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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Aristotle's sex manual going under the hammer 200 years after it was banned from sale in Britain

By Victoria Lee

It first appeared around 1680 and provided information for amateur midwives and young married couples about pregnancy and sex

A copy of the once-banned book titled 'Aristotle's Compleat Master-Piece' Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

An early manual on sex and pregnancy is expected to fetch up to £400 when it goes under the hammer this month.
Aristotle's Compleat Master-Piece first appeared around 1680 and was banned from sale in the UK for more than 200 years.
It provided information for amateur midwives and young married couples about pregnancy and sex.
The hugely popular manual was banned in the mid-18th century and remained a forbidden text until the prohibition was lifted in the 1960s.
Cathy Marsden, a book specialist at the auctioneers, said: "It was very popular. It was probably the most printed text of its kind and it went through a lot of editions.

(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

"The book includes dire warnings about the possible consequences of extra-marital sex. To the modern reader, it tells an amazing story of the changing perspectives on sex.
"There's nothing in it that would really be considered dirty in our society now. It's funny more than anything," Ms Marsden said.
"There are also interesting bits about the 17th century notion that it was considered beneficial for a woman to enjoy sexual intercourse in order to conceive. It suggests that both men and women should enjoy sex.

"That's interesting because much later on, when they realised that a woman didn't have to climax in order to conceive, the idea of a woman enjoying sex was considered far less important."
The book was attributed to Aristotle but there is little, if any, of his work in the text. Nothing is known of the actual author of the piece.
The edition being auctioned at Lyon & Turnbull is thought to have been published around 1766. It will go under the hammer in Edinburgh on Wednesday January 16.


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