defecation is of no consequence; when urinating it may be injurious" (page 110)
Fifty-eight chapters into this eager, excitable guide to the impulses that all other creatures on this planet just kind of get naturally, German physician J., Rutgers reels off his "ascending scale" of sexual relations, arranged "from the most harmless caresses to the most fateful manoeuvres":
a friendly handshake
a tender kiss
a very passionate embrace
local feeling and tickling
satisfaction through external caresses
intercourse with preventatives
attempts to fecundate
Here's the difference between Europe and America. In 1940, when domestic sex guides were clinical and apologetic, Rutgers' poetic and open-minded work acknowledged that attempts to fecundate were more like a harvest festival than a grim plowing.
He's so upbeat about it that the first English editions of The Ideal Sex Life were prefaced with note from the translator, who claims not to have read the whole book, yet, and that "it might be wise to explain that the translator is not necessarily in agreement with all the opinions expressed by the author."
That's probably a smart move, since that author does test the limits of free expression in America. "The seperation of the sexes is not absolute," he declares, and "Sexual stimulation excites an agreeable warmth, which glows in our faces."
He argues that nocturnal emissions are a sign of virility rather than sinfulness and adds that they and the "normal copulation act [are] as soothing as bloodletting." He's openly enthusiastic about his subject, prone to declarations like, "The most extraordinary thing about the testicles is . . . "
And then there's this:
"In all savage races, the first complete erection is always greeted with joy. Now, for the first time, the youth is permitted to take his place as an adult . . . In our own civilization, and with our clothing, there is no proper appreciation of this developmental phenomenon. It must, unfortunately, be concealed. This concealment spoils our character."
Even the lusty Americans of today cannot match this old German's salty spirit. Imagine parents at a PTA meeting suggesting that there's something deeply improper about kids' erection-concealment.
Sometimes it seems that the comedy in Rutgers' book might be the fault of that prim translator. But at others it's clear that much of the fault lie in the original. In what language would the following comparison be helpful?
"If we just think of a tiny swelling caused by an insect sting, when we start to rub it the irritation becomes ever more intense, until we have scratched it open and fluid exudes. So also the seminal pressure."
Fortunately, that comparison never caught on, and the young men of America never took up lines like, "Say, baby, I got a mosquito bite in my pants, and it's ready to yield some pus."
Next: A secretion contest and the book's crazy highlight