The perfumed garden — Book cover

The perfumed garden -- Book cover

The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight presents opinions on what qualities men and women should have to be attractive and gives advice on sexual technique, warnings about sexual health, and recipes to remedy sexual maladies. It gives lists of names for the penis and vagina, has a section on the interpretation of dreams, and briefly describes sex among animals. Interspersed with these there are a number of stories which are intended to give context and amusement.

đź“• Beautiful ‘&’ Sublime. Here you’ll find all that was once forbidden and gripping but is now oh so blasĂ© and passĂ©; a discourse on erotica my dear, that’s what you’ll find here: Beautiful ‘&’ Sublime. This is a page of a sort that due to its evolving nature is best described as being of indeterminate in length and nebulous in type. Take one look and we’ll wager you’ll be hooked. But then again, as it’s no more and no less nefarious to its very core (its innermost heart & sanctum sanctorum soul), possibly this kind of gift horse will be seen as but an ass in your esteemed estimation, dear fraternal fellowship of feminine readers (oh Jay! Where are you this day?).

“The man who deserves favours is, in the eyes of women, the one who is anxious to please them. He must be of good presence, excel in beauty those around him, be of good shape and well-formed proportions; true and sincere in his speech with women; he must likewise be generous and brave, not vainglorious, and pleasant in conversation. A slave to his promise, he must always keep his word, ever speak the truth, and do what he has said.”

“Women are demons, and were born as such; No one can trust them, as is known to all.”

“To acquire vigour for coition… melt down fat from the hump of a camel. The virile member, rubbed with donkey’s milk, will become uncommonly strong and vigorous.”

Men are divided according to their affairs and doings;
Some are always in spirits and joyful, others in tears.
There are those whose life is restless and full of misery,
While, on the contrary, others are steeped in good fortune,
Always in luck’s happy way, and favoured in all things.
I alone am indifferent to all such matters.
What care I for Turkomans, Persians, and Arabs?
My whole ambition is in love and coition with women,
No doubt nor mistake about that!
If my member is without vulva, my state becomes frightful,
My heart then burns with a fire which cannot be quenched.
Look at my member erect! There it is–admire its beauty!
It calms the heat of love and quenches the hottest fires
By its movement in and out between your thighs.
Oh, my hope and my apple, oh, noble and generous lady,
If one time will not suffice to appease thy fire,
I shall do it again, so as to give satisfaction;
No one may reproach thee, for all the world does the same.
But if you choose to deny me, then send me away!
Chase me away from thy presence without any fear or remorse!
Yet bethink thee, and speak and augment not my trouble,
But, in the name of God, forgive me and do not reproach me.
While I am here let thy words be kind and forgiving.
Let them not fall upon me like sword-blades, keen and cuffing!
Let me come to you and do not repel me.
Let me come to you like one that brings drink to the thirsty;
Hasten and let my hungry eyes look at thy bosom.
Do not withhold from me love’s joys, and do not be bashful,
Give yourself up to me–I shall never cause you trouble,
Even were you to fill me with sickness from head to foot.
I shall always remain as I am, and you as you are,
Knowing that I am the servant, and you are the mistress ever.
Then shall our love be veiled? It shall be hidden for all time,
For I keep it a secret and I shall be mute and muzzled.
It is by God’s will that everything happens,
And he has filled me with love; but today my luck is ill.

I prefer a young man for coition, and him only;
He is full of courage–he is my sole ambition,
His member is strong to deflower the virgin,
And richly proportioned in all its dimensions;
It has a head like to a brazier.
Enormous, and none like it in creation;
Strong it is and hard, with the head rounded off.
It is always ready for action and does not die down;
It never sleeps, owing to the violence of its love.
It sighs to enter my vulva, and sheds tears on my belly;
It asks not for help, not being in want of any;
It has no need of an ally, and stands alone the greatest fatigues,
And nobody can be sure of what will result from its efforts.
Full of vigour and life, it bores into my vagina,
And it works about there in action constant and splendid.
First from the front to the back, and then from the right to the left;
Now it is crammed hard in by vigorous pressure,
Now it rubs its head on the orifice of my vagina.
And he strokes my back, my stomach, my sides,
Kisses my cheeks, and anon begins to suck at my lips.
He embraces me close, and makes me roll on the bed,
And between his arms I am like a corpse without life.
Every part of my body receives in turn his love-bites,
And he covers me with kisses of fire;
When he sees me in heat he quickly comes to me,
Then he opens my thighs and kisses my belly,
And puts his tool in my hand to make it knock at my door.
Soon he is in the cave, and I feel pleasure approaching.
He shakes me and trills me, and hotly we both are working,
And he says, ‘Receive my seed!’ and I answer, ‘Oh give it beloved one!
It shall be welcome to me, you light of my eyes!
Oh, you man of all men, who fillest me with pleasure.
Oh, you soul of my soul, go on with fresh vigour,
For you must not yet withdraw it from me; leave it there,
And this day will then be free of all sorrow.
He had sworn to God to have me for seventy nights,
And what he wished for he did, in the way of kisses and embraces, during all those nights.

Al Nafzawi, M. (1989 [15th c.]). The Perfumed Garden: First illustrated edition of Sir Richard Burton’s translation. London: Hamlyn/Octopus Publishing Group/Hachette Livre/Lagardère Publishing.

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