Sexual education books are hardly necessary anymore: the internet will teach kids everything they need to know, and usually even more (DVDA, look it up!). But the funny thing is that some sex-ed books that were published in the last century can’t have helped any children at all to grow into sexually healthy adults. We know this because we met Jasper Smit recently, a Dutch comedian with one of the biggest collections of sex-ed books in Holland. And because we’re a bunch of rotten dirtbags, we immediately asked him for the nastiest things in his possession. “Most of the books we have are neet and sweet and give you decent advice, like that you shouldn’t have sex with someone if you don’t like the other person”, Jasper said. “But then I also have these books that will make them scared to death of masturbation and fill them with a lifelong repulsion of everything that has to do with sex.” We yelled at him to show us. And he did. Kids, shield your eyes--some stuff's ahead.
The Happy Book of Making Love (DK, 1974)
Trust the Swedes to create a book that’s so dead honest about sex and, more specifically, birth, that it will completely turn off every kid who reads it from sex, ever. The subtlety with which it tries to teach children is equal to that of a 12 gauge slug to the knee. Case in point: the depiction of birth. Apparently this book is suited for children age eight to thirteen. Sanne and Peter, the children of the family in the book, learn every detail of what mommy and daddy are up to in the bedroom. (“’It’s getting hard!’, mommy joyfully says”) and they’re present when mommy gives birth. You can just see the trauma fucking up Peter for the rest of his life, as with every eight-year-old that ever laid eyes on this book.
The Application of Contraceptives Against Pregnancy (NL, 1935)
My grandmother got this Dutch book when she married back in 1946. It covers every known contraceptive of those days, including wonderfully effective Japanese miracle pills, coitus interruptus, and the classic "holding your breath while ejaculating."
My favorite is the "safety-sponge." This was a popular and simple contraceptive: a little sponge with a silk ribbon attached. Insert it into your vagina and you won’t get pregnant. Well that’s the idea, but the writers themselves admit that the method is fishy: “The sponge absorbs all of the semen, yet it can release the absorbed sperm through its back. Blindly trusting on the sponge to be an effective contraceptive therefore isn’t the best idea.” No shit.
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) (David Reuben, USA 1969)
This book by David Reuben was a bestseller and it’s credited with liberalizing the way people thought about sex in the 60s and 70s. However, Reuben’s information about homosexuality is just wrong. According to the author, gays are godless people who are only motivated by guilt-free, impersonal sex. “No names, no faces, no emotions. A masturbating machine would do it better,” writes the good doctor. Also, gay men are supposed to be incapable of loving one another, are usually obese (“the fattest people are often gay”), and they wear tiny underwear to lay emphasis on their genitals. Homosexuals who do S&M are the worst kind, according to this book. “People that combine homosexuality with S&M are the cruellest people on this earth. In past days they were employed as professional torturers and executioners. In more recent history they were members of Hitler’s Gestapo and SS.” These parts were edited in later versions of the book.
What a Young Boy Ought to Know (US, 1903)
A boy from 1903 needs to know a lot of things, but most importantly, this: “No boy can play with the external genitals without reaping the consequences… Such a condition can develop through ignorance, but masturbation will quickly grow into a habit and it can be done with such force that death may be imminent.”
This book is meant to make little boys as scared as possible about masturbating. Boys who touch themselves become dumb, empathic, get palpitations, and they “start loving Jesus less and they start loving Satan more.” And the future children of the sinner will also be affected, because of his sin his semen will be spoiled. In the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century this was normal procedure for teaching sexual education to young boys. The book even shows cock rings with metal spikes on the inside to combat those impertinent boners that are seducing boys to sinfully jacking off. Bummer.