This little book is a treasure in at least some ways. The 'translator' claims to have found an obscure 12th century document in apparently complete and excellent condition, but unavailable for anyone but himself for review or inspection (or to create a facsimile to lay opposite the translation), full of material much of which would be deeply offensive to modern and certainly antique Muslims, including quotes from the 'Prophet' that no one else has ever heard of, endorsement of oral sex for both parties, suggestions for use of alcohol, equal treatment of women (and their orgasms), and so forth. In short, the document as presented is (in my opinion) frankly highly unlikely to actually have been written as claimed by the 'translator,' and is probably roughly as modern as the 'found' Necronomicon or similar spurious invented fakes. That said, though, the rest of the book is of interest in a sort of conversational-Joy-of-Sex way. The author writes in detail of the anatomy of both men and women, of the 'arts and sciences of copulation,' of his experiences with various types of women making it clear that while his advice is general each woman is ultimately different, and finally about sexual anomalies or abominations. Throughout the general tone is usually somewhat clinical, detached, and direct. To maintain the pretense of its ancient provenance, the book is written in very short aphorism-like paragraphs, which much praising of Allah for providing the world with such pleasure. Overall the book is fair as a sex manual, and the uninformed could learn something I suppose, but there are better for that available everywhere. As an Islamic book from the 12th century I see it as likely to be fraudulent, though this does not especially offend me. It is a quick and sometimes entertaining read.
A remarkable document
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 14 years ago
"Fountains of Pleasure" translates a medical/marital text from twelfth century Arabic culture into comfortable, contemporary English. It's more clinical than the "Perfumed Garden," and lacks the cultural side-trips of that book. Instead, it deals directly with human sex and sexuality. It starts with descriptions of a woman's anatomy, in extensive gynecological detail and in all its variations, with careful attention to each part's contribution to physical happiness. It addresses her breasts as part of her sensual array, much more than the Perfumed Garden ever did, and directs the [male] reader to caress each part of her in ways most likely to please. In fact, the woman's pleasure is a central theme of this entire text. Male anatomy gets equal coverage, but is assumed to be better-known to the presumably male audience. Since the original author was said to have been a doctor, the section on medical problems addresses a range of ills, often in detail almost sufficient for a modern diagnosis. Copulatory gymnastics get a fair bit of attention. The author addresses only a few positions, but describes many variants of each, and their relative merits for inexperienced girls, heavily pregnant women, and other people with unusual bodily demands. Unlike some other older authors, he zealously describes genital kissing in both directions, exhorting the man to "savour the aroma and the taste of [her] magnificent and beautiful organ." Later sections address medical problems, both his and hers, with a much clarity as could be hoped for a pre-Pasteur observer. Even metastatic tumors receive attention, with medical advice that the terminal patient's pain be eased with alcohol - completely against Muslim teaching, as are some other bits of advice. The translator's opening note warns the reader: some of the Koranic quotes stand at odds with mainstream scholarship. This wonderful book seems almost too good to be true. It shows very modern views and medical knowledge that wasn't rediscovered until the last century, even the last few decades. For example, assuming that most women routinely experience multiple orgasms (or can) is a distinctly post-Kinsey belief. These earlier observations are wonderful contributions to history. A few things nag, though. The source text is a unique and closely-held manuscript, to which our translator was privy only on condition of secrecy. In fact, the owner of that unique document has threatened to destroy it for its lewdness and blasphemy, so our translator will have been the only witness to an artifact now [potentially] lost. He is clearly educated, but does not appear to have academic credentials as a historian - well, neither did Sir Ruchard Burton, nor lots of other valued contributors. As a whole, though, the story behind this translation sounds just too good to be true. Is it? I'll assume that it's genuine, with some amount of poetic license on the translator's part, but have no way to assure myself of that. -- wiredweird
excellent treatise on human sexuality and pleasure
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 23 years ago
This book is very rewarding, giving a comprehensive view of human sexuality and sensual pleasure, with emphasis on mutually satisfying copulation. The author was an old physician in 11th-century Arabia who had "practiced copulation for 65 years". He describes the morphology and stimulation of the female and male genitalia, then tells how best to copulate for maximum satisfaction of both parties. He instructs men to be gentle and to prolong their erectile endurance while the woman is experiencing a series of orgasms. The primary rule for men to pleasure women is "to properly stimulate the greatest number of different areas of the woman -- this is the sole matter". He goes on to discuss the nuances of defloration and his own experiences with his several wives & slaves, with minute descriptions of their sexual responses. He finishes up with some "morbid conditions", including homosexuality, beastiality, and various diseases of the genitalia & reproductive organs.Of course, some details of physiology & reproduction were unknown to him, but for a thousand-year-old monograph, the technical understanding is astonishingly accurate.Very highly recommended for every student of human sexuality.
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