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Ida C. Craddock (1857 – 1902) was a 19th-century American advocate of free speech and women's rights. She wrote many serious instructional tracts on human sexuality and appropriate, respectful sexual relations between husband and wife. Aleister Crowley reviewed 'Heavenly Bridegrooms' in the pages of his journal The Equinox, stating that it was:
"...one of the most remarkable human documents ever produced, and it should certainly find a regular publisher in book form. ...This book is of incalculable value to every student of occult matters. No Magick library is complete without it."
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Oh, crowning time of lovers' raptures veiled in mystic splendor, sanctified by priestly blessing and by the benediction of all who love the lovers! How shall we chant thy praise?
Of thy joys even the poets dare not sing, save in words that suggest but do not reveal. At thy threshold, the most daring of the realistic novelists is fain to pause, and, with farewells to the lovers who are entering thy portals, let fall the curtain of silence betwixt them and the outside world forevermore.
What art thou, oh, night of mystery and passion? Why shouldst thou be thus enshrouded in an impenetrable veil of secrecy? Are thy joys so pure, so dazzling, so ecstatic, that no outside mortal can look upon thy face and live?
Or art thou a Veiled Prophet of Khorassan, and, under thy covering of silver light, a fiend, a loathsome monster, a distorted and perverted semblance of what thou dost profess thyself to the world?
Whatsoever thou art, it were well, methinks, that the veil, for a moment, were lifted from thee, that the young and ignorant may see thee as thou art, and, seeing, be not misled by thy glamour to their own undoing, but keep the higher law when they shall have entered thy radiant doors.
When the last stanzas of the wedding march have died away, and the bride, in shimmering white, places her hand in that of the bridegroom and pledges herself to be his wife "until death do part," a shiver of awe stirs the audience, as a field of wheat is stirred by a strong wind. An uncomfortable feeling pervades us all during these few moments, for it is felt to be a solemn occasion; and when the final words of the marriage service have been pronounced, every one feels relieved.
Yet there is a more solemn moment to follow. It comes when the last kisses of mother and girl-friends have been given, and the last grain of rice has been thrown upon the newly wedded pair, and the last hack driver and hotel or railway porter have been gotten rid of, and the key is turned in the bedroom door and the blinds drawn, and the young girl, who has never been alone in a locked room with a man in all her life, suddenly finds herself, as though in a dream, delivered over by her own innocent and pure affection into the power of a man, to be used at his will and pleasure. She, who has never bared more than her throat and shoulders and arms to the world, now finds that her whole body, especially those parts which she has all her life been taught it was immodest to fail to keep covered, are no longer to be her own private property; she must share their privacy with this man. Fortunate indeed is the bride whose lover at such a moment is a gentleman in every fibre of his being.
For there is a wrong way and there is a right way to pass the wedding night.
In the majority of cases, no genital union at all should be attempted, or even suggested, upon that night. To the average young girl, virtuously brought up, the experience of sharing her bedroom with a man is sufficient of a shock to her previous maidenly habits, without adding to her nervousness by insisting upon the close intimacies of genital contact. And, incredible as it may sound to the average man, she is usually altogether without the sexual experience which every boy acquires in his dream-life. The average, typical girl does not have erotic dreams. In many cases, too, through the prudishness of parents--a prudishness which is positively criminal--she is not even told beforehand that genital union will be required of her. I once talked with a young married woman, the daughter of a physician, well educated, and moving in cultured society, who had been allowed to marry at the age of 20, in entire ignorance of this. She remarked to me: "I think the relation of husband and wife is something horrid. I knew, of course, before I married, that married people had children; but I supposed that God sent them babies, and that that was all there was about it. I was never told about the physical relation." Her husband was so lacking in self-control as to make her pregnant on her wedding night.
And her experience is but one out of thousands.
In the ideal honeymoon, the bridegroom will not seek genital contact until the bride herself shows indications of desiring it. "But she might never want it?" My dear sir, you must be indeed lacking in manhood to be unable to arouse sex desire in a bride who loves you with even a halfway sort of affection.
"How can this be done?"
Well, I think that the very first thing for you to bear in mind is that, inasmuch as Nature has so arranged sex that the man is always ready (as a rule) for intercourse, whereas the woman is not, it is most unwise for the man to precipitate matters by exhibiting desire for genital contact when the woman is not yet aroused. You should remember that that organ of which you are, justly, so proud, is not possessed by a woman, and that she is utterly ignorant of its functions, practically, until she has experienced sexual contact; and that it is, to her who is not desirous of such contact, something of a monstrosity. Even when a woman has already had pleasurable experience of genital contact, she requires each time to be aroused amorously, before that organ, in its state of activity, can become attractive. For a man to exhibit, to even an experienced wife, his organ ready for action when she herself is not amorously aroused, is, as a rule, not sexually attractive to her; on the contrary, it is often sexually repulsive, and at times out and out disgusting to her. Every woman of experience knows that, when she is ready, she can cause the man to become sexually active fast enough.