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Much can be learned about a society from the erotica it produces. While moral alarmists love to crow about how porn deforms people’s sex lives, I think it’s more often the other way around, providing an unfiltered view of people’s collective id.

Hence, when looking at these erotic illustrations from 19th century France, it makes less sense to fret that they might encourage people to copulate with demons than to marvel at just how obsessed their consumer base was with female sexuality and supernatural beings. Archived online by Robert Stewart of vintage erotica site Delta of Venus, these so-called “devilries” show human women in flagrante delicto with the devil(s) in all manner of ways, from one-on-one to Boschian orgies to, um, suspended in the air over a giant demon dong, ready to sit and spin. In an image that could surely be repurposed to sell Monistat, a cavalcade of creeps emerges from a lady’s vagina. The greatest taboo of all: The women mostly seem to be enjoying themselves.

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In an interview with The Huffington Post, Stewart discussed how the images were a product of the prim and proper society from which they sprang:

“Impish, hyper-sexual, grotesque, playful; sort of the antithesis of what a proper citizen of the era was expected to be,” Robert Stewart explained to The Huffington Post.

“A striking aspect of the devil illustrations, Stewart points out, is that the prim and proper ladies featured in the images seem to be consenting participants in the sexual acts taking place, and they often experience pleasure.

To me it seems to be a commentary on how the expectations of chastity and propriety in the 19th century — and by extension, the male-dominated society that created them — were by and large joyless and especially repressive for the female gender. The women are left turning to supernatural entities for pleasure and play.”

 

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[Images: Delta of Venus]

Source  I Am Bored

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