Learning from Experience: Elskov og Teknikk

Discovered in Bergen, during the Learning Teaching from Experience seminar: a book from 1965 entitled Elskov og Teknikk, which roughly translates as ‘Lovemaking and Technique’.

When one thinks of the kinds of things we usually or even ‘normally’ learn from experience, lovemaking is probably a good example. Desire coupled within (pardon the pun) active experimentation followed by post-coital reflection is usually how a person learns how to be a sexual being, probably influenced by cultural representations that suggest emotional frames of reference as well as physical possibilities. But here, in Elskov og Teknikk, is the most wonderful combination of Nordic rationalism and socially democratic openness but represented in the most detached, technicist way. Those little artist’s mannequins you thought were useful just to practice line drawings of human subjects instead are put to work  and ‘on the job’, showing the positions and the consequent alignment of limbs and torsos of the penetrator and penetrated.

Mannequins at work

Mannequins at work

In a valiant attempt at demonstrating a liberal attitude to male homosexuality, there is a small section on effective angles of penetration and also what you should do with your legs while other parts of the body are busy.

Angles of penetration: advised and recommended

Angles of penetration: advised and recommended

The book was found at Bergen University College during a set of office moves. One academic there remembered being given it as a boy and being asked to study it seriously. In the context of academic discussions about learning from experience, the discovery of this book raised some important questions for me about when and when not explicit instruction is either necessary or advised. And when, for want of a better way of putting it, you just do it.

Yet another photo of a tasty Norwegian treat

Yet another photo of a tasty Norwegian treat