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.



Undoing of Aiguillettes (Impotence for a Time)

Know, O Vizir (God be good to you!), that impotence arises from three causes:

Firstly, from the tying of aiguillettes.

Secondly, from a feeble and relaxed constitution.

And thirdly, from too premature ejaculation.

To cure the tying of aiguillettes you must take galanga, cinnamon from Mecca, cloves, Indian cachou, nutmeg, Indian cubebs, sparrowwort, cinnamon, Persian pepper, Indian thistle, cardamoms, pyrether, laurel seed, and gilly flowers. All these ingredients must be pounded together carefully, and one drinks of it as much as one can, morning and night, in broth, particularly in pigeon broth; fowl broth may, however, be substituted just as well. Water is to be drunk before and after taking It. The compound may likewise be taken with honey, which is the best method, and gives the best results.

The man whose ejaculation is too precipitate must take nutmeg and incense (oliban) mixed together with honey.

If the impotence arises from weakness, the following ingredients are to be taken in honey: viz., pyrether, nettleseed, a little spurge (or cevadille), ginger, cinnamon of Mecca, and cardamom. This preparation will cause the weakness to disappear and effect the cure, with the permission of God the Highest!

I can warrant the efficacy of all these preparations, the virtue of which has been tested.

The impossibility of performing the coitus, owing to the absence of stiffness in the member, is also due to other causes. It will happen, for instance, that a man with his verge in erection will find it getting flaccid just when he is on the point of introducing it between the thighs of the woman. He thinks this is impotence, while it is simply the result, may he, of an exaggerated respect for the woman, may be of a misplaced bashfulness, may be because one has observed something disagreeable, or on account of an unpleasant odour; finally, owing to a feeling of jealousy, inspired by the reflection that the woman is no longer a virgin, and has served the pleasures of other men.



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