It’s Easy To Say, But Hard To Do – Turn-of-the-Century American Postcards That Hint At Having Sex
You may be familiar with the term French postcards, which were images showing nude or semi-nude women at the turn of the 20th century. Imported to America from Europe, these postcards excited an entire generation. However If you possessed or mailed such material you could be arrested for violating the Comstock Law, with its broad definitions for what was considered lewd, lascivious or obscene material. As mild as French postcards seem now, they were the pornography of the day.
In early 20th century America men could only hint at their intentions when it came to relations with women. To say Americans were puritanical and repressed when it came to sex would be an understatement.
Victorian manners and morals carried over from the 19th century persisted until after World War I. Women were given the right to vote and soon the roaring 20’s ushered in a new spirit of sexual liberation.
It is hard to imagine that at the-turn-of-the-century most people could not talk about sex let alone consider having premarital relations. That being said, men have always been on the prowl, trying to hop in the sack with women.
In this series of postcards from around 1905, the woman is preserving her virtue and not giving in to having sex before marriage. But as we know men are persistent.
The series called “It’s Easy To Say, But Hard To Do,” is a double entendre reference to a man asking a woman to get married. It can also refer to asking for sex, but how and where can you do it? Looking at these postcards the viewer had to infer the meaning of who was saying what to whom in the captions, and what it all meant. I’m unsure how many variations of this card were produced in the series, but I have seen at least eight.
In the first postcard at the top of our story where the man has the woman sitting on his lap and he is practically groping her he is saying “How about it now kiddo?” The woman of course refuses.
“Ask, and you will get it,” a not too subtle hint – ask me to marry you and then we can have sex.
This next card where the man is saying “Why not now?” indicates that they are engaged. But still no nookie.
The final card we show is the topper. “Are you ready now,” after we are married and purchased this home.
The only thing I can’t imagine is sending these postcards in the mail. Who in 1905 would send one of these cards and who would you send it to? All the ones I own are unsent.
If you haven’t seen the one that says “Name the day,” I have one. If you want a photo of it let me know! I was researching it when I came across your article. This one would go right before the last, as it shows a man kneeling to propose.
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