The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight


Translated by Sir Richard F. Burton [1886]

The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight is an Arabic sex manual and work of erotic literature written in the 12th century by Sheikh Nafzawi at the request of the Hafsid ruler of Tunis.  The reputation acquired by this work in the Arab world was similar to that of the Arabian Nights.


The book presents opinions on what qualities men and women should have to be attractive, gives advice on sexual technique, warnings about sexual health, recipes to remedy sexual maladies, and the interpretation of dreams. Interspersed with these are a number of stories which are intended to provide context and amusement.



Description of the Uterus of Sterile Women, and Treatment of the Same

Know, O Vizir (God be good to you!), that wise physicians have plunged into this sea of difficulties to very little purpose. Each one has looked at the matter from his own point of view, and in the end the question has been left in the dark.

Amongst the causes which determine the sterility of women may be taken the obstruction of the uterus by clots of blood, the accumulation of water, the want of or defective sperm of the man, organic malformation of the parts of the latter, internal defects in the uterus, stagnation of the courses and the corruption of the menstrual fluid, and the habitual presence of wind in the uterus. Other savants attribute the sterility of women to the action of spirits and spells. Sterility is common in women who are very corpulent, so that their uterus gets compressed and cannot conceive, not being able to take up the sperm, especially if the husband's member is short and his testicles are very fat; in such a case the act of copulation can only be imperfectly completed.

One of the remedies against sterility consists of the marrow from the hump of a camel, which the woman spreads on a piece of linen, and rubs her sexual parts with, after having been purified subsequently to her courses. To complete the cure, she takes some fruits of the plant called 'jackal's grapes', squeezes the juice out of them into a vase, and then adds a little vinegar; of this medicine she drinks, fasting for seven days, during which time her husband will take care to have copulation with her.

The woman may besides pound a small quantity of sesame grain and mix its juice with a bean's weight of sandarach powder; of this mixture she drinks during three days after her periods; she is then fit to receive her husband's embraces.

The first of these beverages is to be taken separately, and in the first instance; after this the second, which will have a salutary effect, if so it pleases the Almighty God!

There is still another remedy. A mixture is made of nitre, gall from a sheep or a cow, a small quantity of the plant named el meusk, and of the grains of that plant. The woman saturates a plug of soft wool with this mixture, and rubs her vulva with it after menstruation; she then receives the caresses of her husband, and, with the will of God the Highest, will become pregnant.



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