TELEVISION / BRIEFING: What mother never told you

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The Independent Culture
The bravest people on television this week? Probably the couple who allowed 40 MINUTES (9.50pm BBC2) to film them performing for the Lovers' Guide 2 video, used as an example of the way sex advice has developed since the days when books told you that masturbation would - at best - lead to 'nervous derangement'. Marilyn Wheatcroft's amusing film, 'The Agony of the Ecstacy - 100 Years of Sex Advice', has brought many bizarre perversions of Victorian morality out of the closet. Men fearful of the consequences of 'self-abuse' willingly submitted to painful operations stitching up their penises to prevent erections, some even donned spiked anti-arousal devices. The creator of the Lovers' Guide series praises the actors for their 'artistic' performances and claims his scripts have been commended as 'profoundly religious' in Ireland, where a priest said he should have it by him at every marriage ceremony. The documentary also features clips from the Sacred Sexuality Workshop in London where the counsellors recommend that their clients embrace trees and 'really get into being a bear'. Now I've seen everything.