Sex: Methods and Manners
Progressive sex talk in the 50's
I bought this book because I read somewhere that one of the authors was a progressive writer for his time. So a 1950's era book on the methods and manners of sex seemed a good place to investigate.
All of this is assumed to be within the context of heterosexual marriage, but more importantly, within the context of respect for the lover and for mutual pleasure.
The authors are certainly ahead of their time, although still cringe-worthy in retrospect at times. The first chapter centers on the hymen and the virgin, recommending new husbands to skip the hymen inspection for proof of virginity. In fact, both partners are counseled to pretend the wife is a virgin regardless of reality.
Once you get beyond the bulk of the lecturing and moralizing at the front and back of the book, it turns out this is a rather fantastic sex and arousal guide. It is predominantly written for men, although with the numbers of women who are also ignorant and inexperienced with their own sexual arousal and gratification, it is assumed women may be reading it as well. And it is written for men who may have had a few sexual encounters, but not with the woman they are marrying. I would love to see this book modernized and rewritten with a tone and editorial overlay more inline with our current culture.
Desire vs Arousal
A subtle but important and often overlooked element to their presentation is the differentiation between desire and arousal. Desire relates to those turn ons that can be electrifying between two people who are attracted to one another, but will not produce an orgasm no matter how much you do it or how hard you try.
For example, you can brush up against each other in passing or under a table and be all wired up because of it, but you brush legs all day long and you're not going to orgasm.
Arousal is what will take you to orgasm. Arousal has identifiable and replicable stages that eventually lead to a fantastic sense of completion and pleasure for both a man and a woman. Berg & Street give a straight-forward account of arousal leading up to and including orgasm, emphasizing the woman since men already have advantages that need little explication. There is no "sexy" hype involved, or titillating verbal flirtations. It's a how-to book; it goes at a fast pace; is comprehensive and accurate.
Sex: Methods & Manners by Louis Berg, M.D. and Robert Street (1953)