Despite the existence of ancient manuals in other cultures, manuals were banned in Western culture for many years. What information was available was generally only available in the form of illicit pornography or medical books, which generally discussed either physiology or disorders. The authors of medical works went so far as to write the most explicit parts of their texts in Latin, so as to make them inaccessible to the general public. (See Krafft-Ebing's Psychopathia as an example).
A few translations of the ancient works were circulated privately, such as Sir Richard Burton's translations of the Ananga Ranga and The Perfumed.
In the late 19th Century, Ida Craddock wrote many serious instructional tracts on human and appropriate, respectful relations between married couples. Among her works were The Wedding Night and Right Marital Living. In 1918 Marie Stopes published Married Love, considered groundbreaking despite its limitations in details used to discuss acts.
Theodoor Hendrik van de Velde's book Het volkomen huwelijk (The Perfect Marriage), published in 1926 was well-known in Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Estonia. In Germany Die vollkommene Ehe reached its 42nd printing in 1932 despite its being placed on the list of forbidden books, Index Librorum Prohibitorum by the Roman Catholic Church. In Sweden, Det fulländade äktenskapet was widely known although regarded as pornographic and unsuitable for young readers long into the 1960s. In English, Ideal Marriage: Its Physiology and Technique has 42 printings inits original 1930 edition, and was republished in new editions in 1965 and 2000.
David Reuben, M. D.'s book Everything You Always Wanted to Know About (But Were Afraid to Ask), published in 1969 was one of the first manuals that entered mainstream culture in the 1960s. Although it did not feature explicit images of acts, its descriptions of acts were unprecedentedly detailed.
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