NSFW Sunday Has Vintage Lesbian Smut Just For You

Feature image of Madame est au Cercle! / Madam Is at Her Club! by Albert Guillaume as published in Parisian literary periodical Gil Blas illustré in February 14, 1892. All of the art in this NSFW Sunday comes from Lesbian Decadence and has been republished with permission from Harrington Park Press. Captions provided by the publisher. The inclusion of a visual here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the model’s gender identity or sexual orientation. If you’re a photographer or model and think your work would be a good fit for NSFW Sunday, please email carolyn at autostraddle dot com.

Welcome to NSFW Sunday! The photos this week are from Lesbian Decadence: Representations in Art and Literature of Fin-de-Siècle France by Nicole G. Albert, which examines the French Decadent Movement’s fascination with lesbianism.

Jeux féminins/Women’s Games by Gerda Wegener in Les Délassements d’Éros, watercolor (1917). Private collection.

+ Sleep and sex make people the happiest, according to a new study:

“Researchers found that two lifestyle factors pulled ahead of the rest in their impact on an individual’s happiness: sleep and sex. Sleep quality made the biggest difference between the well-being of the top and bottom 20 percent. Of people who were ‘living well,’ 60 percent said they felt well-rested after a night of seep, while only five percent of those not living well said the same thing. What’s more, the best-rested people scored an average of 15 points higher on the Living Well Index than the least-rested.

Sex also played a huge role: People who reported the most satisfaction with their sex lives scored an average of seven points higher on the index than those who reported the least satisfaction with their sex lives. (This isn’t to say that more sex translated to more happiness, but that participants’ feelings about the amount and quality of sex they were having were closely tied with their overall satisfaction.)”

Petites Amies / Girlfriends by Hanafusa Ittcho, an illustration for the novel Poupée Japonaise / Japanese Doll by Félicien Champsaur (1912 edition).

+ It can be really fun to be a non-primary partner to someone with an open primary partner, writes adrienne maree brown at Bitch:

“For some people, second can be an intimacy preference. I really enjoy being the other woman in a transparent scenario. I love doing my own work all week and having someone show up to romance and touch me and then go home. I love knowing my lovers have stability and support and home, that I am only responsible for my/our pleasure. I love having abundant nonstop sexy time for a few days and then not having to worry about anyone else’s needs until the next visit.”

Kirchner’s illustration shows a fashionable lady, her mouth reaching for another woman’s mouth. The poster’s border resembles a mirror frame and the women are sketched in identical postures, but the viewer cannot tell whether it is one woman alone kissing her reflection or one woman pressing her lips against another’s, separated by a pane of glass.

A poster by Raphael Kirchner for the Wiener Illustrirte Frauen Zeitung / Vienna’s Illustrated Ladies’ Journal (ca. 1900).

+ At Vice, five trans people discussed how transitioning impacted their sexuality and porn consumption. Morticia Antionette Godiva notes:

“I feel like the change in my porn consumption came less from HRT and more from the social changes and identity changes I went through. Once my idea of gender was shattered, the idea of me not solely being interested in one type of gender and exploring all the other genders was on the table. Before, I wasn’t necessarily not attracted to women, but I hadn’t yet had any kind of connection with a woman because there was no real intimacy when operating as a cis man. I moved to New York, started HRT, and adopted a much more polyamorous lifestyle; coming into my gender played a huge role in opening myself up to a wider diversity of sexual experiences.”

Sapho: Bas-relief trouvé à Herculanum / Sappho: A Bas-Relief Found at Herculeanum, engraving by Félicien Rops (n.d.). Collection Musée Félicien Rops, Province de Namur.

+ Don’t feel bad about watching porn:

“[H]uman sexual desire is so unbelievably diverse that we can really hurt ourselves by trying to be ‘normal.’ The amount of sexual energy that one person has can be vastly, wildly different from that of somebody else. ‘The main question to keep in mind is whether you are able to function in your life and whether you or other people are getting hurt by what you’re doing,’ Lynsey says. ‘If things are okay and you are happy, you are likely meeting your own needs in a healthy way. A lot of porn isn’t a bad thing if it’s helping you live your best life.’

Experts do recommend, however, investing some time in finding a porn production company that you love rather than relying on clips from the bigger free video sites. Not only will you find high quality videos and erotica from paid sites, you’ll also be supporting the people who perform and produce the material.”

+ Which means don’t watch Bellesa.

Illustration by George Bottini for the novel La Maison Philibert / Philibert House by Jean Lorrain (1904).

+ Also, porn isn’t the reason that millennials are having less sex less often and with fewer partners. No, really:

“It turns out that Americans across the board—not just millennials—were having less sex today than they were in the past; however, millennials were doing it less than everyone else. And while this decline in sexual activity was linked to porn use, the results probably weren’t what you were expecting. Specifically, rather than being linked to less sex, watching porn was actually linked to having more sex. In other words, though porn might seem like the logical target to blame when it comes to why millennials—and everyone else—are getting laid less often, it’s not the right one.”

L’Esprit du mal / The Essence of Evil by George de Feure (1897–1898). [Ed note: lol.]

+ Your tiny apartment can still be a dungeon.

+ Thank You Come Again is the web-series set in a sex shop that you never knew you needed. Help make it happen.

+ The Nokia 3310 phone: a pretty solid vibrator.

Two identical female figures are kneeling, facing each other and embracing so that they seem to form one body; the flowing fabric sarongs that they wear spread out in a circle around them, the circle of a bracelet imprisoning them in their desire.

Le Bracelet / The Bracelet by Erté, an illustration for “Le Mystère des pierreries” / “The Mystery of Jewelry” by Albert Flament in L’Illustration, December 1926. © Adagp, Paris, 2015; Sevenarts Ltd. / ADAPG.

+ Here’s how to break up without being an asshole.

+ Conceptually terrified of marriage because you feel like you’re not worthy of love? “Whether it’s with marriage or something else, it’s easier to devalue something we might not get than to acknowledge that we might want it,” writes Lori Gottlieb at the Cut.

+ Here are the symptoms of gonorrhea.

Ferdinand Bac, the illustrator of Femmes honnêtes! / Decent Women!, daringly drew the two lovers Lucie and Berthe embracing in such a way that their arms formed a bridge of flesh in the form of a hyphen, like the punctuation mark that joined their names.

+ Why are we attracted to the people we’re attracted to? At the Establishment, Tamsin Saxton examines why partners often look resemble family members, writing:

“So long as something isn’t initially aversive, and you’re not over-exposed, then in general something will become more appealing the more you encounter it. Part of the attraction to parental features could be attributed to this familiarity effect. Yet familiarity doesn’t account for the whole phenomenon. First, people’s partners seem to be more likely to resemble the parent of the corresponding gender: girlfriends match mothers, and boyfriends match fathers, irrespective of whether they’re in a heterosexual or homosexual relationship. Second, emotional closeness to a parent increases the likelihood that your partner will resemble your parent.”

Two fashionable ladies in a nighttime amorous adventure, with the less rarefied caption: “If Venice is too far, there’s always the lake in the Bois de Boulogne”.

Faute de Venise—II y a le lac du Bois de Boulogne. Illustration by Joseph Kuhn-Régnier, in the satirical magazine Fantasio, August 1, 1923.


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Carolyn Yates is the NSFW Editor and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com. Her writing has appeared in Bitch, Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Xtra!, Jezebel, and elsewhere. She recently moved to Los Angeles from Montreal. Find her on twitter.

Carolyn has written 791 articles for us.

23 Comments

  1. I wonder if the gravitating towards corresponding parent thing works emotionally too. (Not sure a nice way to put this) my mums a lot more calm & I’m a lot more comfortable around her than my dad whose more volatile. I’m bi and looking back, I’ve had healthier relationships with women than with men. Women very much like my mum, men (who I forgave too much) like my dad.

  2. That article on being a second is exactly what I’ve been thinking about lately! I’m curious about nonmonogamy, but as an introvert I find it can be overwhelming to meet the demands of a relationship with even one person, so I can’t really wrap my head around more than one. But I’m starting to think that maybe it could be an ideal situation for me to date someone who’s in a committed open relationship with someone else.

    (This is all purely speculative and assumes that I’ll ever meet anyone at all in my area to date, of course.)

    • I spent a very happy time in my young adulthood as a No. 2 Concubine. And now that my current long-term relationship has opened up, I don’t feel the desire to gravitate towards a monogamous relationship with a new person. Being a mistress would suite me just fine. As long as the other person is not being duplicitous, that’s non-negotiable.

  3. Could it be we are actually attracted to people who look like us, rather than our parents? I’m attracted to people who have a similar face shape as me, but I do look like one of my parents so its confusing. I think a lot of couples look alike, which would make sense that they choose their own features over those of a parent.

  4. Well…not surprised about the sleep thing given the stats for folks with narcolepsy not doing real great in life and having mental health issues (the only thing more depressing than living with narcolepsy is READING ABOUT NARCOLEPSY because holy cow the literature is NOT HAPPY LITERATURE).

    And as for the parent thing…well, not being close (super not close) with either of my parents would explain why the people I’ve dated or been interested look NOTHING like them.

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