Victorian Erotica in Film and Literature


Believe the Victorians uptight all you want, but they invented the first recreational spanking machine, the vibrator, and erotic film. Don’t ask me how I came across Victorian erotica while doing background research for my murder mysteries, else I’ll post nauseating details on Victorian postmortems. On the other hand… Maybe I’ll do it anyway.

 So. Here are the first “adult films” in human history. I think they are safe to watch with the whole family, except the first clip where a woman washes with something that looks like black sand. Might give the kids ideas…

AFTER THE BALL, 1897, by Georges Melies, with Jane Brady & Jeanne d’Alcy

THE KISS, 1896, by William Heise, with May Irwin & John C. Rice

Le Coucher de la Mariée, 1896, by Albert Kirchner, with Louise Willy

A Kiss in the Tunnel, 1899, by George Albert Smith, with Laura Bailey & George Albert Smith

The Peeping Tom, 1897, director and actors unknown


While film avoided full-frontal nudity, and (god forbid!) any action below the waistline, Victorian erotic literature went full out on incest, flogging, and sexual abuse.

If you like classic Victorian erotica, you’ve probably read these already, but I list them anyway for future reference:  The Romance of Lust (1873), The Sins of the Cities of the Plain (1881), and The Pearl: A Magazine of Facetiae and Voluptuous Reading (1879-1880).


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Annelie Wendeberg