--- The path to debauchery is strewn with good intentions. ---
Benjamin Snowley is trapped in a most distressing predicament. He’s been feeling poorly and after having recently recovered from influenza, he knows that the fault for his declining health lies in a vice he wouldn’t dare mention in polite conversation.
Onanism, self-pollution, masturbation. All names for the same sinful affliction.
For Benjamin, it all started back at school, where he first encountered the immoral Frederick Cory. Ever since then, the man has been plaguing Benjamin’s dreams and causing most unnatural urges.
Now is the time for all the infatuation nonsense to stop. With the help of an unorthodox doctor and an indecent proposition to a young stablehand, Benjamin will rid himself of the vile addiction.
But can the experimental treatment be enough to make him forget his feelings for Frederick?
Warning: Contains a clueless young man on a futile quest for chastity and a libertine artist eager to rid him of that goal
Themes: masturbation, historical attitudes to sexuality, medicine, doctor, guilt, unorthodox treatment, master/servant, groom, superstition, moral failure, enemies to lovers
Genre: M/M Regency romantic erotica
The authors promised a filthy romp with The Art of Mutual Pleasure, and I know they always deliver, so this book was a must. And now that I've read it, I can tell you what we get is even more filthy dirty that I thought it would be! And it was delicious. So delicious. Especially that scene at the end. Oh, happy day!
I had a good chuckle about the dangers on Onanism and a good belly laugh at what the unconventional doctor prescribed our Benjamin. OMG. And poor Benjamin bought it -- hook, line and sinker. On the other hand, it was then that he really got a huge taste of his sexuality, so all's well that ends well, right? And this is why I am happy to be alive now, instead of Victorian times, because at least there is hope that a person can find accurate information on human sexuality (as much as some folks try to bury it).
I adored Benjamin Snowley even when he was being prudish and judgmental. He was scared of thoughts and feelings he was having that made him feel ashamed. Especially after sneaking out of his school dorm when he was 13 after Frederick Cory, not even realizing the reason he was so taken with Mr. Cory. And what does he happen upon? Frederick with another boy. My, oh my, how that changed Benjamin.
For years, after that, Benjamin is filled with shame because he cannot stop getting urges to masturbate (mostly while thinking about that night). And being as how he was taught from a very young age that masturbating would cause health problems, he was convinced he would cause his own death! Oh, Benjamin. He never had Frederick's confidence, nor his charisma, but he could not stop thinking about Frederick, either.
Frederick, after encountering Benjamin after they were both adults, was completely drawn to the younger man, even though Benjamin was completely a prude. Little does he know, at first, that Benjamin was like him.
What I loved most about this story was just how much Benjamin came to, not only accept himself, but embrace his desires. He's a dirty, dirty boy. He and Frederick really were two of a kind and them becoming friends was the best thing for them both. And did I mention filthy? Oh my, yes! And Benjamin gets off on exhibitionism and group play, too. Good thing Frederick does, too!
So, if you're in the mood for an extra dirty story with a historical setting, look no further. The Art of Mutual Pleasure is sure to deliver.
ARC of The Art of Mutual Pleasure was generously provided by the authors, in exchange for an honest review.
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