1. Cartoons Were Extremely NSFW
If you thought the folk songs of the Regency Era were tawdry, just wait until you hear about the cartoons. In an era before formal pornography, people needed some material to excite the imagination. This was accomplished with widely available cartoons that depicted countless carnal acts in full color. Surprisingly, in an era of purportedly chaste Christian morals, nothing was taboo in erotic artwork including gay people, interracial acts featuring Africans, oral, orgies, and acts depicting transvestites. Oddly enough, one erotic graving of the era describes putting a trumpet in a woman’s backside. Whether this was a peculiarity of the artist or an actual practice at the time is (thankfully) unknown.
The artist Thomas Rowlandson, who was active during the Regency period, created dozens of erotic engraving and illustrations that still survive today. They depict interracial acts, voyeurism, bestiality and more. Rowlandson is also famed for his satirical and political cartoons, implying that he must not have had his reputation damaged by the publication of erotic artwork. It is unclear what publications published Rowlandson’s erotic artwork during the era, but shortly after the Regency Era, the Victorian Era had several widely distributed erotic magazines called The Pearl and The Oyster that featured erotic stories and images.
Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources: