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VAN DE VELDE, Th.H. (Theodoor Henrik). Sex Efficiency Through Exercises Special Physical Culture For Women. With 480 Cinematograhpic and 54 Full-Page Illustrations.
London: William Heinemann (Medical Books) Ltd., 1933. First edition.
Tall 8vo., original blue cloth lettered in gilt, (xviii), (1)-163, (164 blank). With 54 black and white plates. With a Cinematographic Supplement consisting of 12 ‘flicker films’ which are comprised of 40 black and white photographic reproductions printed on stiff card, when the outer edge is flicked with the thumb, gives the illusion of a ‘moving picture’ each depicting a woman demonstrating one of the exercises. There are two tears to the page separating the first set of 6 ‘cinematographs’ from the second, which have been repaired with tape, but otherwise this is a fine copy of an interesting and uncommon book.

Theodor van de Velde [1873-1937] Dutch physician and gynaecologist, who served as director of the Gynaecological Institute in Haarlem. His 1926 publication, Het Volkomen Huwelijk, published in English as Ideal Marriage: Its Physiology and Technique, gained him international notoriety. In this work on sexuality, Van de Velde argued that the ‘critical goal of marriage consists of sexual pleasure shared by husband and wife’ and sought the ‘cultivation of the technique of eroticism as an art in marriage.’ The book went through multiple printings in several countries, becoming one of the best known works on this subject, and it was also placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum by the Roman Catholic Church. Van de Velde’s other works, Sex Hostility in Marriage and Fertility and Sterility in Marriage were both published in English in 1931. The above title, Sex Efficiency Through Exercises, builds on his previous work, and aims to provide ‘a guide for women and those who help them (whether as doctors, midwives, nurses and gymnastic instructresses) in the full evolution and utilisation of the feminine sexual capacities and faculties. These capacities and faculties are generally quite inadequate in practice; they should include both appropriately active participation in the act of sexual congress and appropriate voluntary muscular action that assists the act of birth.’ In consultation and collaboration with a gymnastic instructor, Van de Velde has created a system of exercises to achieve the desired results for women, both before and after pregnancy. He notes that while his previous work ‘Ideal Marriage taught men the technique of physical love, so I hope that this book will give women the key to complete erotic stimulation.’


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