Trivia

History of Sex and Sexuality from 1920 to 1951

About the history of sex and sexuality from 1920 to 1951 A.D. including trivia about bigamy, the erotic circus, and Gandhi.

UNCENSORED HIGHLIGHTS IN THE HISTORY OF SEX

1920s The League of Nations organized a 35-nation conference on "the Suppression of International Traffic in Obscene Materials." Unable to agree on a single working definition of "obscene," the council nonetheless discussed many methods of purging obscenity from the world.

1922 In a Sheffield, England, courtroom, accused bigamist Theresa Vaughn admitted under oath that in the past five years she had acquired 61 husbands in 50 cities throughout England, Germany, and South Africa, averaging a marriage a month.

1924 Andre Gide (1869-1951), a French writer, in his autobiographical novel If It Die, became the first important modern public figure to declare publicly that he was a homosexual.

1928 The first volume of the encyclopedic Bilder-Lexikon der Erotik, embracing every imaginable aspect of sex and lavishly illustrated, was printed in Germany. Used editions currently sell for over $300.

1930s Wedding-night ritual in Egypt was still highlighted by the husband's manual defloration of his presumably virgin bride. Generally, the husband would cover his index finger with a muslin cloth, pierce his wife's hymen, and then present the blood-stained cloth to her parents as evidence of her prenuptial chastity.

1930s An underground amusement called le cirque erotique--the erotic circus--flourished in Paris. Nude women bicycled speedily around an indoor track while spectators bet on which cyclist would reach orgasm first from the rubbing of clitoris against bicycle seat.

1934 Henry Miller brought out The Tropic of Cancer in Paris. "At last," said poet Ezra Pound, "an unprintable book that is fit to read."

1938 The Roman Catholic-oriented National Organization for Decent Literature was founded. In the years to come it would condemn such works as C. S. Forester's The African Queen, Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific, and Christopher Morley's Kitty Foyle.

1945 The French government created the Commission of Control, a Ministry of Information subdivision empowered not only to censor all movies shown in France, but to review the scripts of all films prior to shooting.

1946 Mahatma Gandhi, Indian leader, publicly confessed that he had been taking naked girls to bed with him for many years--to test his mastery of celibacy.

1946 Charging Kathleen Winsor's Forever Amber with being obscene, the state of Massachusetts made an attempt to ban its sale. Attorney General George Rowell supported his request for the ban by charging that the novel contained the following: 70 references to sexual intercourse; 39 illegitimate pregnancies; 7 abortions; 10 descriptions of women dressing, undressing, or bathing in the presence of gentlemen; 5 references to incest; 13 references ridiculing marriage; 49 "miscellaneous objectionable passages." Afterwards, one radio comedian was censored for suggesting that Miss Winsor should have called her book Forever Under.

1948 Dr. Alfred Kinsey and associates published Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, to be followed five years later by Sexual Behavior in the Human Female.

1951 A nationwide census in India indicated there were nearly 3 million husbands and more than 6 million wives between 5 and 14 years old.

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