A long-forgotten sex survey has revealed that 19th Century wives enjoyed sex for its own sake.
The study, which reveals intimate details of the bedroom habits of Victorian women, laid unread for decades at Stanford University, where the researcher, Dr. Clelia Duel Mosher, worked.
According to the candid accounts, middle-class women of the era were seemingly not reluctant to blame their husbands for their unsatisfactory sex lives, reports The Telegraph.
Describing her attitude to sex, one woman respondent wrote: "The highest devotion is based upon it, a very beautiful thing, and I am glad nature gave it to us."
Another described the act as "perfecting the spiritual union", while a third described how she and her husband enjoyed "intercourse for its own sake ... we wish it for ourselves and spiritually miss it".
Clelia's questionnaires for women - conducted far before Alfred Kinsey's famous "Kinsey Reports" - reveal Victorian women enjoyed sex, wanted to have sex without fear of pregnancy, and even wished their men improved their game.
Between 1892 and 1920 the survey was completed by 45 women - mostly middle-class college and university graduates.
Most of the participants said they did not know much about sex before they got married. However, after marriage, 35 women said they desired sex and 24 women said sexual pleasure was their reason for carnal knowledge. Three-fourths of the women said they made love once a week.
Clelia never published the results of her survey of American women. She died in 1940, her questionnaires forgotten in an unmarked file in the Stanford archives.