A best-seller in 1911: “Sex Hygiene”

Wouldn’t you love to know what constituted the “Plain Facts on Sex Hygiene” featured in this one dollar book, which promises to lift the “veil of prudery” concerning “the awful perils that surround the youths and men” of America?

The Lower Fifth Avenue publisher, Edward J. Clode, also put out other sex guides in the nineteen-teens. They must have raked in plenty of dough; the office building is a lovely, then-new structure on the corner of 20th Street.

This ad comes from a February 1911 issue of The Cosmopolitan.

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5 Responses to “A best-seller in 1911: “Sex Hygiene””

  1. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    But in those years, way before abortions and sexual knowledge, life must have been horrible for a young person. In Thedore Dreiser’s novel, ‘American Tragedy’ he looks a a girl in those years who was pregnant who gets killed by the boy. Seemed pretty common in those years, that or getting married to someone you didn’t know.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    I thought it must be about VD. Before penicillin, getting syphilis could really mess you up.

  3. petey Says:

    yes i thought it was about VD too.
    “way before abortions”
    well, way before legalized abortions. abortion is as old as humanity.
    but frankly – “men are reckless” – the sexism!

  4. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    You are both right. I came in with my jaded notions and immediately knew it was pregnancy. What else could it be? Duhhhh…back to the drawing board for me. So sorry.

  5. Karen Says:

    It wasn’t before abortion. I have Alice Stockham’s book Tokology from the 1880s and she rails against abortion, advocating Carezza a version of Tantric yoga, or withdrawal. Italian midwives had been using the “abortion stick” probably since at least the middle ages. And slaves used cotton root to abort. Even Hippocrates spoke about (against) abortion. There probably has always been some form of abortion once we stopped wandering and settled down in agricultural communities.

    Having read sexual hygiene books from that time, I vote for STD protection. The magazines were full of lurid ads on what happened, offering what were probably quack cures, not that standard medicine was much better.

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