by Ally Foster
A RARE book dating back to 1720, which promises to reveal the "secrets of sex", was banned for over 250 years for its shocking and downright disturbing content.
Aristotle's Masterpiece Completed In Two Parts, The First Containing The Secrets Of Generation, which is nearly 300 years old, is now going up for auction in the UK.
The suggestive tome offers a range of sexual advice in painstakingly vivid detail, the majority of which should be ignored and never attempted.
In two parts, the first part of the manual covers human anatomy, the logistics of intercourse and marriage. The second part deals with pregnancy and midwifery.
There are a few pearls of wisdom which are still true today, such as the fact that just because a woman's hymen is torn doesn't mean she isn't a virgin. But those accurate details are few and far between.
From men eating sparrows to aid in fertility to bestiality resulting in monster babies, the book offers insights into the bizarre attitudes and beliefs surrounding sex in a time when you could still being executed for witchcraft.
The book will be up for auction at Hansons Auction House on March 27 with an estimate of $140-$210.
Here are some of the weirder tips that the book has to offer:
BESTIALITY CAUSES MONSTER BABIES
We can agree that bestiality is not something people should take part in, but the reasons stated in the book are slightly different than what we know today.
It claims that the act will result in human-animal hybrid children being born.
This is accompanied by various illustrations of the "monsters" that are "begot by Women's unnatural lying with Beasts".
One picture shows a child with wings and one feathered, clawed leg. Another depicts a hairy child which from the torso up at the "perfect resemblance of its mother" but from its "navel downwards resembled a dog".
It is because of these illustrations that the book was kept on the banned list until 1960.
CHOOSING YOUR BABY'S GENDER IS EASY
There is great news for parents hoping to have a child of specific gender. Apparently choosing if your baby is a girl or a boy is as easy as knowing your left from right.
If a couple wants a boy then the woman should lie on her right side after sex. Want a girl? Then just flip on over to the left.
Who knew it could be so simple?
WANT STRONG SPERM? EAT A SONGBIRD
The book lists a very specific diet for men wanting to boost their fertility, including a number of different vegetables and songbirds.
Sparrows, blackbirds, thrushes, pigeons and partridges are all the types of birds recommended to men wishing to "make their seed abound".
And if they add in eggs, parsnips ginger and turnips to their diet then they are sure to have the strongest sperm around.
IMAGINATIVE WOMEN CAUSE BIRTH DEFECTS
According to this trusty manual, a child's appearance depends totally on the imagination of its mother.
It claims that if, god forbid, a woman lets her imagination run free during sex or casts her eyes on "ill-shaped bodies" then her child will be born with birth defects.
A woman's imagination can cause children to be born with "flat noses, wry mouths and great blubber-lips".
Thankfully there is a way to avoid this, with women encouraged to "earnestly look upon the man and fix her mind upon him". If she does this and manages to control her corrupt thoughts then the child will be born looking like its father. Simple.
PREGNANT WOMEN CRAVE 'CHALK AND HORSE FLESH'
This is another example of when the advice starts out with the right idea and then throws in a complete curve ball.
The book touches on the fact that woman experience different cravings during pregnancy, a rare piece of factual advice that is immediately undermined by being described as "greedy longings for things that are contrary to nutriments".
What might these greedy longings be you ask? Just your typical coal, rubbish, chalk, nails, leather and man and horse flesh.
You know, the usual things pregnant women feel like eating.
If we ignore the nails and leather, it's possible this is describing pica, a relatively rare condition that can affect pregnant women. Luckily these days, vitamin supplements will help give you any nutrients you're missing.
MEN SHOULD BE PRAISED FOR THE GIFT OF LIFE
If it wasn't obvious before, this is when it becomes abundantly clear that this book is written by a man.
According to the manual, men are "wonders of the world" who should be worshipped by those subordinate to him (aka women).
His seed is "abundantly endued with a vital spirit" and women are pretty much just there to carry and birth his "divine gift".