Automatons, swing beds and other erotic amusements of the 18th century
From the nineteenth century, the past eighteenth century, no matter how they called it. Some are the age of reason. Others – an age of debauchery. Still others recalled wigs and the slave trade. Fourth – empresses. All this was pure truth. Especially depravity.
Age of discovery and freedom of morals
And in Europe, Jean-Pierre Blanchard flew around Paris in a hot air balloon, the hearing-impaired self-taught Guillaume Amonton discovered the law of physics named after him and the boiling point of water, Laura Bassi achieved the study of Newton’s laws in the oldest universities in Italy, and Saint-Germain, Cagliostro and Casanova traveled around through cities and countries, earning on trust and chatting about magic. Traveling in general became almost a common thing, and a native Spaniard could earn the glory of Polish science.
That was the age when books were published for young men about how, without embarrassing or offending a girl, to win her love in order to get married (well, what else). Wives were instructed to be faithful to their husbands—or to enter into open marriages, having a second husband while the husband had a second wife. Often such couples dined together in a family way, walked and exchanged gifts. It was also an age when sometimes ladies and gentlemen copulated with each other after a good dinner. Peter I was famous for his particular shamelessness, who performed this act without being interested in the opinion of the lady (which was considered negligent even in those ancient times) and in front of people who could not be called close friends.
There was also this age when ladies quietly changed in front of relatives and friends while chatting in the boudoir – and this did not mean anything like that. The cousin tied the bandages on the cousin’s stockings without trying to molest her; the guests discussed the latest poetic news with the hostess, looking at her breasts with the same cool interest with which they had previously looked at the pictures of nymphs in the drawing room. Some ladies did not even hesitate to sit on a chair with a pot in front of old acquaintances.
Masquerade is not a reason to meet
Even in Shakespearean times, evenings in masks implied the opportunity to sin with the unrecognized – to exchange a few words while dancing with a stranger or a stranger, in order to later retire in a secluded place behind a curtain, indulge in love joys and immediately part without asking each other for a name. In the XVIII century, such fun reached a special scale. At other courts, even masks were not required in order for the festival to smoothly move from drunkenness to fornication.
Holidays were decorated with other erotic jokes. So, Peter I could serve pies with a special filling to the tables for ladies and gentlemen. In front of the gentlemen, a well-built midget crawled out of the pie and artistically read out something from ancient literature (all the more so, there were a lot of obscene stories there). A “well-equipped" dwarf crawled out in front of the ladies on another table and also depicted something with the most casual look. Pies, by the way, were edible and were immediately eaten by the guests to the crumbs.
However, masquerades hid not only fornication. Depicting a couple in love, spies met each other without fear, exchanging information (which sometimes did not prevent them from exchanging kisses – why not?). At the masquerades, behind the scenes murders happened every now and then – sometimes disguised as accidents or natural poisoning. The goals of the murders were both political and purely mundane – for example, uncomfortable rivals for inheritance or competitors in business were eliminated.
As a result, d’Eon spent the rest of his life studying and preaching the ideas of feminism – either he felt what it was like to be a woman all the time, or he hoped in his new status to one day receive the same rights that were inherent in him from birth. In old age, he also failed to formalize a relationship with a woman who is supposed to be his unofficial wife – and she did not receive the right to inherit him when he died. She could not even, as a wife, forbid publicly viewing his body – all of London made money bets whether d’Eon was a man in disguise or an unmasked woman, so that the confirmation of the sex occurred in the presence of a certain amount of the public.
Funny pictures, intricate toys
In the eighteenth century, frivolous pictures adorned everything that could and could not be decorated. And no, this is not about nymphs and naiads from the canvases – it was as erotic as it is now – the ubiquitous girls in bathing suits. Yes, a little. Statues with a frankly sexualized plot (as a rule, illustrations for ancient Greek myths, where someone constantly raped someone) gained great popularity – they decorated parks a little further from the main alleys, where, during the summer holidays, ladies and gentlemen could begin to portray persecuted dryads and persecuting satyrs.
Games in "antiquity" were often fun in "harems". Yes, in the eighteenth century, because of the war with Turkey, Europeans became deeply interested in Muslim culture – and were fascinated by the idea of harems, which, however, had the most vague ideas. Wealthy nobles made "serals" in their homes from the daughters of their less wealthy and very devoted friends. Such a harem was, for example, with Prince Radziwill. After several years of playing with the "sultan", the girl got married with a generous dowry. The famous Potemkin, in general, did not hesitate to arrange for himself a harem of his own nieces …
Very often, in these seraglios, the walls were depicted in the most frivolous paintings – with anatomical details of what was happening. In addition, boudoirs could simply paint with genitals. According to legend, this is what the boudoir looked like for receiving lovers from Catherine the Great. Frivolous drawings often ended up on the underside of the lid of a snuff box or paper box – despite the fact that a drawing with the same characters was placed on the outside, but in the most innocent form.
The eighteenth century was obsessed with mechanisms and automata. Snuffboxes played music at the opening, shepherds and shepherdesses came out of the clock to dance, the future great playwright and special agent Beaumarchais invented the most accurate clockwork and adapted it to tiny women’s wristwatches. The audience was presented with an automatic woman who played a real harpsichord, and a puppet boy drawing a human profile or a dog – whichever he was led to. Is it surprising that mechanisms were also created depicting couples copulating or ladies lifting the hem of their skirt?
Drawings with a secret were also popular. At first glance, they were absolutely innocent – for example, they could depict a gentleman resting on a sofa or a soldier standing near a garden trellis. But as soon as you arm yourself with a red glass, the picture changes through it. A lady drawn in clear lines appeared on it, and the gentleman showed a tense phallus, immersed or ready to be immersed in this lady. Such pictures not only entertained, but also subtly hinted to the guest of a deep interest in her.
Intimate shops are resting
The devices used by women and men for pleasure seem unnecessarily fancy from the twenty-first century. So, in one museum of erotica there is an armchair of Catherine the Great, intended exclusively for … self-satisfaction with the help of tickling with feathers! In the seat of the chair there is a long narrow slot, and under the seat there is a wheel rotating with the help of a special mechanism. Long fluffy feathers were attached to this wheel, which, passing through the slot, tickled the crotch of the lady in the chair.
Swings were popular for erotic fun. Starting from peeking under a swinging lady’s skirt – ending with a huge swing-bed. Such a bed was supposed to move "along", echoing the gentleman’s frictions, and bring dizzying sensations. By the way, the best gentleman was considered … a castrato singer. The Italians so cleverly singled out boys that even those who could not sing could earn money: they retained sexual function without the possibility of fertilization. And if in the East only men were interested in castrati, then in Europe they were the favorites of women.