SEX EFFICIENCY THROUGH EXERCISES. Special physical culture for women. With 480 Cinematographic and 54 full-page illustrations. London, William Heinemann (Medical Books) Ltd.
1933. 8vo, pp. xviii, 164,  plate half-title, [iv] supplementary card series dividers; with 54 full page illustrations and a series of 12 ‘cinematographic’ films on 480 flicker cards; text a little browned due to paper quality, mainly marginal, with some further occasional light foxing and soiling; card dividers between flip cards a little soiled and have been deliberately torn to facilitate ‘flipping’; in the original blue publisher’s cloth, spine lettered in gilt, rear joint an inner hinges repaired. First edition of this striking and remarkable 1930s guidebook for women, featuring exercises for reproduction, childbirth and sexual pleasure. The book includes a ‘Cinematographic Supplement’ of twelve flicker-card films, each demonstrating the author’s exercise manoeuvres in the sequential photographic style first made famous by Muybridge.
‘It aims at providing a guide for women and those who help them (whether as doctors, midwives, nurses and gymnastic instructresses) in the full evolution and utilisation of the feminine sexual capacities and faculties. These capacities and faculties are generally quite inadequate in practice; they should include both appropriately active participation in the act of sexual congress and appropriate voluntary muscular action which assists the act of birth’ (Preface).
Theodor Hendrik van de Velde (1873-1937), was a Dutch gynaecologist and author of The Perfect Marriage (1926), a liberal treatise which was quickly put on the Catholic Index, a decision which no doubt contributed to the work’s success. It is not clear whether Sex Efficiency through Exercises was also censored, but it is hard to believe that such a work, which includes a series of naked images of women in the flicker cards, would have escaped unscathed in the 1930s. It certainly makes for somewhat uncomfortable reading today, despite being of interest for the innovative illustrative techniques used. A complex and challenging work.