The Victorians are often thought of as prudish, repressed, puritanical, kill joys who would rather cover up table legs than lie back and think of England; but, this simply is not the case. As with our own age, Victorian attitudes to sexuality were highly complex and ranged from the militant anti-vice crusaders to the prolific pornographers, and the cult of the celebrity courtesan. Beneath that tight-laced exterior beat a kinky heart. The Victorians didn’t repress sexuality, they were obsessed with it and saw indecency everywhere; in food they thought too ‘stimulating’, in books thought too fanciful and even in the potentially stirring effects of riding a bicycle. Although sexuality was a moral minefield, sexual pleasure (within marriage, at least) was very important to the Victorians. Perhaps nothing punctures the myth of Victorian prudery more than the pornography they left behind. No fetish left unturned, the images still have a power to shock us today. But, they serve a more important function than mere titillation; they show us the evolution of pornography and sexuality. Our modern pornography is highly stylised; hairless, smooth, toned bodies, large breasts and even larger penises have become our ‘normal’. The set menu of porn delivers a blow job as a starter, from behind as the main course, and a facial as the cheese course. A great deal of modern porn erotises male domination over the female; facials, face slaps, blow jobs that cause gagging and tears. And, whilst there is nothing wrong in exploring this particular narrative, there is very precious alternative to it. And therein lies the danger. These images are from the earliest days of photography, before our modern erotic narrative became established. The people in the pictures have pubic hair, pot bellies, soft bodies, they smile, and have a joyfully amateur quality to them. These pictures offer a peek into the bedrooms of the past, but they also allow us to connect with the beauty of our own hairy, wobbly, sexy bodies and remind us that sex should not be scripted.