Marriage Hygiene from Olden Times

Marriage Hygiene - cover

The Hygiene of Marriage
1942 (second edition)
1932 (original copyright)

This is an example of a pretty forward thinking marriage manual.  This book is mostly about sex.  In many ways, this particular book is more open minded than many later books from the  1950s. The most interesting part is the discussion of birth control. Not only does the author discuss methods, but also details the health reasons for women, especially poor women, to control family size.

There is also a thorough discussion of the Comstock Act and the efforts of Margaret Sanger.  The author also takes lawmakers to task for making this information difficult for single women to obtain. I am sure if Everett were alive today, she would be dissapointed in the lack of progress in women’s health concerns.

Given the condition of the edition I looked at, I would imagine this was passed around quite a bit. Unfortunately, time has taken its toll on this book and my copy won’t last too much longer. Fear not, quite a few health archives and university collections still have this title.



The Hygiene of Marriage - title page

The Hygiene of Marriage - Pages 182 and 183


  1. “Ideal Marriage” by van de Velde, 1926, is another old but perfectly good marriage (sex) manual. I gave a copy to this poor fellow at work, who at age 48 was on a quest to lose his virginity. I declined to help personally, just gave him the book. No telling if it did him any good because afterwards all he said (and I didn’t want to know more) was “A girdle sure can hide lot of flab.”

  2. The part I find most surprising is how “temporary, mutual sex attachments” and the good ol’ battery operated boyfriend are higher on the scale o’value than “Unhappy marriage.” I know plenty of people feel that way today, but it seems very progressive for 1932.

  3. Even if the manual is progressive, birth control technology and legislation has changed a lot in the past 70 years. It’s also proof that the current moment in time isn’t necessarily the most progressive.

  4. Neat book! I hope it finds a nice home in an archive or university library; it would make a great primary source!

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