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Sex Before the Sexual Revolution: Intimate Life in England 1918-1963 (Cambridge University Press)

Sex Before the Sexual Revolution: Intimate Life in England 1918-1963 (Cambridge University Press)

What did sex mean for ordinary people before the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, who were often pitied by later generations as repressed, unfulfilled and full of moral anxiety? This book provides the first rounded, first-hand account of sexuality in marriage in the early and mid-twentieth century. These award-winning authors look beyond conventions of silence among the respectable majority to challenge stereotypes of ignorance and inhibition. Based on vivid, compelling and frank testimonies from a socially and geographically diverse range of individuals, the book explores a spectrum of sexual experiences, from learning about sex and sexual practices in courtship, to attitudes to the body, marital ideals and birth control. It demonstrates that while the era's emphasis on silence and strict moral codes could for some be a source of inhibition and dissatisfaction, for many the culture of privacy and innocence was central to fulfilling and pleasurable intimate lives.

About the Authors

Simon Szreter

Simon Szreter is Reader in History and Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. His previous publications include Fertility, Class and Gender in Britain 1860–1940 (Cambridge University Press, 1996) and Changing Family Size in England and Wales 1891–1911: Place, Class and Demography (co-editor, Cambridge University Press, 2001). In 2009 he was awarded the Viseltear Prize of the American Public Health Association for contributions to the history of public health. He is also a founding member of the History and Policy Network.

Kate Fisher

Kate Fisher is Senior Lecturer in History, University of Exeter. Her highly acclaimed first book, Birth Control, Sex and Marriage in Britain, 1918–1960 (2006), won national and international awards including the RHS Whitfield Prize. In 2007 she was shortlisted for Times Higher Academic Author of the Year Award. 

Accolades