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Those who can't do, teach. As sex advice columnists, we know that it's way easier to give advice than it is to take it. And we would never claim to be acrobats in the sack (in fact we've probably downright disappointed a few folks over the years). But it stands to reason that your sexual prowess is only as good as your sex advice.

This week, we look to sex gurus who go way back. And we're not talking just back to 1972 when those glorious illustrations of flowing locks, go-go boots and G-strings the size of Depends graced the pages of Alex Comfort's masterpiece (though we're sure that seems like ancient times to some of you). No, we're talking about those ancestors from one or two millennia ago who helped paved the long-and-windy way for two 21st-century gals to make a living writing about vibrators and male full-frontal fight scenes. (Excerpts from the collection "Sex Box: Man, Woman and Sex" except where otherwise noted.)

Hippocrates, a paper on orgasms, 400 B.C.
Pros: "During intercourse, once a woman's genitals are vigorously rubbed and her womb titillate, a lustfulness...overwhelms her down there, and the feeling of pleasure and warmth pools out through the rest of her body." We always like to hear men encouraged to engage in manual stimulation, as that's often a better route to her orgasm than intercourse.
Cons: "A woman feels pleasure right from the start of intercourse, through the entire time of it, right up until the moment when the man pulls out; if she feels an orgasm coming on, she ejaculates with him, and no longer feels pleasure. But if she feels no oncoming orgasm, her pleasure stops when his does." Oi vey. 

Vatsyayana, presumed author of the Kama Sutra, 100 A.D.
Pros: "Men who are well acquainted with the act of love are well aware how often one woman differes from another in her sighs and sounds during the time of congress. Some women like to be talked to in the most loving way, others in the most lustful way, others in the most abusive way, and so on. Some women enjoy themselves with closed eyes in silence, others make a great noise over it, and some almost faint away. The great art is to ascertain what gives them the greatest pleasure, and what specialties they like the best."
Cons: His bullshit penis enlargement schemes existed centuries before spam: "When a man wishes to enlarge his lingam, he should rub it with the bristles of certain insects that live in trees, and then, after rubbing it for ten nights with oils, he should agin rub it with the bristles as before." 

Burchard of Worms, Medieval Sexual Menu, 1012 A.D.
Pros: "Have you done what certain women are accustomed to do, that is, have you fornicated with your young son, that is to say, placed your sone above your 'indecency' and thus imitated fornication? If you have done this, you must do penance for two years on legitimmate holy days."
Cons: "Have you tasted your husband's semen in the hope that because of your diabolical deed he might burn the more with love for you? If you have done this, you should do penance for seven years on the legitimate holy days." Oral sex with your husbands results in a higher penalty than incest with your son?!?!?!

Ovid, The Art of Love, 1 B.C. (from Jack's Naughty Bits on Nerve.com)
Pros: "Let the woman feel the act of love to her marrow, let the performance bring equal delight to the two. Coax and flatter and tease, with inarticulate murmurs, even with sexual words, in the excitement of play..." Talk about being ahead of his time: we think we read the same thing in Cosmo just the other day. 
Cons: "...and if nature, alas, denies you the final sensation cry out as if you had come, do your best to pretend. Really I pity the girl whose place, let us say, cannot give her pleasure it gives to the man, pleasure she ought to enjoy. So, if you have to pretend, be sure the pretense is effective, do your best to convince, prove it by rolling your eyes, prove by your motions, your moans, your sighs, what a pleasure it gives you." No good can come of faking. Plus, as an epic poet, he'd probably want to read some of his poems to you aloud...in bed...while naked.


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Em & Lo, more formally known as Emma Taylor and Lorelei Sharkey, are the self-proclaimed Emily Posts of the modern bedroom.

Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City.

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