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.

CHAPTER 18

 

Of Things that Take Away the Bad Smell from the Armpit and Sexual Parts of Women and Contract the Latter

Know, O Vizir (God be good to you!), that bad exhalations from the vulva and from the armpits are, as is also a wide vagina, the greatest of evils.

If a woman wants this bad odour to disappear she must pound red myrrh, then sift it, and knead this powder with myrtle-water, and rub her sexual parts with this wash. All disagreeable emanation will disappear from her vulva.

Another remedy is obtained by pounding lavender, and kneading it afterwards with musk-rose water. Saturate a piece of woollen stuff with it, and rub the vulva with the same until it is hot. The bad smell will be removed by this.

If a woman intends to contract her vagina, she has only to dissolve alum in water, and wash her sexual parts with the solution, which may be made still more efficacious by the addition of a little bark of the walnut tree, the latter substance being very astringent.

Another remedy to be mentioned is the following, which is well known for its efficacy. Boil well in water carobs (locusts), freed from their kernels. and bark of the pomegranate tree. The woman takes a sits bath in the decoction thus obtained, which must be as hot as she can bear it; when the bath gets cold, it must be warmed and used again, and this immersion is to be repeated several times. The same result may be obtained by fumigating the vulva with cow-dung.

To do away with the bad smell of the armpits, one takes antimony and mastic, which are to be pounded together, and put with water into an earthen vase. The mixture is then rubbed against the sides of the vase until it turns red; when it is ready for use, rub it into the armpits, and the bad smell will be removed. It must be used repeatedly, until a radical cure is effected.

The same result may be arrived at by pounding together antimony (hadida) and mastic, setting the mixture afterwards on to a stove over a low fire, until it is of the consistency of bread, and rubbing the residue with a stone until the pellicle, which will have formed, is removed. Then rub it into the armpits, and you may be sure that the bad smell will soon be gone.

 

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