Source, Women's History

Women’s History Month: Before there was internet, part 1: viagra

Fed up receiving emails advertising viagra and other sexual remedies? Well, your ancestors may have felt similarly. Nineteenth century newspapers were full of advertisements promising sexual remedies, from treatments for syphilis to cures for impotency. A selection from Irish newspapers are given below.

The Victim’s Friend, from the Anglo-Celt, 22 April 1858.

The sixty-fifth thousand-post free for a penny stamp. A practical treatise upon the prevention and self-cure of all the diseases that arise from the follies of youth, and the excesses of maturity; the causes of decay of the mental and physical powers and impediments to marriage, with plain directions  for the perfect recovery of manly vigour, &c. Sent free by post, on receipt of two penny postage stamps by Mr Ridge, publisher, 10 Brooke Street, Holburn, London.

Every victim of nervous debility may speedily cure himself if he will only follow the advice and prescription given in his book, which it issued as a olfeck to the rampant quackery  that feeds and fattens upon the afflictions of those who unhappily suffer from these diseases. NB sufferers are cautioned against a quack who imitates the advertisement.

The Silent Friend on Marriage, from the Anglo-Celt, 24 December 1858.

A Medical work, a guide to those who have imperilled the power of manhood by youthful indiscretions treating on syphillis, secondary symptoms, gonorrhoea &c, containing a prescription known as the preventiva lotion, to avoid contamination; 190 pages, with 50 engravings, free by post 12 stamps, seared 20. Address Messrs Perry and CO, surgeons, 19 Berners st,  Oxford St, London, W. Consultations daily, eleven till two, and from five till eight; Sunday till one o’clock.

Perry’s cordial balm of syriacum, for all cases resulting from the errors or excesses of youth, loss of natural power and vigour. Price 11s or four times the quantity 33s.

Perry’s Copaiba and cubebgloubles the original preparation composed of the very essence of the balsalm of copaiba and cubebs, perfectly tasteless in consequence of their being encased in sugar. In all cases of gonorrhea, gleet, stricture, &c, a single trial will prove the efficency of this wonder working remedy. Price 4s 6d and 11s per bottle. Sent anywhere on receipt of Post Office order. Address, Messrs Perry and Co, as above; or may be had from Prout and Harsant, 229 strand Sanger, 150 Oxford street, London, WC.

Surgeon Goss…, from the Belfast Newsletter, 13 October 1830.

Surgeon Goss, from London, is now in Dublin, and can be consulted everyday (except Sunday) at 11 Upper North Gloucester St from 9 until 2, and on Mon, Wed, Fri from 6 til 9. He will leave on the 15th Oct.

Domus et placens usor, hor,
thy house and in the cup of life,
that honey drop, thy pleasing wife.

Happiness the gay tomorrow of the mind; is insured by marriage; the strict of the perpetual friendship is a gift from Heaven, cementing pleasure with reason, by which, says Johnson, we approach in some degree of association with celestial intelligence. Previous however to entering into the hallowed obligation of marriage, it becomes an impressive duty, not only to regulate the passions, but to cleanse the grosser nature from those impurities which the freedom of unrestricted pleasure may have entailed upon it. To the neglect of such attention, are attributable many of those hapless instances, which while they excite the commiseration of the beholder should also impress him with the fear of self-reproach.

Luxurious habits will effeminize the body- a residence in the tropics will relax the elastic fibre- but more especially does the premature infatuations of youth, too often compromise the natural dignity into a state of inanition, from whence the agonised sufferer more than doubts the chance of relief.

To all such then, we address ourselves, offering hope- energy-muscular strength- felicity; nor will our advances appear questionable sanctioned as they are by the multiplied proofs of twenty years successful experience. The easy cares of married life are sometimes disturbed by the suspension of those blessings which concentrate the nuptial wreath- for the female habit is often constitutionally weak- yet it can be strengthened, and deficient energy improved into functional power. In every case of syphilitic intrusion, as well as in every relaxation of the generative economy, we pledge our ability to cure speedily and with effect.

Earnestly solicitous to expel the unfeeling empyric from the position so presumptuously  taken up , we deviate from general principles with less hesitation; and confident in our own honourable integrity as Members of the College of Surgeons, we refer the suffering community of either sex (especially those entering into matrimonial life) at once to our house, where daily attendance is given for personal consultation; and letters from the country are immediately answered; these must contain a remittance for advice and medicine, describing minutely the case, which can be forwarded to any part of the world, however distant.

No difficulty can occur, as the medicine, will be securely packed, and carefully protected from observation.

Just published (twentieth-edition) 1. the Aegis of life, a familiar commentary on the above diseases; 2. Hygeiana, addressed exclusively to the female sex; 3. The syphilist, a treatise on lues venera, gonorhoea &c,

Messrs Goss and Co are to be consulted, as usual, every day at their house and patients in Dublin and the remotest parts of Ireland can be treated successfully on describing minutely the case, and inclosing a remittance for advice and medicine, which can be forwarded to any part of the world. No difficulty can occur as the medicine, will be securely packed, and carefully protected from observation. Goss and Co MRC Surgeon No 11, Bouverie St, Fleet St, London. Surgeon Goss will leave Dublin on the 15th October.

For a stamped addressed envelope, Dr Katie Barclay will send you discreetly packaged nineteenth century advertisements for sexual remedies. She finds such adverts a welcome distraction from the wife murder that is the stock and trade of the marriage historian.

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