Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Art of Dating PART 1

My dearest Readers,

One does not have to wander far back into history to be utterly astonished by the wisdom (or lack of...) pertaining to relationships between men and women. In past posts, I've explored little books similar to the one I will be exploring today, but this one takes the cake. Let us explore life back in the day when your grandmother and grandfather were 'hip and dating'. We'll break down the chapters together. Though mind you, there is so much good stuff in this book, so you'd best believe I'll be returning to this subject in April with a glorious Part 2, after the launch of my Scandal books series (because I have something special planned for January, February and March). So the book? THE ART OF DATING, Necking, Petting & Popularity: Wisdom from the 1940's.

Chapter One covers the age old question: SHOULD YOU DATE? Actually...this is the most promising part of the entire book, lol. Which doesn't say much about the book, does it? It simply states that dating should be encouraged to allow people to make better choices when it comes to lifelong partners. Fair enough and wise.

Let's move on to Chapter Two, shall we? Oh, yes, we shall. DATES TO AVOID. This is where we all realize that our generation isn't as screwed up as we think it is. Some of the dates to avoid? Girl-made dates. And I quote: "The girl taking the initiative and asking a young man...this method is not popular, and it is doubtful if it will ever be." (Hahahahahahaha....that's just us women having the last laugh. But wait! There's more!). "Stalking is justifiable and natural. Fellows like it and call it cute..." (This is before Fatal Attraction hit movie theatres...).

Other dates to avoid? Blind dates. Why? "You can soon lose your good name by going out with a person whose reputation is unknown to you." In other words, reputation first. Safety last. Heh. Stalkers are cute, after all, right? Of course, right. Another date to avoid? Pick ups. No, not pick up lines. Meaning, don't pick up hitchhikers, people on the street and strangers. And I quote: "Discriminating people will have more self-respect than to make chance acquaintances...the risk involved makes the chance too dangerous an experiment with which to trifle." (And yet stalking is okay....) And the last type of date to avoid? Mail order dates. That's what they called those Male seeking Female type ads in the paper. Makes it sound so...wild west-ish, don't it? Bottom line, according to the author: "It does not fulfill the true objective of dating." And what is the true objective of dating back in 1940? No, it's not to screw as many totally hot people as you can. *shame on you* It's "to fit young people for love and marriage." *Deep breath and romantic*

Chapter Three: HOW TO GET A DATE. (Hey, you may learn something here)

1.) Study the technique of your successful rival (meaning the person scoring all the dates)

2.) Study yourself. Read the chapter "How to be Popular" (snort...that's my snort, by the way.)

3.)Make yourself available (and no, not in *that* way!) Make it possible for others to meet you.

4.)Take a select few into your confidence

5.)Be especially kind to your parents' guests (Because you *really* wanna date your dad's friends, lol...omgod...can you imagine?!)

6.) Respect others and yourself (hey...this is good advice for a young woman)

7.) Forget past dates ('s hard not to compare, isn't it?)

8.) Exercise reserve (all the women today would be screwed if thrown back into the 40's)

Oh, yes. This is just the beginning of your 1940's lesson on dating. Of'll have to wait until April for Part 2...but no worries! In January, February and March, I'll keep you all busy with giveaways and interesting tid bits of history to celebrate the launch of my back to back scandal series (yes, this is a sales pitch). That said, I will leave you to ponder this advice and warning from our little book: "The type of person who would neck with a stranger would go on to petting." Would you neck with a stranger? Hmmmmmm.....guess that makes me a total slut in 1940's standard.
Until next time,

Cheers and much love,

Delilah Marvelle

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Illusive history of the Merkin

My dearest Reader,
I apologize ahead of time, but will confess that this post will most likely not go beyond a few measly paragraphs. It has nothing to do with my being lazy, but the topic itself. The ever illusive history of the merkin. What, pray tell, is a merkin? Well, it's a wig. A *pubic* wig. And they've been around for a VERY long time. The merkin itself was believed to have made its appearance about 1450, according to the Oxford Companion to the Body. I have no doubt whatsoever that it was around much longer than that obviously if there is no documented proof of it, then one cannot readily say it. While The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language claims that the word "merkin" is a corruption of the word "malkin" (which in c.1400 meant 'mop' as well as 'lower class woman'), I am going to be a total snot and disagree based off of my own piecing together of bits of history pertaining to the merkin. Now before you snicker and wonder why the hell I would even spend any time researching a pubic wig, I assure you, I wasn't in the least bit interested in researching it. Seriously!!! It sort of...well...fell into my lap. Ehm. Bad pun, I know. But here's what I found on my own, as very little is known about the detailed history of the merkin.
The idea behind the merkin itself seems to have originated from prostitutes. And not for the kinky reasons you think. Merkins were mini wigs pieced together with goat hair, horse hair or human hair. Should I mention that most human hair for wigs of those times were taken from corpses? Nice thought. Unlike real pubic hair, the merkin could be removed, boiled or placed in an oven to kill lice and anything else living in it. Prostitutes who were forced to shave off their pubic hair due to pubic lice had to quickly cover that area up and I'm guessing that the Renaissance period, in particular, had something to do with it. People in that era found pubic baldness extremely funny, and well, a prostitute couldn't readily be seen as a dunce if she's to make money. Merkins also hid something even more sinister. Venereal disease. A good merkin would cover sores from syphilis and gonorrhea. Women who were being treated with mercury usually also suffered from pubic balding.
How were they attached? Now this, I don't know. I've tried digging that up but was unable to find any sources that would give me documented proof of how it was physically attached. I'm guessing it was tied into place and in turn made it look festive and decorative. Maybe ribbons (if the prostitute could afford them, that is).
So...getting back to me being a snot. I disagree with The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language based of the following: It's all about connecting dots and realizing that slang changes and the use of a word can arise from a different origin than expected. According to Groses's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1795) the merkin was defined as "counterfeit hair for the monosyllable." (Monosyllable was Grose's reference to the woman's crotch, lol). Now right after his brief little definition of the merkin is an interesting addition that states, "See Bailey's Dictionary". So what did I do? I went over and looked into Bailey's Dictionary (the one published in 1675 which wasn't cleaned up in later additions) and found his definition of the Merkin. And guess what? It wasn't a pubic wig at all, but this: "A dangerous port in Cornwall called such from the many storms arising there." When I read that, I immediately thought, "Wait. What real connection does the merkin have to 'malkin' other than 'mop' and 'lower class woman?' How did they make this connection? They had no texts or documentation they used to make that connection and they even stated that as such. It's an assumption that merkin is a corruption of malkin. But here's the thing. It was noted in many texts back in the day that men who recognized a woman as wearing a merkin was dealing with a dangerous situation...meaning she was disease ridden and covering it up. And so this dangerous "port" where "storms arise" known as "Merkin" seems like a much bigger connection to the actual origin of the word merkin than "malkin." WOW. It's very possible I have stumbled upon something that has baffled scholars for decades...heh...that is if merkins were a subject of interest to great historical scholars...
Until next time,
Cheers and much love,
Delilah Marvelle

Friday, October 1, 2010


My dearest Reader,
I thought it time I cover the subject of courtesans. There is a lot of misconception as to how a courtesan went about her business and how society reacted to her. So I shall try my darnest to ensure we dispel with those dang misconceptions.

Though these women may have started on the streets, they were different from others not just in beauty but also in wit and the ability to entertain any man with the flick of a wrist while making it all look very respectable. She was a woman who dared break the rules with men and women alike. It is the high etiquette of whoring and the art of eroticizing not only her behavior in the bedchamber but her whole way of life. All of her lends to the idea of pleasing men whilst pleasing herself.

Beautiful, neat, clean, fashionable, cunning at the card table and games, proficient in arithmetic, language, be able to recite poetry, play at least two musical instruments and be a proficient singer. A true courtesan lives respectably in the sense that she would never be seen in a brothel or bartering herself on the streets like a common whore. Any and all terms and conditions were made into legal documents, drawn up and witnessed by lawyers. She had the business acumen of a merchant capitalist. She survived on her woman’s wit in a man’s world. They take control of their own lives knowing it comes at a high cost. The most successful courtesans were those that were able to distinguish themselves from every other pretty face.

Courtesans were admired, emulated, courted and even wed within the realm of London society since the 1700’s and yet readers and writers alike have a modern way of thinking that is warped. While other parts of the world had laws and regulations that kept courtesans in their place, no such limitations existed in London. Even in 1879 when French courtesan and actress Sarah Bernhardt came into London and attended the theatre, she was publicly hailed by all. Some even physically knelt before her, including several men of the aristocracy. She was invited to dinners and rides in Rotten Row alongside nobility by top London society. Not to say that people weren’t outraged by this, but to say that these women were outright shunned is a bloody lie. A courtesan was only really considered dangerous to society because she leveled out the playing field between all classes, not just financially but morally. What if respectable women wanted to be independent too? Then what?

These women sought more than money, they sought independence and power in a man’s world and knew how to bring men to their knees not just physically but emotionally while making them pay for it. Many rose from the beds of their protectors into the ranks of aristocracy, though many also snubbed marriage to such men for they knew the moment they submitted to matrimony, they revert to a sense of powerlessness. To rise in the ranks of society as a courtesan, she had to frequent places of society, as well as best display all of their assets, while demonstrating refinement. Having her own theatre or opera box was key. It was an investment similar to taking out a billboard. She also attended pleasure gardens, halls, masquerades, rode her horse, mingling publicly with people well below herself. People not only tolerated it, there were crowds of men and women of all classes and quality who gathered to witness her public displays. She was a celebrity in her own right usually made a celebrity by an aristocrat who had ‘discovered’ her.

She attended dance halls to upkeep business or start it. The most luxurious and fashionable of dance halls during the Victorian era was the Portland Rooms, known as Mott’s, where the most expensive courtesans sought customers between midnight and four or five in the morning. A dress code was enforced: gentlemen not wearing dress coats and white waistcoats were refused admission. Skittles was known to frequent Mott’s, even though she was one of the highest paid courtesans of her time. It was all about building her brand. Men who wanted to engage her, usually sent other men to her door asking if she was interested. Think of grade school all over again...

A well to do courtesan had to do more than look good, she had to live the lifestyle she was selling herself to. She could have up to as many as thirty servants and some were known to boast not one, not two, but THREE chefs, not including the kitchen staff. All servants were attired in elaborate, expensive liveries. Her home was decorated with fresh flowers at all times, all the rooms were scented with patchouli and vetiver. Every room held the most expensive and latest in furnishings. Her china alone would put the Queen’s set to shame. She kept a carriage and four AND several other vehicles that would best display her as she rides. She was never vulgar in appearance and she looked like a woman of the first rank. She enhanced her beauty with rouge, milk of roses, strawberry water and even used the ridiculously expensive pearl powder available for a guinea an ounce to enhance complexions. If she had freckles, she covered them like any other respectable lady.

Just her upkeep each year from milliner to hats, shows, stays, perfume, jewelry, and hosiery alone could be worth 8,000 pounds. Which is nearly half a million dollars a year, not including housekeeping, servant’s wages, furniture, travelling, horses, theatres, opera and any form of entertainment. She had to have skills of laying out a dinner party to match those of erotic technique. The way she sat and spoke and arranged the folds of her gown exceeded that of nobility.

Cora Pearl is quoted as saying, “My independence is my real fortune.” In 1864, the craze in Paris was for women to have bright red hair, which they obtained by applying a mixture of ammonia and powdered brick dust. Cora Pearl whose hair was dark, was the first to unfurl the fashion in London. She even dyed her dog blue to match one of her outfits (unfortunately, the dog died shortly afterward....) There's much more to cover on this subject, but we can't have your eyes rolling to the back of your head. I promise to touch on courtesans more throughout the coming months.
Until next time...
Cheers and much love,
Delilah Marvelle

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beggar's Benison

My dearest Readers,
Ever heard of Beggar's Benison? (Without googling it, that is?) I'll be vastly impressed if you have. Obviously, because I am dedicating an entire post to it, you already know what it guessed! Beggar's Benison was a Scottish Sex Club founded in 1732 by John McNachtane (no...he's not pictured above). The picture above is more of a toast to its crazy members. And crazy they were.

So...let's start our little story of how this sex club came to be. Benison means blessing. James V was a notorious shagger and it goes back to being a tip of the hat to him. Supposedly, he had a beggar woman carry him over a river because he didn't want to get his feet wet (what a man). After the woman got paid for her noble deed (and no doubt shagged, as well), she supposed said to him: "May your purse naer (never) be toon (empty) and your horn (penis) aye (always) be in bloom (erect)." How would you like to be transported to those days, eh? Where you don't know if people are insulting you or coming on to you? Smirk. This saying got tweaked by the founding members and their motto became "May your prick nor purse never fail." After all, you need a hard on AND money to make the magic happen.

The members of Beggar's Benison delighted in being shocking. During the 1730's, the latest health scare was...oh dear god...masturbation. So these male members (not to be confused with the lower half, ehm) of polite society decided to get together and give society the ultimate FU. Aside from creating an exclusive sex club for the upper class, they masturbated each other and before each other to demonstrate how good for one's health it really was. Sexy, eh? I could imagine all the grunting going on behind closed doors...

This exclusive sex club grew steadily in popularity and soon had branches located in Edinburgh, Glasgow and St. Petersburg. Yes. It had become what we define a 'chain.' They gave the term make 'merry' a whole new meaning. For those of you that don't know, 'merry' in the 1700's was a euphemism for sex. Heh. Who were these members? King George IV of England many aristocrats both English and Scottish. Members would perform sexual acts on each other and watch local girls dance naked as well as set women 'spread eagle' for scientific observation. They had communal heavy drinking and indulged in outlandish food like sheep heads with fruit bursting from the mouth and ears.

Now before you start thinking these were just a bunch of guys having sex with girls in the 'club' - you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Aside form jerking each other off and discussing their sexual encounters with women and all of the fantasies, the club itself wasn't used to host orgies with women. Sex was a serious subject worthy of scientific inquiry to these men (any man, I say...). They kept detailed records of discussions and their inquiries into 'sex.' Such as? One talk in 1753 strongly argued for contraception for a woman so she could be in complete control of her sexuality. Impressive, yes? Allow me to quote their argument: "Sexual embrace should be independent of the dread of conception which blasts the prospects of the female." Ah. Which means, they are arguing that a woman is less likely to engage men due to her fear of conception and as such she should totally HAVE contraception. So she'd be more willing to spread her legs. A tad selfish? You freakin' bet. But hey. They were far more progressive than the rest of the men around them.

Female pubic hair fascinated these members (actually, all men in those days were obsessed with it). Supposedly, the club's most prizes possession was a wig made out of all of the pubic hairs of King George's mistresses. During special ceremonies, each member was allowed to kiss the wig (I'm already spitting at the thought) and one lucky member would actually wear it for the night. Seriously. I know I would have never taken any of these men seriously. Especially the one wearing the female pubic hair wig...gah! When this prized wig was supposedly given away to a competing sex club by a disgruntled member, everyone raged and panicked...until King George enthusiastically supplied another one. Men. Gotta love their pride and their spirit.

Until next time,
Cheers and much love,
Delilah Marvelle

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The History of Contraceptives

My dearest Readers,
Throughout history, women have scrounged for ways to unearth the greatest skill no man seemed to be able to understand: effective contraception. Looking back on history, men's only real effective form of contraception in history (prior to the 1900's) was what was known as onanism. Meaning spilling sperm outside the womb. Big freakin whoo-hoo, I say. It was believed by many throughout history that a man would suffer from hearing, memory and eyesight loss and even consumption if he DID NOT spill their seed into the womb.

Needless to say, it became obvious to our fellow women that men really weren't all that reliable when it came to preventing pregnancy. It was up to her and her alone to prevent that pregnancy. Times haven't really changed ALL that much...have they? So let us quickly delve into the idea of contraception.
Egyptians were pretty savvy and were the first (at least documented) to create the idea of contraception. They realized that if something were "inserted" thus blocking the inner area of interest, pregnancy could be avoided. What exactly did they use to create this blockade? Sun dried crocodile dung smeared with honey. It was inserted into the vagina and poof! You had a diaphragm. And freakin yeast infections, no doubt. *Shuddering*

It became pretty clear to Greeks that abstaining during certain periods of time when a woman was most fertile was important to the prevention of pregnancy. Only...Greeks believed women were most fertile during menstruation itself. Hence the tradition of not engaging a woman during menstruation (and not just because it's messy and gross). Doctors were unable to provide women with real effective and "safe" days until the 1930's.

Constant misunderstanding of the female body and how it worked up until the 1930's meant women had to rely on potions and treatments and whatever the hell they could get their hands on. Trial and error allowed them to determine what was passed on from generation to generation and what was a bad idea. Men weren't all that helpful, either. Male Greeks believed drinking the water blacksmiths used to dip their hot iron tools into was a form of birth control. What moron actually thought this was effective most likely never drank the water himself. Gives a whole new meaning to the term "Must be something in the water."

Throughout history, other methods of contraception included mixing in urine with food or drinks, mercury, and arsenic. All to be ingested and were praised as being very effective. It was. It made a woman sterile and caused brain damage. Only they didn't know that. They just knew it worked. Other methods included "dislodging" the sperm. Greeks had methods of having a woman jump backwards several times. The whole not letting the sperm spatter the womb simply wasn't all that popular. Which again left a female to do all the jumping. Backwards.

Prostitutes since the 1500's were known to use methods of douches to "clean out" the sperm.
But the whole barrier idea seemed to be the most popular and most used. Soft wool soaked in lemon juice and/or vinegar would be lodged up into the area. Beeswax was also used, rolled and shaped to fit into the area. Lemons sliced in half and inserted was also considered effective, due to the acidity that killed the sperm and the lemon itself that created a barrier from the sperm. Believe it or not, thimbles and wooden "objects" were also crammed up in there, though its popularity died quick. Can you guess why? If you can't, I dare you try it and see if you last during a session.

Other methods throughout history include women tying weasel testicles to their legs during sex. Attractive? No. Effective? No. So why did they try it? Because some moron told them it worked. Think of the diet fads of today. People are willing to try anything. The closed buds of opiums were also used as diaphragms. Heaven only knows if a female was even conscious during intercourse because of side effects, but hey. It wasn't about her pleasure anyway, was it?

Since the middle ages, herbal preparations were created to "bring on" a woman's menses. Meaning, almost like a morning after pill. Only it wasn't usually taken the morning after, but during "the scare." Plants like Calamint, Cypress, Agrimony, Horehound, Juniper, Rue and Safe were passed on for generations. Women would create special brews (teas, in theory) with these plants and drink the mixture to bring on their menses.

The first published book to assist in such things was CULPEPER'S COMPLETE HERBAL. It was published in the 1600's and recommended using eringo, sea holly, black hellebore and royalpenny. If boiled and then drank, it brought on menses. Which meant, it was a form of self-abortion. In cases where such remedies were not effective, there were brutal backstreet abortionists, which the kitchen knife technique which scarred the womb and not known to them, prevented future pregnancies (if it didn't kill them). Inducing a miscarriage by herbal or any other mean, however, because a statutory offence for the first time in history in England, in 1803. This law was ironically passed by men who also believed spilling outside the womb was lethal to a man's health.

While condoms had been around since the early 1600's, it wasn't used for contraception but prevention of disease. Casanova was the first to use condoms for contraception. Condoms became more popular for the use of contraception with Mr. Goodyear, who in the 1860's created the "rubber" condom, crushing the whole intestine made condom with his invention. And yes, it's the same Goodyear who made tires. Women have come a long way with regard to contraception, but one thing hasn't changed since the beginning of time. Almost 95% of birth control is imposed on the female, not the male. There are no "birth control pills" for men. No IUDs for their cocks. No special drinks or potions. They either get their tubes snipped, pull out at the right time or use a condom. And most men complain about the inconvenience of all of the above. It's enough to make a woman think "Hmmm." And get pissed.
Until next time.
Cheers and much love,
Delilah Marvelle

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Art of Hiving

My dearest Readers,

Quick question: What does a handkerchief, honey, bees and a woman's vagina have in common? Ah...that is the beauty of history. There are always hidden little secrets throughout history to be exposed (pun intended) by those most fascinated by it. We all know about really bizarre sexual antics people conduct today (do I need to name them?) Which is why it shouldn't surprise anyone that the Victorians had some really BIZARRE ideas as to what was considered sexually exciting or beneficial. One sexual art in particular was known as the Art of Hiving. It was specifically for virgins who wanted to remain virgins but wanted to experience ecstasy in its truest form without a man. Men be scared. Be very scared. Or rather...I should say, "Women, be scared. Be very scared. And DON'T DO IT!"

Curious? That's good. You should be. Any concept as to what this involves? I'm sure you have SOME idea, but instead of putting it into *my* words, I will allow you to step into history and experience it as someone from 1873 would have.

Here is the excerpt from Harper's Bizarre issue from March of 1873 chronicles:

"A table spoon of honey is dabbed on the vagina with a silk handkerchief. The jar containing the bees is then placed under the honeyed canal attracting the insects. I observed this ritual in the back room of a playhouse in Kensington. A young woman, who shall remain nameless as to conceal her good name, prepares to receive the four insects. Sharp stings yield cries of pain and eventually tears. The practice of hiving has been advertised as originating in the Orient as a way to receive pleasure whilst maintaining chastity. Advertisements in newspapers trumpet sayings like "intense ecstasy" and "superior than virile males." The Archbishop of Canterbury has condemned the craze calling it "Ungodly." The Queen has made no officially comment, but rumors circulate in taverns that midnight shipments of bee hives have entered Buckingham Palace..."

I have a feeling a man in the orient thought it'd be funny to mess with the Brits who were all freakin' uptight...It didn't take long before these circulating advertisements were considered infomercials gone wrong....needless to say, if a gal of those times REALLY wanted to experience ecstasy whilst retaining her chastity, it's called MASTURBATION PEOPLE. Aren't you glad we only have Twilight book/movie fads and not Hiving fads? Of course you are.
Until next time...

Much love,
Delilah Marvelle

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Venus Unmasked

My dearest Readers,
Prior to the prudery of the Victorian era that then smudged and suffocated and warped our present way of thinking about sex, passion and pleasure, there was a world that frolicked in endless bawdy ways. Prior to the Victorians, views toward pleasure was held in a more lush and flavorful light. There was an edgier sense of freedom that even we ourselves lack today.

One of my favorite books to reflect that bawdy playfulness I am referring to is VENUS UNMASKED which was compiled by Leonard de Vries and Peter Fryer. The book is well out of print (1967) but if you ever happen to get your hot little hands on it, you'll be in for quite a treat and it's worth whatever money you spend on it. This salacious 225 page book contains the most popular literature to have been scribed, read and shared by Londoners throughout the 1700's. The most fascinating aspect of this book is it echoes what people loved to read most about. And what do you think that was??? Love and sex. Lots and lots of sex. Think of the modern historical romance (such as what I write, with sex and all) being written by novelists back then, though set in their 'contemporary' world. These works included MEMOIRS OF A WOMAN OF PLEASURE (1749...also known as Fanny Hill), PAMELA (1740), and CLARISSA (1747) -- to name a few. Heroines found themselves compromised by heroes and villains alike and anyone else who happened to be passing by, lol.

People were fascinated by sex. When they weren't *doing it*, they were *reading it*. And the 1700's wasn't really the starting was actually a boiling point that peaked into the early 1800's and was crushed by moralizers and quacks. Prior to the 1700's itself, there were various "sexologists" who published sex manuals for the public to purchase and learn from and have fun with. One of the most popular sexologists of his time was Nicolas Venette (1622-1698). And yes, he was French. His work 'Tableau de l'amour considere dans l'estat du mariage' which was published in Amsterdam in 1687. He was a royal professor who specialized in surgery and anatomy who had studied medicine in France and then found his way into Portugal and Italy. Needless to say, his visits to Italy is what *inspired* him (no surprise). He came across various medical manuscripts that had been published and circulated in the Dark Ages as well as sex manuals that had been published by a certain Sinibaldi in Rome in 1642. Nicolas was inspired to mesh all of them together while giving his own take on sex. Only the guy decided not to put his name on it. Instead, he published it under the name of Salocini (yeah, blame it on those Italians, seeing French are always so bashed). It was a huge success, being translated into German, English and Dutch and going into several print runs. It was published in English as THE MYSTERIES OF CONJUGAL LOVE REVEALED and the author was simply known as 'The Gentleman.' (Heh...yeah...right).

The popularity of the book, however, demonstrated that people really, really REALLY wanted to know more about sex. Women and men alike were buying the book in droves. Although people started to bitch that the results weren't quite what they expected...(and personally, I don't blame them). Are you curious to know what was in his *sex manual*? But of course you are. Are you curious enough to want to read excerpts? But of course you are. Should I make you beg?? No. You won't have to (it's not worth it).

So here it is (brace yourself):
"Too long or too big members are neither proper for copulation (so big is bad? You have to wonder if Nicolas was, you know, LACKING), so that for convenience a man's part ought to be middle sized."

He goes on:
"Admitting it true what physiognomists say, viz. that men with big noses have also stout members (damn...this is still circulating even after hundreds of years!), as also that they are more robust and courageous than others; we have no reason to wonder at Heliogablus's making choice of big nosed soldiers, that he might be able to undertake great expeditions with small numbers (no comment) and oppose his enemy with great vigour. But at the same time, he did not take notice that well-hung men are the greatest blockheads and the most stupid of mankind (jealous much?)"

And he goes on:
"At what age a young man and a young woman ought to marry? Count a man perfect at 25 and a woman at 20, for such a man wants nothing at that age to content a woman (what?). His seed is fertile and will be able to get a woman with child even against the will of the owner (where the freak was his editor?! Editor!!!)."

And he goes on:
"When we caress a woman after dinner, we recruit in some measure our forces at supper, and increase them with sleep the ensuing night. Whereas if we kiss after supper, we have nothing but the night's rest to reimburse us of what we are out of pocket. (Sigh...I don't get it). The greater the pleasures are, the more pain they cause. I have known men, who not being entirely recovered from illness, have died after caressing their wives (dude, stop, stop!). However, if we must commit an error, 'tis better to do it upon a full than empty stomach."

And he goes on and on:
"How many times one may amorously caress one's wife in a night (can we get some female perspective in on this please?). Vanity is a passion natural to man (AMEN). Whence I am apt to believe that the efforts we are able to make near a woman in one night cannot amount to above four or five times (so there you have it...let your husbands know that 4-5 times a night is a respectable number Nicolas approves of).

And last but not least (because honestly, he's beginning to annoy me):
"Whether the man feels more pleasure in enjoyment than the woman. There is no doubt that our privy parts are more sensible than those of woman, whereas the women's parts are fleshy and less sensible (book burning anyone?). We also have a firmer mind, and stronger fancy than women. The filaments of our brain are more stretched and hard, and when we love, 'tis with greater force and spirit. Women to the contrary are of a more inconstant mind, and weaker fancy. The fibres of the brain are softer and more flexible, and though they appear to love more ardently, they do not feel as much as we do. (I'd like to bring this guy back from the dead and introduce him to the modern woman and see if he ever gets any ever again)."

There are pages and pages and PAGES that go on just like this. And this manual was supposed to *help* people. It was no wonder people started turning to fiction....ehm.
And on that note, until next time...
Cheers and much love,
Delilah Marvelle

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Incredibly Naughty Life of Casanova Part 3

My dearest Readers,
This Part 3 will finish the mini series pertaining to Casanova. Though I gave you glimpses, I highly recommend you consider reading his memoirs. He went a little crazy (wrote freakin volumes and volumes...) but the stories the man has to tell were amazing and naughty, naughty, naughty. VERY well worth the read. Wicked grin. That said, let us jump right in and finish his sweeping history with a grand bow.

The above mask you see is taken from a museum in Venice which Casanova himself graced during his lifetime. Oh, to have worn the same mask as he and to have peered through those eyes! As Casanova grew older, his adventures slowly dwindled (most likely because his looks were fading and the cock wasn't what it used to be...). But to the very end, he never quite felt at home anywhere or felt as if he could rest in any one lady's arms. Throughout his lifetime he had done everything a man could ever hope (and things men usually avoid). He bed hundreds of women, dined with the finest and the lowest, fought several duels (and lived to tell about it each time), suffered from 11 venereal diseases (including gonorrhoea, soft chancre, herpes, and, eh?), survived smallpox, epistaxis, pneumonia, gout, malaria (several times), was a priest (he should have stayed one...), a librarian, a chemist, a novelist, a military man, con-man, pimp, prisoner, dancer, cook, lottery organizer, lawyer, spy, mathematician, violinist, playwright, police agent, mining consultant, silk manufacturer, spoke several languages (the more he knew, the more he could romance, after all), had seen most of Europe...He truly had done and seen it all, which -- despite the diseases -- is why Casanova TO ME is my favorite historic male figure. He was anything but perfect, but he had humor, genius and knew how to listen to a woman (and not just for the sake of wanting to get some...)

But as he grew older, Casanova's body started feeling the rough life he had led. He was one to have always thought nothing, not even a venereal disease could keep him down (or his pants up). And he started longing gazing on days of old. Days when Prince de Ligne once wrote to him saying, "One is never old with your heart, your genius and your stomach."
In February 1798, he fell very ill when mercury treatments were obstructing his urinary tract (ouch...). Despite having never been close to family and that they had long passed on, he found that he had acquired many close friends (men and women alike) who all flocked to his side and assist as his deteriorating state. They would send him craw fish for craw fish soup, which was Casanova's favorite dish his whole life (in his memoirs he claims his mother had often craved it during pregnancy and he had acquired a taste for it long before he ever came into the world).

On On June 4th 1798, at the age of 73, he died. His last words were, "Almighty God, and you witnesses of my death, I have lived as a philosopher and die as a Christian."

In closing, instead of leaving it upon his death, I would like to give a playful wink to the man and end this post with a few of his own quotes that I feel represent this amazing, true Renaissance man.
"The same principle that forbids me to lie, does not allow me to tell the truth."
"I have concluded that my conduct has depended more on my character than on my mind, though I struggle between the two."
"I am writing MY LIFE to laugh at myself and am succeeding."

And so I bring an end to the incredibly naughty life of Casanova. If you haven't read his volumes MY LIFE, do so. It's one of my favorite historic collections.

Until next time, Much love,
Delilah Marvelle

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Incredibly Naughty Life of Casanova Part 2

My dearest Readers,
I really find it difficult to even *try* to capture the sweeping life of Casanova. Because he was SUCH a freak when it came to life. There wasn't an adventure or a woman or a man or an opportunity he didn't jump on and there wasn't a single person that put the fear of God into him. The one person who was capable of even tightening his collar (his Grandmother) had died, leaving him nothing but a house and furniture. With his collar snapped off and his poor Grandmother buried six feet under he sold everything, and continued with his role as a 'priest' by going to live with his 'father' Grimani in Venice. Not because Casanova had a fondness for the man (they loathed each other...) but because the man had a delectable actress living in his house by the name of La Tintoretta who was known more for her role in bed than good acting on stage.

When Casanova's mother who was living in Poland discovered her son, the 'priest' was living with an actress, she arranged for Casanova to be sent to a Theological Seminary at Murano. 'Tis difficult to convey who was more displeased, the Seminary that had to deal with Casanova or Casanova himself. Hoping to lash back at his mother, during his interview and the admission process, despite being a Doctor of Law, he pretended he had no formal education or training at all. So Casanova was sent to the level entry of learning with much younger students who didn't even know how to read... Needless to say, they quickly figured out Casanova knew a hell of a lot more than he was letting on. To make it worse, one of the younger seminary boys took a fancy to Casanova and to Casanova's astonishment crawled into Casanova's bed one night looking for a little somethin' somethin' to which Casanova denied, for whilst experimental and known to frolic with men on occasion, wasn't feeling THAT experimental at the moment. The boy was naturally upset, informed the school master of Casanova's 'devious' tastes for boys and Casanova found himself whipped and banished. He saw it as a blessing, tossed being a priest to the wind, and commenced a long road of romantic adventures.

The stories are endless. Hell, I could post every month for the next year and STILL not go through all of Casanova's romantic adventures. But I will highlight several of the adventures that I feel best represent him. At Pasiano, he found himself traveling alone in a coach with a recently wed young and beautiful bride traveling to join her husband in another city. He fell immediately in lust. During the ride, as a violent thunderstorm set the stage, he noted that the woman jumped every time there was a crack of thunder and appeared frazzled and frightened by the nature of the storm as their carriage rolled through it. He took advantage of it. He gently offered the woman a few assuring and comforting words, then a few assuring and comforting pats, and then altogether pulled her right onto his lap and held her in his arms, assuring her with a few kisses. Seeing women back then didn't don any 'underwear' the rest was freakin easy for the guy and thunder masked all the noise...

Now if you think Casanova only had a thing for the ladies, think again. He also had a thing for men. He truly enjoyed anything having to do with sex and was always willing to try anything and everything. One of the most interesting experiences he had was after a wedding ball, he noticed a senator, whilst walking past Casanova had 'accidentally' dropped some money, when in fact he was using it to pick up Casanova. Casanova picked up the money and followed the man home, only to find the man had two women waiting and wanted them 'all' to have a good time. Needless to say, Casanova stayed. What is perhaps the most fasctinating aspect about Casanova is this: (and I'm quoting from the book, CASANOVA by John Masters because it is cited so beautifully) "To some women he made love because their female bodies aroused his male desire, to others because he would get money or advantage out of it, to others because he fell in love, and to yet others because it was expected of him and he'd be sneered at if he didn't."

Seeing he was involved with so many women, you'd best believe there were duels. Lots of them. I'll share my favorite one. On March 4th whilst in Warszawa in Poland (yes, the man got around), he went to the ballet and snuck into the one of the ballerina's stage room looking to woo her. In comes some pompous Polish Count by the name of Branicki and announces that he is in love with her and that Casanova had back the fuck off (in tone, probably not words). Casanova who decided the girl wasn't really worth his time anyway, tells the man "Take her." This Count sneered at him and called him a "Venetian coward." Think of BACK TO THE FUTURE and how Michael J.Fox always got riled up whenever someone called him a Chicken. Same thing. Casanova rolled up his sleeves and told the man to meet him outside. The Count never showed, which only further pissed Casanova off because the man got away with calling him a coward. So Casanova went to the man's house and threw down the glove, challenging him to a duel for publicly slandering his name (hey, the dude had a reputation to uphold with the ladies). Despite dueling being illegal in Warszawa, the Count accepted the duel and insisted on pistols (for he had heard Casanova was quite the fencer). When they agreed on a time and a place, Casanova showed up with only the clothes on his back without so much as a servant that would have served as second. Branicki, on the other hand, showed up in a carriage with 'six with coachmen, two grooms leading saddle horses, a lieutenant general and an armed footman inside the carriage with him.' A total of 14 horses and 15 men to deal with ONE Venetian coward. Needless to say Casanova was amused. He went in relaxed whilst Branicki was nervous as hell. They both shot and both got shot. Casanova in the hand, whilst Branicki dead center. All 15 men jumped on Casanova and tried to kill him (not very but Branicki had enough voice within him (and honor) to call off his men and was whisked away to a surgeon. Though Branicki almost died, fortunately for Casanova he lived. Because magistrates were waiting to arrest Casanova if the Count didn't pull through. And so everyone in Warszawa now knew Casanova was no "Venetian coward" but rather a good shot.

And so ends Part 2 (sadly). Next month, return for the conclusion and Part 3 of The Incredibly Naughty Life of Casanova.
Cheers and Much Love,
Delilah Marvelle

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Incredibly Naughty Life of Casanova Part 1

My dearest Readers,
No. The above is not really Casanova, but rather, David Tennant 'playing' Casanova. But I feel it captures the spirit of Casanova beautifully. That devious sparkle and lounging about, not with one woman but two (and sometimes as many as five!) at every turn.

Casanova, what everyone generically knows of him, has been dubbed the ultimate lover. Though I should probably point out that the notion of him being "the ultimate lover" came from him and him alone through his memoirs, THE HISTORY OF MY LIFE. It is a very long history, might I add, so long (volumes and volumes and volumes), I couldn't have possibly done a single post on Casanova. He requires several. As a quick note, however, as wonderful as his memoirs are in relating history, he cannot readily be trusted to relating his OWN history. There are truths sprinkled throughout pertaining to his life, but the one thing every woman has to realize about Casanova is that he always took the ordinary and made it extraordinary. That's why all women loved him. He never settled for ale. He always wanted champagne and wanted everyone to drink it with him. Even though he couldn't afford to buy it...

So let us disregard Casanova's take on his life and delve into the REAL Casanova.

Giacomo Casanova was born on April 2nd 1725 in Venice, Italy. He was born unto a struggling family of actors/dancers (Gaetano Giuseppe Casanova and Zanetta Farussi), setting the stage for what his life would become. An act. It is believed, however, that Zanetta only married Casanova's father and that Casanova himself may have been the son of Michele Grimani who was the owner of the S. Samuele theatre where Zanetta and Gaetano both played. Casanova himself believed he was Grimani's son, mostly due to the fact that he always said things like, "My Mother came back to Venice with her husband." He never refers to Giacamo Casanova as his own father, even though Giacamo was married to his mother. Which is fascinating. According to other sources, Zanetta's next child was not Giacamo's child, either. So as you might imagine, Casanova didn't follow in the footsteps of his father...but rather his MOTHER. The second child, who was Casanova's brother (or half brother) was born in London in 1727 as was said to have been fathered by the Prince of Wales (later King George II), as Zanetta was the Prince's mistress. Casanova had a total of four siblings. Three brothers and one sister.

Casanova's mother left all of her children in the care of her mother in Venice to travel and act all over Europe. It impacted Casanova greatly and in some Freudian aspect, may be why he pursued women so damn much. He was symbolically pursuing his own mother and wanting 'her love.' Casanova himself was very ill as a child and suffered from constant nosebleeds (there's a hero for you!). He remembers his grandmother bringing in 'beautiful women' to try and cure him of his nosebleeds using gifts and incantations. It didn't work but he fondly remembers it and was grateful to every woman who visited. Is it any wonder that with a missing mother and a beautiful woman seeking to cure Casanova's 'ailment' lent itself to the creation of a man who sought to emotionally balm himself with beautiful women? Casanova's nose bleeds didn't stop and eventually a doctor was brought in who insisted Casanova needed a change of air as the density of air in Venice was pushing out the blood from his nose. With Casanova's 'father' now dead, Zanetta, through letters, turned pleadingly to Grimani for assistance in getting him out of Venice. Which lends itself to the story that Grimano most likely WAS Casanova's father, as Zanetta only turned to Grimani whenever Casanova needed assistance, but not when any of her other children needed assistance. Casanova, with the help of his 'father', was moved to Padua. Casanova felt further isolated and felt as if no one wanted him anymore and were using his nosebleeds as an excuse to get rid of him.

One thing that is very striking about Casanova is how sensitive he was about the way people treated him. He paid attention to it and never forgave or forgot anything. He soon found himself in a boarding house with a Slav woman whom he claimed had a mustache and only fed him thin soup, a bit of dried cod and apples. He hated his sleeping arrangement so much (due to the beds having lice AND fleas and three other boys...) that he slept in his classroom instead. He was eventually taken pity upon by his teacher, Dr. Gozzi, who took him into his own home for he thought Casanova had incredible potential as a student. Casanova claims Dr. Gozzi (who was a priest) was a suppressed sodomite, as the man appeared to be 'frightened' of women. This priest lived with his parents and his sister, Bettina. Bettina (who was seven years older than Casanova) became Casanova's first obsession. She flirted with him and encouraged him, but Casanova was only eleven. That didn't stop Bettina. She decided to call him into the house and instructed him to take a bath. Casanova, at the age of eleven, discovered there was more use to his penis than pissing. He experienced his first orgasm at the age of eleven at Bettina's 'hands.' But just as he was thinking he had found his true love, along comes a hairy man of fifteen and shacks up with Bettina, crushing his dreams. Casanova was so devastated (at the age of eleven) that he actually considered murdering them both. Bettina caught smallpox, however, and he did, too, thwarting his plans, and ridding him of his passion once and for all. Bettina ended up marrying two years later, whilst Casanova carried the physically memory of Bettina for the rest of his life: three pockmarks on his face.

At the age of twelve, Casanova entered the University of Padua (yeah, 12 was the old 20 back then...). University life, however, created what would forever be the Casanova we all know. He partied, instead of studying, and gambled so much (at the age of 13) that his grandmother had to yank him out of University life and bring him back to Venice where he was admitted into the order of the Catholic clergy. He was expected to wear a robe, carry no sword and was forbidden to duel. But that was all that was expected of him. However, even THAT was too much constraint for Casanova. He never seemed to get along with any of his patrons or priestly tutors and enjoyed drinking a bit too much (although he was not an alcoholic...). At the age of 17, Casanova received his degree of Doctor of Law and that summer stayed with a peasant family whose daughter forever changed the way he understood women. Her name was Lucia. She being 15, he thought she was much too young to seduce. But he adored her and was madly in love with her. They spent nights upon nights together laying in bed talking and laughing and imagining what life was like. Never once did he make his move, though he wanted to. For in his heart, he felt as if he would become a form of Bettina. Forcing a young girl into a game that was not meant to be played by so young a heart. So whilst he loved her, he never once said it or showed it. He parted with her and the family and returned a year later, hoping to reignite what had been between them only to find his beloved Lucia had been seduced by some lecherous bastard and made her pregnant. As a result she was turned out of the house by her family. Casanova was devastated and blamed himself. He believed that if he had been more open in announcing his love, she would have waited and would have not ended up with the horrid life she was now imprisoned to. It created the Casanova we all know and love. From that day forth, he never held back from announcing his intentions to a woman ever again....

Alas, this is where I must end Part 1. There will be a total of 3 parts to Casanova's life. Part 2 will be entering into the debauchery (yay!) and the name he made for himself all across Europe.

Until next time, Cheers and much love,
Delilah Marvelle
P.S. Below, I have added a new feature called Historical Eye Candy. Let me know what you think. Waggling brows...

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Art of Flagellation

My dearest Reader,
Happy New Year! Seeing as we have a whole new year of delving into devious content, I thought we would start this glorious new year off with a bang. Or rather, a whip. When it comes to flagellation, much comes to mind to us modern beings. Religious rituals. Punishment. Pain. Lots of pain... Or just plain kinky sex involving a riding crop.

You had best believe I'm here to discuss the last one. Plain kinky sex. Now flagellation itself has been around for a long, long time. Since man pieced together leather and added little decorations to the end of it. But the kinky, sexual aspect doesn't actually make a notable historic appearance until about the Renaissance. And most of it was noted by historians as being found in paintings. That oddly enough, the people who were getting whipped in those paintings, appeared to not be in pain, but rather....pleasure. I'm certain you've seen one of those paintings yourself and thought…hm.

But nothing in history was actually WRITTEN about erotic flagellation until the Italian Renaissance humanist in the 15th century, Pico della Mirandola noted with humor that a particular friend of his (yeah, sure, a FRIEND...wink...) could not find pleasure without the whip. Was he being sarcastic? Or was he for real? Who knows...but the idea was planted. There was an erotic hankering for the whip. That commentary by Mirandola aside, it appeared everyone else seemed to keep their kinky sex lives under wraps. If only the Internet had been created earlier…

In the 1600's, however, things in literature started unexpectedly popping up. In the book THE VIRTUOSO written in 1676 by Shadwell refers to how flagellation in the English Boarding Schools which was used as punishment brought on a generation of savages who acquired quite the taste for more whip in the bedchamber in their later years, long after school was out. Hm. Think school girl WITH a whip. Other forms of literature hint at naughty Italians doing things like treating their wives and mistresses like dogs. Literally. With real collars that went on when the door to the bedchamber closed. I imagine they had sex 'doggy style.' Get it? Heh. Yeah…

So then we move full on into 1700's itself. It was without a doubt a very fascinating time in sexual history. Courtesans who always had a place in history as being BAD BAD BAD, suddenly found themselves 'fashionable' and being GOOD GOOD GOOD. They were able to rise from rags to riches with a mere spread of the legs to the right man. It was all the rage amongst aristocratic men to harbor courtesans and mistresses and flaunt them to their friends and family and do whatever they pleased as long as they had the means to financially please her. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that the 1700's gave way to different sexual art forms. Including fascination with flagellation. In 1718, the book, A Treatise on the Use of Flogging in Venereal Affairs, by John Henry Meibomius was a guide to the erotic science that discussed the belief that there are those BORN with a condition that are stimulated by the rod and can be 'worked up into a flame of lust by blows.' I'm sure people picked up copies and wanted to find out if they themselves were born with this unusual condition. Some probably found they were, whilst others found they were quite....turned off by the idea of pain.

Of course where there is a book that is being sold about such an art, there are ideas springing up from how to make money off of those kinky people (my, times haven't changed all that much, have they?). A flogging machine was patented and sold. A machine that could whip over 20 people at a time. Flogging party anyone? Sounds like fun!

The English in particular were VERY fond of flagellation. So much so that they french dubbed it as the 'English Vice' in the 1700's. Brothels were popping up in London that specialized in flagellation and many competed with each other. One brothel in particular that was popular was entirely dedicated to flagellation. That of Mrs. Berkeley's brothel. So dedicated was she to flagellation, in fact, that she created her own contraptions. One that was particularly popular was known as the Berkeley Horse. And no, it did not look like a horse. It was a padded flat surface with accommodating open areas that allowed men to 'stick' their cock through. It was used in a manner in which the costumer was stripped and placed face down on it then tilted on an angle (think of an easel in which the man is the painting being painted red...quite literally). The man would be placed with his bared ass in the air and genitals through the padded hole. It was advertised by Mrs. Berkeley that whilst a man got whipped with a birch rod by one lady from behind, another lady would be sitting beneath the angled 'horse,' sucking his cock from the other side. So he didn't have to worry about falling over from pleasure OR pain. Mrs. Berkeley's popular warehouse full of gadgets for the pleasure of pain earned her over 10,000 pounds a year, which in the 1700's was a shit full of money (pun intended...). So whilst a prostitute's arm and mouth was sore. Nothing else was. Grin. Mrs. Berkeley probably didn't have problems hiring. After all, a woman gets to whip the crap out of a man AND get paid? Now that is power.
Until next time,
Cheers and much love,
Delilah Marvelle