Sex Advice From Sheik al-Nafzawi

I just finished reading Sheik al-Nafzawi’s Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight, a 15th century sex manual from what is now Tunisia. The Sheik’s advice is quite impressive compared to what was widely known about sex in Western societies up until about 1970.

Some important points that he stresses is that women are extremely randy and have great sexual stamina, that simultaneous orgasm for man and woman is the norm, that a man should use his hand to help the woman along if needed, and that keeping his wife satisfied is a major responsibility of a husband.

There was however also a lot of news to me in the book, like that short women are much randier than tall women, that a diet of chickpeas and onions increases sexual stamina in men enormously, and that it is a good idea to daub a man’s genitals with the irritant extract of pelleter, Anacyclus pyrethrum.

I read Jim Colville’s 1999 translation, not Sir Richard Burton’s more famous but grossly inaccurate one from 1886. Both are available to those who Google.

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

12 thoughts on “Sex Advice From Sheik al-Nafzawi”

  1. “Extracts of Anacyclus pyrethrum have anabolic activity in mice and also increase testosterone in the animal model.”


  2. Carole Hooven is Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Harvard. She has just published a book titled T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us. In short, testosterone is a very powerful hormone that has massive effects on male human physiology and behaviour.

    Her book comes hard on the heels of two books which claim that testosterone doesn’t do anything at all (I’m paraphrasing obviously), or that its importance has been greatly exaggerated, both of which have been favourably reviewed (!!!). Basically, if you are a wokester in America, you take this position. So I expect that Prof. Hooven might get cancelled or dogpiled on by the woke crowd some time soon, if it hasn’t happened already, but she is the one who is right, based on the science, and the others are completely wrong, based on hand-waving and magical thinking.

    So I think old al-Nafzawi might have been on to something.


      1. I’m just listening to Prof. Hooven talking on a podcast. She said her book got very positive reviews, presumably by scientifically competent reviewers. But then she went on TV to be interviewed and made some statements, like scientifically there are two sexes (she stayed right away from gender issues), and she said the response to that has been “brutal” – the head of her department at Harvard (who doesn’t actually know her and presumably has not read her book) has circulated an email saying that she is transphobic (she isn’t, and she goes out of her way to say that she isn’t), and now her job is threatened, even though she is a tenured professor.

        She mentioned one female academic in the UK who has spoken publicly about similar issues, and she now has to have bodyguards everywhere she goes, because her life has been threatened by trans activists and she has been physically mobbed by them in public. When those are males transitioning to females in terms of gender identity (which most trans activists are), but have adult male strength, and they are physically shoving around a woman with typical adult female strength (i.e. greatly less than adult males, particularly upper body strength and things like punching power), that is seriously bad.

        I agree with you – I think that potentially murder is not out of the question.

        She also said that in medical schools in the USA now it is forbidden to use expressions like “pregnant woman” or to refer to a male and a female as he and she.


      2. Someone once said that when the fascists return, they will claim to be anti-fascists. Something similar is happening here. The T have appended themselves to LGB, but many of the goals of trans activists (who, as you say, are mostly M-to-F and many just “identify” as F with no surgical, hormonal, or other treatment (of course, even after such treatment one is not really a woman in any meaningful sense)) are contrary to those of the LGB movement and also contrary to feminism.

        It used to be, up until the 1950s or so, that gender was supposed to follow sex, in that one’s biological sex was supposed to indicate one’s behaviour. It does, to some extent, but much stuff is cultural (which is obvious from the fact that it varies with place and time). The huge success of progressive movements was to let people do what they want, without fixed gender roles. Women could be soldiers, men could be midwives, whatever. But that had nothing to do with sexuality, just with freedom. Now, since nothing other than identification is necessary, “being a woman” now means mostly conforming to pre-1950s ideas about women (which I have never found attractive in women, and I am a heterosexual man and of course not trans). In other words, sex is supposed to follow gender. That is a huge step backwards.

        I’m leaving out truly intersexual people, as they are not germane to this discussion. (Many or most of them would like to be accepted as something in-between, rather than being forced to conform to one or another gender role, which is sort of the opposite of what the trans activists want, since to them there are only two categories and the whole point is to be seen as a full member of a category (even if it is, by any objective measure, the wrong one)).

        Quote of the day: “Remember that just because a woman has a penis doesn’t mean that she can’t be a lesbian.”. Just a few years ago, someone using such a quote as satire would be accused of being too over the top. But it is a real quote and was intended seriously. The response to lesbians who object, saying that there is nothing wrong for a woman to be sexually attracted to a biological woman (which, finally, has become accepted), is often something along the lines of “suck my trans dick, you cunt”, coupled with threats of physical violence (or even actual violence). The fact that anyone takes these loons seriously at all is a big problem, and will become bigger. Some on the left ally themselves with these crazy advocates, or at least don’t speak out, because the right also sees them as loony. But assuming that the enemy of one’s enemy is one’s friend is a huge logical fallacy. If one considers oneself a feminist (in the “classical liberal” sense), then one should take stock of how the goals of traditional feminism are being eroded by the trans activists.

        If John Massey and I agree on something, then it must be right. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people


        That blog is a good source of information about stupid trans activism. A bit repetitive, but that is the fault of those who keep repeating silliness, not those who call it out. Their goal, of course, is that no-one calls it out (perhaps out of fear of bodily harm; such threat have been well documented) and that it becomes taboo to even question their doctrine. It has all the hallmarks of an dictatorial religion, the inquisition of the 21st century.


    1. My understanding is that comparing testosterone levels between individuals is… well… difficult. It is probably true that increasing testosterone (“T”) levels in an individual will increase things like “muscle building” and similar (if nothing else, anabolic steroids are basically testosterone-close). But taking a reading of one individual’s T levels and comparing it to the levels of another individual is fraught with problems, as the absolute levels in the two bodies don’t really matter as much as the relative levels in each body over time. That is, if individual A has 1 unit of T, and individual B has 5 units of T, the only thing you can draw as a firm conclusion from that is that they have different absolute levels of T. Longer-term study of A and B may allow you to draw better conclusions, however.

      But, yeah, I would’ve thought that “testosterone influences male build and behaviour” was non-controversial? This is why most (not, as later comments in the thread indicate, a small subset) of M-to-F trans individuals start with a cocktail of both testosterone blockers and oestrogene.

      I mean, I have not met all trans individuals, but every trans individual I have met have been on hormone replacement and most have also been aiming at a full surgical conversion. I’d estimate that I have probably met around 50 on the “we’ve sat down and had conversations on varying subjects” (in some cases related to transitioning), so it’s a small data set. In some cases, I have know these individuals from well before their transitioning started.

      On the whole, I think the whole “woke fear” is starting to drag. All of these things are incredibly complex and interwoven and trying to reduce it to “left”, “right”, “woke” and what-not is mainly doing yourself a dis-service. By invoking “power words”, you (both JM and PH) reduce your argumentative force. If you are trying to say that trans individuals are destroying humanity as we know it, say it straight out instead of mincing your words with “woke”. If that isn’t your opinion, take a step or two back and look at what you are actually saying (instead of what you think you are saying).

      Sure, there are power words going the other way (like “TERF”). They (like “woke”) basically stop the discourse and fraction people into camps. There is a time, and a place, for them. This is probably not the place.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Let me guess – you are not a Biochemist. Carole Hooven is, and she has been studying the subject for decades. She says that on average, men have 30 times more testosterone than women. That is not a small or difficult to measure difference. She says that most people seem to think that testosterone is something that kicks in during puberty, when in fact it starts having effects in utero.

        “I would’ve thought that “testosterone influences male build and behaviour” was non-controversial?” – Then you would have thought wrong. Increasingly, people are claiming the contrary for ideological reasons or just going along with it publicly out of cowardice, notably in academia in, inter alia, the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia.

        Try looking up Cordelia Fine, who is notably not a scientist of any description, let alone highly educated in human biology; she is a “philosopher, psychologist and writer” who writes about “the popular myths of sex differences”. Her book Testosterone Rex won the Royal Society Science Books Prize in 2017. It is a load of quackery and pseudo-science. She is simply not qualified to write about what she writes about, but she wins medals for ideological reasons. The ‘system’ is broken – ideology now trumps scientific facts.

        “I think the whole “woke fear” is starting to drag” – Tell that to Professor Hooven, who has just been falsely accused of being transphobic and suspended from her tenured position at Harvard after working there for many years for saying publicly that there are physiological and behavioural differences between sexual males and sexual females which are driven by large differences in testosterone between the sexes. To her consternation, instead of her academic colleagues defending her, they have turned on her out of cowardice and wanting to protect their own arses and keep their own jobs. But to her surprise, she has received a lot of support from unexpected quarters, including notably a lot of support from Steven Pinker – maybe you have heard of him. He is a very busy man, but he has taken time out to stand up to defend her.

        “If you are trying to say that trans individuals are destroying humanity as we know it” – Strawman. Phillip and I said no such thing.


      2. Note that “woke” is what the people called themselves. That it is now seen as derogatory is entirely down to their own behaviour and what others think of it.

        I read somewhere that the only reason boys are better at sports is because those assigned female at birth are brought up with different expectations, fed different food, and so on. If one treated them the same as boys, then they could run just as fast. Wokeness knows no limits.

        Destroy society? I would like to live in a society where people are not threatened with violence and forced to resign from university posts because of scientific discussion.

        Liked by 1 person

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