Mental Floss

20 Questionable Pieces of Old-Timey Relationship Advice

Ellen Gutoskey
A portrait of marital bliss.
A portrait of marital bliss. / Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In his 1899 book What a Young Husband Ought to Know, Sylvanus Stall reassured young husbands that it was normal for their wives to simply not be as interested in sex as they were. But he didn’t leave it at that—he also listed a bunch of possible reasons to explain why. Your wife might have eaten too many indigestible foods, attended too many parties, or read too many novels, Stall suggested. Maybe she was suffering from chronic constipation, or her corset was so tight it had knocked her sexual organs out of position.

In short, relationship advice and ideas from eras past are often questionable at best. And on this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is covering some of the most memorable ones. A woman shouldn’t, for example, marry a philosopher, because he wouldn’t be very good at domestic duties. Some people thought marrying for love was a recipe for disaster, too.

Press play below to find out all about the dangers of being a “sexual vampire,” the most effective ways to charm your in-laws, and more.

For future fascinating videos, subscribe to the Mental Floss YouTube channel.